On November 6, 1937, Alma Jean was born in the tiny town of Taintor, Iowa to Ray and Johanna Hoksbergen. Even though her beginning was small, during her nearly eight decades of life, her sphere of influence touched people around the world. She had a carpe diem attitude towards life and often shared fond memories of cruises and trips to Mexico, Israel, and Italy. When her health began limiting travel, she choose to live victoriously and vicariously through friends and family.
She met the love of her life, Loren Witzenburg, while riding around the square, and this unlikely couple got married on December 26, 1958. They raised five children who rose up and called her blessed. She doted on her twenty-three grandchildren and when they were at their youngest, she spent time helping out in their homes. As the grandchildren grew older, she and Loren were co-directors for Cousins' Camps, and and also took them out for a specially-tailored 10th birthday celebration.
In spite of meager finances, Alma found creative ways to provide extraordinary food for her household. She relished and savored food (spiritual food too), and loved to experiment to create the most pleasing dishes she could for sometimes picky palates. At a moment's notice, Alma shared her 'Oreo Cookie Hospitality' with anyone -- local, national or international.
Like her mother before her, she opened and extended her hand to the poor, and reached out her filled hands to the needy. In her long, elegant script, she wrote thousands of personal notes of encouragement containing scripture and prayer. Alma was an excellent spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman who loved deep and loved well until her physical heart wore out.
Alma was a valiant prayer warrior who prayed without ceasing and equipped herself with a spiritual and mental strength for her God-given task. She penned innumerable prayer journals--filled with acronyms of PTL (Praise The Lord) and TYJ (Thank You Jesus) for every answered prayer. Even in her final days, she kept a prayer journal until her hands were too shaky to write, but that didn't keep her from pouring out prayers and blessings for as long as she had breath.
She mentored countless young mothers with her skillful and godly wisdom--prayed for them and their children as if they were her very own. Everyone she ministered to knew they were her favorite, the most important, in that moment. Alma inspired and influenced children through teaching at a small Christian school and various children's ministries.
Alma was known for her heart-warming smile. Even during her final earthly days, smiled at the future, knowing that she and her family were prepared. She was a woman who feared the LORD and wanted to make Him known which resulted in numerous Bible studies, churches and prayer meetings.
"As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits methe crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing." II Timothy 4:6-8
On June 17th, 2016, Alma peacefully left this world and was welcomed with rejoicing into heaven hearing God say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." She was joined in heaven by her parents Ray and Johanna Hoksbergen, brothers Ralph and Harold, sister Janice, and brother-in-law Jake Rus.
She is survived by her husband, Loren, children: Lynda (Ron) Bateman, Lisa, David (Jayme), Douglas (Loretta), Gregory and 23 grandchildren.
Celebration of Life services were held on Tuesday, June 21, at Federated Fellowship Church in Pella. Online obituary may be viewed at www.gardenchapel.com.
Published on June 20, 2016