guest post

Why It’s Important to Know Our History

Guest Post By Tina Siemens

In June of 2019, I joined a group on a tour through six European countries. We started in the Netherlands where Menno Simons became the leader of a group of Anabaptist believers who later became known as Mennonites, from Mennos first name.

There were so many sobering moments standing where our ancestors lived and gave up their lives for their conviction of the new found faith in Jesus Christ! My prayer that all of us will be just as steadfast in our faith. To Never Give Up!  

Whether young or older take a look into your history or genealogy, there is much to be gleaned from our history.  

This could mean different things for different individuals, interested in their heritage for  traditions, where they lived, food, fashions, medicine etc.  

As in my life my interests in knowing my history came a little late, one set of grandparents on my moms’ side, and my grandma on my fathers’ side had already passed. In the Mennonite culture, it is not widely practiced to openly talk to the children about their history. Deuteronomy 6:7 God told the children of Israel to teach their children diligently.  

Your grandparents are a vital window into who your parents became and you likewise from your parents. All because of God‘s perfect design to continue from one generation to another. The creation of a Family lineage.  

I encourage you to ask questions and record, if your grandparents aren’t alive than your parents or an aunt and uncle that might give you information on what their lives were like growing up.  

After years and years of research, I ran across a distant cousin in Saskatchewan Canada, and he sent me a newspaper clipping of a story about my 2X Great Grandparents. The story was that Grandpa had cleaned up his feed silos, as he raked into a pile the straw, he burnt the straw and the wind picked up and it burned everything in its path for miles and miles. 2X Great Grandpa was devastated and he sold everything and divided it among all the ones that lost their homes, live stock, and barns. Shortly after that his wife passed. Even though they faced many challenges they persevered.  

It’s such validation when we can take courage from stories like this, to help us maneuver  through difficult days in our life. 2020 and 2021 have been very difficult for all in different ways.  Persevering is a choice. 

“One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.”  – Golda Meir  

I would say find stories from your family‘s past and see how they can be a lesson of encouragement to you today. By asking questions about your family history will allow you to discover many similarities from theirs to your life. If those similarities or differences convict you to make changes and break some of the chains of negativity or continue the positive then not only yourself will profit, but the next generation will benefit greatly by the changes that you make.

I chose to study my history by recording stories from relatives, traveling to places my ancestors lived, and visiting archives. The end result is recorded in my book “Seminole: Some People Never Give Up”  

“We study the past so that we may learn how to make the present better.” – Anna E. Arnold  

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About the Author

Katharina “Tina” Rempel immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1977, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1986. She married her best friend, John Siemens, on April 17, 1988. She is the proud mother of two sons, both married, and Oma to four precious grandchildren. In 1989, Tina and her husband, John, started JW&T, Inc.—a company specializing in both residential and commercial construction.

Tina has served on various boards in Seminole, including the Chamber of Commerce and the hospital board. In November 2015, Tina had the great honor of being named citizen of the year of Seminole, Texas. And hardly a day goes by that she doesn’t tell someone how proud she is to be an American! Seminole is her first book.

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