Tributes: Lou Swaan

Lou Swaan was born September 5, 1930 in Koog aan de Zaan in the Netherlands, and was called home to glory August 7, 2017. He was in failing health for some time with heart and stroke problems.

After World War II, many people emmigrated to other countries as the future in the Netherlands was bleak. In 1948, Lou’s parents emmigrated to Canada, where his father bought a farm in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The family faithfully attended church, but Lou found it difficult to make John 5:24 his own. He believed the Bible, but struggled with how to get saved.

When he was visiting brother and sister Vandewetering, he heard, for the first time, about how an uncle of Cap Vandewetering had gotten saved. When Lou came home from the visit, he said to Truus, his fiancée, “This is what I also want.” He was about 21 years old at that time. He and Truus were married on November 11, 1954. They made their home in Langley, BC, where he worked together with his father on his farm. Later, he bought a farm of his own, and the Lord blessed their marriage with three daughters and a son. After a year of running his farm, Lou went one day to the loft of the barn, and there in quietness, he trusted the Lord Jesus and was assured that he was forever a child of God. Two days later his wife was also saved.

After Lou accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, his songs changed from cowboy songs to Christian hymns. While sitting on his tractor, he sang those hymns so wholeheartedly that neighbors wondered what had happened to Lou Swaan!

For a few years the couple attended the Evangelical Church. However, while reading his Bible, Lou became convinced that the assembly was the place where he should worship His Lord. Lou loved to visit people and witnessed to young and old about his newly found faith. He always followed up with further visits.

In those days, brother Andrew Bergsma was working as a full-time evangelist in Newfoundland. Brother Bergsma sent a letter to the assemblies to ask for a person who would be willing to evangelize with him in the Netherlands. Lou prayed about it, and accepted the call to join Andrew. In 1968, Lou sold his farm and departed for the Netherlands with his family (commended by the Abbotsford and West Richmond assemblies). They first lived in a condo in Hoogeveen and later, he bought a hobby farm in Dedemsvaart so that he could still look after animals. It remained a hobby, though, as his desire was to be active in the Lord’s work. He and Andrew worked together and evangelized using a tent in summers and continuing indoors during winter seasons. After a few contacts were saved, Lou bought a big house in Dedemsvaart and remodeled it into a place suitable for assembly meetings. That remained his home assembly in the Netherlands until his homecall. Brother Cap Vandewetering also joined the brethren in the work in Holland. All these workers are now enjoying the presence of their Lord Whom they so faithfully served.

In 1968, the brethren saw a need to provide Christian reading material for believers. Brother Hans Bouwman was already planning to publish a magazine, Woord en Getuigenis (Word and Testimony), so Lou and other brethren enthusiastically participated in this work. Lou was in charge of the “Question and Answer” column and also prepared articles about practical Christian living for the magazine.

Lou was instrumental in leading many to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Eternity will reveal the value of each soul reached and saved. His wife Truus was a worthy helpmate and worked alongside him throughout his service.