Author Archives: tenboommuseum

We can all ‘find your own Calcuttas’ on our doorstep

Some year

s ago, an American woman was thinking about what she could do with her life that would make a difference. Following a distressing divorce, she was left financially and materially secure. Now she wanted to use some of the resources that she had to improve the lives of others. At the same time she hoped to gain some sense of fulfilment for her own life.
She had been inspired by the things she had read about Mother Teresa and the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Calcutta. She wrote to Mother Teresa offering to come and work with her. The reply, when it came some time later, was short and to the point. Written in Mother Teresa’s own hand, the letter this American woman received simply said, “Find your own Calcutta.”
At first this seems rather harsh and abrupt. Some would even say it was downright rude. But, on reflection, the woman who received this note understood what this Albanian saint was trying to say to her. The truth was she did not need to go halfway round the world to make a difference. There would be people in her neighbourhood, members of her own family and community projects nearby needing her time, energy and material resources.
As a teenage Christian, I read inspiring tales of those who had done great things for God. There was David Wilkerson risking his life to share the gospel with the gangs of New York. The Dutch middle-age woman, Corrie ten Boom, emerged from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps declaring there was no pit so deep that God’s love was not deeper still.
I read too of Brother Andrew who, in the days of oppressive communist regimes, smuggled Bibles illegally across Eastern Bloc borders. I can remember thinking at times, “If only that could be me”. But in the words of Mother Teresa I had to “find my own Calcutta”.
The needs of the world have changed, but there are Calcuttas on our doorstep to this day waiting for us to find them.

Source: This is CornWall

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‘Mizpah’ Nancy Petrey pens memoir

TUPELO – A small crowd of friends, family and readers gathered at St. Luke United Methodist Church on Wednesday to talk to author Nancy Petrey about her memoir, “Jewish Roots Journey: Memoirs of a Mizpah.”

In the book, Petrey recalls her experiences as a “Mizpah,” or “look-out,” for the Jewish faith, despite her Methodist beliefs and upbringing. She has traveled to Israel three times: in 1996 on a mission trip, in 1998 on her own, and in 2002 on a prayer tour, at the height of suicide bombing in Israel.

“I saw and learned so much there,” she said, “but I was never scared because I was the center of God’s will.”

Petrey, a former Tupelo resident, earned a master’s degree in Religious Education in the Middle East from the Arkansas Institute for Holy Land studies, and is an expert in the journey of the Jewish people through history. In her book, she posits that the church began distancing itself from its Jewish roots when it began adopting a “Western mind-set and Greek philosophy,” which drew the religion away from its birthplace and changed the interpretation of scripture from literal to allegorical.

“Only with the understanding of Christianity as being Jewish can we learn the Bible from the correct point of view,” she says. “(Jews) are like our parents!”

Consequently, the book that she originally intended only for her posterity contains equal parts humanity and theological understanding.

While Petrey’s book is solid with history and theology, it is balanced with striking and humorous events from her life in which her faith truly made a difference, such as an event in which she confronts a man who robbed her.

Petrey says she received much of her inspiration from the book “Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom, another memoir about a family that protected Jews during the Holocaust. Originally, her book was intended to be a sort of life story for her children, but the book was picked up by Energion Publications of Gonzalez, Fla., and quickly gained steam.

“I was amazed that so many people were interested in my life,” she said.

Petrey currently lives in her hometown of Luverne, Ala., and plays piano for the South Luverne Baptist Church.

Source: Djournal
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Corrie with Billy Graham

At age 53, Corrie began a world-wide ministry which took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years! She testified to God’s love and encouraged all she met with the message that “Jesus is Victor.”
For seven years, I served as a writer for Dutchman Brother Andrew, who wrote the best-selling book God’s Smuggler (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill).

Andrew was good friends with Corrie Ten Boom, whose family hid Jews in their home in Haarlem, Holland. The Ten Boom family were dedicated Christians who dedicated their lives in the service to their fellow man. Their home was always an “open house” for anyone in need.

Through the decades the Ten Booms were very active in social work in Haarlem, and their faith inspired them to serve the religious community and society at large and their fellow man. Their home was always an “open house” for anyone in need. Through the decades the Ten Booms were very active in social work in Haarlem, and their faith inspired them to serve the religious community and society at large.

During the Second World War, the Ten Boom home became a refuge, a hiding place, for fugitives and those hunted by the Nazis. By protecting these people, Casper and his daughters, Corrie and Betsie, risked their lives. This non-violent resistance against the Nazi-oppressors was the Ten Booms’ way of living out their Christian faith. This faith led them to hide Jews, students who refused to cooperate with the Nazis, and members of the Dutch underground resistance movement.
During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 6-7 people illegally living in this home: 4 Jews and 2 or 3 members of the Dutch underground. Additional refugees would stay with the Ten Booms for a few hours or a few days until another “safe house” could be located for them. Corrie became a ringleader within the network of the Haarlem underground.

Corrie and “the Beje group” would search for courageous Dutch families who would take in refugees, and much of Corrie’s time was spent caring for these people once they were in hiding. Through these activities, the Ten Boom family and their many friends saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews, and protected many Dutch underground workers.

On February 28, 1944, this family was betrayed and the Gestapo (the Nazi secret police) raided their home. The Gestapo set a trap and waited throughout the day, seizing everyone who came to the house. By evening about 30 people had been taken into custody! Casper, Corrie and Betsie were all arrested. Corrie’s brother Willem, sister Nollie, and nephew Peter were at the house that day, and were also taken to prison.

Although the Gestapo systematically searched the house, they could not find what they sought most. They suspected Jews were in the house, but the Jews were safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom. In this “hiding place” were two Jewish men, two Jewish women and two members of the Dutch underground. Although the house remained under guard, the Resistance was able to liberate the refugees 47 hours later. The six people had managed to stay quiet in their cramped, dark hiding place for all that time, even though they had no water and very little food. The four Jews were taken to new “safe houses,” and three survived the war. One of the underground workers was killed during the war years, but the other survived.

Because underground materials and extra ration cards were found in their home, the Ten Boom family was imprisoned. Casper (84 years old) died after only 10 days in Scheveningen Prison. When Casper was asked if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, “It would be an honor to give my life for God’s ancient people.” Corrie and Betsie spent 10 months in three different prisons, the last was the infamous Ravensbruck Concentration Camp located near Berlin, Germany. Life in the camp was almost unbearable, but Corrie and Betsie spent their time sharing Jesus’ love with their fellow prisoners.

Many women became Christians in that terrible place because of Corrie and Betsie’s witness to them. Betsie (59) died in Ravensbruck, but Corrie survived. Corrie’s nephew, Christiaan (24), had been sent to Bergen Belsen for his work in the underground, and never returned. Corrie’s brother, Willem (60), was also a ring leader in the Dutch underground. While in prison for this “crime,” he contracted spinal tuberculosis and died shortly after the war.

Four Ten Booms gave their lives for this family’s commitment, but Corrie came home from the death camp. She realized her life was a gift from God, and she needed to share what she and Betsie had learned in Ravensbruck: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”

At age 53, Corrie began a world-wide ministry which took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years! She testified to God’s love and encouraged all she met with the message that “Jesus is Victor.”

Corrie with Billy Graham

Corrie received many tributes and was knighted by the Queen of Holland. In 1968, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem (Yad Vashem) asked Corrie to plant a tree in the Garden of Righteousness, in honor of the many Jewish lives her family saved. Corrie’s tree stands there today.

In the early 1970′s Corrie’s book The Hiding Place (also written with John and Elizabeth Sherrill) became a best seller and Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures released the major motion picture “The Hiding Place.” Corrie went on to write many other inspiring books and make several evangelical videos.

Corrie was a woman who was faithful to God. She died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983. It is interesting that Corrie’s passing occurred on her birthday. In the Jewish tradition, it is only very blessed people who are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!
I had the privilege, along with my wife Norma and son, Andrew, of attending her funeral in Santa Ana, California, where a Jewish woman stood by her casket during the service and movingly thanked her for helping to save the lives of so many Jews during the war.

Now back to Brother Andrew. He told me that once, when he had visited Corrie at her home in Haarlem, he was leaving and she turned to him and said, “Andrew, keep looking down!” Andrew told me that he thought she had finally lost it and replied, “Don’t you mean keeping looking up?” Corrie then replied, “No Andrew, keep looking down! For when you do that, you can see the world from God’s perspective.”

So maybe, as we despair about the violence in our world today, we should also take Corrie’s advice and “keep looking down” and then we can also see the world from God’s perspective.

Source: Continental News

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Moments of Inspiration

Someone once said, “A wall with loose bricks is not good.  The bricks must be cemented together.” This quote comes from Corrie Ten Boom, as it was shared in a discussion, giving an example of what being with other Christians should be like.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron,” so people can improve each other. One of the best tools for sharpening our character is to seek out accountability and encouragement from other people.

For the past 15 years, Morning Glory Ministries, a Christian women’s outreach ministry, has held “God’s Women Strengthening God’s Women, More Than A Conference.” On Saturday, July 28, the annual gathering will return to Bedford at the Bedford Columns.  It is open to all women and girls.  Over the years, men have attended the event as well. Anyone can attend!
Coming together in Christian unity is as the writer said, “It cements bricks together.”  Take a minute to prayerfully consider the relationships in your life.  Is there someone whose wisdom you admire, someone you might want to ask to be your mentor?  Is there someone you’d like to take under your wing?  “God’s Women Strengthening God’s Women, More Than A Conference” offers the opportunity to be among those who want to see each other encouraged, strengthened and inspired through the word of God.
This year’s event theme is “Shifting The Atmosphere.”  There will be speakers sharing from the theme. The closeout speaker will Pastor Shirley W. Anthony of North Carolina. The event will end with a fellowship luncheon.
Each year we take inventory of the last year.  The memories and excitement were life changing!  We think about the steps we might need to take next, and then take those steps, seeking broader visions as we go along.  We always take in account that God goes with us, and that with each event there is a potential to make your spirituality stronger and sharper.  This is why “God’s Women Strengthening God’s Women, More Than A Conference” continues to grow and blossom.  It’s by the grace of God!

Source:  Altavista Journal

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KEEPING THE FAITH: Put out the fire

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was a holy man and scholar born in the 1100s whose ancient travels sound as contemporary as today’s news feeds. He was born in what is now Afghanistan; he was the descendant of immigrating Iraqis; he lived and died in Pakistan; and his shrine was constructed by donations from the Iranian royalty.

Maybe the only thing more extraordinary than Lal Shahbaz’s wide-reaching travels and popularity are the many mythological stories that have been attached to him over the centuries. In one story, recorded by William Dalrymple, Lal Shabaz was wandering through the desert with a friend as evening began to fall. The desert was terribly cold, so the two pilgrims began to gather wood for a fire.

With their pyre neatly constructed, they realized they had no way of igniting it. Lal Shahbaz’s friend suggested that he transform himself into a great bird (the meaning of “Shahbaz”) and fly down into hell to collect coals for a fire. Lal Shahbaz considered this a wise suggestion and flew away.

After many cold hours Lal Shahbaz returned to his friend empty-handed. Puzzled, he asked why he had not returned with fire to keep them warm. Lal Shahbaz replied, “There is no fire in hell. Everyone who goes there brings their own fire, their own pain, from this world.”

There is a great deal of truth in this story. If we think of hell as a self-imposed prison or a self-ignited blaze, then Lal Shahbaz is correct: Anyone suffering from the results of their own hard-hearted decisions or their own hand is truly suffering hell. They have not been cast away by God; they have kindled their own fire. They have hurt themselves, and nothing hurts worse than a self-inflicted wound.

By Jesus’ definition, the most “burning torture to bear” is the scorching heat of resentment and unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive others, we sentence ourselves and our world to hellish suffering. Our future — and today’s well-being — depends upon our willingness to extinguish the burning inferno in our souls by forgiving those who have harmed us.

Granted, we don’t naturally respond to injustice with this kind of Christ-infused grace. If you hit me, I will hit you harder. Maim my brother, and I will kill your father. Set off a bomb in my marketplace, and I will wipe out your entire village. Firebomb my hospital, and I will bomb your capital.

It’s human nature to retaliate, not with equity, but with greater force than what was first inflicted. It is a hellacious, vicious cycle; and the only thing that can shut down the scorching cycles of suffering is forgiveness.

Dr. Fred Luskin offers this hopeful counsel: “To forgive is to give up all hope for a better past … Forgiveness allows you a fresh start … It’s like a rain coming to a polluted environment. It clears things. At some point, you can say that this awful thing happened to me. It hurt like hell, yet I’m not going to allow it to take over my life.” Forgiveness forges a firebreak and says, “It ends here!”

So when we hear the names of Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, we answer with the names of Maximilian Kolbe, Corrie Ten Boom, and Bernard Lichtenberg — people who were not overcome by evil, but overcame evil with good.

When someone speaks of the past or current hatefulness in South Africa, Darfur, Armenia, Sand Creek, Selma, or Croatia we speak the names of Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Miroslav Volf, Dirk Willems, and the Amish of Nickel Mines – those who lived (and some died) for the sake of grace.

The only way to stop the continual and rampant hate in this world is to make peace. The only way to make peace is to forgive. The only way to forgive is through the unrelenting love and forgiveness of God. We can become the instruments of that peace, tools of God’s forgiveness, and the images of God’s love. That love will extinguish the fires of hell. That love will indeed change the world.

Source: Waltonsun

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Christians, Jews Gather for ‘Corrie Remembers’

One-woman show highlights the memories of Corrie ten Boom, one of the “Righteous among the Nations.”

Corrie Remembers

Photo: Courtesy

While largely unfamiliar to most Jews, Corrie ten Boom is a well-known hero among believing Christians, a model of how Christians should act in dark times. Her private story of faith and heroism was depicted in the play “Corrie Remembers”, staged last Sunday to a wide audience of Christians and Jews from all over northern Israel.

The one-woman show highlights the memories of Corrie ten Boom, one of the “Righteous among the Nations.” Corrie’s story remains little-known to Jews. However, the City of Afula and the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations at Yezreel Valley College worked to change that by bringing this drama to Israel.

Cornelia (Corrie) was raised in Holland, in a family of dedicated Christians who believed that the Jews were a people chosen by God. With the German invasion of Holland in 1940, the ten Boom’s beliefs about Jews were put to the test. Asserting that God’s people were always welcome in their house in Haarlem, they courageously made their home above their father’s watch repair shop into a place for Jews and resistance members to hide, before being moved to safe houses in the country. One of the first Jews to stay there on a long-term basis was Meyer Mossel, a cantor from an Amsterdam synagogue.

A secret room was built in Corrie’s bedroom where the Jews could hide in case the house was raided. The room was the size of a closet, built with a false wall and an air vent to the outside. When the house was indeed raided by the Gestapo in February of 1944, six people escaped detection by hiding in that tiny room. The ten Boom family and many of their friends were arrested that day. Most were eventually released, but Corrie’s father remained in prison, where he died. Corrie and her sister Bessie were sent to Ravensbrück for their efforts, the notorious concentration camp for women near Berlin. Bessie died there, and Corrie was ultimately released due to a clerical error at the end of 1944.

Despite the cruelty that she endured, her faith remained resolute. Corrie would eventually dedicate herself to spreading the message of forgiveness and reconciliation she believed in. After the war she began a public speaking campaign all over the world. Corrie Ten Boom was honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1967 and was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in 1968. She passed away on her birthday in 1983 at the age of 91. Soon after her death, the ten Boom house in Haarlem was restored and opened as a museum in her honor.

“Corrie Remembers” is a powerful one-woman dramatization that has been performed hundreds of times around the globe. Susan Sandager portrays Corrie Ten Boom in the eighth decade of her life, remembering her younger years. Jews and Christians of all ages came to the show from Afula, Jerusalem, Karmiel, Nazareth and neighboring  kibbutzim and small communities, all of whom were encouraged by the simple courage and love that Corrie ten Boom embodied.

After the show one woman said, “I thoroughly enjoyed Corrie Remembers… I vaguely knew the story, but the play brought it alive so well. I cried almost the whole way through. I left wondering if I had lived then, would I have found the courage to help Jews rather than ‘mind my own business’ as I do so often in today’s conflicted times….Susie Sandager’s portrayal of an old Dutch lady was amazing! Her message of support for Israel at the end of the evening was very powerful. Would that all our co-religionists in the Diaspora were as passionate in their support of Israel as this Christian woman.”


Source: JPost

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Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom has long been honored by evangelical Christians as an exemplar of Christian faith in action. Arrested by the Nazis along with the rest of her family for hiding Jews in their Haarlem home during the Holocaust, she was imprisoned and eventually sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp along with her beloved sister, Betsie, who perished there just days before Corrie’s own release on December 31, 1944. Inspired by Betsie’s example of selfless love and forgiveness amid extreme cruelty and persecution, Corrie established a post-war home for other camp survivors trying to recover from the horrors they had escaped. She went on to travel widely as a missionary, preaching God’s forgiveness and the need for reconciliation. Corrie’s devout moral principles were tested when, by chance, she came face to face with one of her former tormentors in 1947. The following description of that experience is excerpted from her 1971 autobiography, The Hiding Place, written with the help of John and Elizabeth Sherrill.

I’m Still Learning to Forgive

It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. …

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent. …

“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard in there.” No, he did not remember me.

“I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us.”

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, …” his hand came out, … “will you forgive me?”

And I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” …

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.

Source: PBS- Public Broadcasting Service

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