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Posts Tagged ‘Corrie ten Boom’

Great Biographies – Learning History the Fun Way

Don’t have enough time to read a large volume? If you have enjoyed some of the recent stories on my blog about some courageous women and would like to read more, but are too busy to engage in a 300 to 400-page book, try some of the following books.

I read books that are written for middle school-aged or high school-aged girls often. I choose ones that are well written, historically accurate, and very interesting. The fact that I can read them in one or two sittings makes them all the more enjoyable.

The books that I am reviewing in this posting are suitable for your 9 and above girls and YOURSELF! They are from the “Trail Blazers” series, published in the U.K.

These books would be great to share with your daughters. Each one has an appendix called, “Thinking Further Topics” with questions and answers for each chapter. There is also a summary time line at the back of the book that includes worldwide events that were going on at the time. For example, the book on Gladys Aylward lists her birth, 1902 to her death, 1970. There are 31 chronologically ordered events throughout her life so that the reader can put Gladys’ life into context with history. (1914 – WWI, for example) This is one of my favorite parts of the books. You and your child will get a better feel for history. And I always tell my children and grandchildren, “The most fun way to learn history is to read good biographies!”

One of my granddaughters has some mild difficulty with reading and so these books are wonderful to share with her. She loves the attention when someone will read with her. You will be edified and encouraged by the stories of these brave women who sacrificed much to serve God and others.

—  Grant, Myrna, Gladys Aylward: No Mountain Too High, (Christian Focus Gladya Aylward with childPublications, Scotland, U.K., 2003).

In my “Movie Reviews” posting (September, 2010) I did a review of “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”. This movie tells the story of Gladys Aylward’s mission in China. Part of her story takes place when the Japanese invade China. Gladys must help the orphans in her charge get to a safe place. Both the book and the movie are exciting.
—  Howat, Irene, Isobel Kuhn: Lights in Lisuland, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, U.K., 2001).

isobel kuhn.4For a bit more information, see my posting on November 19, 2013. Isobel also went to China to the Lisu people. She and her husband and the Lisu people were also affected by the Japanese invasion.

Isobel was not a likely missionary candidate as a child. She had many doubts about God. This story will encourage your heart as you read how God met her need and then Isobel gave her whole life back to God in gratitude for her salvation.
—  Howat, Irene, Helen Roseveare: On His Majesty’s Service, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, U.K., 2007).

Helen Roseveare was a medical doctor from England. She went to be a missionaryhelen roseveare in the Belgian Congo (as it was called in the 1950’s). Here too war played a part in her service to the African people. The communists were taking over and in the 1960’s the country became independent and changed its name to Zaire. Today that country is called the Democratic Republic of Congo. Helen helped to set up hospitals and train nurses. She was captured by the wicked rebels in 1964 and beaten and tortured. She was eventually freed and sent home to recover. This courageous woman loved her African people so much that she returned to serve them again. Eventually she went back to Britain and spent many years traveling around the world and telling her story. As of this writing I believe that she is still living (she must be 88 if she is) and living in Ireland.
—  Howat, Irene, Patricia St. John: The Story Behind the Stories, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, U.K., 2008).

patricia st. johnPatricia St. John is one of the world’s greatest storytellers for children. Perhaps you might have read, “The Tanglewoods’ Secret” or “Treasures of the Snow”. These are great stories. Patricia St. John’s own life is a great story. War enters her story like so many others. In this case, during WWII, when the bombs were falling in London, Patricia helped out as a nurse. She later helped her brother at his hospital in Morrocco. Patricia enjoyed life very much and was able to capture the excitement and put it into stories for children.

—  Mackenzie, Catherine, Joni Eareckson Tada” Swimming Against the Tide, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, U.K., 2003).

Many people have probably heard about this amazing woman who was left Joniparalyzed from the shoulders down after a diving accident. This book tells the whole amazing story of Joni’s accident and her struggles with depression and learning to function with her disability. There are addresses for how to contact Joni and become involved in her programs in the back of the book. Joni also authored several books and you can find information on getting those in the book also. There is even a full-length feature film, “Joni”, in which she has told her life story. It has been translated into 15 languages around the world.

—  Watson, Jean, Corrie ten Boom: The Watchmaker’s Daughter, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, U.K., 2003).

Corrie ten Boom.4Here is another biography of a great woman of courage. Again, war enters our story. During WWII in Holland, the Germans had made many rules against the rights of the Jews. Corrie and her family tried to help the Jews. For this they were arrested. Corrie and her sister spent time in the most horrible women’s concentration camp in Europe. Corrie’s faith in God helped her get through this terrible time. There is also a great movie that tells this story, “The Hiding Place”. I highly recommend it.

Ok, now. Don’t let lack of time be your excuse any more. Get some of these or other books in the “Trail Blazers” series and be edified and encouraged. There are many more books in this series, even for boys!!

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But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven… For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? … Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.                                 (Matthew 5:44-48)

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.                                             Corrie ten Boom

corrie-ten-boomCorrie ten Boom was born and raised in Holland. She was a middle-aged woman when World War II started. If you are familiar with history you will remember that the Germans quickly took control of Holland.

The Nazis were persecuting the Jews wherever they had control and this included Holland. Corrie’s family decided to help the Jews though it was against the law. They put their lives at risk for doing this. I would recommend either the book The Hiding Place (published 1971) or the movie of the same name (released 1975) for you to get the whole remarkable story of the courage of Corrie ten Boom and her family.

The ten Boom’s got involved with the Dutch underground to help people escape from the Nazi’s. They built a secret room in their house – The Hiding Place – and hid Jews there when the Nazi’s came around for a search. The ten Boom’s were very Hiding Placesuccessful and saved the lives of many people. One day in 1944 they were betrayed.

Corrie was in bed when four Jewish refugees and two underground workers suddenly came into the room and began to squeeze themselves into the hiding place. The German soldiers did not happen to come up the stairs until after they were safely hidden. Corrie was ordered to go downstairs. She would say nothing to the German soldiers. (Later Corrie would find out that the refugees escaped detection and got away safely.)

Corrie, her father, Casper ten Boom, and her sister, Betsie, were all arrested. Casper ten Boom was old and ill and he died only a few days after imprisonment. Corrie and Betsie were in several prisons and eventually sent to the formidable Ravensbruck concentration camp. The guards there were very cruel. Corrie and Betsie witnessed the torture and deaths of some of the ninety-six thousand women who were put to death at just this one concentration camp.

ravensbruckThe sisters trusted God even in their violent surroundings. They started small Bible studies for the women and tried to comfort their fellow sufferers whenever they could. Their steadfast faith in God helped many of the other women try harder to survive.

Late in December 1944 Betsie grew so ill that the guards took her to the hospital on a stretcher. Corrie bent over to speak to her sister for the last time on this earth. Betsie encouraged Corrie, “We shall go everywhere telling people that there is no place on earth so dark that God’s love cannot shine into it. They will believe us, because we have been here in Ravensbruck.”

Betsie died shortly afterwards, only a few days before Christmas. Corrie was lonely, but she was also glad that Betsie would no longer be suffering the torture of the cruel guards.

Betsie had told Corrie that they would be free before the New Year. Amazingly she was correct, but not the way Corrie had thought. Betsie was with the Lord, free from pain. Corrie was released miraculously on December 31, 1944.

It seems that a clerical error of some sort had occurred and Corrie was discharged erroneously. Truly God had blessed her because only a week later women in Corrie’s age group were exterminated.

In the New Year, 1945 Corrie arrived home and tried to get back to her life. Her home had become a refuge for children. She taught them and other young people. She spoke at many meetings telling of her imprisonment and God’s goodness.

Soon the war was finally over and everyone in her town, Haarlem, was dancing for joy. Corrie was free now to do anything she wanted to do.

She felt that God was placing a special call on her. She wanted to fulfill hers and Betsie’s dream of telling others about God’s love. Corrie began to travel around the world preaching about God’s forgiveness and the need for reconciliation. She also built homes for concentration camp survivors. She built one at Bloemendaal, turning Betsie’s dream into a reality.

Corrie had a chance to put her own principles of forgiveness and reconciliation into action when she came face to face with one of her former guards from Ravensbruck.

In 1947, Corrie had been speaking at a church when a man came up to her to tell her that he had accepted Christ as his savior. He thanked Corrie for her message and said that he was grateful that his sins had been forgiven. He now extended his hand to Corrie and asked her for her forgiveness.

This man had been one of the especially wicked guards. Corrie and Betsie had been ordered to strip naked to be inspected by this man. There was no need for this practice other than to humiliate the women. Now as Corrie faced this man memories of that humiliation came back. Visions of the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of women’s clothes on the floor, and the pain on her gentle sister’s face came to her mind. Corrie was boiling inside.

Corrie stiffened her back. When the man extended his hand she kept her own hand at her side. How could she forgive this man after all of the cruel things he had done? But she prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive me and help me to forgive him.” Corrie tried to smile. She struggled to raise her hand but found it impossible. She prayed again for Jesus to help her. She remembered that Christ had died for this man too. How could she ask for more?

Finally she took his hand and later recounted, ” …the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

“I forgive you with all my heart,” she said to the man and she meant it.

Corrie moved to America in 1977. In 1978 she was paralyzed by a stroke. Corrie went to be with the Lord on April 15, 1983 on her 91st birthday. Truly Corrie ten Boom’s story is a wonderful example of Christian faith and forgiveness.

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