Amsterdam Station, Platform 2.
When I told my wife that I wanted to visit a museum during our honeymoon, she wasn’t impressed.
But near the end of a beautiful 30-hour layover in Amsterdam, we went to the very grandly designed central station, got Burger King while waiting on Platform 2, and then enjoyed a stunning train ride to Haarlem.
When we arrived, we looked for the Corrie ten Boomhuis (Corrie ten Boom’s family home) which is now a museum.
This story gives an idea of why Corrie ten Boom and her family have always been heroes to me.
In The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom writes of the time when her family had taken in a young Jewish mother and her baby. When the local pastor came calling, Corrie put him to the test:
“Would you be willing to take a Jewish mother and her baby into your home? They will almost certainly be arrested otherwise.”
Color drained from the man’s face. He took a step back from me. “Miss Ten Boom! I do hope you’re not involved with any of this illegal concealment and undercover business. It’s just not safe! Think of your father! And your sister—she’s never been strong!”
On impulse I told the pastor to wait and ran upstairs . . . I asked the mother’s permission to borrow the infant. . . . Back in the dining room I pulled back the coverlet from the baby’s face.
There was a long silence. The man bent forward, his hand in spite of himself reaching for the tiny fist curled round the blanket. For a moment I saw compassion and fear struggle in his face. Then he straightened. “No. Definitely not. We could lose our lives for that Jewish child!”
Unseen by either of us, Father had appeared in the doorway. “Give the child to me, Corrie,” he said.
Father held the baby close, his white beard brushing its cheek . . . At last he looked up at the pastor. “You say we could lose our lives for this child. I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family.”
—Answering the Call: Saving Innocent Lives One Woman at a Time, by John Ensor
Corrie ten Boom saved many Jews, and when she herself was imprisoned in concentration camps, she continued serving and helping the weak and those in danger, even though she was weak, and could have been killed at any time.
For me, the most touching part of visiting the ten Boom House was standing in the living room, where the tour guide explained the family’s heritage of prayer.
In 1844, a Messianic Jewish pastor approached Corrie ten Boom’s grandfather, Willem, and asked Willem to start a weekly prayer meeting for the Jewish people. It seemed odd because at that time, the nation of Israel did not exist and the Jews were scattered throughout the world.
—“Once in a Lifetime: A Visit to the Hiding Place”
Those prayer meetings continued for 100 years, until the family was arrested by the Nazis in 1944.
Their family prophetically prayed for Israel for generations, and at least 800 Jews were saved by their household.
And it started with a prayer meeting.