Date: Sabbath, July 12, 2014
Time: 8:35 pm local time (2:35 pm EST)
Place: Leiden, the Netherlands
I’m very overjoyed to let you know that I’m caught up with my blogging. I’m writing today’s post today. How cool is that?!
We started our day quite late today—it was almost 10 o’clock by the time we left our hotel this morning. We walked for about 20 minutes until we got to a place called De Brucht, which was an old fortress. It was fairly private and had steps to sit on, so it was a great place for us to have church, which was put on by Sharon, both Laughlins, and Kathy. I was pulled in to help teach/line out a song. They wanted to sing “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” but no one knew it. We did managed to get a good chunk to sing it though, and I was very glad of that.
Kathy talked for a while, asking us to look at the characteristics and ideas that we’ve been learning about this month. Specifically the idea of all the enemies. Religious enemies, political enemies—no one was free of enemies it seemed. One innocent Hungarian after World War II was called in for questioning. “Who are your enemies?” he was asked. “I don’t have any enemies,” he replied. “No enemies?” demanded the incredulous guard, “How can you have no enemies?” Then she compared it to what Jesus tells us to do to and for our enemies. We are instructed to pray for them and love them.
Dr. Wohlers walked us into the oldest parts of Leiden after church, where we got to see a church where John Robinson, one of the Puritans, was buried at 49 years. He also showed us the alms house where they lived. Then we took the train a few stops (about 30 minutes or so) to Haarlem.
We got off the train and walked for 15 minutes or so until we found the blue awning with Ten Boom Juweliers written on it. We were finally on Barteljorisstraat! I’ve wanted to come here for most of my life! It was still too early go get into the museum, so we walked through the market square and entered St. Baavo’s church where we got to see the King of all Organs (which is already the king of the instruments). It’s a beautiful, extremely tall and ornate structure, with red wood and gold leaf. Simply gorgeous.
We were given some time to find food and were told to get back to the Beje (ten Boom house) by quarter of one. I managed to get myself separated from everyone else in the group, so I walked around, thinking I knew how to get back (it was only a couple of blocks), but about 12 minutes later I had to go into a shop and ask for directions. It turns out I went the wrong direction out of the market square. But I made it in time.
We entered the Beje and were ushered up to the second floor (Tante Jans’ rooms) and told to sit in her sitting room. There our guide told us their story and showed us pictures of the family. At one point she gave us a chance to stretch our legs, and Dr. Laughlin spied a copy of the words to “You are my hiding place.” I played their piano, and our group sang it. What a perfect song to sing in that place.
We were able to go up to Corrie’s room and see the hidden room. The opening is in the closet, behind the bottom shelf. There is enough standing room behind the wall for eight people, but it would be very tight. There is exactly enough room for them to stand in a line, no movement, no sitting, and no bathroom facilities.
They have removed part of the wall to the hidden room, so I climbed in that way and have my picture taken in the room. I didn’t want to smile, since it’s not a happy room, but it was a place of safety.
Our tour ended in the dining room where every morning and evening Father ten Boom read from the Bible to his family. The family motto, Jesus is Overwinnaar (Jesus is Victorious) is embroidered on a sampler and hanging on the wall. Corrie made another piece of embroidery, which is displayed backward at the beginning of the tour. You see a mess of tangled threads. Then this poem is read:
My life is but a weaving
At this point the sampler is turned over, showing a brilliant crown, revealing God’s ultimate plan for His children.
After the ten Boom house we were released and allowed to go back to the hotel if we wished. Dr. Wohlers had found us an organ concert, though, and both Laughlins, Kathy, Chris Dant, and I went to it. It was all late Romantic/early 20th century French organ works, so not exactly my favorite repertoire, but such a blessing on this Sabbath. The music was simply beautiful and it allowed me to retreat into my thoughts and experience a blessing.
After the concert I got permission to go up into the organ loft to look at the console. When I got up there, there were two organists up there (neither one had played in the concert), and they seemed slightly annoyed that I was there. I was polite and friendly, and they let me look (not play) at the console for a few minutes. Then the male organist walked me down. As we walked down the stairs I dropped the name John Brombaugh (who built the organ) and described the five organs on campus. He was thrilled and said he would look them up. He also said (I think) that he is the organist at the Adventist church in town, which is really quite amazing! It’s a small, small world!
I’m back at the hotel right now, and am trying to stay awake long enough so I can sleep tonight.
Love to all, and I miss you! I’ll be home Tuesday evening!
Date: Sabbath, July 12, 2014 (for Thursday, July 10, 2014)
Time: 7:43 pm local time (1:43 pm EST)
Place: Leiden, the Netherlands
We left Paris by about 8:30 on Thursday morning, heading for our hotel in Leiden. It was about a 3 hour train ride, going through many recognizable cities in both Belgium and the Netherlands. I spent most of the time on the train writing the blogs that you’ve been enjoying over the past few days.
We arrived a little before noon and were able to check into our rooms at the Hotel Mayflower. We were given time to go get food, and so I went down to the McDonalds which is about two doors down from the hotel.
Later in the afternoon we walked a little ways and arrived at the Windmill Museum. I was kind of dreading that it would be a big museum all about the history of windmills but it wasn’t. They showed us a video that was a few minutes long, then we were free to explore the building. I even climbed most of the way to the top. I knew that the building was secure and strong, but I got nervous because it looked and felt a lot like our Campmeeting cabin. But I survived.
Dr. Wohlers then took us to a stairway by a museum, where we sat down for a while and heard a lecture about the Netherlands, which was quite well done and I enjoyed it a lot.
For a long time the Netherlands really just weren’t important, though they fell under the rule of one of the most powerful people in Europe: the Duke of Burgundy, who, at one point, was more powerful than the king of France. The Hapsburg family arranged to have their son Maximillian marry in to that part of European royalty.
Maximillian and his wife Mary had a son named Philip the Handsome, and then his son, Charles V got to rule all the Hapsburg lands and became the Holy Roman Emperor. He later retired and split the kingdoms: his son got Spain and her colonies, with his nephew getting the title of Holy Roman Emperor.
The Netherlands were content under the Hapsburgs until about the 17th century, when they decided that they wanted to have their own rights. The Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648 with the treaty of Westphalia, which made the Netherlands its own, independent country.
It is ruled by the House of Orange, which, at one point, was run by William and Mary, who were also asked to come and be the king and queen of England, though when this happened the two countries did not merge.
The Netherlands is connected to the Ocean, and so they made a lot of their fortune as seafarers and traders. They colonized and ruled in South Africa (Dutch and the native language of South Africa, Afrikaans, are closely related), and in Indonesia, forming the East India Company.
They became very good bankers and were involved in finance all around the world, and still are. They are not very industrial, but are quite agricultural, growing many of the world’s flowers.
They were neutral during the First World War, but they were invaded during the Second. Queen Wilhelmina got on the radio one night and said that the pact with German would keep them from being invaded, but the next day it was invaded. She took her government in exile to England where she continued to help her people.
Leiden was the home of the Puritans (Pilgrims) between the time they were kicked out of England and when they decided to go to the New World. The Netherlands has a reputation of being very accepting, so they fit in very nicely. They also had Anabaptist roots, which say that the church shouldn’t be based on a creed, but on the belief and understanding of its members, and that only adults should be members of the church. There should be a conscious decision to be a Christian, not just being baptized into the Church.
Dr. Wohlers released those of us who didn’t want to go with him to our next destination, and most of the group stayed home. Those of us who went with him, however, got to go see a very nice art museum called Mauritshuis (Maurit’s House) in The Hague (Den Haag). It is a 17th or 18th century house which was donated to the country and turned into a nice art museum. Featured in the museum are works by artists from the Low Countries (Belgium, Flanders, the Netherlands, etc.). I got to see wonderful paintings by Rubens, van Dyck, van Goyen, Rembrandt, and Vermeer (along with many, many others). It was not very crowded, so it was a nice place to go for an afternoon.
On the way back to the hotel Kathy and I stopped and ordered a pizza from Dominos. It was quite yummy!
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.
Robby Raney IV