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!
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.