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Wandering tramp for the Lord

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GENTLE BREEZE

By NELLY FAVIS VILLAFUERTE           

Nelly Favis Villafuerte

Nelly Favis Villafuerte

Corrie Ten Boom.  She died a few years ago but in the hearts of many people of various  nations, Corrie’s memory is still alive.  People have not forgotten her experiences as a survivor of the notorious Ravens bruck women concentration camp in Germany during World War II.  Corrie narrated her story in her bestseller book entitled The Hiding Place.  Other people also remember Corrie as the middle-aged Dutch watchmaker who has earned a place in Christian history as the self-styled “tramp for the Lord,” sharing Jesus Christ in more than 60 countries in all continents for the next four decades of her life.

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            A  wandering tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom slept in more than a thousand beds, sometimes on straw mats on dirt floors.  From her fifth to the ninth decade of her life, she had been climbing over  mountains of building materials, walking through junk to reach a tiny outhouse, going up to the tenth floor of a row apartment without the facility of an elevator – all these Corrie did to reach out to a soul and introduce Jesus Christ.

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            Corrie’s life verse and her source of strength as a wandering tramp for the Lord is Psalm 32:8 which says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”  In Corrie’s own word, obedience to the Lord never says, “Yes, but . . .” Rather it always says, “Yes Lord.”

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            Corrie Ten Boom’s remarkable life experiences as the wandering “tramp for the Lord” are found in her book that bears this title.  Over 250,000 hardbook copies of this bestselling book have been printed.  Corrie’s story as an evangelist or as a tramp for the Lord, as she describes herself, is a living testimony that miracles do happen.  Let me cite two of her experiences.

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            One time Corrie visited a missionary couple in a primitive area in Africa.  This couple had very little of this world’s material goods but were rich in God’s grace.  They lived in a tiny shack with six children, the youngest being just a few months old.  The missionary’s wife told Corrie that she rebelled against God when she was pregnant with her 6th child.  She complained to God that 5 children was enough.  When it was time for her to deliver, there were no doctors nearby.  So the whole family drove in a car to a mission hospital in another town and stayed there until the baby was born – since nobody was around to take care of the other five children in their tiny shack.  When the whole family returned to their tiny shack, the dreaded African Mau Mau had murdered evry white person in the area.  The missionary’s wife hugging her little baby to her breast and with tears flowing down her face told Corrie,  “This little darling was sent by God to save our lives.  Never again shall I rebel against His ways for our lives.”

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            Corrie was preaching in a church in Munich – in a basement room.  It was in 1947 after the defeat of Germany in World War II.  The solemn-looking Germans heard Corrie’s simple message:  God forgives.  After the service, Corrie saw a familiar face in front of her, with his hand thrust out.  Corrie’s recollection was still fresh – one of the most cruel guards of the Ravenbruck concentration camp where Betsie, her elder sister died is now face-to-face with her.

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            Corrie’s blood seemed to freeze and unpleasant memories of her prison days came back.  The man did not remember, though.  He said, “A fine message, Fraulein!  How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!  You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk.  I was a guard there.  But since that time, I have become a Christian.  I know that God had forgiven me for the cruel things that I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein!” – Again the hand came out – “Will you forgive me?”

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            Corrie, by her own account, said that those seconds the man stood before her, hand held out, seemed hours as she wrestled with the most difficult thing she had ever done.  She prayed and the impossible happened.  The former prisoner and the former guard grasped each other’s hands.  Corrie cried, “I forgive you with all my heart.”

            Romans 5:5 came alive . . . “We feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.

Be joyful and forgiving!

(Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com.)

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