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Dinner was over and the clean up underway. Having guests for dinner was a very commonplace occurrence in the Lowell household on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. But on this night our four children quickly recognized that this was no ordinary visitor.
She insisted the kids call her "Tante" (Auntie) Corrie. After excusing herself to the living room, she sat in an old wooden rocker, opened a large purse, and pulled out a purple piece of cloth. Corrie ten Boom invited the children to sit at her feet and proceeded to talk about life--her life--and the challenges she and her family faced during World War II in her German-occupied town of Haarlem in the Netherlands.
As she spoke, she slowly unfolded the purple cloth in her hands and revealed hundreds of strings tied in knots pulled through the cloth. It all looked so random. She showed the children how the strings didn't seem to make sense from where they sat at her feet on the floor of the living room. "That's the whole point," she exclaimed. She said it was because of our limited vision, our limited perspective of what God is doing in our lives, that we question Him. At that point Tante Corrie slowly turned the purple tangled mess around to reveal a beautiful tapestry: a crown of gold with multi-colored jewels. "This," she said, "is what God sees ... from His perspective ... a masterpiece!"
During a visit to Bonaire in 1973, Corrie ten Boom shared this now-famous illustration of God's sovereignty. She had begun broadcasting radio messages in her native Dutch language to the Netherlands over Trans World Radio in 1966. Now, broadcasts had also been added to the Dutch-speaking Antilles islands from our station on Bonaire, and she wanted to see the station first-hand.
Fast forward, for a moment, to a cool, overcast midsummer day in 1996--thirteen years after Corrie's death. One of our staff members from the United States was visiting Trans World Radio's office in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, when another, quite dramatic, introduction took place. As this guest was handed a book of Corrie ten Boom's radio messages published in Dutch by TWR-Netherlands and saw a stack of Corrie's typewritten radio scripts in a corner of the office there, the realization hit that no English-speaking person had ever had the benefit of hearing or reading these messages penned by a true giant of the Christian faith.
Thus began the odyssey that led to the publishing of Reflections of God's Glory, a collection of twenty-four radio messages Corrie aired in Dutch over Trans World Radio beginning three decades ago, never before translated into English.
Yet, the story of Corrie ten Boom goes back much further than either Voorthuizen or Bonaire. It was on February 28, 1944, that the lives of the Ten Boom family of Haarlem changed forever. On that day, Corrie, her father, her older sister, and thirty-five other people were arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp for not disclosing the whereabouts of six Jews hidden in a secret room attached to her bedroom. Corrie, the daughter of a watchmaker, and her devoutly Christian family dedicated much of their efforts toward shielding Jews from Nazi persecution during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. They were imprisoned and subjected to the atrocities of the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where Corrie's father and sister, Betsie, died. Corrie was inexplicably released after ten months of incarceration. She later found out that an order had been given at the end of the very week of her release to kill all women her age and older. God had used an error in prison paperwork as the catalyst to release her.
Corrie's unlikely voice arose from the ashes of post-World War II Europe, proclaiming the transforming message of God's love and forgiveness over the airwaves of Trans World Radio, an international Christian broadcasting ministry founded in the United States in 1952. She is most closely identified with her best-selling book The Hiding Place, which was later made into a full-length movie, and she gained worldwide acclaim as a Christian writer and speaker for her deep yet practical spiritual insights gleaned from her life experiences. At the time of her death in 1983, Corrie had written nine books, spoken in more than sixty countries, and produced five films.
Twenty-two years after her release from Ravensbrück, Corrie had the rare privilege of beginning a ministry of broadcasting the Good News of God's redeeming love via a powerful transmitting site in Monte Carlo utilized by Trans World Radio. Ironically, the Monte Carlo station was originally built by Adolph Hitler for his Nazi propaganda machine, but never used for his sinister purposes. Instead, God used it as an open door for Corrie to proclaim to millions worldwide her story of how God's grace sustained her during her deepest hours of despair and how He empowered her to forgive those responsible for the deaths of her father and sister.
Later, the broadcast followed from TWR-Bonaire as well as from TWR-Swaziland in Africa. Her messages were also copied onto cassettes and put into print. In addition to her popular radio talks, the text of The Hiding Place was broadcast over TWR-Monte Carlo and TWR-Bonaire.
Throughout the years since the initial broadcast in 1954 from Tangier, Morocco, and its first program from Monte Carlo in 1960, TWR has been blessed with missions-minded broadcasters such as Corrie ten Boom. Today, more than 250 cooperating broadcasters worldwide air their programs via TWR.
Utilizing forty transmitters from twelve primary sites and by satellite to three continents, TWR broadcasts more than 1, 200 hours of gospel programs each week in over 140 languages. Each year more than 1.4 million letters are received from listeners in over 160 countries.