This Month's Letter

This Month's Letter

 

Dear Friend of Insight for Living:

A few weeks ago, Cynthia and I returned from the Insight for Living Ministries' cruise conference through the Norwegian fjords. While there, we were reminded of the last time we were in the area and of our never-to-be-forgotten tour of Corrie ten Boom's original home in beautiful Haarlem, Holland.

As we entered the Ten Boom watchmaker shop and explored their home, we discovered that the house had been carefully refurbished to appear as it did when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands during World War II. The most moving part was Corrie's upstairs bedroom, where a false wall concealed the Hiding Place, a secret area only two feet wide and eight feet long where the Ten Booms had hidden Jews and other refugees from the Nazis. The space was so small, and with only one potty, up to six people would have to stand for up to two and a half days until the guards were changed. In addition to protecting the people who took shelter there, Corrie served as a ringleader, locating a network of "safe houses" in the country where Jews could go after they were released from the Ten Boom home. She thus saved nearly eight hundred lives.

On a few occasions, Corrie attended our church in Fullerton, California. On one of those, I asked her to pray. She received a standing ovation that went on for several minutes as we recognized all that she and her family had been through. I thought of her losing her sister, Betsie, in the Ravensbrück Nazi death camp, an experience Corrie wrote about in her powerful memoir, The Hiding Place. While dying, Betsie said to Corrie, "We must tell people that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still."

Twelve days after Betsie died, Corrie was unexpectedly released from Ravensbrück. Betsie's words had triggered Corrie's purpose for the rest of her life. Having forgiven the guards who had beaten them, for almost forty years in country after country, Corrie told the world about the power of forgiveness—and even on one occasion had that opportunity face-to-face with one of those guards.

Corrie's family reminds me of Zygmunt Karel, who serves as Insight for Living Ministries' pastor in his homeland of Poland—another country the Nazis invaded. After the war, Poland struggled under the boot of Soviet Communism. One day when Zygmunt was 5 years old, two officers of the secret police came to his home to harass and interrogate his father, who was a Christian pastor. After violently slapping him in front of the whole family, the officers left, and Zygmunt's father had his family kneel and pray for the officers. This inspired in Zygmunt an attitude to pray for those who persecuted them. Later, with his father as his model, Zygmunt also became a pastor.

In the 1980s, as the curtain began to close on Communism in Poland, pastors received more intense interrogation. Monthly, Zygmunt and his wife, Maria, endured illegal questioning by the police. During one such interrogation that caused severe anxiety, Maria got so frustrated that she screamed, "Get out, and don't come back!" Having thrown them out, Zygmunt and Maria faced the possibility of prison. They committed the situation to God, and the Lord protected them during the entire next two years when Communism finally fell in Poland.

Not long afterward, Zygmunt and Maria accepted the invitation by Dr. Mark Young, a former member of the Insight for Living Ministries Board of Directors and the current president of Denver Seminary, to help launch the Insight for Living broadcast in Poland. "Now our dream," Zygmunt says, "is to widen our broadcast to the national secular radio station—expanding our listeners from thousands to millions."

Zygmunt and Maria's passion—as well as Corrie and Betsie's—comes from Jesus's final words:

Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
—Matthew 28:19–20

For thirty-five years, our passion at Insight for Living Ministries has been to make disciples of all nations. It's a calling we take very seriously . . . and one that we can't do apart from your prayer support and, equally important, your financial assistance. We are very dependent on your gifts and those of others like you. We have no other place to turn. Will you pray now about what God is leading you to send to Insight for Living Ministries today?

Your generous donation this month is essential! Think of it this way: your financial gifts make you a partner with us in offering forgiveness to others. Corrie could not have gone around the world telling others about the power of forgiveness had it not been for the committed financial support of her friends back home. Zygmunt was empowered by his father's prayer to forgive the officers who had severely slapped him, and your donations will enable Zygmunt to deliver that message of forgiveness to his entire country. That's an impact you can make year-round when you give regularly. Your committed monthly donations will make a major difference to many more around the world who need to hear God's powerful message of forgiveness.

Participating with you in spreading this message,

Charles R. Swindoll