Even though I was very young, the talk about World War II was very frightening to me. My parents talked of the persecution of the Jewish people, and others that were Christians.
I had heard my mother say that the Germans recorded conversations and if they heard anyone praying, or talking about God, they were carried off to a concentration camp where they were persecuted, starved, and dying.
My father read each piece of news from the newspaper. I was just sure that we would end up in a concentration camp also.
Each night when I went to bed, my mother would remind me to say my prayers, and pray for these people.
Well, I did, but no one was going to record me and carry me off if I could help it.
I searched under my pillow, through my dresser, and searched the ceiling, and then, I put my head under a huge pillow, poured out my childish prayers to God.
I will never forget the rejoicing in the streets of our little town, when we got the news that the war was over.
Our little school had a drive for clothing for the people that had survived the concentration camps. My parents didnít have a lot, but Dad sent a suit that was a little tight, and clothing I had outgrown. No matter how poor people were, they seemed to band together to help the survivors.
My mother had put our name and address in a pocket in Dadís suit, and we were surprised with a letter from a lady in Holland, Eva Schwartz, thanking us for the suit, and asking if there was any way we could send a jar of Nescafe coffee for her husband. He had T.B. and was very weak. They had been in a concentration camp, and they had an eight year old boy named Bonnie.
They were unable to buy any coffee as the store shelves were nearly empty. We managed to send the coffee, and some of our home grown popcorn, as she was keeping several parentless children.
We corresponded with her numerous times, and their son, Bonnie, drew pictures for us. I wrote to her too, and she wrote and asked if I would correspond with a young man, Karl Fontein, who was a friend of theirs, and was trying to learn English. She thought I could help him learn more if I would correct his English in the letters. We corresponded for a time, but lost contact.
Many years passed, yet I kept some of the letters. I was married to my husband in 1949. We talked about my writing to Eva, Karel and Bonnie. I was always so curious as to what had happened to them.
In 2001, we decided to take a trip to the Netherlands, and I had learned where both Karel and Bonnie were, and contacted them.
When we arrived at our hotel in Amsterdam, there was a beautiful box of candy waiting for us. Bonnnie came to pick us up and take us to his home. We soon learned that Bonnie was not the forgiving person that his mother was. His experience had left deep scars, and we were unable to turn his thoughts to the loving God who had brought them out of the concentration camp;. His wife seemed interested, but he was not.
Still, they were very kind to us and took us on a picnic the next day. We boated down a canal and climbed the bank to eat a lovely lunch together.
My heart ached for the circumstance that had made him become bitter instead of better.
We met Karl at his town, and had a good visit, but found him to be as resentful as Bonnie.
To this day, I pray for them , but they did not want contact because of our Christian standards.
These people refuse to accept the peace that God can give them, in spite of all they went through. That is the tragedy of war.
God offers His love and peace to all who will receive Him. Oh, how I pray that these people will find peace before it is too late.
Eva, was no longer living, but somehow, deep in my heart, I feel that she had a relationship with God that had sustained her through trials. We are people of choice. If we should go through persecution, will it make us bitter, or better? With our Saviorís help, we can become better.
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