Inthe book of Matthew 28:19-20, the Bible defines a missionary as anindividual that devotes his or her life to gratifying the greatcommission of preaching the word of God, baptizing people, and makingdisciples1.Traditionally, missionaries reach out to people way beyond theirnative cultures, as conceptualized in the same chapter of Matthew,where it says: “Gotherefore and make disciples of all nations.”2For that reason, a missionary takes delight in disseminating the wordof God across all nations. This paper is a biography of Corrie TenBoom, one of the worlds’ most acknowledged missionaries celebratedfor her contributions in Christian faith formulation and faithfuldiscipleship in the mission. In this regard, this paper will discussCorrie Ten Boom’s motivation for the mission and the results ofher evangelistic commitment. Also, this paper will discuss why CorrieTen Boom’s mission was an immense success.
Bornin Amsterdam, Netherlands, on the 15thof April, 1892, Corrie Ten Boom was the second born of Casper TenBoom, and had three siblings: Betsie Ten Boom, Willem Ten Boom, andJohanna Amolda Ten Boom3.The family was proactive in social work in their home town ofHaarlem, Netherlands. When the occupation of Netherlands by the Nazibegan in World War II, Corrie and her family of ten became deeplyinvolved in the resistance efforts. Corrie Ten Boom, and her sisterBetsie, began to hide, cloth, and feed Jews who were escaping thewrath of the Nazi within their family home4.They were involved with the housing of Jewish men who were beingsought after by the Nazi for forced labor, and women and childrenthat were escaping the rage of the Nazi. Corrie was working incollaboration with underground resistance in Holland, where she usedto obtain books for the Jews she was hiding, while coordinating thehiding of others in the Dutch countryside. Corrie Ten Boom’sfamily’s work continued for more than eighteen months, bloominginto a center of a Nazi underground resistance that spread throughoutthe whole of Netherlands5.
Onthe 28thof February, 1944, the Ten Boom family were betrayed by some of thepeople that knew of their princely efforts. As a result, the GermanSecret State Police (Gestapo)raided their house on the same day. The whole family of ten wasarrested by the Gestapo,although those that were in hiding in Corrie’s tiny bedroom werenever found including four Jews and two underground workers. Intotal, 30 people were arrested in the raid, including resistanceworkers that entered the house during the raid6.After holding them captives in Scheveningen,a town close to The Hague, the Gestaporeleased all prisoners but three of the Ten Boom family members:Casper, Corrie, and her older sister Betsie. However, Casper died tendays after incarceration, following an acute prison-related sickness.The sisters remained in prison, until September 1944, after whichthey were transferred to the Ravensbrueckconcentration camp in Nazi Germany7.
Whilein prison, the sisters continued their mission by using theirsecretly concealed Bibles to conduct worship services for fellowconvicts of war. The worship services conducted by both sistersblossomed into a multi-denominational (French, Czech, and Polish)taste of God’s goodness. It is here that Betsie died in Decemberthe same year, leaving Corrie Ten Boom in prison alone8.Luckily, Corrie Ten Boom, alongside other prisoners of war, wasreleased in late December the same year. Corrie was released fromprison following a clerical error, after which she travelled toBerlin arriving on the 1stof January, 1945. From here, Corrie Ten Boom journeyed across Germanyby train, until she reached the Netherlands where she was exhilaratedto reunite with the surviving members of her cherished family. Corriewas lucky to have been released only one week before all the womenher age were heartlessly slayed in gas chambers in the concentrationcamps9.
Despitethe fact that Corrie began her missionary work while still in theNazi concentration camps, much of her missionary effort instatedafter she was released from prison. To say the least, Corrie’s actsof sacrifice and heroism became the sole motivation and drive for herinternational speaking and writing career. Besides talking about thecentral role her Christian faith played in the harsh times of war,Corrie Ten Boom was focused on demonstrating God’s message offorgiveness10.Corrie Ten Boom advocated for reconciliation as a means forovercoming the haunting scars left by the Netherlands’ occupationby the Nazi. At one of her many motivational engagements, Corrie TenBoom was reunited with one of the prison guards who played a centralrole in the death of Betsie. The prison guard asked Corrie forforgiveness, and to the astonishment of many people, Corrie Ten Boomforgave him for his cruel and horrible actions citing the fact thather strong faith in God gave her the power and the will to forgivethe guard. And it not just the guard Corrie Ten Boom had forgivenshe advocated for the forgiveness of everybody who at one time oranother, had wronged someone else.
Inaddition to forgiveness, Corrie Ten Boom also propagated religiousinformation about the good news on the returning of Jesus Christ. Inmost of her motivational speaking engagements, Corrie Ten Boom usedto ask her audience: “TheLord Jesus in coming again soon as he had promised. Are you ready forhis coming? Are you at peace with man and God?”11Per se, Corrie Ten Boom was asking nonbelievers to develop faith inGod’s coming by preparing themselves through creating peace withtheir fellow men and Him. By so doing, Corrie Ten Boom was focusingon illustrating the importance of embracing faith in God for therealization of His promise of living with Him in His heavenlydwelling. Therefore, Corrie Ten Boom was demonstrating that in orderto go to heaven, one had to cultivate faith and trust in God’spromise that he would come back and take only those that had faith inHim. Corrie Ten Boom was linking everlasting life to faith in God, amessage that was well received by millions of people that gave herears as she was travelling around the world propagating religiousinformation about the good news of the returning of Jesus Christ12.
Thethird aspect of the good news of the gospel that Corrie Ten Boompropagated everywhere she went was the vast amount of guaranteedwealth that Christians had in Jesus Christ. In her writings andspeeches, Corrie Ten Boom always queried why people were living likepaupers on earth, whereas they were children of the “Kingof Kings.”13She expounded her clarification of this important tenet of theChristian faith by illustrating the all-sufficiency of the JesusChrist and the importance of spiritual riches. Intrinsically, CorrieTen Boom was urging nonbelievers to have faith in the promises ofJesus Christ. She made clear, the fact that for a man to see theheavenly kingdom, he/she had to have some faith and trust in Him andHis religious teachings.
Basically,Corrie Ten Boom’s missionary work turned out to be fruitful becauseof these three important tenets of Christianity as a religion she wasso focused on teaching. It was a huge success because she engaged hermissionary work at a time when the human race was seeking for refugefrom the traumatic and horrific experiences of World War II. Bearingin mind that she was hiding and feeding disturbed Jews, her missionsucceeded because she gave them a renewed feeling of hope by urgingthem to develop faith in God14.She helped the Jews renew their hope in life by trusting in God. Byteaching forgiveness, Corrie Ten Boom was demonstrating God’sgoodness as a means of healing the scars of World War II. Bypropagating good news about the coming of Christ, Corrie contributedto the generation of faith in Him by making people change spirituallyin anticipation for his coming.
Also,Corrie Ten Boom contributed to the development of Christian faith bymaking clear, the spiritual riches promised by Jesus. Her mission wassuccessful because she provided spiritual refuge to thousands ofpeople that were fleeing the traumatizing invasion of Netherlands bythe Nazi who ultimately turned into faithful disciples ofChristianity. She demonstrated her Christian faith by revoltingagainst the Nazi through which she provided refuge to thousands ofJews. Corrie Ten Boom received numerous awards for her internationalspeaking and writing, including her recognition by the state ofIsrael specifically for her work in assisting Jews run away from thewrath of the Nazi invasion. Corrie Ten Boom died on the 15thof April, 1989, in California, United States. She is recognized asone of the most influential missionaries for her role in Christianfaith formation and faith discipleship in the mission15.
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1 "Who Are Christian Missionaries and What Do They Do?" CompellingTruth.org. 2016.
2"GotQuestions.org." GotQuestions.org. 2016.
3 "Corrie Ten Boom." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.org 2016.
5 "Her Mission | Corrie Ten Boom Online Archive | Corrie Ten Boom Information and Photos, Mission, Gospel, Holland. DallasBaptistUniversity.org 2014
7 Conroy-Krutz, Emily. "Missionaries and Colonies." Christian Imperialism Converting the World in the Early American Republic, 2015, 151.
9 "Corrie Ten Boom." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.org 2016
11 "Her Mission | Corrie Ten Boom Online Archive | Corrie Ten Boom Information and Photos, Mission, Gospel, Holland." DallasBaptistUniversity.org 2014
13 "Corrie Ten Boom." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.org 2016.
14 "Corrie Ten Boom." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.org 2016.
15 Conroy-Krutz, Emily. "Missionaries and Colonies." Christian Imperialism Converting the World in the Early American Republic, 2015, 156.