A Holocaust Survivor Rescues Persecuted Christians

ChristiansSyriaHere’s a heart-warming story of a holocaust survivor who has set up a fund to rescue the persecuted Christians in Syria who are facing terrible persecution.

Charles Krauthammer writes about this amazing man in an article in National Review.

“The consequences for Christians [in the Middle East] are terrible — enslavement, exile, torture, massacre, crucifixion.” — Charles Krauthammer

But a man, who himself was taken in by Christians in 1938, has stepped up to try to help. Here’s the story.

 

 

Beauty for Your Day (or Night)

{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.}

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

~ Psalm 19

Here is Haydn’s setting for the opening verses, and the words they are singing.

The Heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament.

Today that is coming speaks it the day,
The night that is gone to following night.
The Heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament.

In all the lands resounds the word,
Never unperceived, ever understood.
The Heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament.

“Thus far the LORD has Helped Us”

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” I Samuel 7:12

These are beautiful words from the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament.  Whether people lived thousands of years ago or today, our human needs are the same. The guiding and preserving hand of the LORD in our lives is essential, and what a joy to have an Ebenezer in our own lives, marking the fact that “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

mygarden“I was about to fall,” David wrote in the Psalms, “but the LORD helped me.”  We were despairing, and God lifted up our heads. In the midst of so much ugliness, God has set a table before us in the presence of our enemies and has given us beauty for ashes. His love has rained on us through the love of others so many times in the last few years. His hand, even when it didn’t seem to be there, has continually led us and continues to lead. We are grateful for that kindly light in the gloom of this world.

When we live by faith, God takes the broken glass of our lives and builds a stained glass window, a unique mosaic built from all the shattered pieces. The glass is illuminated by the Light of his presence, and no earthly hand can make such a design.

Our family has seen and experienced the mercies of the Lord and help in time of need.  This spring and summer have been times of change for us, and these changes are a blessing. I have never been busier, working as a producer for a national radio show, having the privilege of scheduling excellent guests and news makers and assisting an able and experienced radio host. I haven’t enjoyed myself this much in a long time! (Meeting up with my old publicist friends has been fun. One said, “Ingrid, we worked together for 20 years. Welcome back!)

We are settling into our new home. Last weekend, I spent four hours sorting and putting all my books on the various bookshelves. It isn’t home until I have Spurgeon and B.B. Warfield on the shelves. I also unpacked a little mini-library of light novels from the early 20’s and 30’s that I have saved for our little daughter, Emily. These gems are disappearing from library shelves as the new books come in, and some authors can’t even be found anymore, sadly. But I have a small trove of treasures for Emily if she loves to read like I did when I was a girl. I also have two shelves of classic literature that spans childhood, so our daughter will have a rainy day library of the best books for children.

These are the best and worst of times. The best part of these times is that we can vividly watch the spiritual battle underway that Holy Scripture clearly describes. God’s Word is being proved true again and again in every headline you read. There is no neutrality in these times, no middle ground between good and evil, between life and death. Life and family are cheap in this world that rejects God and His goodness. But we have a glorious hope for a future where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and where we will know joy forever more. In the mean time, as the poet put it, “God stands within the shadows, keeping watch over his own.”

A Little Fiesta

Our youngest turned six years old yesterday. Emily had the “fiesta” she requested with a taco feast. We are thankful for all the smiles and hugs and laughter this little surprise daughter has brought our family, and thankful that God preserved her life and mine six years ago. Her two little nephews, Peter and Max, were there with our son Sam, his wife Laura, brother Jonathan, sister Mary and Aunt Kris to celebrate with pink cupcakes. A good time was had by all. <3

One of the traits I so love in Emily is her interest and love for other people. She sees a neighbor’s car pull up the street and runs to meet them. “I have to say hello to them!”

We met one of our neighbors through Emily’s friendliness.  We had been on a ‘wave only’ basis with the people for years when this summer, Emily went over and introduced herself and met the family dog. We began chatting out in the yard. “Why didn’t we do this before,” I wondered. We sometimes assume people aren’t interested in meeting us. Emily doesn’t have any such qualms, and I am glad. She brings sunshine and concern to those she meets. You really can learn a lot from children sometimes. A friend from afar sent her a doll with a bathtub and a fully packed doll diaper bag. She is hauling it all out this morning and requesting a doll bathing session for her new friend with fully washable hair. Fun ahead!

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Ride of a Lifetime

Tom received a birthday gift he’ll never forget. In June, he got a call saying that he was the recipient of a flight on a P51 Mustang. Tom’s had a long time interest in aviation from WWII and has visited the Imperial War Museum in London and the air field at Duxford. For him, getting a ride in a Mustang was a dream come true. Here’s my “Top Gun” getting the ride of his life! He said afterwards that it was such a privilege to ride in the cockpit of a plane that had such a big role in preserving our freedoms. He couldn’t have been flying in a better machine! He had a photo of his dad, Bill Schlueter, with him. Bill also loved aviation and was a frequent attendee at air shows. Bill also built intricate models, from scratch, as a hobby. They were little works of art.

 

P51

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One More Walk

walking“We need to take a last walk here before we leave,” Emmy said this morning. We’ve sold our current house, and the moving truck will be here in a few days to move our things to the new place.

It will be bittersweet walking with my little daughter on our old route one last time. We know about every tree and yard and house along the way from memory. Emily has grown up on that route, having accompanied me on the walk before she was even born. Then it was in the stroller, then running and playing the route as a preschooler, then a kindergartner and now, nearly a first grader on the brink of her sixth birthday.

I’ve watched the sunshine in her brown hair that has the gold highlights, seen her limbs get longer and longer and lose their chubbiness. I’ve listened to her questions about the world and God and flowers and birds along that route. Walks are great conversation times with children. You have the privilege of introducing them to the larger world. Those are precious memories to me that are locked away in the bank vault that all mothers have in their hearts.

We tentatively walked near our new house the other day. It will take a while to feel like it’s home. The houses and yards are unfamiliar, and there aren’t sidewalks like there are in our old neighborhood. There is the paved trail to the south of our house where people bike and walk. We’re going to have to explore that. Along the avenue before you turn into our new subdivision there is sidewalk that runs north for quite a ways. The nature preserve to the west of the avenue makes it feel like you are suddenly in the country. I liked that a lot when I drove past.

I met a walking neighbor in her late 70’s. She walks five miles a day. We have met several neighbors who are original home builders/owners in the neighborhood and had a wonderful chat with several the other evening after they approached us while we were working in our yard. New friends are already being made.

I was in the back by my flowers inside my picket fence the other evening when I suddenly heard a high piping voice of a child calling out in excitement.

“Grammy, Grammy!”

It was little Peter, my grandson, and his baby brother Max standing on the other side of my gate, waiting to be let in. Grammy and Grandpa’s new yard.

New adventures are calling, and there are new memories to be made!

“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment in life.” ~ Unknown

P.S. Tom’s friend who has a big garden came over the other night and told us what we had in our new flower garden and front mound. The previous owner was an avid gardener who clearly knew much about flowers and bushes. He made suggestions about what to pull and what to leave, and with my sister-in-law and her husband’s help this week, the place looks wonderful. They removed some of the dying plants that had been neglected too long and did some pruning back of bushes and roses. Tom, Kris and Mike cut back the beautiful magnolia tree in the front so the light comes into the front of the house now. It’s all coming along, one step at a time.

Inside the Gate – Garden Notes

As work on the new house proceeds, occasional breaks are called for. Our yard is in two parts, gatea large stretch on the outside of the white picket fence, and the other, smaller part inside. The inside part with the flowers is my new sanctuary. I sat there the other night thinking how much work the previous owner, an older lady who passed away, had gone to to make such a beautiful place. It gives me pleasure to think I will take good care of it for her.

Emily and I were sitting on the patio in late afternoon when a little chipmunk came running under the fence with something in his mouth. He stopped and looked around sharply and seemed satisfied that all was well in his garden. He went under some low hanging leaves in the border and was scurrying around there for a while. He peeped out at us several times, his cheeks still bulging. We sat quietly and just watched him. We had invaded his space, but we wanted him to know we were friends.

A robin flew down from the towering pine tree in the neighbor’s yard and landed on the fence. There are baby birds in the birdhouse on the outside of the fence. Yellow finches dart around the flowers and back out again, a bright flash of color.

The beds are getting choked with weeds, and thistles are springing up all over. Outside in the front part of the yard there is a large mound with roses and peony bushes, and the thistles are taking over. I’m leaving shortly to get a start on the weeds. They have a way of taking over if not addressed promptly.Just like in human souls and minds, it occurs to me.

So many thoughts run through my mind walking around and looking at the new yard. Tom is taking a tree down in the front that effectively hides the front of the house. He has plans. Last night we were looking at things at the garden center, and he told me what he wants to do. It is going to look lovely when he’s done.

Tom bought me a fat little cherub for my new garden. Emily was concerned that the baby angel might be lonely after dark outside all by herself. I assured her that the little chipmunks and other small creatures would make sure the cherub would have company.

Cherub

I hope to get a bird bath this week for the birds seem to want one as they fly over and stop on the top of my fence. They’ll hopefully soon have one, so they know that friends, big and small, are welcome in our little sanctuary.

Gardens are a lot of work. Tom is mildly amused at my zeal, but pleased at my new interest. He bought me garden gloves and a wide-brimmed hat for the sun. I’ll be the goofy garden lady with the straw hat in our new neighborhood.

One other blessing occurred yesterday that I am hugging to myself this morning. Emmy was zooming around our driveway on her pink scooter at the new house, and I was emptying our van out with some boxes, when I heard a voice. A neighbor couple on bikes were at the end of the driveway. With them was a little girl the very same age as Emily on her bike. We had a really nice introduction and conversation. They have already invited Emily over to play and to go raspberry picking with them. There are no words to describe what this means to me, as Emily has had a shortage (as in none) of neighborhood friends, siblings or cousins her age that she can play with on a regular basis. She is always alone. The mom explained that her daughter is in the same situation with only older siblings and no sisters. It sounds promising.

I’m headed off shortly to do battle with the thistles. The ornery things think they’re boss or something. My birds and the little cherub await, just beyond the fence, inside the gate.

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A Little Thunder from Will and Widor

This clip is the finale of Will’s concert last week. He said to his dad the other night, “I just love the organ.” You can’t give a passion to a son or daughter. It’s either in them, or it isn’t. The variety of talents God gives children is astonishing. When they develop those gifts, whatever they may be, they point back to the Creator.

An Anniversary Photo

We’re in the throes of moving, with one house on the market while another is being readied for move-in. It’s that stage when chaos reigns! Lord willing, we will be past this stage soon. In the midst of the move, Tom and I took an evening off on the 30th to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We tried out a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, and we enjoyed it greatly.

As we pack up our home of nine years, so many memories come to mind. This is where children left home, with the last son off to college again in the fall. This is where we brought our delightful surprise baby, Emmy, home almost six years ago. Birthday parties, anniversary parties and so many celebrations took place here. This is where Will got his start practicing the organ in the basement and he and his dad have filled the walls with music. Much joy, some sadness, but lots of love.

It isn’t the walls that make a home. It’s the people who make it a joyful or tragic place. Tom has given all of us a beautiful life, and together, Tom and I are a team . we give full credit to God’s grace for carrying us through.

Every home is temporary on this planet, including the home we have in our bodies. Our souls are forever. Packing up things for Goodwill or give-away, I was thinking again of how yesterday’s happy purchase is today’s discard as we outgrow and no longer need things. Our heavenly home is forever, where nothing will fade, and nobody will age, and where all sadness will be wiped away forever. Thanks be to God for his gift of Jesus Christ through whom we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.

Now, back to packing!

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