Belgium Signs

Here are some of the signs we saw in Belgium on our short visit.


Winkel in Time

For some reason these Dutch signs crack me up.  I don’t know why “winkel” is so hilarious, but it is to me.


Grote Kerk

A beautiful church called St. Bavo or “Grote Kerk” (Great Church) is in the Grote Markt of Haarlem near the ten Boom home.  

This Dutch Reformed Church is really beautiful.

Corrie shared these thoughts that she’d had about the church in her childhood, and about her love of music:

Best of all was when there were concerts at the cathedral, because a relative was sexton there.  Just inside his small private entrance a wooden bench ran along the wall.  Here we sat, our backs chilled by the ancient stone, our ears and hearts warmed by the music.

The great golden organ was one that Mozart had played, and some of its notes seemed to come from heaven itself.  Indeed, I was sure that heaven was like St. Bavo’s, and probably about the same size…heaven must be like this cold, dank, holy building, where smoke rose like incense from the foot warmers of the paying customers.  In heaven, I fervently believed, everybody had foot warmers.  Even in the summer the chill never left the marble grave slabs on the floor.  But when the organist touched the keys, we scarcely noticed–and when he played Bach, not at all.  — Corrie ten Boom The Hiding Place, pg. 43

I would love to have heard the organ, built by Christiaan Müller.   This website and this one have sound clips of it being played.  It dates from 1738 and was played by G. F. Handel in 1740 and 1750, and by 10-year-old Mozart in 1766.  I was amazed to imagine these two great composers in this very place!  And to imagine Corrie ten Boom and her family sitting here 200 years later, listening to some of the same great music.


One of the churches in Amsterdam–“Westerkerk“– was important for me to see because of its proximity to the Anne Frank House.  It was built between 1619-1631 as a Reformed church.

One of my favorite things about this church is the fact that is has a carillon (a musical instrument of bells) such as the one  that I played at the University of Kansas.  Anne Frank spoke often in her diary about the comfort of the bells from that tower, while her family was hiding there during World War II.

Anne also spoke of seeing the tower and clock from the attic of the annex they hid in.  I can see why this tower and its music and keeping of time would be such a comfort for them.  It’s extremely painful to me, to think that Anne was not able to walk out onto these streets, ride her bike, or have the freedom and happy life she should’ve had, which was taken from her by the Nazi occupation and Holocaust.  Next week I’ll share about our tour of the Anne Frank hiding home.

We were able to take a quick peek inside the church, and it’s beautiful!  But oh, how much I would love to play its carillon!  You can see an example in the video below — wait for it — you will see a live performance just like I was able to do when I lived near our World War II Carillon in Lawrence, Kansas.  Really special!

A Huge Difference

How much difference can a piece of paper make?  This is the theme of this great video from Compassion Australia.  After you watch the video, please read the notes I have posted below it–updates to the letter-writing process.

  • You can write your child by paper, on your computer, or on our great phone app–all you need to do is download the app and use your online username and password (if you don’t have one yet you can start your online account at
  • Letters are traveling much faster these days, as they are now being sent to and from partner countries electronically
  • Children are generally excited to see any of their friends receive a letter, but of course, are always hoping they will be one of the happy recipients
  • Letters often make the difference to bring a child out of the cycle of poverty, as they can build confidence and hope far beyond the money support
  • Don’t have a child to sponsor yet?  Check out these adorable kids  at