Gramma Jama | Corrie’s Work With Youth

gramma-jamma-party“Gramma Jama” parties… a great way to make lasting memories with your family!

Did you know Corrie ten Boom spent many years organizing Boys and Girls Clubs, even clubs for young servicemen and women, during the worst days of World War 2?

Here was a single woman who gave much of her time and herself, encouraging and teaching young people in her hometown—Haarlem, Holland.

What an extraordinary person she was, who always surrounded herself with loving family and friends, making wonderful memories that, as she later said, “would hold us like an anchor in the storm when the time came for us to walk into hell itself!”

I believe it’s why Corrie ten Boom maintained a giving and joyful spirit, even as the Nazis took over her homeland, and she and her family were arrested for hiding 800 Jewish people who were being hunted for extermination then.  You wonder, could that happen again?  Could a powerful political force take over the lives of so many others like that again?

Corrie ten Boom never married, and never had children of her own, yet she took time to make memories for, and speak into the lives of many of them then, during the most important years of their lives and one of the scariest times in world history for people of any age.

Honestly, many of the memories I had made, raising my three children (having spent many of those years on the road performing and thinking I was affording a better life for us), were that I had not really been at home enough to make the most important impact on their lives.  Years later, coming to faith in Jesus Christ, it became a priority for me to be near my children, if they would want that now, and especially to get to know their children.  I wanted to make new memories that might carry me and any of them through the years ahead.  Maybe even through events like Corrie and her family had endured, if it ever came to that!

So here’s an idea, for those who have young people to love, that you want to impact positively:

“Gramma Suzna” (that’s what the first of many grandchildren had called me) was having trouble finding time to keep up with all of them.  Being a modern grandmother—working full-time with my business-owner husband; a busy writing schedule of my own, managing our home, and a seeming million other details needing attention—it seemed impossible to coordinate with other family members’ schedules!

But, I know now, more than ever, good family memories are SO very important!  Children grow up way too fast, and they’re gone.  So, years ago “Gramma Suzna” had to come up with a plan, while the children were smaller, not so mobile themselves, and still interested in what “Gramma” was about.

“YESSSSS! I know what I’ll do,” I thought.  “How about planning a wonderful time for ALL the grandchildren to come to the house and take part in a special day together… no, TWO days!”  Sisters, brothers and cousins all together for an overnight stay… what used to be called a pajama party.

“Yes, that’s IT!” We would call it a GRAMMA JAMA party, and make some memories together!  After all, how hard could it be to bring four, six… oh dear… how many of these little people could I handle by myself!?  What would Corrie do?

If you’re thinking to throw your own “Gramma Jama” parties, here’s how it went for me:

Now, let’s see… First, we need to coordinate everyone’s schedules for a specific weekend, and send out invitations to each child (in care of their parents, of course).   How about they come on a Friday, about 5:00 pm, for about 24 hours of fun together?

Planning “Gramma Jamma” – What to do?  Make a list… crafts, games, music, picnic, trip to zoo, aquarium, maybe the beach, a boat ride?  How about we bake and decorate cookies or candy or pumpkins?

How about FOOD!  Friday night:  Everyone loves Pizza, sodas, popcorn, junk food?  But, then I thought about healthier munchies their parents might approve:  maybe veggy burgers on wheat buns with yummy bean sprouts, slices of cucumber and tomatoes; sweet potato fries, and non-fat yogurt for dessert topped with slices of kiwi?  Sounds like something I would eat, alone, while my grandchildren rolled their eyes.  Nahhh!  It’s just for one or two nights, so…

Pizza AND frankfurters stuffed with mashed potatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, Nacho chips, salsa, and fudge brownies with ice cream.  Now we’re talking!  Saturday breakfast:  how about waffles with strawberry syrup and slices, ringed high with whipped cream smiley faces, with bacon and orange juice.  Later, picnic lunch somewhere… yep, more planning to do!  Just how much can you cram into a 24-hour “Gramma Jama” party?

What should they bring with them?  They’ll stay overnight, so do we have enough beds for them all?  No, that’s no fun… they’ll want to be together in one big room… so SLEEPING BAGS or blankets.  And PILLOWS. Yes, lots of pillows!  PILLOW FIGHT!!!”

I couldn’t wait then to send out special invitations to my grandchildren, to “COME, enjoy a special time with all your sisters, brothers and cousins!”  We made “Gramma Jama” memories for the next few years after that.

I think now about Corrie ten Boom and the boys and girls clubs she organized those years before the War.  Were they all just about food, family and fun fellowship?  That was probably a great part of it, but I know from reading Corrie’s heart in her books, that she also took quality time to read to them and teach them about the most important message she could speak into their lives… about the God who loves them SO much, the importance of getting to know and trust Him, and the power of prayer that would get them through the best and even the hardest events of their lives.

How about making your own “Gramma Jama” memories!?

[Pictured above: Tarah, Olivia, Autumn, Gramma, Amber, Rebekah and Ryan]

 

The Faith of Corrie ten Boom – By Jeanne Doyon

[We recently found this article by Crosswalk.com contributor, Jeanne Doyon, that shares her personal insights, regarding the amazing faith of Dutch holocaust survivor and Christian evangelist, Corrie ten Boom. We pray this reprint has the blessing of Jeanne Doyan, and will bless others on her and our behalf   …Susan Meredith Beyer & Donna Marquean Griggs, co-writers, “Ten Boom the Musical”]

Corrie ten Boom faithCorrie (Cornelia) ten Boom is one of my heroes of the faith.  She was the daughter of a Dutch watchmaker living in Holland during WWII. She and her family hid Jews in their home to protect them from being sent to the prison camps. One day the Nazi officers arrested Corrie and her family for hiding Jewish people in their home and they were sent to prison. Corrie and her sister Betsie were eventually sent to the Ravensbruck death camp. Corrie is the only one of her family that survived, and her story is written in her book called “The Hiding Place.”

What I love most about Corrie is her simple wisdom and devotion to the Lord. She endured such evil, including seeing her family die in the horrid camp conditions. Yet she radiates with the light of God’s love and peace. In her book “Tramp For The Lord” she tells the story about how years after her release from the concentration camp, she came in contact with one of the most brutal prison guards and extended forgiveness to him. Her life is an example of how God works in and through our lives, carrying us through the hardships.

And she is an amazing testimony to His faithfulness and how His light can shine even in the darkest places.

Corrie’s story prompts me to ask some probing questions about my faith walk.

What Message am I Leaving Behind?

Corrie ten Boom’s story of faith is inspiring and timeless. Her legacy lives on through her penned words. Lives continue to be touched even though she has been gone since 1983. It is words like these from her books, that fill my sails with hope to continue on life’s journey:

  • I soon discovered that man’s importunity is God’s opportunity. He uses our problems as building materials for His miracles.
  • God has plans—not problems—for our lives.
  • Before she died in the concentration camp in Ravensbruck, my sister Betsie said to me, “Corrie, your whole life has been a training for the work you are doing here in prison—and for the work you will do afterward.”
  • Whether I am walking in the bright light of His presence, or abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, I know that He is not only with me, He is in me.

What a treasure trove of encouragement! This inspires me to think, every believer is leaving behind hope for the next generation. What will your message be? What will mine say to future generations?

Am I Trusting God to Lead?

In “Tramp For The Lord,” Corrie tells of her adventures of feeling led by the Lord to go from country to country to tell her story after her release from the Ravensbruck death camp. She boarded planes without hotel reservations, scheduled speaking engagements, or details, trusting the Lord to lead her when she arrived. And the amazing thing is that He did lead her.

Corrie’s adventures make me realize how much I play it safe. I look at my world with two-dimensional reason rather than three-dimensional faith. There is a part of me that wants to be like Corrie—totally trusting—completely surrendered—and in tune with the voice of my Father. There is a desire to understand Whittier’s words that say, “The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath.”   WOW!

So, What Hinders Me?

The strongest hindrance I have is myself.  I second guess my impressions and come up with reasons why I shouldn’t take them seriously.

Corrie tells a story about when she felt impressed by the Lord to go to Argentina. She replied, “Yes, but…” and then remembered that serving the Lord should always be answered with, “Yes, Lord.”

I think I use a lot of ‘buts’ in my thinking. But, what if I take on too much? But, what if I’m not hearing correctly? 

The other reason I struggle is that I have burned out so many times. When burnout happens, it’s usually because I have been depending on my own ability, thinking I have got it covered. It sneaks up like a stealth fighter and in an instant, I find myself on my face crying out for help—His help. He’s been there all along but will allow me to take the reins in order to show me how much I need Him.

He is my strength when I am weak… The truth is—He is my strength all the time. Unless I am depending on His Holy Spirit power, I am kidding myself. There is nothing of Kingdom value I can accomplish on my own. But, I find when I am plugged into His power source I accomplish more with less effort. It isn’t me. It can never be me unless I am surrendered to Him each day.

Corrie passed through the fire during her time in the concentration camp. I think there is a dependence that develops when we have nothing left, but Him. In my humanness, I don’t want to face hardships like that, but I do want to learn more about the deep trust she found in her Heavenly Papa.

How about you? Is ‘but, Lord’ in your vocabulary too? What might the Lord be asking you to do?

Discover the Rich Resource of Corrie’s Life

If you have never read Corrie ten Boom’s books, I encourage you to look for them. You will be blessed by her stories. I pray I never have to endure what she went through, but part of me wants a relationship with God like hers. She was an amazing woman who was sold out to obedience to her Heavenly Father. Her story and her example continue to inspire others to this day.

Corrie died on her 91st birthday in 1983.  There is an interesting Jewish tradition that says, only very blessed people are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!

She has certainly blessed me.

[Article by Jeanne Doyon, Crosswalk.com Contributor, Sep 6, 2013]

Corrie ten Boom – April 15, 1892 Haarlem, Holland (The Netherlands) – April 15, 1983 (Santa Ana, CA)