In my previous letter to you (in the December issue of Beacon Lights), we talked about the terrible struggle a Christian soldier has in the midst of the godless surroundings wherein the Lord has placed him. In this letter, we wish to tell you about the Christian Military Homes we had in the Netherlands.
As you probably know, we had compulsory military training for the majority of the young men between the age of 18 and 19 and many years ago the need was felt to do something for the Christian young men in service. First the Christian people living in the places where the camps or garrisons were located took them into their homes, but it soon was felt that that could not go on forever; so out of that grew the Christian Military Homes and which have been since a real haven for many a young man in service.
Those homes were established by a society in such a place and could usually be found close to the barracks just outside of the army grounds and they were supported and sustained by the Christians throughout the country. In these homes, we had a Father and Mother appointed by the board of the society out of a number of applicants, whom were fit and had love for this work. These temporary parents would do everything to make the boys feel at home as much as possible and would create all kinds of activities for the boys to keep them busy; as for instance, a young men’s society, debating club, men’s choir, etc. They also would see to it that the boys would attend their respective churches and catechism classes. In short, they would for a while take over the parental duties.
No wonder then that we would dress up every night after supper and flee from the godless surroundings and go to our home where we would gather around the old organ and sing together, or sit down to play a game of chess or some other game, or write letters or have a talk together. Every night, before we had to leave for the barracks, Father would gather us together in the large room and would read a chapter out of the Bible and explain it for us and would close in prayer.
Well, we were so accustomed to go to our home that when our army became mobilized during World War I and we had to take our place at the Belgian border, we felt completely lost without it, so we established our own homes wherever we could get a group together in order to be able to have Christian fellowship together.
Now all this you haven’t got because we were not ready for it, but where we will also have compulsory training after this war in this country according to reports, we hope we will have something like that for our boys in the future.
May the Lord strengthen and sustain you by His grace to fight the good fight of faith to the glory of His name.