by David Sisler

Willie was born in Poland. He grew up first under Russian domination of his nation and then under Nazi occupation.

The Germans screened 30,000 students to be placed in special schools. From them, the number was narrowed to 1,000 and then finally to 30. Willie was one of the 30, placed in a special school, and taught by a man who was the seventh person to become a member of the Nazi party in his region.

One night, the headmaster said, "Let's all sing."

Willie expected a patriotic song. The headmaster selected "The Church's One Foundation Is Jesus Christ Her Lord."

Willie learned that the headmaster was a Christian. He was only using the party. He talked openly about the Lord and encouraged His students to follow Jesus.

One day, Willie when he was 16, he was walking down the road with two friends. A sniper shot one of the other men in the head and killed him instantly. At that moment, Willie, a minister's son, realized, "I am not ready to die."

Ten minutes later, and much farther down the road, Willie was ready to die. He had met Jesus.

During the closing days of World War II, Willie ended up as a prisoner in a concentration camp outside of Warsaw. His mother was in a second camp. His sister was in a third. Somehow they got word to each other and planned an escape.

The plan went perfectly until they reached the rendezvous point. They realized they had to take a train, but they did not know which train led to safety. They had no travel papers to even permit them to purchase a ticket.

Suddenly, a man Willie did not know, a man he had never seen, came up to him and said, "You need to catch the train on track two. It is leaving right now."

"Whether he was an angel, or not, I do not know," Willie said, "but we ran for the train and climbed on board just as it was leaving the station."

There was only one vacancy in only one compartment on the train. Willie knew the other man in the compartment. He was the local head of the Gestapo.

They were out of options. They took that seat.

When the conductor passed through their car asking for tickets, he glanced into their compartment, and saw the Gestapo chief. Assuming that Willie, his mother, and his sister were members of the Gestapo agent's family, he did not ask to see either tickets or travel papers.

When the train stopped, they got off, still not knowing what to do.

A man walked up to them and asked, "Do you wish to go to the west?" He meant the western part of Germany. Willie said, "Yes," meaning the United States.

They took the train to the end of the line. There members of group of underground resistance fighters met them and helped them to emigrate to Canada and to freedom.

Willie was asked how they survived. His reply was a simple statement of faith, "Our confidence was in the Lord."

When Willie was asked how he learned confidence he said, "God led me each step of the way. I was picked for a special school out of 30,000 other young people. I was taught by a leading Nazi who loved Jesus. When people were dying in concentration camps, my family escaped from three separate camps. Two men I had never seen before or since directed us to safety and to freedom. How could I not have confidence in such a God?"

Where is your confidence?

In a God who can lead you step by step, perhaps through very ordinary circumstances, perhaps through very miraculous circumstances. Or in yourself?

If you answered, "In myself," you need to reexamine your confidence.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 3/25/95

Copyright 1995 by David Sisler

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