Tag Archives: Holocaust

Meat cleaver attack did not deter Rene Celinder from evangelizing Denmark

Rene Celinder was leading an all-night prayer vigil in support of the Jews at the Israel Plads in Copenhagen 2002, when a Palestinian immigrant struck him over the head with a cleaver at 3:00 a.m.

“Luckily, I have a hard head,” Rene quips. The doctor explained that had the attack not been a glancing blow, he could have died or wound up in a wheelchair.

From the hospital, he called his wife: “Don’t worry I’m alive,” he told her. “I just took a cleaver blow to my head. No problem. I’m ok.”

Such is the life of a Christian evangelist is Denmark. Today, he travels internationally to preach the gospel to people lost in darkness. He, too, was once lost in darkness.

Raised by an abusive father, Rene became a painter and a handyman. When he contracted stomach cancer at age 30, he made a promise to God: “If you heal me, I will serve you for the rest of my life.”

He didn’t know God but remembered his childhood prayers from the ritualistic church he visited in his youth. The surgery removing the egg-sized mass was a success. Rene didn’t immediately fulfill his promise to serve God.

Three years later, he received a $50,000 insurance payout for the damage done by chemicals he worked with as a painter and fiberglass worker. He traveled and drank extensively until he spent all the money in under two years. Later he would resonate with the Prodigal Son when he read the Bible.

After the “living it up” was over, he had no money and nothing to do. An aunt told him to go to church and get saved. So that’s what he did.

Almost immediately, he enrolled in Bible school and was fascinated with the truth of Scripture. As he grew in the Lord he stopped swearing.

Unfortunately, he didn’t stop all sin. He fell into fornication with another student at the school. Caught by administrators, he got kicked out.

He returned home and avoided Christians and church because of his guilty conscience for some time. The brethren sought him out. Why aren’t you coming to church? they asked. “ I was afraid because I had been sinning so bad,” he said sincerely.

They encouraged him to return. When he did, he was embraced. He vowed to sin no more.

Eventually, he met and married his second wife, Dora, to whom he has been married for 25 years. He is now 66.

At a Christian camp years later, he spotted the old fling from Bible School. He asked his wife what he should do.

“You need to go ask for forgiveness?” Dora responded.

He did so. Then he asked her “spiritual parents” for forgiveness and then her kids. On the final day of the camp, both went up to the altar and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

“I learned forgiveness,” he comments. “Then I was free.”

Rene and Dora had a child, Emma, who was born with three holes in her heart. Doctors operated for 12 hours but were unable to save her. Baby Emma died six days after birth.

“I was really really angry at God,” he remembers. “I’ve never been angry like this before.”

Rene wanted to run away. But the doctor encouraged him to cradle his baby and to say goodbye. The grieving process was very healing. On the day of Emma’s funeral and burial, snow was falling, and the wind was blowing inhospitably. But after the sermon inside the church when they all came out, the storm had passed, and the sun was shining. It was beautiful moment to bury Emma. The birds were singing. He felt God’s presence.

Rene prayed a very unusual request: “Lord, show us our little girl one more time. I know that we cannot ask anything like this. But if you can, can you do something about it?”

Typically, a request to communicate with the dead is strictly a no-no because it derives from witchcraft. King Saul, in an attempt to contact the dead prophet Samuel, went to a medium. It was his last act of life; the next day he was killed on the field of battle.

But God took Dora to Heaven, Rene says.

One night she had a dream and in the dream she went to heaven. The first person to greet her was God.

“Father, have you seen our daughter?” Dora asked.

Yes, yes, she’s over there crawling around having a joyful time, He responded.

Then she talked to her baby, who, not limited to earthly constrains, could talk, Rene says.

“It’s really beautiful up here,” she told Mom. “I’m going be more blessing here in Heaven.”

Dora woke up happy. “We knew that we are going to see her again,” Rene explains. “She now would be 25 in human years.”

Moved on by the Lord, Rene opened his first cafe in a cellar. He invited people, gave them coffee and food, prayed for them for healing. It was a continual outreach center.

How he got the cafe is a miracle. When he first saw it available, it cost $5,000 a month. He felt God’s urging towards this place but couldn’t afford the rent. So he waited a year. The next time he saw it, the rent was now $2,000. He made his move.

Saying he had no money, he offered to paint for the owner to be able to use the cellar. After thinking it over for three days, the owner told him that he had no need of painting but if he would clean up and repair three flights of stairs, he could use the cellar for free. The job took four days.

“That’s how I got the key for free,” he says.

For three years… Read the rest: René Celinder evangelist in Denmark.

From behind the wall

Anne Frank hid with her family in Nazi-occupied Netherlands for two years. She wrote a diary which has resonated worldwide since publication after her death in a concentration camp. It’s impressive to see how a world can be impacted from seclusion.

Anne Frank’s story is one of optimism. It is one of inauspicious work changing a world. Did she realize the greatness of what she was doing? Did she realize the extent of her reach?

The parallels with a prayer warrior are noteworthy. Your labors go unnoticed but impact the entire world. Prayer requires optimism. You may not realize the extent of your reach.

Pray, pray, pray. Prayer is never a waste of time. Doing other things may be a waste of time. It’s ironic that we try to do so much. If we would only pray, God would do so much. He is able to do much! We are incapable of doing much. Much of our best efforts are frustrated. It might be good for you to DO less and PRAY more.

When I was a missionary in Guatemala, after years of running myself ragged in activities, I put the brakes on. Tired, I tried prayer. Not that I wasn’t praying before, but I started praying more. More time, higher quality, greater intensity, in prayer. Get behind the wall, where the real work will be done.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. — Psm 127:1 NIV