101-year-old Ky. Baptist recounts salvation story after meeting Corrie Ten Boom
LOUISVILLE, KY (BP) – Eleanor Gorin, born March 5, 1921, grew up in the first house built on Cherokee Road in Louisville and received Christ after meeting the famous Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom.
It was the late 1960s, in the middle of the Jesus movement, when Gorin says “the Holy Spirit jumped across the water,” all the way to Bermuda, where she and her husband were living at the time.
There, Gorin became involved in a seven-person prayer group of “hungry, thirsty, cultural Christians.”
“The Lord worked it so” that Ten Boom stopped there on a tour to share the story of her time in prison.
“She had such an impact on my life,” Gorin said.
Ten Boom, best known for her book The Hiding Place, was a watchmaker from the Netherlands who became imprisoned for hiding Jews in her family home during the Holocaust.
At the time Ten Boom visited Gorin’s prayer group, already “The Lord had been drawing us to Himself.”
Ten Boom stayed for nearly two weeks, and Gorin recalls how she shared her testimony, starting with her ministry to the mentally handicapped during her teenage years, then her imprisonment and her love for the Jewish people.
Gorin recalls Ten Boom said, “With the mentally handicapped, you don’t worry about the intellect. The Holy Spirit goes straight to the spirit of the individual.”
Ten Boom illustrated the Holy Spirit coming into the lives of Christians by pulling out “her little carpet bag,” holding up an empty glove, shaking it and saying, “these fingers in the glove can’t do a thing,” like an individual without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we are like gloves without fingers inside, and can do nothing spiritually.
“We were hanging on every word,” said Gorin, “our mouths were wide open.”
After hearing from Ten Boom, Gorin heard from other influential speakers including Abram Vereide, some from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Cannon Wallace Bird.
One night, Gorin went to a service led by Bird, an Anglican priest.
“His face was radiant” as he shared his testimony. At the end of the evening, he led the listeners in a salvation prayer, one that Gorin prayed for herself.
“That was when I knew that I knew,” said Gorin, and she “came to know Jesus in a personal way.”
“If you make it real in your own heart,” Bird told attendees, “then go home and tell somebody before you go to bed tonight.”
So Gorin went home and told her daughter, “Honey, I want you to know that tonight I asked Jesus into my heart.” Gorin then woke up her husband and told him the same. His response, which Gorin attributes as being from the Lord, was, “What’s going to be different?”
One difference, Gorin said, was that her “values began to change.”
Whereas before, music and art had been idols in Gorin’s life, “the Word of God opened up to me ‘like the petals of a flower,’” as she recalls someone explaining it, and God began convicting her of idols and sin.
Previously, Gorin had struggled with sin, wondering why she could not change. Now those idols in her life became less important.
Gorin says she started to “understand those mysteries” in the Bible after she “began to yield to the Holy Spirit.”
After a six-year stay in Bermuda, when she and her husband came back to the States, they settled in Richmond, Va., and began opening their home for college student Bible studies, where they shared the Good News they had received and “saw miracle after miracle after miracle” as students turned from “drugs and other things” to the Lord.
Now, the advice Gorin gives to young believers seeking to grow in Christ is to “become saturated in the Word of God.”
Gorin’s husband, Lewis, who was saved some time later, spent later years reading the Bible to Eleanor. After he passed, Eleanor said “18 times he’d read the whole Bible” out loud to her in the kitchen.
Gorin says that people need to “come to a place of deep commitment and surrender” to the Lord for growth.
It is in the Word of God that we understand “how black our sin can be and how much he can forgive if we repent.”
All through the Bible we receive “tremendous encouragement.”
“Jesus still speaks to us from the seat next to the Father,” says Gorin, and we must read and listen.
Gorin, previously a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, is now a member of Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville, where she attends faithfully.
She feels she has been given the gift of a long life so that she can “touch more people with her testimony.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah Julian is a writer for Kentucky Today.