Recently, at a Christian men’s breakfast that I wasn’t excited about attending, I was surprised to make an unlikely friend in an elderly man named John. At the age of seven, John had been evacuated on the Kindertransport program just before the Holocaust began in Germany. John’s parents were among the 6 million people living in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught on the wrong side of Hitler’s fanaticism. Seventy-six years later, John was able to tell me of his tremendous gratitude for the love and commitment of the family who not only sheltered him but adopted him as their own after it became clear that he no longer had a home to return to.

John’s story was made possible by a man named Nicholas Winton. The Christmas of 1938, Winton had planned to go on a skiing holiday, but a friend persuaded him instead to visit Prague. On that trip the 29-year-old stockbroker came across hundreds of refugees traveling across Europe, and he was particularly overwhelmed by the plight of the children.

Moved, Winton returned to London and orchestrated a total of eight trains to travel to Czechoslovakia evacuating 669 refugee children to safety. He secured homes and sponsorship for them. He also navigated the complex political system, even forging British Home Office documents in order to get children out of Nazi-occupied territory. He did this secretly—apparently not even his wife knew about it.

Winton and John were strangers to each other. Their paths crossed briefly in 1939 and again 60 years later, but Winton’s open hospitality changed the whole of John’s life. The story of Jesus is not dissimilar. Jesus was to dedicate himself to a rescue mission like no other. Strangers around the world ...

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