This very long letter was sent from Redland Bay, Queensland, Australia, to friends around the world after WWII.
“The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad.” (Psalm 126:3)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Rom. (8:35 and 37)
Our beloved friend in Christ,
At last we have the longed-for opportunity of communicating with you and as we actually take up the pen to do so, we find ourselves almost overwhelmed at the privilege and at His great grace which has made it possible. Words seem totally inadequate to express what we find in our hearts, but we do desire to let you know as far as we are able, what our experiences have been. We have been locked away from you for over three years and you cannot imagine how strange it seems to be emerging into our own world again. During the last few days we have had snatches of news of some of you, but at the best it has only been very little. It seems as though most of you are still away in the dark, and we are groping out so anxiously to find you again. How we would appreciate some brief outline of what your movements and experiences have been during the long silence. During the past four years we, ourselves, have experienced great extremes of joy and sorrow, but as we look back over the period as a whole, we can only worship and adore the blessed Lord whose promised presence has been our abiding portion.
First of all, let us tell you something about our marriage. Most of you will need no introductions, being well acquainted wit us both, but others, particularly those in England, will need a brief introduction to Joyce. She is from Queensland, Australia, and for three years prior to our marriage has been teaching in a High School for missionaries’ children in Coonoor, South India. The way the Lord led us together and sealed each step from His own word is a story in itself; unspeakably precious to us, but far too long to tell in this brief letter. (Read ‘A Missionary’s Love Story‘; editor.)
I first approached Joyce on the 18th June, 1940, three years after my arrival in India, and we became engaged on 14th August, 1941; our marriage being on 29th November of that same year. The ceremony took place at our little church at Engledene, Coonoor, beautifully decorated and prepared for the occasion by many kind friends. We made our solemn vows before the Lord and in the presence of as many of our Indian and European friends as the little church could contain, different ones, Indian and European taking part. Miss Shirtcliffe, the principal of Joyce’s school, kindly acted as hostess and arranged a beautiful reception at the school itself. We shall never forget her kindness, nor that of so many of our friends on that occasion. After the reception, Joyce and I were motored to Hallashana Tea Estate and there spent four lovely days of perfect quietness in the beautiful bungalow a Christian friend. We were surrounded by the choicest mountain scenery, and our joy indeed was full. While there we prayed again that the Lord would make our united lives a living testimony to the blessed mystery of Christ and His Church.
Some time previously the suggestion had come that after our marriage we should make a quick visit to Australia. The proposal took on increasing life as we prayed over it, our fellow-workers assuring us that they felt very happy in the Lord concerning it. God wonderfully made the needed financial provision and final assurance was given to us from the word itself; Deut. 33:18 and 19 coming to us as our actual marching orders. This word removed any remaining questions concerning travelling in war-time and also regarding the advisability of my leaving my co-worker, Brother Flack, for the proposed period. The way the Lord undertook for us in relation to official permits to travel was very wonderful and provided a further seal to us that we were in His directive will. For instance, the colonel at the military garrison, with whom we were negotiating proved to be a very religious man and he actually assured us that provided we had definite Divine guidance for making such a journey, he would do all he could to help us. Moreover, his assistant, the Station Staff Officer, proved to be a Christian friend of ours who had assisted us in the Gospel work at Wellington Soldiers’ Home. He also did all he could to assist us with our arrangements. You will agree that such a combination of military officials is quite unique, particularly in India.
The outcome of all this was that on December 6th 1941, following a hearty send-off from the Indian Christians at Madras, we boarded the Erinpura, bound for Singapore, where we had planned to join a Dutch ship proceeding to Australia. The captain, though very kind to us, was decidedly gospel hardened. (He remembered Capt. Carre very well!) He refused to hear what we tried to tell him about God’s way of salvation, but agreed to let us conduct a gospel service on the Sunday morning, although he had not allowed such a thing on his ship for many years. The opportunity proved to be most valuable, because nearly all the passengers were men in the Services proceeding to Malaya, from which country it is doubtful whether they ever returned. You will remember that Japan’s entry into the war was on the 8th December. This was two days after our departure from Madras and we must confess quite contrary to our own expectations in the matter. When the news was circulated on the Erinpura the atmosphere on board became very tense.
We were bound for Penang at the time, but as that city immediately came under heavy siege, we altered course to Port Swettenham, and after a memorable day there proceeded to Singapore. On arrival there we found that although all shipping arrangements were in confusion, the Nellore was due to leave that night for Australia, having been called into Singapore on her way home from Hong Kong to pick up refugee women and children from Penang. We managed to secure a cabin and effected our transfer from the Erinpura. Our departure however was delayed for several days in order to pick up more refugees, and this gave opportunity for us to meet a number of Christian friends in the city, both European and Chinese. We were able to contact a number of Watchman Nee’s friends and to deliver some packages of special literature which Miss Lena Clarke had asked us to carry to them. Miss Clarke, by the way, had arrived at Coonoor on the day of our wedding and she was very happy to hear that we were immediately bound for Singapore, feeling that the Lord had appointed us as carriers of the required literature. The voyage from Singapore to Sydney was very long and tiring, taking five weeks altogether. The overcrowding, black-outs and intense tropical heat made life specially difficult for the women and children. We were held up for nearly a fortnight in Java, and during that time had some opportunity of seeing something of that very fruitful island. During the voyage we held daily Bible Classes, and on Sundays conducted the ship’s services in fellowship with a Salvation Army friend. We called in at Fremantle and Melbourne and on the 21st January arrived safely at Sydney, praising God for His protection during an uneventful, though hazardous, voyage. That night we boarded the Kyogle express for Brisbane, where we were met by Joyce’s parents, family and friends. What a welcome they gave us; we shall never forget it.
Then followed ten happy weeks in the fruit-growing country on the Queensland coast, in a home which I found to be filled and overflowed with God’s love. I spent hours every day taking a share in the heavy work on the farm; very strenuous I must confess, for those not used to that particular kind of work, but ideal for mental relaxation. Apart from taking a few meetings in the little local Baptist Church and in the city, we had few responsibilities; a real change after the endless round of meetings in India.
We were scheduled to be back in India in April, ready for the busy season, but the coming of the war to the East and the early fall of Singapore, had upset all regular shipping, and we had to wait till the end of March before we got advice of any India-bound ship. We realised something of the dangers of the proposed voyage, but felt strongly led to go. On the 30th March, therefore, we set off for Sydney, but again we had to stand by there till the 17th April when the ship actually sailed. We were sorry for the delay, but it meant that we were able to stay for over a fortnight at the C.I.M. Home where we met many friends of Joyce‘s brother, Frank, who is serving in that Mission. During that time we were asked to take part in an Easter Convention arranged by Dr. Rolls and this resulted in a particularly happy contact with a little fellowship of the Lord’s people worshipping at Erskineville. We took what opportunity we had for ministry among them, and they showed much spiritual appreciation and appetite, and promised us loving prayer fellowship as we returned to India. Joyce was brought into living contact with a little fellowship of Godly praying women, who set aside a day each week for prayer at the home of a dear sister, Mrs. Bull. What that touch was to mean to us in coming days, only God knows.
On 17th April, as previously mentioned, we left Sydney. Our ship was the Nankin and we little dreamed of the experiences we were about to encounter. We called in at Melbourne, and there spent a happy time with our sister, Beryl Aston, a teacher friend of Joyce’s who had travelled out from Hebron with us. The purser of the ship was David Elsey, a dear young Christian brother, whose father, an earnest Christian worker, was known to Joyce’s family. Others on the ship with whom we enjoyed rich fellowship were Kevin Osbourne, proceeding from the Brethren assemblies in New Zealand to take up work in the Godavari Delta, and Gerhard Bargen, a young Canadian, bound for Kashmir in connection with the W.E.C. Then there were Audrey Jeffrey, also bound for Kashmir under the same Mission, Miss Law, a dear C.M.S. missionary returning to Bengal where she had laboured for many years, and Miss Biswas, an Indian lady who had been holidaying in Australia. These, together with a few others, met with us for daily Bible study. Also we again had the privilege of conducting Sunday services in the ship’s saloon.
Our last view of friendly Australia was as we stood leaning over the rail of the poop deck and gazing across the white foam of the ship’s wake towards the slowly receding coastline. We were surrounded by wheeling albatross and screeching seagulls which seemed to bring Australia’s final farewell to us. The Lord had given us clear guidance and precious promises before leaving Australia and it was on the strength of those promises that we had moved out. His word to Joyce was 2 Chron. 14:11, “We rest on Thee and in Thy name we go,” and to me Psa. 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in troubles.” We had interpreted this to mean that we should have an uninterrupted voyage to India, but what follows will show that, though these promises held good throughout, God’s thoughts about them were not our thoughts. We must say that it was to our great surprise that our more or less helpless little ship was despatched on this perilous voyage unescorted. However we asked no questions and were soon absorbed in all the interests of life on board, our faith in God’s promises enabling us to be perfectly at rest. Five days after leaving Fremantle we were sailing happily and peacefully along and any dangers that there might be were far from our thoughts. It was Sunday morning and breakfast time. The sun was shining, the sea was calm, and everything was proceeding normally. Suddenly an alarm was sounded. We jumped up from the table and rushed to a near-by well deck. Gazing up into the sky we saw the sunlight glinting on a solitary aeroplane, which was flying above us at a very high altitude. Word went round that the plane was unidentified and, feeling that an air-attack was imminent, everyone stood by in readiness. To our relief, however, no attack immediately developed, but there were whispers that we should be prepared for any eventuality during the day. That morning Gerhard conducted the usual service in the ship’s saloon and by that time all fears had more or less subsided. Early in the afternoon, however, the enemy attacked us. Joyce and I had just returned to our cabin from the upper deck, when suddenly an aeroplane roared over the ship, releasing machine-gun fire at point-blank range. Snatching up our life belts and emergency case, we hurried to our appointed Action Station. While we were doing so, a ship, barely visible on the horizon, commenced shelling us. Then followed a brisk engagement which continued for nearly one hour. Salvos from the heavy guns of the raider, (for such our assailant proved to be) were falling all around us as we zigzagged to and fro, the raider herself keeping well out of range of our small four inch gun. Really, our plight was most alarming! About a hundred and forty of us were huddled together in the downstairs alley ways, in close proximity, we found out later, to hundreds of cases of T.N.T. How those many shells failed to hit us is indeed a mystery to many, but those who pray and believe will understand. Those on the Raider later told captain Stratford that they could not understand why it was that we were not hit scores of times. The awful tension was finally relieved when the order was given to take to the life boats. In consideration for the women and children the flag of surrender had been run up the mast and we were abandoning ship. On reaching the upper deck we found that the life boats had already been launched so amidst same confusion we clambered down the rope ladder and crowded in with the others. Even when we were in the lifeboats and rowing away from the ship’s side our safety was by no means as assured for most of the boats, including our own, had been badly riddled with machine gun fire. Ours was letting in water very quickly, making it necessary to bail furiously. Also the raider’s aeroplane was circling over us, and as it dived down upon us, barely skimming the water, we could not help wondering if the pilot’s hand were on the machine gun trigger!
We had guessed that the raider was a Japanese one, operating from the recently captured Singapore, and as she slowly steamed up to us we were full of apprehension about falling into the hands of the Japanese forces. Some of our number advocated remaining in the boats and trying to make our own way to safety. As she drew nearer, however, we saw, to our great relief, that she was German, for the red flag bearing the black swastika was waving in the breeze at the stern of the ship. We thereupon imagined ourselves being carried away to a prison camp in the mountains of South Germany, but our hearts were certainly much lighter. Soon an order sounded that we were to board the Raider. There was a ring of authority behind the continental voice that came through the megaphones, so immediately we obeyed. We scaled the ship’s ladders and were helped over the railings by quite friendly looking Germans. The men and women were immediately separated and after being searched were sent to their respective quarters down in the bowels of the ship. These prison quarters, designed only to accommodate the male crews of captured ships, were as you can imagine, dingy, airless and unhygienic, and the Germans themselves were very reluctant to send our women there.
Then followed, four unforgettable days on the Raider. Herded down there in our insalubrious prison, some stretched out on hammocks, some on the floor; others sitting dejectedly in corners, we did our best to adjust ourselves to our suddenly changed circumstances. We were all strangely quiet, but the Germans, ironic ally enough, tried to brighten our lot by blaring their own loud victory marches through the ship’s amplifiers.
The Lord’s comforts to us at this time will never be forgotten. The very first words that came to Joyce, during her quiet time were, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psa. 9:9). Again, at midnight, the following came, “Fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:3). A slip from Audrey’s Bible read as follows:
He chose this path for thee,
No feeble chance, nor hard relentless fate,
But love, His love, hath placed thy foot steps here.
He knew the way was rough and desolate
Knew how the heart would often sink with fear,
But tenderly He whispers, “Child, I see,
This path is best for thee.”
You will imagine the cheer which these words brought to our sisters, and also to us when later they were shared. We, certainly had to fight the fight of faith to overcome those strong feelings of overwhelming disappointment which sought to take hold of us. The enemy sought to fill our minds with such thoughts as, “Had God failed?” “Had we failed?” What a strength it is at all such times to anchor our spirits and whole beings in God’s sure unfailing word, spoken directly to our own hearts.
During this time the Raider was steaming at full speed away from the scene of the engagement, though all we could hear was the throb of the powerful engines and the swirl of the water rushing past us. We kept thinking of our few valued possessions which we were having to leave behind us, particularly our Bibles, but we consoled ourselves that we were still alive and that that was the main thing.
The day after our capture, Joyce and I were allowed to see each other for a few minutes and on the following days for an hour or so up on the deck, where the fresh air was so welcome. Externally the ship appeared to be a harmless cargo vessel but beneath the false decks and behind the hinged crates were the formidable guns and torpedo tubes, which had already sent so many of our own ships to the bottom.
Some of you may be interested to know that on the second day one of the Chinese women passengers gave birth to a baby boy and we cannot speak too highly of the skill and kindness shown by the German doctors and crew at that time. With their own hands they made a cot bedding and other things for the infant‘s comfort. They were as pleased at the happy event as we were.
On the fourth day we boarded another German ship, the Regensburg, which, to our great surprise we found lying alongside the Nankin. The latter, evidently, had failed to scuttle, and had been successfully moved by a German prize crew to a point at some safe distance from the Allied routes. The Regensburg was a large supply and prison ship already carrying a hundred and seventy prisoners captured from other ships. She, was comparatively lightly armed and we certainly felt much safer on her than on the Raider, where the prisoners were always battened down with steel doors during engagements. Our man and women were again made as comfortable as possible in their respective quarters, this time in the storage space between decks.
The Raider only stayed long enough to take on stores and then went off on another escapade. The Regensburg and the Nankin however lay alongside each other for nearly a fortnight, right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and O, how we longed that some rescuer would appear! We spent our time making the acquaintance of many of the other prisoners and hearing their stories, whilst the Germans worked frantically transferring thousands of bales of wool and other valuable items of captured cargo from the Nankin.
Whilst on the Regenburg we had much opportunity of witnessing for the Lord. We conducted daily Bible classes in the mess rooms and a large Sunday service on the deck. Most of our fellow-prisoners admitted themselves to be quite godless and had shown some apprehension when missionary prisoners first came on board. Later, however, quite large numbers gathered to hear what we had to say at our classes and to ply us with questions. One of them, Alfred Round, accepted Christ almost immediately, and though the enemy fought hard for him, he proved to be a great cheer and strength to us through all the coming days. (Alfred Round wrote the story of his conversion, ‘A message from the deep‘; editor.) Again, a few days later, another young man, Jimmy Coils, trusted the Saviour and his life almost was transformed. On the Sunday morning we had the privilege of preaching the gospel of eternal hope to a large crowd of prisoners who gathered for the service on the deck. Maybe, the seed sown into many anxious hearts on the Regensburg bore more fruit than we as yet know of.
Eventually word went round that passengers would be allowed to board the Nankin for a short time, in order to salvage from their cabins certain necessary items of clothing. This we did in groups, using huge rubber floats to make the passage from one ship to the other. Joyce and Audrey had a very interesting experience when their turn came to go on board. The Captain of the German prize crew, realising that they were missionaries, showed special consideration to them. He allowed them as much time as they needed and advised them to gather up as much warm clothing as possible. He ordered his men to help them where necessary and at lunch time he himself entertained them very kindly in the ship’s saloon. Just before they left he came to the cabin, spoke appreciatively of mission work (with which his own wife also had been associated) and finally he asked both our sisters to pray audibly with him which, with great joy, they did. The day had been a most strenuous one for the cabins had previously been ransacked and everything was lying about in confusion. Joyce was able, however, to salvage practically everything in our cabin, with the exception of a few items vital to the Germans and commandeered by them. Wewere thus enabled to minister to others less fortunate, as well as having sufficient ourselves for coming days. It was perhaps regrettable that our two largest cases were down in the hold and could not be recovered, but actually they contained nothing that could have helped us much during our imprisonment. Our rejoicing was that our lives had bean spared and God had given us back those things which He knew we would need. How great, particularly, was our joy when once again we found ourselves handling our familiar study Bibles. God only knows what they meant to us in coming days.
When all was completed, the Regensburg steamed away from the Nankin, proceeding in a South Western direction. We were very sorry to be parted from the Nankin, but we learned later that she was taken to Japan and, while lying in Yokohama harbour, was blown up together with the Raider, which was berthed nearby. This, no doubt, was due to Allied sabotage. The Regensburg was met by another German ship, the Dresden, on the 31st May and the civilian passengers from the Nankin, together with some of the merchant seamen from various ships, were told to get ready for transfer. David Elsey was with us in this transfer, having broken his arm a few days previously.
Alfred Round was also one of the group, but unfortunately Jimmy Coils was among those left behind. One of the other lads who had been under conviction knelt with us on the hatch just before we left and accepted Christ as his Saviour.
Whilst this transfer to the Dresden was in progress, rumours were abroad that we had been selected for deposit in a neutral country. You will imagine how excited we became. We hurriedly collected addresses from the other prisoners and promised to communicate with their loved ones as soon as we were free. Hope ran very high the next morning, however, to our great dismay, the Dresden moved off in a North Eastern direction and we feared the worst, internment in Japan. Our fears were later confirmed when one evening we read a message flashed to another ship, “M.V. Dresden, bound for Yokohama”.
We actually anchored in Tokio Bay on 24th June in the midst of drizzling rain. Everything indeed looked dismal and even the news bulletins boasted of how the Germans were at the very gates of Alexandria. Yokohama harbour showed signs of feverish activity and everywhere the German swastika and the Japanse rising Sun could be seen waving in the breeze. Some of us still entertained hopes that we would remain in German hands for they had certainly treated us very well.
Early in July we were transferred to another German ship, the Ramses on which the very cosmopolitan crew of a Greek ship was already being held in captivity. The Ramses was loading oil and preparing for sea and this further raised our hopes and made us very glad, for we preferred the risk of running the Allied blockade around Germany to being handed over into the custody of the notorious Nipponese.
A week later, however, on the 10th July, exactly two months after our capture, what we had most feared came to pass. On that date we were officially given over to the Japanese authorities and thus began what was altogether a new phase in our experience.
That same evening we were taken in closed buses to Yokohama railway station, and there were put on the electric train to Tokio. At Tokio we alighted and made our way to the particular train which was to carry us to Fukushima about two hundred miles to the North.
Fukushima is a large agricultural town in a fertile valley, surrounded by wooded and volcanic mountains, which rise to a height of some 8.000 ft. Arriving there next morning we were marched to the two-storied building which had been allocated for us. This was on the outskirts of the town, a large Roman Catholic convent and one of the best buildings in the district. This was to be our home for more than three whole years, during which time we never once went so far as out side the gate and the story of what took place there is far too long for present narration. Also we confess reluctance to tell in detail all that passed during that period. There were depths, particularly on the hidden and personal side of things which we feel are for the Lord and ourselves alone; and we are sure you will understand.
For the sake of those who stood by us so faithfully in prayer, however, we believe that something should be said of the conditions under which we were living and of the Lord’s faithfulness throughout. Doubtless you will have read reports of Japanese treatment of war prisoners and they will have given you what we believe will be a true idea of the atmosphere in which we lived. We must say, however, with deep gratitude and to God’s glory, that judging from what we have heard from prisoners in other camps, our camp was one of the best as far as general treatment and living conditions were concerned. We believe that, in answer to the prayers of God’s saints, a restraining hand was over our whole camp. Even the irreligious internees said that they felt that we were being held subject to some supernatural control. When we remember what extreme provocations were continually present it certainly is amazing that so great a measure of order and quietness prevailed. Murderous passions arose as frequently in the hearts of the internees as in the hearts of the Japanese guards themselves, but they were always quelled.
We were certainly a most cosmopolitan crowd. Of the hundred and forty internees in our camp, including thirty women and fifteen children, twenty five were Greeks, six were Africans, four were Arabs, all seamen. Then again there were fifteen Chinese and Malays, and three Indians, besides a Spaniard, an Armenian and a Turk. You will realise from this that apart from all else, there were numerous internal difficulties to cope with, but we can say that, here again, the Lord restrained. We certainly proved Psalm 76:10.
The quarters, though clean and up-to-date, were decidedly cramped. The floor space in the rooms was covered with Japanese tatamis, rush mats about 1.5” thick and exactly 6 ft. x 3 ft. in size, and on arrival each internee was allocated to his particular tatami. Most of the rooms were small ones containing three such tatamis for three internees, but there were larger ones containing eight or ten. Each internee was issued with a set of Japanese bedding consisting of a thin kapok mattress and a larger kapok quilt for covering. Besides this those who did not possess blankets were each issued with one. For this generous provision of bedding we had reason to be unspeakably grateful, because during the long winter of many months the temperature remains well blow freezing point. Occasionally there were over twenty degrees of frost; the whole countryside being covered with deep hard snow. Even with the warm bedding provided and crowded together as we wore, many were kept awake at night because of the cold. This was also a major problem during the day. Between reveille and light-out the bedding could not be leaned against or sat upon; it had to be stacked in one neat pile in the corner of the room. During those hours we were not allowed to lie down or to cover ourselves above the hips, even with our own private blankets. The central heating system was only used during the coldest weeks and during the last winter the furnace was only lit on days when the cold was really unbearable. Our hands became covered with chilblains which made it very difficult to work. Generally speaking our washing had to be done in ice-cold water with little or no soap. (Incidentally only 59 cakes of soap were provided for the whole camp throughout the entire period.)
Medical and dental treatment were not given except in extreme emergencies. For instance, application for a repair of the denture of an elderly lady internee was consistently rejected for over eighteen months. After peace came the necessary repair was affected within 24 hours.
The most serious problem was the food. So little of this was provided that most internees lost 30% of their weight. I myself dropped from fourteen stone to nine stone. Weeds from the garden, when available, were mere than welcome. During the latter months we were given bread and water only, six to eight ounces of bread being the ration for each of the three meals. Had it not been for the ten Red Cross parcels we received, particularly the five which arrived just before last winter, we certainly could not have survived.
Practically no clothing was provided even for those who had been pulled out of the sea with nothing. The Germans had given them a few old garments, but apart from what they stood up in, they were destitute. Had it not been that some of the passengers had been able to salvage a surplus and give out to the more needy ones, some would surely have died during the bitter winters. Incidentally, many went through the first winter with no shoes whatsoever.
Until March 1944 we were kept out of touch with the outside world and neither the Red Cross nor our neutral representatives were informed of our existence or whereabouts. This precluded us from receiving food parcels, books, comforts and the like. It was only after the above date that we were allowed to have newspapers from time to time and to write a short monthly letter home. Joyce and I received no letters the whole time we were there, but towards the end we received three cables between the two of us..
No common room was provided and for our amusement we had only the few books we had brought with us and what games we were able to make ourselves with the very few tools and materials we ourselves possessed. After March 1944 some books and games were provided by various relief organisations. There was a period when we could read books only during the short time in the day specially sat aside for that purpose. We were kept in the garden for many hours each day even when the weather was quite unsuitable, if not dangerous. Those who tried to get indoors before the official re-entry were punished.
We were constantly kept under the observation of the guards and harsh punishments were daily administered for minor infringements of the hundred and seventy petty regulations imposed upon us. Internees who defaulted were made to stand or kneel in front of the main office door for hours on end, sometimes all day and all night. Both men and women were frequently beaten and kicked most brutally. The authorities did not seem able to grasp the fact that we were other than criminal prisoners and that we were being held in their custody by reciprocal arrangements. All of us were subjected to countless indignities, especially the women. Any appearance of joy or exuberance was never encouraged. One of the regulations was that internees must not look happy. The women were once told that their food ration wasbeing out from three slices of bread to two because they were far too happy in view of their standing as interned enemy nationals.
The Japanese simply loved regimenting us on all possible occasions, especially at morning and evening roll calls, daily church service and when we were in the garden for ‘exercises’.
The following incident which concerns me was typical of countless others and space to record it is only taken in an attempt to give you an accurate impression of the atmosphere of pettiness which surrounded us throughout.
One morning on my way to the clothes line, I was chewing a small piece of bread; the last bite of my breakfast. I met a guard and saluted him. (On meeting any guard we always had to give the ceremonial bow.) Noticing I had something in my mouth he angrily accosted me. With some difficulty he attempted a lose inspection of my mouth and later dragged me to the office. The crime was enthusiastically explained in vigorous Japanese, whereupon the commandant asked me if I were not a teacher of religion. I replied that I was a missionary. He then asked me, through the interpreter, how I could consider such a position consistent with eating while I was walking. I replied that I saw no inconsistency. Did I not know that there was a regulation that we were not to eat in the garden? After answering in the negative, quite truthfully, I was told to stand at attention with my face six inches from the wall until I did remember the regulation. After fifteen minutes I turned and said that I was sorry that I had offended them. (This sometimes succeeded in closing enquiries, if the guards were in the right mood.) Again, however, the matter of remembering the regulation was pressed and once again I was told to stand until the desired revelation came. This kind of thing went on for some time, all of us appearing most solemn, and later the commandant turned to mocking at my religion. He tried, unsuccessfully, to make me kneel down in the office and call upon my God; all the guards who were present jeeringly participating in the fun. While this was in progress, one of the elderly women internees was roughly brought into the office and angrily shouted at for infringing some other so-called regulation. She also protested that she did not know that she was defaulting in what she had done and she was made to stand at attention while the regulation book was exhaustively searched. The search proved unfruitful and she was later dismissed with a warning to be more careful, and having been told that the regulation she had broken was going to be made that day! All this time I was still standing with my face to the wall. Later the sergeant called me and discussed the matter of the bread eating. He told me that, though there was no actual regulation against what I had done, I would have to realise that breach of customs was also punishable, as well as breach of regulations. Thereupon I was dismissed and bowd my way out of the office. Altogether I had been kept there for two and a half hours, two hours of which I had been standing in the position described.
We shall not take time to describe the serious cases of brutal treatment which took place in the camp. Suffice to say that often severe injuries and sicknesses were caused by it to men, women, and even children.
One of our greatest trials was that husbands were separated from their wives and children by steel doors and all communications between them were forbidden. Suspected infringements of this regulation often precipitated long and nerve racking enquiries and third degree methods were used. Evidence as well as confessions were extracted by starvings, torturings and beatings. We might add that it was a punishable offence to acknowledge in any way one’s own wife should she happen to be seen in the women’s section of the garden. While the men were gardening the women were ordered to close the shutters of their windows.
I should, perhaps, say that it has not been our desire to paint a black picture, but simply to give an accurate impression of the conditions in which we found Christ’s grace sufficient. There were slight improvements in the above circumstances from time to time and under various commandants, and I assure you that for these we were quick to give God thanks.
Being civilian internees, we were not usually forced to work, but simply had to keep the premises clean, inside and out. Quite a number, however, did volunteer to do bag making in order to keep their minds occupied. We ourselves were kept busy with our meetings, Bible study, and language study. (Fortunately we had a Hindustani grammar with us as well as Hindustani scriptures.) Then, besides, we spent many hours making our regulation Japanese slippers, and also in patching our well-worn garments. When she was not ill, Joyce spent several hours each day giving school lessons–a real link with the old days.
Throughout most of the time Joyce was harassed by severe asthma trouble ,attributable largely to the unfavourable climatic conditions, but certainly precipitated by the intense nervous strain. Once she had to spend a period of nine months in bed and there were other shorter periods. It was only a few weeks before we left the camp that she was able to lie down at night. Prior to this for nearly three years she had had to sit up in bed throughout each night in order to get sufficient breath. Very often she had quite serious attacks, sometimes they were really dangerous in view of her run-down general condition. We might mention that even when her case was so serious that two internee nurses thought that she could not last another hour, the Japanese did not so much as inform me that she was ill. We do wish to tell you, however, that, in some matters, the authorities showed most unusual consideration to Joyce, providing her with a semi-private apartment; a brassiere in the winter time and a small bottle of milk daily for sixteen months. This was a most noticeable exception to the rule, and we can only attribute it to God’s faithful overruling in answer to the prayers of His children. We desire here to pay a sincere tribute of heartfelt appreciation to the aforementioned Miss Law whose skilled, unsparing attention meant more than we can say. We know that she would not have us enumerate details, but we remember, and God will reward.
What we desire to tell you most of all is concerning the way we were blessed in spiritual things. You will imagine how we rejoiced when we read the following words right at the head of the list of details concerning camp treatment: “Religious freedom will be granted to all internees at all times.”
We must say that with very few exceptions this concession was consistently allowed during the whole period. Indeed, many of us can look back on the time as providing in some respects a three years retreat for Bible study and spiritual training. A number of our fellow-internees, about twelve altogether, professed conversion through the witness we were privileged and enabled to give, and on the men’s side for most of the time we had a happy group of eight, or nine who were really out and out for the Lord. We had three, or four meetings each day for prayer and Bible-study, the mid-day prayer meeting, we feel, being particularly important.
Here, I believe, a very vital matter should be mentioned. Some of us felt that our little group had been deliberately placed there of the Lord, mainly to fulfil an executive prayer ministry, right in the heart of enemy territory. Never before, even in India, had we been in a situation where we were made to feel so intensely the oppression from the organised hosts of darkness. Japan is certainly a heathen country, her remarkably sudden advancement and her great display of superficial civilisation being something which we feel has particularly Satanic characteristics, reminding us of Gen. 3:5; Isa. 14:13 and 14, and Ezek. 28:16 and 17. While we were there this ‘Land of Lucifer’ was throwing all her power into the greatest war in history. You will imagine what the atmosphere was like. This war in its real essence was spiritual, and expressive of the devil’s rage against the growing manifestation of Christ’s Kingdom in His saints on earth. We believe that this was the explanation of the resistance we felt. Apart from the Japanese element, however, we were in our camp, battling against intense worldliness, modernism, confucianism, and mohommedanism, besides a very strong element of atheism and communism. It was in the midst of all this that we continually gathered for united prayer, taking hold together of Christ’s resurrection life by the Spirit, and pleading the power of the Name of Jesus over all the evil hosts around us. It was a privilege to have such a ministry even where Satan’s seat is and touching what we believe was the real background of everything. God, alone knows what was wrought.
We regularly gathered together simply as being part of Christ’s Church at Fukushima. Four of our number were prayerfully appointed and duly recognised as elders and we believe that our very existence there as representative of Christ’s body ,and in fact of the King Himself, was itself significant. Every Sunday morning we gathered around the Lord’s table to keep the dear commanded Feast and we shall never forget the amazing sense of His blessed and all-understanding presence. Incidentally, the way the Lord made provision for the ‘wine’ on those occasions was very wonderful.
A specially happy time was when four of our young men, who had been converted amongst us, were baptised by immersion in the camp bathroom, before a small representative group of witnesses. We, shall never forget the joy in their faces as they gave testimony to their death and resurrection with Christ, and later to their oneness with us in His body. Incidentally, it was remarkable how the Lord provided these converts with copies of the sacred scriptures. At the time of their conversion of course, they did not have their own copies, but we made it a definite matter of prayer. It was like asking for the impossible for prisoners to pray for Bibles in Japan, especially when practically nothing was coming to us from the outside world, but we knew that our God was the God of the impossible. A short time afterwards, to the great joy of all, a box arrived from the Y.M.C.A. in Tokio, containing, amongst other things, about twenty Bibles and concordances! God is faithful.
Reverting to the matter of the baptisms… It was very noticeable how the enemy immediately reacted to this. The Japanese authorities put ‘out-of-bounds’ the little upstairs landing which was being constantly used by us as the only suitable place in the building for prayer meetings, devotions, personal talks, etc. We felt totally lost without such a resort and so unitedly in the Name of Jesus we claimed God’s intervention. Shortly afterwards the authorities themselves approached us and offered us the landing for Bible study, prayer, etc., at the same time keeping it out-of-bounds to the other internees. Thus it was we gained extra privacy through God’s definite over-ruling of a Satanic interference.
At our morning Bible classes we pursued extensive studies in all the main subjects of Scriptures, such as faith, sanctification, the blood, etc. Some subjects, such as the church, spirit, soul and body and the baptism in the Spirit would occupy us for a fortnight, or even for a month. We certainly have most happy memories of those times spent in searching God’s Word together.
We might say that from the beginning we were engaged in a fierce battle against the subtle anti-Christ influences of an extreme and brazen modernism, which was being propagated in the daily official camp services, and which was a glaring example of the utterly apostate Christianity of these end days. We recognised this right from the start and our instructions from the Lord were, “From such withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:5). This we did in spite of the cost and misunderstanding and never once did we regret the stand we took.
Our absence was repeatedly questioned, but when answering these criticisms we were able to speak plainly of the Deity and Messiahship of Christ which, though frantically, and yet subtly, denied by the devil, is the very heart of that miracle-working Christian gospel, which is the only hope for dying men. There were deep heartbreaks in this matter which cannot be told just now, but God knows, and we leave it all to Him.
For most of the time we held a special Gospel service for the men each Saturday evening in one of the larger rooms. Much interest was shown as from week to week we announced such subjects as, ‘How to be happy in prison’, ‘The greatest magnet in the Universe’, ‘Ants, rabbits, locusts and spiders’ (see Proverbs 30:25-28), and many others. These were times of real heart-searching, but while many obviously convicted of sin, only a few were willing to pay the price of identifying themselves with our closely marked and unwanted group. The down-drag of the world was an influence which seemed doubly strong and subtle in our extenuated and nerve-racking circumstances, and we had to watch some sad cases of back-sliding amongst those who did profess to accept the Lord.
Permission to use this room for Gospel services was later withdrawn, but we immediately prayed that the Lord would thereupon open another door for an even wider Gospel testimony. This He did in a very remarkable way, as we shall now describe. Towards the end of 1944, the help of some of our number was sought for a Christmas concert which, to our great delight, was to be granted to the internees, the women also being allowed to be present. Those concerned consented to participate, provided the concert were of a wholesome character. Later on an unclean item was introduced and our brothers warned the committee that if this were not deleted from the programme they would have to withdraw. This caused much criticism and greatly intensified the ill-feeling against our little circle as a whole. The committee refused to yield and in fact asked our entire group to keep away from the concert altogether, so that they could feel free to have what they really wanted. This we happily agreed to do. We did, however, take the opportunity to ask the Japanese commandant, if, while the concert was in progress, we might be allowed to meet with our women folk in one of the dining rooms for Bible reading and fellowship. To our great joy we were told we could meet together in the church on that occasion. As you can imagine we had a wonderful time! Our first real opportunity of worship together. When later thanking the commandant we asked if we might be allowed to have a weekly worship meeting together in one of the downstairs rooms. In reply the commandant actually insisted that we be given our due share of the daily church services in the camp. For various reasons we had not done this at the beginning, but we now felt that God’s time had come. Thereafter we were responsible for the service on alternate days, (it was every day right at the end) and thus we were able to give out the Gospel three or four times a week, not only to the men, but also to the women and children, to say nothing of the two Japanese interpreters, who were frequently present and showed real interest. Thus it was that God answered our prayers for a wider Gospel testimony.
During the whole time the sisters were also conducting their daily prayer meetings and Bible-classes, and also a regular Sunday School amongst the little group of fifteen children, mostly Chinese and Malays. It is very blessed to think that the very first songs these little ones ever learnt were our well-known and much-loved C.S.S.M. choruses and it often gladdened us to hear them singing them at times when we were finding that the way was hard. We have reason to believe that some of their little hearts were truly opened to the Saviour.
How much our blessed Lord became endeared to us throughout this time. We came to know Him as that blessed, living Man of sorrows, our great High Priest, tempted in all points like as we are, touched with the feeling of our infirmities and able to save … to the uttermost.
Now let us tell you how our wonderful and much prayed for deliverance eventually came. Towards the end, as previously mentioned, we were living simply on bread and water, and everybody was saying that we could not last through another winter. Days and nights were being spent in the air-raid shelters and many towns and cities were being devastated all around us by hundreds and thousands of Allied bombers. It seemed our bodies and minds had been strained to the utmost limits, but in our spirits we still held on believing the precious promises. We might say here that although Allied reconnaissance planes were over us nearly all the time, only one actual bomb was dropped in Fukushima itself, about one mile from our building. We heard later that though of considerable importance, Fukushima was one of the sixteen towns which had not been blitzed, but that it was due for bombing at about the time that the Japanese capitulated. One of our chief burdens was concerning all our loved ones. We knew how anxious they would be about us in view of the intensified bombings and this, after years of vainly trying to visualise our circumstances, might be more than they could bear. The anxiety, of course, reacted on ourselves. All we could do was to cast our burden on the Lord and we can testify that He sustained us. For months we had been feeling that the end was very near. Japan could not fight on; there were signs to that effect on every hand; empty larders; homeless millions; and an obviously defeated army, navy and air force. How eagerly we listened to the news which we were managing to obtain by a certain secret method.
At last there came a day when a special broadcast was to be made to the Japanese people. Our camp programme was adjusted so as to enable all the Japanese people on the compound to attend. The national anthem was played and a very solemn speech followed. During this speech all the assembled Japanese stood at attention with bowed heads. This indicated that the speech was coming from the emperor himself. Some who listened were in tears. Most of the internees said they thought it must be a royal funeral, but the strange thing was that it coincided with a number of vague, but exciting, rumours which ware reaching us from various quarters. Something seemed to have come over the camp. The Japanese people, inside and outside, seemed different towards us. Was it peace? That, of course, was the question in every heart.
Next morning a Japanese newspaper, printed in the Chinese characters, was secretly brought to the room of one of the internees, a British vice-consul from China. A few minutes afterwards his door was opened and the news was out. The Japanese had surrendered, our people were victorious. Peace had come to the world. We were free!
What rejoicings throughout the camp. Our little group was quick to gather on the familiar little attic staircase where we had prayed so often; now to give praise to Him Who had so wrought for us.
The Japanese said nothing to us that day, but the following day, all the internees were assembled in the Greek room and told of what had transpired! O, the joy! Who can describe it?
Food in unprecedented quantities was brought into the camp (army stores they told us). Husbands and wives were allowed to meet as often as they wished, and in fact arrangements were quickly made for them actually to live together. A huge ‘P.W.’ sign was put in the garden to indicate to aeroplanes that it was a prisoner-of-war camp, and squadrons of American ship-board planes came to us with supplies. Time and time again they would roar over our roof, acknowledging our excited waving, dropping food parcels and messages and also newspapers printed that morning on their giant aircraft-carriers. Then, dipping their wings merrily from side to side they would finally make off to visit and cheer some other camp. Sometimes huge Superfortresses would circle majestically over us and then drop down low to pass right over the building. Again they would climb high to drop their welcome gifts onto the open ground of a near-by racecourse. What a sight it would be! Twenty or thirty parachutes, all of different colours, would simultaneously be released from the undercarriage of our giant benefactor, each one carrying many hundredweights of the lovely things we had been dreaming of for over three years. It all seemed too wonderful to be true; that is all we can say.
The Japanese officials seamed terrified of what was going to happen to them and they could not do too much to try to get into our favour. We were taken round the district in conducted parties and went on shopping expeditions into the nearby town. I say shopping expeditions, but really there was nothing to buy. Nearly all the tradesmen had had to close their shops and go off to the war and the few that remained seemed to have nothing to offer except little oddments such as paper, string, etc.We were not recovered into Allied hands till about five weeks after the cessation of hostilities. During that time we climbed the neighbouring hillsides, visited the shrines, and underneath the shade of the cherry trees we placed flowers on the graves of some of our fellow internees who had died whilst in the camp.
Two of our number who were very seriously ill at this time were taken to the hospital and given private wards with special attendants to look after them. Official motor cars were put at our disposal to visit them three times a day and also to go sight-seeing in the district.
To our great joy we were brought into contact with a dear young Japanese brother, a really enthusiastic Christian, evidently filled with the Spirit. He was so happy to meet us, having been fighting a very lonely battle amongst his own people, and was most radiant as he took part in our services in the camp. At the week-end he took some of our number to his country home, about forty miles away, and enabled them to see something of life in a Japanese village. The Japanese authorities tried to make it difficult for him, but he was quite fearless. We commend him to your prayers. We had prayed that the Lord would lead us to someone who would be able to continue the local testimony when we left and we believe that Brother Nishio is God’s answer to that prayer. Please bear him up before the Throne.
As you can imagine, we were longing to commence our homeward journey. The thought of being in friendly hands again almost overwhelmed us. Rumours were legion, and again and again our hopes were deferred. Then at last came the 11th September, when, at ten o’clock in the morning we were suddenly told to get ready for leaving after lunch. Feverishly we packed our belongings and sure enough early in the afternoon we were speeding away in the train. We were brought in third class, but we went out first class. Truly our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with singing! What a redemption it was! How much we were reminded of another and infinitely greater redemption, which had previously been wrought in our spirits through faith in the blessed Gospel of God’s Son.
Our special train sped through the beautiful mountainous country of inland Japan and soon we reached Sendai, an important seaport fifty miles or so away. Here we were able to see with our own eyes the devastating effect of the tremendous Allied air-raids; all the buildings of any significance in the city being totally burnt out. It was as we drew into the railway station that we first contacted members of the Allied forces; and it certainly was a great joy to see them there, standing guard on the platform, with their rifles and tommy-guns under their arms. With what warmth and enthusiasm we shook each other’s hands. We could not help thinking of the tremendous price which they and countless others had had to pay to come to our relief.
Ambulance cars took us to the actual place on the seashore where we boarded a large modern tank-landing craft or barge, on which we were taken out to the hospital ship Rescue. What great kindnesses were shown us even there on the barge; apparently infinite supplies of beautiful milky coffee, tomato soup, biscuits, sweets, etc. being made available to us. We were certainly made to realise that we were really among friends at last.
On the hospital ship, Rescue, we went through an elaborate cleansing process and were refitted with new clothes, our old ones being destroyed immediately. We were asked to state the destination to which we desired to be repatriated. We had prayed much about it and had felt that the Lord would have us go straight to our fellow-workers in India, so with happy anticipations we filled in our papers to that effect. Particulars were taken for cables which were immediately to be sent to our loved ones, telling that we were at last actually in Allied hands.
We met a fine American Christian on the Rescue, a young man who knew many of our friends, including an old Colony student, who had also bean taken prisoner while serving with the Indian forces, and who had passed through their hands a week or so previously. Our American brother was so happy to meet the Christians from our camp and rejoiced to hear of the Lord’s work among us.
After a night on the Rescue we were taken aboard the Australian destroyer, Warramunga, which then sped us at a rate of 37 knots into Tokio Bay. It was a great joy to Joyce to meet so many Australians with up-to-date news of her beloved homeland. A number of the crew were from Queensland; indirect friends and even relations being among them.
What a spectacle awaited us as we actually entered Tokio Bay late that afternoon. The sun, already lowering in the west, was shining brilliantly through the swiftly moving clouds and lighting up the huge gunwales of countless Allied warships, all of which were lying peacefully at anchor on a sea of shimmering gold. We could distinguish giant battleships, large and small aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, supply ships, minesweepers, transporters and in fact all kinds of war-craft conceivable, all of which seemed to form one majestic cordon, down which we passed to our place of berthing. Sirens were sounding and crews were cheering lustily from all sides, and every face we saw seemed lit with joy. All seemed to find something of a reward for their sacrifices in the feebler but heartfelt cheers with which we acknowledged their welcome. It certainly was a triumphant return to a very different Yokohama from the one we had left.
That night we were transferred to a huge American depot ship, which had been adapted to receive prisoners and after a hasty evening meal the women were again transferred to another hospital ship, the Marigold, in order that they might have more comfortable quarters for the night. It seemed so strange that at long last we were again among those who showed consideration for the weaker sex, for in Japan the order had always been, men first, children second, and women last—if anywhere at all!
The next morning we met our women-folk at one of the huge storage sheds farther down the wharf. This had been adapted as a receiving depot and distributing centre for the hundreds of prisoners who were arriving daily from all parts of the country. Throughout the day we mingled with scores and scores of haggard, but happy prisoners released from the various camps. We could hardly believe that we were all about to be allocated to the particular plane or ship which was to take us out of Japan. Quite early in the day we had the joy of meeting another Christian brother, an American, serving on one of the hospital ships. He also showed great joy in meeting our little group and brought along an unconverted friend of his who had long resisted the Gospel, in order that we might give our testimonies to him and urge him to step over the line. The brother himself had long been the lone witness on his ship.
That morning we had been told that we were to be flown to Manila, but towards the end of the day we were conducted to another landing barge, which took us, together with all the other British repatriates, to the British air-craft carrier Ruler. She was anchored between the American Missouri and the British King George the Fifth, the Australian Shropshire being nearby. Small motor boats took us from our landing barge to the Ruler and soon we were climbing the illuminated gangway at the head of which immaculately clad naval officers were waiting to receive us. We were ushered onto the hanger deck, just below the flight deck. This had been cleared for the occasion and its tremendous proportions positively staggered us. It seemed like a huge steel auditorium and the few planes anchored at the farther end appeared like mere toys. There in the hanger deck we received an unforgettable welcome from the officers and men and were then conducted to our respective quarters. The women were housed in officers’ cabins which had been vacated for the purpose, and we were made as comfortable as possible in the messes belonging to the crew.
Two days later, on the 15th September, and amidst the ceremonial cheers from the entire crews of the gallant Shropshire and the lordly King George the Fifth, we moved off. The word went round that we were bound for Sydney, whence we would be re-shipped to our respective destinations. We were told moreover that we would be calling at Manus and that any home mail that we prepared could be flown from there.
One sorrow we had on leaving Yokohama was that two of our number were too ill to travel with the rest of us and had to be left to follow on hospital ships. The two in question were Audrey Jeffery, who had been Joyce’s special partner right from the beginning, and Ben Johnson, a faithful old West African brother, a fireman in the Greek crew interned with us at Fukushima. We were so glad they had the extra comforts and attention on the hospital ships and they were certainly in our constant prayers.
There were over 500 released prisoners on board the Ruler and amongst them we were delighted to find two other Christians. They had been alone in their camps and were overjoyed at the opportunities of Christian fellowship again. On the Ruler we were again able to hold daily Bible classes, the air-conditioned pilot’s ready room being put at our disposal for this purpose for half an hour each day. (A ready room is a room on an aircraft carrier where on-duty pilots ‘stand by’ their aeroplanes.) It was a special joy to have our sisters with us on these occasions, our first united Bible classes since the Nankin days.
We shall never forget our quick voyage down to Australia. O, the happy thoughts as we sped southwards, crossed the equator, made our call at the Admiralty Islands and continued down the east coast of Australia.
We eventually arrived at Sydney on the 27th September, 16 days after leaving Fukushima and a wonderful welcome was accorded to us. Ours was the first ship to arrive from Japan with released prisoners. Sirens were sounding, crowds were cheering, bands were playing and journalists were rushing here and there, seeking our stories. We were very fortunate in having Dr. Harold Dart of the Sydney Rescue Mission to give us a truly brotherly welcome back in the name of the Lord. He is Joyce’s cousin and we stayed in his lovely Christian home for a few days while we were busy going through various official immigration formalities and making arrangements with the Red Cross who were there responsible for civilian repatriates. Upon enquiry we found that it would probably be some time before we could get a ship on to India, so it would be quite in order for us to proceed to Joyce’s home in Queensland pending instructions for re-shipment.
During our short stay in Sydney we had great joy in renewing contacts with several dear friends we had got to know when there before and who had been faithfully praying for us during the intervening 3½ years. A happy little group of them saw us off at the central station and the following day, September 30th, we were met by the dear home folks themselves. Who could describe the joy of that meeting, for we were virtually being given back to them from the dead, amongst whom it had really seemed we were for many, many months.
To our great joy a few letters were waiting for us from friends who had guessed we might come this way. What a joy it was to be opening our very first letters for 3 years. One was from dear Brother Flack, still just the same as ever, rejoicing in the Lord, and in the army!! He was, however, still in close touch with the work in India and the news he sent me really cheered my heart as I heard how faithfully God had answered our prayers. The news which all these letters contained was so wonderful, seeming to finally unlock the door to our own ‘world’ again and bringing a sense of freedom and fellowship infinitely deeper and richer even than our actual emergence into Allied hands.
We are now daily expecting instructions to return to Sydney and embark again for India and we believe the Lord will take us on to meet our loved ones in England in the near future, all in His own good time. It will soon be nine years since I left and you can imagine how I long for the re-union again.
Again let us thank you all for your faithful prayers. Our testimony is that, “He stayeth the rough wind in the day of His east wind” (Isa. 27:8), our favourite verse in Japan. Also we believe He has given us more of those ‘hidden treasures of secret places’.
In the everlasting bonds of the one resurrection body,
JOYCE AND RAYMOND,
(“Joymond” in our telegrams)