Debi Pearl: Pop and I are going to record, so y’all go ahead and shut the door.
Child 1: I’m going to go sit on the front porch and read a book. Oh, but we won’t have fun without you.
Announcer: Welcome to our vintage archives collection. For a special treat, we are releasing the inspirational testimony of missionary and former prisoner of war, Darlene Rose in five, nice little bite‑size pieces. Here is this week’s offering.
Darlene Rose: I only know this. That from that moment on, that man was my friend. He made me head over the whole camp toward the end, after the bombings. I think that’s what he was telling those men, because they became very quiet and their heads went down.
I didn’t know at the time, but he had…these men had been up to the camp and told Mr. Yamaji and the women that I was never to be returned to the camp, because I was dying of tuberculosis, they said. Not wanting them to know that I was to be beheaded.
Mr. Yamaji came back into the cell and he looked down at me. And he said, “Oh, you are very ill, aren’t you? And I said, “Sir, I am.” He said, “I’m going back to the camp now, and I just wanted to know if there was any word you had for the women. Everybody’s asking about where you are, what’s happened to you.”
And I said, “Mr. Yamaji, when you go back, would you tell those women that I am all right. And they will understand. And I think, Mr. Yamaji, you will understand I’m all right, because I’m still trusting in the Lord.” He nodded to me. He turned. He walked out of the cell.
The door was locked, and as soon as I heard them going, I remembered I hadn’t bowed to those Kempeitai men. Oh, the fear that came over me, and I said, “God! Please, why didn’t you help me to remember? Because just as soon as Mr. Yamaji’s gone, that guard’s going to come back here, and he’s going to get me and he’s going to take me back to the hearing room. And please, God, I don’t want to go back there any more.”
Then I heard the guard coming. So I stood up. And I said, “Lord, once more, please. Help me not to shed any tears.” The door opened, and in walked the guard. They just laid them all out on the floor in front of me. He said, “They’re all yours. They’re all from Mr. Yamaji.”
You know what they were, don’t you? They were bananas. [laughter]
I don’t know how you would feel, but never in my walk with my Lord have I felt so shamed before him. I just pushed them over in the corner after counting them. There were 92 bananas. [laughter]
And I said, “Lord, I don’t have any right to eat those.” I said, “Yesterday, I was telling you ‑‑ here they are. Poor people, and that’s all. There’s no way you could get a banana in here to me.” And I said, “Lord, look what you’ve done.” I said, “It’s almost a hundred‑fold.” So sweetly the Lord said to me, “But my child, that’s the way I delight to do things. The exceeding abundant, above anything you ask or think.”
Then I wanted to eat them all at once. [laughter] I knew I didn’t dare to, because I knew that I would be eating it off the floor again if I did. I said, “Lord, I don’t have much character, but would you just help me to not eat any more bananas than my body can assimilate at each time.”
One day, I was very ill, and I hardly had the strength to get up off the floor. I would crawl over and I would get the bananas. They were black now, and I’d take one and then two. And then I would leave it. I sat there realizing that if they didn’t behead me, that I probably would die anyway, of starvation. I was that sick.
All of a sudden, I heard the most beautiful singing. It was like an angel chorus. Someone was singing outside. It was singing in the Indonesian language, because it’s so beautiful there. Oh, how sweet the name ‑‑ the name of Jesus. It’s like a refuge in time of trouble.
And my heart just swelled when I heard those words. I said, “Lord, I’m still under the shadow of your wings.” I climbed up to the transom above the door, and I thought, “Whoever that is out there, I would like to see their face. I would like to hear them singing.” When I got up there and I leaned out and I looked in every direction. There was no one there except a guard, and the girl from the desk. And they were talking and laughing. They weren’t hearing that singing.
And suddenly great awe came over me. I got down, out the door. I said, “Lord, that was an angel singing, wasn’t it?”
The voice went on. It sang to me until my heart thrilled with his presence. I was telling this to Dr. A. W. Tozer. I don’t know if you know him. He was a great man of God. He said to me, “Girl, did you ever think that that was an angel?” I said, “Yes, I did. There was no one there, and yet that voice was singing to me.”
One day the Lord began to speak to me from three phrases of a verse that says, “Who delivered ‑‑ delivered from so great a death? Who delivered, and doth deliver, he will yet deliver.” And I said, “Lord, I know you’ve delivered me from the law of sin and death. I know that I belong to you. And up to this moment you have kept me.” And he would go right back to the beginning and say, “Who delivered and doth deliver, he will yet deliver.”
And I say, “God, how could you get me out of this place?”
And God was trying to make me to know that day, when I picked up the last banana and I peeled it, here came the guard. And he said, “Quickly. We’re going to take you somewhere else.” When we started out in that car to go back to the camp, we would had to have turned left, and we didn’t. We went right to the Gestapo headquarters. We spoke of it as the “Gestapo,” because it was patterned after the German Gestapo.
We went right to the headquarters. We were taken into a room. Miss Camp and Miss Seely were told to sign ‑‑ write out and sign a paper, how grateful they were to the Imperial Japanese Army for being so kind to them and for having forgiven them. And because they were going to release them. And Margaret was so shaky, she couldn’t write. She turned to me, and she said, “Darlene, would you write this for [cuts off]
Thanks for being so kind to us and for forgiving us. And went on to say that they were grateful to the Imperial Japanese Army for their goodness.
And then the two of them had to put their thumb print on it. Then the man came over to me. They were taken into the other part of the headquarters building. I was there where the executions took place. He walked up in front of me, the brains of the team.
He held out this big sheaf of papers ‑‑ all the things that he’d written. He went through them. He said I was guilty of having had a radio. That I had been in contact with the allies. I’d reported on troop movements. That I knew where the allies were and the Japanese, and that I had been giving all of this information to their enemy.
Then he looked at me and he said, “You have done those things worthy of death,” and drew his finger across his throat and grabbed his sword at his side. He began to pull it out. While that sword was coming out, my heart was singing, “I live for him who died for me.” I said, “Lord, that’s a strange song when I’m going to die.”
And just as he was beginning to pull that out of there, I suddenly heard sound of vehicles ‑‑ of all kinds of vehicles running up to the front of that building, honking their horns, screeching their brakes, and they ran into the building. It was ceramic tile on the floor. They wore the high jackboots with the leather heels. They were running back and forth and yelling and yelling for this man.
He shoved that back down into the sheathe, and then he ran into the headquarters. They were talking in there at the top of their lungs. I stood there and waited. Somebody said, “Why didn’t you run away?” Where would you run to? There’s no place to run.
I stood there quietly waiting for him to come back to finish the execution.
Suddenly he came. He grabbed a hold of my arm. He took me out and put me into a car. Soldiers jumped in behind me. He jumped in, and then he put two bottles of wine. He said, “When you get back, you give those to Mr. Yamaji.” We were going like we were top secret material.
I don’t know what happened that day. I only know that when we lost all of our men, and others of those godly missionaries died, somehow in the providence of God, he spared me. I vowed that day for any days that were ever left to me, they were all his.
When we got back to the camp, and we were just across the moat and go in the gate, that man behind me, who was the brains of this team that had been trying me. He reached up and my arm was just ‑‑ the bone was skin drawn over it. He grabbed my arm, and I was sure he was going to break it. I bit my lip trying to keep from screaming ‑‑ it hurt so bad as he twisted it.
He said, “If you ever tell anybody anything that’s happened to you, I’ll be back and I will get you.” Oh, the fear that came over me, thinking I wasn’t free of them. When we got there, I just motioned for someone to come, “Please take Miss Camp and Miss Seely.”
They put Miss Camp in the hospital. She weighed in at 90 pounds. And Miss Seely was so bad that she was beginning to run away and do terrible things. So they took her down and put her in a little shed that had bars in front of it so that she couldn’t get out. And they locked the door on her.”
I started back. Nobody seemed to be ‑‑ even had the courage to come and say, “We’re glad you’re back. I looked at them as soon as I got around the bend, so that nobody from the office could see. Ruth Press would put her arm around me, and she took me in. I saw that her mirror was hanging there. I looked in it, and I said, “Ruth, my hair!” It was white.
She just nodded, and the tears started down over her cheeks.
When they weighed me, I weighed 60 pounds. I had just left her, and all of a sudden, here came a woman who had been a prostitute for the Japanese. Everybody feared her. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with her. There she was, and she motioned for me to come out into the little dining area.
Here she had a washcloth. I saw my name embroidered on it. She said, “I was down in prison, too, and your Indonesian friend, Visha, was in the cell with me.” And she said, “I asked her if she wanted to send anything to you. So she made this for you,” and there was my name embroidered on it.
I knew she was trying to trick me, and I remembered the words of that man, “If you ever have contact with anybody outside of this camp, I’ll get you the next time.” I said, “Mrs. Claus, I am not going to take that.” She said, “You have to take it.” I said, “No, I don’t have to take that.” I said, “They told me I could have nothing to do with anybody outside.” I said, “You’re trying to trick me.”
She was so angry with me. She was absolutely white. She was screaming at me. She said, “I risked my life to bring to that to you.”
Mrs. Presswood heard her. She came out. She said, “What’s the matter, Darlene?” I started to cry. I said, “She’s trying to trick me. She brought this. She’s trying to make it appear that I had contact with Visha.”
And Mrs. Presswood reached over and grabbed her arm. She said, “If I ever see you near her again, I don’t know what I’m going to do to you.”
And fear came on me. Fear that I was going to be taken back again. Days I would go out and I would work, and I’d come home. I didn’t dare to sleep. I was afraid I was going to lose my mind and I would go to the hospital. Margaret Camp’s memory was gone. And I would go down and I asked if I could work with the chickens, because I could be near Miss Seely.
I could hear her in there, and I would go up and try to put my hands around hers and talk to her. Then I would turn away, and I’d think, “God, look at these women. Women of such faith, and who am I? I’m the youngest of all of them. Look at these women of such tremendous faith, so broken, Father.”
That fear stayed with me. I didn’t care to go to sleep at night. One day, two days, three days, four days, five days I worked, and at night, I couldn’t sleep. I was afraid to. I was afraid my mind would go while I was sleeping. I would just drop off to sleep and then I’d wake up. I was just perspired because of the fear that was on me.
I would sit up, and I’d say, “Lord, I’ve tried to trust you. I’ve tried in every way I could to be a good soldier for you. And please, Lord, I can’t go on any longer.” Then I walked out of the barracks one morning and I said, “I’ve no more strength, Father.” I said, “I’ve tried with everything that was within me to reach up to you, and I don’t know where you are anymore.”
I threw up my arms and I said, “I’m gone. I’m gone.” It was like arms went underneath me. I suddenly began to sing, “Underneath the ‑‑ oh, how precious, you have to not to mount on high, but to rest upon his promise in a trustful, resting lie.” And I saw it. He wanted to teach me you can’t mount up to God. Your own righteousness is like filthy rags. Rest upon your God, for underneath are always and ever, the everlasting arms of God.
We had had bombings every year, and we dug our own slit trenches to try to be protected in a measure from the shrapnel that came into the camp.
Then one day we looked up and we saw planes coming over. One of them separated from the other planes, and he came down and he came right over the camp. He dropped something. I looked and I saw a large thing that I didn’t know what it was. It turned out to be an auxiliary gasoline tank.
I felt so angry, because when I looked up, who was dropping this? There was the American insignia on that plane. I saw the pilot. I thought, “How dare you do that? Those children are out there. You could have hit some of those children. Why are you dropping that here?”
I realized later that that man was trying to tell us something. Two days later, just about noon, we heard the sound of planes. We all ran out and we stopped. We were starved for news. In all those years, we’d never had one Red Cross package. Never any letters from home. Never any letters or pamphlets from anywhere. We were just locked inside the barbed wire of that camp.
We looked up. And those planes were coming ‑‑ double fuselage planes that were painted silver. They were such a beautiful sight, and all of a sudden, things were dropping out of those planes. We were yelling. I was screaming, “Chocolate bars! Look at them! They’re chocolate bars!” Others said, “No, they’re canned goods.” And others said, “I think they’re pamphlets.”
Suddenly we heard the whistling of the bombs. We knew that we were wrong. Over that little camp of just two acres square they laid over 5,000 incendiary bombs. Just within moments everything was going up in smoke.
I ran to jump into the ditch. Just as my feet hit the bottom of that ditch, the Lord said to me, “You borrowed a Bible from that little Chinese woman, Mrs. Lee.” I said, “That’s right, Lord. I’ve no right to let it burn. My Bible had gone to pieces.”
I ran inside. I reached up on my rack. I grabbed my Bible and I came out. I saw them. They had opened the gates, and we started to run. We ran out of the camp. When we got outside and across the road, here were machine guns set up. And hundreds of Japanese soldiers. They just whirled on you with their guns with their bayonets fixed on them.
They yelled “Tidor” and you Tidored. You just threw yourself out prostrate in the midst of them. They were running over the top of us. They were firing at the planes as they went over. So the planes just circled around and they laid another layer of bombs and then they came back. They began to machine gun us.
I dropped my head onto my arm, and I said, “God, if anybody’s alive at the end of this day it will be a miracle.” When the last of the planes were gone, the smoke had died down. Everything was burned flat. I looked up and I was alive. I said, “God, once again I tell you ‑‑ if I have any days left to me, they’re all yours.”
Then I saw, I found Mrs. Presswood. I said, “Let’s go back and see if we can find our cans that we were eating out of, and maybe our spoons in the ashes there.
When I came back to where barrack eight had been, and I saw on the top of the ashes ‑‑ somehow, nobody knew that I had had my bride’s book with me. I had sewn it inside of a native mat. When that barracks had burned, the roof had fallen backwards. The bed had burned and dropped down. The mat had burned away, and somehow the fingers of the wind had just opened it at the center page. I looked down at it, and there, on that beautiful black page was the certificate written in gold ink ‑‑ my marriage certificate.
I looked down at it, and I said, “Lord, that was the only thing I had left. Everything else is gone.” I said, “Lord, couldn’t I just have that?” When I reached out to pick it up, the minute my fingers touched it, it disintegrated. It was completely gone. I said, “Lord, I don’t have anything left. That was the only thing I had.”
And he said to me, “My child, that’s what I want to do with you. I want to make you like pure gold, even if I have to take you through the fire seven times.” I bowed before my Lord, and I said, “All right, Lord.”
I saw that the woman who was head of the barracks next to me was crying, and I went over to her and I put my arms around her. I said, “Don’t cry.” She said, “But my mattress burned.” And I said, “Oh, yes.” I said, “Everything’s burned, but we’ve much to thank God for. We’re alive. We’re still alive.”
She said, “But I didn’t leave that little mattress.” It was just a little mat in the barracks. She said, “I dragged it out and I threw it in the ditch where you always lie.” I walked over to the edge of that ditch and I looked down into it. There was the casing from the bomb, and the ashes of the mattress right where I had been lying.
I felt I was in the presence of the Almighty. I said, “God, it wasn’t Mrs. Lee’s Bible, was it, that you wanted me to get? You wanted to get me out of that ditch, wasn’t it?
I walked away, and I said, “God, for any days I have left, I tell you once more, I’m available.”
They put us in shacks. They knew that this bombing was coming, and there were shacks up there in the wilderness. Three days later, we had a bombing, a shrapnel bomb. There were those that were killed. Children without arms and legs and one of the young men was from our barracks, and others whose legs had been chopped off by the force of the bomb hitting them.
I remember the day when finally, at the end of August 1945, we were called out. And there was Mr. Yumaji. And there were the others standing there all in dress uniform. They told us that there had been an announcement on the radio by the Imperial Japanese Emperor Hirohito that there was to be cessation of all fighting.
Announcer: We hope you are encouraged and inspired by this portion of the testimony of Darlene Rose. As always, don’t forget to check out our great weekly specials.