By Their Blood : Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century


© 1978  James C. and Marti Hefley

Mott Media, Milford, Michigan Used by permission All Rights Reserved


1. Christian martyrs Biography. 2. Persecution History 20th century
BR 1601.2.H43 ~~ Dewey: 272.092.2 ~~ OCLC: 7642689 ~~ 639p.

By Their Blood : Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century is presently held by 251 libraries including Denver Seminary and Brigham Young University.

Table of Contents

Preface ... 9

Part One : Martyrs of China

1. China, 1900 : The Fury of the Boxers ... 15

2. China in the Following Decades : No Ark of Safety ... 47

Part Two : Martyrs of Japan and Korea

3. Manchuria and Japan : "Let No Christian Come" ... 83

4. Korea : The Land of Morning Calm ... 91

Part Three : Martyrs of Southeast Asia

5. Thailand : A Hard but Open Field ... 105

6. Vietnam : The Books Are Still Open ... 115

7. Laos : "Land of a Million Elephants" ... 133

8. Cambodia : Dictatorship of Death ... 137

Part Four : Martyrs of South and Central Asia

9. Tibet : Roof of the World    143

10. India : Famine, Disease, and Riots ... 149

11. Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan : Muslim-Hindu Wars ... 153

12. Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Burma : No Mass Murders ... 159

Part Five : Martyrs of the Asian Pacific Islands

13. Indonesia, Papua, and Surrounding Islands : Cannibalism and Disease ... 167

14. Malaysia and Singapore : "Right to Profess, Practice, Propagate" ... 185

15. Taiwan : The Republic of China ... 187

16. The Philippines : Open Door for Missions ... 191

Part Six : Martyrs of Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe

17. Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe : In the Land of the Reformation ... 201

Part Seven : Martyrs of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

18. The Soviet Union : True Faith Grows Strong ... 225

19. Eastern Europe : The Struggling, Growing Church ... 275

Lithuania ... 276

Latvia and Estonia ... 280

Bulgaria ... 281

Hungary ... 285

Czechoslovakia ... 292

Poland ... 301

East Germany ... 311

Yugoslavia ... 315

Albania ... 322

Romania  ... 326

Part Eight : Martyrs of the Middle East

20. The Middle East : Troubled Lands of the Bible ... 341

Armenia ... 342

Lebanon and Syria ... 344

Egypt and Jordan ... 350

"Closed" Arab Countries ... 352

Israel ... 356

Part Nine : Martyrs of Sub-Saharan Africa

21. African Missions in the Nineteenth Century :

The White Man's Graveyard ... 367

22. Northeast Africa : The Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia ... 377

23. Former French Africa : New Nations ...409

Republic of Chad ... 411

Republic of Mali ... 415

Republic of Guinea ... 417

People's Republic of the Congo ... 418

Historic Madagascar ... 420

Central African Republic ... 422

Republic of Benin 423

24. Former British West Africa : Born in Sacrifice ... 425

Liberia ... 425

Nigeria ... 428

Ghana ... 434

Republic of Sierra Leone ... 435

Cameroon 437

25. Former Portuguese Possessions : Trail of Martyrs' Blood ... 439

Mozambique ... 440

People's Republic of Angola ... 444

26. Former British East Africa : Curtain on Colonialism ... 451

The United Republic of Tanzania ... 451

Kenya ... 454

Republic of Uganda ... 459

27. Former British Central Africa : Zimbabwe / Rhodesia, Zambia, Malawi ... 473

28. Southern Africa : South Africa and Namibia ... 487

29. Former Belgian Possessions : Bloody Massacres ...499

The Republic of Burundi and the Kingdom of Rwanda ... 499

The Republic of Zaire ... 505

Part Ten : Martyrs of the Caribbean and Latin America : Catholic by Conquest ... 543

30. The Caribbean and Latin America ... 543

31. Cuba : Communism in the Western Hemisphere ... 545

32. Haiti and the Dominican Republic :

The Island of Hispaniola ... 553

33. Mexico : South of the Border ... 559

34. Central America : Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica ... 571

35. Brazil : The World's Leading Mission Field ... 581

36. Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile : The Southern Stretch ... 595

37. Paraguay and Bolivia : Inland Countries ... 601

38. Peru and Ecuador : Land of the Incas ... 611

39. Colombia : Banquet of Hope ... 623

Epilogues ... 637

Bibliography & Index ... 645 (not online)


Christian martyrs! The words stir the imagination. A saint singing above flames that crackle around his stake. A believer kneeling serenely before a blood stained block; the gimlet-eyed executioner preparing to swing his sword. A missionary bound with vines beside a bubbling pot, his eyes lifted confidently to heaven, while loin-clothed cannibal aborigines dance wildly around to the beat of booming drums.

   But burning at the stake passed out of style after Reformation times. Death by the sword rarely occurs today. And only a few missionaries have ever been cooked by cannibals. Such macabre martyrdoms more often occur in the imagination of novelists.

   Martyrs of the twentieth century have met their earthly end in more conventional, up-to-date methods such as gunshots, bombs, banditry, debilitating prison diseases, and starvation.

   A second oversimplification is that Christian martyrs always die strictly for their testimony of Christ. This idea persists because accounts of martyrdom often do not include sufficient backgrounding of the events. When all the details are known, it is apparent that most Christian martyrs die in circumstances related to their witness for Christ. For example, five young American missionaries were speared to death in 1956 by Auca Indians in Ecuador because of the Indians' fear that they were cannibals. And nurse Mavis Pate was killed by gunfire from a Palestinian refugee camp because Arab commandos mistook the Volkswagen Microbus in which she was riding for an Israeli army vehicle. However, some Christians are killed primarily for their allegiance to Christ. Most martyrs to communism in China and the former Soviet Union fit into this category.

   So the first dictionary definition of martyr — "One who submits to death rather than renounce his religion" — cannot always be strictly applied to the violent death of Christians. The second definition — "One who dies, suffers, or sacrifices everything for a principle, cause, etc." — is more inclusive. By this delineation, Lottie Moon, the heroine of Southern Baptists, who died from self-imposed starvation in China was as much a martyr as John and Betty Stam, who were brutally murdered by cold, calculating Chinese Communists.

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   Recognizing this, we have included many martyrs who might be excluded in some books because they did not die a violent death. At the same time we have not classified as martyrs those who died in accidents which might have happened to them in their homeland. Admittedly, the line is hard to draw here.

   We have sought to provide stories of the deaths of Christian nationals where reliable information is available. This is often not the case. Young churches, developing amidst persecution, are less likely to keep records than established congregations with more time and freedom. National believers, also, because of educational and communicational disadvantages, do not document and preserve the stories of their own who have died for Christ. These stories are usually transmitted orally and later written down by educated leaders and/or missionaries. In contrast, the stories of most missionary martyrs and nationals who die with them are well attested. Books by eyewitnesses or close relatives have even been written about some of them.

   We have generally restricted our time limit to the twentieth century, although in giving background and introducing the martyrs of a country or area, we have usually summarized hostilities to Christianity before the year 1900. In instances of both martyred nationals and missionaries, we have also sought to understand the political, national, and social forces behind great outbreaks, such as the Boxer Rebellion of China and the later Congo massacre.

   We have organized the narrative by geographical units, with the chronological being subordinate to the geographic. Large nations such as China and the Soviet Union are treated as units within themselves, as is Nazi Germany. Smaller nations where little bloodshed of Christians has occurred in the twentieth century are encompassed in larger units and given less attention.

   We have excluded the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, although some Christians have died in these countries in connection with their Christian service. We have noted some instances of martyrdom in Western European countries during the Nazi occupation. Independent western governments have been neutral, if not encouraging, to the advance of Christianity in modern times, with Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece to some degree excepted. There has been no particular policy of physical persecution of evangelicals in the democratic western countries, although in recent times Bible-believing evangelicals, have suffered discrimination from the media, the courts, government, and business.

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   We must plead imperfection and the subjectivities of our rearing and national loyalties in failures to adequately define Christian martyrdom in many instances. We are humbled at the devotion and commitment of these thousands of Christians who were willing to lay down their lives for the Cause in which they believed.

   We found it impossible to include a biography on every Christian martyr of the twentieth century. The World Mission Digest, published by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, cites the World Evangelization Database as accounting for the martyrdom of 119 million Christians during this century. Many, if not most, of these martyred believers died as the result of genocidal attacks by brutal dictators and political and religious zealots. Though little known on earth, their names will be heralded in heaven.

   We do believe that every martyr, whether included in this classification or not, has died for a purpose within the sovereign will of God. God was there when every human life was taken, not setting up the deaths, but permitting evil men to exercise free will and to do their dastardly deeds under the temporary dominion of Satan. Yes, our God was there in grace abounding over sin, beauty growing out of ashes, victory triumphing over death, and the Church advancing beyond defeat.

James C. Hefley, Th.M, Ph.D., Litt. D.     
Marti Hefley, B.A. Theology      

Part One

Martyrs of China

Chapter 1

China, 1900

The Fury of the Boxers

By Imperial Command Exterminate the Christian Religion! Death to the Foreign Devils!

In June 1900, crazed mobs bannered this terrible proclamation as they rampaged through cities of north China, looting and burning churches and the homes of missionaries and Chinese Christians. They were led by bare-chested fanatics called Boxers who brandished long-curving swords and cried for the heads and hearts of Christians and missionaries.

   Item. In Manchuria, where all missionaries managed to escape, a Chinese pastor was caught. When he refused to deny Christ, his eyebrows, ears, and lips were cut off. Still he would not recant. He heart was then cut out and put on display in a theater. His fourteen-year-old daughter, following the example of her father, suffered a like fate.

   Item. In Shansi Province Mary Huston and Hattie Rice, two young single women affiliated with the China Inland Mission, strove to flee an angry mob. Miss Rice was beaten to death by the roadside. Miss Huston, seriously injured by a cart run that was run over her to break her spine, died a month later.

   Item. At remote Tsun-hua the Chinese Methodist pastor was forced into a pagan temple, mocked before idols, then left tied to a pillar. He spent the night preaching while friends pleaded with him to recant. In the morning a mob a thousand-strong descended on him and literally tore out his heart. Two Chinese women teachers were captured, also refused to renounce Christianity. The feet of one were chopped off and she was then killed with a sword. The other — shouting to her pupils,

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"Keep the faith!" — was wrapped in cotton, soaked with kerosene, and burned alive. One hundred sixty-three Chinese Methodists in Tsun-hua were martyrs for Christ in June 1900. Only four or five escaped.

   As the blood flowed, newspaper headlines abroad screamed :


and a shocked world asked why.

Intrigue Leads to Tragedy

   The world's most populous nation had appeared to be moving from idolatrous darkness toward the light of Christianity. Converts had been doubling and redoubling in recent years, with circulation of Scripture running in the millions. The China Inland Mission (CIM; now Overseas Missionary Fellowship), largest of the evangelical agencies in China, had welcomed over a thousand new workers in the past decade. Other missions were also expanding, but on a lesser scale.

   Western churches spoke of China as "our largest and most promising mission field." Yet ironically, Christianity had reached China centuries before Columbus sighted America. In fact, an eighth century Chinese Nestorian church leader claimed the Magi, returning from Bethlehem, had brought the first news of the Savior.

   Christianity had waxed and waned until around 1300 when Franciscans arrived and tried to dominate the Chinese church. Their actions provoked intervention by Asian Muslims who had been abiding by a truce. The aroused Muslims killed hundreds of thousands of Christians, piling seventy thousand heads on the ruins of one city. Organized Christianity was swept from Asia.

   The Jesuit order came in the sixteenth century and in 1705 convinced the Chinese emperor to make China a Catholic state. A sharp rebuff came from the pope who said the emperor could not be a Christian and continue to worship his ancestors. In 1724 Christianity was banned, and hundreds of Catholic missionaries and converts were put to death.

   The first Protestant missionary, Robert Morrison, went out as an employee of the East India Company in 1807. He translated almost the entire Bible into the main Chinese language, but when he died in 1834 there were only three known Chinese Christians in the whole Empire.

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   Western military and political pressure opened the door for the entrance of foreign missionaries in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Hundreds poured in and took up stations across the vast mysterious land.

   Disease, travel accidents, and violence took a heavy toll. The average life expectancy dropped to forty. The countryside rumbled with frequent rebellions against the central Manchu government in Peking. Missionaries were often caught between opposing forces, and some gave their lives. For example, an early Southern Baptist worker, J. Landrum Holmes, and an Episcopal missionary were killed while trying to intercede with rebels for the safety of their town.

   Added to the rebellions was the continuing encroachment of foreign powers. By 1898 the political situation was so chaotic that young Emperor Kuang-hsu decided Christian moral and social reforms were the only hope for saving China from total foreign domination. He asked Timothy Richard, an influential British Baptist missionary, to come to the palace to help draw up the reforms. But on the very day Richard arrived, the emperor was deposed in a coup by underlings controlled by the secret Boxer Society, who feared the emperor was about to sell out the nation.

   The Righteous Ones, as the Boxers were called, bitterly opposed Christianity, which they termed "the religion of the foreign devils." In a desperate effort to preserve the old pagan religions, they had established a network of secret cells across China. Initiates repeated a sacred formula until they fell foaming at the mouth, then joined in a black magic ritual that sometimes included human sacrifices to temple idols. The Boxers claimed they were commanded by "heavenly deities," and were thus invulnerable. A potion smeared on them by their priests was supposed to make them bulletproof.

   Following the coup, the Boxers an their supporters installed the emperor's mentally ill aunt, Tzu Hsi, on the throne. They persuaded the empress that missionaries were stealing Chinese spirits and gouging out the eyes of Chinese children for use in their medicines. At their urging, she issued a secret order to officials in the provinces calling for the execution of all foreigners. As the nineteenth century faded, Boxer organizers fanned out across China, recruiting new members, preparing to strike when the empress delivered her edict. They moved cautiously, knowing that the great majority of local officials were opposed to violence and determined to keep law and order.

   Sometimes fanatical zeal overtook strategy. In Shantung Province, for example, they captured a young English missionary, Sidney Brooks, returning

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from vacation on December 30, 1899. After torturing him for hours, they killed him. After his murder the foreign community demanded punishment. Two Boxers were executed for the crime and Governor Yu-hsien, a Boxer supporter, was replaced.

   Throughout the spring of 1900 the fanatical Boxers agitated the populace by stirring up historic Chinese racial pride in their nation as the celestial center of the world. They fired hatred against foreign powers for forcing exploitative treaties on the country and sustaining the hated opium trade which kept millions of Chinese addicted. They fueled resentment over jobs lost through foreign building of railroads. In northern China, which had suffered crop failures for three years, the Boxers blamed missionaries and their foreign religion for the long drought. "The foreigners have insulted our gods," they declared. "Foreign blood must be spilled before our gods will send rain." The Boxers also capitalized on enmity which had developed against Catholic missionaries when the French government had actually forced the Chinese government to give Catholic prelates power equal to judges and magistrates.

   Still the foreigners did not become alarmed until it was too late for many to flee. After all, many reasoned, China had always seethed with rebellions and banditry, and even so the CIM had lost only one missionary to mob violence, although other martyrdoms had occurred. Danger came with the work, the missionaries assumed, as they went on about their business of preaching, teaching, and healing.

The Terror Begins

   In March the empress appointed the notorious, known Boxer supporter Yu-hsien governor of Shansi, the northern province where much missionary work was concentrated. In June the German and Japanese ambassadors were murdered in Peking. The alarmed foreign community gathered in the British embassy compound and began building fortifications as Boxers paraded through the Imperial capital.

   The royal edict to kill all foreigners and exterminate Christianity was given to couriers for delivery to provincial governors. Messengers to the south, however, changed one Chinese character on the decree, so that it read "protect" instead of "kill" foreigners. For this disobedience they were cut in half. But the missionaries and Christians in this area were saved, and the bloodletting was confined to the northern provinces.

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   One hundred eighty-eight missionaries and missionary children were murdered during the Boxer wrath in the summer of 1900, all in four provinces. Most of these casualties occurred in Shansi Province under the diabolical governor Yu-hsien. Of the 159 foreigners who died in Shansi Province, 91 were associated with the China Inland Mission.

   Rugged Shansi Province is the cradle of ancient Chinese civilization. The famous Emperor Yao lived and ruled from here over the "black-haired race" eight hundred years before Abraham was born. Shansi is an inhospitable land, bitterly cold in winter and fiercely hot in summer. Topographically, it is mostly high undulating tablelands, punctuated by steep hills and sandwiched between the Yellow River on the west and a rugged mountain range on the east. Shansi was not an easy place from which foreigners could escape.

The Governor's Treachery

   The bloodiest massacre took place in the ancient Shansi provincial capital Taiyuan where the gates of the walled city were closed to prevent the foreigners from escaping. Trapped in their residences were twenty-four adults and nine children, associated with the Baptist Missionary Society of England, the CIM, and the small Sheo Yang Mission which operated the Schofield Memorial Hospital in a satellite town.

   The doctor for whom the hospital was named had died of typhus fever in 1883, contracted from a patient admitted by the gatekeeper without the doctor's knowledge. Shortly before his death, he had begged for reinforcements. Two medics had answered his call, Dr. William M. Wilson and Dr. E.H. Edwards. Dr. Edwards took charge of the Schofield Hospital. Dr. Wilson, who was with the CIM, operated a hospital for opium addicts in an outlying city at his own expense. To these doctors thousands of persons owed their lives.

   Dr. Edwards was safely away when the crisis came. Dr. Wilson and his wife and young son were due for furlough, but had stayed on to help during the famine. Early in the summer Mrs. Wilson and son went ahead to Taiyuan for rest from the baking heat. The doctor remained to care for his patients until he fell prey to peritonitis. One of his last acts of mercy was to travel twenty dangerous miles to save the life of Pastor Si who lay severely wounded from a Boxer sword slash in his side. Before the doctor left for treatment in Taiyuan, Chinese Christians presented him with a large red satin sash, bearing the gilt inscription "God's Faithful Servant."

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His last letter was written on the road to Taiyuan. "It's all fog," he wrote a colleague, "but I think, old chap, that we are on the edge of a volcano, and I fear Taiyuan is the inner edge."

   Besides Mrs. Wilson, two CIM single women missionaries were in Taiyuan. Jane Stevens, a nurse, was in frail health. During her last trip back to England for rest, a friend had suggested that a position in the homeland might be easier. Nurse Stevens had replied, "I don't feel I have yet finished the work God has for me in China. I must go back. Perhaps — who knows? — I may be among those allowed to give their lives for the people."

   Miss Stevens had come to China in 1885. Her Taiyuan partner, Mildred Clarke, came in 1893. Upon reaching Taiyuan, Miss Clarke wrote home, "I long to live a poured-out life unto Him among these Chinese, and to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings for souls, who poured out His life unto death for us."

   Of the other missionaries at Taiyuan nine were former CIM members : six had joined the small Sheo Yang Mission which operated the Schofield Memorial Hospital; W.T. and Emily Beynon were now representatives of the British and Foreign Bible Society; Alexander Hoddle was independent, operating a small Christian bookstore and teaching English to Chinese students for his support.

   At the Sheo Yang Mission were T.W. and Jessie Pigott and their young son Wellesley. A friend had written of Mr. Pigott, "If ever a man lived in earnest, it was Thomas Wellesley Pigott." A man of many talents, he could fix anything. Emily Pigott,  though not a doctor, was skilled at removing eye cataracts. Old China hands, the Pigotts had lost friends in an earlier massacre — four Church Missionary Society workers killed by the radical vegetarian sect in Fukien Province in 1895. Since then the Pigotts had felt their time would be short in China and had worked almost nonstop. Another prophetic note had been sounded by W.T. Beynon in the ending of his 1899 report to the Bible Society : "We trust that this coming year the God of all grace will give all of us grace to be faithful."

   Violence exploded in late June 1900. Mobs roamed the streets, setting fire to the compounds of the British Baptists and the Sheo Yang group. The missionaries and a group of Chinese believers linked hands and sought refuge in the Baptist boys' school about a half-mile away. After reaching the school, Edith Coombs of the Sheo Yang Mission suddenly realized she had left two Chinese schoolgirls behind, one of whom was very sick. Miss Coombs broke away and ran back to the blazing buildings to rescue them. As they were rushing out, the sick girl stumbled and fell.

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Miss Coombs bent to lift her and shield her from the brickbats being hurled by the mob. The mob moved in closer, forced them to separate, and drove the missionary back into the burning house. The mob and the Chinese girls she had tried to rescue last saw her kneeling in the flames.

   The remaining thirty-two missionaries and children, along with their loyal Chinese friends, barricaded themselves in the boys' school. Day and night stones pelted the walls and doors while the group inside waited and prayed behind barricades, hoping for rescue by the provincial governor, Yu-hsien, whose palace was a short distance away.

   On July 9 soldiers arrived and escorted the missionaries to the courtyard of the governor's palace where they joined twelve Catholic clergy. The missionaries, thinking they would now be saved, saw they were doomed when Yu-hsien stormed out waving his sword and shouting, "Kill! Kill!"

   The governor announced that the men would die first. George Farthing, one of the English Baptists and the father of three children, stepped forward. His wife clung to him, but he gently put her aside and knelt before the chopping block without a murmur. His head fell with one stroke of the executioner's sword.

   The other men were killed one by one, then the women and children. The Farthing children hung on to their mother and had to be pulled away when she was ordered to kneel. Mrs. Lovitt was permitted to hold the hand of her little boy. "We all came to China to bring you the good news of salvation by Jesus Christ," she said in a firm voice. "We have done you no harm, only good. Why do you treat us so?" In a strange act of gentleness, a soldier stepped up and removed her spectacles before she and her son were beheaded.

   The priests and nuns died with equal courage. Their bishop, an old man with a white beard, asked the governor, "Why are you doing this wicked deed?" Yu-hsien answered by drawing his sword and slashing the bishop across the face.

   Finally the Chinese Christians were brought forth to complete the carnage. Few escaped to report the tale of horror.

   The bodies were left for the night where they had fallen and were stripped of clothing, rings, and watches under cover of darkness. The next day the heads were placed in cages for a grotesque display on the city wall. Yu-hsien was without remorse and later crowed to the empress, "Your Majesty's slave caught them as in a net and allowed neither chicken nor dog to escape." The old woman replied, "You have done splendidly."

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No Hiding Place

   Eight British Baptist missionaries at Hsinchow, forty-five miles north of Taiyuan, heard the tragic news and decided to flee to the hills. They took refuge in caves where they were lovingly cared for by local Christians. Boxers roamed the area, seeking their hiding place. A Chinese evangelist was beaten to death for refusing to cooperate with the Boxers.

   After their food supply was cut off, the missionaries received a message from the magistrate at Hsinchow offering them protection if they would return to the city. Upon arrival they were jailed about two weeks, then promised a protective armed escort to the coast. Rev. Herbert Dixon, one of the eight, told a Chinese preacher, "We are ready to glorify our Lord, by life or by death. If we die, there will certainly be others to take our place."

   The Hsinchow eight set out in carts on August 8. As they were passing between the inner and outer gates of the city, their "escort" suddenly closed around them and other armed men sprang from hiding and brutally beat them all to death.

Massacre at Soping

   At Soping ten missionaries of the small Swedish Holiness Union were holding their annual church conference in cooperation with Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Forsberg of the International Missionary Alliance Mission. Soping was already seething with unrest. Boxer agitators were saying that the missionaries had swept away approaching rain clouds with a yellow paper broom and that the foreigners were praying to their God that it might not rain.

   According to Chinese evangelist Wang Lan-pu, who managed to escape, a mob converged on the house where the missionaries and Chinese Christians had barricaded themselves and began battering the door. Just as the mob burst into the house, the missionaries and their friends slipped out the back and ran to the city hall where they asked the magistrate for refuge. The Boxer leaders learned where they had gone and led the mob there. The magistrate refused to surrender his charges, but to pacify the howling crowd he said he had been ordered to send the foreigners to Peking where they would be executed. As the mob looked on, he had his blacksmith make manacles for five of the men. Apparently satisfied, the crowd dispersed.

   Later that night the mob came back with soldiers sympathetic to the Boxers. Sparing no one, they stoned to death all the missionaries and

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their children along with Chinese Christians who had sought refuge. They hung the heads of the missionaries on the city wall as a ghastly testimonial to the populace. Among the Chinese who died were the mother and little daughter of the evangelist who escaped.

   The June 29 massacre almost wiped out the tiny Swedish mission. Only two members in another province and one home on furlough were left. The senior Swedish martyr was Nathanael Carleson. Chinese believers had often used the scriptural allusion to introduce him : "Nathanael, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." The youngest martyr was Ernst Peterson. He had been in China only five months. Four of the other eight were single women, all about thirty years of age. Aware of the danger of serving in bandit-ridden north China, Mina Hedlund, one of the four, had written in her last letter, "I don't fear if God wants me to suffer the death of a martyr."

Ambushed in the Desert

   The International Missionary Alliance (now known as the Christian and Missionary Alliance — C&MA) had been founded by A.B. Simpson, a far-seeing Presbyterian minister with a vision for world evangelization. At the time of the Boxer uprising, this mission had about forty Swedish missionaries on the China field. At least nineteen adults and fifteen children met violent death.

   The Olaf Bingmarks and their two young sons sensed trouble when children stopped coming to their school. Friends told them stories were spreading that Mr. Bingmark was extracting the eyes of Chinese boys for use as medicine. Duly warned, they kept inside their house. A peddler named Chao, whom they had kindly received many times, betrayed them for a price. Boxers dragged them outside and attacked them with swords and stones while an artist stood by sketching the violence. The picture, as later revealed, showed the two little boys kneeling and imploring mercy.

   The Chinese evangelist who worked with them was bound for ten days without food and drink. Near death, his sufferings were mercifully ended by the sword.

   Miss Gustafson, a beloved missionary teacher, lived alone at another station. When warned that Boxers were coming, she fled with another Chinese evangelist. A few miles down the road she was overtaken and stoned to death. Her body was thrown into a river and never seen again.

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   In far northwest China seven Alliance (C&MA) missionaries and seven children tried to flee on camels into Mongolia. Robbers intercepted them and took everything, even their clothes. In the trauma two of the missionary wives gave birth. French missionary priests found the fourteen and the two infants naked in the desert and subsisting on roots. The priests gave them covering and took them back to the Catholic mission station.

   News came that a Boxer army was approaching. "Our way ... is cut off," the Alliance's Carl Lundberg wrote. "If we are not able to escape, tell our friends we live and die for the Lord. I do not regret coming to China. The Lord has called me and His grace is sufficient. The way He chooses is best for me. His will be done. Excuse my writing, my hand is shivering."

   Six days later he added, "The soldiers have arrived and will attack our place. The Catholics are prepared to defend themselves but it is in vain. We do not like to die with weapons in our hands. If it be the Lord's will let them take our lives."

   When the Boxers attacked, the priests and two of the Alliance men, Emil Olson and Albert Anderson, tried to escape. They were captured, ordered to undress, then made to kneel for beheading. The others fared no better. The Boxers killed them with guns and swords, then set fire to the church.

   Another seven Alliance missionaries with three children and four workers from other missions huddled in a chapel at Patzupaupulong. Warned by the local magistrate that Boxers were on their way to kill them, the group set out for the coast. They ran into an ambush planned by the magistrate and all were killed except one of the wives. Left for dead, she was rescued and taken into the tent of a Mongol widow. However, the treacherous magistrate's wife learned where she was and sent soldiers to the tent. They murdered her in bed.

The Fatal Appointment

   Most local Chinese officials were protective of missionaries. The magistrate at Fenchow in north Shansi was notably kind. Because of his friendliness, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Price and other workers of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions invited three CIM colleagues, Mr. and Mrs. A.P. Lundren and Miss Annie Eldred, to come and stay with them during July when mob violence was at its peak. However, shortly after they arrived, the vindictive provincial governor appointed another magistrate to Fenchow. The new magistrate ordered

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the missionaries out of the city and assigned them an armed guard under the pretense of protection.

   Apparently the missionaries expected the worst. Lizzie Atwater wrote her family on August 3 :

Dear ones, I long for a sight of your dear faces, but I fear we shall not meet on earth .... I am preparing for the end very quietly and calmly. The Lord is wonderfully near, and He will not fail me. I was very restless and excited while there seemed a chance of life, but God has taken away that feeling, and now I just pray for grace to meet the terrible end bravely. The pain will soon be over, and oh the sweetness of the welcome above!

   My little baby will go with me. I think God will give it to me in Heaven, and my dear mother will be so glad to see us. I cannot imagine the Savior's welcome. Oh, that will compensate for all these days of suspense. Dear ones, live near to God and cling less closely to earth. There is no other way by which we can receive that peace from God which passes understanding ... I must keep calm and still these hours. I do not regret coming to China, but am sorry I have done so little. My married life, two precious years, has been so very full of happiness. We will die together, my dear husband and I.

   I used to dread separation. If we escape now it will be a miracle. I send my love to you all, and the dear friends who remember me.

   Twelve days later, when they were out of the area, the guards assigned by the new magistrate murdered the seven missionaries.

Detour to Death

   Other trusting missionaries were betrayed by Boxer-inspired Chinese claiming to be their protectors. Such was the case of six CIM workers, two married couples and two single women, returning to their Shansi stations from vacations.

   George McConnell, an Irish evangelist, and his Scottish wife Belle had buried their daughter in Scotland only two years before. They had just opened three new chapels and received fifty-one new inquirers. But the preacher sensed danger in the air. He quoted from Psalm 31 in a letter titled "My times are in Thy hand."

   John and Sarah Young had been married only fifteen months. He was Scottish, she an Indiana Hoosier. Both had made exceptional progress in the difficult Chinese language, but they lived one uncertain day at a time. In her application to CIM, Sarah had written, "I want to be found in the battle when He comes, and I want to be an

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instrument in the hands of God in saving souls from death." Eleven days before her martyrdom she wrote, "The winds may blow, and the waves may roll high; if we keep our eyes off them and on the Lord, we shall be all right ..." 

   Annie King and Elizabeth Burton, Britishers, were still single and strikingly attractive. They had been in China less than two years. Previous to her departure for China, Annie had been a home missionary, helping in the "Ragged Schools" for friendless child waifs in England. "Praise the Lord, I am really in China," she wrote home. "I don't know what the future holds for me, but, whatever comes, I know I have obeyed the will of our God." And later, "Often I wish I could have come before. ... It is so nice to be in this village, where the people trust us, and love to hear of Jesus, for whose sake and the Gospel's we have come. There are numbers of villages where the name of Jesus is unknown, all in heathen darkness, without a ray of light."

   Elizabeth, also a teacher, had written, "Oh I feel so inadequate, so weak, and yet I hear Him say, 'Go in this thy might, have not I sent thee?' Yes, He has sent me; if ever I felt God has called me in my life, I feel it tonight." Then shortly before taking a fateful vacation : "Jesus is very real to me out in this land, and I would not change my present lot in spite of loneliness and occasional hardships."

   Along the road to Yu-men-k'ou the group was met by soldiers who advised them to detour off the main road for safety. "We will accompany you," they said. Nearing the Yellow River, their escorts suddenly dismounted and unsheathed their swords. "You thought we came to protect you," the captain said. "Our orders are to kill you unless you promise to stop preaching your foreign religion." When the missionaries refused to so pledge, Mr. McConnell was pulled from his mule and decapitated with a quick swing of a sword. As Mrs. McConnell and their young son Kenneth hit the ground, the boy was heard to say, "Papa does not allow you to kill little Kennie." Swords flashed and two more heads rolled on the ground. The young women embraced each other as did the Youngs. Arms swung and death came quickly. The last to die was a faithful Chinese Christian servant, Kehtienhuen, who refused to deny his faith.

   A Chinese Christian friend was able to escape. He smuggled a letter out describing the killings. "Men's hearts are shaking with fear," he reported. "We cannot rest day or night."

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No Mercy Shown

   At Ta-t'ung on June 24 CIM missionaries, two couples and their four children and two single women, took refuge with a friendly magistrate. The official defied the Boxer mob that circled the house clamoring for the blood of the foreigners. Then orders came on the twenty-seventh from a superior, ordering them to their home. The magistrate sent them under cover of darkness with a armed guard that remained at their door. A few days later Mrs. Stewart McKee gave birth. Now there were five children sheltered in the small house, while the mob outside grew noisier.

   By July 12 only two guards remained. At seven o'clock that evening an official knocked and demanded the names of those inside. They were given.

   An hour later three hundred soldiers arrived on horseback in support of the Boxers. Stewart McKee went out and tried to reason with them. Instead of listening, they hacked him to pieces, then set fire to the house. In the flames and confusion, only little Alice McKee managed to escape. In the morning the mob discovered her in a cowshed and slashed the defenseless child to death.

Buried in a Baptistry

   The CIM's Emily Whitchurch and Edith Searell were one of many teams of young single women serving in isolated towns. Their only protection was the goodwill of the people.

   They worked in Hsiao-i, a town in south central Shansi Province, with slaves of the terrible opium trade from which western nations were profiting. "Mornings and evenings," a visiting colleague wrote of Miss Whitchurch, "she would gather the opium patients around and teach them Scripture ... The Scriptures were as the voice of God of Miss Whitchurch; they shaped her life, and she had confidence in their power to purify and to convert."

   Miss Searell was one of the first New Zealanders to come to China. In May she had been seriously ill with pleurisy, but refused to leave her British partner and Chinese friends. On June 28 she wrote a close friend, "From the human standpoint [all missionaries in Shansi Province] are equally unsafe. From the point of view of those whose lives are hid with Christ in God all are equally safe! His children shall have a place of refuge, and that place is the secret place of the Most High."

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   Two days later a Boxer mob attacked their house and showed them no mercy. After the mob left, loving Chinese Christians risked their lives in order to place the martyrs' bodies in a baptistry bordered with flowers which Miss Searell had planted a few weeks before.

No Earthly Sanctuary

   No missionary was safe in Shansi Province. Scores were hidden by Chinese Christians at grave peril to their own lives.

   "We will stand by you til death," Chinese friends vowed to the CIM's Duncan Kay, a colorful Scottish evangelist. "And we will stay until driven out," declared Kay.

   When mobs threatened, Chinese believers spirited Kay, his wife and daughter Jenny, and three single women missionaries into the mountains and hid them in caves. With their help, Mrs. Kay was able to get a letter out to her three children at the CIM school in Chefoo, which was in a safe area in another province near the coast. She described their plight :

[We are] being molested every day by bands of bad men who want money from us. Now our money is all gone. We feel there is nothing for us but to try and get back to the city; this is no easy matter. The roads are full of these bad people who seek our lives.

   I am writing this as it may be my last to you. Who knows but we may be with Jesus very soon. This is only a wee note to send our dear love to you all, and to ask you not to feel too sad when you know we have been killed. We have committed you all into God's hands. He will make a way for you all. Try and be good children. Love God. Give your hearts to Jesus. This is your dear parents' last request.

Your loving papa, mama, and wee Jenny

Shortly after the letter was sent, the three Kays were killed. The three young women, hiding in another cave, survived.

   Another group of CIM missionaries were hidden in caves for three weeks before being captured by Boxers. "We are in God's hands," Willie Peat, who was accompanied by his wife Helen and two daughters and two single women, wrote. "I can say, 'I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.' " One of the single women, nurse Edith Dobson, said in her last letter, "We know naught can come to us without His permission. So we have no need to be troubled : it is not in my nature to fear physical harm, but I trust, if it come, His grace will be all-sufficient."

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   They received a reprieve when a magistrate intervened and ordered a guard to deliver them to the town of K'u-wu. At K'u-wu a mob threatened, and they fled into nearby mountains. From their hideout in an earthen cave, Willie Peat wrote a last letter to his mother and uncle :

The soldiers are just on us, and I have only time to say "Good-bye" to you all. We shall soon be with Christ, which is very far better for us. We can only now be sorry for you who are left behind and our dear native Christians.

   Good-bye! At longest it is only "till He come." We rejoice that we are made partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that when His glory shall be revealed we may "rejoice also with exceeding joy."

Helen Peat added, "Our Father is with us and we go to Him, and trust to see you all before His face, to be forever together with Him."

   They were put to death on August 30.

   Australian David Barratt, a veteran of only three years, was traveling when he heard of the Taiyuan massacre. "The news nearly made me faint," he wrote a colleague, adding,

The Empire is evidently upside down. No "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" is written on the old Middle Kingdom. Our blood may be as a true center (for the foundation) and God's kingdom will increase over this land. Extermination is but exaltation. God guide and bless us! "Fear not them which kill," He says, "are ye not of much more value than many sparrows." "Peace, perfect peace," to you, brother, and all at Lucheng. We may meet in the glory in a few hours or days. ... Not a sleep, no dinner, a quiet time with God, then sunset and evening bells, then the dark ... Let us be true till death.

In such trusting faith the young Aussie was killed while seeking refuge on a desolate mountain.

   Barratt's partner, Alfred Woodroofe, was at their station in Yo-yang when the persecution hit. The year before he had barely escaped a mob. Then he had written, "Are we called to die? The poor, feeble heart says, 'Oh, no; never.' But, to bring blessing unto the world, what has it always meant? What to the Savior? What to the Apostles? 'This is the way the Master went; should not the servant tread it still?' "

   This time Woodroofe and three Chinese Christians were forced to flee into the mountains. For a week or more they slept in caves at night, retreating into remote canyons during the day. Woodroofe sent a message back to other believers in Yo-yang, stating his wish to return "so we can die together." The reply told him to remain hidden. He wrote again,

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describing how his feet were cut and bleeding from wandering among the rocks, but ended by quoting James 5:11 : "We count them happy that endure." This was his last message. He died at age twenty-eight.

   Details of how he and about a dozen other CIM workers died were not known for many months. The few who managed to slip letters out expressed similar courage and faith and wished only that the Chinese church would be strengthened through their martyrdom. Wrote Edith Nathan, who served with her sister May and with Mary Heaysman at Ta-ning : "I hope I shan't be ordered off anywhere; if my Christians are in trouble, I trust I may be allowed to stay and help. One does long for the native Church to be on the right foundation — Christ Jesus." Mary Heaysman headed her last letter, "There shall be showers of blessing." The three young women and ten Chinese believers were captured after a long and harrowing flight and put to death in a pagan temple.

Journeys of Death

   In the most terrible of the flights, two parties of missionaries fled from Shansi Province to the city of Hankow in Hupeh Province a thousand miles south.

   One group of fourteen included two families with six young children and four single women fleeing from the town of Lucheng. Mobs followed them from one village boundary to the next, hurling sticks and stones, shouting, "Death to the foreign devils!" Robbers stripped them of everything but a few rags. Emaciated from hunger and thirst, shoeless, barebacked in the scorching heat, desperately trying to hold up filthy, torn Chinese trousers, they staggered from village to village half alive.

   The young children displayed remarkable insight and faith. "If they loved Jesus they would not do this," seven-year-old Jessie Saunders reminded her parents. Once when they took shelter in a barn, the now fever-stricken child looked up at her mother who was fanning her and said, "Jesus was born in a place like this."

   A few days later Jessie's baby sister, Isabel, died from beatings and exposure to the hot sun. As Jessie grew weaker, she cried for a place of rest. He wish was granted a week after Isabel's death. The two children were buried beside the road.

   In one village attackers dragged one of the men, E.J. Cooper, into the open country and left him for dead. He somehow revived and crawled back to his family and friends. Margaret (Mrs. E.J.) Cooper began lapsing

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into unconsciousness. Once she whispered to her husband, an architect whom she had married after joining the CIM, "If the Lord spares us, I should like to go back to Lucheng if possible." But her beatings were too severe, and she slipped into merciful death.

   On July 12 Hattie Rice collapsed in the heat. A mob began stoning her and a man ran a cart over her naked body to break her spine. Her companion, Mary Huston, shielded her body until shamefaced men came with clothing. When she was again clothed, they took her from Miss Huston to a temple and consulted their gods about her faith. When a priest announced that the gods would let her live, the men carried her back to the other missionaries on a stretcher. She died a short time later.

   The survivors somehow kept moving. They crossed and recrossed the Yellow River. They were imprisoned and released. Miss Huston suffered the worst. Part of her brain was exposed from beatings received at the time Miss Rice had been fatally wounded. Her friends could do no more for her than protect her from the sun. She died on August 11. Both young women were from the United States, Miss Rice from Massachusetts and Miss Huston from Pennsylvania. Assigned to a refuge for opium addicts, they had taken nothing from China and given everything.

   Shortly before Miss Huston's death, the Lucheng group had met and joined a second group. Led by the CIM's Archibald Glover, they told a harrowing story of beatings, imprisonments, and miraculous deliverance. Mrs. Glover was in her last month of pregnancy. The last leg of their journey was made together by boat, allowing them to take the bodies of Mrs. Cooper and Miss Huston to Hankow for burial.

   Three days after their arrival, Mr. Cooper laid his tiny son Brainerd beside his wife. He then wrote his own mother :

The Lord has honored us by giving us fellowship in His sufferings. Three times stoned, robbed of everything, even clothes, we know what hunger, thirst, nakedness, weariness are as never before, but also the sustaining grace and strength of God and His peace, in a new and deeper sense than before ....

   Billow after billow has gone over me. Home gone, not one memento of dear Maggie even, penniless, wife and child gone to glory, Edith [his other child] lying very sick with diarrhea and your son weak and exhausted to a degree, though otherwise well ....

   And now that you know the worst, Mother, I want to tell you that the cross of Christ, that exceeding glory of the Father's love, has brought continual comfort to my heart, so that not one murmur has broken the peace of God within.

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The Peril at Paoting

   Outside of Shansi Province the worst Boxer massacre of missionaries occurred at Paoting, then capital of the adjoining province Chihli (now Hopeh Province), where American (Northern) Presbyterians, the CIM, and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions had stations.

   On June 1 CIM workers H.V. Robinson and C. Norman were seized and killed by Boxers outside the old walled city. The gates were heavily guarded, sealing off any possible escape by the eight remaining missionaries, four children, and the Chinese believers inside Paoting.

   A story has circulated that the missionaries had poisoned the dwindling water supply in the wells. Another rumor charged that the Presbyterian's Dr. G.B. Taylor was extracting the eyes of children for medicine. Still another lie said the missionaries had helped build the hated railway that had taken jobs from cargo haulers.

   The last letter out stated, "Our position is dangerous — very. We are having awfully hot, dry dusty days and yao yen [rumors] are increasing. ... Oh that God would send rain. That would make things quiet for a time .... We can't go out and fight — we must sit still, do our work, and if God calls us to Him, that's all. Unless definite orders come from Peking that we are to be protected at any cost or a guard of foreign soldiers sent at once, the blood must flow. We are trying to encourage the [Chinese] brethren, but it is difficult work. A crisis must come soon — the Lord's will be done."

   In this situation two friends managed to enter the city. One was Pastor Meng, the first Chinese to be ordained by the American Board's North China Mission. The missionaries begged him to leave. As a Chinese he could melt into the constant flow of human traffic and go to a safer town. "No," he vowed, "I will keep the church open as long as God allows. And after I am with the Lord, my son will keep it open."

   The second arrival, Rev. William Cooper, deputy director of the CIM, had been visiting mission stations in adjoining Shansi Province and was returning to the metropolis of Tientsin on the coast. Like a Paul Revere, he had been warning missionaries at stations along the way, enabling some to escape just in time. Now he was caught.

   Cooper was an old China hand, having been on the field nineteen years. A long bout with typhoid had impaired his hearing, but his spiritual senses remained strong. "One of the very few blameless lives I have ever come into contact with," declared a missionary friend. "He lived in an atmosphere of prayer," said another. "He literally drew breath in the fear of the Lord."

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In Paoting he joined CIM colleagues Benjamin and Emily Bagnall and their five-year-old daughter Gladys.

   At the American Board station were H.T. Pitkin, Miss A.A. Gould and Miss M.S. Morrill. Pitkin was one of the great missionary spirits of China. A classmate of Henry Luce (who later founded Time magazine) and Sherwood Eddy, Pitkin had served as secretary of the vigorous Student Missionary Movement before manning the American Board's mission station at Paoting.

   On Saturday, June 30, 1900, the American Presbyterian Mission in the northern part of the city was attacked. Dr. Taylor went outside to plead that the missionaries had come to China only to do good. He was killed almost immediately and his head displayed in a pagan temple. After disposing of Dr. Taylor, the Boxer-led soldiers set the Presbyterian mission house on fire. One of the men, Frank Simcox was seen walking to and fro on the veranda, holding the hands of his two sons as the flames enveloped them.

   News of the martyrdom of the Presbyterians traveled rapidly to the other mission houses on the south side. The three members of the American Board, Pastor Meng, and other Chinese Christians kept a vigil through the night, writing last letters to loved ones, letters which would later be dug up by Boxers and destroyed. When morning dawned the Chinese, at the urging of the missionaries, slipped out the back door. About nine o'clock the Boxers arrived.

   Miss Morrill went out to plead with the soldiers. "Kill me and let the others go," she begged. "I am ready to die for them." Her entreaty, according to the later report of one of the soldiers, touched off an argument in the crowd. Some of the older Boxers and the soldiers wanted to spare the four. The others wanted to proceed with the killing. During the controversy the missionaries were allowed to remain in their house.

   The hard-liners won the dispute. Pitkin was killed defending the women. Miss Gould died of shock before the attackers could reach her. Miss Morrill was captured alive and taken to a pagan temple where William Cooper and the Bagnall family had already been taken.

   Throughout Sunday they were taunted and abused as objects of sport and mockery. That evening they were taken out for execution. Mrs. Bagnall begged in vain for the life of her daughter while the cherubic-faced child with long golden curls stood by in frightened perplexity. The plea was refused, and at the captain's command they were all beheaded.

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Murders in Mongolia

   The dark hand of Boxer hate reached even into bleak Mongolia. Once the fountainhead of the great Mongol Empire, the high, thinly populated desert nation was in 1900 a vassal state of China. Christian work was so difficult that mission boards hesitated to send their missionaries there, and it came to be called "the neglected field."

   In 1895 the Scandinavian Alliance Mission of Chicago (now The Evangelical Alliance Mission — TEAM) sent its first worker, a red-bearded Swede. Taking a cue from pioneer James Gilmour, "the apostle to Mongolia," David Stenberg clad himself in woolen Mongolian skirts, rode a camel, traveled with the nomadic shepherd people, ate their food, and learned their language. Within three years he received support from five other hardy Scandinavian missionaries — N.J. Friedstrom, Carl Suber, Hanna Lund, and Hilda and Clara Anderson. Upon finding Stenberg, they mistook him for a Mongolian.

   In the spring of 1900 they heard the rumors of danger to foreigners in China. Such rumors were common and they were from far off. They gave them little consideration.

   In September they embarked on a long journey. A half-day out they met a Mongol who advised them to turn back. Stenberg and the women went on under the protection of a Mongol chief. Friedstrom and Suber waited a while, then fearing danger decided Friedstrom should search for their friends while Suber remained with the caravan. When Friedstrom did not return, Suber became alarmed and sent a friendly Mongol to investigate. He came back in two weeks with horrifying news. The chief had betrayed them. Following orders from Peking, he had sent them to a lonely spot in the desert where soldiers killed them, then preserved their heads in salt for shipment to Peking where an award was expected. Weeks later, another Mongol led Suber to the spot where the only visible remains were a blonde curl and a shoe among ashes.

The Merciless Vegetarians

   The extent of the Boxer persecutions in north China and Mongolia obscured bloodshed elsewhere by other rebellious groups. The worst violence occurred in Ku-chau in south central Chekiang Province where the Kiang-san, a secret vegetarian society similar to the Boxers, had launched an anti-foreign, anti-Christian vendetta. It was in this province that CIM founder Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) had commenced work in 1857.

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   Three hundred federal soldiers had been sent to calm the agitated populace and to protect CIM missionaries Baird and Agnes Thomson and their two young sons, also Edith Sherwood, Etta Manchester, and Josephine Desmond. The protectors were a joke. They had come without arms.

   "We hear all kinds of evil reports which make us fear," Thompson wrote, "but by His grace we are able to rise above all, and take hold of our God and Savior .... We will just 'stand and see the salvation of God' ... His will be done."

   The five workers were among the best the CIM had in China. The Thompsons had not taken a furlough in fifteen years. In the Ku-chau area they had established a bustling church with a strong evangelistic outreach. Almost every night, Scotsman Thompson and national evangelists held services. Mrs. Thompson was instructing eighty Chinese women twice weekly.

   Nurse Josephine Desmond, an Irish American from Massachusetts, had trained at Moody's Bible Training School in Chicago under R.A. Torrey. Miss Desmond had been caring for her co-worker Etta Manchester, a New Yorker who had been in China only three years. Friends had implored her to return home. She replied : "I am willing to come home if that is what God wants. If He wants me to remain here, I will stay. I am prepared to do the will of God, whatever the cost."

   At forty-six Edith Sherwood was the eldest of the single women. She had been influenced by the Thompsons to leave missionary work in Europe and come to China. A friend had called her "a center of hope and love to old and young."

   Reports from Chinese Christians described the missionaries' martyrdom. A mob attacked the mission house on July 21, wounding Thompson. Edith Sherwood and Etta Manchester ran to seek help from the magistrate and arrived as their colleague was being led to execution. Chinese friends pulled them aside just in time and directed them to a secret hiding place.

   The mob succeeded in breaking down the missionaries' door that afternoon. Helpless to resist, the Thompsons, their two children, and Miss Desmond were put to death immediately. Three days later Miss Sherwood and Miss Manchester were discovered and killed.

   Around the same time three other CIM missionaries were about twenty miles away, trying to reach a hoped-for haven in Ku-chau. Britisher George Ward and his wife Etta, an Iowan, had met and married on the field. The number of Chinese believers at their station in Ch'ang-shan had

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doubled in three years. Their companion, Emma Thirgood, was still weak from a long illness that had kept her in England for three years. She had amazed everyone by returning to China the year before.

   Upon learning that the Kiang-san were in close pursuit, they decided to split into parties. Mrs. Ward and Miss Thirgood boarded a boat with the hope that they would be safer as unprotected women. They were killed at a river jetty. Mr. Ward was caught and murdered about five miles from Ku-chau.

The Fellowship of Blood

   More evangelical Protestant missionaries were killed in the Boxer bloodbath than Catholic representatives from abroad. The Catholics were often able to barricade themselves in fortress-like cathedrals. Chinese casualties, however, were just the reverse. Thirty thousand Catholics perished, while only two thousand Protestants gave their lives. Many thousands more lost all their property to burning, looting mobs who systematically sought out residences of persons listed on church registers.

   Stories of bravery abound.

   At P'ing-tu, Shantung Province, some twenty native Christians were seized and offered escape if they would deny their God and worship the idols. When they refused, their queues were tied to the tails of horses, and they were dragged twenty-five miles to Lai-chou where most were killed.

   At Ta-t'ung, in Shansi Province, where six missionaries and five children died, eighteen Chinese believers offered themselves for baptism while the Boxer storm was mounting. Five died with the missionaries a few days afterward.

   At another town in Shansi, one man who at first had denied Christ later repented and told the Boxer magistrate, "I cannot but believe in Christ : even if you put me to death, I will still believe and follow Him." For this he was beaten to death, his body cut open, and his heart extracted and exhibited in the magistrate's office.

   At the town of Honchau, also in bloody Shansi, "Faithful" Yen and his wife were tied to a pillar in the pagan temple. After beating them with rods, the Boxers lit a fire behind them and burned their legs raw. Although they still would not deny Christ. Mrs. Yen was set free. But Mr. Yen was thrown to the ground and firewood stacked around him. The fire was lit. After a few minutes of roasting in agony, he tried to roll out of the fire. A Boxer began to heap his body with hot ashes and coals.

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A soldier standing by could stand it no longer and cursed the Boxer. The Boxers leaped on the soldier and cut him to pieces. At that, the other soldiers rushed on the Boxers and chased them out of the temple. They then took the pitifully burned Chinese Christian from the fire and carried him still alive to the magistrate's house, only to see the official throw the man in a dark prison cell where it is presumed he died.

   At Taiyuan, after the foreigners were beheaded, many of the Chinese Christians were forced to kneel down and drink their blood. Some also had crosses burned into their foreheads.

   Here, a mother and her two children were kneeling before the executioner when a watcher suddenly ran and pulled the children back into the anonymity of the observing crowd. Taken by surprise, the Boxers were unable to find either the man or the children. They then turned back to the mother and asked if she had any last word. Dazed, she begged to see the face of the kind man who had taken her children. The man came forward in tears at risk of his life. Satisfied that the children would be cared for, the mother went to her death because she would not deny her Lord.

   In the Hsinchow district, where eight English Baptist missionaries were killed, a Christian family — Chao Hsi Mao, his wife, sister, and mother — were driven to their place of execution in a large open cart. As they were pushed along they sang the hymn, "He Leadeth Me." When everything was ready, each in turn was asked to recant. One by one they bravely refused and were beheaded.

   At Fang-su, another British Baptist station, the small church building was burned by the Boxers and the young minister Chou Yung-yao beaten nearly to death for refusing to divulge the names and whereabouts of his flock. As the mob began dragging him toward the flames, he shouted, "You need not drag me, I will go myself." He crawled into the blazing ruins. A moment later the roof collapsed over him to crown his final act of devotion to Christ.

   About one hundred Chinese Christians were rounded up in the Shouyang district, among them fourteen members of one family, and given a test of faith. A large circle was drawn on the ground and a cross inscribed in the center. To indicate their denial of Christ, all they had to do was step outside the circle. Only a few accepted this invitation. Those that stood their ground included a sizable number of teenagers. All were killed.

   In a village in Shansi, another mother, Mrs. Meng, was weaving cloth on her household loom when a crowd of fierce faces appeared in her

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doorway. She knew who they were and what they wanted even before the inevitable question, "Will you deny your belief in Jesus?" "Wait a moment, please," she calmly replied. She stepped down from her loom and went to the closet where her family's best clothing was kept for holidays and funerals and donned her best gown. Then she walked to the door and knelt. "Now you may do as you wish, for I will not deny Jesus." A command, a flash of steel in the air, and the deed was done.

   In the mountains nine Black Miao tribal Christian men, the first believers of their tribe, were called before the headman of their village on a ruse. One of the nine, sensing a trap, slipped away. Seven of the eight who appeared were seized and beheaded without trial or defense. In the days following, twenty-seven other Miao Christians were martyred and hundreds fined and forbidden to speak to one another.

   In a church in Honan Province the Boxers took the roll book and went around to one hundred homes, offering each family immunity from persecution if they would renounce their faith and worship idols. Ninety-nine stood fast. Their homes were looted, their cornfields trampled down, their farm implements stolen, their cattle driven off, and they were left destitute.

   A young teacher near the Great Wall was left in charge of seventeen schoolgirls in a boarding school when the missionary had to leave. Influential people offered to hide her, but she refused to leave the girls who could not get to their homes. Hiding in the fields and caves, they were hunted like wild animals. Finally they were captured and led to a Boxer temple for execution.

   A Christian cook was seized and beaten, his ears were cut off, his mouth and cheeks slashed with a sword, and other shameful mutilations afflicted. He remained true.

   A Chinese preacher who refused to apostatize was given a hundred blows on his bare back and then asked again to deny Christ. "No, never," the half-dead man of God declared. "I value Jesus Christ more than life and I will never deny Him!" Before the second hundred blows were completed, he collapsed and his tormentors left thinking he was dead. A friend stealthily carried him away, bathed his wounds, and secretly nursed him to recovery.

   No Chinese Christian was safe from the Boxer wrath, not even the most highly educated. Dr. Wang was one of the first graduates from the Peking University Medical School. When he and his little son were arrested, Boxers told him, "Dr. Wang, you are an educated man. We do not want to kill you, but we have no choice unless you burn incense to the gods."

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   "No, I cannot do that," he replied.

   "We'll make it easy for you," the Boxers offered. "Get someone to burn incense in your place."

   When he again refused, they offered to find him a substitute. "You will only have to go to the temple with us," they said.

   "No, I will not," he persisted. "You may kill me, but I will not worship your gods in any way. There are four generations of Christians in my family. Do you think I would let my child see his father deny his Savior? Kill me if you must, but I will not betray my Lord."

   They ran him through with a sword, lamenting, "What a pity to kill such a man."

   The bravery of such Christians astounded the Boxers. Sometimes they ripped out the hearts of victims in search of the secret of their courage. Finding nothing but flesh, they would then remark, "It was the medicine of the foreign devils [the missionaries]."

The Bravery of Blind Chang

   Of all the Chinese martyrs none died with more courage than Blind Chang, the most famous evangelist in Manchuria, homeland of the Manchu rulers of China.

   Chang Shen had been converted after being stricken blind in mid-life. Before his conversion he had been known as Wu so pu wei te, meaning, "one without a particle of good in him." A gambler, woman-chaser, and thief, he had driven his wife and only daughter from home. When he was striken blind, neighbors said it was the judgment of the gods for his evil doing.

   Chang heard of a missionary hospital where people were receiving sight. In 1886 he traveled overland for hundreds of miles to reach the hospital, only to be told every bed was full. The hospital evangelist took pity and gave up his own bed. Chang's eyesight was partially restored, and he heard about Christ for the first time. "Never had we a patient who received the gospel with such joy," reported the doctor.

   When Chang asked for baptism, missionary James Webster replied, "Go home and tell your neighbors that you have changed. I will visit you later and if you are still following Jesus, then I will baptize you."

   Five months later Webster arrived in Chang's area and found hundreds of inquirers. He baptized the new evangelist with great joy.

   A clumsy native doctor robbed Chang of the little eyesight the missionaries had restored. No matter — Chang continued his travels from

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village to village, winning hundreds more, praising God when cursed and spit upon, even when ferocious dogs were turned loose to drive him away. He learned practically the whole New Testament by memory and could quote entire chapters from the Old Testament. Missionaries followed after him, baptizing converts and organizing churches.

   When the Boxer fury arose, Chang was preaching at Tsengkow, Manchuria. Christians felt sure he would be one of the first targets and led him to a cave in the mountains.

   The Boxers reached the nearby city called Ch'ao-yangshan first and rounded up about fifty Christians for execution. "You're fools to kill all these," a resident told them."For every one you kill, ten will spring up while that man Chang Shen lives. Kill him and you will crush the foreign religion." The Boxers promised to spare the fifty if someone would take them to Chang. No one volunteered. Finally when it appeared the Boxers would kill the fifty, one man slipped away and found Chang to tell him what was happening. "I'll gladly die for them," Chang offered. "Take me there."

   When Chang arrived, the Boxer leaders were at another town. Nevertheless, he was bound by local authorities and taken to the temple of the god of war and commanded to worship.

   "I can only worship the One Living and True God," he declared.

   "Then repent," they cried.

   "I repented many years ago."

   "Then believe in Buddha."

   "I already believe in the one true Buddha, even Jesus Christ."

   "You must at least bow to the gods."

   "No. Turn my face toward the sun." Chang knew that at this time of day the sun was shining toward the temple and his back would be to the idols. When they turned him around, he knelt and worshiped the God of the Bible.

   Three days later the Boxer leaders arrived. The blind evangelist was put in an open cart and driven to the cemetery outside the city wall. As he passed through the crowds, he sang the first Christian song he had learned at the hospital.

Jesus loves me, He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me, He will stay,
Close beside me all the way;
If I love Him when I die,
He will take me home on high.

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When they reached the cemetery, he was shoved into a kneeling position. Three times he cried, "Heavenly Father, receive my spirit." Then the sword flashed, and his head tumbled to the ground.

   The Boxers refused to let the Christians bury his body. Instead, fearful of a report that Blind Chang would rise from the dead, they forced the believers to buy oil and burn the mangled remains. Even so, the Boxers became afraid and fled from the revenge which they believed Chang's spirit would wreak upon them. The local Christians were thus spared persecution.

The Tribulation in Peking

   The largest number of Chinese Christians died in the populous cities of Peking and Tientsin. Fewer died in Tientsin where a young Quaker engineer named Herbert Hoover, the future president of the United States, and other foreigners gave them refuge and the opportunity to help defend the foreign garrison against attacks by Chinese government soldiers.

   But not a single missionary died in Tientsin. And only one was martyred in Peking, an Englishman known as Professor James who had been in the country since 1883. As the crisis was developing, he went out to check on Chinese Christian friends. Soldiers captured him and took him to the house of two of the leaders in the coup that had overthrown Emperor Kuang-hsu. They ordered him to kneel. The missionary refused, declaring, "I cannot kneel to anyone but my God and King." Then he was forced to kneel upon a chain for several hours. He was executed three days later and his head exhibited in a cage hanging from the beam of the Tung An Gate.

   The foreigners in Peking were fast gathering in the British ambassador's compound for protection against sniper attacks. Unexpectedly, the empress's troop commander in the capital announced a short truce to permit all the foreigners to take shelter. American Methodist missionaries begged their ambassador to wait for seven hundred Chinese Christian girls who were unprotected in their mission school a mile away. "We appeal to you in the name of humanity and Christianity not to abandon them," the missionary said. The ambassador felt the risk was too great. Missionary Frank Gamewell then warned that "our Christian nation will never live down your decision." Gamewell and his colleagues could only go back and distribute money to students and faculty and instruct them to hide wherever they could.

   After the foreigners were safely behind the walls of the British compound, the Boxers and their fanatical supporters struck. The tragedy they

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inflicted was described by Dr. George Ernest Morrison of the London Times who was caught in Peking :

As darkness came on the most awful cries were heard in the city, most demoniacal and unforgettable, the cries of the Boxers — Sha kuei-tzu [kill the devils] — mingled with the shrieks of the victims and the groans of the dying. For Boxers were sweeping through the city, massacring the native Christians and burning them alive in their homes. The first building to be burned was the chapel of the Methodist Mission on Hatamen Street. Then flames sprang up in many quarters of the city. Amid the most deafening uproar, the Tun-tang or East Cathedral shot flames into the sky. The old Greek Church in the northeast of the city, the London Mission buildings, the handsome pile of the American Board Mission, and the entire foreign buildings belonging to the Imperial Marine Customs in the east city burned throughout the night. It was an appalling sight....

   On June 15th rescue parties were sent out by the American and Russian Legations in the morning, and by the British and German Legations in the afternoon, to save if possible native Christians from the burning ruins ... Awful sights were witnessed. Women and children hacked to pieces, men trussed like fowls, with noses and ears cut off and eyes gouged out. Chinese Christians accompanied the reliefs and ran about in the labyrinth of network of streets that formed the quarter, calling upon the Christians to come out from their hiding places. All through the night the massacre had continued, and Boxers were even now caught red-handed at their bloody work. As the patrol was passing a Taoist Temple on the way, a noted Boxer meeting place, cries were heard within. The temple was forcibly entered. Native Christians were found there, their hands tied behind their backs, awaiting torture and execution, some had already been put to death, and their bodies were still warm and bleeding. All were shockingly mutilated. Their fiendish murderers were at their incantations burning incense before their gods, offering Christians in sacrifice to their angered deities.

   Several hundred Chinese Christians did reach the besieged foreigners and worked heroically digging ditches and fortifying the walls against Boxer attacks. As the first shells burst over the walls, Chinese Children could be heard singing, "There'll be no dark valley when Jesus comes." Finally in August an international rescue force, marching from Tientsin, reached Peking and broke the siege. By this time the Chinese Christians were reduced to eating leaves. Arm and leg bones protruded through their skin, and they were too weak to cheer their rescuers.

   The empress was overthrown and fled Peking in terror. Many of her advisers committed suicide. The victorious foreign expeditionary force allowed a caretaker government to take over. Now the Boxers became

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the hunted, and thousands were killed by foreign and Chinese troops. The mad governor of Shansi Province was beheaded.

The Last Boxer Martyr

   Meanwhile, the CIM missionaries who had been beaten on long marches were being cared for in hospitals. Mrs. Glover gave birth to the child she had carried on her thousand mile trek. But tiny Faith Edith lived only ten days.

   Mrs. Glover helped plan the burial service choosing one of the CIM's favorite hymns which begins, "Hark, hark the song the ransomed sing." After the burial, Mrs. Glover's health improved and she was moved to Shanghai. There she took a sharp turn for the worse and began sinking fast. Late on the afternoon of October 24, she picked up the lines of "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" which her husband had been singing by her bedside. In a remarkably clear voice she sang,

Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.

At four the next morning she was with Christ.

   She was the last of the Shansi missionary martyrs to die. As her coffin was lowered, her husband, two sons who had been away at school, and missionary and Chinese friends sang the hymn she had sung so many times to her children at bedtime :

Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear,
It is not night if Thou be near.

Afterwards her husband had inscribed on her headstone two praise notes appropriate to all the martyrs of the Boxer uprising :


The Power and the Glory

   The Boxers had inflicted the most severe blow ever dealt to the modern Protestant missionary movement launched by William Carey. A total of 135 missionaries and 53 children had been killed — 100 from Britain and

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Commonwealth nations, 56 from Sweeden, and 32 from the United States. Of this number, 79 were associated with the CIM and 36 with the C&MA, the societies which suffered the greatest losses. Many China watchers thought Protestants were finished in China. Chinese believers, they said, are rice Christians and the native church will fade away. They further predicted that missionaries would never again be welcome in China.

   The doomsayers were wrong on all counts.

   When the rebellion was over, an assessment showed that the Chinese church had been battered but had never bent. For example, the Methodists in Foochow met after the missionaries had departed and agreed they would continue their educational and evangelistic work, even if they never received another missionary or dollar of mission money. When peace and order came and the missionaries returned, a delegation of twelve men came from a village to ask for a Christian preacher. "We want to know more about your religion. We will support the minister and provide him a place to live and a building in which to preach."

   At Taiyuan the remains of the slain missionaries and Chinese Christians were carefully gathered up and buried in the Martyr Memorial Cemetery. Later a Martyr Memorial Church was opened at the spot where Miss Coombs had been burned to death while trying to rescue two of her Chinese students. A memorial stone, on which was inscribed the names of the Taiyuan martyrs, was placed on the porch of the new church.

   At Paoting, where two hospitals were built as memorials to the slain missionary doctors, the commander of the Chinese Second Army Division, General Wang, came to the Presbyterian mission and requested Christian teachers to come to instruct his men in the gospel and biblical morality.

   Powerful, soul-cleansing revivals surged across north China. Missionaries confessed sins of arrogance, pride, and ill feeling toward their co-workers and asked forgiveness. Chinese pastors and church leaders confessed failures to their flocks. Kinsmen who had been long estranged made tearful reconciliations. Prodigals came and knelt at their parents' feet and begged forgiveness. Many parents asked their children for forgiveness. The Methodists' Bishop Cassels recorded :

Scoffers might call the work by an evil name; unbelievers might laugh at the unusual scenes; hard hearts might for a time resist the influence; but those whose eyes were opened and whose hearts were touched, felt indeed that now, if never before, they had been brought into touch with the powers of the other world, and with the mighty working of the Spirit of God.

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   Protestants more than doubled during the six years following the massacres. In 1901 one missionary in Kiangsi Province reported twenty thousand converts.

   Throughout China there was mass interest in Christianity. It was well known that most Christians, Chinese and foreign, had not demanded indemnities for loss of life and destruction of property as other foreigners had. Hudson Taylor, director of the missionary society which had suffered most, asked CIM workers to show to the Chinese "the meekness and gentleness of Christ, not only not to enter any claim against the Chinese Government but to refrain from accepting compensation even if offered." In Shansi Province, where the greatest damage had been wreaked, newly appointed officials appointed Baptist missionary Timothy Richard to help make post-Boxer adjustments. Richard suggested that a large sum be set aside as an indemnity, not to be paid foreigners but to found in Taiyuan a Chinese university. He believed this would help dispel the ignorance and superstition which had enabled the Boxers to gain support from the populace. The proposal was accepted and another English Baptist missionary was appointed the first principal.

   Chinese church leaders more than matched the spirit of the missionaries. Even those who had lost loved ones exhibited remarkable restraint and forgiveness. Chen Wei-ping, pastor of the Asbury Methodist Church in Peking, had lost his minister father and mother and sister to crazed Boxers in Yen-ching-chou. His father had been beheaded, his mother and thirteen-year-old sister hacked to pieces as they clung in each other's arms. When invited by the government to submit a claim, Pastor Chen replied, "We are not in need. We do not want payment." Instead he requested his bishop to "Appoint me to Yen-ching-chou that I may preach the message of love to the men who killed my loved ones." The bishop consented.

   The families of the missionary martyrs were equally forgiving. Sherwood Eddy, the missionary statesman, told a student missionary convention in Kansas City about visiting the parents of Mrs. E.R. Atwater in Oberlin, Ohio. She, her husband, and their four children had been killed by soldiers who had pretended to be their protectors. Recalled Eddy, "They said, in tears, 'We do not begrudge them — we gave them to that needy land; China will yet believe the truth.' "

   Sending churches were challenged by missionary and Chinese speakers fresh from China to embark on a crash program for evangelizing China. Yale student Fei Chi-hao told another student missionary convention, "My parents are now wearing the martyr's crown in the 'Home above.' It is my ambition to follow in the footsteps of your missionaries and carry back the blessed

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message to my people." Then he challenged the students about China's immediate needs. "We need colleges and universities, railroads and factories," he said. "But the thing that we need most, just now, is Christianity. The Christian religion is the only hope and salvation of China."

   Such appeals brought wave after wave of new missionaries to China and millions of dollars for evangelization and education.

   The Boxer martyrdoms in China bore fruit for decades following. Thousands upon thousands came to Christ as a direct result of the slaughter of Christians in 1900. Some had been direct observers of persecutions and could not, as Saul of Tarsus in witnessing the stoning of Stephen, forget the bravery and dedication of those who had died.

   One of the most notable was Feng Yu-hsiang, the soldier who watched the murders at Paoting. In 1913, as a major, he professed faith in Christ at the evangelistic meeting led by John R. Mott in Peking. Afterwards he testified, "I saw Miss Morrill offer her life for her friends. And a missionary walking with his sons on a veranda in calmness and peace while flames rose to envelop them. I could never forget that."

   Feng Yu-hsiang became China's most famous "Christian General." He won hundreds of his officers to Christ, forbade gambling and prostitution in his camps, and had his men taught useful trades.

   The results were much less spectacular in Mongolia where the Scandinavian missionaries had given their all. But their successors were confident. Said Mrs. A.B. Magnuson :

Looking back on our work in Mongolia it seems dark, having borne little fruit, but I lift my eyes upward to Him who can look deeper and farther than we can look and does not judge simply by the outward appearance as we do. He can change and transform all things and no work for Him is in vain. We believe there will be some saved souls from Mongolia in the great blood-washed multitude before the throne of the Redeemer. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

   The defeat of the Boxers and their Imperial backer marked a turning point in China's history. The feudal Manchu dynasty was soon overthrown and the Chinese Republic founded under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, a Christian whose life had once been saved by a British missionary.

   The new generation of Chinese looked to the "Christian" West for education and technical aid. Protestant missionaries were invited to start universities in every major city. By 1911 most Chinese political leaders were Protestants, including Sun Yat-sen. One official even suggested that Christianity be made the state religion.

Chapter 2

China in the Following Decades

No Ark of Safety

The Boxer defeat opened China to greater evangelization, but it did not mark the end of violence. Scores of missionaries and thousands of Chinese Christians were martyred in the line of duty during the next half century. Most were killed by mobs, dread diseases, Japanese bombs and bullets, and Communist assassination squads — all before the Red scourge enveloped the Celestial Kingdom and cut off communication with Christianity abroad.

   Superstition and ignorance continued to spur the dark horse of death. In the summer of 1902, a cholera epidemic swept parts of north China. Thirteen children died at the CIM's Chefoo school where missionaries sent their school-age youngsters. One was the son of Boxer martyrs, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Kay. Missionaries at their stations were working to save thousands of Chinese when a rumor was circulated that they were spreading the epidemic with their poison (medicine). In Chen-chou, Honan Province, two CIM members, J.R. Bruce of Australia and R.H. Lowis of England, were attacked by a fear-ridden mob and murdered as a result of the rumor.

The Doctor's Devotion

   Anti-foreign mobs continued to lengthen the trail of blood of the Christian missionaries, who were not ordinary foreigners but humanitarians of the highest order. Dr. Eleanor Chestnut is an example. An orphan raised

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by a poor aunt in the backwoods of Missouri, she skimped and starved to get through Park College, dressing in castoffs from the missionary barrel. Determined to be a medical missionary, she lived in an attic and ate mostly oatmeal while attending medical school in Chicago. To earn money she nursed the aged. She was nurse to Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes in his final illness.

   After studies at Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Chestnut was appointed by the then American Presbyterian Board to China in 1893. She started a hospital in Lien-chou, Kwangsi, the province adjoining Hong Kong. She lived on $1.50 a month so that the rest of her salary could be used to buy bricks. Her Board learned what she was spending on bricks and insisted on repaying her. She refused the sum offered, saying, "It will spoil all my fun."

   While the building was under construction, she performed surgery in her bathroom. One operation involved the amputation of a coolie's leg. The surgery was successful, except that the flaps of skin did not grow together. Eventually this problem was solved and the man was able to walk with crutches. Someone noticed that Dr. Chestnut was limping. When asked why, she responded, "Oh, it's nothing." One of the nurses revealed the truth. The doctor had taken skin from her own leg for immediate transplant to the one whom nurses called "a good-for-nothing coolie," using only local anesthetic.

   When the Boxer uprising began Dr. Chestnut was one of the last missionaries to leave. She returned the following spring. On October 28, 1905, she and other missionaries were busy at the hospital when an anti-foreign mob attacked. She slipped out to ask for protection from Chinese authorities, and might have escaped had she not returned to help her fellow-workers. Her last act was to tear strips from her dress to bandage a wound in the forehead of a boy in the crowd. She was killed along with Rev. and Mrs. John Peale and two other missionaries.

Martyrs during the Revolution

   In the decade after the Boxer defeat China wobbled chaotically toward revolution. The medieval Manchu dynasty was dying. New leaders were rising and demanding a democratic form of government built on ideals they had learned from western missionaries. One revolutionary leader, Huang Hsing, declared, "To Christianity more than to any other single cause is owed our revolution." Yet in the turbulence of the fighting that

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culminated in the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1911 missionaries were among those who suffered the most from bandits and mobs.

   One of the first to die was Miss Christine Villadsen of the Scandinavian Alliance Mission. She was killed by bandits while trying to protect Chinese Christians at Shao-shui.

   Ironically, supporters of the old Manchu dynasty sought refuge with missionaries in many cities. At Taiyuan, Shansi, the daughter of the Boxer governor who had ordered the murder of missionaries there in 1900, was given protection by British Baptists.

   It was well known that many leaders of the Revolution had been educated in mission schools. Yet extreme elements in some areas of China were determined to vanquish foreigners, including missionaries, along with the Manchus.

   The ancient city of Sian, southwest of Taiyuan, was the old capital of the Chinese Empire and had been a center of Manchu power. CIM missionaries had been twice driven out before Scandinavian Alliance missionaries located there. The work grew, churches were started, and a boarding school for children of the mission was built in a south suburb, beyond the wall of the city.

   The missionaries knew that the anti-Manchu and anti-foreign Ancient Society of Elder Brothers had hundreds of secret members in Sian. Though they were assured by national revolutionary leaders that they would be protected, E.R. Beckman, director of the school, and W.T. Vatne, a young teacher, were concerned. When they discussed their situation, Beckman's oldest daughter Selma overheard and cried, "Let's go home."

   Rumors of an impending attack spread throughout the area in early October 1911. In this same month the churches in Sian were stirred by a remarkable revival. A young evangelist prophesied, "There are many evil men in this city, and something terrible will happen. Pray earnestly to the Lord."

   On Sunday, October 22, Beckman was conducting services in a south suburb when he heard a military command and the sound of running feet. A messenger brought a note from his wife, imploring, "Hurry home." Beckman was stopped several times by soldiers, but finally reached the children's home.

   That night the missionaries and the children crowded onto the veranda of the second floor. They could see pillars of fire in the distance — the wall of Sian was under attack.

   Around midnight a mob massed at the gate in the high stone wall that protected the mission school. While the residents watched, soldiers torched the gate. They would be inside in a matter of minutes.

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   Beckman and Vatne got a rope to help the children over the back wall. Vatne went first, then Beckman helped his oldest daughter Selma over. The director had just put another child on top of the wall when shots rang out and his daughter screamed. Unable to help Vatne and Selma, he tried digging a hole under the wall at another spot. Then he heard shouts and timbers falling. The mob was through the gate.

   Beckman, his wife Ida, and the six remaining children took shelter in a room of a small outbuilding. They could hear people running about and could smell smoke from more fires. "Find the foreigners! Kill them!" the intruders were shouting.

   Mrs. Beckman tenderly took her youngest daughter, four-year-old Thyra, from her husband. She kissed the child and whispered, "I must say goodbye to you, my darling." Then she handed her back to her father.

   Moments later their hiding place was discovered. They all dashed out, trying to run through the crowd milling around the yard. Beckman, carrying little Thyra, became separated from his wife and the others. Oblivious to blows from the fanatics who saw him, he rushed through the gate and ran into a grove of trees on the south bank of a large pond. Hearing voices behind him, he jumped in and waded to the middle of the pond where he and his child huddled in the thick vegetation which had grown out of the shallow water.

   For the next three or four hours he remained there with his daughter in his arms. The little girl never uttered a sound. Finally the voices ceased and he saw flickering torches disappearing in the distance.

   The morning star appeared. He feared that with the coming of day the mob would be back to search the pond. Holding little Thyra tightly, he cautiously waded to the north bank and crept through some bushes. Skirting a military camp, they reached a mission station hours later. Father and daughter were numb and exhausted, but otherwise in good health.

   He was told that his wife, his middle daughter and four other children had been killed while trying to break through the mob. But what of the teacher and Selma? Three days later he learned they had escaped and taken shelter with a Chinese family. Fanatics discovered them and a mob gathered demanding that they be given up. They tried to run and were slashed and beaten to death.

   Revolutionary leaders made profuse apologies when told about the tragedy. This did little to console the grieving four-year-old. "Your momma and sisters and the others are with Jesus," Mr. Beckman kept assuring. Finally she asked, "Are they with our Jesus?" He nodded. "Then I will see them again."

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   Beckman took his daughter to Sweden for rest. There she developed diphtheria and hovered close to death. He and other Christians prayed and miraculously, she lived. Years later she married a missionary and served in China. She now lives in retirement in Woodstock, Illinois, awaiting the time when she will see her loved ones again.

Tragedies in the Twenties

   The political future of China was decided in the 1920s. World War I weakened the European powers. Fueled by biblical ideas of freedom, China's new leaders began pressing for release from the foreign treaties that had milked the nation's resources for decades. Britain and the United States, which had the most missionaries in China, refused to give up the special privileges which were so profitable. Resentment flared against citizens of these countries living in China. Not since the time of the Boxers were missionaries in such great danger.

   New philosophies and theologies from the West also helped to erode Chinese confidence in Christianity. A new wave of so-called missionaries from mainline Protestant denominations came teaching evolution and a non-supernatural view of the Bible. Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Northern Baptist schools were especially hard hit. Bertrand Russell came from England preaching atheism and socialism. Destructive books brought by such teachers further undermined orthodox Christianity. The Chinese intelligentsia who had been schooled by orthodox evangelical missionaries were thus softened for the advent of Marxism.

   The crucial year was 1923. The United States and Britain again refused to give up their special rights in China. Sun Yat-sen, the Christian president, was facing a growing revolt in the south. The Soviet amabassador stepped forward to assure that his government would give up its treaty rights and help unify the country. Communism would not be established in China, he further promised.

   On the last day of the year, President Sun announced, "We no longer look to the Western Powers. Our faces are turned toward Russia." The door was open for Communist agitation and infiltration that would inflame feelings against "imperialists" [missionaries and other western nationals] and their "running dogs" [Chinese Christians and employees of Westerners].

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Martyrs to Bandits and Kidnappers

   Disorders and rebellions continued. In June 1920, William A. Reimert, a missionary educator, was murdered by bandit soldiers. In December 1921, the C&MA's W.H. Oldfields was kidnapped by brigands in Kwangsi Province. In 1922 Dr. Howard Taylor and four other CIM missionaries were seized by bandit soldiers, but were subsequently released. In August 1923, F.J. Watts and E.A. Whiteside of the English Church Missionary Society were murdered by robbers in Szechwan Province. A few months later four American Lutheran missionaries were captured in Hupeh Province, and one, B.A. Hoff, died of injuries after his release. In 1924 George D. Byers, an American Presbyterian, was killed by bandits in Hainan Province. A few months later the anti-foreign Red Lantern Society murdered Mrs. Sible, a Canadian Methodist, at Ch'eng-tu. More kidnappings and murders followed, including the killing of several national Bible Society colporteurs.

   A vast spiritual harvest paralleled the violence. For example, in Kweilin, capital of Kwangsi Province, thousands of new converts were baptized by Christian and Missionary Alliance missionaries. Three times the church sanctuary had to be enlarged. The foundation of the third building was laid during a period of near anarchy while bullets from battling military factions zinged over the construction site. C&MA missionary Cunningham was supervising the work when hit by a fatal shot. His life and the lives of other missionaries and national church leaders were part of the price of the spiritual harvest.

   The violence continued to escalate. Kidnappers no longer sent sliced ears as warnings, but killed their victims immediately if demands for ransom were not met. The anti-foreign spirit, kept high by Communist agitation, was so strong that local military and civil authorities often looked the other way when attacks were made on missionaries and even on Chinese Christians.

The Blood Keeps Flowing

   President Sun Yat-sen died in 1925. His party split apart, factions fighting among themselves. China became even less safe. Six more missionaries died, among them the beloved Bishop Cassels. Before his death he had written, "We came in the steps of Him who was despised and rejected

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of men. Perhaps this is one of the lessons we have to learn at a time when extraordinary and bitter hatred is being stirred up against us."

   In 1926 the British Navy, in a show of force, sailed up the Yangtze Gorges and bombarded the populous city of Wan-hsien. Hundreds of Chinese were killed. Anti-foreign passions flamed so high that hundreds of Chinese churches severed relations with foreign mission boards. Marshall Feng, the famed Christian general, when to Moscow to study communism.

   The year 1927 was the worst since the Boxer violence in 1900. Mission hospitals and schools had to be closed in the interior of China. Missionaries were ordered to evacuate to the coast or return home. In that year the Protestant force dropped from sixty-five hundred to four thousand.

   Crossing deserts and high mountains, missionaries were again easy prey for bandits and undisciplined troops. In one incident bandits attacked three CIM American missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Slichter, their two children, and Miss May Craig. They were traveling under military guard to a railway station in Yunnan Province. When the bandits opened fire, the guards fled leaving the missionaries unprotected in a rice field. Heedless of cries for mercy, one bandit fired at Mrs. Slichter who was holding her three-year-old daughter Ruth in her arms. The bullet passed through the child's head and ripped a gash across the mother's left wrist. Another robber stabbed Mr. Slichter in the back. He fell dead without a sound. These bandits raced on in pursuit of the guards. Others coming up behind paused only to rob Mr. Slichter's body and snatch Mrs. Slichter and Miss Craig's glasses before running on.

   When the battle was over, the robbers returned and carried the dead and living off to their village. Little Ruth had died a few minutes after being hit. Eight days later Chinese soldiers attacked the village. The robbers, dragging their three captives, scattered into the hills under a hail of bullets. At daybreak the bandits regrouped and decided to leave Miss Craig with a letter to the soldiers warning that if they continued to follow, Mrs. Slichter and her son would be killed. The soldiers called off the chase, but returned to the village and seized the bandit leader's family as a ransom for the release of the two Americans. The exchange was made.

   In remote Kansu Province Dr. George King, director of the Borden Memorial Hospital, was the only physician for a thousand miles. Young Bill Borden, heir to a fortune and a scholar-athlete graduate of both Princeton and Yale, had died in Egypt while studying Arabic in preparation for missionary service among the Muslims of northwest China. One quarter of his estate had been left to the CIM and had been used to build the hospital.

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   Dr. King did not want to leave his post, but since he was a strong swimmer and proficient in Chinese, his help was needed in evacuating thirty-seven missionaries and twelve children by goatskin rafts down the Yellow River. They were attacked by bandits along one remote stretch. Fortunately, the current was strong enough to allow them to escape. Then a few miles down the river they became stuck on a sand bar. Twelve hours in the water, tugging at the rafts, sapped the doctor's strength. When all but one of the rafts had been freed, he slipped into a nasty current. "Can you make it?" someone called. "I don't know," he replied, and slipped under, never to be seen again.

Chinese Christians Were Not Spared

   For every missionary who died directly or indirectly because of the violence, at least ten Chinese Christians lost their lives. One was Y.C. Liu, a promising, scholarly young preacher in Szechwan Province. He was on his way to his ordination ceremony in a CIM-related church when kidnapped by bandits. His body was later found in the woods. Another Chinese Christian from the same area was the former incense-maker, Ho. After hearing the gospel, Ho had invited missionary C.M. Tan and his Christian brother-in-law to the destruction of his idols. A man of few words, he became known for his warm smile and willingness to tackle any task in the church. While on a trip to sell cloth, he was stopped by brigands, robbed, and killed. Left to mourn were his wife and three young children.

   Besides the bandit peril, Chinese Christians continued to be targets of anti-foreign and anti-Christian societies. Traveling Bible and book salesmen were especially in danger. One was seized in Kiangsi Province, his books were confiscated, and his hands tied. He was ordered to run through the streets, calling out, "I am also an imperialist, a slavish dog of the foreigners." Instead, he proclaimed at the top of his lungs, "I am a slave of Jesus Christ!" They did not kill him on the spot, but threatened to do so if he ever dared sell another Christian book. How long he lived after this is not known. Another Chinese Christian in Yonanchow, Hunan Province, was grabbed by Communists and charged with being a "running dog of imperialists" for disseminating the teachings of Jesus. When told he was worthy of death, he begged the opportunity to pray. A Communist instantly struck off his hand. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," the Christian shouted in a loud voice. A second blow with the sword and he was dead.

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   The Nationalist armies now pushed north and conquered the upper Yangtze Valley. With the fall of Nanking on March 27 many foreigners, including missionaries, were murdered. Many others escaped. Pearl S. Buck, daughter of missionaries and later to become a world-renowned novelist, hid in a peasant hut. A Southern Presbyterian doctor was pushed into a hospital coal bin by his loyal staff. After the danger had passed, he crawled out, sooty but safe.

The Red Peril

   Chiang Kai-shek purged the Communists from his armies and reversed Sun's policy of friendship with Russia. In 1928 the long civil war began between Chiang's Nationalist armies and the Communists under Mao Tse-tung. Vastly outnumbered by Nationalist troops, the Communist armies retreated to the far northwest. But infiltrators and guerrillas remained hidden in the dense population.

   Undaunted, the CIM called for two hundred new workers in 1929 to serve in dangerous areas. "It will involve the most tremendous conflict [with Satan] which we have ever undertaken," said the CIM director. Within the next few months eight more missionaries were killed, thirty captured and held for ransom, and twenty of thirty-two CIM stations looted.

   The price of serving in China remained high. In 1930 three missionaries of the Finnish Free Mission Society, Misses Cajander, Ingman, and Hedengren were killed by Communist outlaws. Altogether, during 1930, the Communists killed an estimated 150,000 Chinese in Kiangsi Province and burned one hundred thousand homes. One and a half million Chinese fled the province in fear.

   When Chiang Kai-shek declared himself a Christian the next year, missionaries and Chinese church leaders became direct targets for Communist hostility. Propagandists nailed up posters announcing such charges as, "The church is the headquarters of murderers and incendiaries," "The missionaries have love in their mouths and hate in their hearts," and "Christians are traitors to China." Other posters urged Chinese, "Drive out these missionaries who are making slaves of us." To the testimony of one CIM missionary in Kiangsi Province that he was not afraid to die because "I know I will go to Heaven," a Communist answered, "Let him go to Heaven. We will have one less missionary in China to cheat the people."

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   Missionaries urgently warned their home offices and government officials in western countries of the Communist threat to China. But the West paid no heed and continued to enforce profitable trade concession treaties with China.

Muslim Marauders

   The decade of the thirties began with terrible famines and plagues added to Communist guerrilla activities and other rebellions in many cities. In Minchow, Kansu, the Assemblies of God lost 150 school children out of five hundred students in a plague. Next, bandits attacked the town, seizing citizens by force and torturing them until they gave up their valuables. Hundreds were burned and beaten. Many Christians among them died. The bandits had hardly left when thirty thousands rebellious Muslims marched in and took control. Their leader made his headquarters in the front yard of the Assemblies mission house. The Muslims looted, burned, raped, and killed at will for eighteen days. When missionary W.W. Simpson tried to have a worship service, a brute on the Muslim general's staff seated himself on the platform. As Simpson spoke about the coming of Christ into the world, the Muslim made motions with his sword of cutting off the missionary's head. Surprisingly, the missionary was spared.

   The brutalities were even worse in Tsinchow, Kansu Province. A Muslim army captured the town in May, killed twenty-seven hundred natives in three days, took over a thousand young women captive, and turned the CIM girls' school into horse stalls.

Afraid of What?

   In October 1931, widower Jack Vinson, a beloved Southern Presbyterian missionary, was captured by bandits while visiting rural churches in Kiangsu Province. A government force, loyal to Chiang, pursued the kidnappers and surrounded them in a small town. The bandits offered the missionary freedom if he would persuade the force to withdraw. Vinson agreed only if they would release other captives. The bandits refused and tried to shoot their way out. In the melee many bandits were killed, and the survivors fled with Vinson. However, the missionary could not run because of recent surgery. One bandit shot him, then another ran up and cut off his head.

   The daughter of a Chinese pastor was among those rescued by government troops. She recalled having heard a bandit tell him, "I'm going

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to kill you. Aren't you afraid?" She said Vinson had replied simply, "Kill me, if you wish. I will go straight to God."

   Jack Vinson was the first Southern Presbyterian martyr in China. A colleague, E.H. Hamilton, was inspired by his courage to write a poem that was widely printed and became an encouragement to other missionaries and Chinese believers in constant danger.

Afraid? Of What?

To feel the spirit's glad release?

To pass from pain to perfect peace,

The strife and strain of life to cease?

Afraid — of that?

Afraid? Of What?

Afraid to see the Savior's face

To hear His welcome, and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace?

Afraid — of that?

Afraid? Of What?

A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;

Darkness, light, O Heaven's art!

A wound of His a counterpart!

Afraid — of that?

Afraid? Of What?

To do by death what life could not —

Baptize with blood a stony plot,

Till souls shall blossom from the spot?

Afraid — of that?

Victory Day for the Stams

   John and Betty Stam, new CIM missionaries in hazardous Anhwei Province were among those strengthened by "Afraid? Of What?" They had met at a CIM student prayer meeting at Moody. Betty, a gifted poet, had been raised in China of Presbyterian missionary parents and felt God's call to return there. John, of Dutch immigrant ancestry from New Jersey, was also drawn to the land where, as he said, "a million a month pass into Christless graves."

   At that time the CIM was calling for a vanguard of single men to serve in dangerous Communist-infested areas. Even though this could mean not marrying for several years, if at all, John was willing to go. Chosen to give the Class Address for the Moody Class of 1932, he challenged,

Shall we beat a retreat, and turn back from our high calling in Christ Jesus; or dare we advance at God's command in face of the impossible?

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... Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ.

Since Betty was a year ahead of John in school, she went to China first. Assigned to Anhwei Province, she was delayed in Shanghai when the veteran CIM missionary in Anhwei, H.S. Ferguson, was captured by bandits and all the women missionaries had to leave. Ferguson was never seen alive again.

   So she was in Shanghai when John arrived and after a year they were given permission by the CIM director to be married. "Truly, God seems to go out of His way to make His children happy," John wrote his parents after the wedding. They were even happier when Helen Priscilla was born in September 1934, in a Methodist hospital far up the Yangtze River.

   Communist activity was said to have subsided in Anhwei Province, and they were assigned to do evangelistic work in the town of Ching-te. The district magistrate assured, "There is no danger of Communists here. I will guarantee your safety."

   A few weeks later Communists did attack and the magistrate was one of the first to flee. The Reds were quick to go to the Stams. Betty served them tea and cakes while John tried to explain their peaceful intentions. When they finished their tea, the visitors politely said, "You will go with us."

   At the direction of his captors, John wrote CIM that the kidnappers wanted $20,000 ransom. "The Lord bless and guide you, and as for us, may God be glorified whether by life or by death." He told the Communists, "I do not expect the ransom to be paid."

   The Reds abandoned Ching-te, taking their captives with them. On the trail they discussed killing the baby to save trouble. An old farmer protested, "The little one has done nothing worthy of death." "Then you will die for her," the leader retorted. "I am willing," said the farmer. He was killed on the spot.

   They stopped in the town of Miao-shou and ordered John to send another letter demanding the ransom. The postmaster recognized him and asked, "Where are you going?" "We don't know where they're going," John replied, "but we are going to heaven."

   A short time later they were painfully bound, stripped of their outer garments, and quartered in a house. The next morning, still bound, they were marched through the town. As they moved along, the Communists shouted ridicule and hate slogans and called the people to the execution.

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   The procession stopped in a pine grove at the top of a hill. Suddenly the town physician, Dr. Wang, a Christian, ran to the prisoners and pleaded for their lives. He was dragged away to be killed.

   John was asking mercy for the doctor when ordered to kneel. The executioner swung his sword and the young missionary was gone. Betty quivered momentarily, then fell beside him. Another swing and they were together with God.

The "Miracle Baby"

   The next day a Chinese evangelist named Lo arrived. The Communist soldiers had left, but the townspeople were too terrified of Communist spies to talk. Finally an old woman pointed to a vacant house and whispered, "The foreign baby is still alive." Lo found the baby lying warm and snug on a bed and took her to his wife. Then they recovered the bodies of the parents and lovingly wrapped them in white cotton for burial.

   The bravery of the evangelist and his wife shamed the townspeople and they gathered to hear his funeral sermon.

You have seen these wounded bodies, and you pity our friends for their suffering and death. But you should know that they are children of God. Their spirits are unharmed, and are at this moment in the presence of their Heavenly Father. They came to China and to Miao-shou, not for themselves but for you, to tell you about the great love of God, that you might believe in the Lord Jesus and be eternally saved. You have heard their message. Remember, it is true. Their death proves it so. Do not forget what they told you — repent, and believe the Gospel.

   After the burial Evangelist and Mrs. Lo tenderly carried little Priscilla in a rice basket a hundred miles through dangerous mountains to the home of another CIM missionary, George Birch. Along the road they had asked Chinese mothers to nurse the child. Birch promised to care for her until his wife returned. Tucked away in the baby's clothing was ten dollars hidden by the mother for food.

   When Mrs. Birch arrived, the couple arranged for the tiny orphan to be taken to its mother's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Scott, at their Presbyterian station in Chi-nan, Shantung Province. Dr. Scott said of his daughter and son-in-law: "They have not died in vain. The blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the church. If we could hear our beloved child speak, we know from their convictions that they would praise God because He counted them worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ."

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   The report of the Stams' martyrdom and the survival of the "miracle baby," as Priscilla was called, was widely publicized in the United States and Britain. Hundreds of letters came to the parents of the young couple and their mission. Many contained large gifts. Some writers volunteered to go as replacements. At Moody and at Wilson College, where Betty had also attended, there were student prayer meetings. A biography was published and quickly ran through nine printings. Noting the impact, a CIM missionary in China wrote Betty's parents, "A life which had the longest span of years might not have been able to do one-hundredth of the work for Christ which they have done in a day."

Martyrs to Disease

   More missionaries died in China from dread diseases than from violence. The C&MA, for example, lost ten missionaries to smallpox, typhus, dysentery, and malaria from 1900 to 1924, while losing only two workers to afflictions common in the homeland. The larger CIM mission lost many more to dread diseases. Missionary doctors were most vulnerable to diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and typhus because they were often involved in fighting epidemics.

   Dr. Arthur Jackson was a living legend in Manchuria where he was director of a Presbyterian hospital. When the bubonic plague struck, he worked day and night trying to save as many lives as possible. In the midst of the epidemic he caught the plague from patients and died. Thousands attended a memorial service where the viceroy, not a Christian himself, gave the eulogy. "The Chinese government has lost a man who gave his life in his desire to help," he said. Then he followed Chinese custom and addressed a prayer to the departed missionary doctor.

O spirit of Dr. Jackson, we pray you to intercede for the twenty million people of Manchuria and ask the Lord of Heaven to take away this pestilence, so that we may once more lay our heads in peace upon our pillows. In life you were brave, now you are an exalted spirit. Noble spirit, who sacrificed your life for us, help us still, and look down in kindness upon us all.

   Another killer disease was typhus fever, marked by eruption of red spots, cerebral disorders, and extreme prostration. Without treatment, victims usually died or were left with permanent brain damage. Typhus claimed two of China's most renowned medical missionaries.

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   Dr. Gaynor of the Quaker Friends' Mission provided a hospital and refuge in Nanking for officials and relatives from the deposed Manchu dynasty. In 1912 the Quaker physician contracted the disease from patients and died.

   Dr. Whitfield Guinness, chief of the CIM hospital at Kaifeng, caught typhus while treating Chinese during the chaotic year of 1927. He was critically ill when anti-foreign mobs began forming to attack the hospital. Friends carried him to the railway station and shoved his bed into a crowded boxcar for evacuation to Peking. Two nights in the jolting, swaying, unventilated car proved too much. He died shortly after reaching the capital.

   Many other missionaries were struck down by diseases they would not have contracted at home. The Scandinavian Alliance Mission lost four workers in the year 1930 alone. One of the four, Mary Anderson, had worked alone in a dangerous bandit-infested area for thirty-four years. But while the bandits respected her, the dread fever did not.

   The multitalented J.O. Fraser — preacher, linguist, musician, and engineer — came to Yunnan Province in 1910 and mastered the difficult Lisu language. Developing his own "Fraser Script," he devoted himself to translating Scripture into the tribal dialect. In 1916 the Lisu began turning from their demon worship to Christ in large numbers. Sixty thousand were baptized in a two-year period. The Lisu church continued to grow and became one of the largest tribal Christian bodies in the world. Then in 1937, in the peak of life, the "apostle to the Lisus" came down with malignant malaria while on a trip in the mountains and died.

Shine On, Lottie Moon

   Famine, the result of floods and drought, was the greatest destroyer of all. The loss of life in China in the first third of the twentieth century would have been infinitely greater without emergency relief programs funded by Christians in the United States and Britain and administered by missionaries. In 1906 one Christian periodical, Christian Herald, raised and forwarded $450,000 in gold. Upwards of two million lives were saved. Many impressed Chinese came to the missionaries, asking, "Tell us about your religion."

   Too often the money was not available from home, and missionaries were helpless to prevent mass starvation. They had only their own

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small salaries for purchasing food. Some hastened their own deaths by going without.

  The most celebrated martyr to hunger was Charlotte (Lottie) Moon, a household name among Southern Baptists today. Each Christmas Southern Baptist women in almost forty thousand American churches gather an offering in Miss Moon's name for foreign missions.

   Born and reared in Virginia Baptist aristocracy, Lottie Moon was self-willed and rebellious through most of college. Surrender to Christ was not easy. Of her conversion she said, "I went to the service to scoff, and returned to my room to pray all night."

   Her younger sister Edmonia went to China first. Charlotte went to Cartersville, Georgia, to teach. There she sought out destitute families for whom she bought clothing from her own purse. One morning the pastor spoke on the text, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest." At the close of the sermon the young teacher walked down the aisle and declared, "I have long known God wanted me in China. I am now ready to go."

   She joined Edmonia in 1873 at Tengchow in northern Shantung Province. Edmonia was later compelled to leave China permanently because of poor health. Charlotte gave herself without reserve to her teaching and evangelistic work and to pleading for new workers from the homeland. She sometimes struck sparks in letters to her Baptist board. "It is odd that a million Baptists of the South can furnish only three men for all China," she wrote once. "Odd that with five hundred preachers in the state of Virginia we must rely on a Presbyterian minister to fill a Baptist pulpit [here]. I wonder how these things look in heaven. They certainly look very queer in China — but the Baptists are a great people, as we never tire of saying in our associations and conventions, and possibly our way of doing things is best!"

   When more men finally were appointed, the decision was made that women should not share policy making with them. Miss Moon promptly submitted her resignation over the issue and officials backed down.

   In 1887 she was preparing to leave for furlough when two Chinese men arrived. They had walked 115 miles to seek a teacher. There was no one else to send, so she went. This was the year when she suggested that Southern Baptist women designate a week of prayer and offerings for missions the week before Christmas. "I wonder how many of us really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive," she challenged.

   She was not facing persecution and hatred for being a foreigner. Frequently she was called "Devil Old Woman." After receiving a death threat,

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she underlined this sentence in her copy of Imitation of Christ : "Thou oughtest so to order thyself in all thy thoughts and actions, as if today thou wert to die."

   She survived through most of the Boxer Rebellion before agreeing to evacuate to Japan for a few months. In 1911 came the revolution, followed by famine. The Chinese churches did all they could. Miss Moon regularly gave a large part of her salary. She wrote to the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board again and again. Each time their reply was negative. The Board was heavily in debt and could hardly pay missionary salaries. Not one cent had been budgeted for famine relief.

   She wrote a nephew, begging him to speak with his pastor about a local church offering. She told of mothers eager to give their children away and warned that "unless help comes from one to three million must perish from hunger. One penny a day up to the next harvest will save a life. How can we bear to sit down to our bountiful tables and know of such things and not bestir."

   The famine worsened. Her appeals to the homeland continued to receive no response. She drew out the last of her savings from a bank in Shanghai to send to relief workers. "I pray that no missionary will ever be as lonely as I have been," she wrote in her bank book.

   Fellow missionaries began noticing that she was behaving strangely and appeared befuddled. They sent for a doctor. One look told him she was starving to death. Indeed she had vowed to eat no more so long as Chinese friends were starving.

   Gentle hands gave her nourishment and put her on a ship for home with a missionary nurse escort. Enroute, the ship stopped at Kobe, Japan. There, on Christmas night, 1912, she lapsed into unconsciousness. The nurse saw her lips move and bent to catch the name of a Chinese friend. Her frail, thin, almost transparent hands were moving, clasping and unclasping in the Chinese fashion of greeting. She was saying goodbye to old friends. Or was she saying hello? Finally her hands grew still, her breathing stopped, and she was in the heavenly company.

   After cremation (required by Japanese law) her ashes were delivered to Virginia and buried under whispering pines. At the head of her grave her family placed a marble stone with the inscription :

LOTTIE MOON 1840-1912




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Her home church hired an artisan to design the figure of a beautiful woman in graceful, flowing garments, walking through a field of lilies, one hand clasping the Word of God to her heart, the other holding high a blazing torch. On this he inscribed in gold lettering :


Back in China her Christian friends erected their own memorial stone :





But her greatest memorials have been the numbers of young Christians who have been challenged by her life and the annual week-of-prayer offerings taken in thousands of Southern Baptist churches every year for foreign missions. In 1994 the collection amounted to almost 85 million dollars.

Martyrs in War

   A new and dangerous period of world history had begun in the thirties. China was at center stage and again the Chinese church and Christian missionaries were caught in the violent vortex. Many heralds of the cross gave their lives.

   In 1930 the Shinto zealot Baron Tanaka became prime minister of Japan. Tanaka reasserted hakko-ichiu — "the whole world under one roof." Japan's destiny, he vowed, was to bring the world under the rule of Shintoism, as personified by the Japanese emperor, worshiped as the Imperial incarnation of the Sun Goddess.

   China was then reeling from epidemics, famines, Communist terror, and factional wars. Taking advantage of the weakness of Japan's longtime traditional enemy, Baron Tanaka and other war lords seized two northern provinces. To buy time in his fight against the Communists, Chiang agreed. Then the Communists scored a dramatic coup. They kidnapped Chiang and forced him to sign a truce.

   The Japanese launched an all-out attack in 1937 and by 1939 had conquered most of the populous eastern China. American missionaries warned

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their homeland of Japan's global intention. But the United States refused to intervene and even continued selling war material to Japan which was used to bomb innocent civilians.

   During the Boxer uprising and the other anti-foreign rebellions that had followed, it had not been safe for missionaries to be on the street in China. The situation was now reversed. Foreigners were given safe conduct, for Japan did not want to provoke intervention from abroad.

   Undisciplined soldiers looted, raped, and killed at they desired. Thousands of Chinese girls were gang raped, then killed for sport. Traveling missionaries sometimes came across trembling Chinese men sitting by the roadside. Their story was always the same : Japanese soldiers had driven them from their homes, keeping behind their wives and daughters. The only safe place was with foreigners. When soldiers were about, mission schools, hospitals, and homes were jammed with Chinese women and girls.

   Both Japanese and Communists persecuted Christians, although the Japanese were careful about disturbing a church when missionaries were around. Apart from missionaries, Chinese church leaders were fair game. In Shansi Province thirteen Christian leaders were rounded up at one time and shot. In mountainous tribal areas Communist guerrillas continued killing Christians as they had before the Japanese occupation.

   Patriotic Chinese Christian leaders refused to kowtow to the invaders. One of the most notable was Dr. Herman Liu, the first Chinese president of the Baptist University of Shanghai, who held the Ph.D. degree from Columbia University. He headed up refugee work in occupied Shanghai.

   The Japanese put him on their blacklist. Many attempts were made on his life. He was sent flowers with notes of warning. The gate leading to his home was dynamited. Poisoned fruit was delivered to his home — he discovered the poison just in time.

   Friends begged him to flee, but he refused, declaring, "I will remain as the Lord can use me here. I will not desert."

   On the morning of April 8, 1938, Japanese soldiers shot him to death in front of his home, where he was waiting with his young son for a bus to take him to his office. His friends tearfully held his funeral while a crowd of five thousand waited outside the church, unable to get in. On a cross over his grave was inscribed :


Still the Chinese church was unbent. One woman told CIM missionaries : "My house has been burned twice and nothing is left. Four of six

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relatives there are dead, including my brother who was branded with a hot iron. My daughter-in-law was shot before my eyes and my only grandson has died from exposure. But I will not let go of Jesus Christ."

   Missionary work in China became more hazardous after Pearl Harbor. In areas already under control hundreds were seized and placed in internment camps. Missionaries in unoccupied areas of China had to evacuate as Japanese armies moved closer. Many got out just in the nick of time by hastily arranged five-hundred-mile flights provided by the U.S. Air Transport Command over the dangerous Himalayan "Hump" to Burma. There were numerous accidents. In 1944 the CIM alone lost three missionaries in plane crashes.

   During this second phase of the war, thousands of Chinese Christians perished or lost all their property. In some regions entire church congregations vanished. Nevertheless, between 1937 and 1945, evangelicals in China actually increased.

The Real John Birch

   John Birch is one of the most remarkable martyrs of this period. Unfortunately, his service to China has all but been forgotten in the controversy over the organization named after him.

   Born in India of missionary parents, Birch graduated at the head of his high school, college, and seminary classes. He went to Hangchow in 1940 under the World Fundamentalist Baptist Missionary Fellowship and immediately demonstrated an unusual proficiency in learning the language and adapting to the culture. Within a year he was slipping through Japanese occupation lines and preaching in villages where missionaries had not dared go since the war began.

   After Pearl Harbor the Japanese ordered his arrest. But he had fled to Shang-jao in Kiangsi Province from which he and four Chinese preachers sustained national churches for several months. Because Shang-jao was still in "free" territory, he became a conduit for American funds sent to missionaries stranded in Shanghai.

   As the war progressed, he became a one-man rescue unit, helping missionaries and Chinese preachers evacuate before advancing Japanese. In one operation called "Harvey's Restaurant" he arranged for sixty missionaries and children to be flown out to safety. In another operation he rescued Colonel James Doolittle, the most celebrated American flier shot down during the war.

   He asked to join the American Military mission as a chaplain. Instead he was commissioned a captain in intelligence and told he could preach all he wanted.

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He became a legend. He was the only American who had the complete trust of the Chinese Army and could go anywhere. His commander, Colonel Wilfred Smith, said later, "John influenced more as a military officer than he did as a missionary."

   But he never saw himself as anything but a missionary. "I'm just making tents," he wrote his father. "When the war is over, I'll be ready to welcome the others back."

   His announced intention to remain in China after the war may have led to his death. He was sent to convince hold-out pockets of Japanese in North China that the war was over. Communists, under the guise of "agrarian reformers," were then entrenched in North China, awaiting the opportunity to resume their war of conquest. Birch and his team were intercepted by a column of Chinese who were not supposed to be there. "Let us take you to our commander," they offered. Warned by his lieutenant that he might be walking into a trap, Birch decided to go. "It doesn't make any difference what happens to me," he said, "but it is of utmost importance that my country learn now whether these people are friend or foe." His body was found the next day, punctured and slashed by bayonets.

   Chinese friends tenderly wrapped his body in white silk. He was buried in a Chinese coffin with full military honors, with several missionaries and Chinese pastors looking on. On his stone they placed the inscription :


Only the barest details of his death were released to his family by the State Department. In the amoral game of diplomacy Communists were never blamed. There were at the time Red sympathizers ensconced in high places in the U.S. government. It was also later disclosed that the decisive U.S. atomic bombing mission had been carried out with the aid of essential weather bulletins from Mao Tse-tung's Communists in North China.

   Why was John Birch killed? The best speculation is that the Chinese Reds did not want him around as a missionary after the war.

Martyrs of Red China

   The West was blind to the Red tide washing across China. But the old China hands who returned to their mission posts soon saw the

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handwriting on the wall. The Soviets had declared war on Japan in the closing days of the war — to grab Manchuria, some thought. The Chinese Marxists had helped the Americans defeat the Japanese in China and gained valuable experience in guerrilla warfare. All during the war they had been subverting and plotting to take over the government.

   Meanwhile, the opportunities for evangelism seemed never greater. Most churches had either held their own or actually grown during the years of war and Japanese occupation. Missionaries and national church leaders began reopening hospitals and schools and launching evangelistic crusades.

   The euphoria was short-lived as Communist propagandists began stirring up old hatreds against Americans. Communist armies launched new attacks. Banditry intensified, making travel as dangerous as ever.

   In December 1947, Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries at Hankow became concerned about their colleagues in Kingchow which was in imminent danger of being taken by the Communists. On January 7, 1948 Dr. Alexis Berg, Esther Nordlund, and Martha Anderson left by transport truck to consult with their friends. Some of the passengers, worried about a bandit attack, had hired an armed guard.

   About two in the afternoon as they were traveling through deserted hilly country, a shot rang out. The driver stopped immediately and one of the guards fired a shot to scare off any small group. More shouts and more firing — then about sixty armed men appeared. The guard fled.

   The bandits advance on the passengers and ordered them to get off the truck and to give up their valuables. The missionaries were also forced to give up their coats and shoes. Dr. Berg asked if he might keep his passport. At that, one bandit cursed and slapped his face. The doctor handed the passport over. A passing bicyclist was stopped. When he hesitated to give anything up, the bandits shot him dead.

   They then left by scrambling up a nearby hill. Part way up, four turned around and returned.

   "Shall we kill these foreigners?" the leader asked. Then looking at Dr. Berg, he demanded, "Are you Americans?" When Dr. Berg did not reply, the bandit snarled, "Americans are the worst of all. They have done China much harm." Then he shot Dr. Berg through the head.

   When the shot was fired, Miss Anderson burst into sobs. The bandit leader responded, "She must be a relative of his," and immediately shot her also. By this time some of the passengers were kneeling, pleading with the bandits to stop killing. The four consulted briefly among themselves,

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then turned toward Miss Nordlund. "Yes, you may kill me, too," she said. Then she was shot. None of the other passengers were killed.

   The killers left. But the frightened passengers insisted that the driver take them on and leave the dead Americans by the roadside. The bodies were later recovered and taken to Kingchow. The missionaries there sorrowfully dressed the bodies and placed them in coffins. They were taken back to Hankow for a final service and buried in the International Cemetery among the graves of scores of other departed missionaries who had given their all for Christ in China.

   The Communist armies kept advancing. By 1949 the conquest was all but complete. There was much hand wringing and finger pointing in the West. It was said "fuzzy" liberals and hidden Communists in the U.S. government had blinded the Americans until it was too late to rescue Chiang. There was less quibbling over other factors, such as corruption in the Nationalist government, runaway inflation, and student unrest. Later even the liberals had to concede they had been duped while the Communists had followed their game to victory.

   The Communists sought to destroy the old Confucius order of family loyalty and morality and level the social system. Millions were killed for nothing more than owning property and paying respect to parents. How many Christians died in the secret genocidal purges will never be known.

   Not wanting to inflame world opinion, the new "People's Republic" pursued a more wily strategy against Christianity. First they got rid of most of the missionaries, not by execution but by cutting ties between East and West. They charged that Christianity as it existed was too closely tied to western imperialism and colonialism. Missionaries were suddenly without jobs, property, and financial support. For example, the CIM, still the largest mission, had served in China eighty-five years. By 1953 it did not have a single worker in China nor a piece of furniture to call its own. The schools, hospitals, and all properties of the CIM and other foreign missions were confiscated.

   Taking a lesson from history, the CIM changed its name to Overseas Missionary Fellowship, began accepting Asian workers on a par with Westerners, established headquarters in Singapore, and began work in East Asian countries.

   By 1950 only a smattering of missionaries remained in China. Some had welcomed communism as a partner to Christianity and were outright propagandists for the regime. The others were holdouts, determined to stay until they were forcibly removed, imprisoned, or killed. Along with the Protestants were not a few Catholic diehards who died in prison.

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   The Communists had a step-by-step plan for dealing with the immovables : false accusations, planting of evidence, arrest, showcase trial, imprisonment, interrogations, and torture until the victim signed a confession; then if life remained, release of the shattered mind and body to authorities in Hong Kong.

   Many faithful evangelists and pastors were arrested, never to be heard from again. One was Pastor Wang Shih-kuang, who was conducting a morning service at Ch'in-hsien in northwest China when Communists entered. The venerable preacher had apparently been expecting arrest. Raising his hand, he said simply, "This is God's service. Kindly remain at the back until we have finished." The Communists complied.

   When the service was over and the soldiers came forward, Pastor Wang had only one last request. "Permit me to change clothes first." They understood. When a Chinese believes death is upon him, he wants to be dressed in his best garments. A few minutes later Pastor Wang reappeared, properly dressed for his trip to jail. His fate was never known. The bodies of those who died in prison were usually released with the cause of death cited as disease, accident, or suicide.

Indomitable Bill Wallace

   The diabolical brutality of twisted Marxist minds is no better illustrated than in the treatment given a Baptist bachelor surgeon from Knoxville, Tennessee.

   The quiet and devout Wallace joined the staff of Stout Memorial Hospital in Wuchow in 1935. A veteran missionary on board ship had told him that during the first half century of Protestant work in China, only one missionary had reached age forty. Wallace surpassed that by only three years. He steadfastly refused all marriage prospects. One hopeful said after a short acquaintance, "Marriage to Bill would be bigamy. He's married to his work."

   The first incident occurred when he returned from language school to find the other missionaries had departed in fear of an advancing bandit army. He simply pulled the Chinese staff together and went to work. An American ship anchored in the nearby river. The captain sent an officer to remind the young surgeon that he could not be responsible for his safety even if he stayed overnight. "Tell your captain," Wallace said, "that he was not responsible for my coming here in the first place and he does not need to be responsible for my staying here."

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   The Japanese could not bomb him out during their war with China. He stubbornly remained during World War II until Wuchow officials decided the city must be evacuated. Then he put the hospital on water by transferring staff and equipment to a barge. When enemy planes roared overhead, he had the tugboat captain pull the floating hospital into one of the many large caves along the riverbank.

   After VJ Day he set up shop again in the old building at Wuchow and for four years operated in peace. Then the Communists took over. One by one his missionary colleagues had to leave. Finally only he and nurse Everly Hayes remained. Local Communists tried to impose a crippling tax. Wallace said he could not believe the new People's Republic would so handicap an institution of mercy. Local citizens rose up and demanded exemption. It was granted.

   The Korean War was now on and Communists in Wuchow mounted a "hate America" campaign. But the only "American dogs" and "imperialist wolves" remaining in the city were Dr. Wallace and Nurse Hayes, and Wallace was renowned as the finest surgeon in south China. The propaganda campaign fizzled.

   One pre-dawn morning more than twenty Communist soldiers came to the hospital gate claiming to have a sick man. When the gate was opened, they rushed to the doctor's house. "We hide nothing," Wallace protested. "Our only work is healing the suffering and sick in the name of Jesus Christ."

   A planted pistol was excuse enough to arrest and jail the doctor for espionage. From his cell Wallace preached to peasants brave enough to come within hearing.

   At a mock trial his prosecutors waved a paper they said was his signed confession. What they had gotten from Wallace was only a brief, factual biographical summary. After he signed it, they had typed in the confession. Citizen accusers were asked to come forward. To the prosecutor's embarrassment, no one moved. No matter. At a prearranged signal, hired stooges stood to deliver false testimony.

   The missionary doctor was convicted, sentenced to prison, then marched through the streets to the main prison. His hands were tied and he wore a placard bearing obscene charges. Along the way he was shoved by a guard, and he fell, badly hurting his hand.

   The next days were a nightmare of almost hourly interrogations accompanied by charges of medical incompetence, murdering and maiming Chinese, performing obscene operations, and immoral conduct with

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nurses. Once he was forced to pose holding a radio aerial for a picture to prove the spy conviction.

   Near the end of one brutal day in February 1951, one of the Catholic missionaries asked from a nearby cell how he was holding out. "Trusting in the Lord," came the weak reply. His prison mates often heard him crying out in agony. It was also learned later that he wrote short Scripture verses, affirmations of faith, and denials of guilt on pieces of paper which he stuck on his cell walls and repeated to prepare for the next grilling.

   The questioning continued, the pressure unrelenting. He became delirious and lapsed into crying spells.

   Perhaps in fear of punishment for not succeeding, his guards used long poles to jab him into unconsciousness. The next morning they ran along the cellblock yelling, "The doctor has hung himself." They showed the Catholic priests where he was hanging from a beam and asked them to sign a statement attesting to his suicide. They would only state that they found him hanging.

   Nurse Hayes and the Chinese hospital staff, who had been held under house arrest, were asked to claim his body. Miss Hayes noticed that his eyes were not bulging nor his tongue swollen, the usual features which would indicate hanging. But his upper body was a mass of bruises.

   These devoted friends took his body to a cemetery. The Communists permitted no service and required the mourners to leave immediately after his body was lowered into the grave. But the Chinese Christians could not be cowed. Defying the Communists, they returned and erected a shaft over his grave pointing heavenward. On the shaft they inscribed the Scripture which they felt described the motivation of his life :


   When Everly Hayes was released and returned home to tell the story, the head of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board commented : "The Communists thought they were rid of him; instead they immortalized him." So true. Bill Wallace of China, by Jesse Fletcher (Broadman Press), had multiple printings. A film was made. Scores of young men and women committed their lives to missionary service. Said a Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary friend, "There have been and there will be many martyrs, but few can so glorify Him in death as Bill did."

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The Fiery Trials of Chinese Believers

   Chinese Christians and church leaders having close connections to President Chiang's Nationalist government were among the first targets of a Communist purge. Many were killed. Others managed to flee with Chiang's staunchest supporters to Taiwan.

   One who escaped was Dr. Chen Wei-ping, who had been a Methodist pastor for over fifty years. In 1900 he was pastor of the First Methodist Church of Peking when the Boxers spilled their rivers of blood across North China. His church and home were burned, but he and his wife and young child escaped. His parents and brother and sister did not. Later Dr. Chen had been told the gruesome story of his family's murder. He had borne the memory for almost fifty years. Now, with the Communist takeover, he too was willing to die for Christ. But leaders of the defeated government begged, "Come with us. We need you more." He went to Taiwan and became Chief of Chaplains in the Nationalist Army. Later he became pastor of the Shih Ling Church which President and Madame Chiang regularly attended.

   Many thousands of Christians stayed behind, telling departing missionaries and fleeing Chinese friends, "We ask only that you pray for us as we remain to face the storm."

   The Communist rage hit Catholics harder than Protestants. The Reds tried to induce the Catholic clergy to set up an independent Chinese Patriotic Church but met stiff resistance. A crackdown resulted, and hundreds of priests were imprisoned. Before 1952 about one hundred Chinese clergy died in jail. In 1952 over two hundred perished. By 1954 an additional four to five hundred priests had joined these martyrs. Not until 1958 was the puppet Catholic church established, and then it was denounced by the Pope. Most of the remaining opponents of the new church were put in prison.

   The Marxist regime had more success with Chinese Protestants. In 1950 Chou En-lai persuaded a few leaders to draft a "Christian Manifesto," affirming loyalty to the government and opposition to "imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism." Chinese "volunteers" were then fighting the West in Korea. The anti-foreign spirit for past western aggressions remained strong. With support from liberal churchmen, some trained in liberal American seminaries, three hundred thousand Chinese Protestants signed the Manifesto.

   The next tactic was the "Resist-America, Aid-Korea, Three-Self-Reform Movement" program, followed by the organization of a unified

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Chinese Christian Church with officers from Three-Self Committees. All denominational structures were dismantled. Services were allowed only in authorized church buildings at announced hours with a government monitor present. By 1958 only a dozen of two hundred churches in Shanghai were open; in Peking only four of sixty-five still held services.

   From the beginning of the Red takeover there had been Christian resistance. In Manchuria a Christian leader protested indiscriminate killing. He was dragged into a People's Court and accused of numerous crimes against "the people." The judges ordered spectators to march by him, each to hit him with a club until he was beaten to death. But the people refused, declaring, "He's a good man."

   Changing tactics, the judges promised that if he renounced Jesus he would be set free. "Which do you choose — Jesus Christ or Communism?" they demanded.

   "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! he shouted back.

   Then they took him to the riverbank for execution. Along the way he sang, "Jesus Loves Me" and the Twenty-third Psalm set to Chinese music. He asked to pray, and they granted him permission to kneel briefly. When he stood up, he was shot in the back. But instead of falling on his face to grovel in the dust as victims usually do he fell backwards, as if he were falling into the arms of Jesus. The entire community was reportedly stirred by his testimony.

   In Shansi Province, scene of bloody Boxer massacres, many evangelists and pastors were martyred. In one instance, a preacher was tortured, then told he could go but dare not preach again.

   "No, I cannot do that," he replied. "I cannot obey you."

   Furious, the official shouted, "Then you must die, you miserable lout."

   "I am not the one who is poor and miserable," the preacher replied calmly, and he began preaching to the man. He was shot without further delay.

   There was widespread resistance to joining the puppet national Christian Church. This resistance was concentrated in the communal Jesus Family and the Little Flock house churches. Neither had direct connections with missionaries. Thousands of Chinese participants in the house churches of these groups were killed or imprisoned. Best known in the West for his books was Watchman Nee, leader of the Little Flock. He was imprisoned in 1952 and lived until June 1972.

   A deceitful calm came in 1957 when many political prisoners were released and Mao Tse-tung proclaimed as state policy, "Let all flowers bloom

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and all schools of thought contend." This was taken as an invitation to speak up. Some church leaders charged the Three-Self Movement with taking away their political rights. One churchman called the lack of personal freedom under the government "intolerable." The veteran evangelist Chia Yu-ming told theological students that the "mark of the beast" as revealed in Revelation was membership in the Communist Party. Another faculty member at this seminary displayed a poem that challenged atheism :

I say, God is; you say No;

Let's see who will suffer woe.

You say, No God; I say you're wrong;

We'll see who sings salvation Song.

   The bloom faded. Most of those who had been released from prison when the deceitful invitation was announced were rounded up and put back in jail. One of these was Henry H. Lin, who had previously been arrested in 1957. Before that time he had been president of the Baptist University of Shanghai, succeeding Herman Liu, a martyr to the Japanese. President Lin languished less than two years in prison. According to a report, he was given a higher release when he died in a jail near Nanking early in 1960.

   Too late the freedom critics learned they had been tricked. The Communists now knew who the resisters were and began hauling them into court for crimes against the state.

   In one city fifty-two pastors, evangelists, and leading laymen were put on trial and pressured to make confessions. During the procedure, Communist supporters were invited to display their loyalty by slapping, pulling the hair, and spitting on the accused. The inquisition continued for seven days and two nights. On September 7, 1958, one pastor collapsed and died. He was rolled up in a reed mat and dumped in a grave before his widow knew he was dead. When she asked permission to move the body to their home burial ground, the Communists jeered, "You Christians are going to heaven. Why do you worry about burial?" As a result of this pastor's death, seventeen of his codefendants denounced Communist injustice and were immediately sentenced to long terms of hard labor under inhuman conditions.

   Astute China observers believe that similar trials occurred all over China, leading to imprisonment for thousands of Christian leaders. Communist secrecy insures that the records will never be publicized.

   But thousands more were absorbed into the Communist plan with little murmur. They came largely from the leadership of denominations

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included in the national union church (Methodists, United Church of Christ or Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and others). They had been conditioned for the Communist appeal by liberal theology professors who had been largely trained in the United States.

   Protestant liberalism, deemphasizing and demythologising miracles and biblical authority, introduced the powerful but crippling secularism into Chinese Christianity. Yale's late distinguished Professor in Missions and Oriental History, Kenneth S. Latourette, termed "the secularizing movements issuing from alleged Christendom and the essence of the Christian Gospel as seen in the apparent weakness of the incarnation and the cross" as the most important factor in the suffering of Christianity in Communist China. According to Latourette, this was more significant than the association of China missions with western imperialism.

The Chinese Church Refuses to Die

   What of Christianity today behind the bamboo curtain?

   In recent years hard news of the state of Christianity in China has been scarce. There were a million baptized Protestants and around three million Catholics at the time of the Communist takeover. Journalists and other visitors report seeing only a few showcase churches still open and these are sparsely attended. Unauthorized meetings of three or more persons are illegal. The "president" of the Nanking Theological Seminary admitted in 1977 that he had had no students in five years.

   Relatives outside the bamboo curtain occasionally get news of their loved ones. Franklin Liu, for example, a Baptist educator in Hong Kong and the son of martyred Herman Liu, heard that his mother remained under house arrest in Peking, his brother was in a labor camp in Manchuria, and his sister was allowed to teach mathematics in Shanghai. That news was several years ago and their fate is now unknown.

   But letters to the Far Eastern Broadcasting Company in Manila, stories from refugees trickling into Hong Kong, and reports from Chinese allowed to visit relatives inside China suggest that cell churches are thriving in some areas. Among a population of thirty thousand in an area near the coast, three thousand believers are said to be meeting in small house churches. But sources for this report also say that plundering Red Guards during the height of the Cultural Revolution destroyed almost all Bibles in the district.

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   David Adeney, dean of OMF's Discipleship Training Centre in Singapore and a veteran China watcher, tells in the November 18, 1977 issue of Christianity Today of a Hong Kong resident who visited his relatives and found almost all of them still professing Christians. Relatives told him many had been baptized in 1976 and numbers of young people were seeking Christ. These were being warned that the cost of commitment could be great. The times and places of house church meetings were constantly being changed to avoid a crackdown. Nevertheless, leaders continue to be arrested and sent to labor camps. At one meeting worshipers "strongly sensed the presence of the Spirit of God and the love of Christ." At the conclusion of the meeting, five visitors stood and announced they had been sent to make arrests. Now they too wanted to believe. They were then instructed to kneel and confess their sins and receive salvation in Christ.

   Adeney tells of another Chinese Christian who came to Hong Kong with his five-year-old daughter to visit his father. He had left his wife behind in an area where Christians feared to confess their faith. He recalled that he and his wife sometimes prayed together in bed, but had been afraid to tell their child for fear she would tell in kindergarten and bring trouble upon them.

   Adeney further reports news of a powerful revival in one section of China. In this area five hundred Christian leaders associated with Watchman Nee were arrested. The news bearer said that five of eleven who came from his village were sent to a remote spot from which only one returned. Three died from extreme cold and hard labor. One was shot because of his continued witness. But in 1976 revival swept the area and four to five thousand were baptized in secluded places.

Has a New Era Begun?

   The most astounding news came in late 1978 when President Jimmy Carter and Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-p'ing announced establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries. Immediately afterwards, wall posters appeared in major Chinese cities calling for more democracy and friendship to the West. The Chinese government began signing contracts with american corporations for tourist hotels, airline service and technological assistance. Train car loads of Coca Cola were shipped from Hong Kong to major Chinese cities for Chinese New Year celebrations.

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   The first wave of American tourists visiting large Chinese cities in 1979 reported almost no sign of Christianity. One small group did locate a Protestant worship service in downtown Peiping and boosted the crowd of worshipers to seventeen. Chinese scholars and journalists touring the United States told readers back home that religion was very important to Westerners.

   With the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, the world's most populous nation became more open and concerned about international relations than it had been since the years immediately following World War II. During the 1970s fewer than one thousand Chinese Christians were known to be worshiping publicly. By the end of 1982 an estimated two hundred Protestant and ninety Catholic churches had been reopened. That year the government approved the printing of one million Bibles. [Webmaster's note: These Bibles are published by Amity Press, a communist-government entity]

   During the 1980s thousands of Westerners visited China for extended periods. Some came simply as curious tourists. Others pursued business opportunities. Still others came to teach in Chinese schools. Among the latter were many Christians intent on bearing a low key witness to their faith.

   It soon became apparent that millions of Christians had survived the Red purges. The only question was how many. The government-approved Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement claimed over four thousand open churches were enjoying full freedom of worship. Christianity Today estimated in 1988 a membership of five million among over a billion people. Other estimates put the figure above fifty million Christians in Communist China.

   The Marxist Chinese government has come to realize that tight indoctrination and harsh repression cannot stamp out Christianity. The government is also striving to put its best foot forward in trying to convince the world of a vast improvement in human rights. Life is certainly better than during the dark years under Mao Tse-Tung when millions were murdered to advance the Revolution. It took the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of protesting students, which included Christians, to dispel belief that the China of the 1990s was on the way to becoming a democracy.

   Christian ministers and lay leaders are still kept on a short leash. The largest official seminary has less than two hundred students. One prospective student who sought to bypass government procedures for admission was arrested and put in jail. Catholic Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang was arrested on June 10, 1991, apparently in retaliation for the Vatican's elevation of another Chinese bishop to cardinal. The Chinese government does not recognize any linkage between Chinese Catholics and Rome.

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Zhang Yonglian, a Protestant house-church leader from southern Henan Province, was seized in September 1990 and detained for almost a year, during which he was reportedly beaten in an effort to obtain information about other Chinese Protestants operating outside of Marxist regulations. Zhang was sentenced in August 1991 to three years imprisonment. He had previously been jailed in the early 1980s for "illegal religious activity" — preaching without a permit.

   Evangelist Billy Graham was given a warm official welcome when he visited China in April 1988. Xu Yongzhe, an itinerant evangelist from China, was denied permission to speak to Graham. Xu had hoped to share with Graham news of the thousands of house churches in rural China which despite government repression had grown from two hundred to over three thousand groups in the past years. Xu and a number of his co-workers were arrested for their efforts to make Graham aware of this.

   When U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker was preparing to visit China in November 1991, the Puebla Institute, an international lobby for religious freedom, delivered to him a list of eighty-one Catholic and Protestant leaders known to be deprived of liberties by the government Public Security Bureau. After Baker met with Chinese officials, two political prisoners were released, but none of the religious leaders were freed. Authorities even prevented some regular worshipers from attending the government approved church which Baker visited while in China.

   Also in 1991, the Switzerland-based Christian Solidarity International human rights organization reported that at least eighty-four church leaders were under arrest in China, with many being tortured. The organization said, "... Christians are being singled out, having been subjected to beatings, imprisonments, and heavy fines on account of such 'crimes' as holding 'illegal' gatherings, 'maintaining contacts with overseas organizations,' and for the 'illegal distribution of Bibles.' "

   In mid-September of 1991, government soldiers reportedly raided a church of about two thousand members, beating preachers and shocking them with cattle prods.

   The present Marxist government tolerates Christianity only to a degree. The government courts tourism, business, and student exchange, and does not want to be embarrassed by publicity resulting from arrests of Christians and others who do not hold to Marxist ideology.

   What is the future for Christianity in Earth's most populous nation where more martyr blood has undoubtedly been shed than anywhere else in modern times? If the limited openness to the West continues and blossoms, millions more Chinese will be exposed to Christianity in the

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1990s. How deep this will penetrate and how far the communist government of China will allow the gospel to spread are matters of prayer concern for all believers.

   In 1985, the Chinese government permitted the return of the cremated remains of martyr Bill Wallace to Knoxville, Tennessee from where he had departed on a Sunday afternoon, fifty years before. A memorial service was held for the slain missionary in the church named in his honor, Wallace Memorial Baptist Church.

   Said Pastor James McCluskey : "As long as the sun rises, as long as the moon gives its glow, as long as spring flowers push their way through the earth, Bill Wallace will continue to remain as an influence and an inspiration."

   So will it be for the countless other Chinese martyrs in China during this twentieth century.

Part Two

Martyrs of Japan and Korea

Chapter 3

Manchuria and Japan

"Let No Christian Come"

Conflict between Christianity and the national Shinto religion was inevitable in Japan and its occupied territories. The Japanese emperor was regarded as the divine incarnation of the Sun Goddess. Shinto tradition said she was born from the right eye of the male creator and was the grandmother of the first emperor. Each successive emperor had been her living incarnation.

   Shintoism was weak when the first Christian missionaries, Roman Catholics, arrived in the sixteenth century. For a while they met with enormous success. They baptized 150,000 converts in thirty years and had almost made Japan into a papal state when Shinto devotees of the Sun Goddess raised an army and struck back. In 1638 the Shintoists massacred thirty-seven thousand Catholics in one city.

   Throughout the Empire this inscription was posted : "So long as the sun shall warm the earth, let no Christian be so bold as to come to Japan; and let all know that the King of Spain himself, or the Christian's God, or the Great God of all, if he violate this command shall pay for it with his head." For the next 250 years special police squads hunted down suspected Christians and tested their loyalty to the emperor by demanding that they step on a crucifix. Those who refused paid a dire price. Some were burned to death, others buried alive.

   A trade treaty with the United States opened the door for Protestant missionaries in 1859. Protestant success brought renewed Shinto reactions. Between 1868 and 1873 some two thousand Christians died in prison. Then in a turnabout, evangelical Christianity flowered again under the leadership of keen Japanese believers. By 1884 many Japanese

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leaders, having seen the changed lives of national Christians and social and industrial advance in "Christian" America, were suggesting that Japan be declared a Christian nation.

   Again there was a resurgence and counterattack from Shintoism. The first persecutions of the twentieth century occurred in occupied Korea and Manchuria.

The Manchurian Martyrs

   The great Manchu dynasty that ruled China for so long had come from Manchuria. In 1905 the province was divided between Russia and Japan, with Japan occupying the southern half.

   Presbyterian missionaries had won thousands of Manchurians to Christ. There was a strong network of churches when the Japanese took control and ordered reverence and submission to the emperor as the incarnation of the Sun Goddess. The Christians of Manchuria were willing to obey civil authority, but they would not reverence the emperor as a deity. When this became known, Japanese soldiers marched on Christian villages, burning homes, and massacring hundreds.

   Dr. S.H. Martin, a Canadian Presbyterian doctor, interviewed survivors from the Manchurian village of Norabawie and filed this report to his mission board in Toronto :

At daybreak ... Japanese infantry surrounded the main Christian village, and starting at the head of the valley, burned immense stacks of unthreshed millet, barley and straw, and then ordered the people to vacate their homes.

As each son and father stepped forth he was shot, and though perhaps not dead, heaps of burning straw were placed over them. If they struggled to escape the flames, they were bayoneted. The Japanese soldiers then set fire to the houses ...

I have names of, and accurate reports of, thirty-two villages where fire and willful murder were used — in one village the dead numbering 145. I saw the ruins of a house which was burned with women and children inside. At Sonoyung four men were stood up near an open grave and shot ...

Later Manchurian Martyrs

   Small shrines were required to be installed in church buildings. Evangelist Kim, a Presbyterian minister steadfastly preached that no one

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could serve two masters — he must choose between the emperor or Christ. He was arrested, tortured, and released seven times. The eighth time he was given the famous "water cure." While he was stretched out on a bench with his head hanging back, water was poured from a kettle down his nostrils. Near strangling and half insane, he finally consented to sign a paper signifying his approval of Shinto shrine worship. After his release, he was racked with remorse. He went to Presbyterian missionary Bruce Hunt and confessed that he had lied.

   "What will you do now?" the missionary asked.

   "I must write back to the police station and say that I do not approve of shrine worship. I expect they will arrest me again."

   This time, according to the later recollection of Presbyterian missionary John Young, Kim was kept in a cramped cell until he was too weak to stand. Believing he was about to die, the police called a friend to get him. The friend took him to the home of Dr. and Mrs. Roy Byram, missionaries of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. He regained his strength and began preaching again. His ninth incarceration was the last. He died in prison in 1943.

   Another courageous Manchurian Christian was Miss An, a Sunday school teacher. When a close friend was arrested in the spring of 1940, Miss An went to the police station hoping to secure her friend's release. Instead she was questioned about her loyalty to the emperor and imprisoned. By November she was critically ill. She was released and taken to the mission dispensary, jaundiced and little more than skin and bones. A few days later, as Dr. Byram was entering her room, she suddenly rose up and declared, "I go into the presence of my Father." Then she fell back on her bed and died.

   Manchurian martyr Mr. Ni, Young relates, was a country evangelist and worker in secret schools where believers were educating their children free from Shinto influence. He too was arrested, and steadfastly refusing to compromise, later died in prison.

Japanese Militarists Prepare for War

   Christians in Japan were prominent in business and society. Rabid Shintoists worked to undermine moderates in government who had not been anxious to enforce the rule of emperor worship. In 1929 the Shintoist champion, Baron Tanaka, became prime minister. He revived the ancient Shinto crusade to bring the "whole world under the Shinto roof." The fanatic militarists began planning for war.

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   Japanese educators were ordered to state that participation in the ceremonies was tacit acknowledgment that the emperor was Supreme Lord, and that "no god should be reverenced above the emperor." The educators asked for time to apply persuasion. They believed that missionaries and national church leaders would now cooperate on the basis that all religions are good.

The Liberal Compromise

   At this time liberal theological currents from the West were flowing into Japan's seminaries. Leading Japanese pastors were repeating the catchwords of prominent western theologians : the Bible is not infallible; Jesus was only a great teacher of ethics; the sum of Christianity is the Sermon on the Mount; Christians should respect and draw from the teachings of other great religions. From these positions, it was an easy step to accede to the militarists' demands.

   The conservative evangelical minority refused to compromise. They quietly ignored the militant promotion of Shintoism and prayed that police would not interfere with the education of their children.

Two Brothers Who Refused to Bow

   Then in 1933 two brothers, eleven and twelve years old, in Ogaki, Japan, refused to accompany their class on a trip to the Grand Shrine of Ise to worship the Sun Goddess. The boys were backed up by their parents and members of the Mino Mission Church. Mobs threatened to destroy the church. Patriotic rallies were held in pagan temples, and posters were displayed throughout the area, declaring : "Stand against the Mino Mission" and "Protect the Structure of Japan." The leading national newspaper headlined :


The boys were not harmed, but pressure increased on Christians schools. In one school police ordered that a stained glass picture of Christ be covered with a curtain while a Shinto pledge of reverence was placed in front of a picture of the emperor.

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   Parts of the Bible and hymns speaking of Christ as Supreme Lord were banned from churches. Small shrines were even installed in church buildings. Ministers who refused to cooperate were jailed. Dissident church organizations were dissolved.

Prelude to Pearl Harbor

   In October 1941 while America continued to sleep, Dr. and Mrs. Roy Byram and another missionary were arrested by the Japanese. The charges : propagating a religion opposed to State Shintoism and holding that Jehovah God and not the Sun Goddess, as incarnated in the emperor, was the supreme God and Savior. In the trial held before Japanese judges and military officers, the missionaries were questioned about their beliefs regarding the return of Christ. The central question was : "Do you teach that divine emperors of the divine Rising Sun nation will also have to recognize Christ as Lord of all at His return?" The missionaries were uncompromising. The judges finally decided to defer judgment for two years. When this verdict was announced, spectators in the courtroom began saying, "Choi upso, choi upso," meaning, "There is no crime. They are not declared guilty."

   On December 5 the three missionaries were taken before the provincial governor and lectured sternly. "All the world will soon know that the Sun Goddess is the God of Japan," he told them. Thirty-six hours later Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor, touching off World War II.

The "Schizophrenic" Martyr

   Before 1941 the Shinto government had not taken direct action against western missionaries in Japan. This policy changed a few months before Pearl Harbor. In October 1941, two Irish Plymouth Brethren workers, R.G. Wright and John Hewitt, were arrested. Wright was put in a cell with street thieves and given food so dirty he could not eat it. Hewitt was in a separate cell, but later in the day Wright heard him preaching to his cell mates.

   They were permitted to go home that night with the promise to return early the next morning for questioning. For the next five days they were grilled by relays of interrogators about their thoughts on the deity of the emperor, Christians bowing before shrines, spirits dwelling in shrines, and the Bible's teachings about such Shinto ideas. Then they were released.

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   Wright was subsequently put on board a ship supposedly bound for the United States. The ship was at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. With America and Japan now officially at war, the captain turned back to Yokohama. Fortunately, police records on Wright were available in the Yokohama district. He was interned with other missionaries and repatriated in 1942.

   Hewitt did not fare so well. He was locked in Sugama Prison on December 8, the same prison where the victorious Allies would later incarcerate Japanese war criminals. About January 15 he was transferred to Tokyo's insane asylum without notification to his Japanese Christian friends.

   Finally his Buddhist neighbor was notified to make preparations for his funeral. A child overheard and got a message to two women missionaries who had not been interned. They and a third woman found Hewitt lying on the floor in a pauper ward. Weak and emaciated, he could only whisper, "Praise the Lord!" The women later learned that the police had inquired if foreigners had come to see Hewitt. The orderly had said no. The women returned and took turns spending time with him. That night he died. After a Buddhist funeral was held, the women wangled permission from the police for a Christian funeral conducted by one of the interned missionaries.

   After the war Wright was able to get the medical report on his martyred friend. It said that Hewitt was schizophrenic but not dangerous, and that he was heard singing hymns under his blanket. Also found with his records was a tract on which Hewitt had scrawled Ephesians 5:11-12. "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."

The Sufferings of Japanese Pastors during World War II

   Hewitt was the only Protestant missionary to die in Japan during the war. That minority of Japanese Christians who refused to bow at the shrines and acknowledge the emperor as supreme Lord fared much worse than the interned missionaries. They were branded traitors for honoring the "religion of the enemy." Scores of unyielding pastors were jailed and questioned mercilessly by teams of interrogators.

   The largest mass arrest occurred on July 26, 1942, when forty-two Pentecostal pastors were rounded up by civil police. They were charged

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with teaching that when Jesus returned, every knee would bow to Him. The police correctly assumed this meant the emperor would have to bow to Christ as his superior.

   Toyozo Abe, the general affairs chairman of the group, refused to sign an incriminating statement and was imprisoned for 288 days. During this time he saw the sun only twenty minutes. He was not put on trial until July 1944, when he was tried with twelve other leading pastors. He and five of the twelve were sentenced to three years in prison and the others given lesser terms. In other proceedings over fifty additional Pentecostal preachers were given long prison terms. Two of these died in jail, two succumbed after release, and several others emerged with health broken by torture and long confinement.

Thankfully the war ended in 1945, preventing any more Japanese Christian martyrdoms.

Japan after the War

   General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, saw clearly the danger in racist Shintoism. One of his first acts was to declare separation of church and state "to prevent misuse of religion for political ends, and to put all religions, faiths and creeds upon exactly the same legal basis." MacArthur also denounced "the doctrine that the emperor of Japan is superior to the heads of other states because of ancestry, descent or special origin," or that the Japanese people and the islands of Japan were superior to other peoples and lands for the same reasons. Shinto teaching was excised from textbooks.

   The humiliation of defeat and their emperor's admission that he was not divine threw the Japanese people into mental confusion. "The problem now is a theological one," MacArthur declared. He proposed that America send ten million Japanese Bibles and ten thousand missionaries to meet the challenge. American church bodies did send two thousand missionaries along with great quantities of reconstruction aid.

   Prominent members of the emperor's household even asked for Bible instruction from missionaries. The Federal Council of Churches in New York was asked to recommend a woman Bible teacher for the crown prince. The Council sent one who did not believe the biblical doctrine of redemption.

   Sparked by the preaching of Jake DeShazer, an American serviceman who had been captured and ill-treated in Japanese prisons during the

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war, and by the conversion of Mitsuo Fuchida who had led the attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese professed Christianity. But the uptrend in conversions continued only five years, then began steadily dropping. Japanese Christians today number about 950,000 divided about evenly between Protestant and Catholics, fewer than during the time after the first Christian missionaries came to Japan.

   According to government polls, only 30 percent of the population claim to have any real personal beliefs. The Japanese excel in technology, particularly in autos, with sales to Americans threatening the dominance of the Big Three automakers in the United States.

   Yet as Japan has advanced materially, political radicals have made great gains. They take advantage of Japan's democracy. They exploit feelings of dissatisfaction and emptiness. They whip up anger in response to Japan bashing in some business and political circles within the United States. They label Christianity as a foreign religion, unworthy of Japan.

   There may yet be another age of martyrdom in this ancient stronghold of pagan Shintoism.

Chapter 4


The Land of Morning Calm

A Korean proverb says : "He that is born in the fire will not faint in the sun." Perhaps this explains why Indiana-sized South Korea with thirty-four million people is today the most Christianized nation in Asia and the Christians of Korea are among the most loyal, devoted followers of Christ in the world. Prayer meetings are routinely held at four and five o'clock before the people go to their work. It is not unusual for one third of a congregation to spend Sunday afternoon evangelizing their neighbors. Nor is it extraordinary for Korean Christians to offer up their most precious possessions sacrificially. One farmer who had nothing else gave his ox, and returned home to pull his plow himself.

   Korea, like other nations, is steeped in antiquity. Korean legend carries back to 4300 B.C. The earliest recorded date is 1122 B.C., when five thousand Orientals rebelled against Chinese rule. They fled to the mountainous peninsula that is now Korea and organized the new state of "Morning Calm." For the next three thousand years the "Hermit Nation," as it was called, was a punching bag for China, Mongolia, and Japan. Not until 1876 did Korea emerge from isolation when Japan forced a trade treaty on it. Treaties with other nations followed, and by 1900 all of Korea's ports were open to western commerce.

   There can be no accurate accounting of Korean Christian martyrdom in the twentieth century. Thousands died during the long Japanese occupation form 1910 to 1945. Many more were undoubtedly murdered by Communists in North Korea after the country was divided at the close of World War II. And at least five hundred pastors were killed during the savage Korean War of the early 1950s.

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A "Missionary Manual"

   In the early nineteenth century Korean diplomats at Peking had met missionaries and brought back the Catholic faith to Korea. In 1835 Catholic missionaries began secretly entering the country. The new faith spread rapidly despite frequent persecutions led by Buddhist priests. In 1846 the Korean Catholic hierarchy and ten thousand communicants were savagely put to death by bitter anti-foreign religionists. A great fear spread across the land. Koreans did not dare even whisper the names Jesus or Mary.

   The signing of a trade treaty between Korea and the United States in 1882 opened the door for Protestants. The first missionaries were medical doctors, appointed by the Northern Presbyterian Board. Evangelists and educators followed quickly after.

   The pioneer missionaries adopted in 1890 a developmental policy suggested by Dr. John L. Nevius, a visiting missionary from China. The Nevius method, far advanced for that day, called for complete self-support and control by the national church. Churches were to be started in homes and led by tradesmen pastors. Nationals were to build whatever church buildings they could afford. Missionaries were to train Korean leaders and medical specialists at the behest of the church. The Korean evangelical church was thus guaranteed a solid footing.

   By 1907 Korea was the missionary marvel of that time with over one thousand self-supporting Presbyterian churches serving an evangelical community of 120,000. That year an evangelical revival of Pentecostal proportions swept across Korea. Church after church witnessed mass prayer meetings, confessions by backsliders, and conversions of hardened sinners. Thousands were empowered by the Spirit to face a coming trial by fire unmatched even by the Boxer scourge in China.

Shinto "Evangelism"

   In 1910 Japan forcibly annexed the country as a colony and set out to convert the Koreans to Shintoism. The Koreans rebuffed the Shinto missionaries and continued turning to Christianity in great numbers. The Japanese responded by arresting the most prominent Korean Christians on a charge of conspiring to murder the colonial governor. Three were tortured to death. Nine were exiled without opportunity to protest in court. Trials were held for 123 others on June 28, 1911,

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in the district court of Seoul. Some of these had signed confessions under torture which they later repudiated. None were permitted to produce witnesses who could have testified to their innocence. On September 28, 106 of the accused were sentenced to prison terms of five to ten years.

   Documented evidence of the Japanese plot was provided western nations by Presbyterian missionaries. Smarting from heavy foreign criticism, the Japanese released all of the prisoners except six. They offered to let these go if the American Presbyterian Church would confess its guilt and beg the Japanese government for clemency. The Presbyterians flatly refused. Embarrassed before the world, the Japanese released the remaining prisoners in 1915 under the pretense of Imperial clemency.

A Policy of Strangulation

   The persecutors now tried to strangle the Korean church in less obvious ways. "Educational Ordinances" prohibited religious instruction in mission schools. Classes at mission schools had to be conducted in the Japanese language and daily reports prepared under a Japanese supervisor. No new Christian schools could be opened without government permits, and no minister could preach without a license. Permits were almost impossible to obtain. Many old schools had to close because of alleged violations of nit-picking regulations.

Fiery Trials

   Resentment against heavy-handed Japanese rule boiled over in an independence demonstration in March 1919. Koreans took to the streets in major cities, crying for freedom. The most influential leaders were Christians.

   The Japanese retaliated with brute force. Churches and mission schools were burned. Travelers were stopped at roadblocks and asked their religion. Those confessing Christ were killed on the spot. Thousands of pastors, Bible women, and other church officers were rounded up like cattle and herded into smelly, freezing jails. Christian nurses attempting to help the injured were arrested. One pastor was imprisoned because he refused to stop praying for the sick.

   Christian men, pressed to sign confessions, were tortured in indescribable ways. As Nathaniel Peffer reported in an effort to arouse the world's conscience :

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Men and boys were trussed and suspended from the ceilings so that their weight hung on the shoulders. Thus they were raised and lowered til unconscious. They had their fingers pressed over red hot wires. Their naked flesh was lacerated with sharp hooks and seared with hot irons. Toenails were torn from the flesh with pincers. Men were placed in a tight box and then screwed up. They were tied up, their heads forced back, and hot water or a solution of water and red pepper poured down their nostrils. Slivers of wood were shoved far under their fingernails. They were flogged until they had to be taken to hospitals, where big slabs of gangrenous skin had to be cut off. In many cases they were flogged to death. And some kinds of tortures were unprintable. This was not done once or twice, but repeatedly for days and nights, hours at a time until the victim confessed, whether he had anything to confess or not. There are cases where men had said yes to anything, ignorant even of what they had admitted.

   Women and girls were not tortured so severely, but they were beaten and humiliated. Knowing the sense of shame Korean women feel about exposure to men, the Japanese stripped them naked in the presence of men who shouted obscenities. They had to appear in the courtroom nude, and then were pronounced guilty.

   A twenty-one-year-old Christian girl from Pyongyang gave Presbyterian missionaries this signed statement of her experience :

I was arrested on the streets of Pyongyang the 3rd of March and taken to the police station. There were many others, both men and women. They asked us if we smoked, if we drank, and if we were Christians. Soon all were let out with little or no punishment, with the exception of twelve Methodist women, two Presbyterians and one Chundokyo woman. Three of the Methodist women were Bible women. They stripped all of the women naked in the presence of many men. They found nothing against me except that I had been on the street and had shouted, Mansei. They beat me until the perspiration stood out all over my body. They they said, "Oh you are hot," and then threw cold water over me. Then they stuck me with the lighted ends of their cigarettes.

My offense was considered very little compared with those who made flags, or took part in the independence parade. Some were beaten until they were unconscious. One young woman resisted having her clothes taken off. They tore off her clothing and beat her all the harder. After four days we were taken to the prison. Here we were packed in a room with men and women. One day an old man was beaten until he died. One of the Bible women was chained next to him She asked to be moved, but they compelled her to watch the dead body all night. One of the Bible women not only had her hands bound, but had her feet put in stocks. They would not allow us to talk or pray. They made vile and indecent remarks to us.

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All this was done by the Japanese. Though there were Korean policemen in the room they took no part in the beating or in the vileness. The Japanese know the Bible and blaspheme the name of Christ, and asked us if there was not a man by the name of Saul who was put in prison. They asked us most of all as to what the foreigners had said and were most vile and cruel to those who had been with the missionaries, or who had taught in the mission schools. Some of the girls were so changed that they did not look like human beings.

Protests from Abroad

   By this time the Japanese had driven out foreign businessmen by trade discrimination. Only missionaries were left in the remote areas where the worst atrocities occurred. In the larger cities, where diplomats were stationed, the Japanese tried to hide their heinous deeds under the cloak of law and order.

   The reports reached the mission boards at the same time Japanese delegates at the peace conference concluding World War I were pretending to defend human rights. Some church papers headlined the atrocities. Others ignored it. Said the Christian Advocate : "It is the duty of humanity to hold the Japanese government to account for the horrible deeds which have been perpetrated upon the unresisting Koreans." The Philadelphia Presbyterian declared : "The groans of these innocent people have ascended to Heaven, and it is time that Christian nations entered their protest, and the mission boards, who either condone this violence or fail to protest against it, are already condemned."

   For a while the Japanese tried to block the bad news at its source by hiring two hundred thugs from Japan to terrorize the missionaries. Many missionary homes had to be guarded every night. Two American women were beaten by soldiers without even citing a cause. One missionary teacher, Rev. Ely M. Mowry of Ohio, was sentenced to six months at hard labor for "harboring criminals" — five of his students.

   The missionaries hung on. Finally, after scathing eyewitness stories appeared in the New York Herald on June 16, 1919, the Japanese promised "reforms."

Repression before and during World War II

The reforms lasted barely a decade. The new Japanese militarists in power brought fresh repressions in the thirties. Korean church leaders

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who had studied in the United States were placed under house arrest. In 1937 Christian schools were ordered to have their students worship at a shrine of the Sun Goddess. As in Japan, Christians were divided over the issue. The more liberal Methodists acceded, claiming the rites were more patriotic than religious. Presbyterians closed their schools rather than comply. The Japanese ordered some churches to require members to worship before a Shinto shrine before coming to church. Those that failed to obey were imprisoned. In 1939 all foreign missionaries were ordered to leave.

   After Pearl Harbor more restrictions were imposed. Use of the Old Testament was forbidden in worship. The New Testament was censored to exclude all references to Christ as Lord and King. Christian families were pressured to give their children Shinto "baptism." Many church buildings were confiscated. Clergy were drafted for war work.

The Red Menace

   Announcements that Japan had surrendered brought Koreans pouring into the streets shouting, "Iayu haebang Mansei! Hurrah for our freedom and independence!" Christians sang with fervor hymns that had been banned, such as "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." For the first time in thirty-five years they were free to worship and witness as they pleased.

   Not for long. Soviet troops remained in North Korea, forcing a division of the country into Communist and free zones. In 1948 two separate governments were established, and Communist persecution began in the north where Christianity was strongest.

   Upwards of five million refugees fled the "socialist paradise" for the south where a Christian, Syngman Rhee, was president. After the curtain closed, the blood of Korean martyrs again began to flow.

   Thousands upon thousands of faithful Christians are believed to have been killed or herded into forced labor camps. As in Communist China, iron censorship and banishment of non-Communist foreigners prevented the free world from ever knowing the extent of the bloodletting. Only a trickle of escapees lived to describe the horror.

Murders in Communist "Paradise"

   One was Chulho Awe, a mining executive who traded the highest professional honor in North Korea for the life of a fugitive when he

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declined to join the Communist Party. In Decision at Dawn (Harper and Row, 1965), Awe tells of slipping back to Pyongyang, the capital, to see how his Sangjung Presbyterian Church had fared. He found furniture smashed, pews toppled over, files strewn over the floor. A choir member led him to an execution ground outside the city where corpses were stacked like cordwood. In the stack they found the bodies of the pastor and the ruling elder.

The Incredible Love of Pastor Son

   Communist troublemakers infiltrated South Korea, sparking local rebellions in which many Christians died for their faith. Two of those martyred were Tong-In and Tong-Sin, the sons of Pastor Son, the minister of a Presbyterian church near Soonchum.

   Tong-In, the eldest, had been thrown out of school by the Japanese for refusing to worship at a Shinto shrine. After World War II, he had gone back to high school where he was elected president of the campus YMCA. In October 1948, a wild Communist uprising exploded in the area and young Communists seized the school. A nineteen-year-old Marxist pointed a pistol at Tong-In and ordered him to renounce Christ. Tong-In replied with the gospel message, pleading for the Communist to accept Christ.

   Suddenly Tong-Sin, the younger brother, rushed up. "Shoot me," he shouted, "and let my brother live."

   "No," objected Tong-In, "I am the elder. If you must kill someone, shoot me."

   The Communist killed them both. When Pastor Son was brought to identify their bodies, he said only, "Their shining faces are as lovely as flowers."

   The uprising was quickly put down and the murderer of the two brothers caught and put on trial. Pastor Son found him with his hands tied behind his back, awaiting the death sentence. He hurried to the military authorities. "Nothing will bring back my boys now, so what is to gained by killing this one. I am willing to take him and try to make a Christian of him so he could do for God what Tong-In and Tong-Sin left undone."

   The military officers were momentarily stunned. Finally, they reluctantly agreed to the proposal and Pastor Son took the murderer of his boys home.

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   The young Communist's parents were overcome with gratitude. "Let us feed and clothe your daughter in return," they begged. The pastor's sixteen-year-old daughter was hesitant to go. But after her father told her, "It is the best Christian witness you can make," she agreed.

The Martyr Who Died Twice

   Another martyr to the Communists during this time was Sung Du, a young Christian teacher. Before World War II, Sung had disappointed the missionaries by yielding to Japanese pressure and worshiping at the shrines. Five years after the war ended, missionary Arch Campbell ran into the teacher's younger brother and asked what had happened to Sung Du. "Oh, he repented before God with bitter tears," the young Korean said. "He promised God that he would die before denying the faith again. And he kept his promise. He died twice."

   Campbell requested an explanation. The younger brother, Sung Ho, explained that Sung Du had gone to seminary and prepared for the ministry. After being ordained, he had taken a church near Suyang-Ch'on. Then the Communists came and put him to work as slave laborer in a mine. Because he refused to work on Sunday, they beat him so badly they thought he was dead. "They carried my brother out and threw him in the river," Sung Ho lamented. When they turned away, some of his church members jumped in and pulled his body out. They took him back to the village and were preparing for his funeral when they found he was still alive. Many months later he was well enough to preach again.

   But then the Communists came back and arrested him again. This time they shot him and made sure he was dead. So he died twice to make up for the time when he was unfaithful.

Brave Pastor Im

   On June 23, 1950, the North Korean Communists invaded the south and pushed the South Korean Army and a few American soldiers to the southeastern tip of the peninsula. The United Nations pronounce the invasion aggression and authorized UN member nations to help defend South Korea. In slow, bitter fighting, UN forces drove the Communists back into North Korea where the Chinese Communists entered the fighting. The result was a cease-fire agreement fixing a buffer strip at the thirty-eighth parallel just north of Seoul.

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   One of the many prisoners freed during the UN advance into North Korea was Pastor Im. He had a heartbreaking story to tell. When the Communists first took over, he said, they had ordered the pastors to insert Marxist propaganda into their sermons. Those who refused were pulled from their homes at night and beaten. Some were never seen again.

   The day of Pastor Im's testing came. "If you do not teach what we say, you will die," a Communist official warned.

   "You may destroy my body, but not my soul," the brave preacher retorted.

   "If you do not care for yourself, then think of your family. They will be killed also."

   Pastor Im hesitated. Then he said, "I would rather have my wife and babies die by your gun and know that they and I stood faithful than to betray my Lord and save them."

   The preacher was taken away and kept in a dark prison cell for two years where he was never allowed to shave or change clothes and was fed only a bowl of slop each day. He kept up his courage by reciting Bible verses he had memorized long before. One verse that gave him comfort was John 13:7 : "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter."

   When the UN troops arrived in September 1950, Pastor Im was put with Communist prisoners by mistake. They refused to believe that he was a pastor. "All you Communists lie," they said.

   Accepting the situation as God's will, he began witnessing to the Communist prisoners. Many were converted. Months later American missionaries, who had stayed in Korea as chaplains, heard about the prison camp preacher and investigated. They obtained permission for him to organize evangelistic services in prison camps all over South Korea. By the summer of 1951 thousands had accepted Christ. Upwards of twelve thousand were rising each morning for dawn prayer meetings. But Pastor Im never saw his family again.

Forgiveness beyond Measure

   Another who lost his family was Kim Joon-gon. The first Christian in a Buddhist family, Kim was persecuted by the Japanese for refusing to worship at a Shinto shrine. When World War II ended, he came out of hiding and enrolled at the Presbyterian seminary in Seoul. When the Communists attacked in 1950, he took his wife and young daughter and

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fled to Chunnam Island where his parents lived. There he was trapped again when Communists took over the island.

   He lived from day to day while Christians were being arrested and martyred around him. In October 1950, he was arrested and accused of friendship with American missionaries "who came to make Korea a colony of the United States." When Kim denied this, the Communists dragged him to a place where several other Christians lay dead and naked. Still he refused to make false charges against the missionaries or deny his Lord.

   They allowed him to go home. That night his wife showed him the white clothes which she had prepared for their expected martyrdom. Then she prayed that they might be prepared to die.

   About two o'clock in the morning the Communists came for Kim, his wife, and his father. They were taken to a "people's court." There an angry crowd shouted "Christians! Capitalists!" The louder the people screamed, the harder the Communist soldiers beat them. Kim's father died first, begging, "Have pity on my son," as he fell. Kim's young wife fell next, crying, "Good-bye, I'll see you soon in heaven." Finally Kim sank to the ground unconscious.

   Kim revived as dawn was breaking. Tears stung his eyes as he looked on the bruised, still bodies of his dead wife and father. He noticed that the ropes which had bound his hands were loose — from the beating, he believed. Wriggling free, he managed to stumble to the house of a woman he knew.

   Instead of hiding him, she called the Communists. One advanced toward him with a long sword. "I have killed 300 Christians. Kim Joon-gon will be number 301."

   "No," the woman suddenly screamed. "Not in the house. Kill him outside."

   Kim was pushed outside where his accusers debated about pushing him over a cliff into the sea. As they argued, a group of villagers came up the road crying. They had heard about the violence and begged, "Don't kill him. He has taught us only good." While the Communists hesitated, a troop ship appeared on the horizon. "Americans!" one shouted. "Go to headquarters immediately." With that the soldiers took off running, leaving Kim to escape death again.

   Twenty days later South Korean troops captured the island and rounded up about a hundred Communists, including the ones who had killed Kim's wife and father. At a quick trial Kim told of the killings. But when the South Koreans prepared to execute them, he asked that mercy be shown. "Spare them," he said. "They were forced to kill."

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   "But they killed your wife and father," the South Korean commander said. "Why do want them to live?"

   "Because the Lord to whom I belong would have me show mercy."

   At Kim's behest and because President Syngman Rhee had said Communists who repented should be forgiven, the captives were freed. News of what Kim had done spread across the island. Repentant Communists came to hear him preach and many accepted Christ.

   The following year Kim took his little girl to the mainland where he served as principal of a high school and pastored a large church. In 1957 he received a scholarship to Fuller Theological Seminary. There he met Dr. Bill Bright, founder and director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He returned home to head up Campus Crusade's work in South Korea.

The Costly Harvest

   The Korean War devastated both north and south. South Korea was left with four million refugees, tens of thousands of orphans and widows, and some twenty thousand amputees. One third of all church buildings were destroyed. Around five hundred pastors were dead. There was hardly a Christian family that had not lost a loved one. Most families had little more than the clothes on their backs and a flimsy hut in which to sleep.

   In this darkness the grace of God shone brightly. Fresh reinforcements of missionaries arrived. One was Bob Pierce who, seeing the bereft widows and orphans, founded World Vision, due to become the leading evangelical care organization of the next quarter century. "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God," resolved Pierce.

   The resilient Korean church, tempered by decades of persecution, astonished the world by its sacrifice and evangelistic zeal. All across the war-ravaged country Korean believers gathered in bombed out churches for prayer and praise meetings at four in the morning. Today over 1.5 million South Koreans — one out of every twenty-two — are Protestants. That proportion of Christians makes South Korea the most Christianized country in Asia. The evangelistic response has no precedent. An estimated 3.2 million attended a five-day Billy Graham Crusade in 1973 in which eighty-one thousand registered "decisions for Christ." A year later three hundred thousand came for training in witnessing and discipleship by Campus Crusade for Christ. More recently, a consortium of evangelical missions from fourteen Asian countries established the Missionary Research and Development Center in Korea for training and

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sending out ten thousand additional Asian missionaries over the next twenty-five years.

   In August of 1984, Billy Graham once again drew over a million people to Yoido Plaza to hear him preach the gospel of Christ.

   South Korea of the 1990s is "white unto harvest." Well over half of the population claim no religion. The government welcomes Christian missionaries, so long as they stay out of secular politics.

   The Central Gospel Church in Seoul is the world's largest church with membership of almost half a million. The senior pastor, Paul Y. Cho attributes the rapid growth to the ministry and fellowship of small cell groups.

   After many years of Marxist isolation from the south, North Korea appears to be opening up to the world. There is fresh talk of unification with the south, and many in South Korea are listening.

   In the spring of 1992, Evangelist Billy Graham was invited to North Korea by the government-approved Korean Christian Federation and the Korean Catholic Association. In an audience with president Kim Il Sung, Graham presented the eighty-year-old Communist president with a Bible and a copy of his book Peace with God. Graham preached to capacity audiences in the country's only two official churches. He also met with pastors and other church leaders and addressed students at Kim Il Sung University on American society and the fundamental values of the Christian faith.

   Before World War II, Korea, north and south, had one of the largest Christian populations in Asia. Most churches in North Korea were destroyed in the Korean War and hundreds of thousands of Christians were killed or forced to flee. Christians are now estimated to make up fewer than one percent of the Communist nation's twenty-two million people.

   Meanwhile, in South Korea, student radicals, blinded by hopes of a Marxist utopia, clamor for quick reunification of South Korea with North Korea. There are fears that reunification of North and South Korea could bring a tight dictatorship. Should this happen and should Korean Christians refuse to obey the "party line," another age of martyrdom could begin.

Part Three

Martyrs of Southeast Asia

Chapter 5


A Hard but Open Field

Ancient Siam. Pagodas and bells. Enchanting land of mystery. Never burdened with colonial rule, Thailand is led by one of the oldest royal monarchies in the world. Thai means "free." Of Mongol descent, Thais are notably friendly and peaceful.

   Although officially Buddhist, Thailand has long been a western political ally and admits missionaries. Dutch missionaries were the first, in 1828. They were followed by British, French, and German representatives. Yet Christian work was agonizingly slow. Presbyterians waited nineteen years to baptize their first convert. Congregationalists gave up without baptizing a single Thai after eighteen years.

   The reluctance of Thais to accept Christ stemmed mainly from family and community pressures. To convert to a foreign religion was seen as mockery of the national heritage. The traditionally friendly Thais did not object, however, to the social work of the missionaries.

   One of the first believers was Nin Inta, a Buddhist scholar of Chiengmai Province. He accepted Christ after missionary friends foretold an eclipse a week before it happened.

   When Nin Inta's conversion was followed by seven others, the governor of Chiengmai took action. Two of the seven, Noi Su Ya and Nan Chai, were arrested. When they confessed to having abandoned Buddhism, a death-yoke was hung around their necks and a small rope passed through their ears and hung over the beam of a house. After being tortured all night, they were asked if they wished to deny Christ and return to Buddhism.

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"We do not," they said, and bowed in prayer. The death sentence was pronounced, and they were taken to the jungle and clubbed to death.

   The hostile governor died; his successor was less harsh. More converts were baptized.

   The next crisis occurred when two Thai Christians asked to be married by missionaries without first participating in the traditional feast to evil spirits. Relatives appealed to the magistrate and he forbade the marriage. The missionaries promptly sent a petition to the king in Bangkok, who responded with a proclamation of religious liberty in 1878.

   Since that time there has been little official persecution of Christianity in Thailand. The Thai church has grown steadily, though not spectacularly. Today the Protestant community numbers about 150,000 and receives aid from some four hundred missionaries.

Tribal Christians Die

   Much of this growth has taken place among thirty spirit-worshiping tribes in north and south Thailand. And it is among these tribes that Christians have been martyred for Christ in the twentieth century. As in China, most have been victims of banditry, terrorism, and border skirmishes.

   Documentation on killings of tribal Christians is hard to come by. In one of the worst known incidents, in May 1955, Burmese soldiers intruded across the border — looking for fleeing Chinese soldiers, so they claimed. When they discovered a box of Scripture portions in a Lahu village which they thought was Chinese literature, they shot and killed a missionary's language teacher and one of two Lahu preachers in the village. The frightened tribespeople moved away.

"The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away"

   The first missionary casualties were recorded in 1952. In April, Paul and Priscilla Johnson of the C & MA were conducting services in the village of Ban Dong Mafai, some fifteen miles from their station at Udorn, Thailand. Attendance had been good. One man had accepted Christ and two others had been baptized. On that fateful Friday, the eighteenth, Priscilla had seen seven village children pray to receive Christ.

   The evening services were held under an open shelter. The Johnsons' two youngest children, ages five and two, were sleeping in a nearby Thai house. Their seven-year-old was in the C&MA school for missionary children

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at Dalat, Vietnam. Priscilla was playing the little pump organ and Paul leading the song service. Three hymns had been sung and one of the local Christians was leading in prayer when gunshots shattered the calm.

   Priscilla was hit in the chest by shotgun pellets. She ran a short way to a clump of banana trees where she collapsed and died. Paul was hit in the abdomen and fell to the ground but remained conscious. "Give us your gun and valuables," the bandits demanded. Paul had no gun, of course, but they took his watch, camera, and keys to the Land Rover. They they proceeded to the house where the Johnsons were staying and looted their baggage while the two frightened children looked on. The nine or ten armed bandits got the Land Rover started but could not find the brake and finally ran on foot.

   Paul, still conscious, somehow gave instructions in starting and driving the vehicle to a local man who had never driven before. They went directly to the Thai Army hospital where Paul was given the best emergency treatment available.

   The news spread quickly. Government officials, upset and concerned, brought gifts and apologies. The next day R.M. Chrisman, a missionary colleague arrived. He took custody of Priscilla's body, and arranged for the care of the children and the evacuation of Paul to a better hospital in Bangkok. The first words he heard Paul say were, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

   The doctors in Bangkok performed an emergency colostomy and gave blood transfusions. For three more days Paul hung between life and death, conscious much of the time. Early Wednesday morning, April 23, he sang with a clear voice a prayer for his fellow workers and Thai Christians left behind : "Bless Them, Lord, and Make Them a Blessing." A few minutes later he lapsed into unconsciousness and died.

   The deaths of Paul and Priscilla Johnson deeply moved the growing missionary corps, many of whom had only recently evacuated from Communist China. Priscilla and Paul, both Minnesotans, had been in Thailand only five years, yet they were loved by hundreds. "We will have to wait until the resurrection to understand why this happened," commented A.C. Snead then director of the C&MA's foreign work. "Now let us trust and go forward in Christ's name with greater courage, effort and zeal than ever before."

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An "Extraordinary" Christian

   The next missionary martyr in Thailand was Lilian Hamer, a cheerful young woman with close-cropped brown hair who was not "one whit afraid" in the remote tribal area where she served as a nurse.

   Lilian was a member of the China Inland Mission, which with many China evacuees, was easily the largest missionary agency in Thailand. An English girl, she had been working in a cotton mill when converted in a Methodist youth meeting. "I wanted to be an extraordinary Christian," she said later.

   Stirred by the martyrdom of John and Betty Stam (see pp. 57-59) Lilian felt a call to China. By the time she had completed nurse and midwifery training, World War II was on and the CIM could not take her. Finally in 1944 she got to China under the auspices of the British Red Cross and was accepted by CIM after the war ended. She was appointed to a missionary hospital in Tali, China, where she was drawn to the poor and neglected hill tribespeople who came to the hospital for treatment. When forced out by the Communists, she willingly accepted the assignment to serve with the Lisu tribe in Thailand.

   Living conditions in her new area were hard and rigorous. She was always on call for the sick. She struggled with opium addicts and prayed for demon worshipers. Although she dropped exhausted at the end of a day, her sleep was frequently disturbed by tribespeople dancing around a "spirit" tree for hours on end. But when a friend wondered, "Must you really give all your life to this?" she replied, "The Lord Himself faced the cross because He could not give less than all."

   Sometimes she had a missionary partner; often not. In 1959 she was living at a new location known as "demon people." One night a cobra got into her room, a symbol of the enemy she faced. She battled the snake with a stick and won. In her last report she quoted from an old poem : "The handles of my plough with tears are wet. The shears with rust are spoiled. And yet, and yet, My God! My God, keep me from turning back."

   On the morning of April 18 she decided to go down to the plain. She walked with two Thais, but along the way they stopped and she went on ahead. A short way on she followed the trail between two trees. As she passed, a figure stepped from behind one and confronted her with a sawed-off shotgun. A few minutes later the carriers came upon her body, slumped against a tree. They noticed that before dying she had managed to cover her feet — a last gesture of identity with the people.

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   Today there is a small bamboo and grass church only two hundred yards from the tree where Lilian Hamer's blood reddened the earth. The whole countryside knows the spot where she died. The tribespeople. The headman. The old witch doctor who planned the killing. And the tribal believers who walked by her grave on their way to worship the God for whom she laid down her life.

"Except a Corn of Wheat .... Die"

   Roy Orpin heard of Lilian Hamer's death shortly after telling his parents, "I've been accepted by OMF [Overseas Missionary Fellowship, formerly China Inland Mission]. Maybe I'll leave my bones in some foreign country."

   Orpin, a New Zealander, was engaged to marry a young Englishwoman he had met at the New Zealand Bible Training Institute in Auckland. Both had been deeply moved by reading about the death of John and Betty Stam and by the more recent martyrdoms of five young Americans in the Auca jungle of Ecuador. They were married in Thailand, April 27, 1961. At the reception they sang a duet, "Calvary," the last stanza of which seemed to hold special meaning :

So much more may we united
Bear Thy Name to men oppressed,
Break to them the Bread of Calv'ry
Bless their souls as we are blessed.

After a short honeymoon, Roy took his bride, Gillian, to the shanty house he had prepared in the Meo tribal village of Namkhet. They arrived at night to find the house a shambles. Both had lived in Tribal villages for a few months before their marriage. They made the best of the bad situation and settled down for the night. The next morning they ate their first meal off an upside-down pig trough.

   Violence escalated in the area during their first year of marriage. They heard of three Thai opium traders being robbed and killed while begging for their lives. Roy stumbled across the bodies of two more murder victims while hiking to another village. Fearing for his own safety and that of his now-pregnant wife, he said, "I had no peace until I remembered 2 Corinthians 10:5, 'Make every thought captive to obey Christ.' What havoc uncontrolled thought can play."

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   As Gillian's time approached, they decided to move to Bitter Bamboo, a village where a few struggling Christians desperately needed instruction and encouragement. Gillian went to a regional town where there was a missionary hospital while Roy worked on the new house and moved their household goods. As he was making his last trip before leaving to join her, three young robbers suddenly appeared and demanded his valuables. When he had emptied his pockets, they told him to go on. When he was a few steps away, they shot him in the back.

   Critically wounded, he was rushed to a government hospital. Gillian came and sat by his bedside from Wednesday through Saturday when he worsened. "Say for me the chorus 'Jesus! I am resting, resting,' " he whispered. Slowly, her lips close to his ear, she recited,

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the Greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

"How good God is," the young missionary whispered again. A little later his kidneys failed and he was dead at age twenty-six.

   The funeral was on May 20, less than thirteen months after their wedding. A few days later little Murray Roy was born. After a short recuperation, Gillian returned to live with two single women missionaries who had shared the Meo work.

   The timing of Roy's death seemed symbolic of John 12:24 : "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The Meo were then planting the grain. A few months later came a bountiful harvest, both in the fields and in the hearts of the Meo tribespeople. Twelve families expressed their intention to follow Jesus and to burn their pagan charms.

Minka and Margaret

   A dozen more years passed before the next missionary martyrdoms occurred in Thailand. The war from Vietnam spilled over into Laos and Cambodia. Communist terrorists were now operating in North Thailand. In South Thailand, Muslim "liberation" groups fought frequent hit-and-run battles with Thai police. Adjoining Malaysia had become an independent Muslim nation in 1955. The Muslim activists in south Thailand were demanding independence for four predominantly Muslim

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provinces or annexation to Malaysia where conversion of Muslims was forbidden.

   Two veteran OMF nurses, Minka Hanskamp and Margaret Morgan, ministered to lepers in this troubled southern area. Part of their job involved washing the feet of patients, cutting away rotten flesh, and tending to ulcerated sores emitting a nauseating stench.

   Minka, a six-foot Hollander, had grown up in Dutch controlled Java where her parents were missionaries. While interned by the Japanese during World War II, she had worked in a prison camp hospital. After the war ended, she moved to New Zealand where she volunteered for missionary service. She entered Bible school at age thirty-four and was accepted by OMF two years later in 1958.

   Her partner, Margaret Morgan, came from a Welsh mining village and took nurse's training at the Bristol [England] Royal Infirmary. Two years younger than Minka, she began serving in south Thailand in 1965.

   Every two weeks the two nurses traveled to the town of Pujud to hold a leprosy clinic. On April 20, 1974, the day of Minka's sixteenth anniversary with OMF, they were called aside by strangers who said they had come to take them to treat some sick patients in the mountains. At first the nurses did not realize the men were terrorists. Margaret suggested that Minka accompany them while she continued the clinic. They were gruffly ordered to pack up their medicines and get in the waiting car.

   Ten days later the area OMF representative, Ian Murray, received two letters. One was from Minka and Margaret stating they were in the hands of the "jungle people," and they were well and "still praising." The second letter was from their captors. The Muslims demanded that OMF pay a half million dollar ransom and that the society write an official letter to Israel, protesting denial of Palestinian rights. Mission policy since China days had been never to pay a ransom for kidnapped members. To have done so would have put a price on every missionary's head. The missionaries could not meet the second demand because it was against mission policy to become involved in political issues.

   A meeting was set up between Thai officials, Ian Murray, and representatives of the kidnappers. Murray stated that OMF was in Thailand only for religious purposes and that the missionaries worshipped the One Creator God, as Muslims did. "He is a God of mercy and forgiveness, as well as a God of judgment," he added. "He wants to forgive you, but that depends upon your response to Him." The spokesman for the group listened politely, but agreed only to speak to a higher-up in behalf of the captives.

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   A few days later a police unit was ambushed in the area. Thai military activity was intensified. Then word came that the Muslim gang had no quarrel with OMF but with the United States and British governments for supporting Israel against the Palestinians. They demanded that the "Christian world stop any support to Israel against the Palestinian people."

   Introduction of these demands brought international publicity. Thai military pressure increased. The occasional letters that had been coming from the nurses assuring that they were all right stopped. Conflicting rumors spread. One story said they were kept in chains. Another reported they had been shot.

   Early in March 1975, a Malay came forward to confess that he had shot them. The gang, he said, had argued over their fate. The chief had concluded that to keep the respect of underlings they should shoot the missionaries. The informer said the nurses had been calm when told they were to die, saying only, "Give us a little time to read and pray." "They were good people," the man added. "Good."

   The missionaries did not want to believe the story. But doubts were dissipated on March 20 when news reached them that the skeletons of two women had been found in the jungle. One was tall enough to be Minka and there were identifying dentures and bits of clothing and hair. Both had been shot in the head and had been dead five or six months.

   The remains were recovered, positively identified, and buried May 15. The funeral was attended by hundreds of Christians and many Buddhists and Muslims as well. Many sobbed openly. A former bandit killer testified before the mourners that he had become a Christian after Minka had taken his ulcerated foot on her lap to treat it. A leprosy patient recalled how Minka and Margaret had tenderly taken him from a little shack where he had been quarantined from his village and cared for his sores. After the funeral, the missionaries and native preachers received more inquiries about Christianity than ever before in the difficult southern provinces.

Death on the Trail

   Banditry and political terrorism continued in the more remote tribal areas of Thailand. Some missionaries moved in closer to population centers while others chose to remain in isolated hill stations.

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   Peter and Ruth Wyss worked with the Akha people, one of the least advanced tribes in the north, while their three children remained in school in their native Switzerland. In March 1977, they received a visitor from home. Samuel Schweitzer, a Christian businessman, had made a trip to Japan and arranged a stopover to see OMF work in Thailand. His parents had served before retirement with CIM in China.

   Schweitzer spent several days with Peter, helping prepare a house in a village for two single women missionaries. They had much in common. Among other things, both were forty-two and both had three children. On the afternoon of March 15, the businessman figured how much money he would need for the trip home and gave Peter his remaining traveler's checks and currency. Peter took this as an answer to his prayer for aid to the salaries of tribal pastors. Then after telling Ruth, "We'll be back soon," they left for the final trip to the new house.

   Ruth became concerned when they did not return by the following afternoon. But, as she testified later, "The Lord gave me John 14:15 through 18 and with these words also a deep peace came into my heart that I could only praise Him for all the good things He had put in my life."

   Still expecting them to return, she did not fix breakfast herself the next morning. Schweitzer was due to leave for the regional airport later that day.

   The day wore on and finally she and a missionary friend, who had providentially happened along, set out by jeep to discover what had happened. They found Peter's motorcycle at the place where he always left it before beginning the climb to the new house. Part way up the path they met two tribesmen. One said he had seen Peter's body. The tribesmen tried to keep Ruth from going, but she was adamant and ran ahead to the spot. There was Peter's body, and Schweitzer's body was discovered nearby.

   The murders had to be reported to the police. Then Ruth had to endure long hours of questioning. She knew of no reason why her husband and his friend should have been killed, unless their assailants had meant to rob them. After that she had to tell tribal and missionary friends and prepare for the funeral. "Yet even in those darkest moments," she recalled later, "the words sounded through my mind : 'I will send you another Comforter' and I knew that He was right there with us, although it was still impossible to comprehend what had happened."

   Following the funeral, Ruth Wyss flew home to Switzerland to be with her children. There she began working on curriculum for the Akha Bible School, expecting to return to Thailand within a few months.

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Preparing for the Worst

   The murders of Peter Wyss and Samuel Schweitzer did not end the killing of Christians in Thailand. Many Thais were killed by Communist guerrillas and in clashes with Cambodians.

   On October 24, 1981, Dutch missionary Koos Fietje was encouraging a small group of Thai Christians as he enjoyed a snack with them in a Thai home in central Thailand. Suddenly a man stuck a sawed-off shotgun through the wall slats and fired, hitting the thirty-eight-year-old Dutch minister in the face with five pellets, killing him almost instantly. The assassin fled into the darkness.

   Just twelve days before, Koos Fietje's wife, Colleen, had written a letter reporting that rocks had been thrown onto the roof of the house where they were holding services and that Thai believers had been shot at on their way home in the darkness. This along with the persecution of two Christian school teachers, suggested to other missionaries a growing opposition to the gospel among the local people.

   Affiliated with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Koos and Colleen had been working with Koos's brother Bill and family and with the David Robinsons in building up believers in neighboring villages. Twelve new believers had been baptized, drawing the attention of Buddhists in the area.

   After Koos's death, missionaries stayed at their posts. OMF General Director James Taylor called Koos "the kind of pioneer and evangelistic missionary of whom we can never have too many. He had a boldness in the preaching of the gospel that had a Stephen-like quality about it."

Trusting in God While Preparing for the Worst

   Thailand is a troubled, but fruitful field for the gospel. With Communist governments in neighboring Laos and Vietnam, and a volatile political climate in Cambodia, the future of Thailand appears uncertain. The Thai capital of Bangkok has become a cesspool of sin and disease. Thousands of prostitutes service tourists coming from Japan and other Asian countries. The infectious disease called AIDS threatens to become a plague of death.

   Christianity, still very much a minority faith, continues to grow. Some churches are reported to be memorizing the whole New Testament, with books assigned to individuals. The only certainty of the missionaries and their Thai brothers and sisters is in Christ and His plan for the future.

Chapter 6


The Books Are Still Open

Vietnam is now only a bad memory for most westerners. Americans would like to forget the dragon-shaped country in Southeast Asia where over fifty-six thousand Americans died. The terrible war which ended in a Communist victory has obscured the suffering and martyrdom of Vietnamese Christians and foreign missionaries. Their sacrifice is the least known story of Vietnam.

   Since 1911, when the C&MA's R.A. Jaffray established a base at Da Nang, evangelical Christians have never known a time in Vietnam when they were not persecuted. First it was the haughty French colonial government which confined Jaffray and his colleagues to the large cities. This proved to be a blessing in disguise, for the missionaries then sent their first converts to evangelize the towns and countryside. Indigenous congregations sprang up from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta.

   When Japanese invaders swept across Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) in 1941, most missionaries refused to leave and were placed in internment camps. Many evangelical pastors went underground and continued to serve their flocks despite threats from the new imperialists.

   Peace came only briefly at the close of World War II. A new phase of war began in 1946. Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh Communist guerrillas launched their war of "liberation" against the French who had returned in 1945. The fighting lasted eight years and ended with French withdrawal from Vietnam and partitioning of the ancient country along the seventeenth parallel, running through a demilitarized zone.

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Christians Were Caught in the Middle

   Not one C&MA missionary died in Vietnam from hostile action during the French-Indochina War. Most of the missionaries were Americans who were considered neutrals by both sides. But tens of thousands of Vietnamese died along with thirty-five thousand French soldiers.

   The Vietnamese evangelicals were caught in the middle and often held suspect by both sides. The result was a trial of martyrs' blood up and down the country, among them the following documented examples :

   Item. Pastor Phan Long and three deacons were shot by French soldiers and their bodies thrown into the Bau Rau River near Da Nang.

   Item. Nguyen Van Tai, pastor at Ma Lam in central Vietnam, was chased and shot by Communist Viet Minh guerrillas on the road between Phan Thiet and Ma Lam.

   Item. Nguyen Thien Thi, pastor of Thanh Qui Church in central Vietnam, and his wife and son were seized and bound by the Viet Minh in the home of a layman, then led into a field and executed.

   Item. Trinh Ly, a pastor near coastal Nha Trang, was murdered by French soldiers at the Nha Trang railroad station. Later his wife was shot near Dalat.

   Item. Mr. So, a zealous layman at Phong Thu, was killed by French soldiers while on his way to church with Bible in hand.

   Item. Tranh My Be, pastor at Choudoc, south of Saigon, was seized by the Viet Minh and buried alive standing up. The shock killed his wife.

   Scores of other pastors and laymen were killed. Many churches were burned and bombed. Christians who left their homes and fled to the jungles returned to find their household belongings stolen. Of pastors in one area it was said, "When they have not clothes enough they curl up on a heap of straw. One of them has only a coat and a Bible left, but keeps on living with his flock."

   After the French admitted defeat, peace again proved illusionary. The Communists in North Vietnam placed restrictions on Christian activity. Thousands fled south. The Communist Viet Minh resurfaced in the South as Viet Cong and began terrorizing villages in the countryside. Headmen who refused to pay tribute and cooperate were killed. Christians suffered not so much because of their religious affiliation but because they had strong moral principles and abhorred violence.

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Kidnapped Missionaries

   The war heated up. The U.S. government began a slow escalation of military assistance to South Vietnam. Missionaries, concerned that their purposes not be misunderstood, proclaimed their neutrality at every opportunity. Whenever possible, they drove cars marked with the identification of the Tin Lanh National Evangelical Church. Still they knew that the danger was great and inevitably some would pay a terrible price for serving in a war zone.

   By early 1962 the Viet Cong were strongly established in the central jungle highlands around the provincial capital of Banmethuot, once considered a tiger-hunting paradise by Asian royalty. The C&MA ran a leprosy hospital twelve miles outside Banmethuot where pitifully afflicted tribesmen came to receive treatment. The five missionaries serving at the hospital knew they were exposed to danger from the Viet Cong, but did not believe the Communists would rile the people by an attack on the hospital.

   Archie Mitchell, the newly appointed director of the hospital, had seen firsthand the horrors of war while a pastor in Washington State. On May 5, 1945, he and his wife took four Sunday school youngsters on a picnic in the back country. One of the children came across a mysterious looking object. Archie's warning shout came too late. The boy poked at the object and a Japanese balloon bomb, blown across the Pacific by trade winds, exploded with a roar. The children and Mrs. Mitchell were killed. The pastor had been protected by a tree. Two years later he married Betty Patzke, the older sister of two of the dead children. They went to Vietnam as missionaries.

   Dr. Ardele Vietti, a no-nonsense, spaghetti-loving doctor, had been raised in South America and Texas. While in high school in Houston she saw two girls bow their heads in the lunchroom. Curious, she bluntly asked why. The incident led to her conversion. A summer after medical school spent with a Wycliffe woman translator among Mexico's disease-plagued Chol Indians aroused her compassion for the less fortunate. She went to Vietnam in 1957 and moved into the central highlands where 10 to 30 percent of villagers were afflicted with leprosy.

   Dr. Vietti was assisted by Ruth Wilting, a slender, brunette missionary nurse from Cleveland, Ohio. From Vietnam she had once written home to worrying relatives : "Keep in mind two verses that the Lord gave me recently — Joshua 1:9 and Isaiah 26:3. No matter what, God's way is

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the best way and I know I'm in the center of His will. None of us here are afraid of the future. We live each day as it comes."

   The fifth adult was young Dan Gerber, only twenty-one, a Mennonite farm boy from Ohio who was serving in his church's program for conscientious objectors to the draft. His assignment was to help tribal workers at the leprosarium grow better crops. His main side interest was Ruth to whom he was engaged.

   May 1962 brought a heavy load of patients. The Mitchells were settling into their new home. Ruth was busy making her wedding dress.

   On the morning of the thirtieth Archie Mitchell found three bridges burned and trees blocking the road that led into Banmethuot where the C&MA had a tribal Bible school. A crude sign at one spot warned : "FIX THIS BRIDGE AND OFF WILL GO YOUR HEAD." Archie got Dan and his tractor. "They don't mean missionaries," he said. "Thy know we're only here to help."

   About sunset Dan and Ruth went for their usual evening stroll. A short way from the hospital they were surrounded by a group of black pajama-clad Viet Cong. The guerrillas tied Dan's hands and ordered Ruth to return to the hospital. She ran back and found another group of Viet Cong holding Betty Mitchell and her children. Archie was led back to where Dan was held. Another group of guerrillas called Dr. Vietti from her bed where she was resting a badly ulcerated leg. They took her to join the men. Others piled medical supplies into the hospital's pickup truck. Then after warning Betty and Ruth to stay inside for the night and not to leave until sunrise, they picked up their three captives and roared away into the night.

   Fortunately, the kidnappers had left a Land Rover. The next morning the women and children made the trip to Banmethuot to alert the missionaries at the Bible school there. Missionary Bob Ziemer notified the local commander of the U.S. Special Forces and within hours hundreds of South Vietnamese soldiers, accompanied by American advisors, mounted a search and rescue operation. Once they got close enough to the abductors to see them going over a hill. But intelligence sources advised that the guerrillas had been reinforced and a battle would cost many lives. Reluctantly, the search force pulled back.

   C&MA leaders in New York began a diplomatic offensive. They contacted Red Cross organizations in surrounding countries. They asked representatives of the Viet Cong in Cuba and Algeria to intervene. They sought help from Russia, Switzerland, and the International Control Commission appointed to supervise the "neutrality" between North and South Vietnam. Every effort proved fruitless.

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Death on the Highway

   Missionary linguists with the Wycliffe Bible Translators were now moving into tribal locations. The international organization founded on the faith principles of the old China Inland Mission was committed to translating Scripture into over two thousand Bibleless minority languages, over thirty of which were spoken in South Vietnam.

   Elwood Jacobson, a Minnesota farm boy of Norwegian descent, was typical of the intrepid Wycliffe pioneers. He had been challenged for full-time Christian service by Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, a ministry that emphasized Scripture memorization and training young Christians to be "spiritual reproducers." Two statements from Trotman haunted Elwood : "If the dying seed of Adam can produce such a race as mankind, what can living seed — the Word of God — produce?" And, "Nothing is yours until you give it away. Giving is the essence of love." One Thursday after seeing a Wycliffe film, he wrote in his diary, "I wonder if this is the thing for which God is preparing me. May You lead me in Your chosen path."

   The "chosen path" led Elwood to Wycliffe's Summer Institute of Linguistics, to marriage to Vurnell Newgard, a brown-haired nurse he met through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, and ultimately to Vietnam. A quiet, studious man, he had calculated well the dangers in the war-torn country. Of the German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Elwood once had written Vurnell : "He had to make the decision ... whether he would remain in Nazi Germany or escape. He remained and paid for his witness with his life. Life is so short and there are so many things to be done that we really need to choose between the better and the best."

   Elwood and Vurnell arrived in Saigon with a new baby, Kari. There they met a young Filipino, Gaspar Makil, whom Elwood knew from Wycliffe's jungle training camp. Gaspar was the first Filipino Wycliffe member.

   Gaspar had fought with Filipino guerrillas against the Japanese in World War II and once helped rescue an American missionary from a prison camp. After the war he studied engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he was influenced by Inter-Varsity Christian friends "to submit my life to total abandonment to Jesus Christ, that He might lead according as He pleased." Later he wrote his sister Emma, "I do not pray for long life this side of the grave. How you live that life is the thing that matters, not how long. That life is Christ's." Gaspar also attended Moody Bible Institute, where he met and married Josephine Johnson, a girl with deep conviction. Shortly after their arrival in Vietnam, Josephine doubled their family by giving birth to twins, Thomas and Janie.

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   While waiting for his and Vurnell's assignment, Elwood was "Mr. Fix-it" at the Wycliffe group house in Saigon. No job was too menial for him. "Every work has its place," he wrote in his diary, "and there is time for all that God wants us to do." So it was natural for Elwood to drive the Makils to their location near Dalat where Elwood intended to help another translator with a language survey. Vurnell and baby Kari went along, making seven in the Land Rover. The date was March 4, 1963.

   Sixty-six miles out of Saigon they came upon a roadblock. Assuming at first it was a South Vietnamese army checkpoint, they got out and showed identification. Their suspicions were aroused when the "soldiers" began taking things from their vehicle.

   Suddenly a truck loaded with real government soldiers rolled into view. A warning shot zinged overhead. More shots rang out around the Rover. Elwood was shot in the head by a Viet Cong and died almost instantly. Gaspar was also killed. His twin son and daughter were wounded. Vurnell, Kari, and Josephine escaped unharmed.

   The Viet Cong vanished into the woods. The government soldiers rushed Josephine and her two babies to a first aid station from which they were taken to a hospital. Little Janie died at eleven o'clock that night. Her brother, who had received a bullet in the thigh, recovered.

   News of the attack on the unarmed missionaries brought quick apologies from the Viet Cong. "We thought they were government workers. We didn't know they were missionaries," agents told people in surrounding villages.

   An avalanche of letters poured in on Wycliffe. Young people wrote of making deeper commitments to follow Christ. A South Carolinian said, "He [Elwood] gave his all for Christ. The Lord Jesus has been showing me how necessary it is for me to give my all to Him."

   Both widows remained in missionary service. Vurnell later married another Wycliffe member and continued in Vietnam. Josephine transferred to Wycliffe's Philippine headquarters in Bukidnon Province and took charge of preschool children for busy translators who were accomplishing what she and Gaspar had dreamed of doing.

Christians Buried Alive

   Two years of escalating war passed. Christians in remote tribal areas suffered most. For example, the language helper of Wycliffe members Dick and Sandy Watson, and a native evangelist were seized by the Viet Cong

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and buried alive. The Communists charged in propaganda that the two had been serving as "American imperialist agents."

   Viet Cong terrorists made travel a nightmare. Still the missions refused to retreat. Southern Baptists, Mennonites, World Evangelization Crusade, World Vision, and the World Relief Commission were now substantially involved. Most missionaries were Americans, but representatives from Canada, Australia, Germany, England, and other countries were there as well.

Ambush at the Pass

   Curly-haired John Haywood went on ahead of his Swiss fiancée, Simone DuBois, to help with the World Evangelization Crusade's (WEC) orphanage and Happy Haven Leprosarium at Da Nang. John had served in Britain's Royal Army Medical Corps, then worked in London's Bermondsey Medical Mission where he had met Simone. He was one of the hardiest in the Vietnam missionary corps, often disregarding personal danger to accompany Dr. Stuart Harverson to remote tribal villages where they confronted exorcisers who charged the sick for making sacrifices to appease demons. "I am not out here for thrills," John wrote home. "I have a job to do, and I can best do it while I am alive. There are just not enough hours in the day for the work I have in hand."

   Terrorism became more personal to John when the Viet Cong slipped a bomb into the bathroom of his close WEC friends, Roy and Daphne Spraggett, at isolated Cam Phuc. The bomb exploded at midnight, hurling Roy and Daphne to the floor. Daphne was not seriously injured and their two-year-old daughter was not hurt at all. Roy suffered a broken collarbone, damaged hearing, and serious burns. When he heard about the bombing John went to salvage what he could of the couple's belongings. Then he drove to Saigon and stayed with Roy day and night in the hospital for more than a week.

   John and Simone were married on a golden May day in 1965 in Da Nang. They honeymooned in Hong Kong where they studied three months at the British Leprosarium. When they returned to Vietnam, John took over as director of WEC's Happy Haven Leprosarium.

   The war continued to escalate. Trips to and from the leprosarium, located at Marble Mountain outside of Da Nang, became more hazardous. But John and Simone were happy and looking forward to the birth of their first child.

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   On January 8, John kissed Simone and left in the WEC Volkswagen Microbus for the old Vietnamese capital of Hue where he was to pick up a load of pigs and chicks for the leprosy patients. He either failed to notice or ignored a risk factor — the Microbus had just been repainted and new lettering had not been inscribed to identify it as belonging to a mission hospital. It is known that he reached the famed high "Pass of the Clouds" that overlooks the foaming China Sea, and fell in behind a convoy of South Vietnamese army trucks loaded with rice. There was an ambush. American Marines later found his bullet-ridden body in a metal culvert running under the road.

   Gordon Smith, the senior missionary who had married John and Simone, preached the funeral. "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life,' " the veteran WEC worker quoted. "He promised, 'He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.' John is not dead. He is alive, and one blessed day we will see him again." Three days later Jacqueline Edith Haywood was born.

The Approaching Crisis

   The war kept worsening. By 1967 soldiers were dying on both sides at the rate of a thousand a week. The highland cities of Dalat, Pleibu, Kontum, and Banmethuot, with concentrations of missionaries and churches, were surrounded by roving Communist armies. Yet not a single missionary had left because of danger.

   Stories kept filtering through the jungle that Dr. Ardele Vietti, Archie Mitchell, and Dan Gerber were still alive. A tribeswoman told of seeing a group of Viet Cong with two white men and a white woman. The white woman had asked her for a Bible. Allied soldiers had captured a Viet Cong hospital and found prescriptions which they said only an American doctor could have written. C&MA headquarters had tried every possible diplomatic channel. Still no word. Not even an admission from the Viet Cong that they had captured the three.

   Ruth Wilting and Betty Mitchell had moved into the C&MA compound on the outskirts of Banmethuot. Tribal nurses kept the jungle leprosarium open and came to the mission station for supplies. The missionaries dared not venture to the hospital.

   Betty Mitchell and her four children left for a long overdue furlough late in 1967. In December and January Viet Cong activity in villages around Banmethuot picked up. Many nights the missionaries fell asleep to the pounding of heavy artillery.

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   The large Raday tribal church next to the missionary homes and across the highway from the Bible school was jammed every Sunday. There were conversions every week along with many funerals of villagers killed by Communist attackers. Even babies were machine-gunned.

   The holidays passed. The missionary children who had been home on vacation returned to the C&MA school which had been moved from Dalat to Malaysia.

The Massacre at Banmethuot

   January 30, the eve of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the "year of the monkey" — the signal for unprecedented Communist attacks from the DMZ to the Delta coast. Thousands upon thousands died in suicide charges. In city after city missionaries huddled in bunkers only yards away from the fighting. Amazingly, no missionaries died, except in one place — Banmethuot. Here occurred the most terrible missionary massacre of the war.

   Ten missionaries began Tet at Banmethuot. Ruth Wilting roomed with Betty Olsen, another nurse who had come to help in the medical work. Born of missionary parents to Africa, Betty had been only sixteen when her mother died. The years immediately following were confused for her. She rebelled in school and irritated missionaries by her attitude. On one visit back to Africa she was asked to leave by the missionaries.

   Though she had announced her intentions to go to the mission field, she felt constantly defeated. Her conscience bothered her about things for which she'd asked over and over for forgiveness. Marriage prospects dimmed. Depression increased until she was contemplating suicide. In a desperate move, she made an appointment at the church she was attending in Chicago to talk with a young youth counselor. He agreed to talk only if "you really want God's best for your life." Betty said she did. As Betty recalled later :

He showed me that I was bitter toward God about the way He had made me. I realized I didn't like myself and in rejecting myself, I had rejected God's handiwork. He asked, "How can you serve God if you aren't satisfied with the way He made you?"

   He showed me from Scripture how God had prescribed exactly how I was to look, even before I was born. He explained how God could make His strength perfect in bodily weaknesses and how He was not finished working on me yet. I realized then that God's goal was to develop inward qualities in me so that I would reflect the beauty of Christ.

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   This interview and others with Bill Gothard, who later developed the famous Basic Institute of Youth Conflicts — "based largely on the questions Betty Olsen asked," she says — turned the red-headed nurse in a new direction. She became a warm, caring person and in a few years was accepted by the C&MA for Vietnam.

   The nurses shared a house on the Bible school grounds. Ed and Ruth Thompson, veteran transferees from Cambodia, lived in one of the three Italian-style villas in the main compound across the highway. They were studying the Vietnamese language in Banmethuot while a house was being built in Quang Duc where they intended to work with tribespeople who had once lived in Cambodia. Ed was famed as a tiger hunter. At six foot three, he towered over the diminutive tribespeople who affectionately called him, "The Giant."

   Bob and Marie Ziemer lived next door to the Thompsons. Ohioans, they had been in Vietnam twenty-two years. Once, while home on furlough in Toledo, Bob had been asked to take the pastorate of his home church, one of the largest in the C&MA. "No," he said. "God wants me in Vietnam. We're needed more there." Bob was now just about finished with his translation of the New Testament into the Raday language and was also teaching in the Bible school.

   Leon and Carolyn Griswold, father and daughter, occupied the third house. Leon had attended the C&MA's Nyack College in 1919 and talked of becoming a missionary. Growing family and business commitments kept him and his wife from going. "Go in our place," they encouraged Carolyn. "We'll pray for you and maybe visit sometime." Carolyn, a willowy brunette secretary, reached Saigon in 1953 and became the belle of the foreign community. Her single girl colleagues called her le papillon —  "the butterfly." Upon moving to Banmethuot, she became immediately popular with tribal teenage girls who constantly came to her for beauty hints. Meanwhile, Carolyn's parents moved from New York to retirement in Florida. After her mother died, her father volunteered to help with office work at Banmethuot and came to live with his daughter in 1966.

   Hank and Vange (Evangeline) Blood, the other two missionaries at Banmethuot, were members of Wycliffe. Hank and his brother Dave, both civil engineers from Oregon, had come to Vietnam for Wycliffe in 1951. Dave and the Wycliffe girl he had married, Doris, were working among the Chams, who spoke one of the oldest known languages in the world. Hank and Vange were assigned to a Mnong-speaking group near Banmethuot. Viet Cong pressure had forced them to move into a Raday tribal settlement which adjoined the C&MA Bible school. Shortly before

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Tet, Hank returned to the Mnong village for a short visit. While there he escaped marauding Viet Cong by hiding in a pigpen. Back with Vange, he wrote his widowed mother, "I have a feeling the Lord is going to do something special."

   Monday evening of Tet week, the Banmethuot missionaries went to bed with the distant pop-pop of firecrackers set off by the celebrants sounding in their ears. About one in the morning the pops grew louder — artillery and small arms fire. About 3:30 the Griswolds heard loud raps on their door. They opened it to be confronted by Communist soldiers who ordered them upstairs. A few minutes later the house blew apart in a violent explosion.

    There was nothing the others could do. The missionaries were caught in a crossfire between Communist attackers and government soldiers. Bullets whined between the houses. After daylight the Thompsons and Ziemers saw three or four Vietnamese tanks in front of the tribal church shooting at Communists.

   Ignoring the danger, Bob and Ed ran to the Griswold house and began pulling away wreckage. They rescued Carolyn, still alive but unconscious, and carried her into the Ziemer house. When they got to her father, he was already dead. The firing slackened, allowing Ruth and Betty to cross the highway and join their C&MA co-workers. The nurses determined that Carolyn's right leg was broken and she was in shock.

   Later in the morning they saw a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agriculturist friend, Mike Benge, approaching in a jeep. "Go back! Go back!" Ed shouted. the warning came too late. The missionaries watched helplessly as Viet Cong ran from hiding places and ordered Mike down into the tribal village.

   Tuesday night and Wednesday was more of the same. The C&MA people huddled in the Ziemer house. Once, with bullets flying around them, the nurses ran to the clinic behind the church for medicines and blood plasma for Carolyn. The Bloods remained in their house in the village below.

   Wednesday night they saw two North Vietnamese soldiers blow up the Thompsons' house. Fearing that the Ziemer house would be next, the C&MA missionaries took refuge in an open garbage pit in back. Carolyn was left lying in a servant house.

   At dawn Ruth and Betty tried another run to the clinic for more medicines. Instead of returning, Betty tried to start a car hoping to get Carolyn to a hospital. Communists closed in and took her to a house in the village where they had other captives.

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   The Ziemer house suddenly exploded. North Vietnamese swarmed over the grounds. Bob Ziemer jumped from the garbage pit and ran toward the soldiers, hands in the air. They riddled his body with bullets. Ruth Wilting came running toward the bunker amidst a hail of bullets. She fell mortally wounded into the pit, crying, "Lord, help me, so I can help the others." The Communists advanced on the makeshift bunker. Ed Thompson lifted his huge hands, crying, "Mercy! Mercy!: The attackers opened fire. He fell across his wife, also mortally wounded, in a last desperate effort to shield her body.

   Only Marie Ziemer and Carolyn Griswold were still alive. Marie was bleeding profusely on her left side. The Communists ordered her out of the hole. They then bound her wounds and took her to a house in the village filled with about fifty prisoners. Here were Betty Olsen, Pastor Ngue of the Raday Church, Hank and Vange Blood and their young children, and about fifty other tribal captives. Shortly, Marie and Vange were told they and the Blood children were free to go. Vange had only time to kiss Hank good-bye before he and Betty and the Raday captives were marched away.

   Marie and Vange staggered up the hill with the Blood children. They were met by a Raday church leader who took them and Carolyn, barely alive, to an area hospital. From there they were flown to a hospital in Nha Trang where Carolyn died seven hours later.

   The martyrdom of the Banmethuot Six triggered an avalanche of deepened commitments to Christ from families and friends. In one of the many memorial services, Dr. Nathan Bailey, president of the C&MA, said it all to students at Nyack College :

The missionaries at Banmethuot were not drafted. They chose to be there and stay there. They were all veterans. The romance and the glory of the missionary call had long since departed. They had lived in the midst of war for many years. They had watched three of their comrades being led away into the jungle, never to be seen again. They knew they were vulnerable. They chose to be faithful, even unto death.

The Mystery of the Captives

   The Communists pulled back into their jungle enclaves. They had suffered severe losses, while winning a psychological victory through the western media.

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   Shattered missionary residences were rebuilt, churches sieved with bullet holes repaired, C&MA missionaries cabled their home constituency :



   Five missionaries were now in captivity. The latest, Betty Olsen and Hank Blood, were presumed to be in the company of agriculturist Mike Benge and captured tribesmen. In the weeks following Tet a steady trickle of tribal escapees found their way back to Banmethuot. One was Pastor Ngue and he reported Betty, Hank, and Mike to be in reasonably good condition.

   The following few months brought fewer confirmed reports of the three, then silence. There was no solid news of the 1962 captives either, though Betty Mitchell, who had returned to Banmethuot from furlough, refused to give up hope that her Archie was alive. The loved ones of the other captives kept believing also.

   Meanwhile, persecution of tribal Christians continue unabated in the highlands and other remote areas where missionaries could no longer live. Some escaped and came to the refugee camps telling of mass kidnappings and in some places massacres.

Miracles among the Tribes

   Suddenly, revival! The fresh moving of the Spirit began on a Friday morning in December 1972, in the History of Revival class at the C&MA Biblical and Theological Institute in Nha Trang. A student had completed a report on the recent revival in Indonesia. Then he surprised everyone by falling to his knees and calling for revival in Vietnam. By noon all 177 resident students were on their knees praying. Missionary Spencer Sutherland noted that "scores of students" confessed their sins, then "asked that hands be laid upon them for the filling of the Holy Spirit. He came, sweeping through the room, reproving, filling, and giving gifts to many."

   The revival spread to over a hundred churches when the students went home for the holiday break. At devastated An Loc, Pastor Dieu Huynh led 1,086 tribespeople to Christ. At Banmethuot a missionary reported "miraculous events, such as healings, angelic choirs, visions, one documented raising from the dead, and a number of enemy sightings of soldiers in white guarding Christian villages." In one church eight hundred

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backslidden believers cried in repentance. Four hundred of their neighbors were converted.

One Captive Comes Home

   The awakening continued alongside more kidnappings and killings into 1973. Then came the cease-fire agreement which resulted in withdrawal of all the American troops from Vietnam, followed by the release of all the American prisoners which the North Vietnamese would admit having.

   Friends and families of the five unaccounted-for missionary captives scanned the lists with growing concern. There was only one familiar name. Mike Benge, the agriculturist who had been captured with Betty Olsen and Hank Blood at Banmethuot in 1968, was alive and well.

   Mike was flown with other prisoners to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for debriefing. There he met Vange Blood and told her how Hank had died on a mountain about five months after capture from malnutrition and pneumonia. "His last thoughts were of you and the children," he recalled. "He hoped you would continue working on the Mnong translation."

   Vange managed a wan smile. "That's why we're here at Wycliffe's Philippine base. It's slow, hard work, but I'll finish it."

   "And he mentioned Tang, his language assistant."

   Vange smiled again. Tang, Hank's only convert in nine years of work in Vietnam, had become a great evangelist in the villages around Banmethuot, leading thousands to Christ.

   In Wheaton, Illinois, Mike met Betty Olsen's sister Marilyn. Betty had helped him bury Hank, he said, and had survived three more months. "She suffered terribly," Mike recalled with difficulty. "She died from starvation and dysentery two days after her thirty-fifth birthday." He swallowed hard. "She never showed any bitterness or resentment. To the end she loved the ones who mistreated her."

   C&MA leaders quizzed Mike in a Washington hospital about the 1962 captives. Had he heard anything? "Everywhere I went, I asked about them. No one knew anything, or if they did they wouldn't tell me."

A Matter of Time

   An uneasy calm now hung over Vietnam. The American troops were gone. Almost three hundred evangelical missionaries remained. Over half

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belonged to the C&MA and Wycliffe. The missionaries and national church leaders were not fooled by the North Vietnamese. They knew the Communists would complete the conquest when Vietnam began to fade from world attention. It was just a matter of time.

   March 1975. Betty Mitchell was still in Banmethuot, serving the people, awaiting news of Archie. Wycliffe members Carolyn and John Miller and their five-year-old daughter LuAnne lived close by. The Millers were translating for the Bru tribe, a people that had suffered terribly from Communist terrorism. Two more C&MA families were their neighbors, Dick and Lillian Phillips and Norman and Joan Johnson. The Phillipses were longtime Asia veterans. Dick had been interned by the Japanese during World War II. They barely missed being in Banmethuot during the Tet offensive.

   The tribespeople knew that North Vietnamese soldiers were all around Banmethuot, building supply roads, bringing in heavy weapons. They expected the first offensive to start along the coast. They were surprised when the enemy attacked Banmethuot first.

   This time no missionaries were killed at Banmethuot. But all were captured and taken on a long and harrowing journey to Hanoi. At every stop Betty asked about her husband, Archie, Dr. Ardele Vietti, and Dan Gerber. Nobody would admit to knowing anything.

   From Banmethuot the Communist juggernaut rolled south. Military leaders panicked and fled. Behind them came miles and miles of pitiful refugees, hoping somehow to escape the Red peril. Saigon was a madhouse as Vietnamese fought to leave with Americans. The missionaries tried to get out the Christian leaders they feared would be marked for death — especially those who had studied the Bible and theology in the United States. Many had to be left behind.

   The following October 29 the Banmethuot missionary captives were released in Hanoi to UN officials and flown to Bangkok, Thailand.

Vietnam under Communism

   What of South Vietnam under Communism since? Happenings bear a remarkable parallel to events in China after the Red conquest there. Virtually all foreign missionaries who sought to remain were forced out within a year. They were told that the Vietnamese church no longer needed their help. Church educational and social ministries were taken

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over by the government and evangelistic activity discouraged and hindered. Religious services were confined to existing church buildings.

   By 1978 about sixty Protestant pastors and some two hundred Catholic priests were reported to be in prison. One priest was accused of plotting against the government. Counterfeit money and weapons, believed to have been planted, were displayed as evidence.

   As conditions worsened, many Vietnamese Christians crowded into open boats and sought to flee to Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and America. Many of these "boat people" were drowned in storms while others were murdered by pirates. Still, many managed to escape and were placed in refugee camps. Thousands were accepted as immigrants to the United States where they now worship in their own churches. By the late 1980s, immigration procedures had tightened and neighboring countries were sending Vietnamese back to their homeland.

   In Vietnam, many pastors and lay leaders were sent to "reeducation" camps for indoctrination in Communism. Some were imprisoned for "preaching against the revolution." In 1987, two noted evangelical pastors, Ho Hieu Ha and Nguyen Hey Cuong, were sentenced to eight years in prison for this "crime." Their churches were confiscated by the government. One was later converted into a Communist Youth League Center.

   These two pastors and another evangelical minister, Le Thien Dung were subsequently transferred from a labor camp to Chi Hoa prison in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, where they were released on condition that they seek resettlement in the United States. One declined, declaring his intention to remain in Vietnam and minister to his scattered flock, and two agreed to go.

   In 1991, Doan Van Mieng, vice president of the tiny Evangelical Church of Vietnam, sent a letter to David Moore of Overseas Ministries saying, "We have experienced the valley of weeping, the shadow of death, the furnace of fire, and the den of lions. But in every place, the Lord has been with us."

   Mieng paid special tribute to nineteen foreign missionaries and relief workers (four with Wycliffe, one with the Mennonite Central Committee, and fourteen associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance) who had lost their lives in Vietnam during the past thirty years. Listed among the nineteen martyrs were the kidnapped Daniel Gerber, Archie Mitchell, and Dr. Ardele Vietti, whose fate was never determined.

   The Communist Vietnamese government is now attempting to put a better face before the world. Some foreign Christian workers have been permitted to return for short visits. In 1995, diplomatic relations were

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restored between Vietnam and the United States. With the collapse of her chief foreign backer, the Soviet Union, Vietnam desperately needs outside economic aid. Some observers expect to see a greater loosening of restrictions on Christian activities. There is speculation that some American prisoners of war may still be alive in Vietnam and Laos.

   Resistance to the Communist infrastructure in the south is said to be strongest in the tribal areas where one third of the evangelical believers are believed to live. Some pastors remain in reeducation camps, even as others continue to minister in unauthorized churches.

   The books are still open in tragic Vietnam. The Communist government continues to view Christianity as an ideology which must be controlled and, where necessary, suppressed. There may be more martyrs in this land which has become only a bitter memory to many Americans. As a Church elder said at Ceo Reo as the Communist North Vietnamese were advancing, "How many times can you die? My life is in God's hands."

Chapter 7


"Land of a Million Elephants"

Laos, fabled "land of a million elephants," is a little larger but less populated than Minnesota. It was once the center of a great Buddhist kingdom, later a part of French Indochina, then an independent nation; and since 1975, following South Vietnam's fall to Red control, a Marxist state.

"His Love Inflames Me"

   As in Vietnam, evangelical Christianity came late to Laos. The pioneers were Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Contessee, sent by Swiss Brethren. While a young architectural student, Gabriel had been invited by an English biscuit maker to study for the mission field at Livingstone College in London. There he learned of twenty-five million people in Indochina without a single messenger of the gospel.

   Gabriel and a companion reached Saigon on September 4, 1902, and proceeded up the Mekong River. Fifty-nine days later they completed the last leg of their journey by dugout canoe. "His love inflames me," Gabriel wrote his mother, "preparing me for this service."

   Slowly the two foreigners became accepted by the local people as they learned the language from a Buddhist monk. They baptized their first convert, a sixty-year-old man, on Easter Sunday, 1905.

   When reinforcements arrived, Gabriel returned to Switzerland to marry Marguerite Johnson, a girl he knew only by correspondence. He brought her back to Laos, and they started a school.

   A cholera epidemic, which had started in Tibet, swept into Laos. Thousands died. Many more fled to the forest in terror. The missionaries,

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refusing to flee, plunged in to help alleviate the suffering. Marguerite was the first to become ill, then Gabriel. Quinine, the standard remedy could only slow the disease. Gabriel, not yet thirty, scribbled his last testament : "I am violently ill. I am ready to go. Thank you, Jesus, for saving a sinner such as I." A few hours after he died, Marguerite succumbed. They were buried side by side in the corner of a field.

   The Christian Missions in Many Lands, as the Brethren work is known in English, grew to over one thousand members. The Bible was translated into Lao, and a leprosarium was opened.

The Terror Begins

   The C&MA entered the country in 1929 and began working among both Laotians and tribal aborigines. In 1950 a mass movement of tribal peoples toward Christianity culminated in four thousand conversions. Three years later Vietnamese Communists invaded the little country and the reign of terror began.

   Hardship and persecution fueled the growth of the Laotian church. Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Southern Baptists, and Missionary Aviation Fellowship sent workers. World Vision mounted special relief efforts to alleviate the terrible suffering of thousands of villagers forced from their homes by Communist insurgents. Thousands of Laotians gave their lives in resisting communism. But in the crazy-quilt, all-in-the-royal-family political and military struggle that included a Communist faction, missionaries remained untouched.

   In 1968 North Vietnamese Communists launched a fresh invasion. They were repelled with U.S. help. In 1971 South Vietnamese forces with U.S. air support cut off the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the road used by North Vietnam to supply its troops in South Vietnam. Two years later came the cease-fire and a false peace in which the Communists pretended to stop fighting.

Two Die, Two Escape

   The missionaries were not fooled, but the force of about fifty missionaries stayed. There were constant Communist violations, and finally in October 1972, the first missionary murders occurred.

   The incident happened at Keng Kok, a town of about three thousand in northern Laos. Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Chopard of the Brethren mission had started work here in 1965. By 1972 they had four new associates assisting

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them in evangelization, literacy, agricultural aid, construction projects, and care of tubercular patients. The newcomers included two single men and two single women. Canadian Lloyd Oppel had come from the University of British Columbia to help with construction workers. Sam Mattix, a native of Washington State, had training in tropical medicine. Beatrice Kosin, also from Washington, was an experienced school teacher and her partner, Evelyn Anderson, a registered nurse from Michigan.

   In the early morning hours of October 28, 1972, North Vietnamese soldiers advanced into Keng Kok and surrounding villages. The Chopards managed to flee into the jungle. The young women lived in the section of town first overrun by the Communists and had time only to hide under their beds. They remained concealed in their locked house while North Vietnamese roamed the neighborhood searching for them for two days before they were discovered.

   News of their capture quickly reached the leaders of the local Lao Brethren assembly. The Laotians risked their lives by going to bargain for the missionaries' release. The negotiations were unsuccessful. The two American women were shot and dumped in their house, then the house was set afire.

   About 5:30 A.M. on the day the women were captured, Lloyd and Sam were warned that the Communists were coming. They tried to flee but ran into a contingent of North Vietnamese. By six o'clock they were tied to fence posts by the side of the road. When the sun rose higher, a man began digging a hole between them — a hole shaped like a grave. Were they to be buried alive?

   They saw a Christian man, Mr. Pi, bicycling towards them. Sam began singing, hoping Pi would realize they were all right and go away. When he greeted them several times, they pretended not to know him. Finally he put his hand on Lloyd's shoulder and said, "God be with you, brother." Then after doing the same to Sam, he rode off.

   A half hour later he returned with two other Lao Christians. They boldly began challenging the Communists : "Why did you take these men captive? They're Christians. They run the Jesus hospital. They don't carry guns."

   At first the soldiers appeared to pay no attention. Then they moved in with guns pointed. The Lao believers simply knelt down near the missionaries. One embraced Sam. Another wrapped his arms around Lloyd. They prayed and wept together. A North Vietnamese officer came up and ordered the Laotians to leave. They tried to reason with him. He cocked his gun and shouted, "Go! Go!" Only then did they walk away.

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   After darkness fell, the Canadian and the American were pushed into a truck. A little farther on they were put out and then marched for forty days to Hanoi where they were imprisoned with American G.I.'s. They were released a few days later with the American prisoners.

   The familiar pattern of pressure and persecution followed the Communist takeover of Laos. Missionaries were ordered out. Foreign support funds were cut off. "Uncooperative" Laotians were sent to "reeducation" camps. Christian activity was confined to religious services inside recognized church buildings. Excuses were found to close some of the churches.

   Yet escaping refugees indicate that the Lao believers, though scattered, remain true to Christ. The number who have died or been imprisoned is unknown.

   The future of Laos is tied closely to its Communist big brother, Vietnam. As goes suppression of religious freedom in Vietnam, so will go persecution in Laos.

Chapter 8


Dictatorship of Death

The recorded history of Cambodia goes back to A.D. 100. From A.D. 802 to the 1400s the Buddhist Khmer "God-Kings" ruled over a great empire from their capital at Anghor Wat, a city of dazzling temples. Catholic missionaries entered in the sixteenth century, but by 1970 there were only one thousand Catholics in the country. The C&MA began work in 1923 and was the only Protestant mission in the country until 1960.

   Chief of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk ordered all North American missionaries out in 1965 after South Vietnamese planes bombed Viet Cong forces fleeing into Cambodia. National pastors were jailed for preaching without authorization. Two French Alliance missionary couples were the only missionaries allowed to live in Cambodia during this period.

   General Lon Nol's coup in March 1970 brought the Americans back. The following month President Nixon sent American troops into Cambodia to drive the Communists from the sanctuaries which Sihanouk had permitted. Student antiwar leaders reacted by touching off mass demonstrations on U.S. college campuses, forcing the end of the American incursion.

   The campus activists proclaimed their beliefs from safe campus havens. C&MA and OMF missionaries proved their compassion by moving their families into the ravaged country. Assisted by food and medical shipments from World Vision, the missionaries and leaders of the small Khmer evangelical church launched one of the most significant ministries of mercy in modern times. Cambodian officials responded by granting permission for World Vision to build a Christian hospital which

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would be operated by C&MA missionaries — an unprecedented action in the almost-solid Buddhist country.

The Harvest Comes

   In April 1972, Cambodian evangelicals took the bold step of renting a thousand-seat auditorium for a week's evangelistic crusade led by Stanley Mooneyham, president of World Vision, ignoring warnings of a possible Buddhist riot or Communist bombing. They were not sure the auditorium would be filled. But two hours before the first meeting hundreds were gathered outside the gate. Every seat was taken, and many left disappointed.

   Mooneyham preached and asked those who wished to accept Christ to stand up. About two-thirds of the audience stood. He thought they might have misunderstood, so he explained more carefully the Christian message. When he gave a second invitation, about five hundred immediately came to the front.

   More Cambodians became Christians that week than in the previous thirty years. Among them were government officials, diplomats, and educators. More prominent Cambodians accepted Christ in the months following. One was Men Ny Borinn, president of the national Supreme Court. "I feel like I have become a torch, and I want to go around lighting candles," he said. Another was the author of the Cambodian national anthem.

   Before the nation fell to the Communists, the Cambodian church was one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. From three hundred believers in 1970 the church multiplied to an estimated ten thousand in 1975. In Phnom Pehn three congregations multiplied to twenty-six during this time.

Cambodia Falls

   The church kept multiplying until missionaries foresaw the entire nation turning to Christ if the Communists could be held back. But after the U.S. Congress forbade further American participation in the war, the little country was doomed. The enemy took over much of the countryside and encircled and blockaded land and water entry into Phnom Penh. Supplies could be brought in only by air as the Communists tightened the noose.

   Most of the twenty-five missionaries remained long past the time they were urged to leave by their embassies, some until the last possible moment.

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They bade their Cambodian friends good-bye, expecting to see them again only in heaven.


   The Communist Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia on April 21, 1975, renaming the nation "Democratic Kampuchea." "Dictatorship of Death" would have been more appropriate. Reliable estimates by world news organizations say that at least two million Cambodians may have been killed in purges. Marxist leaders predicted another three million might be liquidated to complete the building of their "pure society." This in a country the size of Oklahoma with only seven million population at the time of the Red "liberation." In ratio of murders to population, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung must take a bloody back seat to the Cambodian Marxists.

   The Communists clamped strict censorship over the country. Still the world got the story from refugees able to escape into Thailand and from a few outsiders allowed to remain in the country. Over a million Cambodians were driven out of the capital, including some twenty-five thousand hospital patients. Thousands died by the roadside. Refugees reported entire villages emptied of people taken out to be shot, stabbed to death, or bulldozed alive into mass graves. Every educated person in the country and every soldier above the rank of private was put to death. Family units were broken up, Bibles confiscated, prayer forbidden. The survivors were told that the new Angka "organization on high" was their only source of true wisdom for the future.

   Eyewitness stories of the massacres were printed in Time, Newsweek, and other respected journals. This time there were no American peace marches against bloodshed in Cambodia. Most of the ones who had protested so vociferously against the U.S. "invasion" were as silent as the graves in which over a million Cambodians were buried. Missionaries and others who knew personally many of the Cambodian martyrs could only weep as they moved among the few Cambodian refugees who had managed to escape into Thailand.

   It is probably correct to assume that most of the ten thousand Protestant believers counted in Cambodia before the fall were martyred. Among these were twelve Cambodian Gideons, who distributed a million Scripture portions before the Communist takeover.

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"Pray for Cambodia"

   More than a year after the fall of the capital, Phnom Penh, the widow of Chhirc Taing, a colonel in the defending army and an important church official, received a letter written by her husband before his execution. He told of the meeting of the Cambodian church leaders when they knew their position was indefensible. Together they had read John 13 and then washed each other's feet and quietly talked about the future, realizing they were about to die. In his last words to his wife who was safe in Scotland studying, the lay leader pleaded, "Tell Christians around the world not to forget to pray for Cambodia."

   The murderous Khmer Rouge government, headed by the cruel dictator Pol Pot, who can only be compared to Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, fell to Vietnamese invaders in 1979. Vietnamese troops remained until 1989. Cambodia has since entered a critical new phase. War watchers say that only cooperation among Cambodian political factions will be able to keep the vicious Khmer Rouge from returning to power.

   A free election, to be monitored by the United Nations, was scheduled for 1993. Meanwhile, thousands of Cambodian refugees began streaming back into the country, hoping that the country was at last on the road to peace. Nearly half of the refugees were under fifteen years of age.

   With a per capita national product of less than ten dollars a month, Cambodia may be the poorest country in the world, even worse off than Bangladesh and Nepal. It may also have the highest percentage of paraplegics anywhere in the world.

   Only two of twenty-five pastors reportedly survived the Khmer Rouge period. Christianity is presently tolerated. At most, there may be no more than three hundred Christians in the entire population.

   Southern Baptist missionaries Bruce and Gloria Carlton are among the few foreign missionaries serving in Cambodia. The Carltons see a "spiritual darkness" hovering over the land. "There's an evil that pervades this country," says Bruce. "I just feel it. I don't know how to describe it. The Bible talks about principalities and powers of darkness; they rule this land."

   The Carltons talk daily with Cambodians who have lost loved ones to the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. They see the poverty and the suffering of the people which beggars description. "When we look at all this," Bruce says, "how can we not respond? The time is ripe. We couldn't ask for a better time to work in Cambodia."

Part Four

Martyrs of South and Central Asia

Chapter 9


Roof of the World

Tibet — remote and foreboding. Mysterious roof-of-the-world kingdom of high mountain plateaus and hidden valleys. Even before it became a vassal state of Communist China in 1951, Tibet was one of the most resistant nations to the gospel in the world.

   Antoine de Andrade, a Portuguese Jesuit, was the first Christian missionary to enter the Buddhist kingdom. Eight years later, in 1634, he was dead with symptoms of poisoning. A few others tried to introduce Christianity into the isolated Buddhist kingdom during the next century. Most paid with their lives. Finally in 1745 the last mission station, run by Capuchin friars, closed and no further attempts were made until the nineteenth century.

   In 1898 two Dutch missionaries, Dr. Susie Carson Rijnhart and her husband, set out for Lhasa, the capital from which the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist head of state, ruled. Mr. Rijnhart and their baby were murdered along the trail. Dr. Rijnhart somehow escaped and after weeks of wandering through the high Himalayas reached a mission outpost across the Chinese border, wearing dirty sheepskin clothes and almost black from exposure. Upon arriving home, she was asked if it would not be a cross to return to Tibet. "No," she replied. "It would be a cross not to return."

Chain Reaction

   Dr. Rijnhart's story became one of the most stirring missionary sagas of the early twentieth century. She later married another missionary

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and they returned to Tibet and established a church of baptized nationals — the first evangelical church in Tibet.

   The challenge of her story raised up a small force of new recruits. Dr. Zenas Loftis, from a church in Nashville, Tennessee, volunteered "for the most difficult field in the world where the need is the greatest." When he reached the foot of a high snow-covered mountain in Tibet, he saw the grave of a martyred missionary. Unable to sleep that night and heeding a premonition, he rose in the middle of the night and wrote in his diary, "Sleep on, thou servant of the Living God, if it be Thy will that I, too, should find a grave in this dark land, may it be one that will be a landmark and an inspiration to others, and may I go to it willingly if it is Thy will."

   Dr. Loftis was soon in the midst of a smallpox epidemic. His own vaccination did not hold. On the second day of treating patients he caught both smallpox and typhus. In six weeks he was dead.

   The announcement of his death at his home church drew a quick response. Young Dr. William M. Hardy declared, "I'll go and take his place." Dr. Hardy was joined by more missionaries and the Tibetan work grew rapidly. A number of Tibetans were converted as a result of Dr. Loftis's death.

Forced Out by Bandits

   The intensifying of banditry in the area forced the missionaries out. Efforts continued at China border stations from which missionaries made daring forays into the country where no official would guarantee their safety. Three more bodies, all missionary children, were buried beside Dr. Loftis in the cemetery which the missionaries called "God's Acre."

   Dr. Albert Shelton, another missionary doctor in Tibet during the early twentieth century, tried for years to get a message to the Dalai Lama, requesting permission to build a hospital in Lhasa and to train young Tibetans in medicine. Finally a friendly governor agreed to forward the letter. The ruler responded in the only communication he had ever had with a missionary, "I know of your work and that you have come a long way to do good. I will put no straw in your way."

   Political difficulties with China and banditry prevented the hospital from ever being established. Dr. Shelton was captured by bandits and held for seventy-one days before he managed to escape.

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Never Give Up

   Finally there were no Protestant missionaries residing in Tibet and only one remaining on the China-Tibetan border. This was William E. Simpson, the twenty-nine-year-old bachelor son of one of the four remaining missionaries serving in rugged western China.

   Associated with the Assemblies of God, Simpson had arrived with his parents in the bleak border country when he was a year old. He grew up with the Tibetans and Chinese, ate their food, spoke the local languages, and braved their hardships. He faced tragedy when his baby sister died and later when his mother died on a trip home. After education in the United States, he returned "home" to Tibet, knowing well the risks and privations involved in missionary work on the border.

   Marriage for young Simpson was out of the question. One year he traveled thirty-eight hundred miles on horseback, planting the gospel seed among Tibetans. He won the friendship of Tibetan rulers and was permitted to lease a plot of land for a mission station in Labrang, Tibet, where other missionaries had tried and failed to establish permanent work. From Labrang he became a familiar figure riding among wild herdsmen and sharing with them his message of love. He spent many nights under the stars in their camps. One Christmas the only presents he received were fodder, fuel, and a few pears from a Tibetan.

   His converts were few, but he pressed on. At the end of one lonely exhausting trip, Simpson wrote the Assemblies' Foreign Mission Department :

All the trials, the loneliness, the heartache, the weariness and pain, the cold and fatigue of the long road, the darkness and discouragements, and all the bereavements, temptations and testings, seemed not worthy to be compared with the glory and joy of witnessing to this "glad tidings of great joy."

   His escapes from robbers were legendary. Once he faced down a bunch of bandits demanding ransom. "I will surrender nothing," he declared. "Go and leave us in peace." The brigands glared at him for a few moments. Then they fired several scattered shots and rode off.

   He refused to leave during murderous rampages of Muslim fanatics along the border in 1928. Sixty miles from Labrang the Muslims massacred every living person in a city of fifty thousand. "Our hearts go out for the sufferings of all these people," he wrote home. "We try to help as we can, but what can we do among such stupendous needs?"

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   On June 25, 1932, as William Simpson and a Russian traveler were moving some baggage to Labrang, a horde of Muslim army deserters swooped down upon them. The American and the Russian were killed instantly. A Chinese tax collector who was traveling with them escaped to notify Simpson's father and direct him back to where the mangled bodies lay. As the father was picking up his son's mutilated body, he noticed a Sunday school paper smeared with blood lying nearby. The printed words, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME," seemed a fitting testimony of why the young missionary had died.

The Zeal of Sundar Singh

   Another zealous missionary to Tibet in the early twentieth century was Sundar Singh, a world famous Indian evangelist. The son of a wealthy landowner of the fanatical Sikh Hindu sect, Singh was reared to be a Hindu priest. In 1904 at age fifteen he became a Christian after having a vision of Christ. His family pronounced him "dead." A relative tried to poison him.

   Singh became close friends with Charles Andrews, a noted evangelical English missionary. He studied the Bible intensely and took a vow of poverty. He was known to pray four hours at a time and fast for days. Once he tried to fast for forty days after the manner of Christ. He traveled to Europe, America, Australia, and various Asian countries, preaching to large audiences. His books were translated into numerous languages.

   Beginning in 1912 he evangelized several months each year in Tibet, Nepal, and other regions along the Himalayas. In 1929 he made his last trip to Tibet and disappeared. How he died remains a mystery.

A Closed Land

   After Sundar Singh's disappearance and William Simpson's martyrdom, only an occasional missionary ventured into Tibet. The foreboding land remained closed to any type of permanent Christian work. When the Communists sent in a brutal occupation force in 1951, there were probably no more than a few hundred Christians. Most of these were likely killed in the genocidal Marxist purges that snuffed out the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.

   The Tibetans surviving today under tyranny are said to live in virtual slavery. Thousands of refugees have trekked into India. Among them is

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the Dalai Lama, Buddhist leader of the Tibetans, who was recently presented a translation of the New Testament in the Tibetan language. Missionaries and national Christians in India have reported a sprinkling of converts among the refugees, and it is presumed some of these are filtering back into their homeland.

Chapter 10


Famine, Disease, and Riots

The story of Christian sacrifice in India, the world's second most populous nation, is not nearly so tragic or violent as in China.

   Modern Christian missions began when William Carey and his family arrived in this vast country in 1793. India was then a part of Britain's vast colonial empire, and British commercial interests did not welcome the Careys. But the British government protected them and later arrivals.

   The British did not give up India until 1947 when Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolence campaign finally succeeded. Before leaving, the British carved the land into two nations — Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan — in an attempt to halt religious wars between Hindus and Muslims. The two countries both elected to remain in the British Commonwealth and agreed that violence against Christians and other religious minorities should be strictly prohibited. Disease, not violence, took a heavy toll of missionary lives before and after the British occupation.

A Disastrous Famine

   John F. Frederickson served with the Scandinavian Alliance Mission in Ghoom, India. Shortly before 1900 he began translating the Bible into a Tibetan language. One of his early converts was a Tibetan monk named Jjeurah who became his chief language assistant. By the year 1900 Frederickson and Jjeurah had completed portions of Scripture, a hymnbook, and a reader in the Tibetan tongue.

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   In 1900 a disastrous famine swept the area. Frederickson was appointed to administer his mission's relief program. In one operation he rescued around a hundred starving children, then transferred them to the care of other missionaries. He worked strenuously until he came down with dysentery. He died on September 5 while praying for his wife and daughters and the masses of starving children who had so little hope. When the children he had saved heard about his death, they said, "Two have died for us, Jesus and Sahib [Frederickson]." Many of these children grew up to become stalwart Christians. And like so many other missionaries who lost their spouses on the field, Mrs. Frederickson continued to serve in India.

Mountains of Death

   In 1907 Jesse Brand went as a young bachelor to serve in the disease-ridden Chat "Mountains of Death" in southern India. He returned to England on furlough to tell of a deadly plague epidemic. Fleas on rats, he explained, would jump from dead rats to other bodies, often human beings. Having had only a year's medical training, he had done all he could, but still many of his fellow workers had died.

   One who heard him speak was Evelyn Harris, the belle of a fashionable London suburb. She went to India as a missionary and subsequently fell in love with Brand. They were married in 1913 and spent their honeymoon among the desperate people they wanted to serve.

   By 1927 they had given medical assistance to over twenty-five thousand people. During one year Jesse had preached over four thousand times in ninety villages. Churches had sprung up in many of these communities. Jesse had studied law to determine the rights of the poor people who were being expelled by rich landowners and moneylenders from the more fertile plain at the foot of the mountains. He had organized a cooperative credit society so the small farmers could borrow money at 5 percent instead of the customary 35 percent paid to the moneylenders. He had persuaded government officials to build thirty miles of bridle paths through the hills. The poor people had been paying a road tax for years without receiving a cent of benefits. He had arranged for unemployed people to get jobs building the paths.

   Both he and Evelyn had suffered from the dread disease of the Mountains of Death, malaria, yet they had never allowed the fever to slow down their work. In 1928 Jesse had the worst attack. In late May and early June he kept working while his fever ran from 100 degrees to 104 degrees. On June 9

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he preached on the text, "Arise, shine, for your light is come." Two days later he was making his usual rounds when his temperature jumped to 106 degrees. The missionary doctor applied conventional remedies for malaria — he had never treated a case of blackwater fever. Day by day Jesse grew worse as Evelyn sat beside him watching his flesh become dry and yellow and his blood drain away. On the fifteenth day, just at sunset, she saw him quietly slip into the presence of the Lord. As the news spread through the mountains, a great wail resounded from village to village, for he was beloved by thousands, both Christians and Hindus.

   They buried him as they would one of their own. His body was wrapped in a Hindu mat and carried on the shoulders of four men to a hillside grave. Then after a simple service, the men dragged a huge stone a half mile and pushed it to the head of his grave. Part of the long inscription which they carved said : "He delivered up his life to the Lord on behalf of the people."

   Evelyn Brand never remarried. She lived to see one of their children, Paul, become one of the foremost missionary surgeons of the world, the pioneer in performing successful rehabilitative surgery on the hands and feet of lepers. In her later years "Granny" Brand became a world famous legend on her own. With only the aid of walking sticks, she climbed the mountains. On one trip she injured her knees in a fall. Less than three months later she was buried beside her long-departed husband.

The Continuing Hostilities

   Indian Christians have suffered far more than missionaries in the twentieth century. Many have been disowned by their families. In northern India hundreds were killed in riots directed against British troops and certain missionaries closely identified with the colonial regime.

   The greatest Christian advances have been made among the Nagas and other tribal peoples of northeast India with a background of pagan animism. In the 1920s over a hundred thousand were baptized under the direction of American Baptist missionaries.

   The Hindu majority of India resented and feared such a large conclave of Christians in one area. After independence, there were incidents of discrimination. It seemed to the tribespeople that they had merely exchanged one colonial government for another. An influential missionary had already encouraged the Nagas and their kinsmen to think of organizing their own nation. A Christian tribesman formed a revolutionary government.

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The alarmed Indian government banned all foreigners from the area and sent in troops.

   The hostilities have continued for several years with many killed on both sides. As a further complication, reports persist that Chinese Communists are supplying arms to the Christian rebels and promising to help establish a Naga nation. The unrest has spread to predominantly Christian tribes along the borders of Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam. There is a tight news blackout on all fronts. No one really knows how many Christians have died in the fighting. Nor is there likely to be any intervention by the United Nations or big powers because of the delicate issues involved. World diplomats pretend that the fighting does not exist.

The Beheading of Brother Abraham

   Recent government concern has centered on extremist Sikhs who want independence for the state of Punjab. Terrorist attacks by Sikhs and responses by government soldiers have resulted in hundreds of deaths.

   Radical Hindus have made a number of attacks on native Christians. A pastor, known as Brother Abraham, was bicycling home in Tamil Nadu when he was ambushed. A woman eyewitness working in a nearby field told police that Brother Abraham was calling, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" as he was chased into a field. There the members of a radical Hindu sect caught him and beheaded him with a sword.

   After four of the accused murderers were jailed, local Indian Christians heard that Hindu extremists had attempted to bribe police officials to get the charges reduced. Brother Abraham's wife was asked by police to sign papers that could exonerate the men who attacked her husband. She refused.

   Other native missionaries report receiving threatening letters from this Hindu group, which has long opposed Christian activity in India. One native missionary was told that he is listed as seventh to be murdered by the group.

   India is a democratic nation, with a large Hindu majority. While religious freedom is officially proclaimed, local government officials are sometimes pressured to overlook or go easy on discrimination and oppression against Christians.

Chapter 11

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Muslim-Hindu Wars

When Pakistan was part of India and the British Empire, missionaries and their converts were protected by the colonial government. A referendum held in 1947 revealed two predominantly Muslim parts of the old colonial empire. These two sections became East and West Pakistan. When their borders were announced, one of the greatest cross-migrations in history began, as almost six million Muslims fled to Pakistan from India and about four million Hindus entered Inda from Pakistan. Thousands died in the rioting and fighting that accompanied the mass movement. India's beloved "apostle of nonviolence," Mahatma Gandhi, was killed trying to stop the fighting.

   Mission work established before the separation from India continued in Pakistan. Religious freedom was guaranteed, but Christian teachers were forbidden to give religious instruction to students of another religion attending mission schools. In some isolated areas Christian witnessing was resisted and missionaries viewed with suspicion.

   Florida-sized, river-laced East Pakistan was the smaller, more thickly populated of the two sections of the country. It was richer in natural resources, but less developed industrially. The people were short and dark-skinned, and spoke the poetic Bengali tongue. The western section was peopled by tall, light-skinned, long-nosed Punjabis who spoke mainly the Urdu and Sindhi languages.

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A Tragic Mystery

   British Baptist missionaries had gone to East Pakistan in 1795 when it was still the state of Bengal. But it was not until the 1950s that the southeastern foot of the amoeba-shaped country was entered by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWEY).

   This jungle stretch along the hilly borders of India and Burma was an unevangelized gap between territories covered by the two great pioneer missionaries of South Asia, William Carey and Adoniram Judson. It was populated by Bengali Muslims and Hindus, plus hill tribespeople related to India's Nagas.

   In the center of this area, still frequented by Bengal tigers and elephants, an ABWEY team led by a distinguished missionary surgeon, Dr. Viggo Olsen, built the best equipped hospital in East Pakistan. Along with the medical ministry, a tribal school was started and Bible translation and literature distribution begun.

   One of the key translators and educators was Harry Goehring, who had once aspired to be a forester. Harry was studying at Bryan College in Tennessee when God spoke to him about full-time Christian service through Ephesians 3:8 : "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." He described his commitment and longing to serve his Lord in a poignant poem, "What Is Life To Me?" The last three stanzas read:

What is life to me, Lord,

Unless for Thee to die,

Retain not one small want of mine,

Just on Thy Grace rely;

Thy faithfulness to me, Lord,

Is all that I will need,

To shed my blood in service

Of planting precious seed.

Oh, this is life to me, Lord,

To daily bear Thy cross,

To daily have Thee search my heart,

To daily burn all dross,

To daily bring to Thee, Lord,

All burdens, griefs, or cares,

To daily walk in childlike trust

Through Satan's tangling snares.

Oh, Christ, The Everlasting God,

The Bread of Life to me;

The Living Water from above,

The Rock to which I flee,

In Thee is found all joy of life,

For by Thy Grace and Love,

Life here for me is one great task —

Reflecting God above!

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   Harry married a fellow Bryan student, Nancy Goodman. Stirred by a challenge from Dr. Olsen, they began language study for East Pakistan. They arrived in 1963 and within a year Harry had a booming tribal Bible school going and was beginning to translate Scripture into a tribal language. His January 1965 prayer letter to home supporters brimmed with optimism. "The Lord is good," he said in summary. "May He find us yielded to His molding hand this new year."

   Early in June he was studying in Colossians about the sufferings of Christ. He had recently led a tribal chieftain to Christ, and at the time was sensing the powers of Satanic darkness more than ever before. "I wonder," he mused to his wife Nancy, "what it is going to take to bring some of these people, so hardened in sin and superstition, to Christ."

   Two days later Harry Goehring's kidneys stopped functioning. The missionary doctors diagnosed acute kidney infection and cabled their home office for money to send the Goehring family to Chicago where the young missionary could receive artificial kidney treatment. The next day they cabled that he was better and might not have to return home. The following morning his heart began failing. They applied every possible remedy, but finally he gasped, "Let me go!" In a moment he was dead.

   A chemical analysis showed that his kidneys had failed not from an infection but from a poisonous substance. How had it gotten into his body? They examined every possible source and found no answers.

   Scores of Bengalis and tribespeople came to his funeral. More people were challenged when Nancy returned to the United States and witnessed of Harry's faith. Several volunteered for foreign mission service, some offering to take Harry's place in East Pakistan. Later Nancy married a close missionary friend, Russell Ebersole, who had lost his wife to cancer. They are serving today in the Philippines.

Bloody Bangladesh!

   In 1971, six years after Harry Goehring died, East Pakistan rose in rebellion against callous discrimination by West Pakistan. In one of the

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bloodiest "small" wars of history over three million Bengalis in the east were killed — mostly innocent civilians — and some three hundred thousand women savagely raped Nazi-style.

   The Hindu minority in East Pakistan was a special target of Muslim Punjabi soldiers from the west. The Hindus scrawled crosses on their homes so the Punjabis would think they were Christians. Many begged Christian missionaries to baptize them and give them shelter.

   About 320 missionaries, almost equally divided between Protestants and Catholics, were in East Pakistan when the war started. The missionaries were sympathetic to the Bengali cause. Some risked their lives in "smuggling" relief supplies and medicines to endangered Bengalis. Although some had narrow escapes, no Protestant missionaries were killed. Three Catholic workers were not so favored.

   Italian Father Mario Veronese came out with his hands up when he saw West Pak soldiers coming into his hospital, the Red Cross symbol on his arm clearly visible. The invaders shot him in his tracks, then ran into the hospital, shooting at frightened staff members. West Pakistani officials later apologized and claimed it was a mistake.

   Another Italian priest was beaten to death with a tire iron after he served tea to West Pak soldiers at his hospital.

   A third padre, Holy Cross Father William Evans, was pulled from his boat by West Pak soldiers while on his way to church service. They shoved him into a ditch, slashed him with bayonets, shot him twice, then kicked his body into the river.

   Despite their neutral status, upwards of a hundred Bengali Christians were later martyred. At Bogra in the far north, a band of West Pak sympathizers burst into the home of a respected Church of God teacher. Utpal Biswas was too sick to flee and get his family away. They killed him, his wife, two sons, and a daughter who served as a nurse at the nearby Church of God hospital. South of Bogra, West Pak troops invaded Rangamati village, tossing torches into flimsy, dry huts. Occupants fleeing the flames were lined up and executed in the light of the flames. Sixteen Christians perished. Similar atrocities were inflicted in other villages.

   The tides of war quickly changed after India entered the war and cut West Pakistan's tenuous supply lines. Within days East Pakistan had become newly independent Bangladesh.

   But not without a terrible price in the destruction of property and the loss of life. Thirty million Bengalis were destitute. Many were in imminent danger of starving to death. While the victors sought revenge from neighbors who had collaborated with West Pak soldiers, Christian relief

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organizations fed the starving, built houses, dug wells, and healed the sick and wounded. A Muslim cabinet member of the new government observed that "only the Christians (one-fourth of 1 percent of the total population of seventy million) are fulling the commandments of their Holy Book."

   In the years since the terrible war Bangladesh has been plagued by unstable governments as well as by disease and hunger. The brave band of missionaries and the Christian minority less than 1 percent of the population continues to serve.

The Threat of Islamic Law in Pakistan

   In May 1991, Pakistan's Parliament instituted Islamic law throughout the country. Christians feared this would be a reversal of long-standing legal and constitutional guarantees of religious freedom for the nation's non-Muslim minorities.

   In one case, Banto Mashi, a Pakistani Christian in Lahore was accused by a Muslim of "insulting the Prophet Mohammed." Mashi's accuser tried to stab him at a court hearing in 1992. The punishment for Mashi's crime is hanging, as demanded by Islamic law.

   Other examples of persecution are being reported. In civil cases of mixed-religion marriages, judges are imposing Muslim laws governing marriage, divorce, and child custody by the non-Muslim partners. In some instances, Christian parents are being denied contact with their families.

   Christian lawyers say the law is an ambiguous document. Jamshid Rahmat-Ullah, a Christian attorney in Lahore, notes that "one clause says that minorities have a right to practice their 'ways of life.' But who is going to define that? A Muslim maulana [clergyman]? Or a Christian church leader?"

   The Supreme Court of Pakistan has thus far thrown out every case in which lower courts have called for Islamic punishments. Najam Sethi, editor of the Lahore Friday Times, says the "legal structure" in the new law "is there to Islamize the entire legal structure. Right now, the political will is not there. But tomorrow, the supreme court could come under pressure from a fundamentalist [Islamic] regime."

   Meanwhile, Banto Mashi faces a possible death sentence for allegedly "insulting the Prophet Mohammed."

   Pakistan's Christian population is predominantly from the lower economic class. The largest Protestant denomination, formed by a merger of four other denominations twenty years ago, includes around four hundred

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thousand members. There are at least that many Catholics in the country. That Christians are a sizable minority does not guarantee that they will be protected from persecution in the future.

Troubled Afghanistan

   Neighboring Muslim Afghanistan has long been one of the most closed countries in the world to Christian missions. Pro-Soviet leftists took power in a bloody 1978 coup and signed a military treaty with the USSR. The first Soviet puppet was shortly replaced with a stronger regime and Soviet troops were sent throughout the country to put down patriotic opposition. After nine years of heavy losses, the Soviets agreed to withdraw their troops in 1988 and support a neutral Afghan state. Refugees began pouring back into the country from camps in Pakistan.

   The new "neutral" government fell under pressure from contending rebel groups in April 1992. All of the factions are Islamic, with the only difference being that some are more hardline than others.

   Before the Soviet intervention, some foreign Christian relief workers served in Afghanistan. There may indeed be a few Christians left who have survived the years of savage fighting. They could suffer discrimination, if not outright persecution.

Chapter 12

Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Burma

No Mass Murders

The Mystery of Nepal

   No western missionary is known to have given his life for Christ in Nepal, an independent buffer Hindu state between China and India where scores of mountain climbers have died trying to scale Mt. Everest and other peaks. Foreigners were not even allowed to enter this mecca for mountain climbers until 1950. Christian social, educational, and medical workers are permitted today only if they pledge not to evangelize. The Wycliffe Bible Translators, which had seventy members working in eighteen Nepalese dialects, were asked to leave in 1976.

   There are said to be only five or six hundred Nepalese Christians among a population of ten million. These few either were evangelized illegally within the country, or became believers while outside the country. The Nepalese constitution states explicitly that "no person shall be entitled to convert another person to his religion." Because of this law Prem Pradham, a Nepalese converted while serving in the Indian army, has served time in seven jails. An unknown number of other Nepalese believers have been imprisoned for evangelizing. Many have been disowned by their families.

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   There are no records of Nepalese who may have died in prison or from other persecutions. Any such incidents would have been hidden before 1950 and would not be reported today by the controlled press.

Sri Lanka

   Christian martyrs are unknown in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the island nation off the tip of India. The little West Virginia-sized country was ruled for almost four centuries by three European powers in succession — Portugal, Holland, and Britain. Each promoted its own language and national branch of Christianity. Around 1800 over half of the population professed Christianity.

   Since its independence from Britain in 1948, an anti-Christian spirit has been rising. Militant Sinhalese Buddhists promote Sri Lanka as the "Promised Land" for members of their sect living abroad. Their brand of Buddhism, including a former premier. Today only 8 percent of the fourteen million inhabitants claim to be Christian.

   A hard core of fervent evangelicals, missionaries, and nationals are evangelizing vigorously. Sri Lanka law permits individuals to change their religion. They are opposed by Buddhists and Communist agitators bent on creating conflict.

   In 1988 Christian evangelist Lionel Jayasinghe was shot to death by two men in his Sri Lanka home. Police suspected the slaying was done in response to Jayasinghe's successful outreach among Buddhists. He reportedly led eighty people to Christ in 1987, rousing the anger of many in his village. One villager reportedly threatened the evangelist's life.

   Troubled times may lie ahead.

Suffering and Death in Burma (Myanmar)

   Burma is another South Asian country which has avoided blood purges of Christians during the twentieth century.

   Shaped like a kite with a tail, this Texas-sized predominantly Buddhist country was first visited by Armenian Christians in 1612. In 1685 two French Catholic missionaries opened a small hospital, only to be murdered four years later for spreading Christian doctrine. Protestant missions

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began in 1813 when Baptists Adoniram and Haseltine Judson arrived. Judson was arrested as a spy and thrown into the death prison at Ava. After months of torture and suffering in a squalid cell, he was asked by a jailer, "How bright are the prospects of your mission now, O foreign animal?" Judson answered, "As bright as the promises of God, my friend."

   Judson survived twenty-one months in the filthy jail and upon release moved to Rangoon. His wife died in 1826 from a combination of tropical diseases. Judson then married the widow of a colleague who had given his life for Burma. He subsequently lost this wife and several children to the ravages of the Orient. Judson persisted. At his death there were seven thousand Christians and 163 missionaries in Burma. By 1900 the Baptist community had grown to almost one hundred thousand, due largely to a "people" movement among the Karen tribe.

   Both the missionary force and the national Christian body kept growing in the early twentieth century. There were only scattered, localized acts of violence against Christians.

The Widow's Plea

   One tragic incident involved a young Karen doctor who came to help an American Baptist missionary, Dr. Albert Henderson, at the Taunggyi Hospital that served the Shan tribe. For eighteen months all went well. Then one night the Karen physician was called to aid a woman who had been severely injured by her drunken husband. As he was dressing her wounds, the husband suddenly returned and tried to finish the job. While trying to protect his patient, the doctor was killed by the madman.

   When the Shan ruler ordered the murderer executed, the Christian doctor's widow rushed to the palace and begged that the man be spared. Drink, she said, had made him insane. The ruler granted the request.

"He Showed Us God"

   Dr. Henderson had been in Burma since 1893. He had laid six colleagues to rest in the little cemetery at Taunggyi. In February 1937, he returned from visiting a sick colleague to find a typhoid epidemic raging in the town. His two associates away, he drove himself day and night to help the sick and dying. One morning his wife Cora noticed he was flushed. She quickly took his temperature and found he had a high fever. Further diagnosis indicated that he too had contracted typhoid.

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   A medical missionary from another station and his nurse wife came and fought two weeks to save Dr. Henderson's life. Finally he awoke from the coma and smiled at his wife. "It's all right, dear, I'm going home," he whispered. Then he closed his eyes and slipped away peacefully.

   Thousands came to his funeral — Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and tribal animists, loin-clothed tribespeople, and members of the royal households. One old man sobbed, "He was our beloved father. He showed us God by the way he lived."

Closed to Missionaries but Still Open for Christ

   Japanese troops occupied Burma during World War II. They succeeded in cutting the Burma Road, over which scores of missionaries had escaped from China. But the Japanese were too busy fighting and keeping order to mount an antireligious crusade.

   After the war Burma reverted to colonial status in the British Empire, then in 1947 became an independent state. From 1947 to 1950 the country was wracked by revolts from Communists and rebel Karen tribesmen. Like their tribal cousins in northeast India, the Karen people wanted an independent state. The central government finally did agree to a separate Karen state with the nation. Many Karen tribespeople were killed in the uprising. They died in the political struggle and not because they were Christians.

   In the 1960s Burma was spared the agonies of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, by adopting a stance of strict neutrality and maintaining tight control over dissidents. The country is ruled today by a one-party socialist government. Burma is now closed to missionaries, but national churches are permitted a wide latitude. The largest body, Baptists, reported 305,252 members in 1976.

   General Ne Win dominated the government from 1962 to 1988. Ne Win and a revolutionary force drove Indians from the civil service and Chinese from commerce in Burma. The economy became more socialized and the nation more isolated from the world.

   Masses of rioters forced Ne Win from power. Sein Lwin assumed control, but street violence continued. In September 1987, General Saw Maung, a close associate of Ne Win, and associates took control and changed the country's name to Myanmar.

   Around eight hundred thousand Chinese live in Burma. Only 1 percent of these are believed to be Christians. The Chinese Coordination Center of World Evangelism reported in 1985 that three Chinese Christian pastors

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had been captured and killed by Burmese Communists. One was taken near the border with China and tortured to death. His wife continued to work in a Bible school established in Lashio, Burma.

Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Burma Today

   Nepal remains a tightly controlled state where Christian workers are not officially welcomed. Sri Lanka has been the target of ultra-leftist terrorists. Since the mid-1980s, the troubled nation has been kept in turmoil by fighting between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority who want a separate and independent enclave for themselves.

   In the early 1990s, Burma was a seething caldron. In 1990 the government allowed the first free, multiparty elections in thirty years. The opposition party won a decisive victory, but General Saw Maung and his cohorts have refused to give up power.

   In contrast to Nepal where Christians are a tiny minority, Sri Lanka and Burma have substantial numbers of Christian believers. Their challenge is to stand faithful during the rest of this century and beyond.

Part Five

Martyrs of the Asian Pacific Islands

Chapter 13

Indonesia, Papua, and Surrounding Islands

Cannibalism and Disease

We crept over the spine of the ridge and looked straight down on the naked savages feasting on enemies they had slain in battle. Suddenly we heard a rustle in the grass. Turning in fear, we saw two painted faces staring at us. We had found the cannibals and now they had found us."

   Furloughing missionaries, in the nineteenth century, from the Asian Pacific islands kept congregations on the edge of their pews with such hair-raising tales of narrow escapes from fierce cannibals. They brought chills by telling of martyrs speared to death and eaten by cannibal islanders. They roused young people to their feet, resolving to fill the martyrs' shoes.

   Overdrawn? Perhaps missionaries did often omit from their home talks such positive factors as native honesty, willingness to share, and simplicity of life, and did neglect to draw attention to the equally savage crimes of so-called civilized peoples. But cannibalism was indeed rampant. One Fiji chief had 872 memorial stones to mark the number of human beings he had eaten. And infanticide was common. Some tribes killed up to two-thirds of their children after birth. And it was very true that missionaries were more likely to be martyred or die of a tropical disease than live out a normal lifetime. In New Guinea there were once more missionary graves than native converts.

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Approach to Indonesia

   Missionaries and traders sailed into the vast Pacific behind the legendary Captain Cook, whose voyaging tales stirred the imagination of Europeans and Americans. The traders came to extract riches and slaves from the green "spots of paradise"; the missionaries to Christianize and civilize the myriads of dark-skinned, almost-naked natives who lived in superstition and fear of animistic spirits.

   Laying between the west coast of America and the eastern shores of Asia, the islands were grouped into three main chains. Polynesia (many islands) was scattered across five thousand miles of ocean from Midway in the north to New Zealand in the south. Micronesia (small islands) dotted the ocean south of Japan. Melanesia (black islands) lay in the southwestern Pacific and was largely populated by people of black skin. New Guinea, the world's second largest island, was in Melanesia. It is this chain of islands — Melanesia — particularly New Guinea and the Asian island group now federated as Indonesia, that gave rise to the most spine-tingling tales.

   The smaller islands and the coastal regions of the larger land masses — New Guinea, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java — were evangelized in the nineteenth century. Consequently, most Christian martyrdoms of the nineteenth century occurred on the smaller islands while twentieth century casualties happened in more remote interiors of the large islands.

"Martyr Isle"

   Because of the number of missionaries killed there, one small island in the New Hebrides chain of Melanesia, Erromonga, came to be known as "Martyr Isle."

   The first two martyrs were John Williams and James Harris. They landed on Erromonga in 1839 and were speared to death for a cannibal feast. Twenty-five of Williams's converts from Samoa volunteered to take his place. Several were killed and the rest fled after a year of hostilities.

   In 1857 two Presbyterians from Nova Scotia, Mr. and Mrs. George Gordon, made a try. All went well until traders stopped and touched off an epidemic of measles. The natives rose in vengeance and killed the Canadian couple.

   James Gordon went to carry on his brother's mission and was soon joined by James McNair, a Scot. McNair lived only two years, and Gordon

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was killed two years later by an islander who imagined the missionary had cast a death spell on his child.

   When the news of Gordon's death reached Nova Scotia, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Robertson applied for service on Erromonga. The violence ended when they arrived, and by 1880 there were hundreds of Christians.

   In memory of those who died, a "Martyr's Church" was built at Dillon's Bay where John Williams and James Harris had been killed. A monument listed the names of all the missionaries who had died, with this testimonial :

They hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus. Acts 15:26. It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15.

   By 1900 the small Pacific islands had a larger percentage of Christians in their populations than had the United States or Great Britain. The missionaries and early indigenous church leaders were honored with almost worshipful respect. On the island of Aneityum, for example, this inscription was placed on a tablet in a church that seated one thousand :


When he landed 1848 there were no Christians here; when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.

Into New Guinea

   The first twentieth-century missionary martyr in the Pacific was James Chalmers. The son of a Scottish stonemason, Chalmers was challenged in his teens when his pastor read a letter from a missionary in Fiji describing the power of the gospel over cannibals. The minister finished in tears, then looked over his spectacles and said, "I wonder if there is a boy here who will by-and-by bring the gospel to the cannibals?" Young Chalmers vowed he would be that pioneer.

   Some ten years later, January 4, 1866, Chalmers and his bride Jane sailed on the John Williams, named for the martyred missionary. After surviving a shipwreck, the two were put ashore on the island of Rarotonga. "What fellow name belong you?" a native called to him. He answered, "Chalmers." The native declared, "Tamate," and ever after he was known by that name among the island people.

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   There were already Christians at Rarotonga. As soon as other missionaries arrived, the Chalmers turned down a furlough and headed for virgin New Guinea. "The nearer I get to Christ and His cross, the more do I long for direct contact with the heathen," he wrote. They soon reported, "Several of our new friends wear human jawbones on their arms." Once Mr. Chalmers was surrounded by a mob of painted bandits, demanding tomahawks and knives or else they would kill both him and his wife. "You may kill us, but never a thing will you get from us," he declared. The surprised leader left, then came back the next day to apologize. Chalmers extended a gift of friendship and they were friends thereafter. Invitations to feasts began coming. They accepted some, but declined those where human flesh was served. Jane Chalmers was once offered the gift of a portion of a man's chest, already cooked.

   The strain soon showed on Mrs. Chalmers. Two years after coming to New Guinea, she went to Sydney, Australia, for rest. There she died in 1879. Upon receiving the sad news, Chalmers told his friends, "Let me bury my sorrow in work for Christ, with whom my dear wife is. Some of our teachers have suffered and lost their wives, and with them I must be."

   By 1882 Chalmers could report "no cannibal ovens, no feasts, no human flesh, no desire for skulls," in the area where he worked. He had become so well known and beloved that when he visited neighboring islands residents invited him to speak in heathen temples that were lined with skulls of people they had sacrificed and eaten. Often he and his assistants would preach all night and at the conclusion, the congregation would declare, "No more fighting, Tamate, no more man-eating; we have heard the good news and we shall strive for peace."

   Again he was urged to take a furlough. "No," he said, "I would rather risk climate and savages, than sea and land traveling." Finally in 1886 he did go and received a hero's welcome in London. He returned to the Pacific two years later with a new wife.

   He kept pioneering along the New Guinea coast and among nearby islands. In 1900 he lost his second wife after a fourteen-week illness. He comforted himself in "the sweet will of God," and said, "I cannot rest with so many thousands of savages without a knowledge of God near us." To an invitation to spend his last years in England, he replied, "I am nearing the bar, and might miss resting amidst old scenes, joys, and sorrows."

   On April 4, 1901, the old salt sailed to Goaribari Island where there were few believers. Three days later, on Easter evening, his ship anchored off the end of the island. Armed natives paddled out and swarmed over the vessel. Chalmers promised to go ashore the next morning and they left.

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Shortly after dawn they returned. Another missionary named Tomkins decided to go with him.

   The crew waited all day. When the missionaries did not return, the captain dispatched a search party. The searchers were told a grisly story.

   Upon coming ashore, Chalmers, Tompkins, and the few native Christians had been invited into a building for a feast. As they entered, men knocked them to the ground with stone clubs. The attackers then cut off their heads and hacked their torsos into pieces for cooking the same day.

   The murders of Chalmers and Tomkins shook Europe and America. No missionaries had been lost in the Pacific to cannibals for several years. Scores of young men and women were stirred to volunteer.

Death Almost Certain

   The new missionaries found that their biggest foe was rampant disease. Among ten Methodists who went to New Guinea, not a single one was living twenty years later. Some perished from malaria and other tropical scourges. Others returned home, broken in health. The German Lutheran Neuendettelsau Missionary Society, which established in New Guinea the largest Protestant mission society in the South Pacific, lost the most. But between 1900 and 1940 this mission baptized thousands of converts and trained hundreds of native evangelists to go into more remote areas of the large unmapped island.

The Dutch East Indies

   The going was just as tough in Java, Sumatra, and Borneo, now part of the Republic of Indonesia, but then known as the Dutch East Indies. In northern Sumatra two early American pioneers to the large Batak tribe were killed and eaten. The early corps of native evangelists among the Bataks suffered because of resentment felt against the Dutch colonialists who had controlled the East Indies since 1623. Several were killed for embracing the religion of the hated foreign bosses. Bapa Gabriel, a young Bible teacher in Kabandjahe, was dragged to a river for execution. "Allow me only to pray," he asked his captors calmly. They were so surprised by his courage that they released him.

   Independence movements, led mostly by Muslims, mushroomed through the 1920s and 1930s. Christianity, in the minds of the people, was a Dutch religion. They noted that the Dutch gave preference to Reformed Church missionaries from the homeland. The Dutch colonial

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government was not enthusiastic about other missionaries moving into the uncharted interior.

"General" Jaffray's Strategy

   In 1928 the C&MA's R.A. Jaffray came from Vietnam to map plans for the spiritual conquest of "the unreached areas of the Dutch East Indies."

   He set up headquarters at Makassar, the largest city of the Celebes (now Sulawesi), a large island group between Borneo and New Guinea. Like a commanding general, he pored over maps and planned strategy. He was also a good diplomat and soon had the trust of Dutch officials.

   His first big move was to start a Bible school for Chinese, Malays, and converted "wild men of Borneo." As fast as students were trained, he sent them back to their own people. By 1934 he could report "no less than 4,347 souls" who had accepted Christ and destroyed their idols.

   Jaffray got more excited when a young Dutch flier. J.F. Wissel, discovered in central New Guinea a cluster of lakes which had a large native population. He made a quick trip to Java for talks with Dutch officials about beginning work in the newly named "Wissel Lakes" area. The officials received him warmly.

   In 1938, at age sixty-four, Jaffray made a trip to coastal New Guinea, and gathered every scrap of information available about the tribes around the lakes. Then he rushed to the United States and alerted his Alliance constituency.

Mission to the Stone Age

   Back in the Celebes, Jaffray selected two of the C&MA's most promising young strategists, Russell Diebler and Walter M. Post, to make the first survey trip. At the last minute Post was unable to go. Diebler went ahead anyway, taking ten native carriers into the rugged highlands where no missionary had ever gone. After a long arduous journey he reached the lakes and met the Kapaukus "a most backward people, living still in the Stone Age." The natives were friendly. Diebler decided they would be the key to reaching other lost tribes.

   He returned to the coast and made a second exploratory trip with Post. Then they went back for their wives. By 1940 they could report a thousand Kapaukus listening eagerly to the gospel.

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"If We Die, We Will All Die Together"

   Jaffray was due a furlough home. Rest did not concern the old warrior, even though he was past retirement age. He wanted to excite the constituency about the new opportunities in the Pacific and recruit more workers. Diebler left the Kapaukus to take over the station at Makassar.

   Jaffray stayed no longer than necessary. To suggestions that he remain in the States he snorted, "Never. I'm just putting on new tires." His friends did not argue with him. They knew that when he set out to do something, there was no turning him back. After all, in answering a call to the mission field, he had turned down the opportunity to succeed his wealthy father as publisher of the Toronto Globe. Jaffray also smelled the war coming. "I don't want to get caught in the United States or Canada when war breaks and be unable to get back to the field."

   The "commander" reached Makassar the day before Pearl Harbor. The Japanese occupied the city two months later. Jaffray and the other missionaries had advance warning but chose to stay. "If we die, we will all die together," Diebler told the Bible school students.

"God Takes the Best"

   The five C&MA missionaries at Makassar — Dieblers, Jaffrays, and Canadian Ernie Presswood — were permitted to move to a mountain rest home. Five weeks later Japanese officers came and ordered Diebler and Presswood to accompany them back to the city. Because of his age they allowed Jaffray to remain with the women in the rest home until they were moved in December to a small camp nearby.

   Diebler and Presswood were interned with about a hundred Dutchmen in an overcrowded police barracks. "It will be only one night," one of the officers promised. The "one night" for Diebler laster a year and a half, and for Presswood three and half years.

   During their captivity the men were served only two cups of poorly cooked rice and one bun each day. A Bible student who saw them later reported, "They were so thin. It was enough to make a person weep."

   In September the two men were moved to the large Parepare camp where there were other missionaries. For a while they were permitted to hold Sunday worship services at the nearby war prisoner's camp. One memorable sermon was based on James 4:14, "For what is your life: It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

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   In the spring of 1943 Jaffray was brought to Parepare. He was given a small room in the hospital and allowed to take walks with Presswood and Diebler.

   Diebler's greatest sorrow was the separation from his wife, Darlene. They had been married only three years when the war broke. Before that they had been apart for about a year while he was preparing the entry into the Wissel Lake area. Presswood had buried his wife three years before in the jungle after only two years of service together.

   In August Diebler came down with dysentery, not unusual in the camp, and had to be hospitalized. Then he became suddenly worse. Presswood later recalled, "I had prayed so fervently for Russell, but toward midnight the Lord convinced me that I should no longer pray for him. I surrendered him to our Savior." Diebler began calling for his wife and died a few hours later. The Japanese permitted a funeral which all the interned missionaries attended. "God takes the best," a grieving Catholic priest said. Months later a Dutchman confided to Presswood that he had trusted in Christ at the service.

"So Hard to Be Brave"

   Darlene Diebler did not learn of her husband's passing until three months later. Not until the end of the war, almost two years later, was she able to convey her grief to her parents. "I can't put on paper the heartache that has made me so much older," she wrote.

I only know about his passing what others have told me. He was unconscious the last few hours, the doctor told me, who attended him, and he kept calling for me. And to think I was only three hours by car from him and couldn't be there. The first night I thought I'd go crazy with grief but God — how precious He has become to me! The heartache is still there, but the terrible hurt has left me.

   I took dysentery, tropical malaria, and beri-beri all at once. For six weeks I lived on salt-free rice porridge. How often that verse came to me, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." I can't write what we suffered there, but through personal intervention of our Japanese Camp Commander, we were finally released after having been told we were to be beheaded as spies — but they forgave us this time! Enough said .... After Russell's death and during those weeks in prison, I turned quite gray. O Mummy dear, it is so hard to be brave. I did so love Russell.

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A Missionary Statesman Dies

   The young widow also reported that after the war turned against the Japanese and Allied planes began bombing the area, the prisoners were jammed in trucks like cattle and transported 156 miles into the jungle to a camp of grass huts. Jaffray's health had been failing and here he became much worse. He died on July 28, only a few days before peace was declared.

   Said Dr. A.C. Snead, the C&MA Foreign Director, of Jaffray :

The Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Church of Christ throughout the earth have lost an intrepid pioneer, a great missionary statesman, and a man so filled with the love and grace of God that his whole being — body, soul, and spirit — was devoted utterly to Christ and His service.

Bayoneted to Death

   Besides Diebler and Jaffray, four other C&MA missionaries perished in prison camps in the Dutch East Indies, and two others died afterward.

   Pilot Fred Jackson and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Sande had reached east Borneo just before Pearl Harbor. Jackson replaced George Fisk, the first C&MA pilot, who had gone home on furlough. The Sandes, who had an infant son, were also new workers in the already fruitful east Borneo field. Thousands of Dyak tribespeople had renounced cannibalism and were seeking baptism from missionaries and graduates of the Makassar Bible School.

   For several weeks Jackson flew mercy missions at the request of Dutch officials, ferrying sick and wounded to hospitals. When the Japanese took control of the air, he hid the plane and joined the Sandes at Long Nawang where the Dutch had a military base. Here the missionaries lived in a house at the edge of Dyak Christian village.

   All was peaceful until August 19, 1942, when some Dyaks reported foreign soldiers moving around the base. The Dutch officers apparently did not believe the report, for they took no steps to fight or flee. Early the next morning the Japanese attacked when the Dutch were taking infantry practice with unloaded guns.

   The Japanese rounded up sixty-nine men, including the two male missionaries for questioning. Jackson and Sande were kept under close guard but not mistreated during the following week. The women and children were detained separately.

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   Near the end of August, all of the European men were taken out one by one and bayoneted to death. Two months later the women and children were also brutally murdered.

No "Situation Ethics"

   When the Japanese invaded, John Willfinger and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lenham of the C&MA fled deep into the Borneo jungle and took refuge with Murut Christians. A bachelor Bible Translator, Willfinger had been anticipating his upcoming furlough and a reunion with his fiancée when the war came. The Lenhams were also working on the translation of the Murut Bible.

   In July 1942, the trio heard that the Japanese had captured a party of Europeans. They moved to a village in northern Borneo. Here they learned that Jackson and Sandes had been imprisoned.

   They anticipated that the Japanese would learn their location. On September 19, a courier came to the village with a list of names of people for whom the Japanese were searching. Their names were on the list. The messenger warned the tribespeople that they would be severely punished for trying to hide any of the wanted persons.

   "Stay. We will take you where you cannot be found," the Murut Christians begged.

   The three missionaries mulled over their future. Finally they told the Muruts, "You would have to lie to the Japanese. We would rather go and surrender than cause you to be disobedient to God's Word."

   Willfinger explained their decision in a "whomsoever-receives-this letter."

We feel that we could have successfully hidden, but at the risk of involving those Muruts who have been kind to us, and are desirous of hiding us. We cringed at the thought of this. Therefore we have decided to go to the enemy, trusting God as to the ultimate results.

He added the addresses of his loved ones, asking the receiver to "kindly send my love to my family and sweetheart."

   The three decided to separate. Willfinger wanted to visit several tribal churches in eastern Borneo before surrendering. The Lenhams took the precious Bible translations and struck out for a Japanese post further north. Several days later they walked into a Japanese camp and were immediately interned. Mrs. Lenham managed to conceal the Gospel of Mark,

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often hiding it in wet clothes on the clothesline when the women's quarters were searched. Mr. Lenham kept Matthew until a guard discovered it. After they were released at the end of the war, he found the translation in a pile of trash. Both Gospels were subsequently published by the British and Foreign Bible Society for the Murut church.

   Willfinger completed his last missionary journey and gave himself up for imprisonment. He was executed on December 28. At war's end his Bible was recovered. Inside the cover he had inscribed a poem which indicated the power of his commitment :

No mere man is the Christ I know,
But greater far than all below.
Day by day His love enfolds me,
Day by day His power upholds me;
All that God could ever be,
The man of Nazareth is to me.

No mere man can my strength sustain
And drive away all fear and pain,
Holding me close in His embrace
When death and I stand face to face;
Then all that God could ever be
The unseen Christ will be to me.

Below the poem he had written, "Hallelujah! This is real!"

   When the war ended, the circumstances of John Willfinger's death were unknown. Ernie Presswood set out to get the facts after his release. He recovered the body of his colleague and arranged for final burial in a cemetery just off the Borneo coast. Presswood died a short time later and was laid to rest in a Pacific grave.

   Still the toll of prison martyrs was not to end for the C&MA. Word came that another internee, Grace Dittmar, had succumbed from privations suffered while trying to escape from Sumatra.

Nine More Die in New Guinea

   There were many other prison camp martyrs besides the seven C&MA missionaries. In Papua (eastern New Guinea), the Anglican bishop, when ordered by British authorities to leave, broadcast this message to his staff :

We must endeavor to carry on our work in all circumstances, no matter what the cost may ultimately be to any of us individually .... We could never hold up our faces again if, for our own safety, we forsook Him and fled when the shadows of the passion began to gather around Him in His spiritual and mystical body, the church in Papua.

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The bishop and eight of his staff were killed in concentration camps.

A New Nation Is Formed

   The end of the war brought a resurgence of independence movements in the Dutch East Indies. Sukarno and Muhammed Hatta, founder of the Indonesian Nationalist Party, immediately formed a provincial government. After four years of bitter Dutch resistance and much bloodshed, the United Nations intervened. The Dutch agreed to withdraw, and in 1949 the world's fifth most populous nation, Indonesia, became a reality. The vast island archipelago included Borneo (now Kalimantan), the Celebes (Sulawesi), Java, Sumatra, and Timor. Western New Guinea (Irian Jaya) did not come under Indonesian control until 1963.

   Many American servicemen who had seen duty in the Pacific were eager to return with the gospel. Some had evidence of missionary work firsthand when they were hidden by friendly Christian natives after being shot down. Independent youth-oriented Christian movements — such as Youth for Christ, The Navigators, and Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship — were firing up the ex-servicemen and other young people for missionary service. At the same time old mission societies were revving up for new challenges, and new independent evangelical organizations were on the runway eager for takeoff.

The Fateful Journey of Erickson and Tritt

   A Salvation Army couple, imprisoned by the Japanese, was urging The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), formerly the Scandinavian Alliance Mission, to send workers to tribes in newly independent Indonesia. Walter Erickson, a young theology student, had asked TEAM for appointment to New Guinea. Erickson had visited the south coast while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during the war and had traveled to the Wissel Lakes. He could not forget the tribespeople he had met.

   Erickson accepted appointment to Indonesia, hoping to enter New Guinea later. He reached Java on a student visa and was warned by the American consul to leave immediately because of dangerous political disturbances.

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He went instead to the Dutch consulate and procured a visa to western New Guinea.

   Erickson conferred with C&MA, Unevangelized Fields Mission, and Missionary Aviation Fellowship personnel already there. They suggested that TEAM locate in untouched "Bird's Head," an area on the end of the island, half the size of Illinois and teeming with unreached tribes. Erickson wangled Dutch permission for a quota of ten missionaries.

   Erickson had already made several surveys when Edward R. Tritt, his first reinforcement, arrived. On September 10, 1952, the two set out on foot with five native carriers for the remote Kebur and Karoon regions. MAF's single plane had crashed a year before, killing the pilot, and there was no flight service available.

   On October 17 Erickson and Tritt's mutilated bodies were found near the Ainim River. Tritt had died at the place of attack. Erickson had crawled to a cave where he succumbed. Investigation by Dutch police resulted in a confession of murder by the missionaries' carriers. The hired tribesmen had not wanted to go further for fear of being killed by the unknown tribespeople. The missionaries wanted to press on. While the missionaries slept, the carriers attacked and slashed them to death with machetes.

Stirred by Sacrifice

   The sacrifice of Erickson and Tritt stirred students at Columbia College in South Carolina to raise funds for an MAF airplane that would reduce the danger of future surveys. None of  TEAM's volunteers preparing for New Guinea, including Tritt's fiancée, Beulah Staph, canceled their plans. She had been at the home office switchboard and had been the first to hear the news.

   The martyrdom of the New Guinea pioneers triggered a flurry of new applications for missionary service. Vernon Mortenson, then responsible for TEAM's recruiting program and later the mission's general director, told the Erickson-Tritt story at the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga. Afterwards a couple came to him and said they felt God was leading them to New Guinea. Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Hill later joined the TEAM force in the new field. By 1965 there were forty-seven TEAM missionaries in the Bird's Head area, and by 1969 they reported 4,280 baptized believers among former head-hunting tribes.

   Meanwhile, other C&MA missionaries had returned to the Kapauku people around the Wissel Lakes area where the Dieblers and Posts had

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pioneered before the Japanese invasion. They enrolled hundreds of young people in village schools conducted by Indonesians trained at the Makassar Bible School. The first graduates began carrying the gospel to more distant villages of their own tribe.

Tokens of Death

   Suddenly, on November 4, 1956, a mob of tribal elders attacked the mission station at Obano where a school was located. They were bent on driving out all the foreigners, but eleven missionaries and four Indonesian workers had left the day before. They succeeded in killing the Indonesian teacher, Mr. Lesnussa and his family and a Christian carpenter. They also burned the houses and school and destroyed a C&MA plane.

   Before leaving, they cut fingers from the teacher's and the carpenter's hands and sent them to villages in the area, inviting elders there to join the revolt. Only three responded. Shortly, the Dutch government sent in police and crushed the uprising.

   Two reasons were suggested for the outbreak of hostility. The elders believed an epidemic among their pigs had been caused by evil spirits displeased over the presence of the foreigners. Second, and more likely, the older Kapaukus saw that they were losing their influence in the villages to the young evangelists.

   The crushing of this rebellion marked a dramatic upswing in conversions around Wissel Lakes. The Kapauku church more than quadrupled, from twenty-three hundred to ten thousand, in four years.

"Cannibal Valley"

   The missionaries at Wissel Lakes knew of an even more remote valley, first seen by an American scientific expedition in 1938. It was reported to be a tropical Shangri-la of breathtaking beauty, surrounded by high mountains and populated by the most ferocious cannibals of New Guinea. R.A. Jaffray had dreamed of entering this valley through which the Baliem River flowed. After the war C&MA workers had made survey trips near the valley. Then in 1951 Jerry Rose and three Dutch officials crossed a rugged plateau at about twelve thousand feet and descended into the remote region. They were on the trail for sixty-seven days and along the way their guide was killed with arrows. Afterwards Rose moved his bride into the valley.

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   Rose was married to Darlene Diebler, the widow of Russell Diebler. She became the first white woman to live among the Danis, the principal tribe of the valley. The Danis were cannibals. One of their funeral customs required the chopping off of fingers and bits of ears from relatives of the deceased to be eaten by other mourners.

   The C&MA missionaries had their own amphibious plane and by 1955 two other couples had joined the Roses.

   The Danis were friendly and it appeared the missionaries were making headway when hostilities flared. The three men were attacked while on a routine medical mission to a village and had to run for their lives. Lloyd Van Stone took an arrow in his left thigh which proved not to be a serious injury. A much bigger setback that same day was the crash of the C&MA plane into the side of a mountain overlooking the valley. Pilot Al Lewis was killed instantly. Only a few days previous he had predicted, "I believe it is going to cost much to open this field, but I am ready to pay the price."

The First Dani Martyr

   The Baliem Valley missionaries remained, although at times they needed all the spiritual strength they could muster. Hardest was watching the bloody battles between nearby villages and cannibal feasts of the victors which followed.

   In 1957 the men were attacked again while on a scouting expedition to the hitherto unreached Wosi Valley. They ran and escaped without harm.

   By this time the Word of God had taken root. Newly trained Dani evangelists were going to distant villages where no gospel messengers had ever gone.

   In 1961 the C&MA's Tom Bozeman and Dave Martin, a visitor from the Regions Beyond Missionary Union, made a trip to a new mission outpost in a deep gorge. They arrived on Saturday night in time to help two Dani preachers. Selanuok and Alikat, prepare for the Sunday service. Before retiring, Selanuok told them that enemies on the hillside intended to kill the Christians in the village. They prayed and committed the threat to the Lord.

   The next morning three hundred villagers were chanting praise to God when Selanuok whispered to the missionaries, "The enemy warriors are coming today to kill me." They again prayed with him. A few minutes later Bozeman looked up and saw a long line of scowling warriors filing down the hillside. They carried spears and bows and arrows.

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Someone shouted the alarm. The Christians huddled together. "Keep singing! Keep singing!" the Dani preachers cried.

   The attackers bounded into the clearing, leaping and shouting war cries. The worshipers scattered in all directions, looking for places to hide. Several men charged Selanuok. One threw a spear. "Jesus! Jesus!" the preacher cried and fell. He was the first Dani Christian martyr.

   The missionaries reached the woods and sprinted up a trail. From the village they could hear the shrieks of the wounded and dying. Behind them they could hear men in pursuit. They reached the crest of a ridge and heard voices above. "This way," Bozeman shouted, as he led Martin down a side trail leading toward the river. By this stratagem they escaped.

"The Enemy Is upon Us"

   Meanwhile, missionary work in the long Baliem Valley continued despite the danger. In 1957 Australian Baptists occupied the north end. By 1962 they had won several hundred converts. On September 30 a large force of pagan Danis launched war on about sixty villages in the vicinity of the Baptist mission station. They burned fifty villages and killed scores of Christians. One of the martyrs was heard to tell another as attackers approached, "Pray my brother, pray, the enemy is upon us. If we die we ascend to be with Jesus."

   It was customary for defeated villagers to flee to another area. But the survivors announced to the local Australian missionary, "We will stay. We need you and you need us. We will rebuild." And they did.

   In 1966 Stan Dale, an Australian member of the Regions Beyond Missionary Union, was hit by five arrows while trying unsuccessfully to save two Yali Christians from death. In September 1968, Dale and colleague Phil Masters were ambushed on the bank of the Seng River. Their bodies were found riddled with arrows from warriors of the Yali tribe.

The High Cost of Serving

   The cost continued high. On December 31, an MAF plane crashed in the area. Pilot Meno Voth, along with Mr. and Mrs. Gene Newman and three of their four children were killed. The Newmans were also with MAF. The one survivor, ten-year-old Paul Newman, was only slightly injured. He wandered into a tribal village and was given shelter by some of the same Yali people who had killed Masters and Dale.

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   By this time there were almost twenty thousand baptized believers in the interior jungles of western New Guinea. The Yali work prospered. Hundreds turned to Christ, including many of the murderers of the martyrs.

   Tribal evangelists padded along the rugged trails, opening up new territory in New Guinea. Before leaving home they chanted a vow of commitment : "We are ready to be killed for You, to drown or be crushed in a landslide in Your service. You died for us. Your servant Paul went through great tribulations for You. We are ready to suffer for You." Eight were crushed to death by a landslide in the Wusak Valley in 1969. Their Christian friends responded : "Because our blood has been shed in the Wusak it has become our land, and we will continue to take the gospel there."

The Miracle in Indonesia

   Western New Guinea came under Indonesia's jurisdiction in May 1963. At this time the Indonesian Communist Party, a million-and-a-half strong and with firm backing from Red China, was laying plans to take over the populous new country. Early in the morning of October 1, 1965, the Communists struck. The scheme was to murder eight top army generals under the pretense of catching them in the act of staging their own coup. The Communists would then begin a mass annihilation of their enemies all over Indonesia, including Christians.

   Miraculously, two of the generals escaped. When the plot was exposed, anti-Communist rioting swept the country. In the ensuing bloodbath, Muslims killed upwards of four hundred thousand Communists. One of the generals emerged as the power in a hard-line anti-Communist regime. The new government required every citizen to accept the principle that the nation was built on the foundation of belief in a "Divinity." Evidence of acceptance was adherence to a recognized religion.

   There followed a mass turning to Christianity, unprecedented in modern times, marked by hundreds of acclaimed miracles. Within two years the Indonesian Bible Society counted four hundred thousand new believers. In 1974 the largest evangelical group on the Indonesian island of Timor claimed 650,000 members.

   Because of the dramatic turn, there have been only minor localized hostilities against Christians in the Indonesian islands since 1965. In one instance a Chinese missionary, Miss Lo, was presumably murdered by ax-wielding bandits in western Borneo.

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Buried Alive

   In eastern New Guinea, now independent Papua, the same pattern has prevailed. Recent missionary casualties there have resulted from a landslide and a plane crash. In March 1971, Walter and LaVonne Steinkraus, Wycliffe missionary linguists, and their two daughters were buried under a landslide that swept down upon a Tifalmin tribal village. Thirteen months later five Wycliffe members and two tribal language assistants perished in the crash of a Wycliffe Aztec plane, the first Wycliffe fatalities in years of flying over the most hazardous terrain on earth.

The Challenge Ahead

   Excluding islands belonging to other nations, Indonesia today includes 13,677 islands stretching over three thousand miles from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific. Indonesia in population is now the fifth largest nation in the world, with over 140 million people. It is classified 90 percent Islamic, but Indonesian Muslims have proven to be more open to the gospel than Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa. Over two thousand tribal groups inhabit Indonesia. Many of these are without a New Testament.

   Many heroes of the faith of past generations gave their lives to establish the first beachheads for the gospel in this paradise of islands.

Chapter 14

Malaysia and Singapore

"Right to Profess, Practice, Propagate"

Malaysia, a former British possession, is situated on two land masses — the finger-like peninsula south of Thailand and the northern coast of Borneo. A constitutional Islamic monarchy governs eighteen million Malays, Chinese, Indians, and Pakistanis. The constitution guarantees every person "the right to profess, practice, and propagate his religion." But evangelization of aborigines and persons under eighteen is strictly forbidden. Christian missionaries are also barred from certain "New Villages" which are totally or majority Muslim.

   No missionary martyrs have been reported in modern times, but government pressure continues strong. Around 180 missionaries are now registered. A few others have recently been expelled or been refused the renewal of work permits. One of the latter tells of officials coming to his school almost every week and threatening to "take all of us to jail if we continued. Nothing happened but the constant harassment made our lives miserable." This former missionary "knows of" Malaysian Christians who have been imprisoned and not heard from for months or years. One, he says, was recently released after converting to Islam.

An Oasis in Singapore

   The 224-square-mile island of Singapore, population 2.8 million, was federated with Malaysia until 1963. The evangelical minority of Singapore

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enjoys complete religious freedom for worship, education, and evangelism. Because of its openness, neutrality, and strategic location, Singapore has become a training center for Christian nationals from other Asian countries.

   Missionaries and national leaders wish that all Pacific countries were as open as Singapore.

Chapter 15


The Republic of China

The large cucumber-shaped island off the coast of mainland China was lost by China to Japan in 1895 and not regained until the end of World War II. When mainland China fell under Communist control, two million Chinese followed Chiang Kai-shek's government to the island. Today it is officially known as The Republic of China, but more often is called Taiwan or Formosa. Besides Chinese, there are three other distinct groups in the island country : (1) Nine mountain tribes comprising about two hundred thousand people; (2) Hakkas, who migrated generations before from the mainland, and numbering about eight hundred thousand; (3) Taiwanese, numbering over six million and making up the majority.

   Before 1950 the Presbyterians were the only Christian denomination in Taiwan. Because of Japanese opposition, no missionaries worked among the mountain tribes before World War II. The Japanese were sorely afraid of these "wild" headhunters and built a 360-mile fence around the tribal territory. The few Japanese settlements in the mountains remained under constant alert. In one attack 134 Japanese heads were taken.

   The mountain people were officially off limits to all but Shinto missionaries. However, a few Japanese Christian workers were given tacit permission to work around the fringes. The pioneer was Inoue Inouke, a young Japanese believer whose father had been killed by the headhunters. Inoue was allowed to do only medical and educational work near the fence. On March 10, 1912, he wrote in his diary :

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Mr. Ito had been brought to me badly wounded by savages' attack. I quickly did my best to keep him alive, and I think he is hopeful. I heard that there were eight other Japanese killed this morning.

I sincerely hope and pray that one day these people will hold the Bible and the hymnbook in their hands, instead of these swords to kill people.

"You Will Not Obey Orders"

   During World War II the Japanese troops publicly announced they would massacre all Christians on the island if American troops landed. A minority of church members asked that their names be stricken from the rolls to avoid being placed on the official death list. The rest stood firm. Fortunately there were no landings and a bloodbath was avoided.

   The worst persecution during war time was heaped upon a small minority of tribal Christians. Some were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned as spies.

   Wiran Takko, an ex-drunkard who had become a preacher, was conducting a midnight clandestine meeting in the mountains when the police suddenly appeared. He and his listeners were beaten severely for believing in the "American God." Once released, Takko went back into the mountains.

   At another meeting he predicted that Japan would lose the war to the United States which would then liberate the tribespeople. Again he was arrested and beaten, this time so savagely that he was thrown out for dead. A tribal Christian carried him home and cared for him until he regained consciousness. The third time he was kept in a wooden cage for a year. Once released, he went right back to preaching. The sergeant who arrested him declared, "You will not obey orders, so we will have to kill you." While a grave was being dug, the sergeant asked, "Are you ready to die?" Takko replied, "Yes, yes, I'm ready." The sergeant was so shaken that he released him again.

   Takko survived, but another Christian hero named Saka Tani did not. Police broke all of his ribs and every bone in his hands and feet. Upon regaining consciousness, he was beaten again, so severely that he died. Pastor Wu Tien-shih asked his widow if she planned to avenge his death. "No, we should love our enemies," she said. "This is the order of the Lord."

   The end of World War II brought liberation and rapid evangelization of the mountain tribes. Within fifteen years the Presbyterians had sixty thousand baptized believers in the hills.

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The Mad Cook

   The only American missionary to die from violence in Taiwan was Miss Gladys Hopewell, a Southern Baptist who was found strangled in her apartment on March 11, 1973. A Kentuckian, she had previously served in China before the Communist takeover and later in Thailand. She came from Bangkok to pioneer Baptist student work on Taiwan and had been at the student center the afternoon before her death.

   Ten days later the body of a Chinese cook was discovered on the roof of Miss Hopewell's apartment building. Beside him police found an empty insecticide bottle. The cook's wife had worked for Miss Hopewell and he had been sought as a prime suspect. The police decided that he had killed the missionary in a fit of madness and later in remorse committed suicide.

   No Christian worker is known to have been killed in Taiwan since this incident. There are now almost six hundred missionaries on the island. Southern Baptists, with eighty-four workers, are the largest mission. Many of the missionaries, like Miss Hopewell, previously served in mainland China.

The Call of the Martyred Pioneers

   The Taiwan Protestant community of around 175,000, including the mountain tribal believers, continues relatively small. The challenge of evangelizing the mostly Buddhist Taiwanese majority remains as a symbol of the larger job to be done in all the isles of the Pacific where so many have given their lives to pioneer the gospel.

Chapter 16

The Philippines

Open Door for Missions

The vast Philippine archipelago of 7,107 islands (only 10 percent inhabited) forms a triangle reaching from Indonesian Borneo in the south to Taiwan in the north. With sixty-seven million people, the Philippines is the only nominally Christian nation in Asia. This is because it was a Spanish possession for some three hundred years until ceded in 1898 to the United States as part of a settlement of the Spanish-American War. In 1946 the nation became independent, but American influence has remained strong. This has produced an open door for missions. Today eighty-nine independent and denominational agencies are represented by about twelve hundred workers. Wycliffe Bible Translators is the largest with about 150 linguists and support personnel.

   In culture, however, Filipino people are akin to other Pacific groups. There are three main families : the aboriginal mountain Negritos (about thirty thousand) the Indonesians, and the Malayans who are regarded as ancestors of the majority of the Filipino people.

   The first Protestants had to meet underground. One of their early converts, a Catholic Dominican friar, was put on trial, defrocked and exiled to Spain. After the Philippines became an American possession, Catholic persecution virtually ended. However, many missionaries succumbed to the diseases of the tropics, including the first C&MA worker, who died of cholera in 1902.

   The Philippines was hit hard by Japanese occupation and Allied bombing in World War II. The death toll ran high. About 80 percent of all church properties were destroyed.

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The Mystery of Rufus Gray

   Rufus Gray was among a group of Southern Baptist missionaries from China interned in the Philippines. He and his wife had been attending language school when the Japanese overran Peking.

   Soon after arriving in the Philippines Gray was taken in for questioning. His wife and friends never saw him again, nor was his body ever recovered.

   His hobby was photography and he had taken hundreds of pictures in Peking. The Japanese may have assumed that he was a spy.

A Family Is Strafed to Death

   Thousands of foreign civilians were imprisoned in the Philippines. The actual treatment of missionaries varied from one command to another. Some were permitted to hold services in the camps. Some were closely confined. Some in large cities who pledged cooperation with Japanese were allowed to live in their own houses and carry on a limited ministry.

   As in the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese demanded that missionaries located in remote places come out and surrender. An American sergeant saw a family of five walking down from the mountains waving a white flag. A Japanese Zero spotted them and opened fire, killing the whole family. The sergeant helped bury them. He recalled that one of the little girls was still clutching a rag doll.

The Hopedale Massacre

   American (Northern) Baptists suffered the greatest loss of missionaries in the Philippines during the war. Eight of their nineteen workers surrendered and were imprisoned for the duration. Twelve, including the ten-year-old son of two of the missionaries, fled into the mountains on the island of Panay and tried to carry on a ministry among rural villagers.

   The twelve set up camp in a mountain-top clearing called Hopedale. The sanctuary was in deep, thick woods and was reachable only by a narrow, winding trail. Here they were joined by eight or ten other Americans — businessmen and engineers — who had been caught in the area after Pearl Harbor.

   "We live in a grass hut with bamboo floor," James Covell wrote. "The people around supply us with plenty to eat, and we have a good spring ...

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The Japanese came very close one day in February (1942) and we have moved out thrice to hide .... Our prospects for freedom and seeing you (relatives) are most uncertain ..."

   They worshiped in a chapel in "a beautiful, deep, dry gorge with giant trees growing in it." Every Sunday, except when the Japanese came near, they had a congregation of around one hundred — mostly other Americans who were hiding out in the region. The missionaries took turns conducting the services and baptizing those who made professions of faith in Christ. When the missionaries felt it was safe, they made evangelistic visits to nearby villages. One of the twelve, Dr. Frederick W. Meyer, was a surgeon, and he continued to carry on a ministry of healing. "Bed patients are scattered all over the jungle," he wrote. "Plenty of long hikes keep me thin but happy."

   Dr. and Mrs. Meyer, from Connecticut and Wisconsin respectively, were serving their fourth term. Dr. Meyer, a graduate of Yale Medical School, had been honored by the highest officials in the Philippines for his devotion to the poor. Both he and Mrs. Meyer were talented musically. Mrs. Meyer had taught music at Central Baptist Philippine College. Dr. Meyer had developed choirs at stations where he had clinics.

   James Covell, a graduate of the University of Chicago, was from Pennsylvania and his wife, Charma, was from Ohio. Educators, they previously served in a poor section of Yokohama, Japan, and had been forced to leave in 1939 by the Shinto warlords.

   Dr. Francis Howard Rose was also a Chicago alumnus and his wife, Gertrude, held a master's degree from Columbia University. They had taught at Central Philippine College. Dr. Rose wrote, "My religion means only so much as what I am. And by so much, that is, by my way of life alone, may I teach religion which really counts — or I will not teach it at all."

   Erle and Louise Rounds, the fourth couple, were graduates of Berkeley Baptist Divinity School. They were traveling evangelists to the mountain tribespeople. Their older son was in high school in Manila at the beginning of the war and was interned at the Santo Tomas Camp with other missionary personnel. Their younger son, Erle Douglas, was with them on the mountaintop.

   Erle Rounds had written in one of his last letters before Pearl Harbor :

We are living in interesting times over here, and I believe the missionaries are going to see real persecution before the thing is over .... But it is one of the greatest privileges I can think of to be here as a missionary .... We hope to see you all again, but, if we should be denied that blessed joy, we can meet again in the land which is fairer than day. May we strive harder to be worthy of the world which God has given us and of that other land made possible through our Lord Jesus Christ .... May God keep a clean wind blowing through my heart.

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   Jennie Adams, from Nebraska, had served for twenty years as Superintendent of Nurses at Emmanuel Hospital where Dr. Meyer was on the medical staff. She had led many of her nurses to Christ and considered her Bible class the most important course in nurses' training.

   The tenth missionary was Signe Erickson from Pennsylvania, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Columbia University. A teacher, she had worked in the Missionary Training School. On weekends she visited isolated mountain villages and slept on the floor of crude huts.

   Dorothy Dowell, from Colorado, had been principal of the Baptist Missionary Training School. She was adept at getting letters to missionary friends in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp where the Rounds's son and Meyers' son were being held. She used code words and signed herself "Dad." The boys knew this stood for the initials of her name. In 1942 she left the mountain to visit Christians in distant villages. She returned just before Christmas, 1943. She had terrible arthritis and had to crawl on her hands and knees the last part of the journey.

   Erle Rounds had also been away visiting Filipino churches. He wanted to spend Christmas with his wife and son, and arrived back at the clearing about the same time.

   Several months before, Japanese troops in the area had learned where the missionaries were and had decided not to molest them. A fresh Japanese detachment was not so compassionate. They surprised the American Baptists late in December 1943 and lined them and five other Americans up for execution.

   The Covells could speak Japanese fluently and pleaded eloquently that they be imprisoned instead. The soldiers were reportedly touched, but said they had to carry out orders from their superiors. The missionaries asked for time to pray and were given an hour. Then they were all shot.

The War Ends

   After the war ended spiritual tides rose in the victorious West. Missionaries and chaplains home from internment camps had gripping stories to tell. One U.S. Army chaplain, Robert Preston Taylor, who survived the horrors of the Bataan Death March and three and one-half years of prison camp, was one of those who found his wife had remarried. The previous January she had been told by some other released prisoners that he had died. Taylor was later named Air Force Chief of Chaplains.

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Tribal Christians Are Poisoned

   Excluding the missionaries who died in Japanese prison camps, there have been few martyrs in the Philippines in modern times. In 1965 the spiritual leader and two other members of the Cotabato Manobo tribal church were poisoned after the local witch doctor had predicted that all Christians in the tribe would die. The tiny tribal church kept growing and three years later forty-two new believers were baptized.

Shot on the Highway

   One casualty of the 1970s was Nolan Williams, a missionary with the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade, the third largest mission on the islands, with eighty-four workers. His death illustrates the dangers of serving in troubled areas where justice is often lacking.

   A husky, blonde, outgoing man, Williams was traveling with two Filipino pastors in June 1972. They had stopped for refreshments at another pastor's house and were a block or two away when an unmarked red sedan passed and without warning cut them off. Two men in civilian clothes jumped out. One told Williams, "I want to speak with your driver." The missionary sensed that the man might be some kind of official and asked, "Why, what's he done?" Instead of answering, the man pushed forward, insisting, "I want to talk to him." At the same time the other man circled around. The spokesman advanced. Williams stood in his path. Suddenly he swung, hitting the missionary under the eye. Williams grabbed his wrists to keep from getting hit again. "Shoot him!" the attacker shouted to his henchman who opened fire. The missionary fell to the ground critically wounded.

   The two men apparently realized the seriousness of what they had done. They put the wounded American into their car and sped to a hospital. Williams died there about an hour and half later.

   An investigation by fellow missionaries revealed that the stranger who had given the fatal command was one of two police chiefs in a nearby town where opposing political factions were squabbling over authority. The mission pressed criminal charges. At the trial the "police chief" denied knowing the man who had fired the fatal shot. Despite testimony from the two pastors who were eyewitnesses, both men were acquitted.

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The Fruit of the Committed

   At the time of the shooting, Williams's wife was teaching a Bible class. They were discussing John 12:24 : "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." She felt afterwards that the verse was prophetically related to her husband's death.

   Shortly after the incident, a Baptist missionary friend in the area was stopped by a young Filipino. "May I study the Bible with you?" he asked. The Filipino, Nard, recalled that he and the slain missionary had met on a train four years before and struck up a conversation. "See, here is a letter he wrote me, hoping that we could meet again."

   Nard soon became a Christian and is now a pillar in the local Baptist church.

Missionary Couple Murdered

   In January 1985, Michael Shelling and his wife, Janis, serving with Youth With a Mission, were in their apartment asleep when intruders broke into their house in Baguio City, about 130 miles north of the capital city of Manila.

   They were found hacked to death in different rooms of the apartment. Their two-year old daughter, Melissa, was found asleep on her mother's body, where she had cried herself to sleep.

   Authorities speculated that the Shellings might have been murdered in a robbery attempt.

The Risk Takers

   Political unrest continues in some areas of the Philippines, particularly on the island of Mindanao. In one incident rebels killed ten students at a Catholic school which had recently been used as a headquarters for government action against the dissidents. In another instance two Wycliffe women translators were kidnapped and held by rebels for several days, then released without harm. Some Protestant and Catholic church leaders blame

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the government for waging a war of repression against social action groups. They point to several pastors who have mysteriously disappeared.

   What is certain is that many evangelical missionaries and Filipino Christian workers are serving at considerable personal risk.

   The greatest danger to Christian workers in recent years has come from Communists and fanatical Muslims. During the 1980s more than 150 Filipino church leaders were killed in the conflict between Communist guerrillas and government army troops. In 1990 the Bible League office and affiliate ministries in Manila were shut down after threats from the Communist New People's Army (NPA). One of the League's new converts was murdered and a League Worker's home was ransacked.

   Communist leaders, said Bible League vice president of ministries David Stravers, "know that when Filipinos convert to Christ they no longer listen to NPA propaganda. So the NPA has been a strong opponent of the evangelistic ministries of churches in the Philippines."

   On August 10, 1991, Operation Mobilization's missionary ship Doulos, visited the Philippines. Karen Goldsworthy of New Zealand and Maaza Sofia Siegfridsson of Sweden, both nineteen, joined with other members of the ship's crew in giving an open-air Christian performance in the town of Zamboanga. Suddenly a grenade was thrown. The two young women were killed. Some blamed Islamic extremists for the attack as a response to a negative remark made by one of the ship's crew about Muhammad.

   Opposition from Muslim extremists and Communist rebels continues. At this writing, U.S. military bases are being closed, adding to a sense of foreboding of greater political struggle and more terrorism in the nation of islands. Since the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., the country has been in political turmoil. Aquino's widow, Corazon, ran against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a bitterly contested campaign in 1984. After allegations that Marcos had won by fraud, Aquino declared herself the legally elected president. Marcos fled the country and Aquino was recognized by the United States and other nations.

   Communist terrorism remains a serious threat. Political stability has become a way of life. Many foreign missionaries and foreign workers serve in dangerous spots. Yet there has been no call for withdrawal. The gospel continues to be proclaimed throughout the beautiful islands known as the Philippines.

   The islands and peninsular land masses of the vast Asian expanse are not as mysterious or exotic as they seemed at the beginning of the 20th Century. The gospel has been advanced at the cost of hundreds of martyrs'

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lives to tropical diseases, aboriginal violence, and wars. Hundreds of thousands of believers from tribes which once practiced cannibalism and other barbarities now "... hail the power of Jesus' name" and live in peace.

   And yet the high mission of Zion is far from complete. It will not be until every human ear in the Pacific shall hear the good news that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" for them. The completion of this task will not be easy or without sacrifice. There will doubtless be many more names added to the Pacific "book of martyrs."

Part Six

Martyrs of Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe

Chapter 17

Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe

In the Land of the Reformation

In the year 1927 a young Dutch theological student, Willem ten Boom, wrote in his thesis at a German university that a terrible evil was taking place in the land of Martin Luther. German theologians were tearing the Bible apart, he said, reducing it to a collection of myths and debunking the supernatural by the new method called "higher criticism." German philosophers were talking of breeding a glorious new Aryan super race which would not be contaminated by Jews or weaklings.

Harvest of Hatred

   Eighteen years later the world would see the results of this modern paganism called Nazism and recoil in horror. Millions of Jews, old people, citizens of conquered nations, Allied and Axis soldiers, and brave German resisters would be dead. Many among the latter would be German pastors and lay leaders who, having failed to convince their fellow countrymen and the world of the dangers of Nazism, had joined the internal resistance in a futile attempt to topple a government gone mad.

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Destined for Martyrdom

   Above them all one name would stand out, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of whom a prison medic would say, "In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God."

   As we follow Bonhoeffer along his road to martyrdom, we shall see how the monstrous Nazi evil grew and how other brave Christians came to walk the path leading to imprisonment and death.

   Bonhoeffer, a handsome blonde youth, was thoroughly German, from heel-clicking to a stiffly bowing handshake. He came from one of Germany's best families; his father was a distinguished psychiatrist. Although his family were only nominal Lutherans, he had a passion for finding the meaning of life. In the humiliating years following World War I, Germany was two-thirds Lutheran and one-third Catholic. Baptists and other free-church Christians comprised only a minute fraction of the population.

   Born in 1906, Bonhoeffer was only thirteen when German workers and troops revolted against continuing the First World War. The revolution hastened the end of the war and led to Germany becoming a democratic republic. But then the democracy fell prey to postwar inflation, economic depression, and political chaos. When Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party came to power on a law-and-order and prosperity platform, Hitler quickly tossed out the constitution and created a dictatorship.

How Hitler Managed the Clergy

   Although Hitler used religious language, he was a closet atheist. He wanted to keep in the good graces of the Catholic and Lutheran hierarchies. His deception was astonishingly successful. In 1933, the year his Nazi party rode roughshod over all parliamentary opposition, the German Lutheran bishops proclaimed : "We German Protestant Christians accept the saving of our nation by our leader Adolf Hitler as a gift from God's hand." They affirmed "unanimously our unlimited fealty to the Third Reich and its leader." In this same year Hitler signed a concordat with the Vatican guaranteeing religious freedom for German Catholics.

   The question frequently has been asked, how could German church leaders have been so blind? Among Catholics it was a matter of submission

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to authority, even though many clergy were frightened by the specter of Nazism. Among Lutherans it was an erosion of spiritual authority, the result of years of debunking the Bible in church universities and seminaries, and of a corresponding lapse into dreary formalism and decadent institutionalism.

Bonhoeffer, an Evangelical Prophet

   Not all had bowed the knee to Baal. The brilliant young Bonhoeffer had, at age twenty-one, opposed some of his professors in his doctoral thesis. Bonhoeffer contended that the "essential nature" of the church could only be understood "on the basis of the gospel" and not by sociological reasoning.

   Nor did Bonhoeffer agree that philosophy and theology were complementary disciplines. He held, with theologian Karl Barth, that man was irredeemably sinful and self-centered and could never discover truth through his own thought. Theology, Bonhoeffer said, is rooted and grounded in God who chooses when and how to reveal Himself to man. Bonhoeffer further said that personal revelation must be experienced in "direct recourse to Christ" through the Church, which is Christ in community.

   Before Hitler's ascension to power, Bonhoeffer spent a year at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Union was then caught up in the cynicism and reaction of Protestant modernism which utilized the methodology of German higher criticism in the classroom. "Union students," the perceptive Bonhoeffer wrote, "intoxicate themselves with liberal and humanistic expressions, laugh at the fundamentalists, and basically they are not even a match for them .... I never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ ... of the cross, of sin and forgiveness, of death and life (while) in New York ... , only an ethical and social idealism which pins its faith to progress."

   At the same time a friend in Germany warned Bonhoeffer of a "great tragedy for our church and nation." The new nationalism of Hitler, his friend said, was "combined with a new heathenism that parades in Christian dress." The church was being made subservient to race, nation, and culture.

   Bonhoeffer soon returned to Germany and confronted the liberals in his church head on. "The question," he argued, "is not whether we still have a use for God in advanced society. God and the Church exist. They are questioning us. Are we ready for God to use us?"

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The Theologian Becomes a Christian

   Shortly after this, Bonhoeffer surrendered himself fully for God's use. He could now say, "I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions ... that is because in the Bible God speaks to us." Bonhoeffer, as he reported, "had already preached often ... and seen a great deal of the church ... (but) had not yet become a Christian ... then something new entered, something which ... has changed my life and turned it upside down."

   On January 31, 1933, the day after Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany, Bonhoeffer spoke over Berlin radio on "the concept of leadership." He posed these questions : Is the demand for a strong leader the expression of Germany's volatile situation or is it to meet the requirements of youth? When is leadership healthy and genuine and when does it become pathological and extreme? He was cut off the air in mid-speech.

The Purge Begins

   Four weeks later Communist saboteurs burned the Reichstag (parliament building) as a gift to Hitler. The next morning the fuhrer announced restrictions, "for the protection of nation and state," against free speech and free press, formation of societies, calling of public meetings, privacy of the mails, and other communication systems. He also proclaimed governmental right to search houses and to restrict personal property beyond previous limits.

   On April 1 the government called for a boycott of Jewish shops. Bonhoeffer's ninety-year-old grandmother walked resolutely through the cordon of storm troopers and Nazi youth that stood in front of her favorite store which was operated by Jews, did her shopping, and walked out without being stopped.

   The next order demanded a purge of all Jews and part Jews from German civil service. Another order forbade church appointments of ministers with Jewish blood.

   The "Aryan restrictions" hit Bonhoeffer like a thunderbolt. His twin sister, Sabine, was married to a Jew, and one of his closest Lutheran pastor friends, Franz Hildebrandt, was Jewish.

The Lutheran Church Split

   Hitler further moved to control the Lutheran church by appointing Ludwig Muller, a clergyman loyal to the government, as his deputy for

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ecclesiastical affairs. Muller tried to interfere with a committee writing a new constitution for German Lutherans. The committee all but ignored him. Bonhoeffer and a group of reformers calling themselves the "Confessing Church," who refused to exclude non-Aryans, pushed through the election of one of their own as the new national bishop. The government and its loyal clergymen, known as "German Christians," refused to recognize the new constitution and national bishop. The church split.

   "We deplore," declared Bonhoeffer, "that state measures against Jews in Germany have had such an effect on public opinion that in some circles the Jewish race is considered a race of inferior status ... We protest against the resolution of ... synods which apply the Aryan paragraph of the state to the church, putting serious disabilities on ministers, and church officers who by chance of birth are non-Aryan, which we believe to be a denial of the explicit teaching and spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

   On July 23, three days after Hitler signed the concordat with the Vatican, a national referendum was held in the Lutheran churches. The vast majority voted in favor of the "German Christians" as their official leaders.

   The reformers refused to accept this and formed their own Free Synod. They met the next year at Barmen and declared that they represented the true Protestant church of Germany as envisaged by Luther. They subscribed to a confession of faith drawn up by Karl Barth. They proclaimed that "Jesus Christ, as He is testified to us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and to trust and obey in life and death."

   Hitler made no immediate move to suppress the rebel minority. He was too busy consolidating his political rule, tightening the screws on other dissenters, and whipping up the youth for a war. And all the while, the majority of German Lutheran pastors were praising him for maintaining law and order and bringing the nation closer together.

   Bonhoeffer, representing the Confessing Church, went abroad to alert other Lutherans to the perils of Nazism. "There is no way to peace along the way of safety," he told the Lutheran World Alliance, "for peace must be dared ... ; battles are not won with weapons, but God. They are won where the way leads to the cross."

The First Arrests

   In the fall of 1934 the first arrests were made of Confessing Church leaders. On October 6 Bishop Theophil Wurm of Wurttemburg was placed

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under house arrest. A week later Bishop Meiser of Bavaria was confined to his home by armed guard. Their colleagues responded by calling a second Free Synod, which rejected the official German Church and set up an independent government for the Confessing Church under a National Council of Brothers. They asked congregations "not to accept any directions from the existing German church government or its agencies and to withhold cooperation from those who continue to give obedience to this ecclesiastical regime." They urged acknowledgment of "the rule of the Confessing Church and its institutions." Scores of Lutheran congregations became affiliated with the new church. The Nazi government, fearing a rebellion, withdrew the guards around the homes of the two bishops.

   Bonhoeffer was appointed to set up and direct one of several new theological schools for the Confessing Church. In the fall of 1935 he began classes in a commodious old country house outside the small village of Finkenwald. The first students refurbished the house themselves and Bonhoeffer provided his personal library for their use. Bonhoeffer maintained a stiff, almost monastic regimen. Each day began and ended with a half-hour of common prayer, with arduous Bible study and theological disciplines in between. Bonhoeffer was a hard but warm taskmaster. He would not tolerate spiritual mediocrity or sloppy study habits, and constantly reminded the students that they were bonded together in love and commitment for "outgoing service."

"We Have to Fight for the True Church ..."

   Bonhoeffer now took a harder line against the German church. He refused an invitation to participate in an ecumenical meeting because representatives of the official church would be there. "We have to fight for the true church against the false church of antichrist," he explained. "Fighting in this faith we derive no small power from considering the fact that we are fighting for Christianity not only with regard to the church in Germany but in the whole world ... All churches," he warned, "may be attacked by the very same power one day or another."

   At the next Free Synod he detected that the Confessing Church was softening. He protested that the real issues had been ignored. Not one speaker had defended the church's freedom to teach biblical truth; no protest had been made against a requirement that German citizens take an oath of loyalty to Hitler, and nothing had been said about increased discrimination against the Jews. Forty-eight churchmen, including Pastor Martin Niemoller,

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joined Bonhoeffer in signing a circular calling upon pastors to stand firm and "submit to the sole rule of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Nazi government, however, was encouraged by the "cooperative spirit" at the Synod and began assiduously courting moderates in the Confessing Church. The new minister of church affairs was successful in soliciting representatives of both the Confessing and the older church to participate in a national committee. Bonhoeffer was incensed. "Between church and pseudo-church there can be no cooperation," he thundered.

   The dispute hurt the Confessing Church. Among those departing was one of Bonhoeffer's top students. Undeterred, Bonhoeffer encouraged his former students, who were now pastors, not to compromise. "If we persevere in prayer," he advised in a monthly circular, "then we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words at the time when we need them, and we shall be found faithful."

   The government took advantage of the confusion to pass a "Fifth Emergency Decree." Unauthorized church groups were forbidden to appoint and ordain clergy, announce policy, spend money taken in collections, call synods, and train theologians. Bonhoeffer's school and the other new seminaries were now illegal. At Finkenwald Bonhoeffer assembled his students and suggested that any who wished to, could leave. None did.

   The young pastors who looked to Bonhoeffer as their spiritual guide stood firm. In 1936 one was arrested, Johannes Pecina, the minister at Seelow. The seminary immediately sent a replacement. When he was arrested, a Finkenwald student was sent.

Other Brave Christians Speak Out

   Early in the summer of 1936 the Prussian Council of Lutheran churches issued a memorandum to Hitler. The paper, handed in at the chancellery, criticized the oppressive law against the Confessing Church and the discrimination against Jewish Christians. The government tried to suppress the charge but copies were circulated and read aloud by 80 percent of the pastors in the Confessing Church. Also published in European newspapers, it aroused criticism of Hitler abroad.

   Hitler and his Nazi henchmen were incensed over the leak. The Gestapo began an immediate investigation. Werner Koch, a student at Finkenwald, and Ernst Tillich, nephew of theologian Paul Tillich, were arrested along with Friedrich Weisler, an employee of the Prussian Council of Lutheran Churches.

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Koch and Tillich were interned in a concentration camp. Weisler, because he was Jewish, was tortured and beaten to death.

   From this time until 1945 there was never a time when some of Bonhoeffer's present or former students were not in prison. The seminary body lived in danger every minute. "We accept every day as a gift from God," said Bonhoeffer.

The Nazis Ridicule the Divinity of Christ

   In 1937 the official church was jolted by a speech from Hitler's minister of church affairs. Hans Kerrl told the chairman of the Lutheran Church committees that "belief in Christ as the Son of God" was a "laughable ... dogma of the past." Hitler's national socialism was the reality of the present, he said. Wilhelm Zoellner, superintendent of the church and chairman of all the controversial church committees, resigned in protest.

   The Nazi government now stopped pretending to be a Christian order and began enforcing the Fifth Emergency Decree with fervor. Pastors ordained in the Confessing Church were declared to have no status. The illegal seminaries were ordered closed. Informers took notes of announcements and sermons in churches. Offerings in the Confessing Churches were seized and delivered to the government's Ecclesiastical Finance Department. Large numbers of pastors were arrested. Among them were five top leaders of the Confessing Church who went on trial for violating the Fifth Emergency Decree. Eight members of the Prussian church council were also arrested. One pastor, Paul Schneider, was seized in his parish for imposing church discipline on Nazi party members. Two years later he would die in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

   Bonhoeffer and Eberhard Bethge, a member of the seminary staff at Finkenwald, went to Berlin to talk with their friend Martin Niemoller. Niemoller, who had commanded a submarine during World War I, was a leader of pastors in the Confessing Church. They arrived to learn that Niemoller had just been taken away by the secret police. They tried to escape out the back way and ran into a Gestapo officer who ordered them back into the house. For seven hours Gestapo men searched the house, then told Bonhoeffer and Bethge they were free to leave.

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The Brave Church Choir

   When they left, Mrs. Niemoller was alone, not knowing when or if ever her husband would return. After a while she heard singing. Tiptoeing over to the window, she saw the women's choir of her church underneath. They had heard of their pastor's arrest and had come to sing to her.

   Franz Hildebrandt, Bonhoeffer's close Jewish Christian friend, took Niemoller's pulpit and defiantly made "illegal" announcements. He also used church collections for church support. Hildebrandt announced a service of intercession for the imprisoned pastor on August 8, 1938. Members arrived to find the church blocked by police. Instead of returning home, they began a march of protest. Some 250 were arrested, including Hildebrandt.

   When Bonhoeffer heard about the incident, he knew Hildebrandt, because of his Jewish ancestry, was in great danger. Through his influential family, Bonhoeffer obtained the preacher's release. Hildebrandt shortly after escaped to England.

While the World Slept

   Bonhoeffer, who earlier had traveled to England to warn Lutheran leaders of the serious church situation, could not understand why the world was not alarmed. The concentration camps were filing up with Jews and dissenters. Hitler was conscripting German men for military service and building an air force and a submarine fleet. Germany now had six hundred thousand men under arms, a grave violation of the Versailles treaty that had been signed at the close of World War I. Some European countries had protested, but Britain had overlooked the transgression. Hitler had already sent troops into demilitarized districts west of the Rhine River to the French border, also in violation of Versailles. In March 1938, Hitler ordered German troops into Austria, a betrayal of his own earlier promise. That fall the Nazis captured part of Czechoslovakia. This aggression was ratified by Britain's Chamberlain in the infamous Munich agreement.

Who Cares for the Jews?

   The world was now aware that 350,000 Jews in Germany and 220,000 in Austria were in deadly danger. In July a conference was held by representatives

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of thirty-two nations to determine how they might help. Nazi officials were invited and were present as observers.

   The first two days the diplomats argued over which nation's representative should chair the conference. The United States diplomat got the job. They spent only one afternoon listening to representatives of Jewish refugee organizations; some were given only five to ten minutes to describe the terror of Nazi persecution. One cited a new school reader that had just been published in Germany, which told children : "Remember that the Jews are children of the devil and murderers of mankind. Whoever is a murderer deserves to be killed himself." Another told of Jews being whipped and tortured during the day in Buchenwald, while at night a loudspeaker shouted : "Any Jew who wishes to hang himself is asked first to put a piece of paper in his mouth with his number on it, so that we may know who he is."

   The German government was still willing to deport its Jews. But who would take them? Nation after nation gave excuses. Catholic Brazil would accept only immigrants with a valid Christian baptismal certificate. Britain feared that a mass of Jewish refugees might "arouse anti-Semitic feeling." However, the American representative said his country would take 27,730, the maximum number acceptable under its immigration laws.

   The door was all but slammed shut when the delegates voted that only Jews who could pay their transportation would be accepted. The conference had already been told that no Jew could leave Germany or Austria with more than ten reichsmarks — less than five dollars! At the request of the South American delegates, the conference voted to remove from the final resolution any "contentious allusions to Germany." Nothing was accomplished.

   Hitler responded by scolding the nations for "oozing sympathy for the poor tormented people," while remaining "hard and obdurate when it comes to helping them." He told the South African defense minister, "We shall solve the Jewish problem in the immediate future ... the Jews will disappear."

   After Jews were prohibited from leaving the country, the Bonhoeffers helped Dietrich's twin sister and her Jewish husband escape to Switzerland.

   Meanwhile, Bonhoeffer's seminary had moved to a secret hideout in a country parsonage. Many students were in prison. There was as yet no order out for Bonhoeffer's arrest, but police had been instructed to arrest him if he came to Berlin on church business.

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Plotting to Depose Hitler

   Bonhoeffer, his family, and other influential Germans who opposed Hitler were certain that a European war was inevitable unless the mad fuhrer could be deposed or perhaps assassinated. Bonhoeffer's psychiatrist father, along with Hitler's chief of general staff and other key resisters, began planning a coup. A secret report on Hitler's mental condition was prepared by Dr. Karl Bonhoeffer and other psychiatrists. The plan was to seize the fuhrer, bring him before a citizens' court and accuse him of making irresponsible war. The psychiatrists would pronounce him criminally insane and unfit to continue in office. The seizure was to take place in Berlin on September 29, 1938, during a visit by British prime minister Neville Chamberlain. The plan went awry when Chamberlain, who knew of the resisters' intentions, flew to Munich.

   There had been other fruitless attempts to rid Germany of its mad fuhrer. There would be more in the future.

   Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not sure what he should do. He was no pacifist, but to fight for the Nazis seemed morally indefensible. He went to England and then to New York where he was offered the position of pastor to German Christian refugees. "The only thing that makes me hesitate ... is the question of loyalty to my people at home," he wrote a friend.

   Hitler kept pressing. In March 1939, his army occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia, then seized territory from Lithuania. In April, Italy, with which Germany was bound in a pact, moved into Albania. Chamberlain's policy of appeasement was now an obvious failure. When Hitler demanded a strip of territory across Poland to link Germany with East Prussia, Britain announced it would support Poland if it resisted attack. On September 1, German troops invaded Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Bonhoeffer Returns to Face the Storm

   Bonhoeffer's American friends kept urging him to remain in New York. But the young theologian's face was set. In July 1939, having boarded ship, he wrote, "I ... made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share in the trials of this time with my people."

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   With a small group of students, remnants from his illegal seminary, Bonhoeffer secluded himself in a rough-hewn hunting lodge deep in the Pomeranian forest. He was there when the first stories of German brutalities and genocide in Poland began seeping back to the German civilian population.

The Christians' Dilemma

   Bonhoeffer and his Christian brothers faced an agonizing decision : Should they join the cloak-and-dagger, kill-and-be-killed resistance to Hitler that was desperately trying to topple their own government and end the war, or should they continue much as before, secretly teaching and witnessing and encouraging Christian living? They concluded that they should do all they could to hasten the downfall of Hitler. It was better to "consent to the bad," Bonhoeffer said, "knowing full well that it is bad, in order to ward off what is worse ..." From this time on Bonhoeffer and his friends were active among the conspirators working for the defeat of Hitler. They were propelled by the conviction that Germany was being led by "criminal adventurers" who had inflicted "shocking bestialities ... especially towards the Jews," and who could not possibly win the war militarily.

   The Nazi juggernaut rolled on. Within nine months Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Norway were all in German hands. On the day France surrendered, Bonhoeffer and his colleague Bethge were in a cafe in East Prussia. When the news came over the radio, people all around them began shouting and raising their arms in the "Heil Hitler" salute. "Put up your hand," Bonhoeffer whispered to Bethge.

   At first, Bonhoeffer's pretended loyalty to the government did not deceive the Nazis. For "subversive activity" he was ordered not to speak in public and to report regularly to the Gestapo. Powerful persons in the resistance got the report order lifted. They then arranged a change of residence and assigned Bonhoeffer to a group involved in rescue operations and passing on secret information.

Bonhoeffer's "Cover"

   The key leaders of the resistance were ensconced in the government's counterespionage department, known as the Abwehr. They cleverly assigned Bonhoeffer to a counterespionage unit, thus giving him a cover for his real work.

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   All through 1941 and 1942 Bonhoeffer traveled back and forth to Switzerland and Norway talking to world church leaders, declaring forthrightly, "If we claim to be Christians, there is no room for expediency. Hitler is antichrist." Bonhoeffer's hope was to open up communications with Britain for peace negotiations and for plans for the future of Europe.

   Another plan was now in the making to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer agreed to take part, but wanted sufficient warning so he could break his relationship with the Confessing Church. "I can never again serve as pastor," he said, "if I am to participate." The plan did not succeed. Other assassination plans followed and were also unsuccessful. In the meantime Bonhoeffer was active with the Abwehr's Operation U7, helping Jews escape into Switzerland.

Arrested without a Warrant

   Amazingly, the Abwehr was still not suspect, but Bonhoeffer continued to be watched. On April 5, 1943, the chief investigator for the air force and a Gestapo official confronted the young theologian at a friend's house. They said simply, "Come with us," and took Bonhoeffer away in a black Mercedes. Without a trial or an explanation, he was thrown into Tegel Military Prison.

   Bonhoeffer was put in the most isolated cell on the top floor. He was allowed neither newspapers nor the customary exercise break. Scraps of food were shoved through the door and guards were prohibited from talking to him. It was six months before a warrant was delivered for his arrest. His comforts were prayer and his Bible, which he had been allowed to keep.

   Although attempts on Hitler's life continued, still Bonhoeffer was not tied to the resistance. In prison he was now allowed to correspond and to receive monthly visits from his family and his fiancée, Maria. "We have been engaged for almost a year, and have not been for a single hour alone together," he lamented.

   He put his inmost thoughts in writing, confessing to struggles, weariness, and doubts. But he could say, "I believe that we ought so to love and trust God in our lives, and in all the good things that He sends us, that when the time comes we may go to Him with love, trust, and joy." And : "Through every event, however untoward, there is access to God."

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More Arrests and Executions

   In the fall of 1943 the Gestapo uncovered a secret file outside Berlin that implicated the core of the resisters in the government's Abwehr counterintelligence department. They were imprisoned but not executed. In this case, information was more important to the Nazis than vengeance.

   Ironically, these arrests came as the war was turning against Hitler and his Axis partners. It would go on for two more terrible years while the German resisters suffered in prison. Besides the Lutheran pastors, there were also a substantial number of Catholic priests in the jails and camps who bravely resisted the Nazis when their hierarchy was looking the other way.

   Bonhoeffer was moved to the cellar of the Gestapo prison in Berlin's Prinz Albrecht Strasse. His family and fiancée were forbidden to see him and he was seldom permitted to write. His brother Klaus and two of his brothers-in-law, Rudiger Schleicher and Hans Adam von Dohnanyi, both lawyers, were now also in prison. All three would be summarily executed.

Maria's Search

   Allied bombing intensified. Troops advanced towards Berlin from east and west. On February 7, 1945, twenty of the most important prisoners in Prinz Albrecht Strasse were loaded into trucks. Bonhoeffer's vehicle went to the dread Buchenwald. After he had been taken away, Maria came to the Tegel Military Prison, hoping to see him. When told he was gone, she left in the bitter weather, traveling along the line of Nazi retreat, asking about him at every concentration camp.

   The special prisoners of Bonhoeffer's group were sequestered in the cellar of an old yellow house on the fringe of Buchenwald. Among them was one foreigner, Payne Best, a member of the British secret service captured at the border of Holland. By Easter Sunday, 1945, the prisoners could hear American guns. Their waiting, for life or death, would not be long now.

The Death of a Martyr

   One morning they were herded into a van and driven towards the southeast. Unknown to Bonhoeffer, a Nazi official was following behind with an order for his execution.

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   The next Sunday, April 8, they stopped at a schoolhouse. At the prisoners' request, Bonhoeffer held a brief worship service. He chose as his texts Isaiah 53:5 : "By His stripes we are healed," and 1 Peter 1:3 : "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

   The service ended when a harsh voice called, "Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us." Bonhoeffer was taken to Flossenberg Prison. That evening he and several other prisoners were formally condemned.

   Years later the prison doctor wrote, "Through the half-open door of a room in one of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer still in his prison clothes, kneeling in fervent prayer to the Lord his God. The devotion and evident conviction of being heard that I saw in the prayer of this intensely captivating man moved me to the depths."

   About 5:00 A.M., an escort came for an admiral and two generals who were among those charged with trying to overthrow the government. They were taken from their cells and told of the verdict.

   Bonhoeffer was soon removed to join the other condemned men. They were marched to the place of execution and told to strip. One last time Bonhoeffer knelt to pray. Then he stood up. Shots pierced the stillness of the woods. The most famous Christian martyr of World War II was dead.

   Three weeks later Hitler and Eva Braun, the mistress he had just married, swallowed poison. Hitler's aides burned their bodies after dousing them with gasoline. Seven days after this Germany surrendered.

   It was June before Maria learned that Bonhoeffer was dead. On July 27 his aged parents accidentally heard the sad news. They happened to tune in to a memorial service from London and heard a German saying in English, "We are gathered here in the presence of God to make thankful remembrance of the life and work of his servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who gave his life in faith and obedience ... "

   On a sad note, Bonhoeffer's writings show that during the last years of his life he was drawn to liberal theories about the Bible. In his book, Creation and Fall, for example, Bonhoeffer termed parts of the Bible "mythological." Bonhoeffer was undoubtedly influenced by German liberal theologians.

Tally of the Dead

   After the war ended, the dreadful tally of casualties began. Germany alone had suffered 8,156,000 military casualties, including 2,916,000 dead.

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Two hundred thousand aged or incurably ill Germans had been sacrificed to experiments in euthanasia. Every known German Jew or person of Jewish ancestry had been killed or deported. Thousands upon thousands of German Christians had been imprisoned or executed for protecting Jews or otherwise opposing Hitler's program. One of the ministers who had survived was Martin Niemoller. These were only the German victims of Nazism. In the occupied countries, two hundred thousand gypsies and many more Jews and Christians perished. The exact number of gypsies, Christians, and Jews who perished in the Holocaust may never be known. Jewish deaths have been revised somewhat downward by some historians, but the numbers are still mind numbing.

   Many Christians in the occupied countries had died protecting Jews and for opposing other Nazi occupation policies. The toll was especially high in Eastern Europe. Large numbers also gave their lives in France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Finland, and elsewhere.

The ten Boom Story

   Best known is the story of Holland's ten Boom family as related by Corrie ten Boom in her best-selling book, The Hiding Place. The ten Booms were devout members of the Reformed Church of Holland. Owners of a watch shop in the town of Haarlem which had been in the family since 1837, they were respected pillars of their community.

   As early as the 1930s they became aware of the discrimination against Jews in Germany. Letters to Jewish suppliers came back marked, "Address Unknown." Twisting the radio dial, they often caught the raucous, screaming voice of Hitler preaching Aryan supremacy.

   Corrie's minister brother, Willem, who had studied in Germany, was the first member of the family to help Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution. After Germany occupied Holland, he became active in the Dutch underground which sheltered Jews, helped prisoners escape, and sabotaged war installations.

   With Willem and sister Nollie married and their mother dead, Corrie and sister Betsie now lived with their father above the shop. Their first Jewish fugitive was a Mrs. Kleermaker. Her husband had been arrested and her son gone into hiding. The Gestapo had ordered her to close the family clothing store and she was afraid to go back to her apartment above it. She had heard that the ten Booms had befriended a Jewish neighbor. Mr. ten Boom assured her, "In this household, God's people are always welcome."

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   Two nights later they heard a furtive knock and opened the door to admit their second and third guests, a frightened elderly Jewish couple. With three boarders, food was a problem. The underground came to the rescue with forged ration stamps.

The Secret Room

   As Jews continued to come, the ten Booms became concerned about informers and the Gestapo. Their house was three stories, but small and narrow. If a raid occurred, where would their Jewish guests hide?

   The underground sent a "building inspector," who was actually one of Europe's most famous architects, to design a secret room next to Corrie's bedroom. At the sound of a warning buzzer all guests were to run to "The Hiding Place," from which came the title of the book.

   The ten Booms had seven permanent Jewish guests and others for shorter times. But the Germans saw only an elderly watchmaker living with his two spinster daughters above his small shop.

   Their rigid Dutch Reformed morality made it hard for them to deny having any guests when seven Jews were closeted in the hiding place. Corrie, Betsie, and their father managed. But when sister Nollie was caught at home with a blonde stranger, she blurted out the truth, "She is a Jew." Both women were arrested.

The Raid

   Corrie was in bed with the flu on the fateful morning of February 28, 1944. Hours before, a member of the underground had passed word that another member had been arrested and would likely be tortured to reveal information. A raid could occur at any time.

   This morning a man came into the shop asking for money to get his wife released from prison. "It's a matter of life and death," he pleaded. "We've been hiding Jews." Corrie sent the visitor to the bank with a note telling a bank official to give him money.

   The man was an informer. A few minutes later the Gestapo burst into the shop, shoving, slapping, bullying their way past the sisters and their father. They took the three ten Booms away, but never found the secret room and the seven Jews hiding there. All seven subsequently escaped and six survived the war.

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Father ten Boom Dies

   Sister Nollie and brother Willem were released from prison. But Corrie and Betsie were not. In May they received word that their aged father was dead. After becoming ill in his cell, he had been taken to the municipal hospital in the Hague. There was no bed available when he arrived and he had died while waiting in the corridor. Hospital workers had buried him in the paupers' cemetery.

   The sisters found strength in their hidden Bible, in prayer, and in one another. They determined to love their captors, no matter what. When Corrie was called in for interrogation, she remembered that Jesus had been called before inquisitors. "Show me what to do," she implored.

"Look at Jesus Only"

   Corrie and Betsie were moved to Germany, ahead of advancing Allied troops, and quartered in the notorious women's extermination camp at Ravensbruck. They were forced to work eleven-hour days, digging and shoveling dirt in the prison yard. Betsie became weak and began coughing blood. When she faltered, the guard slashed her across the chest and neck with his crop. "Don't look, Corrie," she whispered. "Look at Jesus only."

   The prisoners were permitted worship services in their crowded barracks. At every meeting a crowd of thin, sad-faced women gathered around Corrie and Betsie to hear the sisters read from the Bible. One read the Dutch text and the other translated aloud in German. Other interpreters then passed the precious words along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, and other languages. These evenings were "little previews of heaven," Corrie later wrote in The Hiding Place.

   When the prison became overcrowded, the sickest were taken out for extermination. But when Betsie was unable to stand, Corrie and another Dutch woman were allowed to carry her to the prison hospital. Unable to reach a doctor, they finally carried Betsie back. Two orderlies came for her and took her to a hospital bed. "Corrie, people can still learn to love," Betsie whispered as she was dying.

   Corrie was released a few days later. After a short stay in the hospital she was allowed to go home. Ringing in her ears was Betsie's reminder, "We must tell people, Corrie. We must tell them what we learned ..."

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"Tramp for the Lord"

   For over thirty years Corrie (who lived until her 91st birthday in 1983), shared her story. In 1959 she revisited Ravensbruck to honor Betsie and almost one hundred thousand other women who died there. She learned that her release had resulted from a clerical "error." The following week all women her age had been exterminated.

   Her travels took her to over sixty countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Another book, Tramp for the Lord, describes these adventures. "God has a divine pattern for each of his children," she wrote in this book. "Although the threads may seem knotted ... on the other side is a crown."

   Corrie ten Boom's books have made her brave Dutch family heroes to millions of people living today. They typify thousands of other ordinary Christians in Germany and the occupied countries who died standing for Christian principles and caring for their Jewish neighbors.

The Martyrs Have Not Been Forgotten

   Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been revered by every class of seminary students since his martyrdom was made known. Today, over thirty years after the war's end, no other modern martyr arouses more respect and reverence among young theologues than this intellectual and spiritual giant who died rather than compromise his convictions. Other German pastors and priests who died, along with those who survived Hitler's concentration camps, are less known, but in the German Lutheran and Catholic churches, their bravery will not soon be forgotten.

A Farmer Who Died for His Convictions

   Both in Germany and across occupied Europe, many more Christians gave their lives in standing for convictions. Austria, where Hitler was born, became the first neighbor nation to be conquered, falling to the Nazis in March 1938. Among the Austrian Christians who fled to America were the Von Trapp Family Singers, who would later become famous in the award-winning movie, "The Sound of Music."

   Franz Jaegerstatter, a thirty-seven-year-old Austrian farmer, deserves special attention. Friends, relatives, and some church authorities told

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him he was foolish for refusing to take the military oath under Hitler. Jaegerstatter was imprisoned in Berlin's Brandenburg prison where he was later beheaded.

Brave Father Titus

   Hollander Titus Brandsma, a sickly child, fell in love with the Bible and devotional books during his youth. After ordination as a priest, he earned his doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University and established the Catholic University of Jijegen in the Netherlands. He was then appointed as spiritual adviser to the lay staff members of more than thirty Catholic newspapers throughout the country.

   After the Nazi army overran the Netherlands in 1940, German officials ordered all clergy removed as principals or directors of Catholic schools. Father Titus fought the oppressors through Catholic newspapers and in classrooms and lecture halls. "The Nazi movement," he declared, "is a black lie. It is pagan."

   Father Titus's proclamations brought a quick response from Hitler's allies in the Dutch Socialist Party. They considered anyone a traitor who objected to the Nazi occupation, and ordered the priest to toe the acceptable line.

   "We cannot serve them," Father Titus told Catholic journalists. "It is our duty to refuse Nazi propaganda if we wish to maintain Catholic newspapers ... We are not sure if violence will strike, but if it does, always remember God speaks the last word and he rewards his faithful."

   At 6 P.M., January 19, 1942, the Gestapo came to arrest Father Titus at the Boxmeer monastery where he was living. "Imagine my going to jail at the age of sixty," he quipped to his arresting officer.

   The security men stripped him of his Carmelite attire and whisked him off to the Arnhem Prison. The next morning he was taken to the state prison at Scheveningen, where he underwent seven weeks of intensive questioning. Throughout the interrogation, he maintained that he had no other alternative than to be obedient to God. He could not be a party to spreading the evil of Nazism.

   Unable to break his spirit, his captors placed him in a barren ten by six feet cell. After almost two months of solitary confinement he was moved to Amersfoort prison where he and other Catholic intellectuals formed what came to be called the "Tiburg Circle" of prayer and ministry.

   Nazi authorities offered him release from prison if he would sign papers stating that he would no longer preach against or resist the occupation forces.

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If he did not sign, they said, he would be transferred to the dread Dachau concentration camp. He refused.

   Father Titus was placed in Dachau on June 12. His clothes were exchanged for a prison uniform. His head was shaved and he was told to answer to Number 30492. Any mention of God or religion was strictly forbidden.

   A brave village priest risked his life to smuggle sacramental wafers to Father Titus and other Catholics in Dachau. A prison guard suspected that he was receiving the wafers and threw him to the ground. The sacred bread remained safely hidden in Father Titus's eyeglass case.

   Father Titus never gave way to hatred for the captors. He prayed, "God bless Holland. God bless Germany. May God grant that both nations will soon be standing side by side in full peace and harmony."

   After numerous beatings, Father Titus dragged himself to the prison infirmary where he collapsed on a cot. After four days he lost consciousness. Two days later, he was murdered with a lethal injection.

   His testimony is found in a poem written shortly before his death :

O blessed grief and hallowed pain,
That lead to Thee, my Savior slain,
To suffer now a joy will be;
It brings me, Lord, so near to Thee.

Courageous Sister Theresa

   The Gestapo came for Sister Theresa Benedicta at the Carmelite convent in Echt, the Netherlands, on August 2, 1942. Jewish by birth, she and her older sister, Rosa, were given five minutes to pack. "Come, we are going for our people," she said. Taken to Poland, they died a week later in the Auschwitz gas chamber.

The "Confession" by German Christians

   In 1945 the survivors of the German resistance met at Stuttgart with representatives from sister churches in other countries which had suffered mightily at the hands of the Nazis, to proclaim a "confession of guilt." They implored God's forgiveness that they had not prayed more faithfully, believed more intensely, witnessed more courageously, and loved more devotedly. The Germans, as new leaders of the Evangelical Church in Germany, confessed their solidarity with the guilt of the German nation for

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crimes against humanity. At the same time, high Nazi war criminals were solemnly pleading not guilty in the war crimes' court at Nuremberg.

Hitler's Greatest Folly

   There are many lessons to be learned from the Nazi era to ensure that the martyrs did not die in vain. One is that no earthly power can stamp out Christian faith or eliminate the search for meaning. Small independent Protestant churches are growing rapidly in Germany and have sent hundreds of missionaries to other lands.

   A symbol of the continuing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is revealed in the last request of German soldiers, surrounded by counter-attacking Soviet troops in Stalingrad. Their last wireless message voiced the plea, "Send us Bibles." German planes responded and flew over enemy lines to drop precious copies of the Book of Books.

Part Seven

Martyrs of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

Chapter 18

The Soviet Union

True Faith Grows Strong

The trail of martyrs' blood now leads us northeast across the broad expanse of the former Soviet Union, which sprawled over eleven time zones in Europe and Asia. It also covers Eastern Europe as well since after the fall of Nazi Germany near the end of the Second World War, most of Eastern Europe came under the domain of the Soviet Union as the "iron curtain" was pulled shut.

   The background for martyrdom in the Soviet Union and Eastern European Communist nations is different from most of the countries previously covered. The populations were "converted" centuries before by "Christian" armies marching from the West. The powerful church establishments which developed tended to see dissent as heresy and as a threat to society. Evangelicals and other religious minorities enjoyed relief from persecution while the Marxist rulers were killing and imprisoning leaders of the old national church who refused subservience to the state. Then the Marxists enacted a set of controls designed to confine the activities of the minorities to private worship inside their sanctuaries at times approved by the government. When multitudes refused to comply, particularly evangelicals, the Marxist rulers began to enforce their laws. Depending on the times and severity of local persecutors, believers were fined, banished to Siberia, imprisoned, and in some instances killed. The persecutors maintained that punishments were not for religious reasons but for crimes against the state.

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   In the drive to stamp out religion, the Communist leadership sought to avoid dramatic executions. They feared that violent killings of Christians would shock world opinion and that the example of the martyrs would spur church growth. Consequently, most resistant pastors and lay leaders were either exiled to barren wastelands, where their influence was restricted, or confined to prisons until they were broken in health and spirit. Even though death might occur years after he was released, a believer who died as a result of the horrors of a Communist prison was no less a martyr than one who was beaten to death or shot by a firing squad. Understanding this, we will have a broader view of the meaning of martyrdom in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

   As recently as 1972, for example, members of the Evangelical Christian and Baptist Church Council in the USSR included in their plea to the UN secretary-general these testaments of evangelical leaders :

"... N. Khmara was tortured to death in prison ..."

   "I.A. Afonin, a member of the Action Group and father of nine children, died in prison at age 45, in July, 1971."

   "P.F. Zakharov, after insults and torture in prison, died at the age of 49."

   "S.T. Golev, a member of the Council of Churches, elderly and ill, has spent about 20 years in bondage. At present he is virtually condemned to death in prison for his nationwide work for the Council of Churches."

   These are only four among the multitudes of Soviet Christians who suffered in the so-called benevolent socialist workers' paradise. According to the official record, they did not die for their faith, but for disobeying the laws of the "people." These laws were never devised or administered by the majority, but by an atheistic bureaucracy intent on reducing religious beliefs to the ashes of legends and myths.

Evangelical Persecution before Communism

   We have heard so much of Communist persecution that it is hard to imagine a time in the Soviet Union when evangelicals were persecuted by other powers. Before 1917 the imperial tsarist government was aligned with the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Persecution of evangelicals began around 1875 following a powerful revival among German immigrants which had produced a string of strong Baptist churches. It persisted until 1917 when the Communists took power.

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   Many Baptists (a term used for all evangelicals) lost their jobs even though they were excellent workers. Some were exiled and died far from home. Baptist marriages could not be registered since only official church weddings were legal. Thus children of "unlawful" unions were considered illegitimate and were denied many educational privileges. In some instances, children were actually taken away from Baptist parents who left the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Death of Pastor Kisil

   The great majority of Orthodox Christians did not endorse kidnappings or killings. The violence occurred only in scattered communities and was usually instigated by intolerant fanatics.

   In the province of Yekaterinoslav on May 19, 1914, Baptists in the village of Vasilkov were at prayer when a well-known Orthodox extremist named Rakhno entered. "Stand up!" he shouted to Pastor V.P. Kisil. The kneeling pastor arose to see who the intruder was. Already the madman was hurtling forward, dagger in hand. Before Pastor Kisil could defend himself, the blade was in his heart. The fanatic turned and ran to the Orthodox church for protection. Nevertheless he was arrested by local police.

Russian Evangelicals Welcome the Revolution

   Most evangelicals were simple tradesmen and farmers. When the Bolsheviks seized power, they could not foresee where Communism was leading. They knew only that the nation was in deep economic trouble and was plagued by corruption in government. They cheered reforms promised by the Communists. The evangelicals especially warmed to a statement quoted from Lenin : "Each person must have complete freedom not only to observe any faith but also to propagate any faith ... None of the officials should even have a right to ask anyone of his faith; this is a matter of conscience and nobody should dare to interfere in this field."

   Marx also appeared to agree tacitly that the state should not interfere with religious belief. The ideologists of Communism saw religion as a symptom, not a cause, of deep disorder in society and human consciousness. Religion, Marx felt, was a drug, an opiate, which primitives had invented to dull pain and misery, much as the royalty of Europe took opium as an analgesic. In the new world of Communism,

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he predicted, the comrades would find fulfillment in liberating the earth from exploitation by the royal houses and wealthy capitalists. Religion would come to have no meaning and wither away.

   When Lenin became the first Communist dictator of the Soviet Union, he apparently discarded his earlier view. Members of the ruling class, he decided, were using religion as an instrument of oppression. Religious bodies, therefore, must be tamed or destroyed in order to assist the inevitable process of evolutionary change.

Catch-22s in Communist Law

   Two months after taking power, Lenin had the Council of People's Commissars declare separation of church and state. At first glance the decree seemed similar to church-state legislation in other countries including the United States. Every citizen was free to profess the faith of his choice or none at all. But there were a number of clever qualifications which, in effect, tilted the scales in favor of atheism.

Freedom of worship was permitted only when it did not affect public order and interfere with the rights of Soviet citizens. Local authorities could decide when to take necessary steps to preserve order and the public interest.

   Religious education was forbidden in both state-operated and private schools and was restricted to special schools of theology. Citizens could only teach and study religion privately.

   Religious associations could not own property.

   Marriages, births and deaths were to be officially recorded as civic acts of the state on registers entrusted to the proper secular offices. Religious records were invalid.

Martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church

   The Orthodox Church, which in the previous century had sought to suppress the growing evangelical movement, fought back against this oppression. The newly elected patriarch announced the excommunication of "avowed or secret enemies of Christ." The Communists who had been baptized into Orthodoxy were not named, but it was obvious they were the subjects of the decree. They began a propaganda attack, and warfare soon erupted between supporters of the Orthodox Church and the state. Violent clashes occurred in several cities. Communist-inspired

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crowds burned Orthodox churches and pillaged monasteries. Clergymen and laymen were brought to trial for crimes against the state. Eleven were condemned to death in Moscow.

   In January 1918, Communists began attacking Orthodox churches in the Ukraine. On the evening of January 23, they broke into the Petchersky Monastery and killed hundreds of Orthodox priests. The Orthodox Church later claimed that over two thousand priests and some fifty bishops were killed or deported.

   The main target in Kiev, the largest Ukrainian city, was Metropolitan Vladimir. At age seventy he was the oldest hierarch in the Russian church. A widower who had lost his wife and only child to illness, he was known for ministries of charity and was one of the most beloved churchmen of Russia. At 6:30 P.M. five men dressed as soldiers entered his house. They pushed the old priest into a bedroom where they twisted the chain of his cross around his neck and demanded money. Then they took him to a waiting car and drove outside the gates of the monastery to a small clearing. When they stopped, he asked, "Is it here you want to shoot me?"

   "Why not?" one of the abductors said with a curse. "Do you expect us to stand on ceremony?"

   "Will you grant me permission to pray before I am shot?"

   "Be quick about it!" he was told.

   Lifting his arms to heaven, the old man prayed aloud, "O Lord, forgive my sins, voluntary and involuntary, and accept my spirit in peace." Then he blessed his murderers with both hands, murmuring, "God forgive you."

   Four shots rang out and he was dead.

   Also in January 1918, the new Communist government decreed that all church treasures now belonged to the state and that precious stones and metals must be sold to help alleviate the suffering caused by a growing famine. The ruling Orthodox patriarch told his clergymen to surrender all nonconsecrated items, but not to give up bejeweled garments and gold and silver chalices used in liturgies. He asked that collections be taken to pay the government the cash value of the liturgical objects. The Communists responded with a propaganda barrage that the hierarchy was too greedy to make available the means for feeding the hungry. This provoked more attacks on Orthodox churches and monasteries and more killing of clergymen.

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"I Will Lift Up My Eyes Reverently to God

   In Petrograd, Metropolitan Benjamin joined with the Communists on a committee called "Help to the Starving." He asked clergymen to raise cash offerings and contribute from church treasuries on a voluntary basis. His appeals helped tremendously.

   The Communist Central Committee in Moscow, fearing that the voluntary gifts would raise the prestige of the clergy, ordered their Petrograd comrades to confiscate church valuables instead of accepting them by donation. They further published a letter from twelve self-proclaimed clergymen denouncing the arrangement in Petrograd.

   The church valuables were confiscated and Metropolitan Benjamin was arrested and put on trial with others. After several false witnesses had testified and conviction appeared obvious, his defense attorney begged the tribunal of judges :

Do not make a martyr of the Metropolitan. The masses revere him, and if he is killed for his faith and his loyalty to the masses, he would become much more dangerous to the Soviet power. The immutable law of history should be a warning. Let it remind you that true faith feeds and grows strong on the blood of martyrs. Would you risk giving more martyrs to the restless people?

   The presiding judge asked the Metropolitan to speak for himself. The clergyman first expressed his sorrow at being called "the enemy of the people ... I am a true son of my people," he said. "I love and always have loved the people. I had dedicated my whole life to them." Then he proceeded to speak in behalf of his codefendants.

   "Tell us more about yourself," the judge interrupted.

   "About myself? What else can I tell you? One more thing perhaps; regardless of what my sentence will be, no matter what you decide, life or death, I will lift up my eyes reverently to God, cross myself and affirm : 'Glory to Thee, my Lord; glory to Thee for everything.' "

   The verdict for Metropolitan Benjamin and the other defendants was guilty. The sentence : death before a firing squad.

   Before the execution they were shaved of their long beards and dressed in rags so the executioners would not know they were killing clergymen. Just before the guns cracked, one of the priests, Father Serge, prayed aloud, "O Lord, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." Metropolitan Benjamin merely crossed himself and whispered a prayer before falling under the hail of bullets.

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More Orthodox Martyrs

   Russia was now in the throes of a full-scale civil war between the "Whites," who defended the old order, and Communist "Reds." By 1921 more than twenty million people had died in fighting, in epidemics, and from starvation. Had not an American relief commission, directed by Herbert Hoover, given emergency help on a mammoth scale, millions more might have died.

   As the Reds conquered, they closed more Orthodox churches and arrested clergymen. Among the Orthodox clergy put to death during the early years of Communist rule in Russia were Bishop Germogen of Tobolsk, Bishop Nikodim of Belgorod, and Bishop Makary of Viazma.

   Bishop Germogen and some other prisoners were taken away on a steamer. After they were well underway, guards began ripping off the prisoners' clothing and throwing the prisoners one by one into the Tura River where they drowned. When they came to Bishop Germogen, he prayed aloud. "Hold his jaw!" the commissar shouted. A fist silence the old man's prayers. Then an eighty-pound rock was tied to his bound hands and after several swings to and fro, he was tossed into the river.

   Bishop Nikodim of Belgorod had taken no sides in politics, but in his sermons he had condemned violence, robberies, and murders, while asking his flock to follow the teachings of Jesus. His sermons enraged local Communists. Commandant Saenko, famed for killing hundreds with his own hands, arrested the Bishop. A furor arose among the people, forcing Saenko to return the Bishop to his residence. On that same day Nikodim preached another sermon against violence. He was rearrested by Saenko who declared, "The clergy are ruining the revolution." A priest's wife pleaded for the Bishop's freedom. Saenko shot her himself and ordered the Bishop's execution. Nikodim was disguised in a military overcoat and taken into a dark corner of the prison yard to be shot. Saenko knew that the soldiers would not perform the execution if they recognized the Bishop.

   Bishop Makary of Viazma was a learned theologian and powerful preacher. Local Communists first staged a fight at the door of his church so they could kill him when he came out to settle the dispute. Instead the Bishop remained inside and preached a powerful sermon. In the pretended melee one of the Communists was killed by mistake.

   After this failure, they had the Bishop and thirteen other clergymen arrested and falsely charged with organizing a White Volunteer Army uprising. Before dawn, the fourteen doomed men were taken to a deserted

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spot and lined up with their backs to a freshly dug pit. As an executioner moved to the first in line preparing to shoot him through the forehead, Bishop Makary whispered, "Go in peace." The gun fired and the priest fell backwards into the grave. The Bishop comforted each of his colleagues in this manner. Finally he stood alone. The stars were now fading and the eastern sky was alight. The executioner lifted his gun, then hesitated and lowered his hand. His face hardened. He clenched his teeth. He lifted his hand again and fired. The Bishop, who had been serenely gazing into the brightening sky, tumbled backwards to join the others.

   Throughout this period, 1917-1929, the Russian Orthodox Church, because of its power, influence, and connections with the old tsarist regime, was the main object of the Communists' war on religion. At the beginning of the period there were over fifty-four thousand Orthodox churches and more than thirty-seven thousand parochial schools. All of the schools were closed or transferred to state jurisdiction. There is no accurate record of the number of churches closed or of the number of clergy and lay leaders killed, just as there is no accounting of the millions of civilians brutally murdered by Communists during this time. Today only an estimated seven thousand Orthodox churches remain.

Extermination of the Catholic Church

   Next to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Latin-rite Catholics suffered most under Lenin's rule. When the Communists came to power, about 1.5 million Roman Catholics lived in the territory of the old Russian empire. Most were of Polish, Lithuanian, Belorussian (White Russian), German, and French origin. Before the 1917 Revolution, Roman Catholics were suspect to most Russians because of their allegiance to the foreign Vatican. After the Revolution, their churches, schools, and priesthood were virtually wiped out. Key leaders were arrested and given long prison sentences or sent to remote labor camps. Many died from disease and malnutrition in the camps. Some were executed.

   Contrasting figures tell the grim story of Russian Catholics. In 1917, 980 churches; in 1934, only three "showcases" open. In 1917, 912 priests and monks; in 1934, only ten remaining. In 1917, 504 schools and institutions; in 1934, none.

   The much smaller body of Eastern-rite Catholics (Uniates) was also virtually annihilated. Other religious minorities with hierarchal structures were substantially dismantled.

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How the Free Churches Fared

   The Baptist groups flourished from 1917 to 1929. Because they lacked an organized superstructure and were mostly of the working class, the Communists either did not fear them as a counterrevolutionary force, or perhaps felt that, given enough time, the Baptists would slough off their religious lives and become active participants in the new order. For whatever reasons, Russian Baptists were not the target of a general persecution during this period. Under Communism, they actually had more freedom to evangelize than under the Orthodox tsarist regime. However, some of the more aggressive evangelists ran into trouble.

The Case of Cornelius Martens

   Raised in a German Mennonite colony, evangelist Martens was one of the most prominent Baptist preachers during the 1920s. Early in that decade he and five other believers were arrested by Communists for holding open-air meetings. They were imprisoned with seventeen men who were condemned to die. Martens and his fellow Christians felt they were due to be executed also. Nevertheless, they remained cheerful and prayed and read the Scriptures aloud before their fellow inmates in a common cell.

   Early one morning guards called out seven prisoners to dig a large grave. The ground was frozen and every swing of the pick was like hitting concrete. Weakened by hunger, some of the diggers collapsed with exhaustion. Finally, after they had dug only two feet below the surface, the officer sent them back to their cells.

   Shortly before midnight, guards came to the cell again. "Lie on your faces!" the commander shouted. When the prisoners fell flat, the officer pointed to one. "Kill him." His hands were bound and he was tied to the window. Then he was shot to death in the presence of his companions. One by one, men were taken off the floor and shot in this fashion. Some had been converted by the preacher and his friends. They died praying. Finally, as abruptly as they had appeared, the commander and his men withdrew, leaving Martens alive, but shaken.

   About a week later Martens was taken to the office of the local Communist Party boss. "Take off his clothes," the official ordered two men.

   "Don't trouble yourself," the preacher said. "I shall undress. I don't fear to die, for I shall be going home to the Lord. If He has decided my hour hasn't come, you can't do me any harm here."

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   The Party boss flew into a rage. "I'll prove to you that your God will not deliver you out of my hands!" He lifted his revolver to shoot. His finger froze on the trigger. Three times he tried to fire the gun and failed. His face reddened and his body quivered until it seemed he would have a heart attack. Finally, he lowered the gun and asked a minor official, "What is this man condemned for?" The official replied, "He is a Baptist. Can't you see God is fighting for him?"

   Martens began putting on his clothes. "May I now go home?" he asked.

   "Go and never show yourself here again!" the frightened Party leader shouted.

   A month later police picked up Martens again. Again, in a dramatic way, God spared his life and Martens escaped. The evangelist fled to the rugged Caucasus Mountains where he preached from village to village. His meetings throbbed with spiritual power. Many of the converts were Communists. One cried, "I've been responsible for the murder of thousands of innocents. I will never take up the sword again. Jesus has forgiven me." He was expelled from the Party. In another village five converted Communists were driven out by Party zealots and others were imprisoned.

   Conversions occurred everywhere Martens preached. In one meeting a man shouted, "For thirty-five years I've been teaching atheism, poisoning the minds of thousands of students. Is there any hope for me?" Martens shouted back, "Yes, do as Paul did and you will find peace." The professor fell on his knees and cried, "Lord, what would you have me do?"

   In 1923 Martens was arrested again. This time it was for preaching to children. After being in solitary confinement for a month, he was told, "You'll be free if you tell us what ministers are receiving money from the people." Martens shot back, "I'm no Judas, but I will not be silent about Christ." He was put back in jail and told he would be banished to Siberia. A few days later he was suddenly released with the order to leave the area. Later it was learned that his release came because of complaints about Soviet religious persecution from the British archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders abroad.

   Evangelist Martens moved into a new territory. In one village he had baptized thirty-three people when the Red Army suddenly appeared. Communist soldiers took one person from each of the fifty homes in the village, then ordered everyone out to see the execution. Late that evening the villagers saw the condemned persons standing in a row. Three of the newly baptized, two men and a woman,

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stood at the end of the line. "Fire!" the officer in charge ordered. One of the believers fell. The other two believers fell down with the rest of the condemned villagers, feigning death. "Bayonet them," the commander now ordered. The woman was killed, but the surviving man was only wounded. He later crept away, though he was crippled for life.

   Once again, the indomitable Martens survived. He kept preaching for several more years. He was threatened, but never killed, perhaps because the Communists feared that he would be more damaging as a martyr. The government finally gave him a foreign passport and permitted him to leave the country.

The "Peace" Ends

   While Cornelius Martens was staying one step ahead of his persecutors, most other Soviet evangelical preachers were left alone. During this period they kept up contacts with the Baptist World Alliance and the American-European Fellowship. The latter organization supported "home" missionaries in the USSR and published evangelistic reports and letters from Russian believers in a publication called Harvest Field.

   In many areas the Communists boosted Baptist work. In 1927 Party leaders promised financial backing for a unique "Evangelsk" (City of the Gospel or Sun). But as the project developed, Party officials became alarmed and withdrew backing. They feared the possibility that the planned city — laid out with hospitals, church schools, and houses, amidst parks with fruit trees, all with a religious basis — might be a success. The dream ended when the Soviet drive for collectivization of land began.

   The "golden decade" of Russian evangelicals ended in 1929. The year before leaders had reported to the Baptist World Congress in Toronto exciting new developments and prospects for greater successes. The following year most of them were either in prison or in exile.

Tightening the Screws

   This new attack on religion was undergirded by the Law on Religious Associations, decreed in 1928. Under the following specifications a Communist official could find a reason to arrest almost any Christian :

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A religious group could hold activities only after registering with a government committee for religious matters. Registration was often denied on flimsy pretexts.

   The registration committee could remove any members it desired from the executive body of a religious society.

   Religious groups could not organize activities or classes for children, young people, and women. Sunday school classes, sewing and prayer groups, reading rooms, libraries, excursions, and children's playgrounds were also forbidden.

   Clergymen were restricted to areas in which members resided and could only preach in designated prayer buildings that had to be leased from the government.

   Voluntary offerings could only be collected to maintain prayer buildings and premises and to pay clergy salaries.

Under these and previous laws, organized religion was practically shut down in the Soviet Union and thousands of known church leaders were imprisoned. This time the evangelicals did not escape.

   Harvest Field reported eyewitness accounts of the terrible suffering now prevailing. In 1930 a believer wrote :

Chapels in all of Russia have been taken from the believers by the thousands ... The banished are "fetched" at night without previous notice and are ... placed in cattle cars ... The sick are carried out in their beds. The old and children die enroute.

   ... Many of our brethren have ended their thorny path in Arctic regions. Where there are believers, there spring up small groups, and baptismal services are held by night. There are Christian workers who look for a still greater spiritual awakening in Russia. Is the day of labor in Russia really over, in regard to spiritual works, and has the night set in?

Under the Iron Heel of Stalin

   Lenin was dead and the dread Stalin in power. The country was now officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), originally comprised of Russia, Belorussia, Transcaucasia, and the eastern Ukraine. The eastern Ukraine had been forcibly annexed by a brutal Communist invasion while other world nations refused to intervene. Other "republics" were annexed in the twenties. More would be swallowed up in the thirties and forties to make the USSR the largest nation on earth.

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   Stalin had become Party Secretary in 1922. In 1929 he became Premier as well and gained iron-clad domination of the Communist apparatus. He began stepping up efforts to industrialize the nation and collectivize all farm land. He increased his secret police, clamped tight censorship over all publications, and enlarged the system of concentration and forced labor camps which had been established earlier.

   The next twelve years of Stalinism were brutal beyond description. Millions died in blood purges and famines created by manipulations of food supplies. Hundreds of thousands were sent to prison camps from which they never returned. They were jammed like cattle into unheated, unventilated railway cars. On every car was the inscription : VOLUNTARY SETTLERS FOR SIBERIA.

   The Penalty for Believing

   In village after village residents were called to mass meetings and confronted with the question : "Are you with the godless [the Marxists] or the believers?" Those who signified that they stood with the believers were marched to central loading places and shoved into cattle cars for shipment to Siberia.

   A survivor described a trip of horror for a missionary who translated the diary into English for Harvest Field.

At Omsk ten thousand believers and others were brought on five hundred sledges ... in temperatures forty degrees below centigrade.

   Priests, preachers, and ministers of other denominations were driven thus, but the majority were innocent peasants ... The first night was spent under the open sky. Many of the aged and women and children froze that night. Others had frozen hands, feet, or faces. There were screams and sobs that cannot be described. One father ... could not stand it any longer. Snatching a rifle from a Red soldier, he shot his family and himself.

   The howling of the wolves awaiting their prey was terrible to hear. In this way we marched four days. The dead were not buried but the wolves devoured them. Only on the tenth day did we arrive at our destination. Snow and interminable forests surrounded us. Many never reached the place, especially the children. The erection of barracks was begun. The food was unfit to eat ... The dying were not cared for nor taken away — we did not know what became of them.

   Daily we turned to our Savior. Those who had no hope in Christ sank into a state of depression.

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Faith That Overcame

   The wife of a prominent pastor, who was later martyred, managed to smuggle out this account of following her husband on another forced march :

For almost three months I followed him from town to town, from prison to prison. Once I drew near to a very long line of banished men, possibly a thousand ... Thin and haggard, pale and exhausted, they tried to keep in line. Some of them fell, but they were drawn forward by force. Beside them walked their wives and children, heartbroken, but not permitted to help them in any way. The men carried on their shoulders small bundles containing their few belongings.

   The road led up a mountainside. I thought of our Savior climbing up Calvary's mountain. All the time I was scanning every face, trying to find my poor husband. At last, just as we came to the station, I caught a glimpse of him in the crowd. He looked very, very sick and had to be supported by a guard.

   He saw me, too, and raised his eyes to heaven, giving me an unspoken message that I would meet him there. Just at that moment, he was roughly pushed by a Red guard into a railway freight car. Of course, I could not be admitted to see him.

   Can you imagine the scene on that station platform with hundreds of women and children sobbing convulsively and wringing their hands in distress, some of them falling to earth in a dead faint? I ran from the place as from a cemetery, for I felt sure that I would never again see my husband on earth. It was only the Lord who gave me strength to bear the awful grief. Praise be to the Lord!

   When I returned home, I knew that my next real danger was the loss of my children. The government had threatened to take them from me ... I was ordered not to leave my home, and was taxed 500 rubles because my husband was a presbyter [church leader]. Now we are awaiting confiscation of our goods because we can't pay the tax.

   We are expecting every day to become beggars or prisoners, but we thank the Lord that we are free from any fear. We thank Him for everything.

   After some time, word came that my husband went to be with the Lord. With my husband gone and my children constantly threatened, of course I had rather be in a place where God is worshiped and where the teachings of the schools are different. Sometimes it seems to me that the believers in Russia will have to face the arena of the early Christians.

A short time later Harvest Field received word that this pastor's widow had joined her husband in heaven. Exactly how she died and what happened to her children is not known.

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Massacres in the Ukraine

   During the Stalin era all of the Soviet Union was a prison of fear where no one could be sure of tomorrow. Ukraine, where Stalin's police killed or took away millions, suffered the worst.

   Ukrainian horror began when millions of farmers were ordered to report to city factories to help the progress of industrialization. To feed the swollen urban population, Stalin clamped impossible agricultural quotas on Ukrainians who had been allowed to remain on their farms. The quotas were set deliberately high to ensure widespread famine. The farmers were required to turn over to the government up to 80 percent of their production. For most this was impossible, so lying became a way of life. For example, a family that was required to turn in three hundred eggs a year for each laying hen would hide some of the hens when inspectors came around. Devout Christians could not readily lie and were, therefore, likely to miss their quotas.

   For them, as well as those caught cheating, the dread NKVD (Soviet secret police) came in black cars, often in the middle of the night. Many were herded into river barges which were then sunk. Others were shipped to labor camps and did not see their families again for years, if ever.

Minister Martyr

   Pastors in Ukraine and elsewhere were special targets for the NKVD and other police. The story of young Pastor Arseny is dramatically related by S. Prokhanoff in his book In the Cauldron of Russia : 1869-1933, published by the All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union in 1933.

   Prokhanoff recalls that the young man first visited him in Leningrad in 1932, announcing, "The Lord has called me to preach the gospel in Siberia." This was at a time when millions of political prisoners were being shipped to Siberia. Prokhanoff promised to help with prayer and support.

   Arseny went to a city in central Siberia. Upon his arrival he was told the atheists were arranging a series of antireligious debates. "I will go there and defend the faith!" he immediately responded.

   For three nights he spoke with such eloquence that he was frequently interrupted by applause. At the end of the debates he was given an ovation.

   The next day an atheist visited his landlady. "Tell Arseny not to come any more to our debates. Otherwise something will happen to him."

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   The landlady informed the preacher early the next morning. He listened gravely, then said, "Whatever may happen, I will go to the debates and will fulfill my duty."

   Eyewitnesses reported that he spoke with special power and his face shone like that of an angel. The audience gave him a resounding ovation as the debates closed. When the applause died down, three young men came and took him away. The next morning Christian brothers found him dead in the snow near the railway station. They noted that he was in a half-kneeling position with his New Testament in his hands. He had been shot while praying.

Letters from "Hell"

   During this time of repression, perhaps unequaled since the persecutions of Christians in the first century under the mad Emperor Nero, letters continued to lead to friends outside the Soviet Union. Some of those published in Harvest Field indicate the heartbreak and agony of the Russian people under Stalin.

A woman wrote the Russian Missionary Society : Save, oh save us! Have pity on us! Women, young women, and children are being arrested and hundreds sent into exile. Men are sent to other places. [March 2, 1930]

A church leader reported : We have divided into groups of ten. In case one is shot or imprisoned, the next in rank steps into line. One of our pastors who stood for Christ in a Communistic gathering was watched and followed by the secret police. While he was preaching in his own pulpit, they entered and arrested him. Later our congregation received a note saying, "If you wish to find the body of your pastor, go to a certain cemetery." We found him shot dead with his Bible on his breast. They had offered him a large reward if he would renounce Christ, but he chose death with Christ. [November, 1931]

Another Russian evangelical wrote to a missionary : Our conditions here are becoming worse and worse, and we are facing death. We have absolutely nothing to eat. My husband is in bed, suffering from swollen legs because of starvation. Sometimes we get a little something to eat and we mix it with grass, trying to satisfy our hunger. People are falling down from starvation like sparrows in the frost. [December, 1933]

   Only eternity will reveal the depth and extent of suffering among evangelicals imprisoned by the Stalinist regime because they chose to obey God

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in matters of faith rather than man. Many died in prison or in Siberian exile. Some, incarcerated during the late twenties and thirties, may have lived through the trauma of the terrible camps. The stories of two dynamic leaders serve to illustrate the bravery and sacrifice of those who died.

Terror in the Labor Camps

   Nikolai Odintsov, born in 1870 and ordained in 1909, was the best known Baptist preacher of his time. He preached in the mountains of the Caucasus, in bustling Moscow, in historic St. Petersburg, and in far eastern Russia where churches were hundreds of miles apart. In 1926 he was elected chairman of the Federal Baptist Union and in 1928 was a delegate to the World Baptist Congress in Toronto. He was editor of The Baptist in 1929 when that journal was closed by the government.

   That same year the Baptist Bible School and the local and Federal Baptist Unions were forcibly shut down. Then Odintsov's closest assistant was arrested. The veteran preacher, teacher, and journalist felt he would be next. Quoting from the apostle Paul's farewell statement to the elders of the church at Ephesus, Odintsov told his associates, "Bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God' " [Acts 20:23-24].

   His arrest did not come until the night of November 5, 1929. A co-worker arrested with him reported that he vigorously defended the Word of God in bouts with questioners. After serving a three-year sentence in Yaroslav prison, he was exiled to the village of Makovskoye in remote eastern Siberia. His wife visited him there in 1937 and reported to the believers at home that he was very weak physically but strong in spirit. He sent greetings to his brothers and sisters in Christ and anticipated that he would soon be with the Heavenly Father. "He often said to me," Mrs. Odintsov told them, "'I want to go home.'"

   The following year he was placed in an unknown prison. He died there soon afterwards. Some of his letters from prison live on. In one long epistle he wrote, in part :

I shall not describe the terrors which the prisoners are experiencing, as that is a matter for a specialist-historian or a simple honest man. I shall say only one thing : there is no terror like it! Can one imagine the bestial look of the hand-picked convoy escorts, who, making use of

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the right granted them, can shoot sick men who collapse and hunt down with vicious dogs the prisoner who falls on the road? ...

   My body is tired and weak, my work for the Lord here in the camps is unbearably hard, and the repressions I suffer often hold me for long periods on my bare plank bed, which represents my bed of ease.

   I have grown weak in body, but not in spirit. Jesus, the Lord, upholds me ... Nothing atheistic has adhered to me. "I have fought the faith." I have refused to betray God. "Henceforth there is laid for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day" (2 Timothy 4:8). I have always avoided every injustice. With this my earthly life will be finished ...

   What else will there be? The Lord knows! Eternal glory to Him! Rejoice, dear brothers and sisters, as I REJOICE! Your brother ... to the end of his days has not forgotten you all. May the name of our God and of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed and glorified. Amen! Hallelujah!

Peter Vins

   Peter Yakovlevich Vins, a minister of the gospel during the 1930s in Siberia and eastern Russia, was the first of three generations to be imprisoned for the sake of the gospel. Vins was participating in the assembly of the Russian Baptist Union in Moscow in 1930 as a representative of Baptists from the eastern part of the USSR when he was first arrested. Advised by the secret police to back the candidacies of two "ministers" chosen by government agencies to be members of the administrative board of the Russian Baptist Union, Vins had refused.

   The government candidates were elected anyway. One later proved himself to be a traitor when he helped the government shut down the Baptist Union. In that time the churches were plagued by many apostates whom Communists maneuvered into leadership positions with the purpose of destroying Christianity from within.

   Peter Vins was arrested and, after three months of investigation, sentenced to three years in the Svetlaya Bay labor camp. His two-year-old son, Georgi, had just begun to talk and often prayed, "Jesus, bring Daddy back."

   Peter was released in 1933 and a year later, when his passport was restored, moved to the town of Omsk where the Baptist church had been closed. After working all day, he would visit believers at night, encouraging and strengthening them from God's Word, and teaching them to minister to fellow members of Christ's body who were suffering. Though all meetings, including those in homes, had been forbidden, by 1936 there were one thousand believers in Omsk.

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   Because of his activity among the believers at Omsk, it was inevitable that Peter would be arrested and tried again. This became the pattern of his life during these years. Believers all over the Soviet Union were in the same predicament. Forbidden to assemble for worship, they could only minister to one another through prayers and home visitation, and in sharing of material goods. Arrests continued; thousands more were taken away to the camps.

   After a new wave of arrests began in Omsk, little Georgi Vins noticed his parents cutting a Gospel into parts and sewing sections into a coat collar lining and into trousers. He knew the departure of his beloved father was again at hand.

A Family's Last Look

   This time the father was put in a cell on the fourth floor of the Omsk prison. The family took parcels for him to the prison gate. For a while they were able to walk along the streets that surrounded the prison and see him waving his arms from a window. Noticing workmen building boxes over the windows on the lower stories, they knew this pleasure would shortly be taken away. One day they arrived and saw that the workmen were close to Peter's window. They stood and looked lovingly for a long time at the familiar figure waving to them from above. Then the workmen closed the window and they were left only with the memory of the wave of his hand and the faint outline of his face.

   Lydia Vins and young Georgi never saw him again. Mrs. Vins made repeated inquiries about his fate. Finally she was told he had been sent to a closed camp for socially dangerous people for ten years. Prisoners at that camp were denied the privilege of correspondence so they had no further contact with him. They subsequently learned that he had died on December 27, 1943, at the age of forty-five. After his death, Mrs. Vins continued filing petitions that his case be reconsidered. Finally on Christmas Eve, 1963, a new hearing was held in the Omsk regional court, and Peter Vins was declared posthumously rehabilitated.

Why Persecution Eased

   In 1939 Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Adolf Hitler. Then in a series of brutal, imperialistic moves, the Soviet Communists forcibly annexed neighboring Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, western Ukraine, the

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eastern half of Poland, and even a slice of territory from little Finland. Western democracies did nothing.

   In 1941 German armies suddenly attacked the Soviet Union. Russia entered the war on the side of the Allies. Facing a long siege, Stalin ordered his underlings to stop persecuting the churches and to court the support of church leaders in the name of national unity. When the war ended, the nation was so weakened that unity continued to be pursued. Cooperative church leaders were permitted to travel abroad to world church conferences. Moscow needed them to combat claims in the West of religious persecution in the Soviet Union and to soften criticism of postwar Communist takeovers in eastern European countries as well as Communist spying and infiltration in other nations.

Khrushchev's Crackdown

   Wily Nikita Khrushchev took power in 1956. When he denounced Stalin as a despot and took a softer line in foreign policy, Christians hope that persecution in the Soviet Union might be over. Then suddenly in 1959 the Khrushchev government initiated a new wave of repression against the churches in order to demonstrate to other Communist powers that the Soviets had not betrayed the world Communist movement. A target date of 1980 was set for the eradication of all religion in the country.

   Once again the government-controlled press began attacking church leaders. Old laws were again rigidly enforced. Clergy were forbidden to instruct children, and youth under eighteen were ordered to stay away from churches. Some laws, which had seemed unrelated to religion, were applied to Christians. Most common was the so-called antiparasite law, which related to persons whose work was considered socially unfit by government officials. This law was used against full-time religious workers.

   During the next five years ten thousand more Russian Orthodox churches were closed to services and the buildings taken over by the state for public use. Under pressure from the government, a rump synod of Orthodox bishops issued new Regulations forbidding Orthodox priests to serve on parish councils. In separate government actions Communist sympathizers were named to parish councils by local Communist committees under existing laws. Priests who refused to follow desired propaganda lines were fired. Three objecting Orthodox bishops were sent to prison. Another objector, Metropolitan Nikolai of Krutitsy, president of the Council of the Orthodox Church

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for Foreign Relations, was dismissed from office. Shortly afterwards he died mysteriously.

The Pochaev Monastery Massacre

   The worst single atrocity against Orthodoxy during this time occurred on November 20, 1964, when the KGB and other police attacked the Pochaev Monastery. A later protest filed by the Spiritual Council of the Monastery to the Supreme Soviet (national legislature) of the USSR gave this report :

They broke into cells, removing the doors, seized the monks and rampaged through the churches and living quarters of the monastery. The following were arrested and sentenced : priest-monks Valerian Popovich and Vladimir Soldatov and priest-deacon Gavriil Uglitsky. Monk Mikhail Longchakov, because of his age, was accorded the "indulgence" of confinement in a mental hospital instead of being imprisoned ... Many monks had to go into hiding in conditions of considerable difficulty in order to evade further arrest and imprisonment ... Many others died prematurely and passed on to eternal life before their time. Yevlogi died after torture outside the monastery, as did Abbot Andrei and a number of others. Some who remained alive lost their good health.

Communist Strategy against Evangelicals

   The government applied a similar strategy against Baptist evangelicals. Although details are still not known, it can be logically presumed that Party officials persuaded certain leaders of the All-Union Council of Evangelical Christians and Baptists in the USSR to issue regulations designed to check the growth of evangelicals.

   What cannot be disputed is that in 1960 a group of church leaders, claiming to represent the All-Union Council, met without authority from the member churches, and adopted a set of New Statutes for church life and mission. The Statutes were then expanded upon in a Letter of Instructions mailed to all senior clergymen. When the Statutes and the Letter were presented in churches, thousands of evangelicals raised a loud cry of alarm.

   The Statutes were similar to the Regulations imposed upon Russian Orthodoxy. They served to tighten state control over church affairs. Not only were children under eighteen to be excluded from worship, but baptisms

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of older young people, eighteen to thirty, were to be reduced. Evangelistic preaching was to be discouraged and "unhealthy missionary tendencies" restrained. There were even restrictions on where and when services could be held, who should preach, and who should give public prayers. A church choir could perform only in its own church building. Only the organ and the harmonium, and in some instances an upright piano, could be used in worship. Most threatening of all, only congregations whose registration had been recognized by civil authorities could belong to the All-Union Council.

   The loudest cries came from pastors who had served time in prison and from relatives of evangelicals still incarcerated or who had died for their faith. They asked, "Is this to be the result of our suffering for Christ?"

   The authors of the new rules never explained their actions. Two theories circulated. One was that the Baptist leaders saw the storm coming and acted to protect the churches from severe persecution. The second, and most widely believed by objectors, was that the authors had acted primarily in their own self-interest. Communist officials had warned, so the story ran, that if they wanted to keep their positions and church buildings they must slow the growth of the evangelical movement. Whatever the motives, it appeared that the government had dealt a heavy blow against evangelicals by making it seem that their own leaders were signing the death warrant of the churches.

The Evangelical Rebellion

   Any death notice was much too premature.

   The first effect was to unite a wide range of Baptists and other evangelicals in fresh opposition to government "interference" in the private affairs of citizens. Georgi Vins, son of martyred Peter Vins, Alexei Prokefiev, Gennadi Kryuchkov, and other recognized leaders formed an "action" committee and met secretly in Moscow. They declared their opposition to the newest antireligious policy, accusing the leaders of the All-Union Council of cooperating and conniving with the atheist regime and excommunicating the members of the Council who had signed the Letter of Instructions. They established a new Council of Churches of the Evangelical Christians and Baptists. They called for a church congress composed of elected representatives of all congregations in the USSR, both registered and unregistered.

   The schism was now official. Hundreds of churches withdrew from the All-Union Council to support the new organization. Many simply split.

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Factions loyal to the Council continued as "registered" congregations. Dissenters became, in effect, outlaw churches.

A New Wave of Arrests

   A government crackdown, reminiscent in some localities of Stalinism, began on the leaders of the new group and on the unregistered churches. The first arrested was Alexei Prokofiev, who had served time before for "organizing illegal Baptist sectarian groups and preaching libelous sermons against the Soviet way of life." Among other things, he was charged with "washing [baptizing] a group of boys and girls in icy water, one of whom, Anatoli Shatsky, a young laborer, developed a severe mental illness." In 1962 Prokefiev was sentenced to a ten-year prison term.

Tortured to Death

   Among the cities especially hard hit was Kulunda in western Siberia. There the target was an "illegal" Baptist congregation which Communist officials had refused to register. This meant they could neither legally assemble nor obtain a building for their services. They could not meet outside in the bitter cold, so they met secretly in private homes.

   Though they could not openly evangelize, they had private ways of witnessing. One convert was Nikolai Khmara. At forty-five he was transformed from a chronic drunk to glowing believer. He became such an active witness that within six months he and three others were arrested for religious activities and for failing to conform to the Statutes of the official All-Union Council. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment. His pastor received five years. Two weeks later his dead body was returned to his wife. Burn marks were on his palms, toes, and the soles of his feet. A sharp instrument had punctured his stomach. His legs and ankles were swollen and his whole body was covered with bruises. A rag was stuffed in his mouth. His wife removed it and stepped back. His tongue had been cut out. Plainly, he had been tortured to death.

   The persecution in Kulunda and other localities convinced the "reformed" Baptists that another purge was in process. Yet they would not give their persecutors victory. They banded together in prayer and mutual support and launched an action unprecedented in the Soviet Union.

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The First Organized Crusade for Human Rights

   Six weeks after Nikolai Khmara's brutal murder, Georgi Vins, Gennadi Kryuchkov, and others convened, without government permission, the first All-Union Conference of Baptist Prisoners' Relatives. Georgi Vins's mother, Lydia Vins, took the leading role. This conference in 1964 was the first organized movement to crusade for human rights in the Communist world. It was organized before Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn's epochal Gulag Archipelago was published in the West and before the broader campaign for human rights was begun by Soviet political dissidents.

   The Conference members disseminated a list of 170 Baptist prisoners serving sentences for charges relating to faith and conscience. They carefully pointed out the injustices involved in each case. This information was printed secretly and copies were sent to government leaders and to international organizations and other interested groups abroad. They also noted that the imprisoned Baptists had 442 dependents, many of whom were without material support. The plight of these dependents, they said, was twofold : one, the Soviet Communist system provided no social assistance for dependents of prisoners. They had to work or starve. Two, it was extremely difficult and often impossible for relatives of known prisoners to obtain jobs. In fact, some of the prisoners' wives had been terminated after their employers learned the fate of their husbands.

   The Conference of Prisoners' Relatives did not expect Moscow to respond with a sudden outburst of charity. Rather, they anticipated that Soviet officialdom would launch a vigorous counterattack and attempt to disprove the embarrassing revelations.

The Continuing Crusade

   The believers had always helped one another. Now with the compiling of names and needs, an organized relief ministry was begun with more fortunate believers contributing and giving encouragement to the families of those in prison and to parents who had lost their children to Communist tyranny. At the same time they continued to distribute evidence showing that Soviet laws on religion were despicably discriminatory against Christians and other Soviet citizens with religious faith.

   In 1965 the Conference sent a letter to Leonid Brezhnev, then the chairman of a committee that was drafting a new federal constitution. They explained how Soviet antireligious legislation contradicted Lenin's

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original appeals for church-state separation and the right of believers to practice and propagate their faith. They said that the main deviation was the notorious religious law of 1929 which preceded the great persecution of Christians under Stalin. But this appeal was also ignored.

Demonstrating for Freedom

   Kryuchkov and Vins sent other letters without success. Finally they organized an unprecedented demonstration before the Communist Central Committee building in Moscow on May 16, 1966.

   At the appointed time five hundred Baptist representatives from churches in 130 towns moved into the building courtyard. Several leaders presented letters at the main doors. The petitions called for official recognition of the Council of Churches of the Evangelical Christians and Baptists, a stop to governmental interference in church affairs, a release of imprisoned believers, and the granting of rights for Soviet citizens to teach and be taught religious faith. The leaders asked to see Leonid Brezhnev, now chairman of the Central Committee. But they were permitted only to leave their petitions with the receptionist at the door. They then returned to the courtyard to keep a vigil with their brothers and sisters through the rest of the day and night. The next morning about a hundred members of the Moscow Baptist Church, a licensed congregation, joined them. There was no violence, just quiet waiting.

The Government Responds

   During the morning, detachments of soldiers and KGB security officials took stations around them to prevent talk with passersby. Around noon an official came out of the building and announced that ten leaders could come in. The rest, he said, should go home. The leaders stepped through the door. The crowd stayed. "Pray for our brothers," someone shouted. As heads bowed and prayers ascended, the number of curious onlookers outside the ring of police grew.

   Suddenly a fleet of empty buses converged and began pushing into the crowd. Then the police attacked. Swinging bottles, sticks, and other weapons, they began striking at the people and pushing and shoving them into the buses. The believers linked arms in a human chain and began singing a hymn, "For the Evangelical Faith." Their singing could be heard

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above the shouts and blows of the police. But they were finally herded aboard the buses and driven away to various jails in Moscow.

   The government was embarrassed at what had happened. The incident would be reported in foreign newspapers, damaging the humanitarian image of Soviet communism which propagandists had been trying to build up. The decision was made to deal with the leaders once and for all.

   Ten were already in custody. Others were rounded up. Then on May 19 Georgi Vins, one of the most wanted, and another believer quietly walked up to the receptionist's desk at the Committee's building and announced that they had been sent by their Council of Churches to learn what had happened to the protesters. As they were leaving, police grabbed them.

   Still more Baptists came to the Central Committe headquarters. By May 22 the news was all over Moscow, and foreign correspondents were waiting outside. The police became more discreet in making arrests.

   But it was a different story at the service of the church in Kiev which Georgi Vins pastored. Because they had been unable to get a license, the people were meeting in some woods by a railway junction. For three years Kiev police had left them alone. On this Sunday they were surrounded by hundreds of police who waited until near the end of the service. Then the police plunged forward, seeking to chase the worshipers into the woods so passengers on passing trains would not witness the commotion. About thirty were arrested. The majority were kept in custody only a few days, but Georgi Vins and Gennadi Kryuchkov were put on trial.

   The courtroom was packed when the trial began. The principal charges were organizing the May protest in Moscow, publishing and distributing unauthorized literature, and organizing religious instruction for children.

   The prosecutor pointed to the glorification of suffering of believers in the literature as evidence that the preachers had rebelled against Soviet laws and even consorted with foreigners for overthrow of the government. "Kryuchkov and Vins," he said in conclusion, "are well aware of the ideology that dominates our society— one that has nothing in common with religion. Yet, in spite of our ideology and in spite of what is taught in the schools, they go and organize religious instruction for children."

   The two Baptists defended themselves vigorously and used their opportunities for testimony to recite instances of persecution and discrimination. Vins freely admitted that he was responsible for the literature in question.

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After giving their defenses, both preachers were permitted to give final addresses. Said Vins in part :

I consider myself fortunate to be able to stand here and testify that I'm charged as a believer ... I do not see you, Comrade Judge, Comrade Prosecutor, and all there present as my enemies; you're my brothers and sisters in the human race. When I leave the courtroom, I shall pray to God for you there in my cell, asking that He should reveal His divine truth to you and the great meaning of life.

   This evoked great shouting and laughter among the Communist spectators. After a final address by Kryuchkov, both men were sentenced to three years imprisonment in "special regime" camps.

   But the imprisonment of Vins, Kryuchkov, and other Baptist leaders did not break up the movement as the Communist government had hoped. Though Georgi Vins's wife, Nadezhda, was left with four young children and lost her job as a translator, the protests continued with lists of prisoners kept up-to-date (names, charges, dates of trials and sentencing, location of prisons, etc.).

A Mother Goes to Prison

   On December 1, 1970, Georgi's mother, Lydia Vins, was arrested while in the house with her grandchildren. Put on trial in a Kiev court, the aged woman gave a vigorous recital of persecutions by Soviet authorities against believers. When the judge decreed three years in a labor camp, her daughter-in-law Nadezhda threw her a bouquet of violets. When the police brought her out to a police car, she had to be supported to keep from falling. Believers stood courageously in the street and sang,

For the faith of the Gospel,
For Christ we shall stand up,
Following His example,
Ever onward, onward after Him.

The battle rages, the flame is hot,
And places shake and sway,
Raise higher the banner
Of Christ the Victor.

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Sufferings in the Seventies

   Persecution in the seventies continued to center on believers from unregistered congregations. There were more arrests, prison sentences, and "kidnappings" of children from religious families. In each instance, Soviet prosecutors carefully cited alleged law violations during the charades with the Communists called trials.

   With increased publicity abroad about human rights violations in the Soviet Union, the Soviet government became sensitive to world opinion. The government did not want martyrs. Communist bureaucrats knew that the sudden, violent killing of a pastor, if known to the press, would be headlined in major western cities. Still, violent deaths did occur, perhaps more as a result of rash acts by lesser officials than as government strategy.

The "Suicide" of Pastor Moiseyevich

   Ivan Moiseyevich had once predicted, "I must die for the faith." In 1974 he was in poor health and living in forced exile in cold Siberia. Though a medical commission recommended that he should be returned to a warmer climate, Communist bureaucrats blocked his transfer. In January 1975, his family received a telegram reporting his death. His sons and several close friends flew to the Siberian town of Nyagan where his body had been embalmed. They were met by an official who claimed Moiseyevich had hung himself.

   His family reported in the Bulletin of the Council of Baptist Prisoners' Relatives :

Knowing our father's powers of endurance and his deep faith in eternal life, we did not believe that he had done it himself ... We tried to discover who saw him last ... but we were unable to because the two men who shared a room with our father had suspiciously disappeared, no one knew where, although we tried for the next two days to find them.

Their suspicions increased when they examined the body and noted that his hands and his legs below the knees were almost black, and his face white. They wangled permission to ship the body home to Odessa by air freight. But because of bureaucratic stalls, they were unable to leave for two weeks. Police were waiting when they landed and kept constant watch over the coffin. Twenty-five minutes after they reached the dead man's house

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a group of Communist doctors arrived and ordered that the coffin not be opened. The travelers were told by neighbors that Communists had been watching their house almost every night for the past two weeks.

   The body was transferred to a new coffin on February 13 in the presence of relatives and three of the doctors. The relatives wanted to examine the body for marks of violence, but the doctors refused, claiming that an epidemic might result. When relatives and friends began filing by to view the body, the doctors kept hurrying them along. Afterwards the room was closed so no one could look at the body.

   A thousand mourners gathered for the funeral. The services were accompanied by a church band and evangelical hymns while Communist functionaries looked on sourly. One of the sons spoke about his father's life and death. Altogether eight sermons were preached.

   After the burial, local police continued to harass the martyr's family. Early in March his eldest son, Pyotr, age twenty-seven, died suddenly in the night from a heart condition.

  "Summons to the authorities continue both in the family of Ivan Moiseyevich and in the church," the Council noted at the close of their report. The report continued :

But praise God that the spring countryside and our beloved work on the land, together with our prayers to God, help us all to bear the cross laid upon us. We are convinced, beloved brothers and sisters, that as we believe in the power of the cross of Christ, so the Lord will manifest His power in us through Him. Please, beloved, pray for the continuing life of our church and for the sorrowing family of Ivan Moiseyevich. "Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying. Amen" [Ephesians 6:24].

The Strange Case of Private "Vanya"

   Another martyr of the seventies was Private Ivan "Vanya" Vasilevich Moiseyev. The parents of Vanya were told that he had died from drowning. His coffin was delivered to them welded shut. A Communist officer attended the funeral to see that the lid remained closed. Despite the officer's protests, the parents insisted on seeing their son's body. A crowbar was passed through the crowd. The officer fled in fear. When the coffin was opened, the family saw their son's bruised, blackened face and body. He had been stabbed, burned, and beaten— tortured to death.

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   Investigators from the Council of Baptist Prisoners' Relatives carefully compiled evidence from Vanya's letters home, a tape recording he had made, and the testimony of soldiers who had known him. They soon pieced together what had actually happened.

   Vanya's crime had been praying and witnessing. His first punishment was to stand outside in the cold for five days without food. When he refused to be quiet about his faith, he was ordered to stand for twelve straight nights in subzero weather. He survived this.

   Determined to break him, his commanding officer, Colonel Malsin, tried interrogations, beatings, and prison. He could not be broken. He was put on trial for attending unregistered religious meetings during recreation time, and for distributing literature containing falsehoods and slander against the Soviet Union. "I have one higher allegiance," he testified, "and that is to Jesus Christ. He has given me certain orders, and these I cannot disobey."

   The court sentenced him to prison. He was taken back to jail and beaten repeatedly. Colonel Malsin finally sent him to the dread KGB. The "treatment" they administered in a soundproof room ended his life. His murder was later confirmed by Colonel Malsin. Ill and stricken by remorse, the officer told Vanya's parents, "I was present when your son died ... He died hard, but he died a Christian." The true circumstances of his death are recorded in a book titled Vanya, by Myrna Grant.

   Vanya's family received many letters testifying of the spiritual impact of his martyrdom. Typical was this statement from a discharged soldier : "Our dear brother will be in our hearts eternally. He suffered much torture, but he was faithful to Christ to the end. He left us an example of how to strive for the crown of Christ."

An Analysis of Persecution in the USSR

   The martyrdom of the preacher and the soldier indicated that violence against believers was common in the Soviet Union. But these and other killings, along with less violent persecution, did not mean that believers all over the Soviet Union were the victims of such oppression. Peter Deyneka, Jr., former director of the Slavic Gospel Association, noted that imprisonments and beatings were "basically limited to areas where tourists do not go. In trying to woo third world nations, the Soviets

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are attempting to show more humaneness in places where visitors do go."

   Deyneka continued as one of the most knowledgeable persons in the West on Christianity and Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Slavic Gospel Association, which his father, an immigrant from Ukraine, founded, includes workers who are active in radio broadcasting and the printing and distribution of Bibles in the area. He cautioned that "while sensational stories of martyrdoms and imprisonments are true, the majority of Soviet evangelicals are able to carry on their worship and witness in meaningful ways" But he added :

Persecution in the Soviet Union is not just imprisonment. Every Christian there experiences psychological, economic, and educational pressure. One of the most fearful pressures which all Christian parents face is the possibility that their children will be taken away. Some children are taken away and put in atheistic orphanages because of stringent Christian teaching in their homes. Because of this every Christian mother wonders every day if it could happen to her children. This psychological pressure is real. The Communists use these and other experiences to keep Christians on edge with nervous tension.

Helsinki and Detente

   The 1975 Helsinki Agreement, calling for guarantees of human rights, which the Soviets signed in exchange for de facto recognition from the West of their hegemony over Eastern Europe, resulted in no relief for Soviet evangelicals. A report from Keston College, an English school specializing in study of religious life in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, cited an appeal made in 1976 as an example of pleas which had gone unanswered by Soviet authorities. This appeal, sent to Kosygin and Brezhnev with copies forwarded to the United Nations and other international agencies, stated : "agreements on human rights (signed in Helsinki) are not implemented in practice. You freed criminals under the amnesty, but you did not extend it to believers, although they were also eligible for release." The appeal cited a long list of human rights violations, including the torture and beatings of prisoners which sometimes resulted in death; job discrimination against believers; removal of children from homes for "ideological" reeducation; and breaking up of church services. The appeal reported how "in the village of Vysokovo in the Kharkov region, KGB official Zotov pushed past women who were

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kneeling in prayer, to the pulpit. When one believer said, 'You're behaving indecently,' Zotov replied, 'You'll be crawling on your knees to me.' "

The Continuing Vendetta against the Vins Family

   Among those arrested in 1977 was young Peter Vins, son of Georgi Vins and grandson of his martyred namesake. Young Peter was tried for "parasitism" in a courtroom packed with KGB officers. Family members had difficulty gaining entry to the courtroom and two of the accused's sisters were knocked down during a scuffle. Three of his friends, who were to testify in his behalf, were arrested and detained during the trial.

   After being sentenced to a year in a labor camp, the young believer was allowed by Soviet custom to address the court. He thanked his lawyer and family. He recalled KGB threats made the previous February about his activities with the Helsinki Committee monitoring groups. He said his conviction was a result of those threats. "My way is a special one," he concluded. "It is that of my grandfather, my father, my grandmother, and my mother."

   While in prison, young Vins was beaten severely. He was released on January 6, 1978, as "physically unfit for work." Then after visiting his father, Georgi Vins, in a labor camp in Siberia, he was rearrested for "parasitism." The following June 10 Georgi Vins was reported to have been "brutally beaten" and placed in an underground isolation cell.

Georgi Vins Is Released and Exiled

   Reports on the condition of Georgi Vins roused Christians in the West who recalled that Vins's father, Peter, had died in a Soviet prison camp and his mother Lydia, had served a prison sentence. A chorus of voices urged the United States government to apply pressure on the USSR to release Vins and other prisoners. Georgi had now been in prison a total of eight years for his ministry as General Secretary of the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches.

   President Jimmy Carter, a Baptist himself, challenged the Soviet government to respect human rights and release political and religious prisoners. Under pressure from the United States and other democratic governments, the Soviets finally responded. In 1979, they stripped Vins of his Soviet citizenship and exiled the brave preacher to the United States

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in a dramatic exchange of five American prisoners for two captured Soviet spies. The special agreement between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and President Carter also permitted the family of Vins to join him in the United States. Vins immediately began publicizing the plight of Baptists and other religious prisoners in his new publication, appropriately called the Prisoner Bulletin.

   Speaking and writing from the United States, Vins termed himself the International Representative for the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Soviet Union. In defending the position of the group not to register with the government, he said that the political requirements imposed by the USSR on a registered religious society were unacceptable. Communist authorities, Vins noted, controlled funds of registered churches, reserved the right to veto clergy nominations to office, sent KGB agents to church meetings, banned children from services, and decreed when and where a church could be built. The Russian Orthodox Church was allowed to function, though not evangelize. A few Baptist churches, including only one in Moscow, were permitted to hold services for members and guests, so long as the congregations kept within the limits of the restrictive laws.

The Soviets Invade Afghanistan

   As proof that the Marxist leopard had not changed its spots, the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Noted opposition leader Andrei Sakharov was arrested and exiled for protesting the invasion.

Olympics in Moscow, Persecution Continues

   It soon became obvious that the release and exile of Georgi Vins and his family were only token gestures. The harassment and oppression of Christians continued.

   In January 1980 the KGB carried out mass house searches at the homes of believers in Leningrad, Novosibirsk, and Kishinev, searching for Christian literature. On January 13, the KGB raided the house of Baptist Dimitri Minyakov, bent on his arrest. Minyakov escaped by hiding. On January 19, Pastor Konstantin Smirsky was arrested in the Ukrainian village of Krupsk, and Nocolai Kabisch, a candidate for church membership, was arrested during a church service in another Ukrainian town. On January 28, 1980, Pastor Mikhail Khorev, forty-nine, minister of the Baptist church

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in Kishinev, Moldavia, was arrested in Leningrad. This marked the third time he had been taken into government custody.

   January 27, Christian Adventist leader Vladimir Shelkov died in the Tabaga labor camp where winter temperatures often dropped to eighty degrees below zero. The eighty-four-year-old minister had spent twenty-three years of his life in labor camps.

   This was the year of the Olympics for Moscow and the Soviets were anxious to prevent religious protests and the distribution of Christian literature. They kept the houses and apartments of known Christian activists under constant surveillance in Moscow and other major cities.

   In one house they came upon four young people printing Christian literature on a secret press. The four were put on trial in August 1980. At the trial, Lubov Kosachevich, age twenty-eight, boldly proclaimed : "I love life, the blue sky, the budding trees and flowers. But more than life— I love God! I am willing to give even my life to serve Him."

   After the Olympics closed, the oppression became more severe. On August 18, Mkhail Khorev was sentenced to five years in the strict regime concentration camp where Georgi Vins had spent the last four years of his imprisonment and where Vladimir Shelkov had died. Pastor Khorev was completely blind in one eye and had only 10 percent vision in the other.

   His destination was kept from his wife. She finally found him, weak and emaciated, in a transit prison where he had been badly beaten by prison administrators with the wooden bats commonly used to test the soundness of prison walls and bars.

   Sixty-seven-year-old Nikolai Kharpov, who had already spent twenty-six years behind bars for his faith, was arrested again and imprisoned in Kazakhstan. His wife died shortly after his seizure. Two of their children found him so ill that he failed to recognize them.

   The law that forbade parents to teach their children about God was strictly enforced. In September 1980, Maria Drumova was brought to court and her twelve-year-old daughter, Maria, and four-year-old Aleksandr taken from her.

   Georgi Vins wrote from America to Christians around the world : "Together with the Christians of the first century, we can say : 'for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us' " (Romans 8:36-37).

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Dying Pastor Bids Farewell to Family and Friends

   For years, Dimitri Minyakov had been sought by the KGB as a dangerous criminal. His photograph had been posted in public places across the country. In 1980 he had escaped arrest by hiding. Police captured the fifty-nine-year-old pastor on January 21, 1981, and transported him secretly to the prison in Tallin where he was held incommunicado. Somehow, Minyakov, in critical condition, managed to get a farewell message to his family and friends : "We will stand in truth as long as God gives us life. Our only desire is to remain faithful to Him."

Christian Soldiers Are Savagely Beaten

   The Soviet government continued to regard most evangelicals as Baptists. When a believer obeyed the order to register for military service, "Baptist" was stamped in large red letters on his documents. This was an order to the KGB for his forcible reeducation, accomplished by beatings, torture, imprisonment, and sometimes murder.

   Fellow prisoners often joined in the "fun." Soldier V. Skvortson, serving in eastern Siberia, for example, was placed in a cell with ordinary criminals for refusing to deny his faith. His cell mates beat him and forced him to sleep on the cement floor. They held him down and tattooed his arms with pictures and words. At the order of the KGB, they sketched a cross on his chest, and were preparing to tattoo it into the skin when his mother arrived. She found him in grave condition. His lips were swollen and he could hardly speak.

Psychiatric Horrors

   In 1981, Soviet atheistic psychiatrists began forcible, medical experiments on Christians with the goal of forcing them to deny their faith and accept Marxism. The wife of "patient" Vladimir Khailo, father of fifteen, sent Christian friends this message : "Dear loved ones of the Lord, I appeal to you with a great need : Cry out to God in fasting and prayer for my family and for my husband who was forcibly interned in a psychiatric hospital."

   Khailo was permitted a brief meeting with his family on March 31. They found that his health had deteriorated as a result of the treatment forced on him by psychiatrists, acting under KGB orders to break him.

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He complained of dizziness, vomiting, and pain in his bones. "I stand on the front line like Uriah," he told his loved ones. "My bed is the bed of Job."

Billy Graham Preaches in Moscow

   As a young preacher in 1954, the world's most famous Christian evangelist had termed Satan the god of Communism. "Either Communism must die," he declared, "or Christianity must die because it is a battle between Christ and the anti-Christ." In 1982, he came to Moscow for a Kremlin-approved antinuclear conference. He saw only what his hosts wanted him to see. Even though he met with six Pentecostalists taking refuge in the U.S. embassy, he was quoted as saying that he had seen no evidence of religious repression. "There are differences, of course, in religion as it is practiced here and, let's say, in the United States. But that doesn't mean there is no religious freedom." He later commented that "in Great Britain, they have a state church. Here the church is not a state church. It is a free church." So he was quoted as saying.

   Speaking at the only legal Baptist church in Moscow, Graham said the Bible asked citizens "to obey the authorities" and that Jesus gave "man the power to be a better worker, a loyal citizen." Suddenly a woman rose and draped a banner over the balcony that read, "We have more than 150 prisoners for the work of the Gospel." She was quickly escorted out of the church by several men in plain clothes and presumably detained for questioning. Asked later about the incident, Graham reportedly answered, "We detain people in the United States if we catch them doing things wrong."

   Midway during his visit, Graham seemed to take a different stand, when he inserted into his prepared sermon an appeal for religious freedom : "I urge all governments to respect the rights of religious believers as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

   Evangelical theologian Carl Henry explained Grahams' diplomacy as stemming from his "desire not to embarrass the Russian Orthodox Church, which might in the future invite him to return." Graham expressed a wish to "go from Siberia to the Black Sea on a crusade."

Plea for the Prisoners

   In 1984 a 270 member delegation from the National Council of Churches in America came to the USSR. Everywhere the delegation went,

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official churches which Georgi Vins said collaborated with the KGB, tried to create the impression of complete religious freedom in the USSR.

   A farewell was held for the group in the Moscow Baptist Church. While one of the visitors was speaking, a group of believers from an unlicensed Baptist church stood on two balconies and unfurled banners, reading : NUMBER OF PRISONERS FOR THE WORK OF THE GOSPEL IS CONSTANTLY INCREASING AND REACHES 200 PERSONS NOW.

   Immediately, a group of deacons quickly consulted with plainclothes KGB agents and tried to grab the banners. They dragged some of those holding banners out into the hall. The foreign guests sat silently while this was happening. Some wept.

   Three weeks later, Veniamin Naprienko, one of those in the group displaying banners, was arrested and imprisoned. In a statement, Naprienko said, "Our goal was to express support for our suffering brothers and sisters who are today separated from their families and churches. We believed that if we did not speak out, we would be guilty before the Lord. We could not remain silent at such a critical moment."

   Naprienko served two years in a prison camp. Upon his return to Moscow, he and his wife, Natasha, went to their local police station to complete paperwork on his residence documents. The police chief refused to approve the application and warned Naprienko that he would be arrested if he did not leave Moscow within twenty-four hours. The Naprienkos took their five children to a town several hundred miles away. Police swooped down on where they were staying and demanded identification. When Naprienko presented his documents, he was immediately arrested and sentenced to jail.

Pastor Nikolai Kharpov Dies a Martyr's Death

   In 1982, Pastor Nikolai Kharpov joined his wife who had died shortly before his arrest two years earlier. The sixty-eight-year-old Kharpov was serving his twenty-eighth year in concentration camps for his ministry as an evangelist and Christian writer and poet. His body was returned to his family. Five hundred attended the funeral services which were secretly photographed, with the pictures sent to Georgi Vins in America for publication in the Prisoner Bulletin.

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Georgi Vins Keeps Reporting

   The Soviet oppressors must have deeply regretted the exiling of Georgi Vins to the United States. Vins and his wife and staff continued mailing thousands of copies of the Prisoner Bulletin, with smuggled-out reports of suffering believers in the USSR. Here are a few excerpts from the 1982 Bulletin :

Sixty-three-year-old Ivan Antonov was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for his activities as a pastor. The sentence included five years in Siberian exile.

   Sixty-two-year-old Dimitri Minyakov was transferred from the hard labor team to the handicapped section at a Siberian concentration camp. When last seen, Minyakov was near death from an open form of tuberculosis.

   Three young soldiers were martyred for their faith. One, Vasili Druk, was stabbed in the heart by another soldier under the direct command of an army officer. Another, Vladimir Muzika, was told by authorities, who knew he was a Christian : "You'll never return home alive. He died fifty-two days later.

The Sufferings of Galina Vilchinskaya

   Galina Vilchinskaya, age twenty-three, was arrested on November 19, 1982, less than three months after her release from a Siberian concentration camp where she had served three years for teaching children about God. The KGB framed her by smuggling narcotics into her baggage on a plane flight. She was rearrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment on a drug charge.

   She wrote her family : "Don't condemn me; I'm not guilty. They were waiting for me ... Forgive me, this letter isn't turning out and I'm crying. I used to be stronger. I don't let them see my tears. [I] let them always see me smiling, though it's hard to be like that. I ask only one thing : Pray. Don't worry. I didn't say anything about anyone, and little was demanded of me."

   After release, she worked in a summer Christian camp. She was arrested there for teaching children's classes and imprisoned in Livov, a city in Ukraine. Because of her hymn singing and witnessing, authorities moved her from cell to cell, each worse than the previous one, but enabling every women in her cellblock to hear about the love of Christ.

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   When threats did not shake her, the KGB shoved her into a cold, damp cell on death row, with several condemned women. Day and night the women wailed and tore their hair in despair. Galina sang and tried to comfort them.

   After more than two months on death row, she stood pale and exhausted as she was put on trial in February 1983 and sentenced to three years in a prison "where we hope you will rot." When word spread through the jail that Galina was being sent away, the prisoners collected a supply of dry bread and eight pounds of sugar from their meager allotments and gave it to Galina to strengthen her before she left.

   Her new prison was a concentration camp, seventy-two hundred miles from her home. There, far away from her loved ones, her captors hoped to break her spirit or destroy her physically. Hunger, malnutrition, exhaustion and cold, and severe living conditions caused her hair and teeth to fall out and left her body covered with boils. Still she kept singing and witnessing. Transferred from one brigade to another, she continued to share her faith. "I didn't come here to sit silently with my hands folded in my lap," she wrote. "I came to speak about Christ."

   Camp authorities warned her that if she did not stop speaking about God, she would pay. She was beaten by two inmates until she lost consciousness, then they beat her some more. Upon learning of the cruel beatings, her mother appealed to Georgi Vins : "Help Galina, help my dear daughter!" Vins told the story in the Prisoner Bulletin, asking for prayer and "a flood of petitions" to Soviet authorities "for this young Christian woman suffering for the sake of Christ."

Standing on God's Promises

   Arrests and imprisonment of Christians continued during the 1980s. In Leningrad, authorities pounced on a Baptist church which was meeting in a home because the congregation could not obtain permission to build a sanctuary. Senior Pastor Fedor Makhovitsky was sentenced to five years in a strict regime labor camp. Evangelist Mikhail Vladimirovich and Vladimir Protsenko, owner of the house in which the church had been meeting, were given four and three years in ordinary regime camps respectively. The court also confiscated the property of all three men. Refusing to surrender, the three hundred-member church began holding worship services in small apartments and in wooded areas on the outskirts of the city.

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   Believers in Dzhambul, Kazakhstan, worshiped in a tent. Police destroyed the tent on Christmas day. The senior pastor, Yakov Skornyakov, was sentenced to five years in a strict regime labor camp. Although he suffered severely from stomach cancer, he was denied medical treatment by order of the KGB and forced to do heavy labor.

   The spirit of these and other suffering prisoners could not be broken. Nikolai Kolbantsev, the father of seven, wrote to his family in February 1985 while serving a thirty-month sentence for preaching the gospel :

There is no way these years of punishment by the world can be erased from my life. But despite all that has happened, I am still alive! My circumstances have been severe, monotonous, and full of restrictions. For many of my brothers in Christ, prison bonds are repeated twice, three times, even more. Is there meaning in all this? In the end, is it possible to find joy and satisfaction in such a hard life?

   The words of Habakkuk come to mind : "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength."

   If all these things are taken away, what will remain? Nothing! Yet for a Christian something even greater does remain. "For me to live is Christ." He is everything in my life and He is my life. So wherever I am, in bonds or free, with Him life is always good.

   Time rushes on, drawing us ever nearer to that joyous and much longed-for day when we will see Him face to face. Then everything that has caused pain and suffering will be over, and that blessed eternal day will have begun.

Revival despite Repression

   In March 1985, Christianity Today reported that Christians in the USSR were experiencing the most severe repressions in over twenty years. The Christianity Today story noted that Communist policies had cost the lives of an estimated sixty million Soviet citizens between 1917 and 1953. Some sixty-six million had been imprisoned, of whom as many as half may have been Christian believers.

   Christianity, Christianity Today said, had not only survived but was experiencing revival in some places. Ninety-five percent of the respondents in an unofficial survey saw no contradiction between science and religion. After decades of forced indoctrination in Marxism, many, if not

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most Soviets, held the atheistic ideology to be void of meaning. One joke asked three questions :

   "What is philosophy? Searching in a dark room for a black bed.

   "What is Marxism? Searching in a dark room for a black bed that isn't there.

   "What is Marxism-Leninism? Searching in a dark room for a black bed that isn't there and shouting, 'I've found it!' "

Changes in Leadership

   Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died of a heart attack in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov as the head of the Communist Party in the USSR. The aging Andropov had helped unseat Khrushchev in 1964 and later served as chairman of the KGB. In the late 1950s Kruschchev had boasted that religion in the USSR would become obsolete by 1965. However, he said, at least one Christian would be preserved and placed in a museum so future generations could view an extinct species.

   Andropov — no friend of Christian believers — died in 1984 and the aging, sickly Konstantin Cherenko served as caretaker of an interim regime for the next thirteen months. Cherenko was succeeded in 1985 by Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- ), who had spent almost his entire career in the bureaucracy of the Communist Party. Gorbachev, a pragmatic Communist, inaugurated a dramatic era of change which would culminate in the epochal breakup of the Soviet Union, some six years later.

Glasnost and Perestroika

   Gorbachev's summits and treaties with the West and pronouncements on Soviet history did not set well with many old-line Communist leaders in the USSR and neighboring Communist countries. His assertion that Joseph Stalin had committed enormous crimes against the Soviet people shook the bureaucratic structure to the core. Gorbachev's call, in 1987, for glasnost— a new openness— and perestroika— restructuring— in Soviet life captured the imagination of the world and set hardline Communists's teeth on edge.

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Baptists Remain in Prison

   One of Gorbachev's first actions in 1987 was to order the release of 140 prisoners of conscience. But Georgi Vins reported "there has been no observable improvement for believers. As of January 1, 1987, the number of Evangelical Baptist prisoners was 130. Only two were released early."

   Vins noted that most released prisoners "are placed under official surveillance by the KGB and police for a year. Christians on probation do not have the right to attend worship services, entertain other Christians in their homes, or travel anywhere outside their city or town. They are required to be at home every day .... and the police and KGB may enter the house or apartment without warning at any time to check on them." Two of those on probation, Vins said, were Mikhail Khorev and the ailing Dimitri Minyakov. "In essence, they were not freed; they were only transferred from prison camp to house arrest."

   Vins recalled that almost all prisoners released during previous changes in political leadership were within two or three years arrested again and sent back to prisons and camps. "State atheism," Vins said, "sees the living Church of Jesus Christ as its greatest enemy, and therefore deals cruelly with believers."

   The Evangelical Baptist pastors and lay leaders, Vins noted, were a small number when compared to five million prisoners crowded into the concentration camps that formed the Soviet Gulag. Christian prisoners were among them, "taking the Gospel right into Soviet prison camps."

   Vins called for prayer, material aid to Christian prisoners, and petitions to be sent to governments and authorities throughout the world.

The Prisoners Go Free

   By December 1988 all Baptist prisoners in the Soviet Union were reported to be free. Vins changed the name of the publication from the Prisoner Bulletin to The Russian Gospel Messenger.

   Pastors returned to their families and churches. Gennadi Kryuchkov, president of the unregistered Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches, came out of hiding. Kryuchkov had lived and ministered clandestinely for the past seventeen years. Authorities closed his case, saying they had no evidence of criminality.

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The New Day

   Clearly the new day had arrived for which so many had cried and prayed and given their lives. Across the vast Soviet Union, believers poured into worship places, once regarded by the government as illegal, and praised God.

Miracles Never Ending

   Gorbachev and other insiders saw the Soviet economy as on the verge of collapse. The reformer president intended to loosen up the oppressive structures and give Communism a new face. But the tides of history swept on by divine direction, pushed the mother nation of world Communism toward almost unbelievable change.

   In the past, Soviet intellectuals had been imprisoned or exiled for speaking up. In 1988 two leading scholars called on the Soviet government to produce a secular edition of the Bible. "The word 'Bible,' " they said, "has been excised from the history syllabus in schools as though this work never existed ... It is imperative to publish a secular edition of the Bible with detailed and clear commentaries, understandable to the general reader."

   Travel restrictions were loosened. In October 1988 Soviet TV sent a crew to the United States to learn how Americans lived and worshiped. Svetlana Staradomskya and her crew accepted an invitation to attend Grace [evangelical] Church in Edina, Minnesota. Senior Pastor Dr. John Eagen said, "God bless you."

   "God bless you back," declared the Soviet journalist. "Under perestroika we are much freer to talk about God."

   Church members swarmed around Staradomskya and her colleagues, welcoming her to the United States and Grace Church. Tears welled in the Soviet TV personality's eyes as several people greeted her in her own language. One church member presented her with a Russian Bible, while another pressed a copy of Josh McDowell's classic Christian apologetic book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, into her hands. Staradomskya responded, "I feel so full of human love."

   Western Christians, visiting the Soviet Union brought suitcases full of Bibles and were waved through immigration with smiles. The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) brought ten thousand Russian New Testaments and set up a booth at the Moscow Book Fair.

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The free New Testaments were taken in a few hours and another seventeen thousand people filled out cards requesting Bibles.

   A few steps away from the ECPA booth, a lonely, puzzled old woman sat in a booth rented by the American Association of Atheists. Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who had been successful in removing Bible reading from American schools, did not have what the Soviet people wanted.

More Doors Open

   Evangelists, Bible teachers, and other equippers in ministry poured into the once closed country. In the spring of 1989, Media Associates International, an evangelical ministry, held the first Christian writers' workshop in the USSR. They came at the invitation of the Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Ukraine. Less than two years before, people were being jailed for possessing Christian literature.

   In 1989 authorities gave permission to open seminaries in Russia, Latvia, and Estonia. Alexei Bichkov, general secretary of the All-Union Council of Evangelical Baptists, noted that seminaries would be reopened that had been closed for over thirty years.

   Evangelist Luis Palau held a wide-open, ten-day, five-city crusade in the USSR in September 1989. Crowds were 70 to 80 percent non-Christians. "Perestroika applies to the restructuring of lives," Palau declared. "There is no place in the world that is as hungry and desperate to hear the gospel as in the Soviet Union." Soviet church leaders said of Palau's campaign, "We have never seen anything like it. Our churches will never be the same."

   One of the thousands who came forward to accept Christ was the head of an academic department at the University of Moscow. The next morning he told a pastor, "I've been up all night talking with God, trying to figure out if my sins were really forgiven forever."

   "What was the answer?" the pastor asked.

   " 'Yes,' I know that I have been forgiven."

The Fateful, Failed Coup of 1991

   Gorbachev, in 1989, called on Chinese leaders to join the Soviets in a historic revision of socialist ideology. The Russian leader told Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping that neither Marx nor Lenin had the answers to today's problems.

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Both China and the USSR, Gorbachev said, had a special responsibility to "adapt socialism to changes in the world."

   Gorbachev knew he could not allow reform and greater freedom in the USSR without allowing the same in the Communist bloc states in Eastern Europe. He encouraged the die-hard Marxist leaders of these countries to move toward "Communism with a human face." They waited too long. Revolutions erupted like a string of firecrackers as the people broke the shackles which had bound them to the USSR for over forty years.

   In the summer of 1991, with events in the USSR spinning out of control, a coterie of hard-line Communist leaders agreed among themselves that Gorbachev had to go if the USSR was to be preserved as a Communist nation. They devised a scheme to seize power.

   When Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, went on a short vacation the schemers acted. Security agents cut phone lines and surrounded the retreat house where the Gorbachevs were resting. On August 19, a government spokesman announced that the vice president had taken over the country due to Gorbachev's "illness." A state of emergency would be imposed for the next six months with all power to be exercised by the State Committee on the State of Emergency.

   Soviet troops took up positions around key government buildings. Members of the newly formed Bible Society of the Soviet Union passed out small Russian New Testaments to soldiers and tank crews. When their supply ran out, they offered copies of a larger Children's Bible.

   This Bible was too large to be hidden. One soldier discovered that he had one pocket big enough to keep his superiors from seeing the treasure. He emptied out his ammunition and put the Bible inside. He marched to the barricades with a Bible instead of bullets.

   The coup attempt proved to be a miserable failure. Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, the largest republic in the USSR, denounced the coup and called for a general strike. Fifty-thousand gathered before the Soviet Parliament building in support of Yeltsin. By August 21, the coup leaders had withdrawn. Gorbachev returned as president. One coup leader committed suicide. The others were arrested.

Gorbachev Quits

   Even though the coup attempt had failed, Gorbachev's days as leader were numbered. On August 24, Gorbachev resigned as chairman of the

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Communist Party and recommended that its central committee be disbanded. One Soviet Republic, after another, including populous Russia, declared independence from the collapsing Soviet Union. On August 29, the Soviet parliament voted to suspend all activities of the Party. On September 2, Gorbachev called for the transfer of all central authority to himself, the leaders of ten republics, and an appointed legislative council which would form a new type of Soviet Union.

   Halfway was not enough. The republics of Russia, Belorussia, and Ukraine declared the new USSR void. They proclaimed a new Commonwealth of Independent States. Gorbachev threatened to resign, then ate his words, then declared he would remain in office for a period of transition. Ultimately, he bowed to pressure and stepped out of a position that had become powerless. The USSR became the former Soviet Union; the republics which had been linked only by force became recognized as individual nations, sounding a common cry to the world, "Help us!"

   The Soviet Union was dead. Lenin's dream was tossed into the refuse bin of history. Millions of Soviet citizens had been murdered for a cause that lay exposed as the most colossal, ill-begotten, despotic sham of history. And western Marxists, who had enjoyed the freedom made possible by Christianity, could only gulp at the fall of the world's most powerful atheistic state.

The Toll of Orthodox Martyrs

   Russian Orthodox Patriarch Aleksei II estimated three hundred Orthodox bishops and eighty thousand priests, monks, and nuns had been executed, and uncounted millions of laity left to die in labor camps, during the long dark night under Marxism.

   Stalin, he noted, had reduced fifty thousand Orthodox parishes to three hundred. "Despite the terrible persecutions and horrors, the church and faith managed to survive," he said in an interview. "I consider it a miracle of God's grace." The total of Orthodox churches now open, he said, was nearing twenty thousand.

Evangelism in the Kremlin

   Christian ministries from abroad kept arriving, offering help. Some came on their own. Others answered a "Macedonian call" from Russian church leaders.

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   Pastor Billy Kim of Seoul presented the gospel to a capacity crowd in the Kremlin's sixty-five hundred-seat Hall of Congresses. Thousands prayed after him : "Dear Jesus, I'm a sinner. Please forgive my sin and come into my heart."

   "Unbelievable," whispered Jim Groen, chairman of Youth for Christ International, watching backstage. "We prayed for this ... It's still hard to believe what we're seeing."

Marxism's Biggest Failure

   Marxism was supposed to wipe out religious faith. A poll by the International Research Institute on Value Changes taken after the coup found only 12 percent in the new independent states who were "sure God does not exist." Thirty-eight percent said they were "more a believer than not," up from 19 percent a year before. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would believe the word of a religious leader, compared to only 10 percent who said they would trust a KGB officer.

Educators Ask Christians for Help

   School administrators who had once discriminated against Christian students requested Campus Crusade and other western-based ministries to come and help set up programs for teaching biblical values. The deputy minister of education for the Russian Republic asked Paul Eshelman's Crusade team to produce a curriculum to present Christianity as a basis for morality. Eshelman said yes. Plans were made to introduce the curriculum to hundreds of Russian teachers in workshops in major cities. The teachers would then go back and show Crusade's Jesus film and teach the curriculum to their students.

   The Russian Ministry of Education invited the Slavic Gospel Association to place small Christian libraries in all sixty-five thousand elementary and secondary schools in the Russian Republic. Professors were sent by the International Institute of Christian Studies to teach at major universities. Kent Hill, executive director of the Institute of Religion and Democracy, began teaching Christian apologetics at Moscow State University, once a bastion of atheistic, Communist ideology.

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Open Doors in Broadcasting

   Broadcast of a fifteen-minute Russian version of programs from James Dobson's Focus on the Family began on fifteen hundred state-owned radio stations among the republics of the former USSR. "That's more stations than carry our program in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world combined," reported Dobson. Columns featuring the writings of the Christian psychologist also began appearing in Moscow papers. Journalists with the TASS news service flew to Colorado to prepare a feature on Focus on the Family's ministry for distribution throughout the country. "There is such hunger ... for traditional values and family principles," declared Dobson. "How can we not respond to it?"

Praying with the KGB

   Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Supreme Soviet invited a group of nineteen American evangelical leaders to advise the government in "rebuilding the moral values of Christianity." While in Moscow, the group was asked to have tea with leaders of the once-dreaded KGB secret police. Arriving at the KGB building, they saw a stirring symbol of the times. The statue of the KGB founder, Feliks Dzerhinsky had been pulled from its pedestal and now dangled from a steel cable noose high above the street.

   They gathered in a room with General Nikolai Stolyarov, vice-chairman, and other leaders of the once feared, dreaded security organization. Journalist Philip Yancey, a member of the group, took notes which he would later include in a book, Praying with the KGB, published by Multnomah Press.

   Stolyarov spoke of a "cross" which the KGB now had to "bear." In the study of scientific atheism, there was the idea that "religion divides people. Now we see the opposite : love for God can only unite."

   Joel Nederhood, a broadcaster for the Christian Reformed Church, stood up. "General, many of us have read Solzhenitsyn's report of the Gulag. A few of us have even lost family members there. Your agency, of course, is responsible for overseeing the prisons. How do you respond to that past?"

   "The time has come to repent of {our} past," Stolyarov said. "We have broken the Ten Commandments, and for this we pay today."

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   John Aker, a pastor from Rockford, Illinois, then spoke, recalling his former career as a U.S. Army intelligence agent. "I taught courses in Soviet-bloc propaganda and participated in two high-level counterespionage activities with KGB officers ... I went through a time when guilt over things I had done as an army intelligence agent was destroying me. I couldn't bear that guilt, and I seriously considered ending my life. That's when I realized I did not have to bear that cross forever. Jesus bore it for me.

   "Jesus' love for me has given me a very real love for the people of the Soviet Union .... I have found them to be loving, kind, and searching people. General, .... I will pray for you."

   Alex Leonvich, a Christian broadcaster and president of Slavic Missionary Service, who had been translating for Stolyarov, spoke. Leonvich told of escaping during Stalin's reign of terror and emigrating to the United States. He knew personally many Christians who had been tortured for their faith. "General, many members of my family suffered because of [the KGB]. I myself had to leave the land that I loved. My uncle, who was very dear to me, went to a labor camp in Siberia and never returned. General, you say that you repent. Christ taught us how to respond. On behalf of my family, on behalf of my uncle who died in the Gulag, I forgive you." Leonvich then reached over to General Stolyarov and gave him a Russian bear hug.

   The vice-chairman of the KGB whispered something to Leonvich. Later, Leonvich told other members of the group that he said, "Only twice in my life have I cried. Once was when my mother died. The other is tonight."

Disturbing KGB Secrets Revealed

   For many years stories had circulated that a few high-ranking leaders in the Russian Orthodox Church had served as agents with the KGB. In March 1992 two new Russian Parliament members said KGB files showed this to be true. One of the Parliament members, Rev. Gleb Yakunin, an Orthodox priest, recalled that he had spent five years in prison for his religious activities.

   Bishop Basil Rodzianko of the Orthodox Church in America came to the defense of his Russian colleagues. "All that Father Gleb [Yakunin] says is true and genuine," he said. "But he himself is very naive." Bishop Rodzianko said the Russian Orthodox leaders in question had only "used

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their position [with the KGB] to protect the church, to keep it all through the years of Communism."

   Yakunin disagreed, saying the Orthodox leaders had collaborated to advance their careers, not the interests of the church. As late 1989, the files provided by Yakunin showed the KGB was still receiving information from church officials upon return from trips abroad. During those visits, they promoted the Communist Party line in meetings with officials of such groups as the World Council of Churches, which had a record of overlooking human rights violations in the Soviet Union while criticizing such violations in the West. Yakunin said he and other clergy had asked Patriarch Aleksy II, worldwide leader of Russian Orthodoxy, to "remove at least five or six people who everybody knows about, the most hated, most odious personalities," who collaborated with the KGB. "But so far, nothing has been done."

Triumph of the Martyrs

   Over seventy-five years have passed since the Communist overthrow of the freely-elected Russian government, November 7, 1917. The second revolution, bringing the restoration of liberty and religious freedom, has now begun.

   Bathed in blood, schooled in suffering, and smothered by regulations from an oppressive atheistic government, the subjugated church of believers in the former Soviet Union has not only survived, but triumphed.

   Lenin and Marx are dead and so is their damnable ideology that brought untold suffering to millions. All praise be to God!

   God lives and so does the faith of His people.

Chapter 19

Eastern Europe

The Struggling, Growing Church

Besides the Soviet Union, the Communist empire in Eastern Europe once included Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and East Germany. Moscow claimed the first three— Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania— as constituent republics of the Soviet Union, but their annexation by the Soviets in 1940 was never recognized by most of the free world. Thus in this section, they are treated as separate national entities. The remaining five served as political satellites of the Soviets. Three other Communist East European countries— Romania, Yugoslavia, and Albania— pursued a political line somewhat independent of the Soviet Union.

   In a secret agreement made in 1943 at Teheran, Churchill and Stalin decided that, after World War II, Central Europe would continue in the democratic western sphere, whereas Eastern Europe would be under the auspices of the Soviet Union. America's Roosevelt opposed this trade-off, as did his successor Truman, but the Churchill-Stalin pact prevailed. Thus all of Eastern Europe was virtually surrendered to the ideology of despotic Marxism, allowing the people no voice in their future.

   Religious faith was viewed as an enemy to be vanquished. The ultimate intention of these Communist governments was to stamp out faith and produce a generation of pure Marxists. Meantime, the governments had to deal with the churches that held favor with much of the population. Although they sought to contain church growth and curtail church influence, these governments did permit temporary accommodations with the powerful religious establishments, so long as the power of the state over life and conscience remained explicit in the constitution.

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No religious group or individual, however, could be allowed to act against the best interests of the state. The constitution might call for separation of church and state, but the state was always prosecutor, judge, and jury over the activities of any church.

   The East European Communist countries sought to avoid religious martyrdoms that would arouse world opinion. Imprisonment of religious dissenters was acceptable, but the charges were always non-religious in nature. The illusion of religious liberty under communism had to be perpetuated. The effect of this policy was the persecution of believers and resistant churches, resulting in the martyrdom of many professing Christians.


   The greatest persecutions occurred in the three Baltic countries later claimed by the USSR. Lithuania, bordered by Poland, is the southern-most of the three.

   Most Lithuanians were converted to Catholic Christianity in the fourteenth century. For the next four centuries the land was self-governing and a bulwark of Catholic faith. Then from 1792 until 1915 the little country suffered under Russian rule.

   The tsarist government closed all Lithuanian Catholic convents and monasteries and shipped thousands of priests and nuns to Siberia, where many died as martyrs. Determined to stamp out the spirit of the conquered nation, the Russians suppressed the Lithuanian language. Any Lithuanian heard talking in his mother tongue was punished. Desecration of Catholic churches by Russian occupation forces provoked frequent riots. Thousands of civilians died in the two worst occurrences, in 1830 and 1863.

Russian and German Brutalities

   Germany occupied Lithuania during World War I. Near the end of the war the country again became independent and remained free until Communist troops invaded in 1940. After a mock election, the Soviets proclaimed Lithuania a Soviet Republic of the USSR. The Soviets attacked religious institutions which had been revived during the period of independence. They seized Catholic schools, churches, and other church property.

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   Thousands of Lithuanians were arrested, including most of the country's religious and political leaders, and deported to labor camps in the Soviet Union. When Germany turned on the Soviets and marched into Lithuania, the Russians massacred 5,740 Lithuanian prisoners. Among them were fifteen priests.

   The German occupation was no less cruel. About two hundred thousand Lithuanians, Jews, and Catholics, died in concentration camps in Lithuania and Germany during World War II.

Cruelties under Communism

   The Soviets recaptured Lithuania in 1944. During the next dozen years some three hundred thousand Lithuanians were either killed or exiled to Siberia and other parts of the USSR. Families were broken up— fathers were sent to one concentration camp, mothers to another, and children were separated from both parents.

   Between 1945 and 1956 almost every priest in Lithuania was ordered to submit to interrogation at one of 480 "centers of terror" set up across the country. Soviet Communists demanded that each priest sign a "loyalty" oath to spy on his own parishioners, make reports to the police, and help organize a puppet church independent of the Vatican. Clerics who refused were either shot or shipped to Siberia.

   After Stalin's death, persecution was less savage, but Lithuania remained under the heel of tyranny. "Uncooperative" bishops and priest continued to be exiled or put under house arrest. Smaller, scattered congregations of "reform" Baptists were treated more harshly, with scores of pastors being arrested and imprisoned.

The Student Revolt

   In 1970 Catholic students became desperate. That year several young university staff members, known to be pro-Lithuanian, died mysteriously. Students who suspected murder drew lots to decide who would commit suicide in an effort to draw world attention. Romas Kalanta, only nineteen, received the "honor." He poured gasoline over himself in a crowded city park, lit a match, and died in agony. The city of Kaunas was plunged into chaos. Riots and fights erupted, with crowds of young people shouting "Freedom for Lithuania!" Thirteen more self-burnings followed, two by men in their sixties. The Soviet press played down the uprising and

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called young Kalanta mentally unbalanced. The United Nations and western world powers did nothing.

   Two years later a memorandum, signed by 17,059 Lithuanian Catholics, was sent to UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, begging the United Nations to intervene. The paper noted :

Social ills such as crimes by juveniles, alcoholism, and suicides have increased ten times during the period of Soviet power ... Divorces and the destruction of unborn babies have also reached a dangerous level. The further we move away from the Christian past, the more the terrible consequences of compulsory atheist education come to light and the wider the spread of the inhuman way of life deprived of God and religion.

   The Communists reacted to this plea by ordering state appointed Catholic bishops and pastors to sign a pastoral letter condemning those irresponsible Lithuanian Catholics involved. The letter was to be read in place of the sermon in all Catholic churches on Sunday, April 30, 1972. Two Communist officials attended each church and made notes. Some priests read the whole letter, but many either did not or omitted major portions. Several read a protest letter denouncing "this shameful document that will take our church down the same road as that of the Russian Orthodox Church."

   The protesters were accused of dividing the church. "Who is really dividing the Church in Lithuania?" they countered in a petition.

Is it the 17,000 believers who signed the memorandum? No! They are not getting involved in matters of dogma or discipline. Is it a crime and a division in the unity of the Church to demand catechisms and prayerbooks, that priests be not jailed for teaching the catechism to children, that displaced bishops be allowed to work and that seminaries accept all who wish to enter? We deeply believe that those doing the dividing are those who are aiding the enemies of the Church and of God against those Catholics who are fighting for their rights, and those who publish dubious "pastoral letters."

   We have had enough of these Monsignors who spread the "truth" about the Lithuanian Catholic Church by means of the atheist radio and press. We have also had enough of the kind of bishops who publish such "pastoral" letters .... Help us with your prayers and tell the world that we want at the present time only as much freedom of conscience as is permitted by the Constitution of the Soviet Union. We are full of determination, for God is with us.

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Silence from the Vatican

   The brave resisters hoped for support from the Vatican. They were bitterly disappointed. America magazine reported a sorrowful Lithuanian priest as saying, "We hoped that at this time the Holy Father would at least have wished us a Blessed Easter in Lithuanian. But even at this time, as in the past, we heard the [Vatican] radio sending greetings to the Russians, our oppressors .... What have we done to be abandoned in this way?"

Martyrdoms Continue

   In 1980 five priests in Lithuania and two in adjoining Latvia were brutally attacked. Two of the five died. One in Latvia was checked into a psychiatric ward of a hospital.

   On August 8, 1980, sixty-three-year-old Father Leonas, who had signed a human rights letter to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, was murdered in church. The next day, another supporter for human rights in Latvia, Father Leonas Sapoka, was found dead. His body showed that he had been tortured to death. No arrests were ever made.

   In July 1983, four of the five Catholic bishops in Lithuania were permitted to go to Rome for a visit with church leaders. But pressures at home continued.

   Communist authorities kept a watchful eye on potential religious subversives — pastors who dared object to political harassment and onerous rules. Catholic Father Juozas, a founding member of the Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, was on this list. Once arrested and imprisoned for a year for teaching religion to children, he had been kept under surveillance by the secret police and repeatedly threatened for more than twenty years. He was reported killed in an automobile accident, February 5, 1986. The underground Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania called the crash "a carefully planned and executed act of violence."

Lithuania Becomes Free

   March 11, 1990, over a year before the breakup of the Soviet Union, Lithuania declared its independence from the USSR. Soviet military began large-scale maneuvers in Lithuania and near the border. Gorbachev

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warned Lithuania to annul its declaration or face "grave consequences." Gorbachev cut off oil and gas supplies on April 19. Faced with extreme hardship, Lithuanian officials agreed to the suspension and the oil and gas supplies were reinstated.

   The world was shocked when Soviet troops killed fifteen unarmed freedom protesters on January 13, 1991. The Soviets kept the pressure on until the August coup by hard-liners failed in Moscow. With the Communist empire near collapse, the occupying troops withdrew voluntarily. Lithuanian political leaders again declared independence and outlawed the Communist Party. Russian President Boris Yeltsin pronounced Lithuania a sovereign state. Many other nations, including the United States, quickly extended diplomatic recognition. The occupation troops went home, carrying flowers in their gun barrels and gift cheeses in their luggage.


   The story of religious persecution and martyrdom in these two small Baltic countries is tragically similar to the Lithuanian experience, except that 50 percent of Latvia's 2.3 million people and 70 percent of Estonia's 1.3 million population were Lutheran according to the religious census taken in 1971.

   Like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have ancient cultural, linguistic, and religious identities. Both were occupied by tsarist Russia in the eighteenth century, regained their independence at the end of World War I, and were annexed by the Soviets through mock elections in 1940. After annexation, thousands of Latvian and Estonian Lutherans died as a result of imprisonment in Siberian labor camps.

Martyrs among Baptists

   Both countries also have sizable Baptist minorities. Baptist work was initiated in Latvia in 1860 when a visiting German Baptist challenged a group of seekers to study believers' baptism in the New Testament. Nine of the seekers became convinced and journeyed to the German city of Memel to be baptized in a Baptist church there. By 1875 there were thirty-five Baptist churches in Latvia with twenty-two hundred members. As Baptist work continued to grow, Latvian leaders became active participants in the Baptist World Alliance. During Latvia's period

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of independence, 1918-1940, many prominent foreign Baptist preachers visited the small country and preached in the large church at Riga. Estonia has likewise been a fertile field for the Baptist witness.

   Under Communism, thousands of Latvian and Estonian Baptists were deported to Siberia where many died. Some returned home broken in health after years of confinement. Baptist churches in both captive nations, legal and illegal, were reported crowded despite the government restrictions which prevailed across the Soviet Union. In the city of Tallinn, Estonia, Baptists were permitted to meet in the Lutheran cathedral.

   In Latvia and Estonia the light of the gospel continued to shine in the 1980s. All of the atheist crusades, discrimination, and persecution emanating from Moscow could not put it out. When the Moscow hard-liners made their ill-fated coup attempt in August of 1980, both Baltic nations declared independence.


   A mountainous, Tennessee-sized country on the Black Sea, Bulgaria was never officially a part of the Soviet Union. But it was often called "Little Russia" because its rulers adhered so slavishly to the Soviet system. The dreary tale of suffering and martyrdom for religious faith under Marxist dictatorship continued here.

   Bulgaria is deeply rooted in Christian tradition and influence. The Bulgars adopted Christianity as their state religion in 865 A.D. When Christendom split in 1054 between East and West, the Bulgarian church sided with the Byzantine-rite Eastern Orthodox Church. Later the Bulgarian church became a distinctly national movement. Today 85 percent of the population of 8.8 million holds some Orthodox identity. The remaining Bulgars who profess Christian faith are divided among Roman Catholics, Arminians, Pentecostals, Baptists, and smaller groups.

   For almost five hundred years — from around 1400 to 1876 — Bulgaria was under Turkish control. In 1876 a nationalist revolt provoked bloody massacres by Turkish soldiers. Russian troops intervened to defeat the Turks, but other European powers forced a withdrawal and Bulgaria remained in the Turkish empire. Full Bulgarian independence did not come until 1908.

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How the Communists Came to Power

   Bulgaria fought on the side of Germany in World Wars I and II, but remained at peace with the Soviet Union until near the end of the second great war. In 1944 the Soviets formally declared war to justify the entry of Red troops into Bulgaria. Backed by Red soldiers, local Communists seized power.

   There, as elsewhere, the Communists made great democratic pretensions. "Free" elections, as supervised by the Soviets, were a bitter joke on the Bulgarians. This is well illustrated in their policies towards the churches. From 1944 to 1948 the churches were all but ignored by the new rulers. Marxist officials were busy consolidating their power, setting up a constitution modeled after the Soviet one, repairing war damages, and polishing the new Bulgaria's image for world propaganda purposes.

Martyrs to Stalinism

   In 1948 the repression began, reflecting a Stalinist trend all across subjugated Eastern Europe. The puppet Bulgarian government forced the leader of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to resign, then pressured the ruling Orthodox Synod to take a pro-Communist line. In 1949 state officials prodded the Orthodox clergy to hold special services in honor of Stalin's seventieth birthday. Pastors who objected or failed to follow instructions were arrested and sent to labor camps.

   In this same year a new law put all church activities and appointments of clergy under the control of the state. The theological faculty at the University of Sofia was compelled to add Marxism to its curriculum. More Orthodox pastors were arrested and put on trial. Some were executed.

   Persecution of smaller church bodies was even more severe. All churches with connections to denominations outside Bulgaria were ordered shut down. Only after these churches cut links with their foreign brothers and sisters were they allowed to resume worship services.

   Also in 1949 fifteen prominent leaders of Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, and Congregational churches were arrested and charged with high treason, espionage, unlawful foreign exchange transactions, and attempts to undermine the government. The government press claimed that all made "confessions of guilt" and, after being sentenced to terms

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ranging from one year to life, thanked the judge for such "mild punishment." Protests were lodged with western governments and in the General Assembly of the United Nations, but to no avail. The only response of the Marxist regime was to make more arrests. Among others taken into custody were the Roman Catholic Bishop for Nikopol, Monsignor Eugene Boslove; the head of the Catholic seminary at Plovdiv; and two other priests. It is assumed that all four were executed.

Tortured for His Faith

   As in the Soviet Union, arrested Bulgarian church leaders were convicted of "political" crimes and incarcerated with the general run of prisoners. "We [pastors] were described as 'instruments of imperialism,' " explains ex-prisoner Haralan Popov (1907-1988) in his book Tortured for His Faith. The Communist bosses also took stringent measures to destroy journals kept by believers about their prison experiences and about deaths of fellow inmates. Consequently, specific Christian martyrs among the thousands who died in Bulgarian prisons and labor camps have been hard to identify.

   Baptist pastor Popov, a converted atheist, was picked up at his home in 1948 and taken to the local secret police station for a "little questioning." After interrogation, he was escorted to a cellblock where a prisoner had scrawled a quotation from Dante over the cell door, "All hope abandon, ye who enter here."

   Two weeks later Pastor Popov was put on a death diet and subjected to around-the-clock nonstop interrogation. Three questioners worked eight-hour shifts. Each time he denied spying, he was hit on the side of the head. After ten days of beatings and starvation, he saw reflected in a window

... a horrible, emaciated figure, legs swollen, eyes like empty holes in the head, with a long beard covered with dried blood from cracked, bleeding and hideously swollen lips. In that moment of total, crushing hopelessness, I heard a voice as clear and distinct as any voice I have ever heard in my life. It said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."... The presence of God filled the Punishment Cell and enveloped me in a divine warmth, infusing strength into the shell that was my body.

   Popov spent eleven years in Bulgarian prisons. On the walls of the cells were scratched the longings of former inmates. Above another door

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he noticed an old Latin proverb, "Dum spiro spero — as long as I breathe, I hope."

   The prisoners developed a crude telegraph code. One tap on the wall stood for "A," two taps were "B," and so on through the alphabet. Pastor Popov used the telegraph to win men to Christ. One prisoner who had accepted Christ through Popov's witnessing fell near him while they were constructing an embankment around the island. Popov tried to carry him back to the barracks but collapsed after a few steps. The new Christian died where he lay.

   When Popov was released, he was given a "Resident's Permit" to live in Sofia, the capital. He boldly started illegal prayer meetings and Bible classes in an old woman's small apartment. Later he felt compelled to escape to the free world to tell people about the plight of the underground Bulgarian churches and to rejoin his family who had been allowed to move to Sweden. Through the prayers of many Christians all over Bulgaria, Popov was granted a passport. Thirteen years and two months after his arrest, Popov was reunited with his wife and children.

   In the years that followed, he preached to thousands of free world believers, raising money to smuggle Bibles to believers across the borders of Iron Curtain countries, and pleading for prayer and concern for those suffering for Christ under communism. Said Popov :

   I have spoken around the world on behalf of the Underground Church. I have often asked, "Who here has prayed for the suffering Christians of the Underground Church?" Always the answer is almost no one. It is a shame on the conscience of all free Christians. We from Communist lands are your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are one body in Christ ....

   My people accept the suffering. They understand this is their cross. But they don't understand why their brothers and sisters in the free world seem to have forgotten them — even in their prayers.

Continued Oppression

   From 1980 to near the end of the decade the Bulgarian Communist regime continued as one of the most oppressive governments in the world. No Bibles or Christian literature could be imported, although the Orthodox Church had been allowed to print twenty thousand New Testaments a few years back. All church bodies had government-approved leaders.

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A Communist newspaper claimed that two-thirds of the adult population had dropped their religious affiliation.

   The international human rights organization, Puebla, said Bulgaria repressed religion more than any other Soviet bloc country. In 1982, the Communist Party reconfirmed a complete ban on the religious education of children. All sermons and pastoral communications were made subject to prior censorship by the Foreign ministry. The government promoted atheism in the schools and even introduced atheist ceremonies, carrying a cash bonus for participation, to compete with and replace rituals and recognition of Easter and other Christian holidays. Catholics, Protestants, and also Muslims were allowed no press, seminary, humanitarian institutions, or adequate teaching curriculum.

   Spoken and written dissent and unauthorized activities were dealt with strongly. Stoyan Bukov, pastor of the Pentecostal church in Plovdiv, was sent into exile in a remote Muslim village. He had allowed foreigners to preach in his church and distribute Christian tracts. He had also refused to turn away children wanting to attend services.

   In 1988 an Orthodox priest secretly telephoned Radio Free Europe and reported that his church in Varbveshnits had been "destroyed by vandals." He expressed his sadness at persecution : "I feel and see the heaviness of the time in which I live weighing down ceaselessly upon me .... There is terror and persecution everywhere."

   Believers rejoiced on January 15, 1989 when Bulgaria joined thirty-four European nations in strengthening religious freedom and other human rights safeguards in the 1975 Helsinki Declaration. This appeared to be the best hope for less persecution in forty years.

   More encouragement came on November 19, 1989, when the Marxist dictator, Tidor Zhivkov resigned. Zhivkov had held power for thirty-five years. He was imprisoned in January 1990 when the Bulgarian Parliament voted to revoke the constitutionally guaranteed dominant role of the Communist Party.

   Today, Bulgarian Christians rejoice in new freedoms and a bright hope for the future.


Hungary. The name sparks memories of a tragic, futile uprising against Communist rulers in 1956 when civilians courageously fought Soviet tanks with little more than their bare hands while the United Nations and free

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world nations refused to intervene. After overwhelming Soviet armed might put down the popular revolution, leaders of the revolt were executed.

   Hungarians, like Bulgarians, never chose communism voluntarily. About one-third smaller than Bulgaria, Hungary lies in the heart of Eastern Europe. The state was founded in the ninth century, Christianized about two centuries later, and fell under Turkish domination in 1526.

   The Protestant Reformation swept in during the latter years of Turkish rule. By 1700, when Austria captured Hungary, Hungarian Protestants outnumbered Catholics a thousand to one. A counterreformation reversed this movement to the extent that by 1800 two-thirds of the population was Catholic. This ratio prevailed in 1919 when Hungary gained independence. Two months later a Communist dictator seized power, but Romanian troops intervened and a non-Communist government was restored.

Tightening the Communist Noose

   Near the end of World War II, Soviet troops moved in behind fleeing German soldiers and remained. In November 1945, free elections were held under Allied supervision. The anti-Communist slate of candidates won handily. Communist contenders received only 17 percent of the vote. However, a Communist was given the powerful post of Minister of the Interior. From this point on, Hungary became a classic study of Communist strategy. In the next election the cunning Marxists joined a coalition of other socialist groups. After the coalition won, the Communists moved into key jobs. In the 1949 elections only a single list of candidates appeared on the ballot, all approved by the Communist Party. The new president and prime minister were professing Christians, but the real power was in the hands of Secretary Matyas Rakosi, a ruthless Communist. Within a short time Hungary was completely subservient to the Soviet Union.

Brave Cardinal Mindzenty

   While they were tightening the political noose, Hungarian Communists pursued a skillful policy against the churches. The Catholic hierarchy staunchly opposed the encroachment of the Communists. In 1947, seven hundred priests were imprisoned. When the state nationalized all church schools in 1948, the Hungarian Roman Catholic primate,

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Cardinal Jozsef Mindzenty, defiantly excommunicated the government ministers responsible for the new law and ordered all church bells tolled in protest. Mindzenty was arrested in December and charged with conspiracy. He denied the charge and declared, "I shall never resign my office." He also warned the Hungarian people beforehand "that any confession I may be forced to make" should not be believed.

   After Mindzenty's arrest, some lower members of the hierarchy were forced to sign an agreement making the church subservient to the state. The following August a new Soviet-style constitution was adopted, separating church and state and guaranteeing "freedom of speech, of the press and of association, as long as this freedom does not interfere with the interests of the working masses." As in the Soviet Union, Communist officials were empowered to define such interference.

The Protestant Compromise

   Leaders of Lutheran and Hungarian Reformed churches, the country's two largest Protestant bodies respectively, were more amenable to Communist policies. They signed agreements with the government in 1948 which in effect put them under state watch while allowing them to worship in church buildings and homes, hold Bible classes in homes, conduct evangelistic meetings, develop charitable institutions, and organize religious instruction in state schools.

   The government pledged to continue to pay church subsidies. Certain Protestant clergy were even permitted to travel to the West to serve on committees of the World Council of Churches. Under this arrangement, favored Hungarian Protestant leaders spoke loftily of "the servant church ministering to the people directly." The compromise was initially praised by theologian Karl Barth and many other foreign churchmen from denominations belonging to the World Council. By 1951, while the Hungarian government was pushing a vigorous antichurch campaign in public education, Barth had changed his opinion. Addressing the Hungarian church leaders, he warned :

You're at the point of making an article of faith of your agreement with Communism, of making it part of the Christian message ... You're at the point of wandering into an ideological Christian wonderland .... How can you claim in your propaganda that socialism is a heaven on earth ...?

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Barth suggested that they "rethink" their "theology radically." In future years the presence of the Hungarians and cooperative church leaders from other Red satellites would keep the WCC from listing flagrant Communist transgressions in lists of world human rights violations.

Rebellion within the Church

   Other voices inside Hungary were now being raised in dissent. During the early 1950s, a "Confessing Church" was formed within the Reformed Church of Hungary by dissident pastors and laymen. They charged that the "serving church" had become a "servile church" to government policy. Like the Reformed Baptists of the Soviet Union, they declared that government had no business interfering with the internal affairs of churches. They were joined by many Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, and other members of small, free church groups. Church leaders loyal to the government responded with diatribes charging them with dividing the churches of Hungary. Many of the dissenters were dismissed from their church jobs. Action from the government was more severe. Dismissed pastors were arrested for vagrancy and for presiding over "unlicensed" churches.

   Hungarian society was now in the grip of Stalinization. Communist spies were everywhere. Executions were common. In the schools study of the Russian language was obligatory. History books had been revised to give the Party line on recent events. Teachers and pupils had to stand up each time Stalin's name was uttered. School choirs were forced to sing cantatas to the Soviet tyrant. His name was spelled out in rhythmic shouts in school assemblies. And yet the compliant churches were allowed to teach classes on religion in the public schools.

   There was no letup after Stalin's death in 1953. Hungarian Party boss, Matyas Rakosi, seemed determined to prove to Moscow's new leaders that he alone could be trusted as their proconsul in suppressed Hungary.

"We Shall No Longer Be Slaves"

   The economy went from bad to worse under bureaucratic mismanagement. Then in the summer of 1956 hope arose that the standard of living might be improved when a report spread that rich uranium deposits had been discovered in the Mecsek Mountains. This anticipation was demolished when it was revealed that the Hungarian puppet

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government had signed a secret agreement with the Soviets, giving Moscow the exclusive right to mine the uranium for a ridiculously low compensation. Soon Soviet technicians began arriving. This was the fuse that ignited the frustration and resentment of the people. Six thousand young people, most of them students, surrounded the uranium and coal mines. The Russians drove them away.

   But the revolution against Soviet colonialism was on. In Budapest crowds gathered to sing the Hungarian anthem, "Lord Bless the Hungarian." They waved flags as they repeated the refrain:

By the Hungarians' God

We swear

That we shall no longer be slaves!

Never! We swear! Never!

   The unorganized uprising spread spontaneously and rapidly. The government resigned. Imre Nagy, a previous premier who had been ousted by Soviet-backed Communists, was restored to office. Political prisoners, including Cardinal Mindzenty, were freed. "This struggle for liberty is unexampled in world history," the prelate declared.

   Leaders of the Confessing Church had supported the revolution from the beginning. Church leaders who had cooperated with the Communists were now embarrassed. Bishop Laszlo, speaking for the Reformed Church of Hungary, broadcast a confession "with repentance that the church submitted itself to the pressure of the political power more than it was compelled to do, and because of this, it has also caused harm in carrying out its spiritual aims .... God bless those who are sowing justice and love."

   Moscow had obviously been caught by surprise and stood embarrassed before the world. Revolutionary leaders had announced that they were not trying to outlaw Communism. They wanted only to replace the Moscow-approved dictatorship of one party by a parliamentary and democratic government which would have an independent national policy.

   Already Moscow had been jolted by the independence of Yugoslavia and rumblings of rebellion in Poland. The Soviets had not acted against either country. Of this the Hungarian revolutionaries were well aware. They also believed that the free world would come to their aid if Moscow attacked in force.

   Suddenly the Soviets moved. Hundreds of powerful tanks rolled into Hungary with jet planes screaming overhead. Behind the planes came thousands of troops as the Red Army swept into Budapest. The

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freedom fighters were all but helpless before the invaders' armor and planes. At best they had only a few submachine guns and rifles captured from Russian soldiers, and some homemade grenades. It was a pathetic sight. Clusters of young people hung on to the Soviet tanks. Women lay down on the pavement and tried to stop the armored advance. Some Russian soldiers cried when they were given orders to kill helpless civilians. The gutters ran red with blood and many streets were turned into cemeteries.

   The Hungarian patriots appealed to the outside world for help. The United States and British governments condemned the Soviet action but did nothing more. In the UN Security Council, a resolution to "censure" the Soviet Union was vetoed by the Soviet delegate.

The United Nations — A Paper Tiger

   A request for action was put before the UN General Assembly. As the delegates assembled, the desperate Hungarians sent a final appeal:

To all UN members and delegates:

In the coming hours you will decide about the life or the death of this nation. While your sons are at peace and happy, we sons of the Hungarian nation are falling under the cruel fire of Soviet tanks and bombers. Our country has been attacked from abroad. We turn to you. You are our last citadel of hope.

   Exercise the opportunity which your nations have given you and save our country from destruction and slavery. We are asking for immediate and effective help. Save us from further bloodshed and give us back our neutrality. Show that the UN can carry out its will, and thus achieve that our country again be free! We appeal to your conscience and call on you to act immediately.

   The UN Assembly voted — against the opposition from the Soviet bloc — to conduct an investigation of the tragic events in Hungary.

Return to Oppression

   Within days a government, captive to Moscow, was installed under the protection of the Red Army. When it was apparent that the fight for freedom was lost, thousands of refugees fled across the Austrian border. Cardinal Mindzenty took asylum in the American legation. Many other

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church leaders were not so fortunate. They were arrested and some were executed along with others who had dared to lead the fight for freedom.

   The old leaders of the churches, which had been deposed by the Confessing Church and supportive groups in other Christian bodies, were put back in office. Once again Christians were free only to attend "registered" churches. Pastors of unregistered congregations were liable to arrest and imprisonment.

Faith Is Alive and Well

   The hard oppression continued for the next twelve years. Then in 1968 longtime Communist Party leader Janos Kadar began loosening the strings. He was forced to act by a faltering economy and by the strong, unbreakable spirit of the Hungarian people. He was also forced to admit that religious faith was likely to remain alive in Hungary much longer than Communist planners had anticipated.

   Through most of the 1980s, Hungary remained tightly encased in the Soviet political orbit. But pragmatism reigned in government management of the economy and relations with the churches. Profits were even permitted at various levels under state management and many small businesses were allowed to operate. This brought Hungary one of the highest standards of living in any Communist country.

   The churches were crowded. Forty thousand Hungarian Bibles were allowed to be printed. Many Protestant churches operated bookstores or book tables on their premises, which would not have been permitted in more restrictive Communist countries.

   In 1977, the Council of Free Churches had invited Billy Graham to preach in Hungary. His interpreter was Dr. Alexander Haraszti, a physician who had fled with his family following the ill-fated 1956 revolution. Without advance newspaper publicity, fifteen thousand people gathered on a hillside overlooking the historic Danube River to hear Graham's first sermon. Thousands raised their hands to signify their commitment to Christ.

   In 1989, an event occurred which a government cabinet member marked the "closing of an era" in Hungary's relations with the West. He was referring to laws permitting travel to the West and authorization for the tearing down of the barbed-wire, electronic fence that had long separated Hungary from Austria.

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   Also in 1989, the Hungarian Parliament voted to legalize freedom of assembly and association. The Communist Party was dissolved. The last Soviet troops left Hungary, June 19, 1991. Today, there is as much freedom for the exercise of faith in Hungary as Christians enjoy in the United States.


   Prague. City of churches and old world enchantment. Capital of modern Czechoslovakia, of which a medieval princess reportedly said as she looked along the bend of the River Vltava, "I see a city whose glory shall reach the stars."

   Here in Old Town Square a statue of Jan Hus, the martyred "Morning Star of the Reformation," still stands as an eloquent reminder and symbol of the blood of Czech martyrs who have died defending the faith that sets men free. Not far away is the spot where a statue of the hated Stalin was pulled down and destroyed by angry Czechs in 1968 — a symbol of the modern Czech feeling toward Soviet Communist masters.

   Over six centuries separate Hus, whom the Communists cleverly fictionalized as the leader of a peasant rebellion, and the Czech patriots of today who have led their nation to a new day of freedom. Many spent time in Communist prisons. The spiritual faith of Hus burns brightly in their hearts.

Nazi Horrors

   In 1918 the Czechs of Bohemia and Moravia merged with neighboring Slovakia, newly freed from Hungary, to form the modern state of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs and Slovaks experienced only twenty years of freedom. In 1938 the Western European powers met at Munich and gave Hitler's Germany the green light to move on the small nation.

   During World War II the people were at the mercy of the Nazis. The nation was broken in two, with the Slovak State ruled by a puppet government led by a Roman Catholic priest who followed the wishes of his Nazi overlords. Before the war was done, over 250,000 dissenting Czechs and Slovaks were dead.

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The Tehran Death Warrant

   In 1943, during the midst of the war, the Czech government-in-exile under Eduard Benes, signed a twenty-year treaty with the Soviet Union. Unknown to the Czechs, that same year Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin conferred at Tehran to coordinate plans for ending the war and to divide Europe into two spheres of influence.

   Hopes were high for Czech democracy as the war neared an end. Fearful of Soviet intervention, Benes became exultant when, in April 1945, the American army crossed the Czech border from the west and an agreement was signed to govern relations between the Allied commander and Czechoslovakian authorities. "Thank God! Thank God!" he exclaimed to his secretary. Then he rushed to tell his wife, "Patton is across the border!"

   But to the deep disappointment of Benes and other Czechoslovakian patriots, Patton's army was halted on higher orders so the agreement previously made with the Soviets could be kept. The world did not know it then, but the Tehran Conference had sealed Czechoslovakia's doom.

   Another chance came in May when Czech patriots seized the German-controlled radio station in Prague and appealed for help. The Americans were only sixty miles away; the Soviets 120. Again the Americans paid homage to Tehran and held back. Four days later the Red Army "liberated" Prague.

Dreams of Freedom Fade

   After six years of suffering, the Czechs and Slovaks saw their dream of freedom fade once again. Cunningly, skillfully, Moscow orchestrated the capture of another satellite while the free world did nothing. The stage was now set for the most severe persecution of Christians since the Protestant Reformation — worse than the sufferings inflicted during the Nazi occupation.

   Czech Communists were already embedded in the Benes government. Pretending to be democratic patriots, they were under the direct command of Moscow. In secret orders from the Soviets, dated July 1943, and issued through the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to "tested comrades," their instructions called for

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the proletariat .. {to} fight openly and in the underground, alternately and simultaneously, in the name of its own class struggle for the defeat of Nazism, for an armed revolutionary uprising of the Czech laboring people, for a victorious revolution, for the destruction of the political power of the bourgeois and social fascists, for the placing of this power in the hands of the workers and thereby preventing the materialization of a peace in the Czech lands dictated by the capitalists abroad.

"The supreme revolutionary goal," the orders concluded, "is the establishment of a Czech Soviet Republic and its attachment to the Union of the Soviet Socialists Republics."

Communist Treachery

   Moscow's plan permitted President Benes to set up a new government on a "constitutional basis" and to pledge that "constitutional liberties" would be "fully guaranteed, particularly freedom of the individual, of assembly, association, expression of opinion by word, press and letter, the privacy of home and mail, freedom of learning and conscience, and religion."

   It was all hollow mockery. Several members of President Bene's government-in-exile were arrested when they arrived in Prague from London. Benes himself was allowed to assume the office of president while under constant surveillance. His communications with other loyal Czech leaders were severed. A "national" radio broadcast by the president was heard only in the immediate vicinity of the station.

   The Communists also took over the trade unions and influential departments of government. Democratic newspapers were crippled by the refusal of union members to deliver papers. The Reds sabotaged the 1946 elections by pushing through a clever law that allowed a citizen's name to be stricken from electoral lists by the mere accusation of their having collaborated with the Nazis. Around three hundred thousand names were so removed, with notices given only three days before the election. After the voting, most were restored upon appeal.

   Boosted by this subterfuge, the Communists garnered 38 percent of the vote. Many Czechs, especially in rural areas, voted Communist because of fear of the Red Army. Rapacious Red soldiers, whom Stalin called "no angels," had raped and pillaged at will in the countryside. Only Czechs showing evidence of Communist Party membership or support were shown mercy. Still, the Communists kept up a mask of nationalism and even piety. At Christmas, 1946, they hypocritically attended church.

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Foreign Minister Masaryk's Suicide

   The patriots awoke too late. In 1947 Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk left for negotiations on a new treaty with Moscow. While there he was forced to break Czechoslovakia's remaining links with the West. Upon returning to Prague, he told a friend, "I left for Moscow as Minister of Foreign Affairs of a sovereign state. I am returning as Stalin's stooge."

   The following February the Communists forced the resignation of fourteen non-Communist government leaders and in effect took over all major government functions. A month later it was officially announced that Foreign Minister Masaryk had committed suicide by jumping from a high window. Masaryk's friends found this hard to believe, as did free world leaders. The event was cloaked in mystery, suggesting Communist duplicity. The likeliest suspect for his murder, Major Augustin Schramm, was himself killed. Others who were connected with Masaryk also died or disappeared under unexplained circumstances.

   Tragedy followed upon tragedy. President Benes had once said, "I believe that peaceful cooperation [between communism and democracy] is possible." Now he told a trusted aide, "I know them, these people in Moscow. You overestimate their intelligence and their farsightedness. I overestimated them too .... At bottom they are only fanatics. Their whole policy is a provocation to war ..." Benes then refused to sign a new constitution modeled after the Soviet document and resigned because of "illness." Within three months he was dead.

   In the next election the voters had no choice. There was only a single list of candidates. All were sponsored or approved by the Communist Party.

Lying to the Churches

   The rubber-stamped government promised Czech churches that the state would not damage the good relationship between church and state. The Catholic archbishop of Prague, Josef Beran, thanked them for this promise, then pointed out the damage that had already been done. Church real estate had been confiscated and religious instruction abolished in the schools. Most Catholic publications had been shut down and religious books were subject to censorship. Priests and nuns had been removed from nonchurch positions.

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   In June, functionaries drafted harsher laws against Czech churches. The Catholic Church was the most visible target. State commissars were appointed in every Catholic diocese to take over church organizations. A small schismatic Catholic faction, The Peace Movement of Catholic Clergy, led by three turncoat priests, was set up to solicit Catholic backing for the government.

Catholic Defiance

   The Catholic hierarchy suspended the traitorous trio from their church offices and ordered all priests to keep out of politics. A pastoral letter protesting the new government regulations was sent to all churches.

   Archbishop Beran gave one of his last public addresses at the monastery of Strahov. "I do not know how many more times I shall be able to talk to you in the future ... Whatever may happen, do not believe that I have capitulated. I come before you and swear that I shall never sign an agreement of my own free will which violates the laws of the Church." Police moved in to "protect" him against the wrath of opponents. A communist official assumed the responsibilities of his office. Though under house arrest, he still managed to smuggle out a letter to his flock that said in part, "He who refuses to betray God cannot be a traitor to his country and to his people." The brave archbishop never regained his position as the Catholic primate of Czechoslovakia. When the Vatican elevated him to cardinal, the government permitted him to go to Rome for the ceremony, then refused to let him back in the country. He died in Rome still adamant against Communist policies in his native land.

   In Czechoslovakia the government demanded that all Catholic clergy sign a loyalty oath to the nation. The bishops refused to take the oath, but advised their priests to do so and add the qualification, "If it is not in contradiction to the laws of God and of the Church, and to human rights." The government further sought to control the Catholic clergy by making the state their employer. The bishops instructed the priests to accept salaries only with the proviso: "I declare that I am ready to accept the salary because it is the law of the state. But with this acceptance of the salary I do not make any promises which are against my priestly conscience or against the laws of the Church. I declare that the spiritual affairs of the Church and the complete freedom of my priestly activities are more important than the material security of my personal life."

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   The Communist answer was to replace most of the intransigent bishops with puppets, close most Catholic seminaries, drive monks and nuns from monasteries and convents, and imprison many Catholic clergymen. The "action" priests were kept as a front to persuade the outside world that Catholics were not being persecuted in Czechoslovakia.

A Bishop Becomes a Plow Animal

   In the smaller (585,000 members) Eastern Catholic (Uniate) Rite Church, a Communist-instigated "rump" faction declared that their church would affiliate with the Russian Orthodox Church under leadership from Moscow. For opposing this assimilation, the legitimate leader, Bishop Gojdic, and nearly one hundred priests were imprisoned. Bishop Gojdic and some of his fellow prisoners were forced to serve as plow animals in the prison fields. Gojdic died in prison in 1960.

   The Communists followed the same ploy with the next three largest church bodies, respectively, the Czechoslovakia National Hussite Church, the Slovak Lutheran Church, and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. Strict controls were clamped on church activities. "Cooperative" clergy were given special appointments and encouraged to attend international church conferences. Some were elected to important committees of the World Council of Churches to request his release. Broken in health, he was freed to die at home.

Churchmen Try to Tame the Communist "Bear"

   Most of the "cooperative" church leaders could not be called Communist. Some made concessions with the rationale that they could better serve their people in limited ways than not at all. Some genuinely, though naively, hoped that Communism could be transformed into "Christian" socialism.

   The leader of the Czech conciliators was Josef Hromadka, a clergyman-theologian of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. In 1918 he was influenced by American socialists in the worldwide Student Volunteer Movement

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to believe that socialism was the best political expression of the gospel. While in exile during World War II, he taught Christian ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1948 he was one of the founders of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam. In his home country he welcomed the Communist rise to power. He assured alarmed friends that atheists could be converted.

   Hromadka did not convert any atheists, but he did persuade some government officials to slightly ease pressures on churches during the terrible 1950s. He was more successful at promoting Christian-Marxist dialogue, an effort which excited some liberal theologians in the West.

   The hopes of Hromadka and other Christian socialists rose after the death of Stalin, fell with the Soviet invasion of Hungary, then rose again after the fall of Khrushchev.

The Dubcek Experiment

   The Czech economy was now in the worst shape ever. The people were restive and desperate for change. Reformers in the Czech Communist Party decided to act boldly. Early in 1968 the old-guard Stalinists in the government were replaced by younger, more humane men. Alexander Dubcek, the new Communist Party boss, introduced "socialism with a human face." A new government cabinet promised dramatic political and economic reforms.

   Censorship was abolished. For the first time since the Soviet takeover Czechs were free to express themselves. Communist newspapers published exposures of past cover-ups by old-line Party leaders. The most sensational story dealt with the mysterious death of young Jan Masaryk. A leading scholar called for a full investigation to establish if indeed he "was the first victim on the road to totalitarian dictatorship." The official Czech Communist Party organ Riude Pravo (Red Rights) editorialized a few days later: "There is very serious cause to suspect murder [by] Beria's Gorilla." At the time of Masaryk's death, Beria was head of the Soviet secret police.

   The churches were also given new freedoms. Ministers could preach over the radio. Open-air gospel meetings were permitted. The new opportunities for evangelism brought thousands of new converts into the churches. The puppet fronts which had controlled the churches were discredited.

   Hromadka and his friends were ecstatic. This was what they had been working for. Christians could influence Marxists, they said.

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   In 1961 the Czech Christian Socialists had founded an All-Christian Peace Assembly in Prague. Held again in 1964, the Assembly attracted many western ecumenists. Many of the speakers at this Assembly were critical of Moscow.

   Under Dubcek's "new face" the Assembly met in 1968. The left-leaning ecumenists were on a mountaintop of expectancy. Many anticipated that the spirit of the new Czechoslovakia would spread. Some implied that Christian socialism could bring about the reign of God on earth.

The "Bear" Could Not Be Tamed

   They soon came crashing down to earth. It was Hungary all over again. In August, Soviet, East German, Polish, Hungarian, and Bulgarian troops, led by Soviet tanks and supported by massive Soviet air power, invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia. The liberal reforms were reined in. A half million Czechs were purged from the Communist Party. As a warning to other satellite states, the Kremlin proclaimed the "Brezhnev Doctrine," claiming the right of the Soviet Union to intervene forcibly in any "socialist" country to protect the "people" from seditious forces within or without.

   Dubcek was replaced. "I am dishonored and defenseless," he said in a letter smuggled into Italy. When he complained about harassment by the secret police he was denounced as a traitor.

Dying of a Broken Heart

   Josef Hromadka and the Christian Socialists were devastated. "I am not able to express the depth of our disappointment, our grief, our feelings of outrage, and even betrayal," he told friends from the Christian Peace Assembly. Nazi enemies "always declared quite openly their intentions toward us," he said, while the Soviets claimed to be "our friends and allies."

   Another crushing blow followed when the Soviets forced the dismissal of Hromadka's close friend, Dr. J.N. Ondra, from the leadership of the Christian Peace Assembly, and made the Assembly subservient to Moscow's line. Hromadka, the man who dreamed of changing Communism from the inside, died a few days later of a broken heart.

   After World War II, the Soviets had closed the door slowly, but painfully, on Czech freedoms. This time, the masters from Moscow

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slammed the door suddenly and tightly. The old clergy fronts of pro-Communist clergy were restored to power. Key pastors and lay church leaders who had supported Dubcek's reforms were arrested and jailed for attempting to subvert Communist rule. Twenty-five of the thirty-six Baptist ministers in Czechoslovakia were reported to be among these.

   The majority of Czechs refused to bow. A sociologist interviewed fourteen hundred people and found over 70 percent still professing Christian faith. Ninety percent of 386 students polled said they were "religious."

"The Truth of God Will Prevail ..."

   Despite the arrests of many colleagues, the Association of Protestant Clergy demanded that Soviet troops withdraw. A spokesman was quoted in Time: "A great spiritual struggle looms ahead." But "the truth of God will prevail even if for a time it is defeated."

   The persecution of Czech Christians continued unabated after the Soviet clampdown. The open dialogues between Christian Socialists and Marxist atheists were stopped. In January 1973, Prague Radio charged that Marxist-Christian dialogue was an effort to weaken the Marxist position in favor of clericalism. Future discussions were forbidden. Communists who had dialogued with Christians in the past were labeled "renegades."

   In 1971 leaders of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren who asked for amnesties for Christians in prison for their beliefs, were arrested. In 1973 three more pastors from this denomination were tried and sentenced for "antistate agitation." Others were defrocked by state officials.

   In contrast to pre-takeover statements that Communism and religion could coexist, the official Czech Party journal declared in April 1972, that there "could be no room for religion in a socialist state." Religion "would be contrary to the ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism." Accordingly, in 1973 the Communist rulers instituted a system of "socialist rites" intended to replace church ceremonies at baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

   As in Bulgaria, oppression of Christians in Czechoslovakia continued through most of the 1980s. On November 17, 1989, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Prague in a protest against authoritarian Marxist rule and a call for free elections. Police overcame this, the largest antigovernment action since 1968, but the spirit of the people

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had been roused. As protesters continued to demand free elections, the Communist Party leadership resigned on November 24.

   On December 10, 1989, the first Cabinet in forty-one years without a Communist majority assumed power. Vaclav Havel, a playwright and human rights champion, was elected president on December 29. Five months later the last Soviet troops left the country.

   The freedoms for which martyrs died is now real in Czechoslovakia. Christians gather freely to worship and evangelize. Summer camps and open-air crusades are regular events. Christians appear on radio and TV. Bibles and Christian literature are freely printed. Courses on church history and Christian doctrine have replaced compulsory Marxist studies in universities.

   Jan Novac, a Church of Brethren pastor, told visiting Dan Wooding, a Christian journalist, in 1991: "The first benefit of the [new] revolution was the losing of fear. Two years ago I couldn't sit with you in this room without having a feeling that somebody was listening." Novac said the secret police read letters, tapped phones, and sent spies to church services.

   The new danger, Novac noted sadly, is "division and disillusionment" with ethnic Czechs and Slovaks opposing each other. "Only we Christians can offer them real hope in Christ."


   More people have died as martyrs to freedom and faith in Poland than in any other European country, excepting the Soviet Union. Over six million Poles died under the Nazi occupation during World War II. Many priests and pastors were among them. After the Communist takeover, thousands more were imprisoned or killed by Communist police and officials. Yet today no Eastern European nation is more stubbornly resistant to foreign tyranny than the beleaguered Poles. The Marxist rulers were thwarted again and again in attempts to completely communize Poland.

   Next to Italy, Poland is the most Catholic country in Europe. Over thirty-four million Poles, 90 percent of the population, are Catholic. The next largest religious body, the autonomous Polish Orthodox Church, has 460,000 adherents. Eastern-rite Uniate Catholics number 200,000; Lutherans report 95,000; and the Polish National Catholic [old Catholic] Church claims 25,000. There are smaller numbers of Methodists, Baptists, Calvinists, and other Protestant communions. Jews are reduced to a minority of around five thousand. In 1939 there were 3.4 million. Of these,

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only ninety thousand survived the genocidal slaughter of the Nazis and most of them emigrated to Israel.

A Nation Was Baptized

   Poland's Catholic legacy dates from 966 when the state's first ruler, Mieszko I, professed faith. Following his command, the entire population of the new nation was baptized. In the centuries following, Poland continued as one of the most tightly knit Catholic countries in the world. Today, the most common greeting in the Polish countryside is still, "Blessed be Jesus Christ." Before Communism collapsed, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Catholic primate of Poland, the most powerful man in the country, was the only churchman in Eastern Europe who could make the national Communist Party boss blink.

   From 1772 to the end of World War II Poland was divided under Prussian, Russian, and Austrian control. A Polish republic was formed in 1918. Pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski served as the first prime minister.

The Tragedy Begins

   The modern tragedy of Poland began on August 23, 1939, by the stroke of a pen, when Hitler's Joachim von Ribbentrop and Stalin's Vyacheslav Molotov signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact, dividing Poland between the two totalitarian powers. Eight days later the Nazis staged a Polish "provocation" and invaded Poland from the west. The Russians moved in from the east the same month.

   The Communist attackers executed fifteen thousand Polish army officers and deported another 1.7 million Poles. Many of the latter were sent to Russia and trained in Communist strategy, then sent back after the war to aid in the capture of Poland.

The Nazi Death Camps

   After the break between Stalin and Hitler, Nazi armies swept across Eastern Europe and deep into the USSR before being turned back. Because of its proximity to Russia, intense nationalism, and large Jewish population, Poland was turned into a vast death prison. Names of such death camps as Auschwitz and Treblinka are still sounds of terror to Polish survivors.

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   Catholic priests numbering 3,644 and an unknown number of Protestant ministers died in Polish concentration camps or were shot to death near their residences. Those in the death camps were forced into the gas chambers along with the laymen. In labor camps they were used like work animals. When no longer able to work, they were killed. At the Oswiecim Camp, which held thirty thousand prisoners, prison laborers were not expected to survive over six weeks. In this camp Jews and Catholic priests were given the hardest jobs. They were harnessed daily to huge rollers designed to smooth out walkways within the compound. Many fell in their tracks and were roughly pushed out of the path of the rollers to await the corpse collectors.

   One hundred twenty priests were incarcerated in the Dzialdowo Camp. The oldest was eighty-three-year-old archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski, the bishop of Plock. Because of his position, appeals were made to high authorities for his release, but he was never permitted to go free. He died there in May 1941.

Dying for Another

   Many clergymen died trying to protect fellow inmates. One of the most celebrated Catholic martyrs is Father Maximilian Kolbe. While in Auschwitz, he was an inspiration to hundreds of unfortunates. One day the names of some prisoners scheduled for execution were called out. One of these pleaded that he was married and had children. Hearing this, Father Kolbe stepped forward and asked if he could take the condemned man's place. "Since you're so stupid to ask, you may die," the commandant declared. The courageous priest was shoved into an underground cell and left to starve. During his last days, prisoners heard him praying and singing.

Communist Betrayal

   During this time of awful suffering, a free Polish government-in-exile awaited the liberation. In 1943 the shadow government was jolted by a report that the Germans had discovered a mass grave of over ten thousand Polish army officers killed by the Soviets at the beginning of the war. The Russians denied the killings, but the evidence was so convincing that the Poles broke relations with Moscow.

   After the tide of war turned against Germany, Soviet troops, motorized by American aid, swept back into Poland from the east. Under Soviet

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auspices a provisional Polish government of both Communists and non-Communists was set up at Lublin. The Red Army suddenly halted on the way to occupied Warsaw. The commander sent a message to the Polish underground in the capital, advising, "Rise up against your oppressors. Liberation is near." Thousands of Poles swarmed out of their hiding places to attack the Germans with makeshift weapons. The result was a massacre, followed by a brutal German reprisal. In an orgy of destructive rage, the angry Germans nearly leveled the capital and murdered thousands of helpless men, women, and children in cold blood. All the while, the Red Army waited at a safe distance.

   As the war ground to an end, Soviet strategy proceeded on course. The great Allied powers attending the Yalta Conference called for elections in liberated Poland. Under Allied pressure, the leaders of the Polish government-in-exile joined the Lublin group. Meanwhile, the Soviets had skillfully infiltrated the remnants of the Polish army. Polish officers, who had been taken to Russia at the beginning of the war for training, were put in key posts under the direct command of Soviet authorities. Poles accused of helping the Germans became the object of a massive witch hunt.

   In the national elections, it was Czechoslovakia all over again, but on a larger scale. Shortly before the election, a half million voters and ninety-eight non-Communist candidates were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and temporarily disqualified. Additionally, there was massive fraud in the vote count. The official results naturally showed a majority for a left-leaning coalition.

   The die was cast for the betrayal of Polish liberties. Members of the opposition minority were so intimidated that some fled the country. Those who remained were imprisoned or killed. A rule of Stalinist terror covered Poland. By 1949 even the blindest Communist apologist in the West could see that the chains of Stalinist Russia had replaced the bonds of Hitler. That year the Polish Communist Party boss, Wladyslaw Gomulka, was imprisoned for the "crime" of nationalism. The Soviet's Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky took over as minister of defense and commander in chief of the Polish army. Sovietization became plainer every day. A new constitution made Poland a "people's democracy" after the Soviet model. Polish foreign policy was meshed with Moscow.

   The Communists set out to destroy the influence of the Catholic church. Prominent laymen were put under secret police surveillance. The Catholic charity organization, Caritas, was dissolved to keep the

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church from helping its poor. Regular church attendance became grounds for dismissal on jobs. Communist policy in Poland, as in other satellites, was to destroy the loyal leadership of the churches and support "patriotic" clergy who would spout Moscow's line. In Poland the Communist-approved "patriotic" Catholic clergy belonged to the Pax Association. Pax had permission to publish a daily paper, a privilege denied other Catholic organizations. Pax was noticeably more Stalinist than even the Communist Party and included many former fascists in its membership.

Cardinal Wyszynski's Challenge

   The Catholic primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski, was now cowed. Before World War II he had warned Polish politicians of problems which Communists would later exploit, notably high unemployment and huge agricultural combines which paid peasants slave wages. Wyszynski, however, did not see himself as a political leader. "I am no politician, no diplomatist, and no reformer," he said in a pastoral letter. He felt the first responsibility of the clergy was the spiritual care of his flock.

   So, in 1950, he signed an agreement with the Communist government, promising to do nothing to hinder the "building of socialism" in exchange for the government promise of freedom of religion, freedom of the church press, and uninterrupted religious instruction in public schools and government institutions. He was criticized by anti-Communist prelates abroad for this. The ink was hardly dry when the regime began breaking its promises in wholesale fashion. The cardinal reacted immediately. "We gave an irrefutable proof of the church's good will," he thundered, "but nothing has changed in the government's attitude.... This may be a normal method for Soviet justice, but it certainly shocks those whose ideas of justice are Polish."

Power and Perfidy

   The Communist response was to increase persecution. Eight bishops and up to two thousand priests were imprisoned. "Patriotic" priests were given back their parishes. The crowning blow came on September 29, 1953, when Cardinal Wyszynski was arrested. Promised his freedom if he would renounce his position as head of the Polish Catholics, he refused.

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   The pressure against Polish Catholics continued unabated. Perhaps the strangest case of Communist opposition to religion came in a fishing village on the Baltic Sea. A Party member repented and confessed his sins on his deathbed. His parish priest gave him a Catholic funeral. When local officials learned about this, they retaliated against the decedent's family by confiscating all the black market goods he had been permitted to hoard as a privilege of Party membership.

   The Communists had less trouble with other church bodies. The Orthodox Church had a traditional pledge to uphold "the just state." Bishops who protested that the Polish Communist state was not just were banished or imprisoned. Puppet clergy were found to replace them. Eastern-rite Uniate Catholics were denied any legal status. Adherents were forcibly uprooted from their villages and resettled where they would have less influence.

   Polish Lutherans and Calvinists hardly put up a fight against government restrictions. They were heavily influenced by theologian Karl Barth, who had not yet been convinced that Communism was out to destroy Christianity, and by soft-liners in the World Council of Churches. Methodists, Baptists, and other small, free church groups were too few and powerless to matter with the Communists. So long as they kept to themselves, the hirelings of Moscow paid them little attention. Only those who made a forthright stand for Christian principles at their place of employment or in community meetings were singled out for persecution.

   The turning point came in 1956. In February Nikita Khrushchev exposed the crimes of Stalinism. In March the Soviet-installed dictator of Poland, Boleslaw Beirut, died during a visit to Moscow. The two events sent shock waves across the USSR's largest satellite. With dictator Beirut gone, there was no one to cap the well of exploding anti-Stalinist resentment sweeping Poland. Young Communists were disgusted with the corruption of their seniors. Factory workers were dismayed by declining wages and food shortages. The churches, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, had taken all the oppression they would tolerate.

The Confrontation

   Spontaneous riots and rebellions broke out, first at Poznan then spreading to other cities. Communist bosses tried discussions, then negotiations, then threats — all in vain.

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   The Polish army was still under the command of Marshal Rokossovsky, a Sovietized Pole. He asked the deposed Gomulka for advice. "Go ahead, if you want to start a massacre," Gomulka reportedly said. "But you'll get no support from others in the Party." Rokossovsky began mobilizing for battle. A Soviet division crossed the border from the east and joined six others already in Poland. Russian warships chugged close to the Baltic coast.

   In the midst of a dangerous standoff, Khrushchev and other Kremlin leaders flew to Poland without an invitation or advance announcement. Warsaw controllers kept their plane in a holding pattern for thirty minutes. By the time they landed, Khrushchev was in a rage. "You're traitors! Traitors!" he shouted. "We shed our blood for this country and now you want to sell us out to the Americans and the Zionists." Khrushchev finally agreed to sit down and talk with a hastily assembled delegation of Polish Communists. When one man spoke to him in Polish, Khrushchev bluntly demanded in Russian to know who he was. "I am Gomulka," he replied. "The one you put in prison for three years."

The Reds Pull Back

   Khrushchev blustered on past midnight. When he stopped, Gomulka made the Polish demands. Fearing a nationwide insurrection that could bring all of Eastern Europe into rebellion, the Russians made concessions they had given no other satellite. The march of Soviet troops on Warsaw would stop. The USSR would not control internal Polish affairs. Soviet secret police would get out of Poland. Persecution of the churches would stop. Forced collective farming would cease. Russian-Polish trade relations would be reappraised. The hated Marshal Rokossovsky and most of his Russian army advisers would leave. But Poland would remain in the Warsaw Pact and stand with the Soviets against the western alliance.

   Gomulka again became Poland's top Communist. One of his first acts was to free the Catholic cardinal. Most restrictions on the churches were lifted. Communist Party members could attend church if they wished. Gomulka even publicly praised some pastors for emphasizing hard work and self-discipline.

   In 1957 Gomulka told Poland's Communist Central Committee the facts of life: "Our party cannot, as part of its policy, apply administrative

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pressure to bear on believers without taking account of the fact that the former conflict with the church set millions of believers against the people's government and estranged them from socialism."

   In 1970 riots over government-imposed increases of food prices shook the country. Polish police and troops put down the revolt, but Gomulka was forced to resign. Similar riots occurred in 1976. Edward Gierek, the new Party head, took a lesson from 1970 and canceled most of the price increases. Also in 1976 some Communist leaders proposed constitutional amendments that would have made it a crime to "use religion for political ends." Durable Cardinal Wyszynski saw the potential danger of Communist flexibility in defining "political ends." He publicly denounced the proposal. It was never adopted.

Lech Walesa: A Symbol of Resistance

   The Solidarity labor movement, led by Lech Walesa, a devout Catholic, defied the Communist government with an unauthorized strike. Unable to break the strike, the government took steps unprecedented in the Eastern bloc nations and granted the Polish people the right to form independent labor unions and the right to strike.

   By 1981, nine and a half million workers had joined the independent trade union, Solidarity. Walesa and other Solidarity leaders called for access to the mass media and free democratic elections to local councils in the provinces. If these demands were not met, Solidarity leaders proposed a nationwide referendum on establishing a non-Communist government in Poland.

   Fearing Soviet military intervention, the government outlawed Solidarity, imposed martial law, and imprisoned Walesa. Eleven months later, on November 13, 1982, officials released Walesa, calling him "no longer a threat to internal security." Walesa continued to lobby for freedom, even as police hovered around him wherever he went.

   Walesa became an international symbol of resistance to tyranny. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Persecution in the 1980s

   The Polish Communist leaders knew full well the power of religious bodies. Yet they continued to harass and persecute Catholics and Protestants.

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   One tactic was the selective withholding of building permits for new churches. When the bishops presented a list of parishes in which new churches were needed, the authorities favored the small villages and ignored or refused permission for buildings in large urban areas.

   Another tactic was for the secret police to enter church meetings and declare the gatherings "subversive" and "anti-patriotic." The Communist powers were especially opposed to church-sponsored forums in the early 1980s, called "Weeks of Christian Culture." Bishops received letters from local authorities expressing displeasure and warning that such meetings could not be tolerated.

   Government sponsored ceremonies were used to counteract church ceremonies for spiritual events in the lives of children. The secular equivalent of baptism was marked by giving a name to a newborn child. First Communion was countered by a ceremony of solemn oaths for school children. The alternate of confirmation was a ceremony in which identity cards were handed out to children as symbols of personal maturity. To make the new ceremonies more attractive, the government provided special gifts for children.

   Communist Party members were favored for jobs. Party members were under orders to influence their family to accept the "scientific worldview" of Marxism. Party members who might decide to have a church marriage or send their children to religion classes were investigated and intimidated on grounds that they were acting in contradiction to Marxist principles.

A Priest Is Murdered

   An uproar occurred in 1984 when a popular and beloved Warsaw priest, Father Jerzy Popieluszko, was murdered by three employees of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the government agency which handled religious affairs. The government agents later confessed that the murder had been planned during regular meetings at the Ministry and that the cars and instruments used in the murder were government property.

   Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, the leader of the murder squad, told a court that they had merely hoped to "scare" the priest. On the day of the murder the three agents took with them a bottle of vodka and a tape recorder for use in fabricating a conversation between Father Popieluszko and an imaginary husband who was to have attacked the priest after allegedly discovering that his wife had been sexually

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involved with the pastor. One of the agents was to play the role of the aggrieved husband, another to tape the exchange, and the third to force the priest to drink the vodka. They then planned to leave the priest drunk in a forest and distribute the tapes with the contrived conversation. Apparently, the priest did not cooperate, for he was found beaten to death from heavy blows. The public outcry led to a trial during which the methods used by the Ministry of Interior Affairs to persecute and intimidate church leaders were exposed.

Another Priest Is Assaulted

   Father Tadeusz Zalewski was guilty of the crimes of expressing support for Solidarity and encouraging family members of persons persecuted by authorities. When he ignored warnings to stop, he was assaulted in April 1985 on a dark staircase while visiting his mother in Cracow. While he lay unconscious, the attackers burned the letter "V" — the Solidarity Symbol for victory — on his body.

   A government spokesman explained that an attack of epilepsy had probably caused the loss of consciousness, with the "V" burned on by a candle that Father Zalewski had used to illuminate the dark staircase. Authorities declared the case closed.

   A year later Father Zalewski was gagged, beaten, and tied to a chair in his room by two men. Officials said they could not locate the attackers.

The Defeat of Marxism

   Gorbachev's call for openness and restructuring stirred new hope in Poland. Polish church leaders and other democracy activists became more bold. On April 5, 1989, an accord was reached with the government for economic reforms and free elections. Solidarity candidates swamped their opponents in the voting. On December 9, 1990, Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland. Outgoing president Wojciech Jaruzelski apologized for "each harm, pain, and injustice" suffered by Poles during his nine years as president.

   In 1991 the new democratic government called for privatization of government-owned industries and businesses, and declared an end to official harassment of churches.

   Poland is now free. Catholic and Protestant churches are growing. Christian programs are broadcast on a regular schedule. Bibles and Christian literature are freely distributed. Churches conduct their own affairs without fear of intimidation.

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   Although Communist policy goals against religion were no different in East Germany than elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, the situation faced by Communists coming to power in East Germany was different than in Poland. East Germany was not a recognizable national entity at the end of World War II. Shortly after victory, the Soviets and other Allied heads agreed on a plan to govern Germany together, rebuilding it as a democracy while stamping out all vestiges of Nazism. Consequently, the defeated country and its capital, Berlin, were divided into four zones of occupation — American, British, French, and Soviet.

   The Soviets never intended to cooperate in this plan. They immediately began installing German Communists in government. They blocked every Allied proposal for a unified Germany. They rejected U.S. aid for their zone. They tried to force the western nations out of West Berlin and starve the two million inhabitants of the western-controlled sections of the city into accepting Communism. But the Allies launched a huge airlift and the blockade failed.

   Facing Soviet refusals to release East Germany, the West authorized a German assembly to write a federal constitution. On May 30, 1949, the constitution was approved and the three western zones combined as the Federal Republic of (West) Germany. That same year the Russians announced that their zone would be the (East) German Democratic Republic.

   East Germany's economy was directed from Moscow. Production lagged woefully behind West Germany. A large portion of manufactured goods and farm products were shipped to the Soviet Union under the guise of war reparations. As in other satellites, the result was rapidly rising inflation and food shortages.

   In East Germany the Lutheran Church was the established religious body, claiming over half of the population. Many Lutheran pastors and lay leaders had shared Nazi prison cells with Communists. The German Communists could not discredit them with the brush of fascism. The Lutherans also had ecclesiastical ties with West German Lutherans and with the World Council of Churches. The Communists had to be careful not to tarnish their peace-loving image.

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   The Red rulers arrested thousands of pastors and laymen, but overlooked the top echelon of church leaders. They promoted a front of "fellow travelers" — churchmen who attempted to demonstrate that socialism was the fulfillment of Christian ideals. Such preachers and writers were ignored by other clergy and laymen, and mocked by young Christians.

Communism and Christian Youth

   Members of the Lutheran Christian Youth Groups, who wore a small silver cross in their buttonholes, were taunted and abused by Communist youth. In June 1952, the Christians gathered in Lubbenau for a regional youth congress and were told they could only meet in a church. No church in the vicinity could possibly hold them all. The harassment also included orders forbidding local families to provide sleeping quarters for more than two guests. The meat which the organizers had brought for meals was even confiscated. The government declared the Youth Groups illegal. When school opened, Christian students were singled out for bullying. Many were told by teachers, in front of a Party or police official, that they must either withdraw from the Youth Groups or be expelled. Some gave in, but most stood firm. Two thousand were expelled in a few weeks.

   A new wave of arrests sent fifty church workers to prison. Communist rowdies disrupted church services. Church property was seized on a variety of pretexts. More Christian youth were expelled from school.

A Red Retreat?

   The march of "democratic socialism" continued on other fronts. Surviving remnants of non-Communist political parties were purged. Food ration cards were withdrawn from all house owners, private businessmen, and independent tradesmen. Prices of unrationed food were raised sharply. Resentment boiled. A steady stream of refugees had been flowing into West Berlin since the Communist takeover. Now the stream became a torrent.

   When Stalin died on March 5, 1953, East Germany seethed in crisis. In a dramatic about-face, the government capitulated to the Lutheran Church. The state would guarantee the Church's independence. Christian youth expelled from school would be readmitted. The cases of Christian prisoners would be reviewed. Property would be returned. The next day

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the Party's Politburo announced a halt to socialism. Hand-wringing and finger-pointing became prevalent among the comrades. The people of East Germany began to hope again.

   Then the government tried to raise work production quotas and lower wages. Thousands of workers walked off their jobs in protest. Said one spokesman, "We want to live like humans — that's all we ask." The laborers of the "worker's paradise" marched and sang. They threatened a general strike, called for the government to resign, and demanded free elections. The answer was Soviet tanks and troops. When western nations refused to help, it was obvious that the uprising was over.

   Living and working conditions improved to a degree, but the people remained discontented. By 1961 almost 3.5 million had fled to the West. The labor force was down sharply. That year the Communists built their concrete and barbed wire "Wall of Shame" between East and West Berlin, making escape almost impossible. Nevertheless, desperate East Germans kept trying. A few reached freedom, but most were arrested or shot down in cold blood by Communist border guards.

   East Germany was not Czechoslovakia. The constitution said, "Every citizen ... has the right to profess a religious creed and to carry out religious activities." The hitch was that religious worship and work had to be "in conformity with the constitution and legal regulations of the German Democratic Republic."

   The state and the established Lutheran Church reached a standoff. The church separated from the Lutheran Church of West Germany. But East German Lutherans were allowed to carry on business as usual with fewer restrictions than in most other Soviet satellites. The East German Lutheran Church continued to operate twenty-two hundred social service institutions, including fifty-four hospitals. No other church in Eastern Europe was allowed such wide ministry outside church walls.

   Theological students could choose between government-supported seminaries, where Marxism was a required course, and private schools. The East Lutherans also had a weekly radio broadcast, but the preachers and their scripts had to be approved by Communist officials. One sermon on sin was rejected on grounds that it undermined the doctrine of the perfectibility of man in a Marxist society. Thirty-one Lutheran church magazines were also censored.

   Roman Catholics, numbering 1.3 million, were the second largest religious body. Allowed to run their own affairs in return for political silence, the East German Catholic hierarchy seldom ever praised or complained about a state policy. On the other hand, no priest ever joined the

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Berlin Conference of European Catholics, the "front" which supported the Communist line.

   Marxist overlords felt their religious policies were working. Lutheran baptisms fell 90 percent from 1960 to 1980. Many large city churches were sparsely attended. Why the decline? Observers cited dead formality in the churches and secularism among the people more than Communism.

   The one bright spot in church growth during the Marxist era was the Federation of Evangelical Free Church Communities. Mainly Baptist and Methodist, these small evangelical churches, comprising about 1 percent of the population, actually increased. Conservative in theology and aggressive in personal evangelism, they were not dependent on state subsidies.

The Wall Comes Down

   East Germany's Marxist leader, Erich Honecker, in office since 1976, and other hard-liners firmly resisted Gorbachev's policy of glasnost. But the genie was out of the bottle. West German television reports on the changes in other Communist countries reached over the infamous Berlin Wall. Oppressed citizens of the German Democratic Republic could watch the Red curtain coming down on the final act of discredited Marxism in the USSR and other bloc nations.

   In 1989 East Germany was racked with nationwide demonstrations demanding reform. President Honecker resisted with empty promises. On October 18, Honecker was forced to resign. On November 4, the border with Czechoslovakia was opened and permission given for refugees to travel on to the West. On November 9, East German officials holding on to power announced that the Berlin Wall, the supreme symbol of the Cold War that had so long separated East and West, would be torn down. When the Wall began falling, residents from both sides joined in the joyous celebration.

   Almost destitute and abandoned, President Honecker, along with his wife, found sanctuary in a Lutheran home, among people who had suffered under his regime. On August 23, 1990, the two Germanys were united under a single free government.

Testimony of an American Visitor

   Lutheran Pastor Paul Schneider from Midland, Michigan, was one of many western clergymen who went to encourage their German brothers

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and sisters after unification. Schneider traveled to Zwickau, formerly in East Germany, and visited among the church people. Schneider's report in the April 6, 1992, edition of Christian News said in part:

Although these people have seen harder times than we have ever dreamed of, they do hold their Savior dear and they do worship Him. They have lived under Communism for forty-five years. Some saw their loved ones killed in the war ravaging their homeland. Some saw their family members thrown disrespectfully into an ill-kept German grave while Russian and Socialist graves have become neatly cared for monuments. Some have not been able to become fully educated because they would not join the Communist Youth League, or given decent jobs because they confessed to be Christians ...

   I wondered how they even survived the tortures of bombs and bullets. I wondered how they learned to feed and clothe their families without adequate income. I wondered how they could keep their spirits up [and] keep hoping for a brighter future ... And then I felt their warm handshakes and saw their shy, friendly smiles on worn faces, and I knew. I understood that they believe in the Savior and trust in Him for all their needs. I knew that no matter how grim their past had been, how tedious the present is, that they survived because it is the Lord's will they survive. And I felt a wonderful kinship with them, because we are all one in the Lord.


   It is a mistake to think that because Yugoslavia was a neutral "socialist" country, friendly to the West, that Christians were not persecuted there. It is also a mistake to blame all the persecution on Communists, for more professing Christians were killed before the Communist takeover than afterwards. And it is wrong to assume that "Christian" blood was shed solely because of religious faith.

   A mountainous, Wyoming-sized country, Yugoslavia runs a thousand miles along the Adriatic Sea and is bordered by seven other nations. It was created in 1918 by unification of ancient Serbia, Croatia, and other smaller kingdoms. The "marriage" of Serbia and Croatia was ill-conceived by the planners of the new Europe, for their peoples had feuded for centuries. That Serbians were members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Croatians were Roman Catholics, seemed to accentuate the bitterness between the two peoples.

   The Serbs were Christianized in the ninth century and by the fourteenth century had become the most powerful nation in the Balkan peninsula.

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Then their empire broke up and for some five hundred years the Serbs were brutally oppressed by Muslim Turks. The Serbian nobility was annihilated and their lands given to Turkish military commandants. The Christian peasants were treated little better than slaves.

   After the Turks left in 1878 the Serbs were buffeted by regional wars and did not regain independence until 1913. The following year Serbian nationalists assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne, setting off World War I.

   Croatia also became Christianized in the ninth century. From 1091 to 1918 the Croatians were ruled successively by Hungary, Turkey, France, and again by Hungary. They resented being forced into a union with the Serbs from whom the first king of Yugoslavia came. In 1929 a Croatian terrorist organization, the Ustashi (rebels), was formed to fight for separation. Croatian independence finally came in 1941, shortly before the German invasion.

The Serbian Massacre

   At this time more than two million Serbs were living in Croatian territory. Ante Pavelic, the leader of the ruling Ustashi, proclaimed his loyalty to the Catholic Church and declared a crusade against the Orthodox Serbs. One of his officials declared that the new capital, Banja Luka, would have to be "thoroughly cleansed of Serbian dirt."

   In many Serbian communities every person was killed. The massacres were brutal beyond description. Some Ustashi used hammers to break the skulls of their victims. They cut off arms or legs of many while still alive. Women were tied up and forced to watch while their young daughters were brutally gang raped and killed right in front of them. They pulled out the eyes of some and threw the defenseless victims into caves. In more merciful executions, the Ustashi placed Serbs in single file, one behind the other, and killed as many as possible with one bullet. One of the leaders of the Ustashi delivered forty pounds of human eyes to the Croatian fascist dictator Pavelic. In the ancient city of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Ustashi leaders were observed strolling on the streets, wearing large belts adorned with Serbian ears and noses. Thousands of Serbian corpses were seen floating in the Sava River, with some tagged "Visa for Serbia." In western Croatia five to six hundred Serbian men, women, and children were packed into a Serbian Orthodox Church. Maddened Ustashi slaughtered every last one with guns, daggers, and sledgehammers while local officials stood in the choir loft giving orders. When they finished, the church was set on fire.

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   Before the genocidal purge began, one Croatian resolved, "We shall convert one-third and melt them into Croats, expel one-third, and kill one-third." His prediction came close to being fulfilled. In less than a year 350,000 Serbs were killed, 300,000 deported, and some 250,000 converted to Catholicism in mass baptisms by Ustashi Catholic priests.

   Among the Serb martyrs were three Orthodox bishops and 220 priests. The Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan in Zagreb, Monsignor Dositey, had been tortured by the Bulgarians in World War I. The Ustashi Croatians beat the Monsignor almost to death, then expelled him to Belgrade where he died from the injuries. Monsignor Platon of Banja Luka was thrown into a pond and prodded to death. Monsignor Sava was murdered by garroting.

   In Croatia, all Serbian Orthodox churches were destroyed or closed. Works of art were slashed and burned. Churches were turned into stables, barns, or warehouses.

   As the massacre was ending, German troops invaded both Croatia and Serbia. Within two weeks all of Yugoslavia was in Axis hands. Puppet governments were quickly installed in both Croatia and Serbia. The German invasion and the spread of war elsewhere prevented the massacre from receiving world attention.

Resistance to Nazism

   Resistance movements quickly formed. The pro-Soviet Croat Partisans were led by Josip Broz Tito, a Communist. The Serb Chetniks fought under the leadership of Colonel Draza Mihailovic.

   The occupation regimes patterned their oppression after the Nazi tyranny and brutality already imposed on Poland. Jews were exterminated and thousands of Catholic and Orthodox civilians dragged off to concentration camps. Serbs and Croats suspected to be anti-German were hung in public squares. A proclamation called for the killing of one hundred Serbian civilians for every German life lost in the occupation.

   After twenty-six German soldiers were ambushed near the city of Kragujevac, German troops rounded up twenty-six hundred Serbs from every walk of life — priests, doctors, lawyers, workmen, and even high school boys. They were ruthlessly mowed down with machine guns. Some of the boys were holding their schoolbooks when they fell. In another city six thousand Serbs were slaughtered in similar fashion.

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   For a while Hungarian troops occupied part of Serbia. Some of the Hungarians rivaled the Nazis. They swept through some villages, capturing teenage girls for transport to military brothels. When fathers in two towns reacted violently, the Hungarians executed the entire Serbian population in both communities. Even the Bulgarians, who sided with Germany, massacred the population of whole villages which were suspected of concealing resisters.

   At the start of World War II there were only ten thousand Communists in the federated republics known as Yugoslavia. They rallied behind Tito, the Soviet-approved leader of the Croatian resistance movement. During most of the war the western Allies helped both the Croat and Serb resisters. Thanks to clever Soviet propaganda and diplomacy, the Croats, under Tito, were favored by western leaders near the end of the war.

How Stalin Deceived Churchill

   Stalin, in effect, captured Yugoslavia at the Tehran Conference. He and other Communists convinced western leaders that Tito's Croatian Partisans best represented the people of Yugoslavia. The prime minister of the Yugoslav government-in-exile, Dr. Bozhidar Purich, tried to convince Churchill that a Communist minority dominated the Partisan movement. Churchill conceded that Tito was a Communist but felt nationalistic elements would keep him from assuming power. The British prime minister said he had documents proving that Chetnik leaders had collaborated with the Nazis. Churchill did not know that this "proof" had been planted by Communist agents.

   After the war ended, the Communist takeover of Yugoslavia continued on course. Tito and his comrades, at Soviet direction, took over a coalition government. Secret police terrorized the people. Propagandists flooded the country with Communist literature. Over three hundred thousand Yugoslavs were removed from the election rolls on false charges of helping the Nazis. In the 1945 "free elections" Tito got 90 percent of the vote. A purge of "undesirable" (anti-Communist) elements began. Time magazine (September 16, 1946) estimated that two hundred thousand were liquidated. Among those tried and executed as a "war criminal" was the brave Serbian freedom fighter, Colonel Mihailovic.

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A Falling Out among Comrades

   To Moscow's disappointment, Tito refused to follow certain Soviet directives. The Communist Information Bureau (Cominform), dominated by Moscow, expelled the rebellious Yugoslav comrades for "revisionism." Stalin expected the people to quickly overthrow Tito and accept a more subservient leader. But Tito outfoxed Stalin and remained in power. The 1948 break forced Tito to declare neutrality and look to the West for protection and aid.

   Tito and his comrades were no less Communist. However, they were divided over policy towards the churches. The liberals argued that religion was a private matter and should not be opposed except when it stepped out of its domain. If religious practice were limited to religious affairs and rites, eventually the churches would die, they reasoned. Other Communists demanded a harder line and a strict interpretation of religion's role. The two sides agreed to a constitution that called for religious freedom while forbidding the "abuse of religion for political purposes."

Pastors Are Beaten by Mobs

   This compromise constitution did not prevent persecution. Harassment of churches and clergy was most intense from 1945 to 1953. Many priests (Catholic and Orthodox) and pastors among the small, free church minority were beaten by mobs. Crude pressures were put on Christians not to teach their children their beliefs. Young men found it difficult to attend seminaries. Some clergymen were arrested and put on trial, but always on political charges such as collaborating with the Nazis, inciting intolerance, and helping "enemies of the people."

   The most famous defendant was Catholic Archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb. Because he was anti-Communist, he was accused of helping the Nazis and participating in the forced conversion and slaughter of Orthodox Serbs. Actually Bishop Stepinac had condemned the 1941 massacre of Serbians by Croatian Catholics. He had also opposed the Nazis. But he was convicted and sentenced to sixteen years' imprisonment.

   In 1953 Tito ordered a stop to the worst of the persecution. In a speech he said that physical attacks on clergy and believers were illegal and a shame to citizens of a socialist nation. That same year a new law was passed giving churches legal recourse for defending their rights in court.

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There were no great persecutions in Yugoslavia after this. Churches and seminaries remained open. Bibles could be printed in the country.

   Through the 1970s, Tito and his supporters worried about a growing nationalist spirit among Croats, Serbs, and other minorities. In 1972 Serbian Orthodox Bishop Vasilije of Zenica was sentenced to thirty days in prison for "hostile propaganda." Also in 1972 a Dominican Catholic priest, Father Franjo Kovacevic, was arrested for soliciting money to restore the local church. And a nun was sentenced to three months for "spreading lies." She had prophesied the fall of the Yugoslav Communist government.

Opportunities for Evangelism

   The greatest enemy of Christianity in Yugoslavia during this period was not Communism but indifference. Only 10 percent of the Catholic population was said to attend church, and in some areas only 1 percent of the Serbian Orthodox came to services.

   Among Protestants the story was different. Pentecostals, with around ten thousand members, kept growing, while Baptists, with thirty-five hundred members, also increased. In 1976 a new Protestant seminary was opened with financial aid from World Vision and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

   Yugoslavia's 150,000 Protestants enjoyed the most freedom in Eastern Europe. They could preach the gospel freely, so long as they did not criticize the government. Westerners were allowed to visit and preach. Religious radio programs were taped by pastors for broadcast over the missionary station, Trans World Radio.

Tito Dies

   President Tito, the most enduring Communist government leader in the world, had made himself "president for life" in 1963. In 1971 he agreed to become chairman of a twenty-three-man presidential council that was established to rule Yugoslavia. He retained much of his power.

   When Tito died in 1980, his post as head of the Collective Presidency and also that as head of the League of Communists began rotating among the members representing each republic and autonomous province.

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Unrest Spreads

   In the late 1980s, ripples from changes in the Soviet Union spread across the federated Yugoslavia. On January 22, 1990, the Communist Party renounced its supreme authority in Yugoslavian politics and called for a multiparty system.

   The breaking up of the multiethnic, federated nation became a concern to the world in 1991. In February the parliament of Slovenia declared invalid federal laws in their republic. In March anti-Communists in Serbia demonstrated for the removal of the Marxist Serbian president. Slobodan Milosevic, of the Yugoslav federation. Refusing to step down, Milosevic said the Republic of Serbia would no longer recognize the legitimacy of the federal government.

   Serbs living inside Croatia began demonstrating for the annexation of their part of Croatia to Serbia. Fifteen Serbs and Croatians were killed in a bloody clash between the two ethnic groups. Yugoslavia entered a state of civil war.

   Serbian Borisav Jovic declared himself head of state in the dissolving federation called Yugoslavia. The administrative chief of the presidency's secretariat rejected this claim. On May 29, 1991, Croatia declared independence. Slovenia and Croatia followed on June 25.

   Six days later the federal army began calling up federal reservists. Slovenia's parliament called for a truce. Slovenia and Croatia pledged to suspend pursuit of independence if federal troops returned to their bases. Another truce failed. Croats and Serbians were now killing each other. The collective presidency called for fighting to stop between Croats and Serbian guerrillas inside Croatia.

   Fighting continued between Croats, Serbians, Bosnians, Yugoslav federal troops, and others. United Nations peacekeepers could only slow down the violence while suffering casualties themselves. In May 1992, the United Nations announced plans to evacuate some of its people.

   By this time, hundreds had been killed and a million and a half people made homeless; at least seven hundred thousand fled or were driven from their homes during April and May 1992 alone.

   The collective presidency is dominated by Serbian Communists who would like to unify the federation in a socialist state, similar to that which functioned under Tito's long rule. Most Serbians, Croats, and other nationalities do not want to live under Communism. The ethnic republics are struggling to defuse old feuds which account for much of the violence.

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   The divisions are deep. Fifty percent of the population — mostly Serbs — are identified as Eastern Orthodox; 30 percent — mostly Croatians — are Catholic; 10 percent are Muslim; Protestants are included in the remaining tenth of the population of the federation. The mix has spilled across borders resulting in displacement of people in opposite directions. In 1995 the ethnic wars continue.

   As in Ireland, where "Protestants" and "Catholics" have been fighting for generations, true Christian martyrs are hard to identify in the patchwork that the world once called Yugoslavia.


   The human spirit does not soar in Albania, land of the "Sons of the Eagle." The Maryland-sized mountain country, bordered by Greece, Yugoslavia, and the Adriatic Sea, became the most repressive police state in Eastern Europe, and also the poorest. In this predominantly Muslim nation, Stalinism reigned supreme. Government leaders denounced the Soviet Union for tolerance of religion. No church or mosque was allowed to be open in Albania. No public expression of religion was allowed. After World War II, any Albanian clergyman who did not escape was martyred, imprisoned, exiled to a collective farm, or inducted into Communism.

Executed for Baptizing a Child

   The last known martyr was Father Shtjefen who was first sentenced to death in 1945 on a charge of spying for the Vatican. His sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment, and eighteen years later he was released. He served as a parish pastor for a short time; then when the Marxist government ruled all religious practices illegal, he took a clerk's job in a cooperative. For defending the destruction of his church with his fists, he was returned to prison where he carried on his ministry secretly. In 1973 a woman prisoner begged him to baptize her child. The baptism was discovered. Charged with "subversive activities designed to overthrow the State," he was executed by a military firing squad.

   After his death the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published an article decrying the sad fate of Roman Catholic Christianity in Albania:

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Places of worship either no longer exist or have been transformed into dance halls, gymnasia or offices of various kinds ... The church of the Stigmatine Sisters has become a lecture hall, the one of the Institute of the Sisters is used as the headquarters of the political police. The national sanctuary of Our Lady of Scutari, "Protectress of Albania," has been pulled down. On its ruins there now rises a column surmounted by the red star.

Albania in History

   Albania, like other East European captive nations, has a storied past and the legacy of a valiant struggle for freedom.

   As ancient Illyria, it was engulfed by the Roman Empire in 167 B.C. Christianity came early to the mountain province, but the mountainous tribes were never really conquered for Christ. Albania was successively a part of the Byzantine, Serbian, and Turkish Ottoman empires. Under Turkish rule 70 percent of the population (now about 3.3 million) became Muslims through coercion or economic bribery. Many of these took only a Muslim public name, while retaining their Christian name for private use.

Another Red Coup

   Albania was independent for only twenty-seven years, from 1912 to 1939, when it was invaded by Italy. When the small country was liberated, Albanian Communists, under orders from Moscow, followed the same game plan as Communists elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Pretending to be national patriots, they gained control of a coalition of political parties, the National Liberation Movement. They branded anti-Communists as fascist collaborationists, deceived the West into thinking there would be free elections, then evoked a terror campaign.

   The coalition received over 90 percent of the vote. By the time the West realized what had happened, the Communists, under Enver Hoxha, had turned Albania into a police state subservient to Stalin. United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles could only say, "The tragic plight of the Albanian people is a matter of deep concern."

   Before the Red takeover, Protestant evangelical groups had made practically no headway in Albania. The last religious census (1945) showed approximately 70 percent Muslim, 20 percent Orthodox, and 10 percent Roman Catholic.

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   Stalin's Albanian devotees pursued a familiar strategy toward religious groups. They enacted a law requiring religious communities to develop among their members the feeling of loyalty toward "the people's power" and the People's Republic of Albania. This same law gave the government veto power over the election of heads of religious communities. The new state rulers forbade religious instruction to young people. They steered the Albanian Orthodox Church into the arms of Russian Orthodoxy. They ordered all other religious groups to break ties with foreign links and superiors. This separated the Catholic Church from the Vatican. All pastoral letters and sermons were subjected to censorship and all religious publications stopped. Finally, in 1966, the Communists confiscated and closed all churches and mosques and forbade religious expression.

The World's First "Atheist Nation"

   After the Sino-Soviet split, Communist Albania sided with China on grounds that the Soviets had become soft on Marxism. The closing of the country's 2,169 churches and mosques was part of a "cultural revolution," China style, in which bands of young hoodlums were turned loose to terrorize the population. The Albanian Communists claimed that their youth had "created the first atheist nation in the world."

   Relations with the Soviets remained broken. In 1974, First Secretary Hoxha declared, "We will never reconcile with them, will never make friends with them, we will always be their enemies." After Mao Tsetung's death, China began to be viewed with suspicion. In 1977 Albania called on China to remove its hundreds of technical experts.

The Red Record of Martyrdom

   From 1945 on, clergymen and lay leaders were arrested and tried on various charges. In May 1945, Monsignor Nigris, the Catholic nuncio in Albania, was charged with fomenting anti-Communist feelings and was deported to Italy. In 1946 Catholic archbishop Nikolla Vincene Prenushi of Durres was sentenced to twenty years in prison. He died soon afterwards under mysterious circumstances. Most other Catholic bishops were "liquidated." In the spring of 1971, only fourteen Catholic priests, among 203 priests listed in 1939, were known to be alive. Twelve of the fourteen were

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in concentration camps and two in hiding. One of the latter two is believed to have been arrested and charged with "theft of corncobs" in 1973.

   The worst year was the 1966 cultural revolution. The first targets were churches and monasteries. At Shkoder the Catholic Franciscan monastery was set afire. Four monks were killed. The rest were forced to stand in their underwear and watch the building burn. Then they were driven through screaming mobs of Albanian "Red Guards" and taken to prison. At the city of Fier, Red Guards stormed the Catholic church. They broke and trampled upon priceless treasures and crosses, chopped the pews to pieces, then beat and abused the resident priests.

   The Orthodox clergy were generally less resistant. The stubborn ones among them were also imprisoned and some executed.

The Curtain Falls on Communism

   The isolation of Albania from the Soviet Union continued during the 1970s, although China cut off aid in 1978 when Albania condemned a change in Chinese policies after the death of Mao Tse-tung. Albania remained a virtual Alcatraz in which citizens remained imprisoned. Enver Hoxha, who had ruled with an iron hand for over four decades, died in 1985. Five years later the government restored the right to practice religious faith.

   Albania was shaken by the tumultuous changes in the Soviet Union. In 1991, a general strike forced the Communist cabinet to resign. A caretaker government was installed, even as thousands of Albanians tried to flee the country. Parts of the country were plunged into virtual anarchy. Women and foreigners were warned not to go out after dark.

   March 22, 1992, the Democratic opposition party won two-thirds of the vote in parliamentary elections, ousting the former Communists from power. Crime and theft continued to increase. Few self-identified Christians could be found.

   By April 1992, the Albania capital, Tirana, had two new evangelical churches. One was averaging about 150 in weekly attendance. Church leaders found they must start from "scratch" in Bible teaching, in a nation where religion was outlawed for so many decades.

   However, Von Golder, a U.S. missionary who pastors this church, believes "that what was the only officially atheistic nation on earth will become one of the most Christian nations on earth."

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   This could happen. Albania's Radio Tirana, located in the nation's capital, once broadcast Communist propaganda around the world. Officials in the new democratic government signed an agreement with the international broadcasting network, Trans World Radio. On October 1, 1992, Radio Tirana began airing evangelical Christian programs.


   Room Four in Romania's Tirgul-Ocna Prison was known as the "death room." When Abbot Iscu, the saintly head of a Lutheran monastery, was put there, no one had yet left alive. With him was a motley group of dying men. Vasilescu had been the overseer of a slave gang working on the ill-conceived Danube-Adriatic canal project. Filipescu, an old socialist, kept up hope that the Americans would come and set the prisoners free. Bucur, a police sergeant, kept raging that the doctors had put him in the room to satisfy their personal hatred. There was also General Tobescu, a former chief of police; Moise, a Jew; two Communist guerrilla refugees from Greece; Valeriu Gafencu, a member of the Iron Guard who had been in prison ten years; a farmer named Aristar whose nightly prayer was, "God smite the Communists"; Badras, who had given refuge to a Romanian nationalist fleeing from the secret police; and Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran pastor. Some of the prisoners were near death from beatings. Some suffered from tuberculosis and other illnesses brought on by years of maltreatment and torture.

Memories of Horror

   In his weakened condition Abbot Iscu recalled for his fellow prisoners the terrible slave camps at the canal project where thousands had died from Communist brutality. The canal had been forced on Romania by the Soviets who wanted a more efficient means of transportation to drain the satellite of its farm produce. Engineers who warned that the Danube would not supply sufficient water for both the canal and its irrigation tributaries were shot as "economic saboteurs." Moscow's planners said it must be built.

   The abbot had been in one of the penal colonies strung along the canal route. Each of the twelve thousand prisoners in his string of barracks had been forced to move eight cubic meters of earth per day by hand. They pushed wheelbarrows up steep grades while guards rained

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blows on them from behind. Disease was rampant. Many men froze to death. Often, prisoners hoping to be shot deliberately ran into the forbidden area around the camp.

   Christians were put in a so-called "Priest's Brigade. If one so much as made the sign of the cross, or closed his eyes to pray, he was beaten. There was never a day of rest, no Christmas, no Easter. The Lutheran clergyman knew that under the pressure, some had turned informers. One was Andrescu, an Orthodox priest, who reported a young Catholic priest, Father Cristea, for closing his eyes in prayer. "The political officer called Cristea out and asked if he believed in God. Cristea replied, 'When I was ordained, I knew that thousands of priests had paid for their faith with their lives. I promised to serve God, even if I had to go to prison or die. Yes, lieutenant, I believe in God.' "

   "What happened to Father Cristea?" one of the men in Room Four asked the abbot softly.

   "He was locked for a week in the place where you stand and never sleep; then beaten. When he again refused to deny his faith, he was taken away. We never saw him again."

Forgiveness for the Dying

   It happened that Vasilescu had been the overseer of Abbot Iscu's brigade. A common law criminal, he had been promised special privileges for assuming this position. "It was join the torturers or be tortured," he told his prison mates. A part of his training had been to shoot cats and dogs, then jam steel spikes into the heads of animals still alive. In the room of the dying he now listened to Abbot Iscu's whispered prayer and heard his words of comfort.

   Vasilescu was also dying. Guilt-stricken, he confessed to Pastor Wurmbrand the terrible punishments he had inflicted on the abbot. The Lutheran pastor assured him that God's forgiveness knew no limits. But Vasilescu could find no peace. One night he woke up gasping for breath. "Pastor, please pray for me. I'm going," he rasped. He dozed, then woke again, and declared, "I believe in God." Then he began to cry. Abbot Iscu had overheard. He asked two prisoners to move him to Vasilescu's bed.

   "You were too young to know what you were doing," the abbot told his former torturer. "I forgive you. And if I and other Christians can forgive, surely Christ will forgive, too. You have a place in heaven," he assured.

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   That night both died. Richard Wurmbrand, the only member of the group who survived, wrote later in his shocking narrative of prison life, "I believe they went hand in hand to heaven."

The Sufferings of Richard Wurmbrand

   Wurmbrand's books — translated into forty-five languages — are among the most shocking indictments of Communism ever published. Arrested for engaging in an underground ministry to both Romanians and Soviet soldiers after the close of World War II, Wurmbrand was imprisoned and tortured for fourteen years. He was subjected to the worst tortures imaginable. He describes one experience:

A hood was pulled over my head and I was forced to squat with my arms around my knees. A metal bar was thrust between my elbows and knees and set between trestles, so that I swung head down, feet in the air. They held my head while someone flogged the bare soles of my feet. Each blow sent an explosion of agony through my whole body. Some fell on my thighs and the base of my spine. Several times I fainted, only to be revived by buckets of icy water. After each drenching a voice would say that if I gave just one of the names they wanted, names of secret enemies of the state, the torture would stop. When at last they took me down from the spit, I had to be carried to my cell, my feet a mass of dark red pulp. (From Christ in the Communist Prisons, p. 38).

   During his long captivity Wurmbrand led many men to Christ, some through tapping a secret code on the walls. He saw scores of other clergymen, including some informers, and a number of former high officials in the Romanian government. Some of these were Communists, deposed and imprisoned in purges.

Wurmbrand's Testimony

   Wurmbrand was released in 1958. After resuming his underground work, he was rearrested in 1959 and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. In 1964 a general amnesty provided for his freedom. He was in danger of a third arrest when Norwegian Christian friends paid $10,000 to the Romanian Communist authorities for his release. He subsequently came to America and in testimony before the U.S. Internal

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Security Subcommittee in May 1966, bared his body above the waist to show the scars from his captivity.

   Wurmbrand has been criticized for attacking Romanian religious leaders, particularly Orthodox prelates who accommodated themselves to Marxist restrictions. But his descriptions ring with authenticity and his courage in resisting inhuman treatment cannot be denied. And the repression of Christianity by Romanian Communists is well-documented by many others besides Wurmbrand.

A "Roman" Nation

   Oregon-sized and located on the southeastern tip of Europe, Romania is the only European country which traces its ancestry and language back to the Romans. The Romanian language is closely related to Latin, the official language of the Roman Empire.

   Christianity came to Romania as early as the fourth century. In the ninth century, the Romanian church joined in the Byzantine defection from Rome. The Romanian Orthodox Church has since been the established faith of Romania and today claims 90 percent of the country's twenty million people.

   In centuries following, Romania, like other East European nations, became a pawn of European politics and wars. For almost four centuries the region belonged to the Turks. The Turks ruled Romania through vassal Greek Orthodox Christian princes, so Islam made no real inroads in Romania.

Persecution of Baptists in the 1920s

   Romania became independent in 1877 under a monarchy closely allied with the Orthodox Church. The next three largest Christian bodies, Roman Catholic, Hungarian Reformed, and Lutheran were benignly tolerated because of their size. Baptists and other small evangelical groups were severely persecuted. The worst persecution occurred in the 1920s when many Baptist churches were confiscated and pastors imprisoned. During this harsh Fascist period, no Baptist worship services, burials or weddings were permitted. The oppressions eased from 1928 to 1937, then during 1938 and 1939 all Baptist churches were closed. Pressure from the Baptist World Alliance brought relief.

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"Cleanse Your Hands, You Sinners"

   Freedom for Romanian evangelicals was short-lived. Under Stalin's pact with Hitler, Romania was divided among Russia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The fascist Iron Guard movement tried to involve the Orthodox Church in political terrorism. Premier Armand Calinescu, the leading Iron Guard opponent, was murdered. The night before, nine Orthodox fanatics had kept a prayer vigil lying across a cold church floor, their bodies forming a cross. Hitler's protégé, General Ion Antonescu, seized power and ruled behind a young figurehead king.

   Nazi and Orthodox fanatics ran amuck. Iron Guard agents kept a constant check on churches of minority groups. One Sunday, Wurmbrand noticed a group of strangers in the green shirts of the Iron Guard slip quietly into the back of his church. He saw revolvers in their hands and thought he might be preaching his last sermon. He spoke on the hands of Jesus — how they had fed the hungry, healed the sick, and been nailed to the cross. Then he raised his voice so the intruders could hear clearly. "But you. What have you done with your hands? You are killing, beating, and torturing innocent people. Do you call yourselves Christians? Cleanse your hands, you sinners!"

   The Nazi agents waited with guns drawn as the congregation filed out. Wurmbrand surprised them by slipping behind a curtain and running through a secret exit to a side street. They ran forward, shouting, "Where's Wurmbrand?" But he had escaped.

   Hitler's legions swept across Europe and invaded the Soviet Union. Thousands of Romanian evangelicals were murdered or herded into concentration camps with Jews. Wurmbrand's wife was Jewish. Her entire family was arrested. She never saw them again, but later met and forgave the man who issued orders to kill them. Wurmbrand himself was arrested, beaten, and imprisoned by the Nazis three times. When the war ended, he was well equipped to face Communism.

Communists Court the Clergy

   A Moscow-guided Communist minority gained control of a coalition of Romanian political parties. They took over the government through "free" elections and forced the monarchy to abdicate. The Soviets had another satellite.

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   Communist Party boss Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej moved to win the support of the Orthodox clergy. Gheorghiu-Dej had been raised in a devout Orthodox home. During imprisonment under the Nazis, he had discussed religion with many incarcerated Christians. He escaped shortly before the Russian soldiers arrived pushing the Nazis west, and would have been killed by the Nazi dictator had not an Orthodox priest given him shelter.

   Gheorghiu-Dej spoke at a meeting of Orthodox priests, which Wurmbrand attended as an observer. He assured the Orthodox clergy of his willingness to forgive and forget their subservience to nazism. The state, Gheorghiu-Dej promised, would continue to pay clerical salaries from tax revenues. Communism and Christianity, he declared, could complement each other. All persons would enjoy complete liberty of conscience in the new Romania. Most of the audience cheered, and a spokesman promised that they would cooperate with the state.

   Sabrina Wurmbrand was seated beside her pastor-husband. "Go and wash this shame from the face of Christ!" she demanded of him. Wurmbrand pleaded that he would probably be taken away. "I don't need a coward," she replied. Wurmbrand asked permission to speak. The organizers invited him forward, apparently anticipating a unity speech from the representative of the Swedish Church Mission and the World Council of Churches.

   Wurmbrand began by saying it was the duty of pastors to glorify God, not fleeting earthly powers, and to support the eternal kingdom against the vanities of the day. As he continued, someone suddenly began to clap. The clapping erupted into waves of applause. "Stop! Your right to speak has been withdrawn," the Minister of Cults, a former Orthodox priest, ordered.

   "My right to speak comes from God," Wurmbrand declared. He kept speaking until his microphone was disconnected. From that time, Wurmbrand's days of freedom were numbered.

   The Romanian Communists proceeded on course. Many properties were nationalized. A new government department, the Ministry of Cults, became responsible for paying clerical salaries and confirming appointments to church offices. Father Justinian Marina, the priest who had sheltered Gheorghiu-Dej from the Nazis, was made an Orthodox bishop and control of the church was put in his hands.

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The Martyred Bishops

   Party leaders now demanded that Roman and Greek Catholics break with Rome. The Greek Catholics, numbering 1.5 million, were ordered to merge with the Orthodox Church. Their monasteries and seminaries were closed and parish churches delivered to the Orthodox Church. The Romanian Catholic hierarchy paid a terrible price for protesting. All six bishops were arrested. Four of the bishops subsequently died in prison. Fifty priests were killed, two hundred disappeared, and four hundred were imprisoned or put in forced labor camps. A minority of Orthodox priests protested against the forced assimilation of Greek Catholics. They were treated in the same ruthless fashion.

   Article 27 of the Communist-devised 1948 constitution specified : "Under state control the Romanian Orthodox Church is autonomous and unified in its organization." Between 1958 and 1963 Orthodoxy felt the hot breath of this control. Some fifteen hundred priests, monks, and laity were arrested. Half of the Orthodox monasteries were controlled and two thousand monks forced into "useful work."

The Split with Moscow

   A falling out between Soviet and Romanian Communists led to an easing of the repression. The Soviets wanted Romania to become an agricultural reserve for the Communist bloc. An infamous canal project was vital to this plan. The Romanians were bent on industrializing.

   In 1964 Gheorghiu-Dej asserted that each Communist country had the right to shape its own economic program without outside interference. The following year, under Nicolae Ceausescu, Gheorghiu-Dej's successor, Romania adopted a constitution that called for complete independence.

   In pursuing economic independence, Romania invited trade from western nations. During the late sixties, Bucharest entertained French President Charles de Gaulle and United States President Richard M. Nixon to the annoyance of the Soviets. Romania's leaders further declared the country neutral in the quarrel between China and the USSR and declined to support the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, in deference to the possibility of Soviet intervention, Romania continued its military ties to the Warsaw Pact of Communist forces.

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Restrictions Placed on "Official" Churches

   Romania's interest in the West was plainly economic, not political. The cruel but enduring Nicolae Ceausescu regime, in power since 1965, remained ruthless against opponents. For pragmatic reasons, the government relaxed pressures on the churches to promote a better image before foreign capitalists. The Catholic Church was tolerated, but not officially recognized. The largest Protestant denomination in Romania, the Hungarian Reformed Church, with seven hundred thousand members of mostly Hungarian ancestry, was kept on a shorter leash. Free churches grew the fastest, with Romanian Baptists growing to become the third largest Baptist body in Europe, behind only England and the Soviet Union. Twenty thousand new believers were baptized in one year. Romania, however, continued through the 1970s and 1980s as a virtual police state with many clergymen in prison for daring to speak truth.

   Baptists in Romania struggled over the same issue which had divided Baptists in the Soviet Union : whether or not to join approved church bodies and accept government controls. Under the watchful eye of the Marxist dictator's bureaucracy and police, the Romanian Baptist Union approved pastoral change, paid pastors from a central treasury, ordered standardization of worship services, and even approved new believers asking for baptism. Dissenters, among whom the most notable was Josef Ton, agreed with Georgi Vins, then imprisoned in the Soviet Union, that each congregation was autonomous and the state had no right to tamper with the worship and organizational life of churches and the consciences of believers. Ton claimed church growth had been stifled by earlier compromises made by Romanian Baptist leaders.

   Ton kept bringing international attention to official persecution of Romanian Baptists. The fining of some Baptists for hooliganism and vandalism, he said, was insulting, since they were only meeting for worship. He also noted that Baptists had been fined for singing "illegal religious songs" from the official Baptist hymnal and that Baptist children had been discriminated against in schools. For such stands, Ton became highly unpopular with the government and with some of his colleagues who accepted government restrictions. But because of Ton's ties with Baptists abroad, he was not arrested.

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A Christian Call for Rights

   Ton, Pavel Niucolescu, Dimitrie Ianculovici, and other church leaders joined together in the Romanian Christian Committee for the "Defense of Freedom of Religion and Conscience." They "demand[ed]" that "the central organs of the [Communist] Party and the State" recognize :

1. "The right of religious associations to exist undisturbed and to be recognized by law."

2. "The right to practice religion in church, private homes, and in public without the need for official approval."

3. "The right to make church appointments and leaders" without "interference by the Department of Cults ..."

4. "The right to express religious opinions in public as is now done with atheist propaganda."

5. "The right to print and distribute religious literature without official approval ... The right to have a free religious press, and an end to censorship by the Department of Cults."

6. "The right [of churches] to give religious instruction to children and young people ... The right of parents to give religious instruction to their children and to have a say regarding the type of cultural activities their children should join."

7. "The right to carry out charitable work by collections and subscriptions; to found orphanages, old people's homes."

8. "The right to found centers for theological instruction at university level for pastors and priests without any interference from the [government]."

9. "The right for Christians to have access to higher posts in the economy, education, university life, the diplomatic service, etc."

10. "The right to re-open all churches closed and the right of all pastors and clergy who were sacked arbitrarily to be reinstated. Reparations are demanded for all abuses suffered by people and theological students arrested."

11. "The right of young Christians in the Army to have a Bible, prayer book, etc."

12. "The right of Romanian Christians to refuse to sign an oath of loyalty to the Communist Party, or an opportunity for those who do sign not to accept atheist indoctrination."

13. "The right to give material assistance to believers who are persecuted (sacked, arrested, demoted) for their convictions. The right to receive gifts at home and from abroad to help them."

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   In making these and other "demands" (which were also circulated abroad), the Committee noted numerous examples of persecution. They cited, for example, three Baptists awaiting sentencing in court : "They were beaten brutally, both in public and at the police station in Caransebes as a result of provocation by the (officially approved) Baptist Union Leadership."

   "Our ideal," the Committee said, "is a free Church in a free State which would lead to dialogue and cooperation between the two."

Persecution Continues

   In 1980 twenty Christians were arrested, with six sentenced to prison. In 1982 four secret police officers forced their way into the house of John Teodosiu, a Baptist religious rights activist, and accused him of espionage. He was charged with treason and his wife, enduring a difficult pregnancy, was refused medical treatment and barred from entering a church. Christians in the United States began a letter-writing campaign to the U.S. State Department, administration, and members of Congress, urging that the American government not renew Romania's most favored nation trading status unless the Christian prisoners were released and freedom of religion granted to all Romanian citizens.

   U.S. officials finally began applying pressure. Teodosiu was released by the secret police, but remained under house arrest. At the same time, Klaus Wagner was sentenced to five years imprisonment and two fellow Baptists, Maria and Fibia Delapeta, given five years on charges of smuggling six hundred thousand Bibles into Romania. Stories of torture and beating of Christian prisoners were also received from Romanian Christians.

The Ceausescu Cult

   Meanwhile, the Ceausescu personality cult kept growing. Half of the newsprint in the country praised the dictator and his family. Before Ceausescu visited a town, school children selected to greet him were quarantined for forty-eight hours lest they infect the "nobler ruler" with

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disease. Truckloads of trees and shrubs were planted along his motorcade route. Party bosses ordered withered trees painted green to avoid displeasing the autocrat.

A Pastor Sparks a Revolution

   One minister who did not quietly go about his pastoral business was Laszlo Tokes, a pastor of the Reformed Church in the Transylvanian city of Timisoara. Tokes was particularly concerned about repressive government policies affecting the 1.7 million ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania, a province which had been ceded by Hungary to Romania during World War II.

   Pastor Tokes roused the ire of the Romanian government when he appeared on TV and charged the Ceausescu regime with attempting "cultural genocide" by destroying Hungarian villages, homes, and schools. Tokes also accused Hungarian Reformed Church leaders of collaborating with Communist authorities.

   The police responded by canceling Tokes's ration book, so that he was unable to buy bread, meat, or fuel for his family. Church members who tried to bring him provisions were confronted by police. Tokes's telephone was cut off and he was barred from meeting with relatives.

   In November 1990, four masked men broke into the apartment where Tokes lived with his pregnant wife. Their four-year-old son was in the protective care of relatives. The thugs beat and stabbed the minister while his wife looked on in terror.

   Friends began sleeping in the apartment at night to protect the pastor and his wife. They were frequently awakened by the sound of rocks crashing through windows of the building.

   The actions of the minister and his flock spurred demonstrations around the country. On December 16, 1989, security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters. Hundreds fell and were buried in mass graves.

   Church officials, anxious to appease the authorities, tried to transfer Tokes to a distant parish. When Tokes refused, Bishop Laszlo Papp accused the pastor of "violating the laws of both church and state" and obtained a court order for his eviction. When Tokes refused to leave, hundreds of supporters formed a protective human chain around the building.

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The Curtain Falls on Ceausescu

   News of the standoff in Timisoara spread like wildfire across all of Romania. Hundreds of thousands marched on government offices. Soldiers began deserting their units to join the demonstrations. Dictator Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were seized and charged with gross abuse of power and the murder of more than sixty thousand people.

   When a judge sentenced the couple to be shot, so hated was the dictator and his wife that three hundred men volunteered for the three-man firing squad. The execution was carried out on Christmas day, 1989. The body of the dictator, blood oozing from his head, was shown on TV almost immediately afterwards.

   A new provisional government was formed. Unrest continued in the months ahead as progovernment coal miners and antigovernment protesters clashed.

Church Growth in "New" Romania

   The worst times appear to be behind as Romania enters a new era. With the restoration of religious freedom, church membership is reportedly showing a rapid rise. The Romanian Baptist Union is now the largest Baptist group in Europe with 160,000 members. Josef Ton, the "Georgi Vins" of Romanian Baptists, is raising money in the West to expand two training schools for ministers.

Voices from Eastern Europe and States of the Former Soviet Union

   Two powerful messages come from Christians who suffered during decades of living behind the iron curtain of Communism.

   One message is addressed to believers in the democratic West : Don't take your freedom for granted. Use opportunities which you have learned to take for granted to evangelize people. Be aware of Communist plans and strategies. Don't be beguiled by peace and freedom talk from China and other countries, still under the heel of Communist rulers.

   The second message is presented to Communist leaders in power in these countries and western Marxists who never seem to learn from history :

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You have not and you will not produce a "new man" through Marxism. You mistakenly assume that man is perfectible and will become honest and altruistic in a system working for economic equality. The record shows that functionaries of Communist societies are like sinners everywhere : greedy, proud, full of vice and selfishness.

   You have assumed that matter is all that matters. That man is flesh and bone, a creature of instincts and desires, devoid of eternal spirit. You have seen that man cannot live by bread alone, that he hungers for the presence of God; that he cannot find meaning in life apart from God's presence and direction.

   You have discovered that your ideal of the new man is best exemplified by the Christian believers. They are honest, chaste, disciplined, unselfish, and hardworking, while the serfs of your system lie, cheat, steal, and seek release in alcoholism.

   You will never change the world's social order with Communist man. The world can only be changed by new men in Christ. It is these new men and women whose blood you have taken in your futile quest for Utopia. Recognize this, repent, and look to the Savior for forgiveness and the power to live righteously before the last door closes before you forever.

Part Eight

Martyrs of the Middle East

Chapter 20

The Middle East

Troubled Lands of the Bible

The First Christian Martyr

   "And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!' And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them!' And having said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:58-60 NASB)

   Stephen was the first of many thousands who would perish in the historical land of the Bible that extends from present-day Turkey south across the ancient land of Canaan and into North Africa. The history of the early church courses with the blood of Christian martyrs who died rather than acknowledge the divinity of Roman emperors.

When Christianity Became Respectable

   With the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, Christianity became, in effect, the official religion of the Roman Empire. Entire ethnic and national groups converted. The new respectability resulted in enormous growth, but at the expense of true spirituality. "Christian" soon became a status of birth and political affiliation. From that time to the present, the persecution and killing of

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"Christians" in the Middle East must be seen from three perspectives : (1) persecution of evangelical Christians by official church bodies aligned with political and nationalistic forces; (2) persecution of believers by Muslims who see Islam as encompassing the total social, political, and religious order; (3) persecution and pressures by Jews.


   Armenia, regarded as the first nation to accept Christianity, was converted early in the fourth century. A desert and mountainous country, the ancient land was sandwiched between the Russian, Turkish, and Persian empires. It was often made a buffer state for these and other rival civilizations.

   In the nineteenth century Protestant evangelical missionaries brought the gospel to the Armenians with stirring freshness. This precipitated an evangelical renewal movement within the staid old Armenian church. The patriarch became alarmed and banned Bibles and books imported by the missionaries. Several evangelical Armenian leaders were imprisoned. From their prison cells they asked their supporters to continue working for reforms from within the established church.

   At that time much of Armenia was under a Turkish Muslim government. The Turks distrusted the Armenian church hierarchy and sympathized with the evangelicals, although conversion of a Muslim to Christianity was punishable by instant death. This law was suddenly lifted in 1856 and complete religious liberty declared. The evangelical movement took on new zeal. Scores of Muslims became Christians. Among them was the secretary to the ruling sultan. The opportunity proved to be short-lived. In 1864 the Turkish government began rounding up and sentencing to prison Muslim converts to Christianity.

   Turkish fears of an Armenian uprising continued. From 1895 to 1896 government soldiers killed up to one hundred thousand Armenian civilians. Then in 1915, under the cover of World War I, the Turks accused the Armenians of helping Russian invaders and launched a genocidal action that ranks as one of the most terrible barbarities in history.

   In the spring an attempt was made to kill every Armenian within Turkish borders. Lawyers, doctors, clergymen, and other intellectuals were rounded up and charged with subversion. Many had their heads placed in vises and squeezed until they collapsed. April 24 was the day set to kill the rest of the Armenians. Thousands of children were pushed alive

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into ditches and covered with dirt and sand. Many more Armenians were stoned or hacked to death. Some had their jaws ripped apart. Women and girls, some as young as twelve were stripped naked and raped before being slaughtered. Some persons were branded on the chest and back with red-hot iron crosses. Evangelicals died alongside members of the established church.

   As many as six hundred thousand may have died on that fatal April 24, the day still observed as Memorial Day by the descendants of the Armenian survivors. When the Turkish soldiers saw they could not kill all of the Armenians in a single day, they began driving the crowds into the desert. Those who fell by the wayside were killed. Only the strongest escaped into Russian territory where American relief camps had been set up.

The Meaning of the Cross

   One of those who escaped was a young girl of eighteen who stumbled into an American camp.

   "Are you in pain?" a nurse asked when she arrived.

   "No," she replied, "but I have learned the meaning of the cross."

   The nurse thought she was mentally disoriented and questioned her further. Pulling down the one garment she wore, the young girl exposed a bare shoulder. There, burned deeply into her flesh, was the figure of a cross.

   "I was caught with others in my village. The Turks stood me up and asked, 'Muhammed or Christ?' I said, 'Christ, always Christ.' For seven days they asked me this same question and each day when I said 'Christ' a part of this cross was burned into my shoulder. On the seventh day they said, 'Tomorrow if you say 'Muhammed' you live. If not, you die.' Then we heard that Americans were near and some of us escaped. That is how I learned the meaning of the cross."

   On November 29, 1920, Armenia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Soviet policy was to allow ethnic minorities to maintain their religious rites and customs. Because Armenian Christianity was compliant and moribund under Soviet rule, little persecution was experienced. At the same time, most Armenians felt safer under the Soviets than the Turks.

   With the dissolution of the Soviet empire, Armenia became an independent state. Decades of atheistic rule has resulted in widespread ignorance of the Bible. The majority of the people are believed to be Christian in name only. New Christian ministries are springing up which could lead to conflicts with Muslims.

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   The dominant church in Lebanon is the Maronite Church, named for John Maron, a church leader who, in the seventh century, led a break from the official Roman Catholic Church over a doctrinal dispute about the nature of Christ. The Maronites were brought back into the fold of Rome in the twelfth century by Catholic crusaders from Europe.

   Evangelical work in Lebanon began in 1819 with the arrival of two missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Today there is a large body of Presbyterians in Lebanon, as well as in adjoining Syria, plus churches affiliated with the Baptists, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of the Nazarene, and other groups.

   Thousands of Maronites have been killed in clashes with Druzes and Muslims. In 1860 the Druzes, an offbeat sect of Islam, killed hundreds of Maronite Christians, arousing a military response from Catholic France. French troops took control of the area which comprises present-day Lebanon and Syria.

   Under a government of like faith, the Maronites became the dominant religious group in Lebanon and Syria. Evangelical missionaries were allowed broad liberties in spreading the gospel, but Maronites who became evangelicals were persecuted. Usually this persecution involved banishment from home and community and loss of employment. Occasionally a convert was imprisoned on a trumped-up charge. A few were killed.

"Kiss the Coals!"

   One of the most notable Lebanese converts to evangelical faith in the early twentieth century was Asaad Shidiak, a Syrian, and former secretary to the Maronite patriarch. The astounded patriarch first tried persuasion, then offered the convert the bribe of promotion, and finally threatened him with excommunication. When Shidiak remained steadfast, angry relatives had his marriage annulled and asked the patriarch to deal with him severely. The patriarch had him thrown into jail where he was later chained before an icon and a pot of burning coals. "You may choose to kiss the icon in token of repentance or kiss the coals!" he was told. He pressed the burning coals to his lips, and then with scorched and blackened lips was returned to his cell.

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   The torture continued. Finally they built a wall around him in his cell, leaving only a small opening through which he could breathe and reach out for food. There, after prolonged suffering, he passed into the presence of God.

Lebanon's "Unholy" Civil War

   After Lebanon and Syria declared independence in 1943, Maronite persecution of evangelicals eased. The new Muslim government of Syria put tough restrictions on missionaries, but Syrian believers enjoyed more freedom than they had under French Catholic colonialists. Since the establishment of the state of Israel, Syrian evangelicals have been under more stress. Some have been accused of disloyalty to their country. One was reported to have been hung in Damascus as a spy. Syrian Muslims believe that local evangelicals are allied with American evangelicals in support of the state of Israel, a missionary explains.

   Lebanon, after World War II, prospered and became known as the "Switzerland" of the Middle East. The population percentage was divided about sixty-forty between the Maronite Christian majority and the Muslim minority. Both groups shared power in a coalition government. But because of an Islamic prohibition against Muslims charging interest, the Maronites, through their banking interests, came to dominate the economy.

   In the 1970s the balance of power in Lebanon began shifting towards Muslims. Because of a higher birth rate, the Muslims had become a slight population majority. They sought more economic and political power without success. They sympathized with the Palestinian refugees ensconced in United Nations' refugee camps in southern Lebanon and gave material aid to Palestinian guerrillas. The Maronites were less sympathetic to the Palestinians.

   In 1974 beautiful Lebanon exploded in a bloody civil war that resulted in vast property damage, thousands of casualties, and ultimately Syrian intervention. Evangelical missionaries and Lebanese believers were horrified at the bloodshed. Many felt that the Muslim cause was the more just. "It wasn't a holy war between Muslims and Christians," a Baptist woman missionary insists. "It was caused by corruption among rich Maronite Christians."

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Prayer amidst Death

   Night after night evangelical believers and missionaries huddled in their homes while war between the political factions raged around them. Many inspiring stories and testimonies of God's protection are related in Flowers from the Valley of Terror, a book published by Baptist Publications in Beirut.

   Wrote Chassan Khalaf, an instructor at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut :

We spent many long sleepless nights .... How the building shook and swayed from the force of the blasts, and how the shrapnel rained on the balconies of our apartment, falling like hailstones on a tin roof. From time to time we heard cries of distress from neighboring buildings or the siren of an ambulance speeding by, carrying the injured. And in the mornings we saw the death notices filling the walls of the narrow streets and new pictures of those who died in battle the night before ....

   In this atmosphere of dryness and death the only soothing factor was a prayer meeting that we held by turns every night in various homes. We met around the Lord Jesus, listening to a reading from His words and pouring out our hearts before Him in thanksgiving and intercession and petitions for help. God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ showered these meetings with a deluge of mercies and kindnesses and assurances of His care for His children. Fountains of hope exploded in the deserts of our hearts, and praises flowed out of our mouths to the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. How we were encouraged when we would remember that we had brothers in neighboring Arab countries and in the world who were praying for us continuously. We felt that we were members of one body with them. If a member of that body suffers pain his brother feels it with him.

"Under the Shadow of the Almighty"

   Many evangelicals narrowly escaped death during the 1974-1976 Lebanese war. Baptist missionary Nancy Hern, for example was standing at her front door when a bullet, two-and-a-half-inches long, smashed against the concrete beside the door. The bullet was designed to strike on its nose and explode into sharp fragments, but it hit the house sideways, saving Mrs. Hern from injury and possibly death.

   Robert Haddad, a young Baptist factory worker, twice escaped death in unusual ways. The first instance happened on a Friday afternoon after he tore up a pornographic picture placed on his machine by a fellow worker. The worker threatened him with death.

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   "If you kill me," young Haddad replied, "I will be transported to the glories of heaven; but if you die, where will you go?" Then he added, "Jesus loves you and wants to save you, so surrender your heart to him before death comes and we will be together in heaven." At that moment the quitting bell rang.

   "On Monday, I will kill you with my gun," the man vowed.

   "I will be here and the Lord Jesus will be with me," the evangelical declared.

   Young Haddad arrived the following Monday and saw his fellow workers crowded together. They had all known about the threat the previous Friday and he thought they were talking about what was going to happen to him. When he came nearer, one shouted, "Do you know what happened to the man who threatened you?"

   "No, I don't," Robert replied, "but I thank the Lord that He is with me."

   "Well," the other worker said, "the Lord loves you. That man who threatened to kill you on Friday went to his house and dropped dead." Robert then took the opportunity to move in closer to tell all the workers about God's love shown in Christ.

   The factory was only about three hundred meters from Robert's house; however, the road was extremely dangerous because of its location between two warring armies. One day his mother warned him not to go to work, but he said, "The Lord will keep me." He prayed with her and went ahead. When he reached the street, guns began firing around him. Suddenly he was confronted by an armed commando.

   "From where are you coming and where are you going?" he asked.

   "I am coming from my home, as you can see, and I am going to my work," Robert replied.

   The armed man then asked if he were carrying any arms, "Yes, I have a weapon in my bag," Robert told him. The man quickly opened the bag and found only a bottle of drinking water and some food.

   "Where's the gun?" he demanded.

   Robert smiled and pulled out a New Testament. "This is the weapon."

   "Are you mocking me?" the man snapped angrily.

   "No, but I am a believer in Jesus Christ and His Book is my weapon."

   "Don't mention that name," the man ordered. He took out his revolver and put his finger on the trigger. "I'm going to kill you."

   The young Lebanese believer kept his calm. "My weapon is stronger, because the word of God will come out of it and enter your heart. If you believe in it you will live forever. The Lord gave me the opportunity to tell you about Jesus, the Savior, who loves you."

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   Again the man shouted, "Don't speak this name!" Robert saw his finger tighten on the trigger and prayed for God to intervene.

   Suddenly the man smiled nervously. "Are you strong?" he asked.

   "In Jesus Christ I am strong," Robert replied.

   "Then push my hand down!"

   Robert pushed down on his arm but could not move it. Then the man abruptly turned and ran away.

   "Don't be afraid," Robert called. "Jesus loves you." But he kept running and never looked back.

   A few days later Rober heard about a fighter who had told his comrades of meeting a man who believed in Christ. "He was a real Christian," the fighter reportedly said. "I wanted to kill, but my hand was paralyzed and I could not."

   Many other Lebanese evangelicals also had narrow escapes. The wife of a Church of the Nazarene pastor in Beirut was standing beside a wall combing her little girl's hair when a bullet missed her head by inches. Another pastor was sprayed with cement chips from a bullet which slammed against a wall only inches away. His church was in an area of heavy fighting, but he kept it open for worshipers and persons seeking shelter.

   The miracle was that there were so few evangelical casualties. A Baptist lay church worker was killed near Beirut. A Baptist theological student was hit in the head by shrapnel. His injury proved not to be serious and he recovered. However, hundreds of evangelicals lost their homes and household possessions.

The Warring Eighties

   In 1982, after Israeli forces invaded Lebanon, American foreign missionaries and other American citizens were asked by the U.S. government to leave Lebanon. Most moved to Cyprus. Internal fighting and terrorist bombing continued throughout the 1980s. During 1990 more than one thousand people were killed and over three hundred thousand left the country. Many of the departing Lebanese were Christians seeking refuge in the United States and other western countries.

   A few foreign missionaries risked their lives in brief trips back. Mack Sacco, a Southern Baptist, was caught in West Beirut by Muslims, roughed up, and ordered to place his head between his knees. The assailants shoved a rifle barrel against the base of his skull and told him

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to prepare for death. Instead of shooting him, they took his wallet and other belongings and drove off in his car.

   Muslims and Christians controlled different parts of the country with armed guards checking identity cards at roadblocks. There have been reports of Muslims shooting persons with Christian cards and Christians by family and tradition, shooting individuals with Muslim identity. The law of revenge seems to prevail. Destruction of a Muslim village by so-called Christian militia is followed by an attack on a Christian village by Muslim forces.

   Schools remained closed much of the time. In one situation in 1990, 250 children were trapped in a school during fifteen days of constant shelling. Parents did not know if their children were dead or alive. When the shelling mercifully ended, the principal sent the kids home and closed the school.

   One of the most highly regarded Christian ministries in Lebanon is the Contact Resource Center which serves the handicapped, of which most are Christians who were shot by Muslims. "We tell them," says Dr. Agnes Wakim, the Lebanese director, "they cannot hate the Muslims, that they must forgive them ..."

A Martyred South African

   Kentleigh Torrente, a thirty-four-year-old South African serving in Lebanon under Youth With a Mission, was in his second term of ministry when shot by Syrian forces on October 13, 1990. Torrente was believed to be the first western missionary killed in Beirut during the past fifteen years.

Release of the Last American Hostages

   Two of the most noted foreign hostages were Terry Waite, a prominent Anglican clergyman from England, and Terry Anderson, a journalist. Waite was captured while in Lebanon attempting to secure release of the hostages. Waite was released in reasonably good health after enduring years of captivity.

   Anderson was held as an American political hostage for seven torturous years. Soon after being taken to a hideout, he asked for books. The first one he was given was the Bible. He amazed his cell mates by memorizing long passages. This, along with prayer and sharing with other hostages in "The Church of the Locked Door," helped him survive.

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   A guard asked hostage Lawrence Jenco, a Catholic priest, for forgiveness for keeping the clergyman in isolation for six months. Jenco asked the guard's pardon for having hated him. "After that," Jenco said after being released, "there was peace between us."

Lebanon's Clouded Future

   At this writing Israel controls a section of southern Lebanon while Syria dominates the greater part of the country. Internal fighting has subsided somewhat. However, Lebanon remains extremely dangerous for western missionaries, even though all American hostages have been released.


   Among the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East, Lebanon has the largest proportion of "Christians" among its population. However the largest Christian minority group in the Middle East is the Egyptian Coptic Church. With around three million members, the Coptic Church dates its origin to the first century when John Mark, the author of the second Gospel and Paul's sometime missionary companion, reportedly established a congregation in Alexandria. There is also a sizable Coptic Evangelical Church, established by Presbyterian missionaries in Egypt. Other large constituencies are the Assemblies of God with over ten thousand reported believers and the Free Methodist Church, as well as smaller evangelical groups. Although some Copts complain of economic discrimination from the Muslim majority, believers in Egypt have escaped mass persecution during the twentieth century. Extremist Muslims did try to get a law passed making conversion from Islam a capital offense. President Anwar Sadat became alarmed and prevented passage.

   Sadat's popularity with extremist Muslims dropped dramatically when he began peace talks with Israel. Muslim attacks on Christians led to riots in 1981 and culminated in a nationwide security crackdown in September of that year. Over fifteen hundred religious and political activists were picked up by police. The majority were radical Muslims, but many Coptic and evangelical Christians were arrested as well. The Islamic radicals responded by assassinating President Sadat on October 6, 1981.

   Since the early 1980s, severe restrictions have been placed on Christian activities. Presidential permits are required for building new churches.

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Some congregations must wait for years for permission to make small repairs. Churches cannot be built near a mosque. A church steeple cannot reach higher than minarets on a nearby mosque. Except for brief times at Christmas and Easter, public TV is closed to Christian broadcasters. Muslim speakers are permitted to say outlandish things about Christianity. One Muslim TV preacher reported with a straight face that the Christian prophet (Jesus) had gone to bed with five virgins on one night.

   Hundreds of church-building permits are pending. Some requests go back as far as ten years. Fifteen existing churches in the Coptic neighborhood of Old Cairo have been put under government control. The Christian periodical El Keraza has been banned. No Christian holds any of the 160 top government positions outside the Egyptian cabinet. No Christian serves as a university president, college dean, or police commissioner.

   The head mistress of a large Christian school was accused of shredding and burning the Koran, then stomping on the ashes to show her contempt. None of this was true, but the Christian educator lost her job.

   Radical Muslims speak so harshly against Christians that soldiers are stationed outside many Egyptian churches to protect worshipers from extremists.

   The worst outbreak of violence in the past ten years came in a small Coptic Christian village, 130 miles south of Cairo on May 5, 1992. According to a report in the New York Times, local Muslims attacked when a Christian refused to sell his house to a Muslim who had demanded that he do so.

   The attackers waited for the Christian farmers to enter their fields. When the farmers arrived, one group of attackers opened fire, killing at least six Christians instantly. Another radical Muslim group burst into the home of a Christian doctor and stabbed him to death. A third group forced their way into a school and started shooting. Altogether, thirteen Christians were killed. One woman who witnessed the attack told a Times reporter, "They were like mad dogs, running and shooting." Another man said, "People were terrified. The Muslim militants do what they want in our villages and the government does nothing to stop them."

   One result of such persecution is that many nominal Christians act like Muslims. They fast and swear and invoke the name of the prophet Mohammed. Sometimes when a Christian dies, the family asks a Muslim sheikh to read a chapter from the Koran at the grave. An estimated ten to fifteen thousand "Christians" in Egypt convert to Islam each year,

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usually for marriage or economic advancement. Most Christians are reportedly standing firm, refusing to compromise their faith.

   The growth of Christianity in Egypt is not keeping pace with the population increase. Church statistician David Barrett predicts a drop from 5.8 percent to 4.8 percent of the population by the year 2000.

   However, interest in Christianity remains strong in Egypt. Upwards of a thousand people regularly attend worship services at the Kasr el-Dubara Church in Cairo. Pastor Mene Abdul Noor's sermons are heard from outside the country on Trans World (missionary) Radio. The radio sermons draw about seven thousand letters each month.

   King Hussein [1935-1999], ruler of the staunchly pro-western kingdom of Jordan, is vigilant against religious persecution. Hussein, a Muslim, claims lineal descent from the prophet Mohammed, but he sends his children to the Southern Baptist school in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

   Palestinians make up about half of the population of Jordan. Just before and during the 1991 war between the United Nations and Iraq, some one hundred evangelicals from four Jordanian churches worked day and night, providing meals and tents and passing out New Testaments and Christian literature to internationals fleeing Iraq. Some nights as many as one hundred refugees received Christ.


   Other Arab countries tell a different story. With few exceptions during recent years, evangelical missionaries have been unable to enter as Christian workers in Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the two Yemens, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and the North African Arab nations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. The two hundred or so full-time foreign "missionaries" residing in some of these countries are there as teachers, nurses, doctors, and practitioners of other "helping" occupations. Their freedom to witness to Muslims varies from country to country.

   Libya, North Yemen [San'a'], and Saudi Arabia are perhaps the most difficult. Southern Baptist medical workers in North Yemen, for example, are forbidden by the Muslim government to hold public services or to directly evangelize patients. In Libya four young evangelists from the United States were imprisoned for distributing Arabic gospels. After special appeals, the Libyan ruler, Colonel Muamimar al-Qaddafi (Muammar Gaddafi, died 2011), issued a personal command ordering their release and deportation.

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   Pro-western Saudi Arabia permits "Christian" ministries only in foreign communities. A Saudi-Arabian national Christian, Abdul Kareem Mal-Allah, was beheaded in 1992 for "insulting" God by speaking negatively of the Prophet Mohammed.

   The 1991 Gulf War in Iraq, stemming from Iraq's invasion of tiny Kuwait, produced over one hundred thousand casualties.

   Many biblical scholars place the Garden of Eden in Iraq in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates river, known as "the fertile crescent," where civilization is believed to have started sometime before 3,000 B.C. Few Christian communities have survived in the country now ruled by the sadistic Saddam Hussein. These communities, with ancestries going back to New Testament times suffer much discrimination. Over fourteen thousand fled to the West from 1972 to 1977. Of the few pastors in Iraq, most are Egyptians.

   Iraqi Christians, as well as other minorities, dare not speak publicly against Hussein. Amnesty International has documented thirty-eight methods of torture used by Iraqis, including the cutting off of ears and tongues.

Repression in Iran

   Christians, with 0.4 percent of the population, are recognized as a minority in neighboring Iran. Since the downfall of the government of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran has been governed as a Muslim theocracy in which Christians are declared a protected minority.

   Many Christians have fled to the West because of political restrictions. Some Episcopalians, with Muslim ancestry, have suffered martyrdom and imprisonment. Nevertheless, some churches have grown.

   The severest repression in Iran, as well as in other Muslim countries, has come upon Muslims who have become Christians. One of these was Hosein Soodman, an ordained fifty-five-year-old Assemblies of God minister. When Soodman's church in the city of Mashad was closed by the government in 1988, Soodman conducted private services for a while, then moved to a church in Gorgan, a city north of Tehran. Soon after arriving, he was arrested by Gorgan police, blindfolded, and taken away for questioning. He was then ordered to return to Mashad.

   At Mashad he was rearrested and reportedly accused of spying, a charge friends dismissed as preposterous. "He was harmless, a meek man, who will be remembered for his quiet spirit," one said.

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   He was then subjected to public mockery for his faith and ordered to pray aloud repeatedly. His captors permitted his blind wife to visit him only twice during his final imprisonment and denied them a final meeting before his execution.

   Fellow pastors went to the prison where he had been held and learned that he had been hung on December 3. Authorities took the delegation to an isolated grave where they said Soodman was buried. After hearing the news, his wife suffered a nervous breakdown. She and her four children, ages ten to fifteen, were taken into the homes of fellow Christians.

   Several other Iranian believers have disappeared since Soodman's martyrdom and are feared dead. Mehdi Dibaj, another church leader and ex-Muslim, has been held in prison since 1986.

   More churches and also some Christian bookstores have been closed in Iran during recent years. Christian conferences have been banned. Government approval is now required for Christian weddings and church picnics. The Iranian Bible Society was closed down in 1990 and staff members locked out of the building. When the Bible society asked permission to print a gospel portion, the Office of Religious Minorities said Jesus could not be referred to as "Son of God" or "Lord" but only as "Prophet." The society declined to make the changes since they would have altered the biblical text.

   Iranian officials insist that no one is in jail because of their beliefs. The repression is believed to be an effort by Iranian Muslim theocrats to curtail increasing response to the gospel as given on Christian radio programs and correspondence courses coming in from outside the country.

   Evangelical agencies have found radio broadcasts and Bible correspondence courses effective in reaching many Muslims in "closed" countries. One evangelical worker now sends follow-up training cassettes to "home fellowships" in thirteen Arab countries. Another wrote 120 correspondence students in a North African country, asking, "Would you like for us to visit and teach you more about Christ?" Eighty-six said yes.

   The operators of the evangelical correspondence schools are extremely reluctant to give details of their outreaches. They decline to identify any of their students. They will only speak in confidence to trusted persons about converts from Islam (believers in Christ) who have been banished from their families and countries for public profession of their new faith. A few have been jailed, but in recent years none are known to have been martyred.

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Islam's Policy towards Christians and Jews

   Still, it is incorrect to assume that Muslims have, or have ever had, a universal policy of killing Christians or Jews. While acts of violence have been perpetrated against Christians by Muslim extremists, the historic attitude of Islam toward "people of the Book" [i.e., the Bible] has been one of toleration. Muslims often point to the traditional covenant given by Caliph 'Umar, a Muslim leader of the seventh century, to Christians and Jews when Muslim soldiers captured Jerusalem. "They shall have freedom of religion," he pledged, "and none shall be molested unless they rise up in a body ... they shall pay a tax instead of military service ... and those who leave the city shall be safeguarded until they reach their destination ..." Indeed, Jews fared better under Islamic rule in the Middle East between 700 A.D. and 1250 A.D. than under despotic popes in "Christian" Europe. However, it should be noted that Muslim tolerance in conservative Muslim nations does not include freedom to evangelize Muslims. [Note from webmaster: I personally looked through the Koran and found at least ten verses that instruct Muslims to kill unbelievers. However, in America, I've known numerous Muslims and gotten along well with all of them]

The Muslim Challenge

   Muslims now number almost one billion and rank as the greatest unevangelized bloc of non-Christians in the world. With financial backing from Arab oil money, Islamic missionaries are moving across Africa, Asia, and into traditionally Christian Europe and the Americas, winning new converts.

   Evangelical missions of today admit that past strategies in reaching Muslims have met with little success. Some mission leaders believe that one mistake has been to demand that converts from Islam come out of their cultural settings and into a western church environment. Says Donald McCurry, coordinator of a 1978 evangelical conference on Muslim evangelization : "We're taking a hard, new look at the problem of culture change. We're finding that 95 percent of what we Christians do is because of our culture, and not Christianity. The way we dress. The positions in which we pray. The buildings in which we worship. Things like that."

   One concept being considered is a "Messianic mosque." "Jewish believers in Jesus may worship in a 'Messianic synagogue,' " observes McCurry, a veteran missionary to Muslims. "Why can't Muslim believers have a worship in harmony with their forms?" [Webmaster's note: sounds like syncretism, an undesirable mixing of two mutually exclusive religions]

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   In 1977 the Orthodox bloc introduced an antimissionary law into the Israeli Parliament, stating that anyone offering "material inducement" to persuade an Israeli citizen to change his religion is liable to a $3,200 fine and five years in prison. Furthermore, any Israeli converting to a non-Jewish faith for material benefit could be jailed for three years. A woman objector noted that official records showed only seventeen Israeli Jews converting to Christianity during the past two years. (Messianic Jews say there are many more unannounced believers.) "There was no need for such drastic action," she said. The head of the Israeli Secularist League termed the proposed law a "charter for persecution." Resident Christian missionaries vigorously protested. But the bill passed.

   On December 25, 1989, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected the request of a Messianic Jewish couple, Gary and Shirley Beresford, who had applied for "Aliyah" — the right of any Jew to immigrate and become a citizen of Israel. The Beresfords lodged a protest and were then denied permanent residency as non-Jews.

   Messianic Jews, who believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and practice Jewish rites, have been among the strongest supporters of Israeli statehood and foreign policy. Yet as the law now stands, atheistic and agnostic Jews are being accepted as citizens of Israel while Jews who believe in Jesus are not.

   However, the Israeli government is very sensitive to acts of violence against Christians. A wave of sympathy arose when the Narkis Street Baptist Church in Jerusalem was burned by terrorists splashing gasoline inside and igniting an inferno. Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek and several Israeli groups contributed to the rebuilding project.

Martyrs in War

   But many Christians have died in the wars between the Israelis and the Arabs since the establishment of Israel as a political state in 1948.

   For years before 1948 there had been fighting between Arab residents of Palestine and Zionist Jewish settlers. Many Jews, Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and British occupation soldiers were killed. After the British announced in February 1947, that they would turn Palestine over to the United Nations in 1948, the fighting escalated. Trained Jewish soldiers, immigrants from over fifty nations, sought to increase Israeli holdings

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before statehood was proclaimed. Palestinian resisters fought back. No one was safe.

   Hilda Anderson was one of a small band of Christian missionaries who bravely remained to minister to both Arabs and Jews. Miss Anderson, a native of Sweden, was a twenty-year veteran. "I don't feel it's right for me to run away from these people," she said. "It would be failing them in the time they need me most."

   Miss Anderson worked and worshiped in a small Christian church in Jerusalem. The trip from her home on the Mount of Olives required that she cross both Arab and Jewish territory, but she refused to stay closeted in her home. "I'm needed," she said. "I must go." One Sunday morning, early in 1948, she made the customary trip. She was killed as she was returning home, presumably by a sniper.

Death in Jesus' Hometown

   At Nazareth, Southern Baptist representatives, working mainly with Arabs, had established a strong church and day school. Augustine Shorrosh, a shoemaker, was one of their first converts. He was the first evangelical in his family. After his conversion his wife and several other family members accepted Christ as their Savior. He became a zealous tract distributor and lay preacher in Nazareth and surrounding communities. After a time of testing, the missionaries began paying him a small salary so he could devote more time to Christian work. Some thought he might one day become an influential pastor.

   The shoemaker-turned-preacher boldly witnessed to Jews and Muslims alike, ignoring threats against himself. One day he was on a train distributing tracts and Gospels to the passengers. Muslim fanatics became angry and turned on him. "Dog! Blasphemer!" they shouted. They forced Augustine to the back of the railroad car where one man grabbed a long-handled ax that had been placed on the wall for emergencies. The fanatics advanced menacingly toward him.

   "Peace, my brothers, peace. I mean you no harm," he pleaded. But the man with the ax and the other fanatics kept coming. Augustine saw that his only hope was to get off the train. He leaped sideways and fell among the rocks.

   Sometime later he came staggering home to his wife and four children. He fell on a mat and lay there for days. The missionaries came,

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but they could do nothing. They thought he must have suffered brain damage. After the wound healed, he became irrational. Augustine was finally admitted to a Lebanese hospital for several months where he seemed to recover. He returned home and settled down for a while until he grew worse and had to be committed to the penitentiary in Acre because of the lack of hospital facilities in Palestine. He was still in prison when the final struggle began for the establishment of Israeli statehood.

   In one of the battles between the Syrians and Jews, the Shorrosh family was forced to flee into Jordan. There they heard that two cousins had been killed by the Israeli soldiers and that the Jews had rented the Shorrosh house to another family. But the worst blow came when a new refugee brought sad word that Augustine Shorrosh had been killed in the battle of Nazareth while trying to get home to his family. He did not know what had happened to Mr. Shorrosh's body.

The Miracle of Anis Shorrosh

   The news was especially devastating to fifteen-year-old Anis Shorrosh. He wanted to get a machine gun and slip across the Jordan to kill as many Jews as possible before he would be gunned down. But no arms were available and he could only seeth in frustration and hatred. Finally he ran into the desert and lay down amid the hot rocks, vowing to remain there until he died. He lay there all night and most of the next day. His vision was now blurred and his tongue swollen. He longed for a drop of cool water. Suddenly he thought, "This must be how the rich man in hell felt when he begged Lazarus to bring him just a drop of water." The young Palestinian's mind was reeling, but he was still sane enough to realize that he did not want to go to hell, for he knew that he had never truly asked the One who had grown up in his hometown to forgive his sins.

   Summoning all the strength he could muster, he ran home and fell into the arms of his anxious mother. After taking food he fell into an exhausted sleep. Upon awakening he grabbed his mother's Bible and spent the entire day reading. At last he bowed in submission to Jesus and found peace.

   Several months later Anis took a lab assistant job at the Baptist Hospital in Ajlun, Jordan. The missionaries there saw promise in him and arranged for a scholarship to a Baptist college in Mississippi. After

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graduation he went on to New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Today he is a full-time evangelist and the most renowned Palestinian preacher in the world.

   In recent years the son of Augustine Shorrosh has led many groups of Christian pilgrims on Holy Land tours. Always, he has returned to his hometown of Nazareth where his family home is still rented out by Israeli officials. His most unforgettable trip was in 1971. As was customary, he sat next to the Jewish tour guide on the bus. When they were nearing Nazareth, the guide casually remarked, "I was a captain in the tank force that occupied Nazareth back in 1948."

   Anis froze. Had he heard correctly? "What did you say?" he asked the guide.

   "I was a captain in the force that took Nazareth."

   Sounds seemed to explode in Anis's brain. He could hear again the screams of wounded and dying neighbors and the terrifying explosions. Praying as he struggled to control his emotions, Anis declared, "My father was killed in the battle of Nazareth."

   The blue-eyed Israeli tensed in fear.

   Still trying to overcome the feelings for revenge that he thought were long buried, Anis repeated, "Yes, my father was killed. And by all the tradition and tribal laws of my people, it is my duty to avenge his death."

   Then an overwhelming love seemed to roll over Anis, and with a voice that seemed not to be his own, he solemnly declared, "But because Jesus Christ of Nazareth has forgiven my sins, I forgive you." (The inspiring biography of Anis Shorrosh is told in The Liberated Palestinian [Victor Books, 1975].) [Webmaster's note: In 2008 he was arrested in Alabama for arson and tax evasion.]

Episcopal Victims of War

   In the years since Israel became a state, thousands more Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been killed in three succeeding wars and numerous raids by both sides. Many of those killed have been innocent civilians. For example, Presbyterian archeologist James L. Kelso reported that during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israeli soldiers shot up the Episcopal cathedral and smashed down the Episcopal school for boys so their tanks could get through to the Arab-controlled "Old City" in the heart of Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located. "At Ramallah a Christian (Arab) city near Jerusalem," Kelso further noted, "the Episcopal girls' school was shot up, and some of the girls were killed."

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Nurse of Gaza

   Only one evangelical missionary is known to have been killed in the 1970s. This was Miss Mavis Pate, a dedicated forty-six-year-old Southern Baptist missionary nurse, serving in Gaza. A short, dark-haired woman with an infectious smile, nurse Pate had only been a full-time missionary eight years.

   She had served on the famous hospital ship S.S. Hope on its maiden voyage to the South Pacific in 1960—1961. At her missionary appointment service in 1964, she recalled, "God has his way to deal with us, and with this obstinate one, it required that He send me approximately halfway around the world and leave me there for about a year, to see the need that existed and to help point out to me my part in meeting that need .... On the basis of that ... I made the commitment to foreign mission service."

   She served first in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and Thailand. In 1970 she was transferred to the Baptist hospital in Gaza to serve as operating room supervisor and director of the nursing school. Here on the narrow strip captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, she and other missionaries were in one of the most dangerous areas of the world. The staff frequently heard gunfire around the hospital, and victims were often brought in for emergency treatment.

   Nurse Pate was especially touched by the plight of the 360,000 Palestinian refugees living in camps on the narrow segment of land. Total population of Gaza, including the refugees, was then 420,000. She visited homes in the refugee camps and shared her faith in Christ. Her prayer list in one of her first letters home included the request "that we all may be truly surrendered to His will, willing tools in His hand, channels for His blessings, more Christlike than manlike."

   Sunday evening, January 16, 1972, Nurse Pate left with missionary Ed Nicholas and his three daughters on the short trip to Tel Aviv (about 40 miles) where the girls were enrolled in school. She went along to refill some oxygen tanks for the operating room, and to drive a new car back to Gaza. They left the hospital just after 6:00 P.M. traveling north in the hospital's Volkswagen Microbus. There was little traffic at this time because of the danger of commando attacks from refugee camps along the highway. But the missionaries felt their neutrality would be respected.

   Just outside the Jabalya camp, hidden Palestinians opened fire with automatic weapons, spraying the side and back of the Microbus with fifty rounds of bullets. Ed Nicholas was wounded in the leg and side.

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One of his daughters caught a piece of flying shrapnel in the foot. Miss Pate was hit in the head and several other places.

   Israeli soldiers patrolling nearby heard the shooting. They rushed the Americans to an Israeli first-aid station. From there Ed Nicholas and Mavis Pate were flown by helicopter to the regional medical center in Beersheba for special treatment. Miss Pate lived for about three hours after the attack and died while doctors were working on her. Nicholas and his wounded daughter recovered.

   News of the tragedy brought an immediate outpouring of sympathy and sorrow. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan came from Tel Aviv to offer assistance. Israeli television presented a five-minute editorial in Arabic and an interview with missionary doctor Jean Dickman. Dr. Dickman gave a clear testimony of the assurance that followers of Christ had in such a tragedy. And in Gaza scores of Palestinian Arabs came to the hospital expressing sorrow and regret at the accident. It was generally felt that the Microbus had been mistaken for an Israeli army vehicle.

   At the funeral on Tuesday morning in the church at the hospital compound, the sanctuary overflowed with Arabs, Jews, United Nations relief workers, embassy representatives, fellow missionaries, and newspersons. Miss Pate was laid to rest in a quiet garden on the hospital grounds.

The Meaning of a Life Laid Down

   An Arab student nurse wrote a poetic tribute. "She went, but just her body. For she still lives in our spirits. She planted the seeds of hard work, honesty, and faithfulness in us and these seeds will become the trees of love and peace."

   The Executive Director of Nurse Pate's mission board assessed her death from another perspective. Said Baker J. Cauthen in a eulogy :

We know how urgently a missionary nurse is needed, and how radiantly a life like this shines forth in its Christian testimony. We recognize, however, that the Lord of the harvest knows more than we do about the affairs of His work. He sometimes sees fit to let his choicest servants seal their testimony by laying down their lives in the line of duty, and out of it God has a way of bringing sustained advance in the work of his kingdom.

   Her silent grave will be a permanent witness to the high calling of God. Missionaries will look at it and remember the great extent to which missionaries go in order that the love of Christ may be shared.

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Non-Christian people will look at it and be reminded of the love of God that sent the Lord Jesus into the world for our redemption, and has continued sending his messengers forth to make that redemption known.

   Meanwhile, the ministry of love and reconciliation by Christian missionaries and nationals goes on in the troubled Middle East. The work continues to be slow and the responses varied.

Why Christians Remain at Their Posts

   Take the cases of two young Muslim Palestinians treated at the Baptist hospital in Gaza before Mavis Pate's death. One was treated first for acute appendicitis and dismissed. Two weeks later he was back in the emergency room. Several fingers had been blown off and shrapnel had literally torn out his eyes. He belonged to a commando group and the bomb he had been making had blown up in his face. Noted Dr. Merrill D. Moore in sadness : "During the entire time he was in our hospital, nothing changed his feelings of hostility and anger. This boy will bear forever in his body the stigma of hatred. His hands will never function except as claws, and he will never be able to see again. We had an opportunity to alter his life with the saving, healing love of Jesus Christ, but he refused to respond."

   Another young Arab was involved in a much less serious accident at his work. The end of one finger was cut off and the skin was stripped back. He came to the hospital where he was given loving treatment and released.

   Two years later a newly-hired male nurse walked up to Dr. Moore. "Do you remember me?" he asked the missionary. It was the youth who had lost the end of his finger. He explained that while he was a patient, he had seen something in the lives of the nurses that made him want to be a nurse. During his time of study he came to a saving faith in Christ through the witness of Miss Pate and another missionary. Since her death he has become one of the hospital's outstanding graduates, both as a medical professional and as an active witness for Christ.

   This is how Dr. Moore contrasted the response of the two young Arabs : "One is a bitter young man filled with hatred for the world. The other is an outstanding nurse full of joy and confidence because he faces the future in Jesus Christ. He is now the head nurse of a cardiac unit at a major hospital in a large city in the United States."

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The Plight of Palestinian Christians

   Tensions have remained high between Palestinians and Israelis, particularly after Israel's occupation of lands taken during the Six-Day War and the building of Jewish settlements on parts of that land. Many Westerners continue to mistakenly think all Palestinian Arabs are Muslims, when in reality around 10 percent are Christians. Palestinian Christians continue to be caught in the middle of the conflict. "We Christians are the most threatened in this ongoing situation of no war and no peace," Milkite Catholic priest Elias Chacour told a Christianity Today reporter.

   Chacour said Palestinian Christians living under the control of Israel face harassment from both Jews and radical Muslims. Chacour said Israeli authorities had denied building permits for an extension of his Christian school for more than three years.

   In June 1990, Israeli authorities interrupted graduation celebrations at the school to arrest five Palestinians affiliated  with the international relief agency, World Vision. Three of the five were charged with "supporting" and "funding terrorist activities" by selling clothing embroidered with tiny Palestinian flags.

   Palestinian Christians, and also Muslims, now fear increased Jewish confiscation of private and religious property in East Jerusalem where over 80 percent of the land is owned by Christians and Muslims. During the fall of 1991, the Israeli military permitted and protected two hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews in their seizure of seven Arab homes near the biblical Siloam Springs. The Orthodox invaders forced residents out of the homes at gunpoint. Some sixty buildings or sites — within Old Jerusalem, but outside the Jewish quarter — have been taken by Jewish invaders since 1970. These include many buildings near or bordering Christian holy places. Palestinian Christian lawyer Jonathan Kuttab sees "a clear Israeli government policy to turn Jerusalem into [an all] Jewish city," denying "the rights of Christians and Muslims ..."

   A series of tragic incidents have resulted in deaths. Israeli police killed twenty Palestinian youths in the so-called "Temple Mount Riot." After the shootings, an investigation revealed that the young Palestinians had been armed only with stones. A Palestinian took revenge by stabbing three Israelis to death in a quiet Jerusalem neighborhood. A mob of angry Israelis reacted with assaults on Palestinians and even some Jews who had protested the Temple Mount killings.

   Christmas Eve, 1992, a Jewish man invaded a Catholic church and stabbed its vicar. Israeli authorities set the alleged assailant free.

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   Around the same time, American Lutheran minister Albert Glock, head of a Palestinian archaeology center, was shot twice in the head and killed by a masked gunman. Glock had reportedly been outspoken about his faith and also expressed opposition to Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

   Was Glock a martyr or a political activist? Are Christian Palestinians being persecuted for their faith or for their political and nationalistic beliefs?

   The answers usually depend on one's view of where modern Israel fits into God's program for the end times. Many Christians believe Israel's establishment and well-being is prophesied in the Bible and that the Jewish-ruled nation is America's most important ally in the troubled Middle East. Others believe that the Israel of prophecy is represented by the church, composed of all true believers, regardless of nationality.

The Future of Christianity in the Bible Lands

   A history-making "Signs of Hope" consultation took place in October 1991 when ninety Christian leaders from the West and sixty from Middle Eastern countries met in Cyprus. The Middle Eastern delegation represented some fourteen million Christians in the region. The Westerners represented some of the leading Christian missions of the world.

   "The crucial issue is the survival of the churches," said Gabriel Habib, general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches and the American-organized Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. "Christianity in general here is facing so many challenges."

   Habib pointed to political instability, severe economic hardships, oppression by governments, runaway growth of Muslim populations, rising extremism among conservative Muslims, and a growing Christian emigration to the West.

   The consultation brought better understanding and a renewed commitment to a partnership between Western and Eastern church leaders in ministry. Christian involvement, said Ray Bakke, the unofficial chairman of the western group, must delve back to the roots of Christianity to be effective in this area revered for so many biblical sites, sacred to all believers in Christ.

   In 1994, a historic treaty was signed by Israeli and Palestinian representatives, which essentially set up a Palestine state in Gaza and the former West Bank territories. Whether this treaty will bring peace is yet to be seen. [Webmaster's note: This discussion seems a bit tilted in favor of Palestinians. The teaching of the Bible is that the land belongs to Israel forever. Surely, Israel could be more amenable toward Christians, and when Israelis abuse Christians or Muslims, the perpetrators — Jewish or otherwise — should be brought to justice. But, even as this author pointed out, the use of the term "Christian" by Palestinians is often a mere reference to political ties. The Bible knows no "Palestinian state" within the land of Israel]

Part Nine

Martyrs of Sub-Saharan Africa

Chapter 21

African Missions in the Nineteenth Century

The White Man's Graveyard

Called the Dark Continent in the nineteenth century because Americans and Europeans knew so little about Africa, this second largest continent on planet earth was also known among missionary societies as "the white man's graveyard" because the average tenure (life expectancy) of a missionary was only eight years. "Our God bids us first build a cemetary before we build a church or dwelling-house," wrote an early missionary, "showing us that the resurrection of ... Africa must be effected by our own destruction."

Faithful unto Death

   Twenty missionaries died at the London Missionary Society's central African station before the twentieth convert was baptized. A book published in 1902 listed 190 martyrs from ten North American missionary societies who succumbed to disease since 1833. A sampling from the Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church reveals the life span of fourteen missionaries:

Miss Isabella Alley : 1 year; Rev. J.C. Auer : 21 years; Miss Phebe Bart : 4 months; Miss Martha D. Coggeshall : 3 months; Mrs. C.C. Hoffman : 3 years; Rev. C.C. Hoffman : 16 years; Rev. H.H. Holcomb : 1 year; Rev. G.W. Horne : 2 years; Rev. E.J.P. Messenger : 3 months; Rev. Launcelot B. Minor : 7 years; Mrs. Catherine L. Patch : 2 years; Mrs. Jacob Rambo : 2 years; Rev. Robert Smith : 3 months; Dr. T.R. Steele : 6 months.

   Nothing deterred the early pioneers of the gospel. Wrote Willis R. Hotchkiss :

I have dwelt four years practically alone in Africa. I have been thirty times stricken with the fever, three times attacked by lions, and several times by rhinoceri; but let me say to you, I would gladly go through the whole thing again, if I could have the joy of again bringing that word "Savior" and flashing it into the darkness that envelops another tribe in central Africa.

No Turning Back

   Johann Ludwig Krapf, the German Lutheran firebrand who opened up East Africa, and his bride Rosine were commissioned by the Church Missionary Society to stake out a route for mission stations from Ethiopia south along the eastern coast to the island of Zanzibar. After being driven out of Ethiopia, Rosine gave birth to a premature daughter. The child, named Eueba, meaning "a tear," lived only a few hours and was buried under a tree beside the trail.

   Two months after they reached mysterious Zanzibar, Mrs. Krapf delivered a second child. This time both mother and infant died. After burying them in a single grave, the sorrowing father wrote the director of his mission :

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There is now on the East African coast a lonely missionary grave. This is a sign that you have commenced the struggle with this part of the world; and as the victories of the church are gained by stepping over the graves of her members, you may be the more convinced that the hour is at hand when you are summoned to the conversion of Africa from its eastern shore.

   Krapf pressed on. While trying to build another station, he was attacked and robbed, his workmen were scattered and killed, and he was driven into the jungle. Reduced to eating ants, he began again. The station which Krapf finally established on Zanzibar became the main nineteenth-century base of operations for Protestant missions in East Africa.

   Krapf and a new colleague, Johannes Rebmann, crossed to the mainland and advanced across the wilds of what is now known as Kenya and Tanzania. They discovered Africa's two tallest peaks, Mts. Kilimanjaro and Kenya. They heard of a great inland sea (Lake Victoria) and surmised correctly that the sources of the Nile and the Congo rivers would be in this area. Krapf and Rebmann's advances triggered a vast sweep of scientific explorations, which in turn resulted in a great missionary movement into the very heart of Africa. Krapf himself envisioned an "Apostle Street" of mission stations stretching the length and breadth of the vast continent, each main station to be named after an apostle. "This idea I bequeath to every missionary coming to East Africa," he said. "Though many misisonaries may fall in the fight, yet the survivors will pass over the slain into the trenches and take this great African fortress for the Lord."

Do or Die

   Krapf's counterpart in southern Africa was Robert Moffatt, who had arrived there in 1816 at the young age of twenty. Moffatt had been preceded in 1799 by John T. Vankerkemp of the London Missionary Society who worked among the Hottentots and Bushmen. Joined by another missionary, Moffatt pushed north into Botswana, the land of the wild Tswanas.

    The natives promptly set upon the invaders and robbed them of their few possessions. When the missionaries did not leave, the angry chief and his choicest warriors marched on their camp. The chief glared as he pointed in the direction from which they had come. "You will go! Now!"

   "Our hearts are with you," Moffatt declared, gazing steadily into the chief's eyes. Suddenly Moffatt bared his chest. "If you choose, your warriors

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may drive their spears to my heart. When you have killed me, my wife will know that the hour has come for me to depart this life."

   The chief stood in awe-struck silence. Then he looked at his warriors and murmured. "These men must have ten lives when they are so fearless of death. They have something to tell us."

   Robert Moffatt served fifty-three years, translating the Bible into the Tswana language, establishing a strong national church, trekking into virgin territory to plant outposts for new missionaries. During his one furlough home Moffatt described to young Dr. David Livingstone how he had often seen rising in the morning dawn the smoke of a thousand villages where the gospel had never been preached.

The Legendary Livingstone

   In 1841 Dr. Livingstone joined Moffatt, and later married Moffatt's daughter Mary. Livingstone's journals were snapped up in England. His descriptions of great jungle rivers, mountains, and lakes, hitherto unknown to the outside world, fired the imaginations of European and American adventurers. His depictions of jungle tribesmen, bound to demonism and witchcraft, who had never heard the name Jesus or heard a word of Scripture in their own languages, stirred Christians of all denominations. His eyewitness accounts of the slave trade provoked controversy all across the so-called civilized world. He begged the leaders of Christian Europe and America to heal this "open sore of the world" by passing laws and sending missionaries and traders to open up the African interior to Christianity and legitimate trade.

   Livingstone's sympathies for oppressed Africans were met with jeers. The English-educated classes in particular tended to scorn blacks as pitiful inferiors. The British Anthropological Review, in 1866, called his ideas sentimental rubbish and the ramblings of a "poor, naked mind bedaubed with the chalk and red ochre of Scotch theology, and with a threadbare, tattered waistcloth of education hanging around him." Livingstone overcame his critics and became the most honored man of his time. But he paid the price in the loneliness of his kind. After burying his wife under a towering baobab tree beside the Zambezi River, he wrote :

I loved her when I married her, and the longer I lived with her I loved her the more ... Oh, my Mary, my Mary! How we have longed for a quiet home ...

   Surely the removal by a kind Father means that he rewarded you by taking you to the best home, the eternal one in the heavens.

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The Case of the Skeptical Reporter

   For months nothing was heard of Livingstone, and speculation grew that he had been felled by disease or killed by hostile tribesmen. In 1871 the New York Herald sent famed foreign correspondent Henry M. Stanley in search of the legendary missionary doctor. "Take what you want, but find Livingstone," the publisher instructed.

   After nearly eight months of searching, Stanley caught up with the great man in the village of Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika. Awed, Stanley could only murmur, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." To which Livingstone modestly replied. "I am thankful to be here to greet you."

   Stanley's saga of the search became a best-seller. The result of Stanley's encounter is an even better story. The fabled correspondent wrote :

For four months and four days I lived with him in the same hut, or the same boat, or the same tent, and I never found a fault in him. I went to Africa as prejudiced against religion as the worst infidel in London. To a reporter like myself, who had only to deal with wars, mass meetings, and political gatherings, sentimental matters were quite out of my province. But there came to me a long time for reflection. I was out there away from a worldly world. I saw this solitary old man there, and I asked myself, "Why does he stop here? What is it that inspires him?" For months after we met I found myself listening to him, wondering at the old man carrying out the words, "Leave all and follow me." But little by little, seeing his piety, his gentleness, his zeal, his earnestness, and how he went quietly about his business, I was converted by him, although he had not tried to do it.

   Livingstone (1813-1873) lived only a year and a half after Stanley found him. His employees found him at 4:00 A.M. on his knees, dead, his candle still burning. They escorted his body to England where the remains were interred in Westminster Abbey.

   Stanley picked up the torch, appealing for missionaries, exploring new territory (he was the first white person to cross central equatorial Africa), and organizing tribal groups into colonies under European rule.

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The Cost of Conquest

   Stanley's appeal for missionaries to serve in Uganda brought engineer Alexander Mackay and seven other workers with the Church Missionary Society to Uganda in 1875. Stanley had not minimized the danger in his appeals. Mackay told the directors of the CMS upon departing : "Within six months you will probably hear that one of us is dead. When the news comes do not be cast down, but send someone else immediately to take the vacant place."

   Within three months one was dead. Within a year two more had perished. Within two years Mackay was the only worker left alive in the field. For twelve years Mackay beat off fevers and tribal attempts on his life, and saw many of the converts martyred. In 1890 he died of a tropical fever on the same bed where a colleague had died.

   Pioneer work in West Africa was no less costly. In 1795 the English Baptist Missionary Society adopted Sierra Leone as its second mission field (the first was India, under William Carey). They sent out two men. One died within a few months and the other was unable to continue the missionary life. The mission abandoned the work.

   Sierra Leone had been chosen by British abolitionists as a haven for freed slaves and was well known in England and America. Other mission agencies sent workers. But of twenty-six men and women who went there before 1816, sixteen died along with several children. Of twelve new workers who arrived in 1823, six died that year and four others were in African graves before the end of the next year. By 1826 only fourteen of seventy-nine missionaries who had gone to West Africa during the previous twenty-two years were still alive. The port of Freetown — named for its population of freed slaves — became known as the "gate to the white man's graveyard."

   Henry Palmer is an example of these pioneers. He had come home from the battle of Waterloo to marry a minister's daughter. They offered themselves to West Africa. Three months after arriving, Palmer was dead from malaria. His pregnant widow did not flinch. She wrote : "He who cannot ever [fail], whose love to his people can never fail, has seen fit to take my beloved husband to himself. Can I reply against God? I cannot. I will not." Three weeks later her child was born and lived only a few minutes. Six days later Mrs. Palmer was buried beside her husband and baby.

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Missions and Colonialism

   These nineteenth-century missionaries have been showered with calumnies by twentieth century armchair critics who prattle of paternalism and robbing Africans of human dignity. Granted, the missionaries were influenced by the thinking of their time — that white Europeans and Americans were at the apex of civilized greatness, a goal toward which nonwhites should aspire. And true, it was the policy of European traders, colonists, administrators, and missionaries to keep Africans in their "place"; however, the missionaries were not in Africa for spoils, but to proclaim the transforming love of God. Their commitment carried them into continual danger and almost always guaranteed a greatly shortened life span.

   The great majority of missionaries fought with Livingstone for the eradication of slavery. Even the most paternalistic saw the degraded black tribesmen as people worthy of God's love. A few boldly called for equality in a time when many white Christians believed blacks had been consigned to servanthood under the curse placed on Noah's grandson, Canaan.

   In 1899, for example, Bishop Tucker of the Church Missionary Society, who spent twenty-two years in Uganda and walked twenty-two thousand miles, proposed a constitution for the Church of England in Uganda that would have put blacks on an equal par with whites in teaching and pastoral posts. His proposal, however, was rejected by his white colleagues.

   Most did believe that colonialism was a good thing and aided the expansion of their respective homelands. John Mackenzie, a colleague of David Livingstone, promoted the expansion of the British Empire over regions which Livingstone explored. When British legislators balked at assuming more responsibility, Mackenzie went home and lobbied the House of Commons. Later the editor of the powerful Pall Mall Gazette wrote, "Hereafter, he will live in the annals of our empire as the man who ... saved Africa for England."

   However, the German missionary Krapf, and some others, staunchly opposed colonialism. "Do not think,"Krapf wrote,

that because East Africans are "profitable in nothing to God and the world" they ought to be brought under the dominion of some European power, in the hope that they may bestir themselves more actively and eagerly for what is worldly and, in consequence, become eventually more awake to what is spiritual and eternal. On the contrary, banish the thought that Europe must spread her protecting wings over Eastern Africa, if missionary work is to prosper in that land of outer darkness.

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Krapf's view did not prevail. Once the European powers realized the vastness of Africa's natural resources, they competed militantly for more territory.

The European Powers' Division of Africa

   In 1884, representatives of Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Spain convened the Conference of Berlin to iron out contentions over land claims. Around the conference table they agreed on boundaries. The division of tribal territories in such a way that one tribe was in the domain of one colony and the other tribes came under the jurisdiction of another, sowed the seeds for many bitter conflicts which continue today.

   Maps of Africa were colored red for Britain, green for France, yellow for Belgium, brown for Portugal, orange for Germany, and purple for Spain. Most African territories dwarfed their European owners. Belgium's area was seventy times larger than Belgium.

   The European powers made their tongues the official languages of their respective territories. Portuguese was spoken in Angola and Mozambique, English in Nigeria and Uganda, French in the sprawling Belgian Congo, and so on.

Varieties of Government

   Policies of governing differed from one territory to another. Britain, which controlled the largest population, ruled through a few select white officials and allowed tribal chiefs to retain wide powers. Britain also advocated higher education and the training of leaders. Thousands of young Africans were sent to Britain and the United States for college. However, British policy was not uniform in other ways. In British West Africa there was no color bar and whites could not purchase land. British East Africa, with richer soil, was strictly segregated and whites were permitted to buy all the land they wished. This policy would later lie at the roots of the Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya when many Christians were killed.

   France claimed over twice as much land as Britain, more than four million square miles. The French practiced assimilation with the aim of making the Africans Frenchmen. French Africans were citizens of France and could send representatives to the Senate and National Assembly in Paris. There was no official color bar.

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   Portugal went further than France in tying African territories to the homeland. Angola and Mozambique were considered provinces, not colonies.

   But whites held the power and purse strings in both French and Portuguese Africa. And their policies of assimilation meant that Africans wishing to earn full rights must learn the official language and follow the ways of the conquerors, including the Roman Catholic religion. Protestant missionaries were often excluded from African possessions of France and Portugal. And native Christians were frequently persecuted.

   The Belgians were the most paternalistic. They treated the Congolese as welfare clients by helping to improve their standard of living, while refusing to train native leaders. No Congolese could vote. Belgian colonists could cast ballots only in municipal elections.

   The Germans were the most authoritative. Germans customarily required blacks, Arabs, Indians, and any other non-European subjects to salute militarily when a European or American passed by. A young Englishman wrote his parents from Zanzibar in 1886 that Germans "walk the streets with the air of conquerors, taking any fruit that they want without paying for it and raping any women that they see." This was not true of all Germans in Africa, but it suggests German haughtiness toward their captive people.

   But whatever their differences, the European powers pursued the common goal of extracting all the wealth they could from Africa. Africa was rich in ivory, gold, diamonds, rubber, palm oil, and many other desirable commodities, not the least of which was cheap human labor. The colonial powers had good pickings for decades.

Perils of Success

   The missionaries, in helping to open Africa to foreign trade and colonialism, ultimately sowed the seeds of defeat for European domination of Africa. Black Africa enjoyed the largest percentage of conversion to Christianity of any nonwhite area of the world. Mission schools educated a greater ratio of Africa's population than anywhere else. Newly literate and spiritually enlightened Africans yearned to be free. As Ndabaningi Sithole, a black leader in present Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), put it : "The missionary ... laid explosives under colonialism." A younger African said it differently : "Africans found that the Bible begins with Genesis and ends with revolution."

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   Although most African leaders of the twentieth century were educated in mission school, some were also indoctrinated in secularism, Communism, and strange cults.

   But by fair means and sometimes foul, almost fifty independent nations now occupy tumultuous black Africa, seventeen claiming independence in the year 1960 alone. There were only four in 1951 — Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, and South Africa which was governed by a white minority. And the end is not yet in sight. There have also been numerous wars and uprisings, not a few of which have been aggravated by Communist meddling.

   All of this has come at dreadful cost to human life. Hundreds of thousands have died during past decades, including many missionaries and African Christians caught up in the deadly crosscurrents of violence. It is their stories which are told in succeeding pages, along with the accounts of a lesser number who have been martyred in other ways during this tumultuous twentieth century.

Chapter 22

Northeast Africa

The Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia


   The worst fate that a nineteenth-century British civil servant could suffer was being sent to the Sudan. One European traveler called it "a desolation of desolations, an infernal region, a howling waste of weed, mosquitoes, flies, and fever, backed by a groaning waste of thorns and stones — waterless and waterlogged. I have passed through it, and have now no fear for the hereafter." Yet the Sudan, extending along the upper Nile from Egypt to Uganda, over three times the size of Texas and the largest country in modern Africa, was considered important in Britain's sphere of influence.

   Ethnically Sudan was then, and is now, two nations. In the more advanced north, two-thirds of the population was comprised of Arabic-speaking Islamics, descendants from mixed marriages of brown-skinned Nubians and blacks. Beyond a great unexplored marsh, the south was populated by nomadic black animistic tribes who spoke a variety of unknown languages.

   The Nubians claimed descent from Cush, grandson of Noah, further asserting that the Ethiopian whom the evangelist Philip had baptized, had come from a city north of Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan. (In Greek, the language of the New Testament, "Ethiopian" meant only "burnt face.") But it was not until the sixth century that the Nubians

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were converted by Byzantine Catholic emissaries. Islam sprang up in the Middle East later and by the fourteenth century the faith of Mohammed had replaced nominal Christianity. Catholic missionaries returned in 1848 when the Sudan was under Egyptian rule with aid from the British.

Debacle of the Dervishes

   In 1881 a Muslim fanatic named Mohammed Ahmad proclaimed himself al-Mahdi (The Divinely Guided One) and led a revolt of dervishes against the Egyptians. He captured key towns in the vicinity of Khartoum and made the European residents his slaves.

   Many of the European men were brutally slain by the Mahdi's dervishes. For example, they cut off the hands of a Greek consul, then sliced off his head. They slit the throat of an Austrian tailor before his horrified wife and children. His only crime — making the sign of the cross.

   They spared most of the women, prodding them into corrals like cattle. There, the robes of many women still dripping with the blood of their husbands, they were chosen as concubines and servants by the Mahdi and his top officers.

Islam or Death

   Over a score of Catholic priests, brothers, and nuns were captured. After being condemned to death, they spent all night in prayer. Just before dawn they saw a dazzling comet with a long golden tail streaking across the clear desert sky. It reminded them of the Star of Bethlehem and they took it as a sign of divine protection. But the dervishes called it the "Star of the Mahdi." About 9 A.M. they were led before a mass of dervish warriors and ordered to bend their heads for the death blow. Suddenly they heard shouts and hoofbeats. The Mahdi was riding up on a mammoth white camel. "Bring the foreigners to me," he commanded. When they reached his presence, he looked down and announced, "May Allah lead you into the way of truth."

   The Mahdi took them under his personal protection and gave them the choice of death or converting to Islam. Each declared, "Death!" He tried to dissuade them and when this failed, he ordered them to be quartered in an aide's hut. Later he convened a council to deliberate their fate. When it was brought out that it was against Islamic law to kill captive priests

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who had not offered violent resistance the Mahdi and the council conceded that they could live.

   The next months were horrible beyond description. The camp was appallingly filthy. Dead animals rotted in the narrow spaces between the huts. Black clouds of flies swarmed everywhere and the food was squalid. Within a month two nuns and a lay brother died. The survivors could only sew their corpses into mats and drag them to the door of the hut. No one was willing to help the "Christian dogs." Days later they finally persuaded some black slaves to drag the remains away.

   Father Joseph Ohrwalder, the leader of the group, was regularly called before the Mahdi for religious discussions. Each time he refused to profess Islam. After one heated session, the Mahdi dismissed him and announced that the nuns would be taken as slaves. The nuns were forced to march across the burning sands. Upon arriving at their destination they were further tortured. One was hung from a tree and the soles of her feet beaten so hard that her toenails later dropped out. But they were never sexually violated.

Gordon — "Savior of Sudan"

   Meanwhile, the Mahdi's dervishes advanced on Khartoum where Britain's General Charles Gordon represented Egypt in the governor's palace. Gordon, the most famous British soldier of the time, was a devout Christian and a social reformer. "Boldly and humbly study the Scriptures," he advised his aides. "God's dwelling in us is the key to them; they are a sealed book as long as you do not realize this truth which is sure and certain whether you feel it or not ... Die now and you will never die ... God's indwelling is all in all the great secret."

   General Gordon had seen caravans of Arab slave traders returning from the southern Sudan with slaves. More than once he had picked up children abandoned by the traders along the route. Many Sudanese lovingly called him "the father and savior of Sudan." He abhorred slavery and estimated that twenty-five thousand Sudanese were killed each year by the slavers. He disdained wealth and pomp. Though the Egyptians fixed his salary at fifty thousand dollars a year, he refused to accept more than ten thousand dollars.

   When Gordon learned that the Mahdi's dervish army was on the march, he dispatched a request for reinforcements from British garrisons in Egypt. It should be noted that Gordon, in defiance of his government's

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orders, had refused to evacuate Khartoum even though it was still possible until late in the siege. Before help could arrive, the Mahdi and his warriors entered the city on January 26, 1885. When they came into the governor's house, Gordon put on his uniform and went downstairs to meet them. "Where is your leader?" he called. The dervishes did not answer. Against the Mahdi's express orders, a spear was thrown striking Gordon in the chest. He fell forward as other blows rained upon him.

   Two days later the British Relief Expedition came steaming up the Nile. Upon seeing that Khartoum had been captured, they turned their ships around in retreat.

   Ironically, the Mahdi's rule was brief. Less than six months later the Mahdi was taken ill and died on June 22, 1885, at the age of forty-one. His successor was Abd Allah, who in trying to maintain the expansionist momentum into Ethiopia and Egypt begun by the Mahdi overestimated the support of the Egyptian peasantry and underestimated the strength of his enemies. Then drought swept the Sudan and food supplies vanished. Thousands starved to death.

   By 1891 half of the European prisoners were dead. One of the last to die was a nun, Sister Concetta Corsi, who succumbed to typhus. Later that year Father Ohrwalder and other missionary survivors escaped to Egypt. Seven years later the British came back and under General Horatio Herbert Kitchener ended the rule of the Mahdi's successors.

Harvest in the "Desolation of Desolations"

   At this time known as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the country was again opened to Christian missionaries. The Church Missionary Society, the United Presbyterian Mission (also known as the Upper Nile Mission), and the Sudan United Mission all established stations during the next fifteen years in areas defined by the colonial government.

   The first Protestant convert was not baptized until 1916. After that, growth was rapid and by 1940 tens of thousands of Sudanese, principally southern tribesmen, had become Christians. The "desolation of desolations" was proving to be one of the most fertile mission fields in the world.

The Birth of the Sudan Interior Mission

   In 1935 the Italians invaded Ethiopia and in 1937 expelled workers with the Sudan Interior Mission. SIM had been born in the lifeblood of

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three pioneers who had attempted in 1893 to open a route between Lagos, Nigeria, in West Africa, northeast to Lake Chad. At that time all of north central Africa was known as the Sudan, hence the name Sudan Interior Mission.

   The first of the three, Walter Gowans of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was captured by a tribal king on a slave-raiding expedition. After escaping, Gowans became ill and died from the dread fever. A black man buried him in a cornfield on November 20, 1894. Thomas Kent of Buffalo, New York, also ran into slave raiders and came down with the fever. He was buried by missionaries of another society in the town of Bida on December 8, 1895. Rowland Bingham, also of Toronto, had stayed behind in Lagos to receive mail and supplies. After rallying from an attack of the fever, he finally struck out for Ogbomosho, where he planned to open a preaching-station. Not until late January 1895, did he learn the fate of his companions.

   Bingham went on to found the Sudan Interior Mission, which today has over eight hundred missionaries serving in ten African countries, and is affiliated with over twenty-five hundred congregations numbering over a million Africans.

   After being forced out of Ethiopia, SIM workers settled among the barbarous Dinka, Uduk, and Maban tribes in southern Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Entrapped in demonism and animism, these tribespeople actually buried twins alive at birth. "Twins have the evil eye," the people explained. Missionaries Malcolm and Enid Forsberg helped protect the first Ukuk twins ever allowed to live. They named them Borgay and Thoiya, meaning "Praise" and "Prayer."

No Hiding Place

   The SIM stations in Sudan were around sixty miles from the Ethiopian border and hundreds of miles from any military target in Ethiopia. Guerilla warfare against the Italian invaders was continuing in Ethiopia, but the missionaries felt safe in Sudan.

   On June 17, 1940, two planes flew over the Doro station in a rainstorm. The five SIM missionaries at Doro did not know whether the planes had become lost in heavy clouds or were going some place to bomb. "We don't know what is ahead of us," wrote Mrs. Kenneth Oglesby, "but we do know our God is above us and He will watch over us."

   About a month later an Italian plane bombed Kurmuk, a Sudanese town close to the Ethiopian border. "Nick" Simponis, a Greek SIM

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worker in Kurmuk on business, was hit in the stomach by a small piece of shrapnel. He returned safely to his station at Chali. A few days later Dr. Robert Grieve, a new medical missionary stationed at Doro, came to Chali to treat the Greek's wound. He had walked thirty-five miles, leaving his pregnant wife Claire at home. Dr. Grieve extracted the fragment of shrapnel and returned to Doro.

   On the morning of August 23 the Grieves, Oglesbys, and Miss Zilla Walsh saw planes pass over. They did not believe the planes would return, but just in case, Grieve and Oglesby unfolded a large American flag. They heard the roar of motors again. "Blanche, come and hold the flag while I get the number of the plane," Oglesby called to his wife.

   Seconds later the earth shook around them as the bombs exploded. The Grieves and Kenneth Oglesby fell. "Oh, Bog, I'm dying," Claire Grieve moaned. The doctor never answered. Kenneth Oglesby managed to reach the medic's side and found him dying.

   The planes circled and came back. Mrs Oglesby tried to run and it seemed one of the bombers tried to follow her. Both she and Miss Walsh dropped into high grass as more bombs exploded around them. Kenneth Oglesby took shelter under a tree. While they huddled in fear, one of the planes strafed a nearby village.

   In a moment the planes were gone. Miss Walsh and several tribesmen carried Claire Grieve into the clinic. Kenneth Oglesby and others brought the doctor. He had been hit in eight places, with one wound in his forehead large enough for a man to put his thumb inside. Mrs. Grieve was bleeding profusely from a hole in her back. Her spinal column was apparently broken and they could not stop the bleeding. "Let me go be with Bob," she murmured. When Miss Walsh asked if she wanted to send her loved ones a word, she gasped, "Tell them my choice is to see Him (Jesus) face to face." Then she began praying for the salvation of the tribespeople. A little later she asked her friends to sing the hymn "Face to Face" at her husband's funeral. A half hour after that she slipped away.

   Kenneth Oglesby was also hit in the back. His wife had received shrapnel in about thirty-five places. Miss Walsh was not injured. They estimated that eighty-nine bombs had been dropped on the mission property.

   The Oglesbys recovered. The U.S. government protested vigorously to the Italian government. Eventually the Italians replied, denying their planes had been in the area.

   The following February, Blanche Oglesby was forced to bed. Her husband suspected yellow fever, a disease she had been supposedly inoculated

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against two or three weeks prior. After five days her heart gave out and she joined Bod and Claire Grieve in heaven.

   There were no more bombings. The tribal churches grew rapidly, and the ministry of the SIM workers and other missionaries was expanded. By the time of Sudanese independence in 1955, they had established an orphanage for unwanted twins and many schools and dispensaries. Two of their most promising young people were "Praise" and "Prayer," the first twins SIM missionaries had rescued.

Missionaries Are Expelled

   Even before independence there was trouble between northern Sudanese Arabs and southern tribal blacks. The southerners could not forgive the northerners for slave-raiding expeditions in the past. The northerners blamed the missionaries for keeping this hostility alive. They noted that the missionaries had included the history of the slave trade in their school curriculum. After guerrilla attacks began on northerners in power, missionaries were blamed for aiding southern rebels, interfering in politics, and working against the unity of Sudan. Another contention was that the missionaries were undermining the Islamic faith. Impartial observers said the missionaries were not guilty. Before independence, they said, tribal feuding in the south and enmity against the north had been waning because of Christian influences.

   The fighting escalated into full-scale civil war between the government, composed mostly of northerners, and southern Anya Nya (meaning "the venom of the Gabon viper") rebels. All mission schools were nationalized, Friday replaced Saturday as the day of worship, and severe restrictions were put on the activity and movement of missionaries, 503 Catholics and 104 Protestants. The missionaries left behind the graves of sixty-four colleagues, most of whom had died from diseases peculiar to the harsh Sudanese environment.

Communist Intervention

   An ominous new presence entered the war on the side of the north. Soviet advisers flew support missions. Soviet arms, supplied through Egypt and Algeria, were shipped via the Nile. Sudanese pilots went to Moscow for training.

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   Despite numerous incriminating reports, the Soviets denied intervention. In one instance a missionary pilot from the Congo landed across the Sudanese border in Juba by mistake. At the airfield he met two Soviet pilots who proudly showed him the interior of their helicopter. When local authorities realized who the visitor was, they hustled the missionary back to his plane.

   All of the facts added up to one conclusion : for the first time, Russians were fighting and bombing Africans.

Christians Perish in Sudanese Genocide

   Armed with Soviet arms and supported by Russian advisers, the north was overwhelmingly superior to the south. Over a half million southerners died by guns, bombings, starvation, and disease. The Sudanese government claimed this was an exaggeration.

   Numerous atrocities inflicted against Christians were recorded :

   A southern Catholic priest, Father Bagriel Dwatuka, was whipped while he hung from a rope, then salt was rubbed into his wounds. He and others who were whipped were made to say "thank you" at the end of each whipping.

   Pastor Gideon Adwok, who served a thriving church in the upper Nile region related to the Sudan Interior Mission, was charged with aiding the rebels. His accusers claimed that he had used church money for helping tribal fighters. He was killed without being given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges.

   Southern Christian schoolboys who protested cruel treatment by Arab teachers were rounded up by soldiers and had their teeth pulled out by pliers. Reports came from other schools telling of southern native teachers and students being killed.

   Educated southerners, many of whom had studied in mission schools, were imprisoned and tortured. At one prison metal balls were used to push eyes out of heads to get confessions. In another torture, red chili pepper was dumped into a bag, then the victim's head was forced into the bag and held there until his eyes were inflamed and he could no longer breathe. Other victims reported having flesh sliced off their bodies. Some had their flesh roasted with hot irons.

   Southern Sudanese civil servants and political leaders were special targets. Paul Debior, a southern Sudanese Christian, had served in public office for over twenty-five years. He was murdered by soldiers in his own home.

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   Almost every Christian house of worship in the south was destroyed. The most notorious incident was the reported massacre of a Christian village, Banja, on the Sudan-Congo frontier, July 26, 1970. Survivors told a Norwegian journalist that a Sudanese military patrol had burst in on the people while they were at prayer. They tied up the pastor with his hands behind his back. Then the soldiers scoured the village, killing everyone they saw. The rest were kept in the church, tied to chairs with thick rope. The commander reportedly told them, "We're shooting you in your church. Let your God come and save you." Then the soldiers emptied their guns on the helpless people and the building was set afire. Only fourteen persons in the village managed to reach a hospital to tell the story. The Norwegian heard their stories and took a television photographer to the scene to record the grisly evidence.

   Protests of this and other mass killings were sent in vain to the United Nations.

The Soviets Are Checkmated

   The Soviets overplayed their hand. In 1971 Sudanese officials, led by President Jamar Nimeri, protested that the Russians were foisting manufactured goods on Sudan at prices one-third above the world market. They also blamed the Soviets for a drop in industrial growth, 50 percent below expectations.

   On July 19 a group of Sudanese Communists, with alleged Soviet support, overthrew President Nimeri. But within three days Nimeri, with Egyptian help, regained power. Before the coup, the plotters had been seen saluting Soviets. Now that they were out, their Soviet allies denied any involvement. At the same time, to save face with Communists elsewhere, the Soviets condemned the executioners of the deposed Communist rebels.

   President Nimeri consolidated power in a national referendum and worked out a unity agreement with the south. The government promised that Sudan would not be an Islamic republic. The south gave up the cause of secession. A southern Christian, Sayed Abel Alier, was named vice president. President Nimeri then made overtures to the West and invited back the missionaries. Next he booted out the Soviet military advisers and sent half of the Soviet embassy staff packing. As a crowning rebuff to the Soviets, he requested military aid from the United States.

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To Sudan with Love

   The missionaries came back in 1972 to find the south devastated. Besides the heavy loss of life, over a million southerners had taken refuge in the bush; of these, two hundred thousand had fled to neighboring countries.

   The mission agencies and Sudanese churches launched a vast relief effort. Most groups worked through the Commission for Relief and Rehabilitation under the umbrella of the Sudan Christian Council. The Sudan Interior Mission joined with several other faith mission groups in forming ACROSS (Africa Committee for the Rehabilitation of Southern Sudan). Aid soon began arriving from Christians all over the free world.

Muslim Persecution

   Food shortages continued to plague the Sudan, aggravated by a huge emigration of refugees from neighboring countries. Militant Muslims in the north waged a virtual civil war against Christians and animist populations in the south. The government declared the nation an Islamic republic. After sixteen years in power, President Nimeri, a tolerant Muslim, was overthrown in 1985 in a bloodless military coup. Democratic elections were held the next year, but then the elected government was overthrown in 1989 by Muslim military who seemed bent on turning the country into an intolerant Islamic state.

   Millions of southern Sudanese Christians and animists were displaced or subjected to terrible repression. The government closed many churches and declared Christianity a "foreign organization" even though Christianity predates Islam by centuries. Worship services were forbidden without the issuance of a certificate. Dozens of pastors were killed and numerous churches burned.

   One massacre followed the driving of twenty-five Christians of the Dinka tribe from their prayer service by a mob of Muslims wielding sticks, spears, axes, and guns. That evening, several Dinkas were murdered and dozens of homes burned.

   Early the next morning hundreds of Dinkas were crowding into rail boxcars for safe evacuation when Muslim hordes began an attack. The unarmed people pleaded in vain for mercy. Burning mattresses were heaped on innocent victims. Others were shot, mutilated, and clubbed to death. By nightfall, more than a thousand Dinkas were dead.

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   With the advent of the nineties, starvation prevailed in many Sudanese localities. Conversion to Islam was made a necessary prerequisite for Christians seeking food and shelter in displaced camps. Arrests, beatings, and executions became common.

   The surviving Sudanese Council of Churches addressed an open letter to President Umar Hassan al-Bashir in December 1991, calling for cancellation of the policy that "aims at destroying Christianity in the Sudan." The Council charged that the government was trying to control all public expressions of Christian faith and even trying to prevent Christians from feeding victims of war and starvation.

   In 1991 the government decreed that public school students must pass Islamic studies to become eligible for higher education. In 1992 the government imposed Arabic as the national language of School instruction.

   With twenty-five million deprived people, the Sudan is potentially rich in agriculture, oil, and other products. Seventy percent of the people are Muslims, 18 percent are pagan animists, and only 5 percent are Christians. The Muslim-dominated government appears bent on stamping out all expressions of Christian faith.


   It is possible that more Christians have died in the twentieth century in this ancient, fabled land than in any other nation of black Africa. Yet Ethiopia has the longest history of political independence and is the only country in black Africa with a Christian heritage.

   Until 1974 Ethiopia was ruled by a line of monarchs claiming descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Most modern historians disagree, holding that the ancestors of the Ethiopians came across the Red Sea from Saba (biblical Sheba) many years after the queen's death, conquered the black Hamites, and established the kingdom of Axum (present Ethiopia). The Axumites were converted to Christianity in the fourth century and established a national church under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Coptic Church of Alexandria, Egypt. For the next fifteen hundred years the Ethiopians remained landlocked and "slept ... forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten," according to historian Edward Gibbon.

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Mad Emperor Orders British Missionary Flogged

   The first foreign missionaries in the nineteenth century were hardly welcomed. Johann Ludwig Krapf and his wife were driven out. Britisher Henry Stern was flogged and imprisoned at the personal command of Emperor Tewodros II (Theodore), whose mad homicidal acts provoked British retaliation. Theodore subsequently committed suicide.

   Ethiopia's feudalistic class structure became known to the outside world. The Amharas, members of the established Coptic Church, ranked at the top. Comprising only a quarter of the population, they owned vast tracts of land and held thousands of slaves. The Gallas, numbering 50 percent of the people, toiled as peasants. Most of the rest of Ethiopia's people, the wild tribes, had never seen an outsider.

   The Swedish Evangelical Mission began the first Protestant work among the Gallas. The Swedish missionaries were forbidden to evangelize members of the established church, the Amharas. This mission carried on alone for almost sixty years until in 1920 the United Presbyterians opened their first station. The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) arrived in 1927. It would become the largest and most influential foreign work in Ethiopia and would suffer the first missionary martyrs.

Tribal Worship of Satan

   SIM missionaries found the tribespeople steeped in ignorance and barbarism. The wild Wallamos, for example, worshiped Satan. On the first day of the year they held a ceremony which resembled the Jewish Passover but really was a sacrifice to the devil. A sacrificial bull was killed and the meat divided among the members of a family clan. The bull's blood was sprinkled on the doorposts of the house, and a spot of blood was smeared on each person. The ceremony ended with the head of each household on his knees, hands outstretched, praying to Satan. Then everyone ate the meat raw.

   The wealthiest persons among the tribe owned slaves. If a slave owner felt he had enough children, he would order all newborns produced by his servants buried alive.

   The hostile tribal witch doctor called the first SIM workers "foureyed people" because one missionary wore glasses. He warned his people that the foreigners would eat the Wallamos and send their blood back to their own country.

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World War II Begins in Ethiopia

   By 1930 the killing of newborns by slave owners, the practice of slavery, and other inhumane customs were under attack by the Ethiopian government. Emperor Haile Selassie I, who ruled under the title His Imperial Majesty, King of Kings, Elect of God, and Conquering Lion of Judah, introduced the country's first written constitution in 1931. He was trying to modernize the country when Ethiopia was invaded in 1935 on trumped-up charges invented by Italy's fascist dictator Mussolini. Italy had invaded Ethiopia before, suffering a humiliating defeat in 1896. It had been the first time an African country had ever defeated a European power. Mussolini was now determined to avenge the defeat and evoke world respect for his government.

   The poorly armed Ethiopians fought back valiantly, but they were no match for Mussolini's legions. In May 1936, the capital, Addis Ababa, fell and the disorganized Ethiopian army retreated into the mountains, robbing, raping, and burning, while Italian bombers roared overhead.

   For almost a year the American and British embassies had been telling missionaries to leave. Many had, but the SIM contingent remained in the tribal areas. They recognized that government security had become a leaky umbrella. Bandits threatened travelers on every road. Tribal hostilities kept escalating. "At ground level the outlook isn't so good," SIM's Raymond Davis wrote in his diary, "but thanks to God, our citizenship is in heaven, and He is still on the throne. What's next?"

The First SIM Martyrs

   The next day, May 15, 1936, news came that two SIM missionaries, Tom Devers and Cliff Mitchell, had been killed in the Kassi Desert west of Addis Ababa. Mitchell's wife and child and Devers' fiancée were already in Addis Ababa. Fearing that their loved ones were in danger, the two men had been on their way there with a large group of Amharas when ambushed by two hundred fierce Arussi tribesmen. Tribal custom required a male Arussi to emasculate another man as proof of his manhood. The missionaries and Amharas had been killed with spears and then mutilated.

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   Allen Smith, the last missionary to see Mitchell and Devers alive, wrote a moving tribute to the two martyrs. He recalled that Mitchell had been translating the Gospel of John into the Gudgi dialect :

When the Italian bombers visited Yirga Alem, Cliff never took refuge in our bombproof shelter without bringing with him his manuscript of John and his Bible. I have seen him, when the planes were almost overhead, run into the house to fetch the manuscript, fearing that firebombs would be dropped and the precious papers thus destroyed. The work was almost completed when he left Yirga Alem, and he took it with him on the tragic journey to Addis ....

   I have heard him speaking of Christ by the bedside of a dying Darassa, to a company gathered in a Gudgi hut before high Amharic officials, and to Greek traders. He had a message that was positive, and its never-changing theme was "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

   Tommy Devers was one of the joyful type. In some ways he reminded me of Peter. He was irrepressible and bubbled over with the joy of the knowledge of sins forgiven, and of a Mansion on high where the King reigns in glory .... No native ever heard an unkind word from Tommy. They loved him.

   Mitchell's wife and Devers' fiancée were not harmed in Addis Ababa. Their response to the sad news was best expressed by Mrs. Mitchell :

There are times when one's faith is at stake, except that God graciously turns our eyes from the greatest sorrows in this life unto Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and we realize all that is entailed by the words, "My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

   Mitchell and Devers were the first SIM martyrs, but they were not the only missionaries to die as a consequence of the Italian invasion. Dr. Robert Hockman, of the American United Presbyterian Mission, had remained to help the Red Cross. He died while attempting to remove the detonator from a bomb.

God's Multiplication Table

   The Italians advanced into the tribal areas and demanded that the SIM missionaries leave. On the day before their departure, April 16, 1937, the missionaries to the Wallamos met with the native believers for a final time of fellowship around the Lord's table. When the missionaries

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had come in 1928 there was not a single Wallamo believer. After nine years, there were only forty-eight. They cried and prayed together and embraced one another. Then early the next morning the army trucks came to take the twenty-six SIM missionaries and seven children to Addis Ababa for evacuation. As the trucks pulled away, the missionaries looked back at tribal believers waving tearful good-byes. "We knew that God was faithful," Raymond Davis wrote later in Fire on the Mountains : The Story of a Miracle (Zondervan - 1966/1981), "and that He was able to preserve what He had begun among the Wallamos. But still we wondered — if we ever came back, what will we find?"

   The world did not know it then, but the invasion of Ethiopia had marked the first stage of World War II. Ethiopia was also one of the first countries liberated from fascism. British forces, supported by Ethiopian nationalists, drove the Italians out and on May 5, 1941, exactly five years to the day of his departure, Emperor Haile Selassie reentered Addis Ababa.

   The country did not reopen immediately for the missionaries to return. But SIM's Laurie Davison, who had served in the Sudan during the Italian occupation, got back by joining the British Army. In Addis Ababa he was put in charge of an Ethiopian soldier repatriation camp. There he encountered Wallamo soldiers eager to return home.

   Eventually Wallamo Christians heard that some of the missionaries had returned to the capital. A group of church elders walked hundreds of miles to see Davison and his wife. There were now thousands of Wallamo believers, they said.

   In 1942, Dr. Rowland Bingham, the only survivor of the three founders of SIM, came to arrange for the reentry of missionaries. Soon after securing the necessary government permissions, he suffered a heart attack and died.

   July 4, 1943, was a happy day in Wallamo country. That day hundreds of believers gathered to welcome the missionaries back. After the worship service, messengers left to summon leaders of more Wallamo churches to meet with the missionaries for a three-day conference.

   The conference throbbed with joy. A rough tally showed the Wallamo church had grown from forty-eight to eighteen thousand while the missionaries were away. But the growth had come through a period of awful sufferings.

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The Seed of the Church

   The Italians had tried to stamp out the church. Hundreds of Wallamo believers who refused to kiss crucifixes extended by Italian Catholic priests had been jailed. On one occasion fifty Wallamo leaders had been clapped in prison. Each received one hundred lashes and one was given four hundred. None of the leaders could lie on their backs for months. Three of them died.

   Certain Amharas, whom the Italians used to administer the tribal areas, had done their share of persecuting the evangelical believers. An Amhara lieutenant governor named Dogesa, had ordered Wandaro, a zealous Wallamo preacher, to stop evangelizing. Wandero merely replied, "I will suffer for my Savior."

   The Amhara official then ordered Wandaro to have his congregation tear down their church and await the coming of soldiers. They complied. Dogesa arrived with the soldiers. "Sing the song the missionary taught you," he demanded. The Wallamos sang about the coming of Christ to take them to a place where there would be no more trouble or pain. The singing only made the governor furious. He ordered all of Wandaro's church members jailed.

   He released everyone the next morning except Wandaro. He took the pastor to the marketplace and shouted to the people. "See, the preacher is bound. His church is broken down. Don't go there again."

   "Listen, everybody," Wandaro shouted loudly. "Believe on Jesus for salvation. This rope on me is not the final rope."

   Dogesa called on the townspeople to beat the pastor up. Bystanders rained blows upon Wandaro, but not enough to kill him. The governor sent Wandaro back to the jail. Again he was lashed and beaten. Between every lash of the whip, Wandaro preached. Wandaro was beaten several more times while his family and friends stood by helplessly. For a year he was held in prison. Wallamo Christians brought food and clothing to him and the other church leaders. Their love for the prisoners deeply impressed the guards and other observers.

   When Wandaro was finally released, hundreds of Christians welcomed him home. And when Dogesa asked Wandaro to help harvest his ripened grain, a hundred singing Christians swarmed into the field. Dogesa and his friends marveled at such faith and love.

   Dogesa then arranged a meeting with an Orthodox Coptic priest. "We will hear from both you and the priest," he told Wandaro. But before the meeting could take place, Dogesa collapsed in his home and died.

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A Prison Miracle

   Toro, another leader in the Wallamo church, stayed in hiding for six months before being captured. He was a special target of the Italians, for his church had grown to over a thousand members during the occupation.

   He was given forty lashes with the hippo-hide whip. An Italian officer, wearing hard, hobnailed boots, jumped on his chest until his rib cage was nearly crushed. Tossed in prison, he lay immobile and scarcely able to breathe. There he saw a vision of Jesus and heard Him say, "Do not be afraid. You are my child."

   After a slow recovery, he was released from prison. He resumed preaching and was arrested again. This time he and other church leaders were stripped naked in the marketplace, shoved face down in the mud, and lashed over one hundred times. Back in jail he was taunted by the Italians : "Where is your God who can deliver you from us? You'll never get out of here alive." Barely able to speak, Toro gasped his conviction that God would deliver him "if He chooses — and if not, He has promised to take me to heaven to be with Him there."

   Later Toro and the other believers were praying together when a fierce thunderstorm burst above their prison. The wind literally blew off the iron roof of the prison. Cascading torrents of water slammed against the mud walls, melting them from the foundation. The prisoners had no restraints. Most of the non-Christians escaped. The frightened jailers were sure that the storm came in answer to the believers' prayers. "Ask your God to withhold His anger," they begged Toro, "and we will release you." The storm dissipated. The jailers kept their word.

The Book of Acts in Ethiopia

   Postwar Ethiopia was still a troubled country. Bandit hordes continued to roam the back country. In remote areas only the local laws of the tribes prevailed.

   The Wallamos were now sending out missionaries to distant villages where the gospel was unknown. Two of those who answered the call from God were a husband and wife team, Omochi and Balotei. They had only one small child, having lost their firstborn to illness at age three.

   They left their home village and took only their animals and the few possessions they could carry. Climbing steep, stony mountains and fording deep, swift streams, they finally reached their destination after two

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weeks. The hut which Omochi had built on an earlier trip, was waiting for them. After three weeks, Omochi had to return to their home village on business. The morning Balotei expected him back, he was killed by roving bandits.

   The elders at his home church heard first. They dispatched a messenger to break the news to his wife. Before they arrived, Balotei was awakened by a voice asking, "What would you do if your husband did not return?" She replied, "Lord, he belongs to You and I am Yours. You can do what You wish with Your own."

   "He is not coming," the messenger replied sadly. Balotei walked resolutely back into her hut. She knelt and prayed for guidance.

   The news that the evangelist had been killed spread rapidly through the village. It was tribal custom for neighbors to weep profusely at the occasion of a death, jump high in the air, and throw themselves to the ground. The villagers came to Balotei's hut to show their sympathy by such mourning. As each group came she asked, "Why are you weeping?" Each replied, "Because your husband has been killed." And each time Balotei replied calmly, "I have already told you of One who died for you. Not once have you wept because of His death for you. Why do you now weep for my Omochi? He didn't die for you, Jesus did." Through this many heard the gospel.

   After a few days elders from her home church arrived and urged her to return home. "No," she declared. "When God called Omochi, He called me too. I will stay until God tells me to leave." She became one of the Wallamos' most effective tribal evangelists.

   During the 1950s and 60s the Ethiopian tribal churches doubled and redoubled in size. There were occasional incidents of banditry, but no large-scale persecutions. The rich spiritual harvest, the stability of the Salassie government, and Ethiopia's strong pro-western stance caused western mission groups to give Ethiopia top priority. By 1972 almost six hundred Protestant missionaries were ministering in the country of less than thirty million population.

Persecution of Pentecostals

   Evangelistic campaigns among Amharic Copts were still frowned upon, although educational, medical, and agricultural ministries were welcomed in communities where the established Coptic Church prevailed. Trouble came only when zealous evangelicals tried to convert Copts to a

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more personal faith. In 1972 New York Times correspondent Thomas A. Johnson reported some fifty full gospel Pentecostal churches were closed and 408 members arrested on charges of belonging to an illegal organization. Their heads were shaved and one, a convert from Islam, died while in custody. A few months later the Finnish Pentecostal Church was closed by police, and a British evangelist was arrested on the same charge of proselytizing Copts.

A Kidnapping and a Killing

   The biggest political trouble spot was the northeastern province of Eritrea where a guerilla war for Eritrean independence was heating up. The Eritrean guerrillas first ignored foreigners. Then in early summer, 1974, perhaps to grab world attention, Eritrean nationalists seized an American oil company helicopter. Landing near the American Evangelical Church hospital in Ghinda, they kidnapped a pregnant missionary nurse, Mrs. Deborah Dortzbach, twenty-four, of Freehold, New Jersey. They shot a single Dutch nurse, Anna Strikwerda, to death, apparently because she resisted capture. Mrs. Dortzbach's sponsors, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, speculated that she was taken to provide medical assistance to the guerrillas. She was released after several months.

Another Disciple Named Peter

   Other Christian lives were lost through isolated acts of hostility. Peter Isa, an Ara tribesman, had been won to Christ at age nineteen by a Wallamo evangelist. He attended the SIM Bible School at Bako and married a fellow student. After graduation in 1973 the couple went to the spirit-worshiping Bunna tribe. They faced hostility from the beginning. Some Bunnas seemed afraid of the gospel they brought. Others mocked their efforts. After three and a half years the Bunnas began to accept them. A few even became Christians.

   Peter frequently left his wife and children at home to make trips to distant villages. On one trip in November he stopped at the mountain home of people he knew. He shared lodgings with a Bunna stranger. The next morning the stranger said he was going the same way as Peter. Spear in hand, he accompanied Peter down into the valley.

   Two young herdsmen watched them from a high meadow. The boys saw the Bunna grab Peter by the shirt and attempt to take his small

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packet of food and medicine. When Peter pulled back, the stranger plunged his spear into Peter's abdomen, then drew a knife and slashed his throat. The attacker stripped the body of clothing and walked away.

   Word spread rapidly. Several young Bunnas gathered to dance and sing in celebration of the killing of the Ara preacher. Missionary Charlie Bonk notified the police. He found the body and buried it where it lay.

   Peter's young wife wept uncontrollably when she first heard what had happened. Her youngest child, she told the missionary, had stood in the doorway each morning, announcing, "Daddy! Here comes my daddy!" Then the mother gained her composure. When neighbors arrived, she told them, "I'm sitting with God. My heart is at rest."

   There were seventeen other evangelists in the area. Bunna believers begged them to stay. They did. Two more families of Christian workers arrived in Bako to take Peter's place. "When I heard that Peter had been killed," said one of the new evangelists, "I was afraid to come. But God's voice continued to tell me to preach to these people. So here I am."

A Good Samaritan Is Murdered

   During the 1970s Ethiopia was also hit with severe droughts. Hundreds of thousands of people starved to death.

   One of the short-term workers who came to assist the career missionaries in famine relief was Dr. Douglas Hill, a twenty-six-year-old bachelor from Australia. Dr. Hill worked with two Canadian nurses, Judy Fraser and Mary Amalia, among the Somali people in the hot Ogaden Desert. They treated emaciated children, fed the starving, brought many who were dehydrated from intestinal diseases back from the edge of death, and set up mass inoculations. They traveled in the stifling heat from one desert village to another, working almost from dawn to dusk, then camping out at night.

   A vibrant Christian, the Aussie medic was on a three-week stint. He had only five days to go when he and the nurses and Mohammed, a native helper, pulled into the remote little settlement of Merkman. As in other places, the entire village turned out to welcome them.

   They had stopped, but the motor was still running when a mad Muslim came charging through the welcomers with a knife. An instant later Dr. Hill was lying on the ground, bleeding. In the confusion the assassin got away. Dr. Hill, whom the veteran Mary Amalia described as "one of the finest Christians I ever met," was dying. A village woman

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had placed her shawl under his head and now stood over him weeping. "You came in peace," she wailed. "We said peace to you. And now you are dead."

   Somehow the nurses got his body in the Land Rover and headed toward the town of Bokh, an hour's drive away over a desolate stretch of gravel road where there was a small Ethiopian army base. Enroute, a rear wheel came loose. They stopped, jacked up the vehicle, and tightened the lugs. Farther on, the motor stalled. They ground the starter, checked possible trouble spots, and even tried pushing. Exhausted from the debilitating heat, they prayed : "Please, Lord, make it start." Mary hit the starter once more. The engine rumbled into life.

   They reached Bokh. But their friend was dead. "Perhaps the Lord is going to reap a great harvest among the Somali people," Mary said in reflection. "The good seed had to be planted. Pray the Lord of the harvest for messengers who will follow in Doug's footsteps."

Communists Seize Power

   The unrest in Ethiopia increased. The Eritrean rebellion grew worse. On September 12, 1974, a coalition of Ethiopian army officers overthrew the government. They deposed Haile Selassie, ending his fifty-eight years of rule, arrested two hundred of the emperor's closest associates, and announced a "war on feudalism." Selassie, who had been confined to a three-room mud hut in the army barracks, was allowed to return to the palace, where he died the following year.

   A 120-man military committee, led by Lt. Gen. Aman Michael Andom, took power. General Andom was deposed in short order on November 23, 1974, and many of his supporters were executed. The new leader, Brig. Gen. Teferi Benti was installed November 28, 1974. On February 3, 1977, a new government headed by Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam emerged. Colonel Mengistu took on dictatorial powers and proclaimed the formation of a Soviet-style "People's Democratic Republic."

   The Eritrean rebellion was now a full-scale civil war. Missionaries and national church leaders worked in constant danger among the tribes, who still raided and plundered as their ancestors had for thousands of years.

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An Evangelist Is Ambushed

   The wild Bodis were among the most hostile. In 1975, Bodi warriors had launched raids on tribal churches, destroying fifteen houses of worship and killing hundreds of Christians.

   The SIM missionaries and church leaders from the Wallamos and other tribes prayed for workers to enter Bodiland. The risk was great. The Bodis were six feet tall and adept with spears and machetes. A killer always mutilated the body, then smeared himself with the victim's blood to increase his reputation as a fighter.

   In August 1975, missionary Dick McClellan led the first trek into Bodiland, visiting five villages. When the team returned, one of the evangelists, Teka, said God had called him to take the gospel to the Bodis.

   Teka, about forty, was from the Dime (Dee-may) people who lived in the rugged mountains of southwest Ethiopia. He had been raised an animist, worshiping ancestors and making sacrifices to evil spirits through witch doctors. At one time the Dimes had numbered twenty-five thousand. A harsh landlord kept many of these in a state of near slavery.

   Teka's first two wives and his child died from fevers. Bereft of their companionship, he was enveloped by a wild passion to fight the Bodis. He was anxious to revenge the raids which Bodis had been making on Dime villages.

   About this time, in the 1950s, stories of a new teaching swept through the mountains. Teka was told of a Divine Savior, more powerful than Satan, evil spirits, and death. There was a Book of Life. Teka wondered and hoped. But when the landlord and the witch doctor sternly warned against listening to the foreign teachings, Teka tried to think of other things.

   The 1960s brought more Bodi raids and scourges of yellow fever and anthrax. Thousands of people died. Large herds of cattle were wiped out. Teka almost died of the fever. When he finally recovered, his cattle were struck by the deadly anthrax. He cried out in despair. The spirits gave him no solace.

   In 1970, he heard that the witch doctor had renounced the spirits and joined the Jesus people. When the witch doctor brought a preacher named Daniel to Teka's village, Teka listened and became the first convert. He matured rapidly. He attended Bible school. He led his mother, his sister, and younger brother to Christ. He helped SIM missionaries establish an outstation in Dime country and helped build an airstrip for Missionary Aviation Fellowship planes to land on. The missionaries were

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not surprised when he became the first Dime evangelist to answer the call to take the gospel to the Bodis.

   He and a Wallamo preacher lived in a Bodi village for six months. They joined Dick McClellan and another evangelist in an evangelistic tour across Bodiland. They walked hundreds of miles, taking the gospel to thousands who had never heard. The missionary was always struck by Teka's direct and simple prayers. "O Lord Jesus," he would pray, "here I am, I'm praying." The last prayer Dick heard him pray was : "Lord, when will I see you? I want to stand before you. You are my life, my only joy."

   On December 24, 1975. Teka left on a trip by himself, promising to be back in time for the Ethiopian Christmas, January 7. He carried only his Bible, a gospel booklet with pictures, a water canteen, and a package of razor blades which he planned to trade for food.

   January 7 came. No Teka. The missionaries and other evangelists began a search. "Have you seen the man with the Book, the one who tells everyone about Jesus?" they asked.

   Finally they traced Teka to a cluster of villages called Gura. Young men reported seeing him leave there one morning after drinking some milk. He was bound for another village, but never arrived. Teka's friends searched along the trail, but never found his body. They were sure now that he had been killed, probably shot and then mutilated and his body hidden.

   Dick McClellan told Teka's family, then traveled to Sodo for the annual tribal church conference with Christians of the Walayta tribe. When he told Teka's story and gave the challenge for evangelists to unreached peoples, sixteen responded.

   When Dick returned to Bodi country, he found eighteen new believers, and a new evangelist — Teka's younger brother.

Advancing by Blood

   Evangelical Christianity kept advancing in Ethiopia. But the killings also continued.

   One of those slain in 1977 was Tesfaye Argew, a convert from the Orthodox Amharas. His family and neighbors had cast him out for accepting the evangelical faith. He found a place with tribal Christians, married a young woman of the Goojee tribe, and trained for the ministry in the SIM-related Dilla Bible School.

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   Tesfaye and his wife, Kibabush, went to an unevangelized Goojee village, even though he was warned that the Goojees there would probably kill him because he was an Amhara. His wife was then one of the few Goojee converts to Christ. The majority were still animists and prone to raiding and pillaging other tribes around them. Goojee wives proudly wore a coin in their ears to indicate their husband's reputation as a murderer.

   Tesfaye and Kibabush and their two small children settled in a tent. They opened a school for village children and Goojees began affirming their belief in Christ.

   Their third child, a baby girl, was born on August 19, 1977. Nine days later Goojees from the village were involved in a fight with government forces. Tesfaye and his family tried to flee to a safer place until the trouble died down. Along the road, a strange Goojee sprang from the bushes. He killed Tesfaye and mutilated his body.

   Kibabush screamed and ran in terror, carrying two of her children, and holding on to the hand of the oldest, a five-year-old boy. The murderer's teenage son caught the boy, and killed and mutilated him according to the custom of his tribe. Kibabush hid in the woods with her babies for two weeks. It was two more weeks before the missionaries learned what had happened.

Another War — More Communist Tyranny

   Meanwhile, war broke out on another front. For over seven hundred years neighboring Somalia and Ethiopia had quarreled over the Ogaden desert region. In July 1977, Ogaden guerrillas, supported by Somalian planes, launched a major campaign to take control of the Ogaden and annex it to Somalia. The guerrillas advanced rapidly until the Soviet Union and Cuba intervened on the side of Ethiopia. The Soviets sent massive military aid and advisers and the Cubans sent troops. Somalia responded by canceling its "treaty of friendship" with Russia, ordering six thousand Russian advisers out, and breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba.

   Inside Ethiopia the Soviet- and Cuban-supported Mengistu regime embarked on a reign of terror. Up to 150 assassinations and executions occurred each day. The Marxist government passed out guns to civilian supporters so they could join in the murder of political opponents. Military officers began using dynamite for mass killings to save bullets. At one point

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the Swedish Save the Children Federation reported that a thousand children had been massacred and their bodies left in the streets to be ravaged by hyenas and vultures.

   In short order Ethiopia expelled three hundred U.S. consular and trade officials and shut down U.S. aid agencies. Western news correspondents were also ordered out of the country.

Bandits Kill Veteran Missionary

   The government made no overt threats against foreign missionaries, but strong pressures were applied to make their work difficult. The greatest danger for the foreign workers seemed to be in frontier areas. On March 21, bandits attacked the SIM station at Kelafo, near the Somali border, and robbed and assaulted the missionaries. Ethiopian police intervened and after a seige of several hours succeeded in driving the bandits away. The missionaries were given sanctuary by local authorities and then evacuated out of the area.

   Five days later in the middle of the night, the same bandits attacked the refugee center at Godi where United Presbyterian missionaries were staying. Dr. W. Don McClure and his wife Lyda, and their son Don had left the station a few days earlier because of fighting in the area. They had returned in a mission plane to pick up some of Dr. McClure's belongings when the attackers closed in. The senior McClures had been in Ethiopia almost fifty years and were among the most admired foreigners in the country. Dr. McClure was both an agriculturist and theologian and was then director-treasurer of the Refugee Relief work in Ethiopia, treasurer of the All-Africa Relief Center, and a teacher in the Orthodox Church's seminary. With the McClures were an Australian couple, Graeme and Pamela Smith, and a number of Ethiopian Christian workers.

   The bandits knew the three foreign men by name and ordered Graeme Smith in the Somali language to get five thousand dollars from the safe. The Australian did not understand and when he made no move to comply, the invaders ordered him and the McClures outside to be shot.

   A moment later the women heard shots. Dr. McClure died instantly. His son managed to run into the bush. Graeme Smith was hit in the chest and fell to the ground. One bandit saw him move but did not fire, perhaps because he thought the movement was a reflex action. Children

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and nurses were now screaming and in the confusion and darkness bandits began firing at one another. Finally they ran away.

   Graeme Smith was conscious, although a bullet had passed through the midsection of his body. He managed to crawl into the house where the frightened women and children waited. They stayed until daylight, then the Australian staggered outside to search for Don McClure. When he could not find him, they all piled into the station's Land Rover and drove to the clinic. While they were there, Don arrived. He could hardly believe Graeme was still alive. The younger McClure said he had seen the Australian shot and had started to run as they fired at him. He tripped and a bullet whistled over his shoulder, leaving only powder burns. He had dug a hole in the desert and hid until daylight.

   Later that morning Dr. McClure was buried in a simple coffin on the compound. That afternoon the survivors flew to Addis Ababa and from there were evacuated out of the country.

Missionaries Are Forced Out

   Other missionaries had harrowing experiences during the terrible year of 1977. Dr. Samuel R. J. Cannata Jr., a Southern Baptist missionary doctor, was held for questioning for several weeks in Addis Ababa by government officials. Ona Liles, a superintendent of the evangelical Good Shepherd School in Addis Ababa, was detained for five months on a fictitious charge that the school owed back income taxes.

   Most missionaries were gone by the end of 1977. Mission leaders cited political turmoil and "insurmountable restrictions" on their work.

   After the missionaries left, a Lutheran mission leader from Germany was allowed to visit Addis Ababa. He returned home to report about 10 percent of the population of the capital living behind prison bars in "appalling conditions." The Rev. Johannes Hasselhorn, mission secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, also stated that the country's Marxist rulers were employing torture and that "priests and other church workers are hunted down like dogs." The Ethiopian Church, with which Lutheran missionaries had worked, he said, was unable to make plans "even five minutes in advance," because its members can never predict "what might happen tomorrow."

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The Vanquishing of Marxism in Ethiopia

   Eritreans and other opponents of the central Ethiopian government fought a guerrilla war against the repressive regime in the 1980s. In February 1991 six rebel armies launched a major attack against government forces. In May, Marxist president Mengistu resigned and fled the country. The Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front took possession of the capital and formed a new government.

   Since the overthrow of Marxism, many stories of heroism and martyrdom have become known. The general secretary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Guidina Tumsa, was finally declared dead, nearly thirteen years after being abducted by a Marxist group. For many years the Marxist regime had assured Ethiopian Christians and the international community that Tumsa was still alive. The new state security department exhumed Tumsa's remains and admitted he had been tortured and strangled by a death squad of the former Marxist regime's Security Branch. Tumsa's brother, Negassa Tumsa, said the motive for the kidnaping and killing of the church leader was his consistent refusal to declare that the ruling Marxist regime was not an enemy of the churches.

   The terrible Marxist night is over in Ethiopia. Churches are rebuilding. International relief agencies are working with national Christians to prevent new outbreaks of starvation.


   Somalia is one of the twenty-five poorest nations in the world. Most of its 3.3 million people are undernourished nomads who lead their herds across vast stretches of hot, dry land in search of water and pasture. They live in small, beehive-like huts that are covered with animal skins and matted grass.

   But to big-power strategists Somalia has long been a prize. Slightly smaller than Texas, the ancient country is draped around the "Horn of Africa," controlling the mouth of the Red Sea and approaches to the underbelly of oil-rich Arab states. The Soviet Union coveted Somalia, and until 1977 the country was considered in the Russian camp. Soviet backing of Ethiopia in a war with Somalia over disputed territory suddenly made the Soviets personae non gratae. The foreign Marxists lost many bases.

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   Religiously, Somalia has long been a stronghold of Islam and one of the most difficult places in the world for Christian missionary work.

   For sixty years, 1875-1935, the Evangelical National Missionary Society of Sweden provided the only Protestant presence. After 1880 there were two Somalias, the north controlled by Britain and the south by Italy. When the Italians used their colony as a staging ground to invade Ethiopia, the Swedish missionaries had to leave.

   The Italians lost their investment in World War II, then received it back under a ten-year United Nations' trusteeship in 1950. The UN agreement specified freedom of religion. The door was reopened to missionaries.

   The Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities began educational and medical work in 1953. A year later SIM workers arrived and soon opened two hospitals and three clinics.

Encounter with Bandits

   One of the SIM missionaries was a five-foot-one-inch woman doctor, Jo Anne Ader. Dr. Ader had become a Christian through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship meetings during her last year of medical school. Before coming to Somalia she had worked just across the border at a mission hospital in Kelafo, Ethiopia. On one trip back she and a nurse were stopped by fifty armed bandits.

   "Get out," the leader barked, pushing his rifle inside the Land Rover. The other bandits gathered around. Suddenly a tall brigand appeared to recognize Dr. Ader. In the next instant he pinned the leader's arms behind his back. "Get in your vehicle and drive fast!" he ordered the missionaries. The doctor and nurse did not hesitate. As they sped away, they recited from Psalm 23 : "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me."

   The missionaries had more to fear from certain fanatical Muslim sects. They constantly harangued the government about the Christian missions. Finally the government yielded to pressure and ordered the Mennonites to cease all activities in the spring of 1962. The Mennonites were accused of committing "suspicious acts harmful to the prestige of the Muslim religion." Government officials investigated the charges and gave the mission permission to resume work on July 5, 1953.

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Attack by a "Holy Man"

   Eleven days later the Mennonites were registering Somalis for English night classes in Mogadishu, the capital. Without warning, one of the "students" pulled a razor-sharp dagger from his clothing and stabbed Canadian Merlin Grove. When the missionary's wife, Dorothy, ran in from their adjoining quarters, the assassin turned on her and stabbed her repeatedly as she fell to the ground. All the while, the three Grove children, ages ten, eight, and six, looked on helplessly.

   Merlin Grove died almost instantly. Dorothy was rushed into emergency surgery. Pulled back from the brink of death, she remained on the critical list for many days. The assassin was caught and identified as the leader of a Muslim sect. He had come from prayers in the mosque to kill the people he believed were enemies of God. He was put on trial and sentenced to prison.

   The Groves had sold their farm in Markham, Ontario, and had been in Somalia less than two years. They had won only four Somalis to Christ. When Dorothy Grove recovered, she was asked if she still felt it worthwhile to witness to Muslims. "What value do you place on a soul?" she replied quietly.

The Government Cracks Down

   The next year the government declared illegal the propagandizing of any religion other than Islam. The mission schools were told they could continue only if the Koran was taught instead of the Bible. Confronted with this ultimatum, the missions closed their elementary schools. But missionaries continued to hold Bible classes in their homes and to teach English and typing at night. Two years later SIM personnel reported "each week finds new ones turning to Christ." No church was ever organized, but a Somali Believers Fellowship of about seventy-five was established. Five young men went to Bible school in other countries to prepare to evangelize their own people.

One Believer's Ordeal

   Most of the believers paid dearly for their Christian commitment. Musa Sheikow, for example, had been told by his parents never to return home. He crossed the border to attend Bible school in Ethiopia, then

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returned to work at the SIM dispensary at Bulo Burti and to witness to his people.

   Reports of his witnessing reached the Somalian police. They shadowed him for five months, trying to catch him "preaching." Their opportunity came when a visitor to Musa's home told the authorities that Musa had in his house a booklet, "How to Lead a Muslim to Christ." The police seized Musa at the dispensary where he was treating patients and ordered him to accompany them on a search of his house. They found the incriminating booklet and arrested him on a charge of trying to destroy the national religion.

   News of his arrest spread fast. Six hundred Somalis came to hear his trial. "You are charged with being a Christian," the judge began. "What do you have to say to that?"

   Musa stood erect in the dock and spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. "It is true, your honor. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, whether you imprison me or kill me!"

   The crowd rumbled in anger. "Jail him!" some shouted.

   The judge deliberated, then gave his verdict : "Because you have confessed Christianity, and you have been found with this book, and you have been reported propagandizing, I hereby sentence you to six months imprisonment or five hundred shillings fine." Musa did not protest. Instead he thanked God for the opportunity to witness.

   Because he could not pay the fine, he was put in solitary confinement. Inside the main prison was a fanatical Muslim sheik, imprisoned for fighting another clan leader. The sheik and the other prisoners decided to "humiliate this infidel" by assigning him to clean the latrines the first day. Musa faithfully complied, then shocked them by volunteering to clean the toilet again the next day.

   The provincial governor heard that a man had gone to prison for confessing Christ. He came to see Musa. "Are you crazy?" he asked.

   Musa witnessed to him. The governor was so impressed that he ordered Musa taken out of solitary. He also told the guards to provide Musa with medicine to treat the sick prisoners.

   Somali society is divided into clans that are required to pay a ransom for members in trouble. Musa's clan sent a delegation to explain why they could not help him. "If you had killed somebody, we could pay the penalty [one hundred camels to the victim's clan]. If you had stolen a man's household goods, we could get you out. But we can't absolve you from this crime. It hasn't ever been done." They left shaking their heads.

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  The sheik imprisoned for fighting had remained unfriendly. One day he mentioned to Musa that he would like to hear the news but couldn't read the newspapers. Musa offered to read to him. The sheik's attitude slowly changed. "Musa," he said one day, "you are in jail for a good cause. When I get out, I will pay your fine."

   The sheik kept his word. Musa returned to the dispensary and saved his wages to pay back the sheik.

The Collapse of Order in Somalia

   During the 1970s and 1980s Russian arms and Cuban soldiers propped up the unstable Somalian government regime. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, rebel warlords began hacking the country into small fragments. Caught in the cross-fire and starving, tens of thousands of Somalians looked to the United Nations as their only hope. By 1992 the Red Cross estimated that 4.5 million Somalis urgently needed food.

   Tons of food from the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other relief agencies piled up in port. Somali gunmen were paid by the agencies to guard the food. Much of it was stolen and only a fraction got through to the camps of starving people. Fears were expressed in August 1992 that over a million people could starve to death. Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews, visiting the area, described Somalia as "the end of the world, a land that God has forgotten."

   In December 1992, the U.N. accepted a U.S. offer of troops to safeguard the delivery of food to the starving. After several U.S. soldiers were killed, the American forces were withdrawn. A limited U.N. presence remains. In one of the most dangerous areas of the world, some Christian ministries continue in the chaotic nation.

Chapter 23

Former French Africa

New Nations

Thirteen nations became independent in one year, 1960 : Republic of Chad, People's Republic of the Congo, Kingdom of Benin, Republic of Ivory Coast, Republic of Mali, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Republic of the Niger, Republic of Senegal, Republic of Togo, Malagasy Republic (Madagascar), Republic of Upper Volta, Central African Empire, and Gabon. A fourteenth country, the Republic of Guinea, had been expected to be in the group, but had broken ranks and declared independence two years before.

   All were former possessions of France, which had ruled a great arc of almost three million square miles stretching from the westernmost side of Africa at Dakar across a vast hinterland to the border of Sudan. Except for Madagascar and for the steamy coast and equatorial region, this French empire was a vast but thinly populated area sandwiched between the Sahara Desert and the rain forest. In recent years the Sahara has been pressing south and the land has been tortured by devastating drought and famine the like of which Africa has never seen before.

   All were former possessions of France, which had ruled a great arc of almost three million square miles stretching from the westernmost side of Africa at Dakar across a vast hinterland to the border of Sudan. Except for Madagascar and for the steamy coast and equatorial region, this French empire was a vast but thinly populated area sandwiched between the Sahara Desert and the rain forest. In recent years the Sahara has been pressing south and the land has been tortured by devastating drought and famine the like of which Africa has never seen before.

Muslim Power

   The religious variances are also greater here than in the southern half of Africa. The northern area is almost totally Muslim. The southern part is animist and Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. Mauritania, where

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no Christian missionaries are known to work, is practically 100 percent Muslim. Senegal, which has been ruled by Roman Catholics, is nearly 90 percent Islamic.

   For these nations independence and separation from the colonial possessor came easier than some others in central Africa because there were fewer whites. There was no official color bar. The people had French citizenship and could send representatives to the French National Assembly in Paris. France's DeGaulle — perhaps because of the bloody war for independence in Algeria — did not drag out negotiations. He asked each colony to vote on its status after independence. A "yes" vote meant they wished to remain in the French "community" with France responsible for foreign relations and national defense. A "no" meant the colony preferred to break all French ties. Only Guinea, which was led by avowed Marxist Sekou Toure, voted no and declared immediate independence.

   Still, most of these nations were plagued by problems after independence. Chad, for example, had only two persons with legal training and not a single doctor. Most of the violence resulted from palace rebellions and from guerrilla warfare by northern Muslims trying to take control of their respective countries. The Muslim guerrillas were reportedly armed and financed by radical Arabs from Libya and Algeria, which were, in turn, backed by the Soviet Union.

   There was less Protestant missionary activity in French Africa, both before and after 1960, than in areas formerly controlled by the British and Belgians. Work in predominantly Muslim areas was difficult and in some places impossible, particularly since France preferred Catholic missionaries. However, after independence, most of these countries welcomed evangelical specialists in education, medicine, and agriculture, and some admitted evangelists and church builders. Today there are around nine hundred foreign evangelical workers in former French Africa.

   Fewer twentieth-century Christians have been killed in these former French possessions in connection with their faith and witness than in nations further to the south. In most of these countries no Christian martyrdoms are known to have occurred. The exceptions are Chad, Guinea, the Congo Republic, Madagascar, and Mali where several pioneer workers died from tropical diseases.

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   Before the 1970s the only outsiders who cared much about Chad were the French and about sixty missionaries and their supporters. French generals who served in Chad when it was a part of French Equatorial Africa would say, "The power that controls Chad can control Africa." They saw the great flat basin — supporting only about two million people but twice the size of France and sandwiched between the Sahara and the African rain forest — as a critical land area in north central Africa. The mission supporters were interested in Chad for another reason. It was one of the most fruitful fields in Africa.

   Mr. and Mrs. Victor Veary, for example, went to Chad in 1926. In forty-two years their leadership, and that of later colleagues, produced 258 self-governing and self-supporting churches, 168 chapels and other meeting places, and a total of 42,000 evangelical believers with average Sunday attendance of 62,000. The Vearys came to Chad under the North American branch of the Sudan United Mission. The other large mission in Chad, Baptist Mid-Missions, began work in 1925 and also built up a large body of believers.

A "Christian" President

   Most missionaries associated with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) and Baptist Mid-Missions rejoiced when Chad became independent in 1960. The first president, N'Garta (formerly Francois) Tombalbaye, was a professing Christian. He credited his conversion to a Baptist missionary and had taught in a Baptist elementary school before entering politics. A few old-timers counseled caution. Tombalbaye, they remembered, had once been disciplined by his home congregation for "unchristian behavior." There was concern over the lack of educated leadership.

   Tombalbaye came from the Sara tribe, numbering one fourth of the country's population. The Saras and other tribes in the south had a background of animistic spirit worship. Residents of the northern desert were Muslims and spoke a Chadized version of Arabic. Antagonism between south and north had run strong for centuries. For one thing, southerners had not forgotten that northern Muslims had once hunted slaves in the south.

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   The new government was hardly installed when rebel activity began in the north. President Tombalbaye moved quickly to establish dictatorial powers. Then to appease nationalists, he launched an "authenticity" crusade. Step one called for the replacement of all "Christian" names with African names. The capital, Fort Lamy, was given the tribal name, N'djamena, meaning "leave us alone." Muslims were allowed to retain their Koranic names, but the rebellion continued. Then, on top of that, a terrible drought began in 1968 which lasted over six years. The drought killed thousands of Chadians, destroyed their herds of cattle, and dried up vast areas of pasturelands.

   Tombalbaye survived several attempts on his life. In 1973 he arrested and imprisoned his army commander on charges of plotting his overthrow.

A Return to Paganism

   Suddenly, in a presidential decree, he announced step two in the "authenticity" campaign. All tribesmen, he said, must submit to "Yondo," the old pagan initiation rites that called for sacrifices to ancestral spirits, circumcision, and an animistic "rebirth." The secret ceremonies also involved floggings, facial scarring, mock burials, drugging, and gruesome tests of stamina, such as crawling naked through the nest of termites. The president said it was for the sake of national unity.

   Enforcement was centered in Christian villages where the Baptist missionaries had concentrated their efforts. Some said Tombalbaye's special target was the church that had excommunicated him when he was young.

The Cost of Courage

   Reprisals upon Christians who refused began immediately. Houses were ransacked, lives threatened. The children of some Christians were forcibly taken to initiation camps. A courageous pastor who refused to let his sons go was shot. The son of an evangelist who had helped translate the New Testament into the Sara language was reported killed.

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Baptist Missionaries Expelled — Churches Close

   President Tombalbaye was reportedly furious. He blamed the Baptist missionaries for whipping up opposition. Six Mid-Missions' families and six single workers were arrested and expelled for "subversive activities." Some were given only five minutes to leave their homes. Thirteen Baptist pastors were also detained and all Baptist churches and schools in the Sara area closed. The TEAM missionaries had also advised believers not to submit to the rites. They were left alone, indicating that the president was conducting a personal vendetta against the Baptists. Meanwhile the president continued to profess to being a Christian. However, he stated that while the blood of Christ atoned for sin, the initiation rites completed the cleansing.

The Persecution Worsens

   After the Baptist missionaries left, the persecution intensified and spread to congregations related to TEAM. Tombalbaye set up a state church under the name Evangelical Church of Chad. The top officials were two pastors who had been disciplined by Baptists. In one area government officials ordered the dismissal of the leading pastor without consent of the people. Regional political committees were set up, which included a pastor in each district, to enforce the pagan initiation. The committees also directed self-accusation meetings where punishment was meted out on the spot. "Comrade" replaced the title "Monsieur." Chinese and Russian Communists were seen in the capital.

   Evangelicals outside Chad were now alarmed. The Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar investigated and authenticated at least fifty martyrs. Some Chadians estimated hundreds had perished rather than obey the government order.

Christian Protesters Suffer Agonizing Tortures

   One evangelist who objected to the rites was jammed into a tall, narrow tom-tom drum. The skin was sewn back over the drum and a hole cut in the side to feed him. He was kept alive in the confining space for almost three weeks before he died.

   A pastor was fastened in stocks and had all his fingers broken. He sent thanks to his fellow Christians for their love and said that he expected to die "any day now." Many others were put in stocks, beaten, or killed

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simply because they refused to drink chicken blood offered to idols, or to be subjected to fetish practices.

   A number were buried alive with a leg exposed above the ground as a warning to others. Some were buried with their heads left above ground and exposed to heat and insects. Neighbors were told they would get the same punishment if they dug the victims up.

The Fate of the Persecutor

   The persecutions continued into 1975. Then on April 13, soldiers, acting under the command of dissident army officers, stormed into the presidential palace and killed the president. The acting army chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Noel Odingar, immediately announced that the military had taken over the country. General Odingar and other officers blamed the Tombalbaye regime for provoking animosity between tribes and for the useless spilling of blood. Brig. Gen. Felix Malloum, a southerner, was named the new head of state.

   The change in government brought relief to the persecuted Christians. The expelled Baptist missionaries returned. Confessions were made by pastors and other Christians at church meetings.

   The president of the Evangelical Church in Chad, Reverend Jeremie N'Djelardje, resigned in an emotionally charged General Assembly of the Church in January 1976. He specifically asked forgiveness for asking the missionaries to keep quiet when the question of initiation came up, for instructing church leaders to resist only until they were faced with the possibility of death, and for failing to give the strong, courageous leadership that had been needed during the persecution.

A New Threat from Militant Muslims

   But the rebellion of northern Muslims did not stop. Libyan planes flew in arms purchased with oil money to the northerners. In June 1978, the rebels advanced to the capital. It appeared that Chad was headed for a Muslim takeover, after which the country would be proclaimed an Islamic republic, with the Christian missionaries expelled and severe restrictions slapped on all church activities.

   Before any of this could happen, France intervened to save the government. Fifteen hundred French paratroops landed in the capital and drove the rebels out. They remained to guarantee the stability of the government.

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   Libyan troops moved into the country at the request of the Chad government in December 1980. Government officials announced that the two countries would unite. France and several African nations condemned the agreement as a threat to African security. The Libyans withdrew from most of the country in 1981.

   Rebel forces, led by Hissen Habre, captured the capital and forced the president to flee the country. Libyan-backed rebels attacked the Habre government. France sent troops to help Habre, but not until 1987 did the Libyans pull out of their stronghold in the northern part of the country. Then, in 1990, Libyan-backed guerrillas overthrew the Chadian government and installed a new president.

   Still, Christian outreach continues in Chad where up to eighty-five languages need translations of the New Testament. The political situation remains tense.


   Romantic, fabled Timbuktu was the ultimate destination for nineteenth century adventurers. The first missionaries who tried to reach the Muslim citadel in the semi-desert of what is today the heart of Mali, were Catholic "White Fathers." Three priests began trekking toward the city in the year 1876. Years later a band of ostrich hunters found their mutilated bodies in sand dunes some distance north of Timbuktu. Ten years later, they might have survived. In 1883 French soldiers defeated the great chief Samory, one of the most cruel and vindictive black despots ever to rule in Africa. From this time the barren, almost treeless land, larger than Texas and California combined, became known as French Sudan.

The Cost of Missionary Commitment

   In 1890 nine Christian and Missionary Alliance missionaries sailed for the French Sudan. They hoped to reach the untouched tribes in the broad Niger River Basin that bisects present Mali. They got no farther than Sierra Leone. Within six months five of the nine were dead from tropical diseases. During the next thirty years over thirty missionary graves symbolized the costly advance.

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   As it happened, workers of the Gospel Missionary Union were the first to penetrate the region. They arrived in 1919. Finally in 1923 the C & MA opened a station at Sikasso, a largely Muslim town with four tribal groups. Other C & MA workers arrived in the territory of the more remote Habbe tribe around Sangha. They were too late for thousands of Habbes. A few years before, a famine had swept the tribe and many had died.

The Power of Prayer

   Soon after the C & MA missionaries came, another drought began. The tribespeople prayed to their fetishes in vain. Finally they went to the mission station and asked the foreigners if praying to God in Jesus' name would bring rain and save their crops. The missionaries spent two hours in prayer and an hour later the rain fell. Forty Bible school graduates and hundreds of other Habbe believers in eighty-five towns were the ultimate fruit from this miracle.

   Sikasso was a more difficult field. In 1931 three of the four missionaries there died from yellow fever. When the news reached the United States, a siege of prayer for the Senufos tribespeople began. In the village where two of the martyrs had worked, twenty young men decided for Christ.

   Missionaries worked unhindered until national independence in 1960. The first president, Modibo Keita, socialized Mali's economy and cozied up to the Soviet Union and Communist China. Mali's economy went into a tailspin and the governing Sudanese Union Party split between Communist and French factions. Mali's army, acting under Lt. Moussa Traore and fearing the swell of Chinese-trained militia, overthrew the president in 1968.

   From 1968 to 1974 Mali was caught in the devastating drought that cut a swath across sub-Saharan Africa. Three-fourths of the cattle in the country died. Hundreds of people starved to death and seven hundred thousand Tuareg tribespeople fled to other countries. Christians in the West provided aid.

   In 1977 political turmoil and demonstrations provoked President Traore to declare martial law. In March 1991 the military overthrew the government. Some 160 missionaries continue to serve in the poverty-stricken and politically unstable country where Christians compose only 1.7 percent of the population.

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   The extent and causes of persecution of Christians in Marxist Guinea are hard to assess.

   In the 1950s Guinea was seen as the most promising of the French colonies. It had a small but influential and educated minority, rich mineral resources, and ports to the sea. The Oregon-sized country which half-moons around smaller Sierra Leone was primarily Muslim but open to missionaries who had reached only a tiny fraction of 1 percent of the people. Yet astute observers saw trouble brewing. Guineans had long memories of the European slave trade and exploitation of Guinea's natural resources. The dominant political party was controlled by Marxists who had been indoctrinated by French Communists. Sekou Toure, the party leader, had also visited Warsaw and Prague. He held Marxism to be the best hope for Guinea's future.

   When Guinea rejected membership in the French community, France cut off all aid. Communist diplomats and trade officials poured in. Within a short time Guinea signed away 70 percent of its agricultural exports. It appeared that the Soviets had their first satellite in Africa.

Political and Religious Repression

   Toure's Party rode roughshod over the political opposition. Cuban-style militia suppressed dissent. Major industries were nationalized. The mass media became a government mouthpiece. Membership in the Communist Party became the basis of personal identification rather than tribe, clan, and religion.

   The Party began a debunking campaign against tribal religious practices. Some tribal religious leaders committed suicide. Others were poisoned.

   Christian activities were curtailed. Mission schools were nationalized. A mission radio broadcast was cut off the air. Yet the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which had entered the country in 1918, was allowed to keep missionaries in the country.

   Because of critical food shortages, inflation, and faltering production in industry and agriculture, Guinea asked western nations for economic aid. Toure continued to rely on Communist countries for military aid, but refused to be the U.S.S.R.'s cat's paw. He played the Communist field, seeking help from Soviets, China, Romania, and other Marxist countries. He remained nonaligned in world politics.

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A "Reign of Terror"

   An attempt to overthrow the Toure government in 1970 and again in 1976 led to large-scale purges. In 1977 the International League for Human Rights appealed to the United Nations to stop the "reign of terror" in Guinea. The League claimed the Toure regime had imprisoned and tortured thousands of persons and forced more than two million Guineans to flee to other countries.

   Are there Christian "martyrs" among these? Not in the sense that they have been persecuted explicitly for their faith. But many Christians likely died for choosing not to follow Marxist policies.

   The cruel Marxist Toure regime was toppled in a military coup in 1983. Basic freedoms were restored.

   Christians make up only 1.4 percent of the population. Guinea, perhaps black Africa's least evangelized nation, is open to the gospel.


   This small, hot New Mexico-sized country straddles the Equator and lies across the Congo River from much larger Zaire (formerly the Belgian Congo). Unlike Guinea, Muslims in the People's Republic of the Congo number less than one-half of 1 percent of the population. The remaining 99 plus percent are divided about equally between Christianity and tribal religions. Roman Catholic missionaries, working under French protection, have had fantastic success. Protestant missionary societies have paid more attention to Zaire. The exception is the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Mission which has built up an evangelical constituency of over fifty thousand. More recently, the United World Mission has also been able to enter this troubled country.

   But like Guinea, Christian martyrs are hard to classify here. There has been no national vendetta against Christians; however, many Christians have died in political rebellions and purges.

   Around 1900 much blood was shed by brutal overseers of foreign companies granted concessions by France. Shocking reports reached Europe, prompting the French government to appoint a commission of inquiry. The findings were so upsetting and bloodcurdling that the government refused to publish them. But Paris did change some policies.

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Catholic Reformers Are Executed

   The abuses continued. In 1927 Andre Matsoua, a Congolese Catholic teacher, organized an aid society to lift Africans to equal status with the French. French administrators saw the society as a political threat. Matsoua and other leaders were put on trial. Several were executed. Others were exiled or imprisoned. Matsoua died in prison in 1942. Many Congolese refused to accept his death and continued to believe that he was in Paris negotiating with Charles de Gaulle and would return to liberate them from French rule.

   France gave the Congolese French citizenship. This helped, but the mysticism of Matsoua continued to pervade the country.

A Catholic Priest Becomes President

   Matsoua's successor was Fulbert Youlou, a Congolese Catholic priest. When he ran for a seat in the French National Assembly, the Roman Catholic bishop in the Congo ordered Catholics not to vote for him. Youlou lost this election, but rapidly gained power and was elected the first president when the French Congo gained full independence in 1960. Fierce rioting resulted and in 1963 the priest was deposed.

A Marxist Coup

   His successor, Alphones Massamba-Debat, lasted five years before being overthrown by Major Marien Ngouabi. The new president established a one-party Marxist state. The little country became a Communist stronghold and in 1975-1976 served as a staging center for Cuban troops fighting in the Angolan civil war.

   Ngouabi was killed by assassins on March 18, 1977. Four days later members of his family killed the Catholic archbishop of Brazzaville, the capital, in reprisal. Shortly after this the previous president confessed to plotting Ngouabi's death and was executed.

   An eleven-man military junta took over and declared themselves supreme over the Marxist political party and the government. One of their first acts was to restore diplomatic relations between the Congo and the United States which had been broken twelve years before.

   However, Marxism was not renounced and opposition parties were not legalized until 1990.

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   The future of the Congo looks better than that of many neighboring countries. Sixty-seven percent of the population is affiliated with Catholic and Protestant churches.


   The Malagasy Republic, as Madagascar is officially known, is a large underdeveloped island lying off the southeast coast of Africa. It is slightly smaller than Texas, has a population of around twelve million, and is 40 percent Christian.

   The Madagascar evangelical church has been bathed in the blood and sacrifice of martyrs. Missionaries from the London Missionary Society arrived in 1818. Within a few weeks five members of the first two families to arrive died of tropical fevers. Declared David Jones, one of the survivors: "I am determined to continue. Madagascar is a noble field of service."

"Bloody Mary of Madagascar"

   Madagascar was then governed by a monarchy that favored the missionaries. In 1828 the reigning king died. One of his twelve wives seized power, murdered all rivals, and began a reign of terror that brought her the name "Bloody Mary of Madagascar." Queen Ranavalona I, as she titled herself, attacked the infant church with a fanaticism akin to the Emperor Nero. She stopped baptisms, banned Scripture, closed churches, ordered the European missionaries out, and forbade her subjects, except those in her employ, to learn to read and write.

   In 1835 she presented the following charges against Christians:

1. They despise the idols.
2. They are always praying.
3. They will not swear, but only affirm.</