Having worked for Larry DeShazer in Portland, Oregon in 1948-49 I have always been fascinated by the story of his brother, Jacob DeShaser, which follows.
On April 18, 1942, Army Corporal Jacob DeShazer boarded a bomber plane with his pilot, Lieutenant William Farrow, and a co-pilot, navigator, and rear gunner. Their mission was to bomb Tokyo and its surrounding cities. When the mission was accomplished, they were to land in enemy territory, elude the opposing forces, and await further instructions. The bombing was a success, but they never received word as to where they were to land. With fuel running low, Lt. Farrow gave the order for his crew to jump. DeShazer landed safely, but was taken prisoner by ten Japanese soldiers shortly thereafter. His life was spared, but he was tortured ruthlessly before receiving solitary confinement in a filthy prison camp.
DeShazer remained in captivity for almost two years, struggling with starvation and illness. After one of his fellow prisoners died of dysentery, Japanese authorities increased the rations of food and allowed the prisoners to have reading material, including the Bible. Because there was only one Bible, DeShazer had to wait six months to get his turn with it. Finally, when his turn came, DeShazer read the Scriptures over and over again. Though raised in a Christian home, he had never accepted Christ. On the final day he was allowed to have the Bible, he read Romans 10:9 once more, confessed his belief in Christ, and begged for forgiveness. DeShazer had been converted to a follower of Christ.
Immediately he realized this demanded changes in his life—both while in a prison camp and beyond (should he ever be released). In an article on DeShazer's life for Today's Christian, Elsie J. Larson shares what happened next:
Bad habits and attitudes don't just go away when a person accepts Christ. One day after the exercise period, DeShazer's guard hurried him toward his cell, shoved him inside, slamming the door on DeShazer's foot. Instead of opening the door, the guard kicked the prisoner's foot with his hobnailed boots. DeShazer desperately pushed the door until he could free his foot. His mind blazed with rage. However, Jesus' words came to him: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them, which despitefully use you."
Nursing his foot, DeShazer wished for a while that his mind would go blank; instead, all the Scripture God had helped him memorize flooded into his mind. Calming down, he decided, God commanded me to love. What a wonderful world it would be if we would all try to love one another. I'll try.
The next morning was the test. DeShazer greeted the guard respectfully in Japanese. The guard gave him a puzzled look and said nothing. Every morning, the prisoner offered friendly greetings and received no response. Then one morning the guard walked straight to DeShazer's cell, and spoke to him through the door. He was smiling. DeShazer asked about his family. From that time on, the guard treated him with respect and kindness, and once even brought him a boiled sweet potato. Another time, the guard slipped DeShazer figs and candy.
A year after his conversion, in June 1945, the Americans were transferred to a prison in Beijing (Peking). Conditions were worse than in Nanjing (Nanking). DeShazer nearly died of starvation and disease, but he grew spiritually. Like the prophet Daniel, he knelt and prayed diligently.
On August 6, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, DeShazer woke up about 7 A.M. and was impressed to pray for peace. At 2 P.M., the Holy Spirit told the prisoner, "You don't need to pray any more. The victory is won." DeShazer thought this was a better way to receive world news than waiting for a radio report. Immediately, his thoughts turned to his captors. Wondering what would happen to the Japanese people, God gave him the answer: he was to eventually return to Japan and teach them about his Savior.
In 1948, Jacob DeShazer returned to Japan with his wife, Florence, as a missionary. By that time, Army chaplains had distributed more than a million tracts containing DeShazer's testimony titled, "I Was a Prisoner of the Japanese." Thousands of Japanese people wanted to see the man who could forgive his enemies. In his first few months in Japan, the former [bomber] had spoken in two hundred places. Soon he, with his wife Florence, helped Japanese Christians to establish churches.
Although the church planting was going well, early in 1950, DeShazer longed for a revival for Japan. He fasted 40 days, praying for the salvation of the Japanese.
A few days after he ended his fast, a man came to his home and introduced himself—Mitsuo Fuchida, flight commander of the 360 planes that attacked Pearl Harbor. After reading DeShazer's testimony, Fuchida had purchased a New Testament, read it, and had accepted Christ. DeShazer welcomed him as a brother and counseled him to be baptized. Within a short time, Fuchida became an evangelist, preaching in Japan and all over the world.
In 1959 a dream came true for DeShazer when he moved to Nagoya to establish a Christian church in the city he had bombed. Because of one shared Bible, the man who first came to [bomb] Japan…returned on the wings of a dove to spread the "peace that passeth understanding" in that country for the next thirty years.
Condensed from Today's Christian, © 1997 Christianity Today International.
As I see it, peace does not buy much these days. It seems that $2.4 trillion of the global economy is dependent on violence, according to Global Peace Index, referring to “industries that create or manage violence” - or the defense industry (bold added).
As Jorn Modslien admits, (“The Purchasing Power of Peace“, BBC, 6-3-09), Military might delivers geopolitical supremacy, but peace delivers economic prosperity and stability. And that, the report insists, is what is good for business (bold added).
Sickeningly immoral but true … From Warner’s World