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The Anonymous Woman Who Changed the Jungle -- and the Lives of Many Prisoners of War

Aug 18, 2007
The Japanese captured Ernest Gordon when he was 24. They sent him to a prison camp near the River Kwai, where he, along with every other prisoner there, was expected to die. He was given just enough food to keep him alive and he was forced to work in slave labor on the notorious "Railroad of Death." However, thanks in part to the efforts of unknown missionaries, Gordon survived to tell his story.

While working on the railroad, the prisoners often came in contact with many of the people living in nearby villages. Most of them turned their noses up at the prisoners. Even the Buddhist priests ignored their plight.

"But once," says Gordon in his book To End All Wars, "we came to a village where we received a treatment so different that it astonished us. There was mercy in the eyes of those who rushed to the roadside to watch us go by. Before we had reached the end of their settlement, they were back laden with cakes, bananas, eggs, medicines, and money, which they thrust into our hands. Later we learned that this village had been converted to Christianity by missionaries. . .

"A key figure in carrying Christianity to these jungle outposts had been an elderly missionary woman who managed to continue her work during the Japanese occupation. When she was finally forced to take to the jungle, she was handed from one group of Christians to another. The Japanese knew of her existence and were never far behind. But, although they put a high price on her head, she eluded them. . ."

This brave woman may never have known how her life would touch so many different people. Her devotion to the Gospel changed not only the villagers but affected the prisoners as well. She provided a source of hope. Gordon explains how her impact on the villages later impacted him and his fellow prisoners:

"These brief contacts with the outside world were helpful reminders that a saner, more human way of life still existed. No word had been said. But the message had been given."

The story of Ernest Gordon and the other prisoners of war is one of the most compelling you'll ever read. You can read it yourself in the book To End All Wars. I also recommend you see the movie "To End All Wars." It's graphic, and has some coarse language, but the message is absolutely stunning.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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