Woman's faith sustains her in POW camp

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2009

On June 19, David Rohde, a journalist for the New York Times, went "over the wall" escaping from a Taliban compound. Many watched with interest as he was reunited with love ones.

This story reminded me of an Alaskan who was taken prisoner. Rachel Block was 14 years old and living in Manila with her dad who was a military contractor. The Japanese invaded the Philippines and Rachel, along with two of her siblings, found themselves parentless and captured. They were taken to a POW camp and tortured. The things this teenager endured were unthinkable. A World War II prison camp in the Philippines did not have "rehabilitation" as a part of its core values or mission statement. They did not have amenities or rights that are common in the 21st century. Rachel says her captors mangled her hands and pulled out her toenails.

She cried out "God help me," and on the third cry, her pain left.

She and her siblings were beaten, starved and left to the torment of anthills. Miraculously, the ants, she said, didn't bother them - proof enough to her of the strength of Psalm 24:4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Rachel's imprisonment lasted for four years, until American forces liberated the Santo Thomas Internment Camp in Manila. As I talked to Rachel last week, a couple of themes come out loud and clear, have faith in God; believe in God's ability to supply all your needs; never lose hope; stand on God's promises; do the right thing; and love your country.

People like Rachel are not looking for the limelight or a magazine cover. You won't see her in Parade, People or Self. She quietly lives out her life in Palmer, but is not afraid to stand tall for what she believes.

A 6 p.m. Sunday Rachel will speak at the 18th annual God and Country Rally at the Soldotna High School Auditorium. She joins many others who have spoken about a love of country and faith in God.

What kind of person benefits from listening to someone like Rachel?

Anyone who likes to be inspired by those who have overcome incredible odds. Who are currently going through tough times. People who have lost hope in ever seeing the light of day. People who are deeply despondent and depressed. People who love to hear of the blessings of God upon our country and its citizens. Teenagers wondering if God really hears and answers prayers.

I hope you don't miss Sunday's God and Country Rally.

J.D. Duncan is the senior Pastor at Peninsula Christian Center and the chairperson of the God and Country Rally.

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