As I was reading through Chapter 5, the author was describing life in the Japanese prison camp. She explained that she was selected as a barracks leader and responsible for representing her barracks as go-between with the head of the camp and the camp commander.
I was particularly struck by the following paragraph:
"Immediately following evening roll call, everyone came to the front section of the barracks to hear the announcements and check the work schedule for the following day. The first night in our barracks, I established a practice that I believe was responsible for maintaining the high level of compassion and cooperation that existed in our small community. That night and every night, we invited everyone to remain while we read a portion of God's word and prayed. We were united by a recognition of a mutual need from within for help from One Who is greater than we. We faced a common enemy from without, and if we were to survive we had to function as a unit. The interpersonal barriers of language, race, and color became nonexistent, and an ever-increasing appreciation of one another enabled us to face with courage the common plights of most prisoners of war: suffering, hunger, deprivations of every kind, forced labor, bombings, disease, psychological pressures, death, and lonely graves. People from other barracks often joined us during the evening devotions. Throughout those very difficult years that tried our souls, but kept our barracks home center in the eye of the military storm that raged around us. There was a sharing, a concern, and a love that was unique. We struggled to preserve family feelings, to discover ways to lift morale, to encourage, comfort, and bear one another's insupportable burdens. I am convinced the harmony we experienced in barracks 8 was due to the spiritual shelter beneath which we all hid when there was no other refuge."
May this kind of commitment to God be said of each one of us when facing severe trials.
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