I was a prisoner of the Japanese

MY TESTIMONY — I Passed from Death unto Life. — A.Ellis
(written around 1965)

"He that hath the Son hath Life." (John 3 v.36). It is with great joy in my heart that I write of the wonderful Love of my Saviour and God. The Lord has done great and wonderful things for me whereof I am glad. The Word of God says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." As a little lad I was a regular attender at the Salvation Army. For 11 years I went, and then like many more I wanted to taste the pleasures of this world, and so I left. Before ever I left school I was smoking cigarettes in secret. I can say I tried the pleasures of this life but now I know there was never the real joy that I have today.

I was out of work on my 21st birthday, and in those days (1933), the Means Test was in force and my unemployment benefit was reduced to 6 shillings a week (30p), so I left home and joined the Army.

I was posted to the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, and in 1934 was in India with them. When the 2nd World War started my Battalion eventually was sent to the Far East, and I was there when the Japanese War started. Along with many more, I was taken Prisoner of War at Singapore, working on that "Railway of Death" from start to finish. Whilst working on that railway I had many experiences.

I remember having malaria and dysentery at the same time. I was in such a state that I cried to God to take me out of my suffering; instead, I was the only one out of nine in that so-called hospital tent who survived!

This place where we were was in dense jungle land. I know I had help, for I was put in the Japanese Officer's cookhouse for a while until I got a lot better. When the railway was finished, I was passed as a "fit man", and with others I was then taken to Japan. There I was put to work in a zinc foundry.

One day I picked up an old Japanese newspaper. I ripped it in small pieces intending, when I could find a cigarette end, to roll it again for a smoke. This particular day I was searched, and they said I had done this to pass on to our Officers certain information against them — they accused me of spying!

I was stripped and beaten and kept in front of the guard room for a long while. Truly when you know you are facing death you are real. I again cried to God although I knew Him not. All I could say was, "Please God make them believe that I am telling the truth." I know a miracle did take place. I was released and told not to do it again, and yet the first thing I did was to find another cigarette end and smoke it. When things are all right man is so independent, like the disciples in the boat (Luke 8 v.22), but when faced with situations that bring death staring you in the face, how soon they change. How about you ? What about God's appointment? — "This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles."

Those days I remember while writing this, wondering whose turn was next - it was real to me and many more. It was real — fear is a terrible thing when contemplating death. I do thank my God and Saviour that today it has no more terrors for me. I know there is a life hereafter. I know, for those who have committed their life to the Lord Jesus the Son of the Living God — Heaven will be their home, to live and reign with Him who is alive ever more by His Wondrous Love and sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. He who died for our sins rose from the dead the third day for our justification also — Glory to His Holy Name forever. A living Saviour alive forever !

Do you believe? He Loves You. He desires to save you. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. He says "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

When I came home from Japan after being a prisoner of war 3½ years, although free from being a prisoner of war I was constantly tormented by fear. No peace whatsoever. They had a "Welcome Home Party" for me and I remember running outside. I dared not sit down with them. I was too frightened to listen to the wireless or read the papers. I dared not think of another war starting. I was always dreaming of "Japs" coming for me. I never had any real sleep or peace. That was my condition until 21st October 1951, when I was invited to an Evangelistic Campaign conducted by the Rev. Stephen Olford, and there I heard the Good News of the Gospel — the Gospel of Redeeming Grace. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary for my sins. The third day He rose from the dead, a living Saviour. I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart, to forgive me my sins and to be my Saviour and God. I knew He did; that same night I went home and slept peacefully like a little child !! The Peace of God was mine (John 14 v.27). "My peace I give unto you" was real to me.

That same night too was the last time I had a cigarette — the Saviour completely took the desire away. What I couldn't do, He did for me. He is a Wonderful Saviour. I love Him and adore Him. For just over 13 years He has kept me, helped me every day, and I know He will for ever, for He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" — the Lord that changes not. Would you too come to my precious Saviour? He does love you — He loves you with an everlasting love. It was His Love for you that made Him die on the Cross to take away your sin. The "whosoever will" may come. You may come. Come now. Today is the Day of Salvation.

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thy heart that God has raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved." This same Saviour is coming again !

My friends, this time He will come in Power and Glory for those who look for Him. Will you be ready? Every one shall give an account of himself. Will He be your Saviour or your judge? The Bible says, "Every knee shall bow to Him in that day." "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call ye upon Him while He is near."

May the Good Lord bless you and may you too know Him, "Whom to know is Life Eternal."

Read 1 John 1 v.7 and 9; Isaiah 26 v.3; Romans 6 v.23; Romans 10 v.9-10; John 3 v.36.

A. Ellis, 99 Deanburn, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland.

These words were found written on the wall of a cell in a former Japanese prisoner of war camp, when the Allies entered in 1945 ....

If I must face a firing squad,
Though harm I did nobody,
Help me to love them still, my God,
As bullets strike my body.

If I must die, a lowly spy,
Though spying I did never,
Stay in my heart, O God, and I
Will love them more than ever.

Forgive them all the tortures done,
My thirst and my starvation,
For who could suffer more than One
Who died for our salvation?