Annie Elizabeth Slaughter

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The Safest Place in the World Is At the Center of God’s Will.

In the turmoil of those early days of World War 2, Presbyterian missionaries Roy and Bertha Byram, who were at that time serving in present day Manchuria, were, along with Bruce Hunt imprisoned for their faith.

byram“Prison Songs” is the title of a small collection of songs written by Mrs. Bertha S. Byram and Mr. Bruce F. Hunt while in solitary confinement during the days between October 22, 1941, and February 6, 1942, when they and Berth’a husband Dr. Roy M. Byram were imprisoned in Antung and Harbin Manchuria with more than thirty of their Korean Christian friends on charges arising out of their opposition to Japanese State Shinto and a law for the government control of the church.”

Later returned to the States in a prisoner exchange, the Byram’s wrote of their imprisonment:

“Now your missionaries did not have to suffer like Paul at Lystra. In prison our feet were not put into the stocks although we were handcuffed some of the time to others. We were not even beaten, nor did we endure any form of physical torture. We were expelled, however, as was Paul from Antioch in Pisidia. As a matter of fact your missionaries feel very humble indeed because we were not able even to approximate the tribulations that our Korean friends willingly endured. God simply allowed us a look from behind clanging, bolted doors. That was all. We saw what it was like to be looking out from within the bars; what it was like to be accused before magistrates; what it was like to suffer trouble as an evil doer even unto bonds; what it was like to endure hardship as though we were good soldiers of Jesus Christ. And we found out how it felt to lie helpless in prison without the assurance that a free American citizen usually enjoys as a missionary in a foreign land, for after war was declared, as far as we knew no power on earth could deliver us for the duration. So passports and American citizenship did not enter much into the seriousness of our thinking in those days. We realized that we had been on business for the King of kings and that it was up to Him alone if deliverance came.

Words to Live By:
What joy and comfort for the Christian, to know that whatever may befall our physical bodies, that we are safe in our Savior’s arms, our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that nothing in this life can truly harm us. And so the Christian speaks and acts from the vantage point of a glorious courage, a courage moored steadfast on the death and resurrection of God’s own Son.

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