Real or Imagined?

It was the year 1937.

The freight car stood all day beneath a row of trees in China to protect them from enemy planes. It was filled with missionaries feeling the approaching Japanese army. The Chinese landscape was bleak, the heat oppressive.

A lone Japanese guard walked the platform—back and forth, back and forth—eyeing the occupants each time he passed.

His face was inscrutable. The staccato comments to a few nearby soldiers sounded threatening. The missionaries prayed silently, expecting the worst, praying for darkness so they could move on.

Darkness came, and as the train began to move, the guard approached and quickly handed his holding fan to one of the missionaries.

As the train picked up speed, the missionary gratefully unfolded the fan to find relief from the unrelenting heat. Inside the fan was written:

“God bless you. I too Christian.”

Taken by permission from “Legacy of a Pack Rat,” By Ruth Bell Graham. ©1989, The Ruth Bell Graham Literary Trust.