This part of Mabel's story deals with her first landing in Japan at Yokohoma, to the end of World War II.
Part 1 of a multi-part series on missionary Mabel Francis, who served in Japan during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this part, we learn about her background and how she got saved. Enjoy!
A minister, simply referred to as Brother T., had been out ministering all day to individuals during a horrific cholera epidemic in London. Very little is recorded about him. We know that he a clergyman of the Church of England, and that he was 100% committed to his calling. Here's his story, taken from Anecdotes and Illustrations of the Christian Ministry compiled by Rev. Daniel Smith in 1853.
Shelter and Hostility
Nadia's uncle on her father's side lived close enough to them to see, from his own window, that his brother's family had been literally tossed out into the icy cold. He struggled for quite a while. Could he let his brother's children freeze to death in the cold? But what about his own family? What would become of them if he helped the family of a political prisoner?
"I'll tell you what will happen!" shouted his wife. "You'll get sent to a Gulag! And what will become of your own children? What will become of me?" she cried. His children were listening in quite intently. He reached for his coat, and his wife tried to pull it away from him. "I will not allow my brother's children to freeze to death, woman." He walked out into the snow and ice and brought Nadia, Maria, Boris, and their mother, Oksana, into his home.
On December 31, 1924 a little baby girl named Nadia Chaplya was born in the Ukraine. Nadia would be the middle of three children; her older sister was Maria and her younger brother was Boris. Her parents were Anton and Oksana. The Chaplyas had a small farm with a grove of cherry trees that their children had helped them to plant. Anton, however, struggled with alcoholism and made things difficult for the family.
This was a difficult time for the Ukrainian people as the Communist influence was increasing. In their small village, corruption and abuse of power was rampant. The town constable, Ivan Dushko, wanted the Chaplyas' land so badly he was willing to use his power to take it. To that end, he falsely accused Anton of political crimes, making him a wanted man.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. -- Hebrews 4:12, KJV
John Wengatz thoroughly believed in the power of the Word of God, and often gave out copies of the Gospel of Matthew -- and the Lord did many things with those small books. One of Wengatz's missionaries encountered a young man named Buta. Buta had just finished his military service as a soldier and was retiring as an officer. He had learned to read and write during his military service, and when a missionary gave him the small, red book (the Gospel of Matthew) he was delighted at a chance to use his reading skills.
John Wengatz was an American missionary to Angola, arriving there with his wife in 1910 to start their work.
At their first "official" outreach service to a tribe that had never heard the Gospel before, John Wengatz and his wife Susan saw something truly amazing: during this open air service, the people were reacting powerfully, weeping, crying, and prostrating themselves on the ground .... all calling upon Jesus to forgive their sins. However, Wengatz was not used to such emotional reactions and in his naivete encouraged them to avoid such open expressions of emotion. The result? It killed the service. The locals all sat calmly, paying close attention to the speaker, and didn't move a muscle when the altar call was made. They no longer felt the freedom to reach out to the Lord.
The Nightingale of Sweden
Jenny Lind was an incredibly talented Swedish singer nicknamed the "Swedish Nightingale." She visited Manhattan not long after the cholera epidemic had come to an end. Tickets to her performance were being sold by the none other than P.T. Barnum, and were in such demand he resorted to auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Crowds went wild for Ms. Lind, and if anyone had the right to be a true diva, it was Ms. Lind.
However, she did something quite interesting during her New York tour. Jenny Lind made a surprise stop and the New York Institute for the Blind. There she gave a free performance to the students, and here is what struck me as the most fascinating aspect of this appearance; she allowed the sight-impaired students to come to her and feel her face. That is about the most un-diva like behavior I could imagine.
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.