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The obedient life of a missionary can be very difficult, but very rewarding.
The obedient life of a missionary can be very difficult, but also very rewarding. (Getty Images )

When Darlene Rose was 10, a missionary came to her church in Ames, Iowa, and gave an altar call to the teens and college-age students, begging them to give their lives to foreign missions. Darlene was sitting on the back row during the altar call and felt a firm hand on her shoulder.

However, when she looked around no one was there. Darlene focused her heart and attention once again on the fervent missionary who was imploring young people to give their lives to missionary service but this time could not ignore the voice that she heard audibly behind her, "Would you go anywhere for Me no matter what the cost?"

Darlene Rose, although only one decade old, walked bravely to the front and gave her life for service in the kingdom of God.

After marrying Russell Diebler, they landed in Batavia, Java, on Aug. 18, 1938, their first wedding anniversary. Within two months of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Darlene and Russell were prisoners of war. 

Their captors took the Dieblers into the mountains, where all of the men in their group were viciously beaten. The Japanese then came to take the bruised and battered men to a different location. As Darlene's young, injured husband was loaded into the back of the enemy's truck, he said to her, "Remember one thing, dear. God said He would never leave us or forsake us." Darlene never saw her husband on Earth again.

Darlene recalls as the vehicle pulled away from the weakened group of women and children, she experienced complete peace because she believed Romans 8:28 means exactly what it says it means.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Darlene knew, in the deepest caverns of her heart, that her mighty God would work even this tragedy together for His highest good. During the next few years of her imprisonment, Darlene and her fellow missionaries were forced to eat dogs and rats to stay alive. They were hidden in shacks on the side of a remote mountain and knew that without a miracle they would never be rescued.

One night, Darlene heard a noise and went out into the hallway of the ramshackled building. There she saw a man who had on a black sarong and was holding a machete in his hand. She recognized him immediately as one of the Bogus people who were pirates and savage murderers. Darlene was a petite woman in her early 20s, but was well-acquainted with the power and strength that comes from the Holy Spirit. She chased this daunting enemy out of her home and down the roadway.

On the mountain trail, this particular night, was an entire gang of Bogus men who had been marauding the captives' homes and raping the women there. When these enemies of the people of God saw her, they ran in fear of their lives down the mountain trail. As Darlene walked gratefully back to her primitive home that night, she quoted the Scripture, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them" (Psalm 34:7).

Night after night, the Bogus pirates came back to the village, but they only stood outside the shack in which Darlene lived and never entered it again. 

Years later, when Darlene returned to New Guinea as a missionary after World War II, she met a young man who had been part of the Bogus gang during the war. This handsome young man was now a Christian and served the Jesus of the Gospels. When Darlene asked him why the Bogus pirates had never again attacked her home, but only stood outside and looked at it, he replied, "Because of all of those people in white who stood guard around your house night after night after night."

Toward the end of World War II, Darlene Rose and her other missionary friends who were held in captivity began to hear the bombs drop night after night after night. Darlene and the other POWs would gather up lifeless bodies each morning and bury them on the side of the mountain. 

One night during an especially intense bombing of their camp, Darlene had thrown herself down into the safety of a deep ditch. All of the captives had elected a favorite spot they ran to each night during the shower of bombs and Darlene's was this cavity in the earth that had grown increasingly familiar to her. However, this particular night, God spoke to Darlene shortly after she had nestled into her ditch and told her to go back in the house and retrieve a Bible that belonged to one of the other women.

As Darlene raced through the dark night, the bombs came closer and closer to the encampment. She had clearly heard God's voice telling her to go inside their home and rescue the Bible and so she was determined to obey rather than stay in the safety of her ditch. After Darlene found the Bible and hurried back outside, the bombs began to subside and the raid came to an end.

Darlene helped others back into the barracks and the next morning, she saw a woman sleeping on the floor rather than on her bed. This woman told Darlene that she had tried to save her mattress during the storm of bombs the night before and had thrown it over the spot where Darlene always hid in the ditch. When the woman had gone back to get it, the mattress had been hit by a bomb. The voice of God, and the Word of God, had saved Darlene Rose's life.

Darlene was only 26 when the war ended. The Allied soldiers came and rescued the missionary captives and Darlene left on the very last boat. As Darlene's boat pulled away from the shore, she thought to herself, I will never come back here again. I am going home to America and I will stay there with my family. But as her ship pulled away from the war-torn shore, the natives whom she and her husband had led to the Lord stood on the shore singing, "God be with you till we meet again!"

In that instant, Darlene knew she would come back to this land of her captivity and of her sacred destiny.

After spending only a few years in America, Darlene spent 40 more years in the jungles of this nation. Darlene obeyed in faith the word God had spoken to her heart as a 10-year-old girl in Iowa. Darlene Rose lived a life of abundance and joy because she was a woman who heard the voice of God and obeyed.

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.

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