It is never too late to show your gratitude to someone that touched you in a special way!
Mary Previte, 83, of Haddonfield, NJ searched for 18 years to find the Chinese interpreter who rescued her 71 years ago, while a prisoner, in a Japanese camp, during World War II. She was living in Kaifeng, in Henan province, China, with her Christian missionary parents, who ran a Bible school, prior to the war.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Ms. Previte finally met Wang Chenghan, 91, at his home, in Guiyang city, Guizhou province, China. He helped rescue her, along with 1,500 others, from 30 different nations.
Previte’s great-grandfather had set up Chefoo School, a boarding school for children of foreign missionaries and others, where she was receiving her education, at the time.
It was reported by the BBC, that the day after Pearl Harbor’s attack, the Japanese took hold of the school, declaring it, military headquarters. Since America took part in the war, Westerners in China soon were considered, “enemy aliens”.
Unfortunately, Previte, 9, her grandfather, Herbert Hudson Taylor, a retired missionary and her siblings, were separated from her parents and became captives, at the school, by the Japanese soldiers.
US soldiers, along with Wang, rescued the prisoners of war in an operation known as “Duck Mission” in August 1945, from the Japanese school-prison encampment, in Weifang, Shandong province.
Previte shared that a Chinese student studying in the US had read an article about her and recognized that it spoke of his grandfather. It took her 18 years to track him down, after speaking to 4 other rescuers, as far back as the 1990s.
She presented Mr. Wang with 18 letters of gratitude, written by freed captives. New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross and US Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, were among them. Unfortunately, Mr. Wang is the sole survivor of the seven rescuers; however the widows of 2 others were also found.
“It is the end of a dream to actually have found all of the heroes and have an opportunity to see them face to face,” she shared with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In recalling that fateful day, she said, “They had crowds of Chinese along the roadside as these white people were carrying whatever they could in their hands, no servants were helping them now, marching off to concentration camp.”
Unfortunately, she recounts that some of the imprisoned succumbed to starvation, since food was scarce as well as medicine. She shared with the BBC that the Chefoo School’s teachers always tried to encourage them by playing games and rewarding the winners or by simply comforting them, and trying to keep them positive, despite their circumstances.
VERSES TO REFLECT ON:
Matthew 25:35 (KJV)
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
John 15:13 (KJV)
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ephesians 5:2 (KJV)
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.