The Truth... What is it?





Another Special Life in Christ

These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the role model!
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!

  

Jacob Daniel "Jake" DeShazer:

Born in about 1911 and living in Salem (as of July 2007), Oregon (as of March 2004), he attended the 60th reunion (April 2002) of the famed "Doolittle Raiders" of WWII who carried out  daring raids on Tokyo. Jake was a bombardier in plane #16 and was one of 8 who had to bail out over Japan-occupied China. He endured 40 months of beatings and starvation, 2 of the years being in solitary confinement. It was during his imprisonment that Jake DeShazer became a Christian. What follows is a forgiveness testimony that most of us would deem miraculous.

When he was liberated, he was sick, emaciated; and, incredibly, he was determined to love the Japanese people. After recuperating from his imprisonment and torture, he returned to Japan to spend 30 years spreading the good news of Jesus Christ which lead to the Christian conversions of 1000s!! But that is not even the best of the story (I first read part of his Jesus-honoring story at the top of the front page of the 12 April 2002 "The State" newspaper in South Carolina)!

Mitsuo Fuchida was the Japanese pilot who lead the surprise attack on the American forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That was the event that spurred DeShazer and others to later attack Tokyo. Fuchida was the lead Japanese character in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!. Fuchida was said to be as popular in Japan as the Japanese emperor.

When Fuchida dropped his torpedoes at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, 1941, Sgt. Jacob “Jake” DeShazer was on KP duty at an Army air base in Pendleton, Oregon when news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor blared over a loudspeaker.  His deep hatred for the Japanese born that day grew through succeeding events into an obsession for revenge.  So, 5 foot 6 inch Cpl. Jake DeShazer volunteered for an extremely dangerous mission.  He became a crewmember of the Doolittle Raiders.

Their land-based B-25 bombers would bomb Japan and land at friendly free Chinese airfields.  One day, after bombing Tokyo and other cities, Jake’s plane ran out of fuel, and they bailed out.  The Japanese Army captured DeShazer’s crew and three others.  So began 40 months of imprisonment, 24 of them in solitary confinement. Their captors moved the men to Japan. They were interrogated for days and nights, placed on a starvation diet, beaten, and tortured.

Given access to a Bible for three short weeks in 1944, DeShazer experienced a divine transformation. He made peace with Christ in his lonely prison cell, returning to his Christian roots and thereby answering his mother's prayers that his life be spared -- both for now, and for eternity. And while his conditions didn't change, his heart did (see more, below).

DeShazer's formative years were spent in Madras, Oregon, where he and his family faithfully attended the local Free Methodist church. But during his high school years, he slowly drifted from his Christian moorings.

Perhaps that's why, as his parachute carried him down toward a very uncertain future on that foggy night in 1942, DeShazer thought it would be "dishonest" to pray. So he didn't. (He was not without prayer cover, however. At that very hour, his mother awakened suddenly with a strange feeling of being dropped down through the air. She prayed, in great distress, until the burden was gone and sleep returned. She had absolutely no knowledge at the time -- nor did most of the United States -- of the Doolittle Raid or her son's participation in it.) Later, DeShazer recalls, before fellow captive Lt. Robert J. Meder died in prison of malnutrition in December 1943, Meder said, "Jake, Jesus Christ is the key to all of this." DeShazer continues, "And I thought, so what does that have to do with it? Jesus Christ was a long time ago. I couldn't understand it. But when I became a Christian, I knew what Meder was talking about."

When DeShazer learned that the war was over, to his amazement he felt God telling him to return to Japan to share the love of Christ.  The Bible Literature International organization printed 1 million pamphlets of DeShazer’s testimony, “I was a Prisoner of Japan,” for distribution throughout the country.

In similar fashion, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida was the lead pilot of the 360 planes that attacked Pearl Harbor.  He gave the order to attack, and then shouted the famous attack signal, “Tora!, Tora!, Tora!” (Tiger!, Tiger!, Tiger!)  The successful attack against the United States made Fuchida a national hero.  One day in October 1948, while waiting at a rail station in Tokyo, Fuchida was handed DeShazer’s  I Was a Prisoner of Japan.  He was ready to throw it away, but he noticed that it was written by a courageous Doolittle flier, so he read it with keen interest.

This prompted Fuchida to buy a Bible immediately, though he didn’t get around to reading it for months.   When he did. He found that the Bible’s message gripped him and Christ’s prayer from the cross captured him.  “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24).  He wept as he realized Jesus had prayed and died for him, too.  In September 1949, he accepted Christ as his Savior; and he was baptized on Easter Sunday in 1951.  Over the next years, Fuchida and DeShazer spoke to large crowds, both together and individually; and their ministries brought thousands more to Christ.

A little more on Jake's acceptance of Jesus: When they were transferred to Nanking in 1943, things got better -- although this is where Meder eventually died.

DeShazer remembers, "One day they called us out of our prison cells; and we didn't know whether we were going to be shot, or what was going to happen -- they were always promising to execute us. But instead, they had an interpreter who told us that the emperor of Japan had written a letter saying he was ashamed at the way they'd been treating us prisoners of war ... and they should treat us better. So they gave us bread to eat with our rotten potato peel soup."

They also promised to give the men some books and a Bible, but DeShazer -- who had been doing a lot of thinking and was most anxious to get his hands on a Bible -- was the lowest-ranking of the group and was forced to wait. When his turn finally came, he could only keep the coveted volume for three weeks.

"When I got that Bible," he recalls, "I thought about how the Christians believed the Bible -- believed it was the Word of God. And God didn't lie. And so I read that Bible to find evidence that it is the Word of God. And right away I found the evidence."

In his dimly lit cell, DeShazer read the entire Bible several times through and the Prophets six times. He spent many hours tracing prophecies to their fulfillment and memorizing the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistle of 1 John and other verses that spoke to his quickening heart.

He must have gotten the Bible again later because he remembers that on June 8, 1944, he received assurance of his salvation when his eyes fell once again on Romans 10:9. "Boy, that hit me! It was the best news I'd ever heard in my life. There are just two things: you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart. And I did! I believed at that time -- and I do yet -- it's God's Word. I believe heaven came down there in that prison cell."

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On 1 Feb. 2003 I opened this e-mail message from Karen Kumar, "I just finished reading The First Heroes, a book by Craig Nelson, about the Doolittle Raid.  Nelson includes an entire chapter about Rev. DeShazer's conversion experience during his horrible ordeal at the hands of the Japanese in a POW camp.  I was amazed that Nelson included this in his book, since the book's focus was the raid and the affect on the war in the Pacific.  I was very pleased and excited to read such a powerful testimony of the ministering of the Holy Spirit and the work of Jesus Christ in this man's life."

On 4 March 2004 I opened this e-mail from Benton Eskew, "I, too, have just read "First Heroes." What a wonderful book, although depressing at times. But at the end, to read about this wonderful hero and his conversion to Christ, made the whole ordeal seem worth it. Men like him inspire me to strive to be more like Christ and less selfish. I have printed a copy of the story to share with my church. I am an elected official. His story makes me desire to be a better public servant. Is he still alive? If so, I wonder how I could send a letter to him?" [Mr. Eskew found Rev. Jake a few days later and had a great telephone conversation]

 

Related Links:

http://www.doolittleraider.com/raiders/deshazer.htm

 

 

 

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(posted May 2002; latest update 25 July 2008)

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You have just read a very brief example of the powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now [check it out]!