Friday, March 20, 2009

China Childhood Memories - Evacuation over"The Hump"

During WWII, in 1944, Japan had invaded China. The Mission School in Inland China, where my parents were stationed, was ordered to evacuate.The Burma Road, normal route out of China, had been cut off by Japanese troops. Our only option was to fly "over the hump" to India.
The "Hump" is a high Himalaya mountain range between China and India. This was a very dangerous and perilous endeavor. That area has eight months of torrential, tropical downpours known as monsoons, which are followed by four months of violent, turbulent windstorms, capable of lifting or dropping a plane 6,000 to 8,000 feet in a minute.
The planes used for these flights were C-46's or C-47's (known as the "Gooney Bird"). They were still vulnerable to attack from Japanese zero fighter planes.

We were flown out in different planes. My Mom was flown out first, because she had just had major surgery and was still recuperating. The second plane load was full of children from the mission school. I was scheduled to go on the third flight. My Dad was to stay behind and close up the compound. On these flights, there were no parachutes and the ride was bumpy, with many frightening downdrafts.

The second plane encountered a severe storm and had to navigate through it, using up much of their fuel. Arriving over India airspace, they encountered a "blackout" because of enemy aircraft in the vicinity. The airfield was dark, and pilots were not to break radio silence. After circling for awhile, the pilot finally had to break radio silence and ask them to turn on their lights. He said he had a plane load of children and was almost out of fuel. The airfield complied. When they landed, there was not a drop of fuel left in the plane. The pilot got out and kissed the ground!

I was on the next plane, flying through the same bad weather conditions! I'm sure my parents were both praying. I remember the sudden drops, where I thought for sure the plane was crashing. One of the boys had a lemon lollipop (a rarity in those days, where we did not get many "sweets"). He passed it around, and everyone took a lick as it went by. That was our only distraction from the perilous flight. We landed uneventfully. I remember going to my Mom's room where she hugged me tightly, and gave me some M & M's. I think that was the first time I had ever had them.

I have since thought of my Mom's faith during that time. She did not know if she would see either me or my Dad again, all of us coming out on different flights through such dangerous conditions. My father made it out, also, and we were reunited as a family in India.

I am so thankful, as I look back, that the Lord had His hand on us and took care of all the circumstances. Even today, as problems come, we can trust the Lord to hold us in the palm of His hand and take care of us in our circumstances!!!


Caroline said...

I cried reading this Ruth. Thankyou so much for sharing your precious memories with us. A great story with a happy ending when you were all reunited. Thank God.

Cherdecor said...

Wow! Ruthie, you have such interesting memories. God must have given you grace to go through that even as a small child. I am glad that your story had a happy ending.

♥ Kathy said...

Ruthie I am so impressed with you. This post was so touching. Thank you for sharing it ♥

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Ruthie, I can't seem to find the words to respond to this post, I am in awe, and am so blessed. God does have His hand on us and he has proven that to me as well over and over in my life, blessings to you my dear sweet friend.

Marie said...

truly a GOD story. it's wonderful to hear your stories. thank you.

Smilingsal said...

Ruthie, What a touching story. I'm so glad you shared it.

Charlotte said...

I don't think anyone can read this post without crying. It was even more meaningful to me because I have been to India and have heard our missionary there talk about the Himalayas and going there to learn Hindi. I got a real mental picture of it. I'm so glad you shared this experience with us. I followed your lead and went ahead and posted my Spiritual Sundays post also.
When I clicked on your name in the linky on S.S. it took me to my profile page. I don't know how that happened, but I will delete that link and you can put it on again.
Hugs & blessings.

Technonana said...

Oh Ruthie, what a harrowing experience!! God really did a wondrous miracle in all of the lives saved that day!!
Thank you for posting this, and reminding us that He really does hold us in the Palm of His Hands!!

ginger at enchanting cottage said...

OH~~ Ruthie, I could sit for hours and listen to your stories of growing up and all of your life experiences, God is just so good.

Clif said...

What a storyteller you are! You remind me of Leah, our missionary in India. She too has many exciting, faith producing stories to tell. Many of your words, India, Himalaya Mountain range, monsoon, bring back many memories. We have monsoons here in Arizona also. Thank you for this moving story that brought tears to my eyes but drew me closer to God and to you.

a portland granny said...

I am amazed at how often you have seen the hand of God on your life! What a journey you had fleeing China. Hopefully you will tell us how you eventually got back to the states. Did you live in India for a time?

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Ruthie, This is a true confession of faith. How scarey it must have been for your parents. But, they trusted in god. It reminds me of this verse:

…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9-10 NIV

What a awesome god we have.
Hugs, Terrie

Kathy said...

What a sweet, touching story, Ruthie. Have a beautiful Sunday...Kathy

Flea said...

I'm so glad you made it through alive! M&M's and all, God loves you muchly!

The Real Gal said...

Wow, new to here. Ruth, appreciate your blog and your precious memories. Much blessings to you and yours dear one!

Susie said...

What a harrowing experience for your entire family and all the mission children.
I found myself just racing through to see what was going to happen..
Your writing is a God-given gift Ruthie..

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Ruthie
(((Hugz))) Wow I held my breath as I read each word. what a journey and I am blessed to read a happy ending to your orecious story. Thank you for sharing your precious stories with us. It was as if I was right there with you.

Hugz Lorie

Sandi@ My Yellow Door said...

Thank you for sharing what must have been a very difficult and scary time of your life. God is good and He is faithful! He never leaves us. Praise His name! Have a wonderful week.


Susan B said...

Oh Ruthie, what a difficult and frightening time for your family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. And the reminder that God loves us, we can always trust Him. Blessings to you and your family.

Cottage Contessa said...

Oh Ruthie, sweetie your life is just so amazing to us. Both my daughter and I enjoy reading your posts, and just think you are the sweetest lady.
Wishing you a wonderful week dear friend!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Life Adapted said...

Wow - what a story and what a beautiful ending. You tell it very well. I completely enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing it.

Be so blessed.

Shellmo said...

I was praying that your family made it out at the end of this story while I was reading this. What a frightening flight that must've been! But you were definitely being watched over from above...

Constance said...

I came over from Sweetie's blog and was fascinated reading your story. My mother grew up in Germany during WW2 and has shared how when they refugeed from what is now the Czech Republic they took the last train into West Germany. The remainder of their family was stuck in East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. I marvel when I hear that because I see repeatedly God's Divine Intervention in my mother's life resulting in my own, my children and now my grandchildren's lives! God is SO incredibly good, all the time! Have a beautiful week!

Anonymous said...

I came for another visit(from 'A Life of Grace'). I am so glad I did! What a miraculous story of God's protection.
I have read Ruth Bell Graham's life story of living in China during that time.
I am so grateful that you shared your story. I am also thankful for your parents willingness to be missionaries.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible experience to go through. I can just imagine you in that plane all alone. I'm so glad it worked out like it did. You have been through a lot in your life. Thank you for sharing.

Ms.Daisy said...

What a story you have to tell! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. God is so good and gracious - all the time!