By: Charlotte Van Steenbergen ©2007


A chance meeting with

a young boy and his bravery

in the concentration camp.

Witnessed on a daily basis

for some three plus years

impacted many of us

enduring extreme hardship

systematic starvation

and daily punishments

inflicted by the guards

for all kinds of infractions.

He remained such a source

of joy for his Mama and others

with his upbeat personality

always smiling and whistling

no matter what.

Rumors had it

he has no father

although he himself claimed

God as his heavenly Father.

Being the King’s son

refusing the ritual of bowing

our Japanese captors

insisted on and demanded.

This young boy

was most assuredly

doomed for more hardship

then any of us.

Thus began the daily

beatings and tortures

trying to break him

after every refusal.

But always he came back

seemingly fine, in good spirits

and with incredible grace

though his eyes betrayed

the pain he’d suffered.

Until the day close to the end

of our imprisonment

an announcement came

for all to assemble

in the courtyard

to witness his execution.

Row upon row of women

and children gathered

bowing to their captors

and were told this was a lesson—

then the order to fire.




Upon the young boy was given

and the command

for us to watch.

Several bullets hit his body

yet standing he remained

as if someone was

holding him up.

His Mama and others pleaded

for him to bow

but to no avail.

The soldiers

shot his kneecaps

and down he went

willing himself to keep

his head up

with pain and sadness

mirrored in his eyes

for his captors

he finally succumbed.

Falling to the ground

joy and peace

bathed his face.

As his soul left

the crumpled, bullet

riddled body

rushing to meet the

outstretched arms

of his heavenly father.

Almost immediately

after darkness despair

shock and unbelief

settled around us.

Instantaneously flooding

came a light of pure mercy

piercing the hearts

of many

still standing awestricken

by this miraculous gift

this young boy left

to ponder the meaning

of such uncompromising faith.

For all to either

accept or reject

God’s wondrous sacrificial

gift of the CROSS!!!



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