|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
After our meal we hiked until evening to get as far away from Japanese soldiers as possible. We slept in a field under a dark sky dotted with sparkling stars. I'm happy to say the children sprang to life as if we had first left Yang Cheng. Food and sleep. How comforting.
Finally, our troubles are behind us.
The next village we came to was Mien Chih. The city had suffered from bombings. Most buildings had been destroyed. An old woman greeted us. "There isn't anything to share here. You should go to the refuge center in the old temple." She pointed the way then patted a few of the wee children on the heads.
The old temple had huge pots of warm food ready for any refuge who came along. Once again, the children and I filled our stomachs. God had blessed us. Two large meals in two days. A safe place to rest. Truly our troubles are behind us.
After the children ate, they ran outside to play. I leaned forward and rubbed my feet. How much further, Lord?
Other refugees had gathered in the large room to eat and talk about their experiences. I closed my eyes and listened to several of their conversations.
An inspector and several police men stormed through the door. They searched the room then walked toward me. The inspector came close to me, planted his feet with authority, and folded his arms. "You say you crossed the Yellow River? I have heard this report from others. Did you cross the river?"
I nodded. "Yes."
He huffed. "Then you are under arrest."
"Why? What have I done wrong?"
He rolled his eyes. "You said you crossed the Yellow River. That's impossible. Did you cross alone?"
One of us was confused. "I crossed the river with the children you saw playing outside."
He took a step forward. "No one can cross the river with the Japanese soldiers near."
I turned my hands up and shrugged. "A Chinese soldier called for a boat to take us across."
"Impossible." He said. "You couldn't have met or had help from a Chinese soldier. No one is allowed to cross the river. You are under arrest."
I shrugged again. "Well, I wasn't going to wait for the Japanese to capture or kill us. If you arrest me, you will have to arrest my children, too. They crossed the river with me."
Sweat dripped down the fat inspector's face. "These children are in your care?"
"Yes. Tell you what. Tomorrow morning I'll go to the police station with you." I laughed. "You don't think I would try to escape with 100 children?"
The inspector growled and stomped out of the room. "If you're not here in the morning, I will hunt you down."
Next week: our trial
See you then.