Friday, June 30, 2006

Paul died that I might live (Paul Carlson)

Dr. Paul Carlson, a medical Evangelical missionary, was among the American and Belgian hostages by the Simba rebels in Stanleyville, Congo. He was arrested by the rebels on the charge of spying. Before his arrest, he usually told the people through radio, “To follow Jesus means to be willing to suffer for him.”

He was always beaten, tortured and mocked. Sometimes, he was even marched outside to be executed, but his life was always spared. On November 20, 1064, Dr. Paul Carlson and seven other American hostages were brought to the Victoria Hotel. The missionary and his prisonmates enjoyed a close bonding with each other. Dr. Carlson said, “I can’t think about the future. I can just live one day at a time and trust the Lord for that day.” The next day, they were told that they were going to be shot to death because of the bombardment in Banalia by Belgian and American paratroopers. The Simbas usually pointed their rifles on the hostages and left if anyone of them looked back.

On the morning of November 24, 1964, the Simba rebels throughout Stanleyville herded their hostages on the streets at the sound of he planes. The rebels were using the hostages as shields. Then, the rebels opened fire on their hostages. The hostages ran towards a wall and jumped over it. Dr. Carlson motioned to a fellow hostage to jump off the wall first. The fellow hostage, Charles Davis, successfully jumped over the wall and stretched his hands towards Dr. Carlson. But it was too late. Dr. Carlson fell back to the street, dead.

Some of the hostages were killed or wounded. Those who survived were taken away by the Belgians. Stanleyville was already liberated from the Simba rebels. Charles Davis, who survived the massacre, recalled, “By letting me go first, Paul died that I might live.”


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