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107– April 17 – This Day in Baptist History


German U-Boat Sinks the Zam Zam – 144 missionaries on board
Florence Almen had gone from America in 1936 and had served for a term in French Equatorial Africa. After returning to her homeland for a year of furlough. Florence said her farewells to family and friends and boarded the Zam Zam on March 21, 1941, for her return to her labors.  The ship carried 201 passengers, including 144 missionaries.   They made their way to Baltimore and picked up additional crew and then continued on to Brazil. Leaving Brazil for Cape Town on April 9, they traveled without lights and maintained radio silence, for the German U-boats were very active. All seemed to go well until April 17, just two days from the arrival in Cape Town. A terrible vibration rocked the ship, and the screaming crash of shells awakened passengers and crew. The old ship was under attack.
They found that their lifeboat had been hit, but they finally discovered another.  As the lifeboat pulled away from the listing Zam, they found that it, too, had been riddled with gun fire and was filling with water. Florence Almen did not know how to swim, but heroically to lighten the load, she jumped overboard. As she did so, she cried out to the Lord, “I’ll be seeing your face today, Lord Jesus.” She further testified, “I wasn’t alone. God was there. Underneath were the everlasting arms. I felt His Presence—really real.” In a short time, they heard a motor and discovered that the German captain of the raider (the Tamesis) had sent a launch to pick up those in the water.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 156-157
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225 – Aug. 13 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Four hundred years invested by one family

 

Shanghai on Fire

 

1937 – Japan attacked Shanghai.  Stephen Josiah Goddard, the son of a long line of American missionaries to China returned to the US with his wife Elizabeth, only to return in Nov. of 1939.  As the threat of war escalated, his wife and son went back to the states.  His plans for a furlough fell through on Dec. 7, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and he found himself a fugitive from the Japanese army.  Eventually he was flown in a DC-3 over the mountains of western China and Burma, known as the Burma “Hump”.  From Calcutta he boarded a Liberty ship back to America after zigzagging from ocean to ocean to escape Japanese and German U-boats, arriving back in America on Nov. 2, 1943, and casting anchor near the Statue of Liberty.  Goddard continued his missionary work at the end of the war.  All five generations of the Dean-Goddard family dedicated their lives to Chinese missions.  There was, “William Dean, the pioneer; Josiah Goddard, the translator; Francis Wayland Goddard, the Doctor; Josiah Ripley Goddard, the evangelist; Stephen Josiah Goddard, the teacher and businessman.”  Altogether over four hundred years were invested by these men and their families, that the Chinese might know the Gospel of the grace of God. [Francis Wayland Goddard, Called to Cathy (New York: Baptist Lit. Bureau, 1948) This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp 442-444]   Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon

 

 

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