The Rev Dr R. L. Archer, one-time missionary in Medan, Sumatra, and first Methodist Bishop of the
South-East Asia Central Conference, told the story of a remarkable experience of a prayer answered.
Saved from Chinese bandits
‘AT ONE of the prayer meetings held in the Methodist Church in Medan some time ago, one of the Chinese members arose to ask the prayers of the Christian people in behalf of his father in China who had been carried off by the bandits for a ransom.
In response to this request the preacher called upon several of those present to pray for this man’s father in the hope that he might be delivered from the bandits and that his life might be spared.
As is often the case in this country, many young men leave their families in China and come to the Dutch East Indies or Malaysia to find work. Such is true of Chew Pek Khie (the young man who had asked the people to pray for his father) and his brother. Both of them had come to Medan some years ago leaving their parents in China. After a time Chew Pek Khie became a Christian, but his brother made fun of him and would have nothing to do with Christianity.
When the father of these two young men was carried off by the bandits they were asked to pay the ransom as the other members of the family in China had no money … Upon the receipt of this sad information Chew Pek Khie asked for the prayers of the church and at the same time did all that he could to get the desired amount of money. Of course, he asked the other brother to help but he would not give anything: “You are supposed to be a Christian, you have asked your God to deliver father, now let us see what he can do for him.”
Such was the extent of his brother’s regard for his father in this time of need. However, Pek Khie did succeed in getting several hundred guilders together which he sent to his family in China to hand over to the bandits. While the amount was less than what had been asked for, he hoped that they would accept it and set his father free as he could not get any more.
About six weeks after the prayer meeting, Pek Khie received a letter from home which brought him the good news that his father had been delivered from the hands of the bandits. It came about in this manner:
The old man had been confined in a little mud hut with but little food while awaiting the payment of his ransom. One night while lying on the dirt floor a very heavy storm came up. The rain beat against the mud walls of his house until it washed away the clay from a large stone in the wall, causing it to fall in, leaving a large hole. He could not tell what had happened as the room was in complete darkness, but feeling the rain beating upon him, he concluded that there must be a hole in the wall.
After having located it, he discovered that it was large enough for him to crawl through – which he proceeded to do. After getting out, he found that he was so weak from lack of food that he could scarcely walk. Nevertheless, he got away from the bandits’ camp as rapidly as possible, crawling more than walking.
After a little time he came into a potato field where he happened upon a man who was stealing potatoes in the rain. Seeing the old man crawling along the ground, he supposed him to be the owner who had come out to catch him, and fell down before him asking for forgiveness, saying that he had been trying to get some food for his family. Assuring him that he had no intention to do so as he himself was trying to escape from the bandits and was unable to walk, the old man offered to pay the thief if he would help him to a place of safety. Agreeing, he carried the old gentleman on his back to the home of friends in a village some distance away, who in turn helped him on to his people …
Some people may have some other explanation for this unusual incident, but to Pek Khie and the rest of the folks who attended that prayer meeting, there is an increased confidence in the fact that God hears and answers prayer.’
– MM, December 1924, p.18-19 – slightly edited.