Doug’s Diary (November 25 – December 3, 1966)

Friday, Nov. 25, 1966

We were herded on to the “M.S. Dumea” about eleven this morning. Boarding was a mass of confusion… even more confusing as I did not know what anyone was saying or yelling about. I understand that there are about 1,000 passengers – Arabs, Indians, Pakistanians, and, oh, yes, an American. We have all made ourselves at home wherever we could find a vacant place on the deck. I am located on an “outer deck” where the wind blows! In this certain area, of about 50×60 feet (which should include room from [or for] walking) we are about sixty strong, and I mean “strong”. Down below there are two enclosed decks. Here several have set up their little shops, selling about anything one would care to buy (to waste money on) – most of the goods were made in China. Also below is the “eating center” where our meals are served (delicious, if you like rice morning, noon and night) to us at one long seventy-five degree angle table by bare-footed, skinny men dressed in their “T” shirts and shorts which they put on last week or maybe the week before. Meal time is “exercise time” as I’m constantly on guard to avoid being splattered with food.

We did not get underway until about four this afternoon and are schedule to dock in Bombay (India) on the 2nd of December.

Saturday, Nov. 26, 1966

Last night was a wonderful night of peaceful “wind blown” sleep. My bed of boards is not the softest in the area, but at least I will not slip or roll over the side for a few live “bodies” are lying on either side of me.

We docked this morning at the port of a small so-called “country” of Bahrain about 11:00 a.m. I managed to leave the ship and walk about four miles to the city. I had to hurry back, but did have time to stop in a small tea shop. I was befriended almost immediately by an Arab who wanted to try out what little English he knew. He bought me tea, as they always do and then gave me his address as they usually do. Left him with my address written on the back of the Arabic tract available – “Here’s How”.

I went back and reclaimed by passport at the customs office and then began to walk down the long half-mile “dock road” but the police called me back, indicating that I was not allowed to walk, but had to pay for a taxi. This has happened to me several times before, especially after I’m spotted as being English or American. One is allowed to “get” into a certain situation then asked to pay to “get out”. This time, as several times before, I refused to pay, mainly because I didn’t have any money! The police captain had become involved by now and I politely but sternly reminded him that I may be an American, but not a “rich American”; then I asked him what his “cut” was in the taxi charge – he let me walk!

Enjoyed a tour of the “U.S.S. Johnston” destroyer which was docked at the same port. Surely was nice to be on American “soil” again! A Navy “beach man” showed me a few of the small arms he used in action. It felt strange to hold a Thompson submachine gun in my hands again after six years. Wanted to fire it, but we thought I’d better not as American is still on peaceful terms with Arabia – as far as politics go (certainly not with Christianity!). Trust the Saviour will bless the small witness that went forward on the ship, especially with our guide, Larry.

We finally sailed from Bahrain about 4:00pm I now have an English speaking man from Pakistan bedded down next to me. He moved here as we had spoken previously and he wanted to talk more. He’s a good looking man of about fifty who has been working in England for the past five years. His name is Mohammed Khan and, yes, he is a Moslem. As the beautiful Asian moon “God’s creation” shined on us tonight we spoke at some length of the Koran and the Bible. He said that Moslems believe both “books”. I explained to him (Praise the Lord for His Spirit’s leading!) that this is impossible and then centered our discussion on the person of Jesus. He was amazed at the discussion and thus in turn explained what I said to his friends on the other side of him.

I stand back in “wonder” at how God has opened the door of friendship and witness with these people in this section of the ship (and other sections). First of all – I’ve been told by an English speaking man that they were all discussing me and that “they liked me” because I was with them in all this discomfort and dirt. Even I had not thought of it in that way before but living with them on their level goes a long way! Secondly, one of them was involved in a fight with several Arabs and he was told by some others how I was trying to help him. Although, all I was doing was trying to the fight. These “little things” are “big” in their eyes. So now I am surrounded by Moslems who are treating me like a king, though knowing that I am a Christian. My prayer is that they will experience the reality of the real King in their lives!

Sunday, November 27, 1966

Today was spent in not so much existing as in enjoying all the opportunities afforded to me such as more Bible reading and meditation, the finishing of another book, enjoying the sea’s breeze, and, of course conversations with the “curious”.

We were anchored in the harbor of Qatar most of the day. We did not leave until 4:00 p.m. I did not go ashore as there was nothing in Qatar especially interesting to see and one would have to pay to go ashore by launch.

It’s interesting, but I’m learning (emphasis on the “learning”) to enjoy my meals. The tea served in the mornings with milk and sugar is especially pleasing to the taste. The rice is third grade but I wouldn’t know the difference because the curry is so hot that it not only takes the taste away but the rice seems to “melt”. I was instructed this last summer by a friend to always finish what is put before me, but I’m to do that here, for though I rather “like” the food served, and am becoming accustom to the unclean conditions, one serving is just about all I can go, and if I finish all on my tray it will be filled again before I can make my “dash” for the door! And it is rather dangerous to do a “dash” here for the floors are not only slanted but very slippery. The water from the used glasses is thrown on the floor in order for the next shift eating to have empty glasses. The eating trays are washed, however. Yes, I saw them being washed. They are dipped by a man into a large bucket on the floor which is filled with soap and water (and rice and curry, and rice and curry…….). I’ve noticed during several meals that I was eating rice and curry of probably three shifts back!

After watching the red glow of the sunset (5:30 p.m.) I went below to find a place with light enough to finish reading the amazing book, “None of These Diseases”. I found such a place underneath an opened port hole with a small burning bulb near by. I settled down on a wooden box and managed to finish a record of five pages before being joined by several Indians, one who grew up in England and is on his way back to visit his “mother land”. They asked me questions from the Beetles (about whom I’m no authority) to why, I, being a “rich American”, am traveling with them and not with the other Americans in the closed off section of exclusive cabins. The Lord worked the conversation around to things of Himself and we had a very profitable discussion.

A little more than two hours passed when we were joined by an elderly Indian lady (emphasis on the “lady”) who asked if I were a missionary. When I answered that I was she invited me to join her and forty others in a short prayer meeting held every morning and evening at 7:30 on one of the lower decks. She said that they were a group from different parts of India who were returning from a tour of the Holy Land.

Monday, November 28, 1966

Now we are really crowded! Harbored outside Duboi (I believe he means Dibai) for almost eight hours, during which time the ship took on two hundred more cattle – I mean passengers….. Sorry for the delay but had to break up another fight – a real swinger between the same ones as a day before yesterday. I was bounced around, ducking the blows. You would have thought I sounded like Pope Paul crying, “Let there be peace, brothers – peace – I say peace brothers, Peace!” It is hard not to take sides, but would be quite dangerous as I’m sleeping between the two! You could call me “the valley of separation”.

Attended both of the Indian prayer meetings today. What an uplift in soul one receives from fellowship in worship with other Christians in a pagan atmosphere.

Finished the book “None of These Diseases” and started to reread a book read at Prairie – “Science Speaks”. It’s hard to digest many of facts or of “Christian Evidences” in this small brain of mine but it will just have to be understood because of the importance of knowing the facts of and why we believe the Bible – God’s Inspired Word. To say we “feel it inside” is not conclusive evidence for the university student nor the Moslem. They want facts and praise the Lord, we have the facts! Glory, our faith is based, not on feelings, but on facts! Feelings come and go, but not facts!

Tuesday, November 29, 1966

Last night we left the Persian Gulf about 8:00 p.m., entered what is known as the Gulf of Oman. We can see the coast line of Pakistan in the distance and are supposed to be docking at the city of Karachi (West Pakistan) about noon tomorrow.

My heart is filled with “thanks to the Saviour” for allowing me to make this eight day journey, for, even though it’s rather difficult to write and read in the wind, more has been accomplished than if I had been traveling by road – and certainly more opportunities to witness. For instance, just now, three of us (one a police officer) were discussing the Koran and the Bible. The officer said that both the Moslem and the Christian thought the same of Jesus. One has to be very careful not to (if possible) make another angry by disagreeing with such a statement; but the spirit “tenderly” led in presenting John 14:6 to explain that the religions didn’t believe the same about Jesus.

Prayer has been in my heart for some months concerning the Moslem people. Little did I know that the Lord was preparing me personally to tell many these days about His saving grace… Glory, “His way is perfect”. (Ps. 18:30)

Wednesday, November 30, 1966

The Pakistanis are excited with the hope of reaching their homeland today. They are great lovers of addresses – these tracts have flowed freely – all with my address on them. My notebook seems to be bulging with their addresses, with the invitation to come and stay as long as I like and to tell them more about “the Jesus”!

This is truly a work of the Spirit for just six days ago many of these people would have nothing to do with an American, let alone a Christian. Last night as four interested men spoke with me, asking many, many questions about America and Christianity, they all said, as if in once accord, “This is not what we have always read and heard about America, and your answers about Christianity is certainly not what we’ve witnessed in the lives of Christians in countries where we have worked. Thank you very much for taking so much time to explain these things to us”.

We have all read of the “Ugly American” and this situation really exists, but the “Ugly Christian” if much more outstanding in the mind of the Moslem, especially the dedicated Moslem. May the Saviour forgive us if we are so lax, loose and lazy in our daily Christian walk that a “heathen” cannot see in us the reality of the “living Christ”!

Arrived in Karachi, Pakistan at 3:00 p.m. The customs office is closed so we will spend the night here as the passengers will not be allowed to leave ship until morning.

After a couple of hours of maneuvering, I managed to leave ship and to walk downtown. Made a few phone calls for my Indian friends and purchased a shave (.25 cents) for my seven day beard was not exactly pleasing to the sight.

Thursday, December 1, 1966

Was privileged to speak this morning at the Indian prayer meeting from the verse in Psalms 126:3, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad”! Sought to bring out the truth that “In praise is God known”.  Much is mentioned about prayer, mostly dealing with our responsibility to that part of prayer dealing with petition; but very little is said of the great aspect of Praise. When we do not praise God in every circumstance that be fronts us we literally take God down from His throne and in essence say that He cannot handle the situation. 

I related a letter I had written recently to a friend who had lost his leg in an accident. Mentioned, of course, that I know nothing of all what he was going through, but I believed he could still praise the Saviour for four things:

  1. That he had not been killed.
  2. That he had not lost both legs.
  3. That he now had the opportunity to display before the doctors, nurses, and other patients how a Christian reacts to such a situation, thus being able to effectively witness for the Saviour.
  4. That by going through such a trial ‘in victory’, he would be a more mature Christian man in the end – able to serve Jesus in a way he never had before.

I spent the rest of the morning buying fruit at a market near the dock for the Indians as they were not allowed to leave the ship. The ship finally pulled away at noon on its last stretch – a 36 hour trip to Bombay. We are in a small storm tonight which will probably slow us down a few hours, therefore, we will likely arrive after midnight.

Friday, December 2, 1966

A poor black man died this morning of tuberculosis. He supposedly had no friends nor family so they buried him at sea. The great question now comes to mind, “Is his blood on my hands?”

Met a Jewish fellow from England who boarded the ship in Karachi. Spoke a few “words” at supper last night about the situation now existing between Israel and the Arab countries. His views concerning Israel are mostly the same as mine – his feelings stemming from love for his race and mine from the prophetic Scripture. This afternoon he joined me at my “pad” just as I was finishing a book, entitled “Questions and Answers”, which deals with so-called Biblical problems. We talked for sometime (two hours). The Lord wonderfully supplied me with the answers to his searching (university) questions concerning the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He took the book, “Science Speaks”, which has a chapter dealing with how Jesus Christ was the only one who could have possibly fulfilled certain prophesies related in the Old Testament.

This evening I stretched out on the deck, using my sleeping bad as a pillow, for a couple of hours of sleep. The fresh air did my ‘ole’ body good, driving away the slight sickness that I felt.

I was joined again by my Jewish friend (Paul) and we talked until late. He is Jewish only as to race, certainly not as the religion. As far as belief goes, he has none, except in himself. This is what he said – but he asked many more questions about the existence of “a” God and of His (God’s) relationship to the world. I was thrown entirely on the Holy Spirit for the answers as it was beyond my human capabilities to convenience of the reality of God. Glory, because this is where God wants us – in complete dependence on Him. It was then that I was able to explain to him the plan of salvation and leave him with a choice!

Saturday, December 3, 1966

It is 10:00 a.m. and we are anchored in the harbor of Bombay waiting for an opportunity to dock! It has been almost three months since I left the State of Washington, not really knowing where the Lord would finally lead me. It was as much a surprise to me as to others that I was to leave Europe for the hot land of India – but God knows the way whether we do or not.

In the early morning light God challenged me through the Epistle of II Timothy, “Be not thou, therefore, ashamed of the testimony of our Lord; …. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. …. Endure hardness, as a good soldier; …. the Word of God is not bound; … Give diligence to shew thyself approved unto God; Preach the Word. … endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist”. My prayer is that I may accept the challenge from God and thus be able to say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith!” All depends upon faithfulness, faithfulness in prayer. Let’s move forward for Jesus!