Mercy reconciled in the shadow of a war

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Robert with his wife Corry. Photo: Robert Hiini
Robert with his wife Corry. Photo: Robert Hiini

Lord have mercy on us
Lord grant us peace.

We reconciled, Dad and I, and had it all; mercy and peace. We three boys had suffered a broken home since I was two or three years old.

I was too young to know my dad. What’s more, he never contacted me by visiting or writing a letter.

I was sent to and have lived in four different places. It was harsh. Not an ideal substitute.

So I really did not know him.

Japan started a war.

In March 1942 Japan occupied Java in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) where I was living.

I was then 16 years old.

Later in the same year (1942) the police came to my door and interrogated me at their head office for about an hour, and thereafter sent me to a Japanese prison camp, where I stayed for the rest of the war (August 1945)

In the meantime, my dad, a soldier spent his time, for the rest of the war, in a POW camp.

It just so happened close to the end of the war, that our camps came close together.

A boy in my barracks visited his father in the POW camp.

His father was a friend of my father. Not long after, my dad asked me, through him, to find him.

I thought for a while: What shall I do? Yes, we both had suffered enough. Enough is enough! And the Lord is watching me!

I had to go.

After arriving in the POW camp I saw a man standing at the door of a barracks.

“Sir, do you know Mr So and So.”

He looked at me and cried out: “Robbie I was hoping, hoping …You did, you did …” and the tears were coming up.

We sat outside on the grass in silence for a while. He only half-expected me to come. I made his day.

For me, in my culture, not to honour your parents will bring one a lot of bad luck.

No matter what! I am a lucky man having a good wife and daughter and been treated always well by the rest of the family.

Be merciful, do your best and God will do the rest.