“Viewing those eight years from this far side, I marvel at the wisdom and love of our God, Who controls the curtains of the stage on which the drama of our lives is played; His hand draws aside the curtains of events only far enough for us to view one sequence at a time.” Darlene Deibler Rose
As a young bride, Darlene Deibler accompanied her missionary husband to the Baliem Valley of New Guinea in hopes of ministering to the tribal people. Instead she ended up in a Japanese prison camp for the duration of World War II.
She relates the details of those eventful years in her poignant memoir, Evidence Not Seen. For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting episodes of Darlene’s inspiring true story on this blog. May her testimony touch your heart as it did mine!
If you missed part 1 of Darlene’s story, follow this link. When we left off Russell had convinced Darlene to meet him for dinner . . .
Russell and Darlene sat in the hotel lobby and talked. He was enthusiastic about missionary service and sincere in his respect for her. And she couldn’t help but admire his dark brown eyes and thick, wavy hair and . . . his hands. There really is something special about his hands, she thought.
Darlene was beginning to understand why her girlfriends had drooled over Russell Deibler, exclaiming, “I’d give my right leg to go out with him!”
In the middle of the conversation Russell asked, “Do you have any prospects of marriage?”
“I don’t plan to marry,” Darlene replied promptly.
Russell smiled and rose. “We’ll talk about that later. Shall we go somewhere for dinner?”
They ate at a Chinese restaurant, while keeping up a running flow of conversation. Then Russell laid down his fork with a sense of purpose.
The look in his eyes made Darlene feel shy and uncertain and very young. To fill the silence, she said flippantly, “A penny for your thoughts.”
“Would you really like to know what I’m thinking?” he asked.
Suddenly, Darlene wasn’t sure that she did.
“I remember meeting you a year ago in Boone,” he said. “You were wearing a lovely brown dress and hat. I could tell you exactly what you said in your speech. I looked up to see your face when you turned to leave the platform, and the Lord said, ‘That’s the girl for you.’”
Darlene drew in her breath as he continued, “That afternoon I vowed I was going to marry you.”
“But you don’t know anything about me,” she protested.
He proceeded to prove her wrong. He’d spent the intervening months visiting with her parents and married sister and friends from Boone. They’d spoken of her in detail.
“I know this is sudden,” Russell said. “But I want to come back in the summer and see you.”
Darlene was silent on the way back to the hall. The meeting was underway when they slipped into their seats. After they were settled, Russell bent his lips to her ear, “Look around.”
Confused, she craned her neck to view the crowd behind them.
“No, look this way,” he said, laying his hand over hers.
Darlene wrote in her memoir:
“I looked up into his eyes and something happened within me. I knew in that instant that I loved him deeply and purely, though I said not a word.
What did I know of this man? I needed to know him. But more importantly, I needed to know God’s will regarding any future relationship with him before I admitted any love for him.”
She returned to college, and they wrote letters back and forth. Somewhere along the line “Dear Miss McIntosh” became “My darling Darlene.” Eventually, Darlene confessed her deep love for Russell.
Russell had won Darlene’s heart, but they faced a few remaining obstacles. One was the age difference between them. Darlene was only nineteen, and Russell, thirty-one. And they had to secure the approval of two sets of parents, assorted relatives, and Russell’s mentors from the mission board. So they wrote many letters, saw each other as often as possible, visited with the families, interviewed with the mission board—and prayed! . . . The outcome?
It was a beautiful wedding.
Return to this site for part 3 of Darlene’s story, coming soon!