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“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!

Follow this link to read part 3 of Darlene’s story.

“Everything had happened so fast and without the slightest warning. Russell had said, ‘He will never leave us nor forsake us.’ No? What about now, Lord? This was one of the times when I thought God had left me, that He had forsaken me.

I was to discover, however, that when I took my eyes off the circumstances that were overwhelming me, over which I had no control, and looked up, my Lord was there, standing on the parapet of heaven, looking down.

Deep in my heart He whispered, ‘I’m here. Even when you don’t see Me, I’m here. Never for a moment are you out of My sight.’” From Evidence Not Seen by 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!

1936: The First Meeting
Darlene McIntosh first saw Russell Deibler at a Young People’s Rally in Boone, Iowa. The tall young man was the main speaker and easily held the attention of the teenage crowd. His sincerity and passion for Christ impressed her. She sensed that his presentation challenged many hearts.

Darlene, who was in the midst of missionary training at St. Paul Bible School, had also been asked to share a testimony at the rally. After her speech, she hurried down the aisle to meet a male friend at the door when a woman waylayed her and insisted on introducing her to the Rev. Russell Deibler. It was the briefest of meetings. A few quick words and she was on her way. Rev. Deibler was older, established as a speaker, and soon to return to the mission field. Darlene barely thought of him again.

1937: A Second Chance for Russell
The following spring Darlene attended a series of special meetings to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. She saw that Rev. Deibler would again join the speakers for the evening. At the kick-off luncheon, Darlene noticed handsome Rev. Deibler going out of his way to notice her.

His brown eyes met hers often. He would nod and smile as if they were old friends. For some reason, this annoyed her terribly, and she did all she could to avoid him.

Just when she thought the coast was clear, another matchmaking mama insisted on re-introducing her to Russell. The matron then promptly disappeared, leaving Darlene with no polite recourse but to carry on the conversation. Russell began a lengthy story of his visit with a married pastor friend.

Fine, she thought. What does this have to do with me? Then Russell explained that on his first night in the other man’s home, he’d discovered a picture of Darlene displayed on the family piano. Russell had been delighted to discover the friend’s wife was Darlene’s sister.

Darlene was not impressed.

Russell, who could inspire a crowd with eloquent words, seemed at a loss when it came to attracting the attention of one lovely young woman. In his search for a topic to keep Darlene interested, he mentioned letters he’d been receiving from an anonymous girl.

Darlene assumed he was accusing her of impropriety. “Mr. Deibler, I have never written an anonymous letter in my life nor do I intend to,” she fumed and walked off while he was stammering an apology.

Of course, Russell Deibler sat right in front of her on the platform that night. And in spite of her annoyance with him, she had to admit he spoke fluently. Her heart responded to his message.

At the end of the meeting, Russell headed for Darlene. With a hmph of disgust, she whirled on her heels and lost herself in the crowd. He caught up with her at the college bus and gripped the hem of her coat to prevent her from boarding.

When she reluctantly turned to him, he gave her a determined look. “I want to take you to dinner tomorrow evening. I’ll meet you at the front door of the theater at 6:30.” Without waiting for a reply, he walked away.

That’s what you think, she sputtered to herself. First you insult me and then you want to take me to dinner. Anonymous letter, indeed!

She stewed all the way home. But for some reason, when 6:30 the next evening rolled around, she was there at the theater door.

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 her, “Do you have any prospects of marriage?” . . . to be continued.

Follow this link for part 2 of Darlene’s story!