April 1941- The Pioneer
The Annual Netherlands East Indies Mission Conference
One of the most important features of our Conference was the unanimous choice of our brother Rev. C. Russell Deibler as Assistant Chairman of the N.E.I. Mission. The field being so large, the problems of the work so rapidly increasing, and the need of someone to help the Chairman shoulder the many detailed responsibilities, especially visiting the missionaries in the various parts of the field, made the appointment of assistant chairman imperative. Mr. Deibler is admirably qualified in the judgment of us all for this new office.
December 17, 1941 Japanese invaded Borneo, January 2, 1942, they occupied Manila and February 4th they demanded the unconditional surrender of Singapore. February 9th they landed on the Celebes Island.
Five kilometers beyond Benteng Tinggi was Malion, a resort area used by Dutch and other expatriates. The Japanese had invaded the island but Benteng Tinggi was spared. The missionaries housed there, The Jaffrays, the Presswoods and the Deiblers. However on Friday, the 13th, March 1942, Japanese soldiers and an officer entered the house.
We're taking the men," they announced. "Get some clothes together for them. No suitcases. Quickly!"
As Russell was loaded into the back of the truck, Darlene handed him his things. He leaned over the tailgate and very quietly said," Remember one thing, dear: God said that He would never leave us nor forsake us."
She stood watching as Russell, in the back of the Japanese army truck, moved down the lane to the road below. She would never see him again.
A year had passed since Darlene had received any letters or any reliable news from the outside world and 7 months since Russell had been taken away. Russell had been interned in Makassar in a police barracks with 150 civilian internees. Some Christian brothers had seen him from time to time but were not allowed to talk to him. He along with the others were forced to do menial tasks, even to pulling heavy wooden ox carts down the streets of Makassar like beasts of burden.