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HomeAll The News2023 Legacy Missionaries: On The Cutting Room Floor (Part 2)

2023 Legacy Missionaries: On The Cutting Room Floor (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: The following is a story that will not make it into the Legacy Missionary video that is played during the ceremony at the National Meeting in April. These are stories that have been left “on the cutting room floor.” Visit BaptistTrumpet.com or see the Dec. 21, 2022 issue for Part 1 of this series.

It was a beautiful love story that very nearly didn’t happen except for God’s providence. Two young people so far apart in culture, language, geography and religion met in a way that could only be arranged by God.

Born in 1928 to a Chinese mother and American father, Jack Bateman lived in North China with his parents and two siblings until the Japanese invaded in 1937. His father died three years after Jack was born, but Mrs. Bateman got by until the Japanese refused to allow her American children food rations. So, an American missionary, John Blaylock, intervened and the children were sent to live with him in another part of China.

When the war worsened, Blaylock and Mrs. Bateman decided it would be best for her to stay in China and him to accompany the children to the Philippines and then on to California where they would live with family.

But Blaylock and the children never made it past Manila Bay. In January of 1942, their ship was captured by the Japanese, and they were sent to a Japanese POW camp, where they lived in constant fear of disease, starvation and horrific mistreatment. However, they managed to survive when others starved to death. What followed is just one of the incredible ways God provided.

Fourteen-year-old Jack and other detainees were assigned kitchen duty, which included preparing and cleaning huge pots of tasteless, meager food for the entire camp. That assignment kept him, his siblings and Blaylock alive. Jack saved the few scrapings left over from each “meal” and shared them with his loved ones. There were just enough peelings, crumbs and scraps of food to keep them alive for three years and one month until they were liberated. This liberation by American soldiers happened just two days before the Japanese carried out orders to kill all prisoners.

The group finally made it to California, where Jack, Jimmy and Sally lived with the Blaylocks. Jack was saved in 1945 and met high school student Latrell Johnson two years later at a Bible conference. Both had already surrendered their lives to serving the Lord in ministry.

The couple continued to have difficult times, even before they arrived in Taiwan, but Jack and Latrell’s optimistic and burdened spirits, their love for the lost and constant prayer would carry them through.

Holly Meriweather
Holly Meriweather
Holly Meriweather is the lead writer for the Baptist Missionary Association of America. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org or BMAMissions.org.
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