Finally a POW returned a book he borrowed from the National Library some 68 years ago. Roger Schade was only 17 when he got interested to learn more about indigenous tribes in the Philippines. As an active member of the Boy Scout he was on a camping trip to the Sierra Madre Mountains when he noticed indigenous people from the forest watching their group as they camp. The tribe however did not come close to them to make any direct contact.
Schade learned from their guide that those indigenous people were the Dumagats inhabiting the Sierra Madre range. But this 17-year old American, whose father was a mining engineer, did not stop there. He wanted to know more about these people so he borrowed a book “The Philippines and the Filipinos of Yesteryear” written by Dr. Friedrich Jagor and W. Glifford Palgrave, F.R.G.S.
But Schade’s curiosity on indigenous people in the Philippines was overtaken by events. Before he could return the book to the National Library, World War 11 broke out. They were taken by the Japanese as prisoners of war and were among the 3,000 civilians interned at the University of Sto. Tomas. Schade was among the 800 single and young men who were sent to Los Banos to build barracks for the Japanese. But on February 23, 1945, the Schade’s family were repatriated to the United States and settled in Denver, Colorado.
With almost nothing they had brought with them when they returned to America, six months after the war the Schades received a box from the Philippines containing some of their possessions including the library the Roger Schade borrowed. For 68 years he had kept and took good care of the book until he finally returned to the real owner, National Library of the Philippines. Roger Schade is one of the 44 former World War 11 prisoners of war who participated in this year’s Return to the Philippines Tour.
Written in the Book of Life
I can not help but think what could have happened to Roger and his curiosity about indigenous people in the Philippines had not World War 11 took place. It is possible that he could have pursued a degree on Anthropology and studied more on the life and culture of indigenous people in this county. Before the advent of the computers and internet, when people want to know and learn something important they look for a book and read.
I remember paying overdue fines, while in college, for books I borrowed from the library which were not returned on time. Probably if the National Library of the Philippines charged Roger Schade of over due fines, at today’s rate how much could he have paid for just one book? Maybe a portion of his life-time savings.
Incidentally the Bible is talking of another risk, not just the overdue fines we pay for books borrowed not returned on time, it is our inability to read and learn from the Bible. I am happy when I visited my patients to see a bible neatly placed in their cabinet; but similarly sad too when I notice they’re just there gathering dust and serving as a mere decoration. Have you heard small children sing this Song in the church while having their Bible study lesson?
“Read your Bible pray everyday/Pray everyday/Pray everyday/ And you grow grow grow.”
Yes there is growth as we read God’s words and placed them in our hearts. Yes there is growth when we do not only preach God’s words but show them in action. Yes there is growth when instead of closing our eyes to corruption and abuses of this government, we rebuke them the plunderers with the words of God. Yes there is growth when we don’t stop growing.
But there is even a greater danger when we ignore the Words of God and do things not in the glory of His name but to pursue our own personal lust and gratify ourselves with worldly pleasures. Unfortunately our recorded in heaven and there’s a book of life when our names are written.
“The LORD replied to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:32). But to those who will obey God has this promise “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). To the nation and people who obey God’s words, their is a promise of prosperity and life (eternal life that is). Curse and death to those who disobey. How I wish our leaders and politicians and to all of us should not aim alone for fame, power, and riches in this world that are temporal in nature, but everlasting life.
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).