Here's part of the chapter I mentioned--this happens on July 19, 1948, just before Pastor Haamer is put aboard a railway cattle car to Siberia.:
The officer hands me over to a soldier, who orders me to take off my clothes right there. The all-too-familiar thievery begins once again. And yet, the only loot that this man with the red epaulettes gets from me is my wife's letter, my belt and my New Testament. He orders me to read the letter and throw it away. That is how I must say good-bye to my wife, tearing to pieces the letter that I have kept with me as kind of a talisman. He puts my belt aside and throws the New Testament into a garbage bin.Do we value God's Word? Do we hang onto it for dear life?
I turn to the soldier with a question that startles him, "Why did you throw my bread into the trash bin?"
"What do you mean--your bread?"
"Look, that book is my bread. If I cannot read it, I will starve to death."
The Russian boy's interest is aroused. He retrieve's my New Testament from the trash bin and asks, "What kind of book is this?"
"It is God's Word."
"Then it's a Bible?" he asks. "But you're not allowed to take it with you."
"But if I ask you for permission, is it still not allowed?"
Apparently this soldier has his heart in the right place. He stops a passing officer and shows him by book. The officer says, "All right, give it to him," but is suddenly seized by doubts, and takes my treasure to a table where several other officers sit. In the meantime, I have dressed myself once again and approach the table to sign for the things that have been taken from me.
My belt and my New Testament lie on the table. Neither one is returned to me. My belt is confiscated because I could use it to hang myself. My New Testament is kept from me because I might use it to spread propaganda.
A haughty captain sitting at the table reassures me, "You'll get it back when we get there."
"But I'm asking you to give it to me now. We may have a very long trip. If I cannot read this book, I will die," I beg.
"Then write your name in the book. That way I'll know it's yorus, and you'll get it back when we get there," the captain replies stubbornly.
Once again I turn to him beseechingly. "Please let me take the book with me. If you don't let me keep my book, you might as well not give me any bread at all."
"Go," says the captain darkly.
Leaving them very sadly, I turn around to look at them one more time. He calls me back, takes my book from the table, and gives it to me. He grunts, "Take your book."
I thank him and bless him to the best of my ability. Then they open the door of a cell filled with men...
Some from our church who have been feeling particular grief and turmoil during recent weeks and months have told me how precious God's Word and prayer have become during these days.
I know that is the case for me. I don't ever remember searching the scriptures and praying so much as in the past few months. I do not say this to brag in any way. I just want to let the people of our church know where I find daily bread so they can find it too.
It is in times of trial that we learn what daily bread really is.