Grace Communion Church – Warning Shots

For 6 months in 1964, I was on active service in Borneo, with the 1st Battalion, The Royal
Greenjackets. Although based at Semengo Camp, Kuching, we had three forward outposts from where we sent out patrols so the Indonesian Insurgents could never be sure where we might be.

Sometimes they attacked those forward positions at night. On one occasion I was visiting our forward base at Bau Lake, a very pretty part of Borneo. The helicopter had to evacuate a soldier who was ill, so I had to remain there overnight. In the jungle it gets dark quickly and it’s a thick, black darkness.

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Sometime between 10 & 11.00p.m. we heard shots, the alarm sounded and we all took up our defensive positions. Throughout a long, tense night we strained our eyes at the darkness, sometimes imagining we saw a movement or heard a sound. It was so dark you could not see the person next to you. But our discipline held and nobody fired at an imagined enemy. But from time to time we heard shots somewhere out in the jungle.

At first light we sent out a patrol to investigate. They found a Malaysian army patrol who were lost in the jungle and firing in the air hoping someone would hear and come to find them. So, apart from losing a night’s sleep no harm was done. But had we been attacked our defensive positions were carefully chosen so our arcs of fire overlapped, ensuring it would have been lethal for any attacker.

What can Christians learn from this?

First the army trained us well, Christians should train themselves to understand and share God’s love, through both our understanding of the Bible and the way we live.
Second if we had to fight we would have done so, well prepared and trained for it. In a world that rejects God, Christians must also be prepared to fight, not physically, but instead to resist the wrong influences of this world, and to defend the values of Christianity.

Third, in the Borneo emergency we never doubted we were on the right side and we would win. Christians also know they are on the right side and that God will win. Just as our tense night came to an end with daylight, so this world’s pain and problems will eventually be solved by the light of God’s truth.

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