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Jacob DeShazer, a farm boy from Oregon, joined the army Air Corps at age 27. He had always wanted to be a pilot, but when he did not qualify, an opportunity opened to become a bombardier. By luck of the draw, Jacob found himself as one of the 80 men participating in the famous Doolittle Raid over Japan shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
During the raid, Jacob and his fellow crewmen bailed out over China and were taken captive by the Japanese as prisoners of war for more than three years. In that Japanese POW camp, every day facing torture and death, Jacob’s path changed when his request for a Bible was fulfilled. Jacob came back to the Christian faith in which he was raised, and made a vow to God in his prison cell that if he survived he would return to Japan, not as a warrior
but as a missionary.
The Jacob DeShazer story is not only about the bravery of a soldier during war, but also about how powerful love and forgiveness can be when given to the enemy.
This story is officially supported by the DeShazer family.
Jacob DeShazer tells how as a Japanese prisoner of war he discovered Christ and eventually returned to Japan as a missionary.
"Return of the Raider presents one survivor’s view of the Doolittle Raid against Japan in the early days of World War II after Pearl Harbor. Jacob DeShazer’s story is a testament to the grit and determination that saw the U.S. through to victory. Return of the Raider is also an unforgettable chronicle of one man’s faith during one of the most pivotal times in American history."
—Col. Carroll V. Glines, USAF (Ret.)
Historian, Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders
"Jacob DeShazer was brave like a Japanese samurai. He was brave as a prisoner of the Japanese. He never yielded to the guards. After conversion he was braver, enough to love Japanese. As a missionary, he never sought fame or wealth, just the lost. He was kind, patient, and humble, for he was a brave Christian. He was brave enough to make the Japanese commander of the attack on Pearl Harbor one of his best friends. Return of the Raider is a story of a person who knew that perfect love drives out all fear."
Pastor of the church the DeShazers started in Japan
"The wonderful story of hate changed to love was in great demand all over Japan when Jake DeShazer, Florence, and toddler, Paul, arrived in 1949. Although Jake was gone so very much and Florence had the home to care for and Japanese language to study, she was soon involved in teaching Bible Study classes, her special gift. I am happy to endorse a book about this amazing team."
Fellow Free Methodist Missionary to Japan
"Jake DeShazer lived a life seeking to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So rarely today do we see a similar example of faithfulness in the midst of torture, uncertainty, and our own personal struggles. Goldstein and Dixon tell this story in a way that makes it difficult to put down. We hope to see redemption come out of such difficulty and here we have such a picture. This book will be an inspiration to all who read it."
Seattle Pacific University
"Jacob DeShazer, “a man after God’s own heart,” was respected by Japanese of every degree of social, political, economic, and religious strata, but never changed his purpose, to honor and please God and introduce these acquaintances to Jesus, who came 'to seek and to save the lost.'"
Fellow SPC alum and missionary to Japan
"It was one of the blessings of my life to call Jacob DeShazer my friend. He had a calm, quiet manner that covered the gutsy, inner toughness that helped him stand up to the vicious prison guards of his POW camp. Though he played down the danger to which he was exposed, it cannot be denied that God put a Bible in that prison cell. In the 1970’s, I had Jake stay in our home (whereas I usually kept guests in hotels) and then usually kept him for an extra day each subsequent visit. His testimony was riveting and I think his story is packed full of the miraculous graces of God, the transformational power of Scripture, the love God gave Jake for his torturers, and the calling God gave him to return to Japan as a missionary. He frequently told me how, after three-and-a- half years of torturous imprisonment, when he was released his biggest passion was to return to Japan and share Christ with them. Return of the Raider captures Jake’s testimony and ministry and I am delighted to endorse this wonderful story about my dear old friend."
—Dr. Paul Risser
Former president, The Foursquare Church
"I was a member of the team that located many prisoners of war, including Jacob DeShazer and the other Doolittle raiders. Meeting the three surviving Doolittle Raid flyers at their fifty-ninth reunion in Fresno, California, on March 21, 2001, I was privileged to be reunited with them during the premier of the movie, Pearl Harbor. I and my family had the pleasure of a subsequent meeting in Salem, Oregon, with Reverend Jacob DeShazer and his family. Knowing someone as dedicated and spending his lifetime in Japan ministering to the once enemy Japanese was most inspiring."
Member of Operation Magpie at the End of World War II
"The story of Jacob DeShazer has amazed and inspired people since he and three fellow Doolittle raiders were found alive in a Japanese prison at the end of World War II. With every reason to hate his captors, Jake had discovered a reason to forgive them—the love of Christ. This book by Jake’s daughter, Carol, and military historian, Dr. Donald Goldstein, is a long-awaited complete, contemporary biography of the raider who returned, not only to America but to Japan, with a message of hope and healing for the heart."
co-producer, From Vengeance to
Forgiveness: Jake DeShazer’s Extraordinary Journey, Day of
"For most of my life I have known the name Jacob DeShazer. I first heard his story when my grandfather, Dr. Don Falkenberg, published a gospel tract, I Was a Prisoner of Japan, which presented the riveting account of Jacob’s captivity and forty-month imprisonment following his role in the Doolittle Raid over Japan. That amazing story recounted how Jacob committed his life to God and His service while in solitary confinement. The story did not end there. When Jacob was liberated at war’s end, his testimony of God’s mercy and saving grace was published in scores of languages with more than thirty million copies in print. One who read that life-changing story was Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese commander who led the attack that bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. God’s love changed the life of that man, too, and he and Jacob, together and separately, shared God’s love with countless people in the following decades."
Reaching Souls International
Oklahoma City, OK
"The story of Jake DeShazer has captivated many of us. Six years and eight months after his first trip to Japan, Jacob, along with Florence and their young son, Paul, arrived in Japan on a different mission. During the DeShazer’s career, twenty-three new Free Methodist churches were established throughout Japan. When each group of believers became a worshiping congregation, a church was organized and the DeShazers moved to a new assignment. His was the heart of an evangelist and church planter. We praise the Lord for those in heaven because of his ministry."
Executive Director, Free Methodist World Missions