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Condensation Of A True Story

Jim, a Few Days After Terrorist Ambush In Rhodesia

RHODESIA --- Missionaries Jim and Georgia Dearmore worked for 8 yrs in Rhodesia. During the last 6 they were working under daily terrorist danger. In Nov., 1978, after many escapes from mines, Jim was ambushed and nearly killed by 40 or 50 terrorists in a "double ambush." God performed many miracles to save him. Badly wounded, he spent 6 wks in hospital and 3 mos Physical Therapy to restore near normal use of left shoulder, arm, and hand. Picture shows Jim sitting in hospital smiling a few days after ambush.
33 yrs Service In Africa Missions, Now in Web Publishing, Writing and Teaching Ministry
After Over 50 Years As An Independent Baptist Missionary, Still Going Strong!

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This Is a Shortened Version of The "Double Ambush" of Missionary James Dearmore in Rhodesia on
November 28, 1978, by About 50 Communist Terrorists, and God's Miraculous Works To Protect Him

(Written by Georgia Dearmore in 1979, Edited and Abridged in 1998)
Copyright 1979, and 1998, by James and Georgia Dearmore

This was written and sent out to our Churches in February, 1979, just after Jim was released from Hospital, but while he was still required to spend 2 hours daily in Physical Therapy treatments at the hospital for continuing recovery from "multiple gunshot wounds" suffered at the hands of communist terrorists in Rhodesia while serving there as an Independent Baptist Missionary, sponsored by the Rodgers Baptist Church, of Garland, and also supported by many other independent Baptist Churches.

"...and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way." (Ezra 8:31)

February, 1979

Dear Friends:

Beyond the boundaries of the cities the roads are almost deserted at night-time but for the security forces: for who could know when or where the terrorists would strike? Throughout the countryside, night meant danger and vigilance to withstand attack (and sometimes in daytime as well). In the rural districts and the scattered tribal areas terror stalked the land 24 hours per day. The new barbarian invaders might have belonged to the Dark Ages, had they not been armed with Soviet and Chinese rockets, rifles and mortars.

It is vain to glorify the perpetrators of countless inhuman outrages, committing unspeakable atrocities against black and white as "guerrillas" or "freedom fighters." These are communist trained terrorists using communist weapons partially paid for and financially supported by the World Council of Churches, and politically backed by the United Nations, the United States and the British governments.

The terrorists are given heavy doses of solid Marxist indoctrination and this includes pure atheism. They are told that God does not exist, that Jesus and His followers are capitalist exploiters, that the missionaries are enemies of the people, and that religion is being used by the capitalists to exploit the people. We know, too, the Marxist dream of a world empire and the enforcement of an ideology which denies God and dehumanizes man. Suffice it to say that the arch-conspirator is Satan himself.

For the past several years we have lived, moved and worked, knowing that these terrorists were all around us and YET that "peace of God, which passeth all understanding," has kept our hearts and minds from trouble and fear. If God be for us...who can be against us?

Tuesday morning, November 28, 1978, dawned bright and beautiful and I stepped out the kitchen door to see the sunrise, whisper a prayer and thank the Lord for this day which He had made. I then went into the kitchen to stoke the fire and begin breakfast. Jim came into the kitchen with Sgt. Mukondiwa, an African para-military policeman, and told me he would have to be gone for a short time. For the past year or so I had always gone with Jim in our vehicle to help watch for ambushes and land mines in the road and I started to go with him, but since the Sergeant would be with him, and the coffee was perking merrily on the stove, and he said he would be back for breakfast, I stayed behind.

He had only been gone about 5 minutes when several explosions rocked the house and then a barrage of automatic small arms fire was heard. I knew immediately Jim had been ambushed on the road and a chill of utter horror swept over me. As I ran into the bedroom there were more bursts of automatic fire and I pressed the alarm button on the Agric-Alert (an alarm radio connected to a network of others in the area, including the nearest Security Force Base) to let the police and other security forces at Cashel know Jim was being attacked by terrorists.

After speaking to them on the radio, and giving them the needed information, my very first thought was "I must go to the aid of Jim, for, I didn't know if he were dead, wounded or if the murderers were butchering him, for this they do quite often, both to the whites and the blacks. However, (even at the time I knew this was a foolish idea!) when I spoke to the police they told me to stay inside the security fence and lock the gate and they would organize a rescue.

(Note by Jim: My friends in the security forces later told me that Georgia told them she was going to get her Uzi and go out to try to find and help rescue me from the terrorists attack. They also told me that they had to "talk fast" to keep her from doing it! They promised her they would send out a search party of Security Force members immediately in Land Rovers to try to find and help me, which they did.)

In a few minutes the police called back to say a spotter plane was on the way. Again I stepped out the kitchen door and lifted my eyes to the mountain tops surrounding the house and prayed......the verse "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." came to mind as I threw myself on His mercy and grace and prayed Jim would come out of this alive.

Soon I heard the plane and watched as it came over the mountain top. He flew overhead and then out over the valley below and down toward the Rufuku valley where the road twists and turns. The radio came on again and the police told me the plane had spotted Jim's vehicle on the hill leading down into the valley and the police reserve vehicles were on the way up the valley to find and help him. I waited and prayed! From my side of this experience, if you want to call it that, I shall never be able to describe this time of waiting and DEPENDENCE upon God for His sustaining grace, His strength and help at this time! Truly He WAS and IS - "...the strength of my life; ..." Psalms 27:1.

A little later, I heard the sound of helicopters and watched as two came over the mountains and flew down into the Rufuku valley. Then ( AGES????) later the call came through - - - - they had found Jim and he was alive!! Joy and Thanksgiving filled my heart. A helicopter was standing by to carry him and the Sergeant to hospital. How can I explain the well of thanksgiving which flooded my heart as I clasped Jim's Bible and in prayer praised the Lord for His mercy!!

The sound of helicopters led me again to the back door and I watched as two landed inside the security fence (loaded with SAS Commandos) to help protect me and the house if the terrorists moved on up to attack the homestead. In a short time a police unit arrived to escort me into Umtali to be with Jim. I hurriedly packed a few belongings and one of the reservists asked if I were able to drive the red (Chevrolet) Blazer while he rode "shotgun" with his gun on the ready. We left the homestead and started down the long winding road, always alert for terrorists on the way. But to repeat to you Jim's account of the ambush as told to Supt. Finch of Sub-joc, Umtali. (JOC stands for "Joint Operations Command, so Sub-joc means a subdivision of the regional military Joint Operations Command, of course).

"A few hundred yards after crossing the Wengezi River and entering onto the council (we would call it a county road in Texas) road we came under fire from heavy automatic small arms fire, and 5 rifle launched grenades or rockets. (The security forces told us later there were about 35 firing positions at this FIRST ambush.) Four of the grenades missed the vehicle but one of the grenades hit the canopy right behind the cab and glanced off, WITHOUT EXPLODING!!

Later the security forces found this "dud" grenade and detonated it. Jim was struck by several bullets: one in the left shoulder, breaking the left upper arm bone, passing through and coming out through the upper-left part of his chest, one in the left hand breaking bones where thumb joins the hand; one through the neck, barley missing the jugular vein; several in the back side of the right shoulder and many shrapnel wounds in the head, face, and neck.

When this happened Jim gunned through the "kill zone" and had gone about a half a mile when he was hit by a SECOND ambush. He had stopped at the workers village to call one of our Christians, named Stephen, to go up to the house to help me in case the terrorists nught come up there.

As he turned his head sharply to the left to call for Stephen, the terrorists opened fire and a bullet hit the edge of his glasses (he had thick plastic frames) breaking the plastic frame and carrying the lens out with it and never touched or hurt his eye. With the automatic shift and the power steering he was able to quickly take off again (despite his wounds and useless left arm and hand) from this second "kill zone." Sgt. Mukondiwa was returning fire with his FN but after the second ambush he was barely touched by a spent bullet in the back of his head or neck, and passed out, unconscious.

Jim was able to drive on for plus or minus a mile to the descent into the Rufuku valley where he had to abandon the vehicle (and leave the Sergeant in it, since he was physically unable to move him.) His (the sergeants) vital signs were strong at this point, but he was unconscious.

The Sergeant had only one tiny scratch on the back of his head or neck, with only a few drops of blood). Jim left the vehicle and went up around an ant hill and then on into the bush beyond a second ant hill near the road, taking his gun and magazines with him and hid in a position where he could see the vehicle and the road in case the terrorists followed to be sure they were dead.

After what seemed a long time he saw several men coming down the road with guns. Hidden alongside the road but in the bush behind the big ant hill, and due to his glasses being shot out and blood running into his eyes he couldn't tell if it were the Terrorists or our own Rhodesian soldiers (Africans). He watched from hiding while the point man started following the trail of blood out to where Jim was hidden.

When the man came close, Jim couldn't recognize him because of the blood (Jim's blood, oozing down from wounds on his head) and the missing lens from his glasses, so he called from his hiding place for him to hold up his gun so he could see if it were an FN. This the man did and also called Jim by name. These soldiers (our own loyal Rhodesian Africans) got the two casualties out on the ground near the vehicle, called for help on the radio, and shortly after a police reserve plane spotted them and made several low fly-bys to let them know they were seen.

A few minutes later, the Cashel police reserve unit arrived (with some of Jim's personal friends in the group) and soon two helicopters came in. The first dropping off a bunch of our security forces (Rhodesian Commandos), then the second came in with more security forces and a military doctor (an American medical doctor from California) who immediately began a drip for Jim for blood volume replacement and morphine for pain-killing.

He had lost quite a lot of blood by this time, and was suffering some from shock, of course. They (Jim and Sergeant Mukondikwa) were then air lifted to Umtali General Hospital. There, several bullets and many pieces of shrapnel were taken out of Jim, and he was hospitalized. It turned out to be 6 weeks in hospital, and three months of physio-therapy (called Physical Therapy in the U.S.A.) to get his left hand, arm, and shoulder working again.

It is amazing how so many things depend on that little word "If."

If Jim had been driving the old red Blazer he could never have driven out of the first kill zone with one arm useless and the other wounded, because it was "manual shift." (Instead, he was driving the newly received Chevrolet pickup, which had automatic shift, power steering, and a heavy metal canopy, which shielded Jim and the Sergeant somewhat from the terrorists bullets after they had passed the ambush site, going away.)

If God had not intervened in the firing of the rifle grenades he and the Sergeant would probably have been killed (blown to bits) in this first ambush. If he had not turned his head at just the right time (allowing the bullet to just strike his glasses instead of going straight through his head as it would otherwise have done) and the bullet which hit the glasses he was wearing had not been "guided" by God it would have killed him in the second ambush instantly.

If there had not been a doctor on the helicopter which came to pick them up he still might not have made it due to shock and loss of blood. Normally a real doctor doesn't go with the commandoes on their raids against terrorist bases in the choppers, but "it just happened" ???? this time they carried one instead of a normal "combat medic." The four "choppers" full of commandos were on the way to make a raid on a terrorist base, when they were diverted to rescue Jim (and me).

(God's protection of His own is the only explanation for all of these many amazing and unusual "circumstances" which preserved Jim's life, although he was badly wounded).

God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform - and during his stay in hospital Jim was able to witness to many people of his escape from death in two ambushes by about 50 communist trained terrorists sent especially to kill us. As he (Jim) told them (later, when he woke up after surgery), when someone would say, "God must have had His hand on you that day," Jim would say, "No, God placed BOTH HIS HANDS around me and delivered me from death." And I witness again to God's miraculous power and goodness to His children, as I write to you at home: "That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." Psalms 26:7. A testimony to the greatness of our wonderful God!!

During Jim's stay in hospital I had to make two trips out to the farm (where we lived, and worked in the nearby tribal areas) with a police escort and heavily armed soldiers. The second trip out to the farm I made arrangements for a Christian burial for one of our African helpers who had been butchered by the terrorists at about the same time or shortly before the ambush on Jim. He was one of our Christians, and Jim's right hand man. He was found dead up in the mountains where the terrorists had taken him, "tried him" and killed him.

(Note from Jim: This was only one of many "martyrs" in Rhodesia. He was an old Shangaan warrior. His name was Stephen Bangwayo Zemudzo. He was what we called our "security man" and my right hand man in many ways. I look forward to seeing him one day "on the golden street." My tribute to Stephen is found in the words of our Saviour as recorded in John 15:13 - - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Stephen was our friend, and our helper!)

The day before Jim was ambushed the terrorists were out in the tribal lands nearby, searching for our evangelists and several of our leading church members, for they, too, were on the death list. Some of our Christians are now (1979) in Umtali as well as the two evangelists. However, the work of the Lord goes on and our two evangelists are holding services in the townships here in Umtali. The attendance is growing so despite Satan's effort to hinder and destroy God's work we can always say ". . . thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eventually we organized 2 Churches in Rhodesia, and trained 3 Pastors.)

How we do thank God for all of you at home who stand (and have stood) behind us, and hold us up before the throne of Grace. May the Lord greatly bless you one and all.

Until He Comes!

Jim and Georgia Dearmore

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