n an autumn morning in 1944, Master Sergeant Gordon R. Manuel swooped his fighter plan low over the Solomon Islands. World War II was on, an Manuel was scouting for enemy hideouts. Suddenly his plane was hit by anti-aircraft bullets, and Manuel ejected over the jungle. Fearing for his life, Manuel threw himself at the mercy of the islanders, begging for protection from the enemy soldiers who were already hunting for the downed pilot. For nine months, the islanders hid him, first in one place then another.
A Seventh-day Adventist islander named Dennie Mark brought the young pilot a Bible and Ellen White's book, The Great Controversy. Though the enemy soldiers never caught Manuel, the truth in the books that Mark gave him began to change his life. When he heard that Mark was tortured for not revealing Manuel's whereabouts, and that Mark ultimately died from the abuse, Manuel wondered what kind of religion would motivate a man to give up his life for a foreigner.
Eventually Master Sergeant Manuel was restored unharmed to his fighting unit. He then returned to the United States. But Manuel was not the only one whose life was changed by the two books. War journalist Quentin Reynolds wrote a book about Manuel's story titled Seventy Thousand to One, which was distributed to many public libraries. Henry Phelps checked the book out of one of those libraries. As Phelps read the book and found out how The Great Controversy had such a dramatic impact on Manuel's life, he wanted to read that book, too! When a literature evangelist brought the book to his door, Phelps bought it asked for Bible studies. Another couple joined the Bible study group, and soon the two couples were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They began doing missionary work themselves.
The biggest war ever is the one between Christ and Satan. We are involved in that war. Each of us must decide whether we will be on the side of Christ of the side of Satan. Imagine Dennie Mark's happy surprise when he wakes up on the resurrection day and meets all of the people who came to Jesus' side because of his faithful witness!
--Adapted from The Spirit of Prophecy Emphasis Stories, vol. IV