Sunday, March 25, 2012
Hostage in Taipei by McGill Alexander
About the Story:
A Christian family were taken hostage by Taiwan's most-wanted criminal, Chen Chin-hsing. Mac Alexander, a South African diplomat, and his family were held at gunpoint and seriously wounded in crossfire with the police. Demanding justice for his imprisoned wife, Chen threatened to commit suicide once his mission was accomplished. Besieged by media and police, confusion ensued; but several heroes rose above the danger; and through God's miraculous intervention, the Alexander's faith overcame and grasped the heart of Chen Chin-hsing. The Alexander's showed the world a stunning example of Christ's forgiveness in the midst of violence and revenge.
"The Alexander family sowed seeds of love in hatred, forgiveness in harm." ~ Baptist Mass Communications
"People were amazed how each member of this family could have acted so nobly, courageously and lovingly towards this most notorious criminal." ~ Jennifer Sun, Campus Magazine
About the Author:
McGill Alexander is a career soldier who served as Brigadier General in the South African Army. From 1996-97 he was on assignment in Taipei, Taiwan as South Africa's military attache. Mac and his wife, Anne, are the parents of three daughters and have several grandchildren.
Interview with Anne Alexander:
1. Hello, Anne. Your husband, Mac, wrote Hostage in Taipei. But, of course, you were very much a part of the story. Since many readers of this blog are women, I'm sure they would like to hear from the woman's viewpoint: What was it like to be taken hostage by a ruthless killer (Chen Chin-hsing) in your own home?
I am an optimist and a person who does not panic easily. I had a sense of God's angels all around and I knew that he was with us. With his help I managed to stay calm throughout the nightmare ordeal.
2. Your husband and then one of your daughters, Melanie, was used by Chen as a human shield in his shoot-out with the Taipei police. In the storm of bullets Melanie was near-fatally shot. What was it like to watch your family in mortal danger and be helpless?
It was frightening when I saw all the loss of blood from Mac. Melanie had no external bleeding, so I assumed she had not been seriously injured [though her wound was much worse internally), I immediately went across the room and tied Mac's necktie around his leg (where he had taken the bullet) to stop the bleeding.
3. Your rescue and release are a wonderful story of God's intervention and the heroism of a police chief. But you went way beyond just being a survivor. You later visited your hostage-taker in prison and shared the Gospel with him. Tell us about that visit and the outcome of it?
I was approached by one of our church members and asked if I would go with him to visit Chen in prison. It was my 50th birthday and I agreed. After some wrangling with the authorities we were allowed to see him for 5 minutes. I presented a Taiwanese Bible to him and told him we were on our way back to South Africa; and that we were fine and had forgiven him. Also that God loved him and if he confessed his sins God would forgive him. A few months later I was notified that he had become a Christian through the prison ministries. [Later, Chen was executed.]
4. Do you think this experience caused trauma and/or lasting effects for you and your family?
It did cause trauma as we were never given trauma counseling afterwards. Six months later I was diagnosed with severe depression - something I had never suffered from before. It had a more lasting effect on our two daughters. One still harbors great bitterness towards Chen and doesn't understand how we could have forgiven him. Our youngest daughter, a child at the time, developed untold problems during her teen years.
5. Your husband is an impressive man of many accomplishments. You've been a great support to him, but have there been challenges?
As a soldier's wife I learned to spend many months alone with the children while he was away fighting a war, never knowing when I would see his commanding officer at my front door with bad news. I had learned to put everything into God's hands.
6. During the hostage crisis all of Taiwan was glued to their TVs. It was described as one of Taiwan's biggest news stories ever. You were thrust into the limelight with TV, radio, and newspaper interviews. Was that a trial or a blessing?
The subsequent limelight was very exhausting as we were in the process of packing up to come home [to South Africa]. We were literally hounded by the press. We realized, however, that God was using what happened. Our Christian testimony and response was presented to an entire nation. We felt that we had to respond to media requests and be there for interviews.
7. Your family's hostage story was the basis of a National Geographic TV episode. The TV producers flew to South Africa to interview you and Mac and your daughters. For the drama parts they chose actors who resembled you. They even took crews to Taiwan to re-enact scenes of the hostage-taking. How did you feel when you first watched the TV episode?
It was very accurate! It made us realize once again how great is our God. We have had comments from many Christians who have watched it - from the U.S., UK, Spain, Italy, and even India.
8. Thank you, Anne, for visiting with us. Is there anything else you or your husband would want to say to readers today?
God can use the most unusual circumstances to bring his love through to others. We were just one small spoke in the large wheel. Never underestimate God!
Includes black/white on-the-scene news photos and personal photos
Available through Amazon.com and other online retailers, through bookstores anywhere, and direct from the publisher.
The Amazon Kindle version is FREE March 22 - 26 here: