I will have the privilege of interviewing him.
The service starts at 7:00 pm, PST. It will be webcast live at www.harvest.org
Here is the rest of his amazing story that I wrote about in my last post:
Altogether, Louis spent 47 days in the South Pacific before he was found and sent to a POW camp. There he experienced torture that is unthinkable, and one guard, who was nicknamed “The Bird” was especially cruel to Louis. He knew Zamperini was an Olympic runner, so he was especially harsh—beating him daily and leaving him unconscious.
The war finally ended and Louis was a man risen from the dead. He married, but then his life began to unravel. Tormented by flashbacks of his torture from The Bird, he descended into a spiral of alcoholism. He dedicated his life to returning to Japan in order to find and kill The Bird.
Every night he dreamed of this cruel guard attacking him and would wake up in a cold sweat. One night Louis had a dream of choking The Bird to death and awoke to find his hands around the neck of his horrified and choking wife. It got so bad, his wife decided to divorce him.
But someone invited her to go to a tent that had been set up for a visiting evangelist. It was 1949, and that evangelist’s name was Billy Graham. Louis’s wife accepted Christ that night and decided to not divorce Louis and pressed him to come hear Billy Graham speak.
Louis resisted but finally went. He bolted out when Billy gave the invitation, but returned another night, after more pressure, and wanted to leave when Billy again gave the invitation. Then Louis Zamperini came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and remembered something he had said to God. When he was on the life raft, in the middle of the Pacific, he said, “God, spare my life through the war, and I’ll seek You and serve You.”
Louis kept thinking, “I came back from the war alive, and I never even thought about those prayers. I never tried to keep one prayer.”
Louis went forward at Billy’s invitation and gave his life to Jesus Christ. In an interview, he said, “I got off my knees and somehow I knew I was through getting drunk. I knew it. I also knew that I forgave all my guards including The Bird. I think proof of that is I had nightmares every night about The Bird since the war. I haven’t had a nightmare since the night I made my decision for Christ—1949 till now!”
That is some kind of a miracle. The young boy, who grew up always wanting to get even, came full circle. He forgave all of his guards, including The Bird. He traveled to Japan, visiting many of those guards in prison, shared his testimony, and led a number of them to Christ.
He has spent the rest of his life telling others to forgive. Louis is now 94 and living in Los Angeles and they are making a movie about his life.