Derek Gilbert (right) and former soldier
Keitaro Makino

Derek Gilbert - former Thai-Burma Railway FEPOW

Derek was sent to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. One day he was severely beaten by a guard, who bayoneted his knee and broke his bone, and he has walked with a limp ever since. Derek continued to hate the Japanese until he met Keiko six years ago. In March 2000 Derek and his wife Pauline joined an Agape pilgrimage to Japan. "I visited some Japanese homes, where many people were eager to listen to my experiences. The more I spoke, the more at peace I became. In Tokyo two Japanese soldiers, one of whom had been at the same camp on the Railway, apologised and I forgave them spontaneously. That really made my day. It is very important to join an Agape pilgrimage and be reconciled with the Japanese. Everybody we met in Japan was very kind and we saw Agape love everywhere. I feel as if an immense load has been lifted from my mind, the bitterness within me has turned to complete love for the Japanese people, and I will always be eternally grateful to Agape for this change."