In A Safe Arrival, author Sonja Southwell tells the unforgettable story of her parents—Ryer and Johanna van Kralingen—attending particularly to the period of their service as Salvation Army officers in Holland and in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) from the 1930s through to the 1950s. It includes the harrowing period of their internment by the Japanese during World War II.
Sonja’s beautifully rendered and meticulously researched memoir/biography adds an important untold chapter to published histories of the Asia-Pacific and Indonesian Independence Wars. It also offers a timely and poignant reminder of the brutal realities of war and its often life-long traumatic sequelae in the lives of those it touches. But above everything else, this is a deeply moving and inspiring account, not just of human survival, but of the triumph of Love over Fear. It is a story of remarkable spiritual faith and calling that compel and enable two ordinary people to perform extraordinary acts of bravery and compassionate service to others.
Throughout their lives, Sonja’s parents took the essence of a Dutch proverb to heart: ‘God has not promised us a calm journey, but a safe arrival.’ This is the story of Ryer and Johanna’s often turbulent voyage and their ultimately safe arrival.