Chapter 28 – Long Arm Parenting

Chapter 28

Long Arm Parenting

As 1969 starts, Ione has two children in America, three attending school in Kenya at the Rift Valley Academy. This is a Christian Boarding school which follows both an American and British school curriculum and is mainly used by missionary families. The school supports over 80 different missions and is open to non-mission pupils.  

Ione’s first letter of the year is to Ken, in which she simply states that plans changed and they stayed home at Rethy and shopped locally at Bunia, Linga and Bogoro.

As Hector used to do, Ione continues to claim verse from the Bible for the boys and she sends them the list to look up. In this letter she states:

The verses I have been finding for you speak to me of conflict, but complete victory with the Lord’s strength.

She adds that Stevie has been stung by wasps:

Yesterday David (with Tim) took a load of Miss Pat Old’s school girls & Pat from here & brought from Bogoro Miss Stirneman and some Lumiere leaders. While he was gone Stevie tried to spray some wasps in our attic & was stung on the head. He had a bad reaction with eyes shut & nose big but better today. Love, Mother

And on the 4th January 1969,

Dearest Ken,

I have 45 chocolate cupcakes sitting on the table in front of me, all iced like we used to get ready for National Honour Society bake sale at Emmanuel. There were 47, but just before bedtime Tim diminished the number by 2. This is a big day, but I want to get some more of these verses off to you. Pearl Hiles comes today, as well as McAllisters (they’ll get thru the roads even if they have to come via Buta).

Then tomorrow Muchmore’s party of six (Steve Brashler & Carl Becker); all of my dorm rooms will be full until the RVA boys go; then a day between then & the arrival of the Junior kiddies (16). I am feeling fine now & the dorm is shiny, with fresh curtains up. I wish I could give you a big hug this morning.

(December and January verses are listed here)

Much love, Mother

Financial worries seem to be ever present, and on 10th January, Ione writes to her mother:

I am wondering how you made out when the January 1st allowance came. Was there enough to take out what you should after paying the overdrawn? Did UFM deduct first the $175 which I asked them to send each time to RVA? We can trust the Lord to supply our needs, even though we are all spread out and needy. He is able, and can teach us how to do it without being overdrawn, as your last letter reported. The boys received 2 packets of paperback books from Ken & Paul, and they are very good. Other packages did not come yet, but Amstutz’s (another missionary family) in Kampala stand in line almost daily trying to release all that are held there. Pray much, as the Devil has not power to hold back what the Lord wants us to have. The boys found some lovely stockings at a store in Kampala & sent them back to me with Muchmore’s, so I have 3 pairs now. For name tags I manage O.K. as there were some on old socks and I made some out of tape. I hope you sent 2 sets of measuring cups as I promised one to Kinso’s who are on the field for 6 months. Last week I entertained Olive McCarten (one of the 3 survivors of Bafwasende massacre). Margaret Hayes (who survived all the atrocities of 1964) arrives in Kisangani this week.

Love, Ione

It is evident that Ione’s letters are getting briefer and more succinct, and the Crossman’s have a solution; Ione writes:

I am 3 miles from Rethy at an abandoned Belgian coffee plantation which Crossmans have fixed up for a place to go on the day off. With so many visitors and staff at Rethy it is very hard to write letters, except early in the morning by candle light. So, I have come here for a few hours.

And the place is not just used for letter writing:

I am enjoying the McAllisters. Since he is the UFM Representative on the AIM Field Council which meets at the start of every term, they can stay a whole week. We are going to have a picnic here with them at suppertime tonight as it is my day off.

Other news is:

The rebel captain who was responsible for the death of Winnie Davis is now dead; he was captured at Bafwasende by a General Merchant & his workmen, and taken to Kisangani where he was killed. I’m glad McAllisters were here while that took place. There are a few leaders left, including the one who killed Hector. Much love,  Ione This is written in a matter of fact way, there is no pleasure in it, just the ending of one part of the story, but not the whole ending.

Being a dorm parent has Ione using different ways to achieve law and order – a score system, she tells her mother in a letter on 26th January:

The children who really sleep this afternoon will get 2 pluses; the ones who lie still so others can sleep will get 1. But it takes 2 policemen (Tim & I) to enforce it! Gone are the days of crawling into bed after the dishes are done and expecting an hour or two of sleep! But we’ll get to bed early tonight.

My choir will sing this afternoon: 40 voices grades 1-6 in black skirts & white blouses; and white shirts and ties & dark trousers. No capes today. They’ll sing 2 numbers from last term, “Little birds their maker praise, Why not I?” and “Why worry when you can Pray?” They are working on, “Thy Word is Like a Garden, Lord,” for a few Sundays from now. I am nearly over my cold now.

It started to hail – great stones, some nearly ½”, so I let the children run out in their thongs and try to pick them up; then the rain came so Tim & I got them all back in bed. Only 2 were asleep still after that!!

I hope that you will have a nice birthday.  Much love, Ione

Paul gets a letter on 6th February:

How are you doing with your trumpet lessons? Are you playing regularly anywhere on Sunday?

Our little orange cat is doing fine. He brought in a dried-up frog, just to show us that he intends to be a great hunter. Tim has great times with him as he is quite fierce and playful.

Did you get you bill paid up yet for this term?

Today is Tim’s birthday but he already celebrated it on the 3rd which was our day off. He had the 9th grade boys out to the plantation called the Hermitage, where we go for nice picnics around the big living room fire. Mr. and Mrs. Miller went, too. They are glad whenever you are with their son John, and would be glad of any news of his doings.

 

Today is also the birthday of little Steven Lee, whose aunt is a student at Moody, Cynthia is her name. Steven will have an elephant chocolate cake and some nice presents; he is 7. His mother is sick at Nyankunde just now.

How do you think Grandma is now? Does she have any more troubles like the beginning of September term? You can ask UFM for money again next August for the fall term, then maybe your work will build up a little reserve for you next term. John has not set his bee equipment yet. I was surprised he didn’t do much about it this last vacation, but think it was because of the excitement over the big motorcycle which they got running. It is the property of UFM and would cost $120 if sold. But no one minds if we keep it here for now, as it was not running anyway. But it is a challenge to the boys to keep it going.

What is the latest report on the Falcon? Still going? Tim is working on a nice arrangement of “After”, which he hopes to play (trumpet) for church with Mrs. Ward as accompanist.

Do you know that Samuel Mbongo is at the theological school in Bunia? I know he would appreciate more money, and he wants to bring his wife and children up to Bunia, too, when there is a ride. The road was still officially closed when McAllisters brought their children in January, but Bobbie got special permission to go thru even though some parts were not considered road but only big holes. I hope that some arrangement can be made whereby he can send the children by plane, but none as yet.

The Morris’s will move to Banjwadi in September and then there will be another child to go back and forth as their little Stephen is in my dorm. The big news this week is that Margaret Hayes arrived in Kisangani Jan. 26th. McAllister’s say she is real fit and ready to do a good job once more. They were going to make a trip, with Olive McCarten all the way to Ekoko, stopping at all stations in between, with the Kinso’s, too. At Bopepe they will find a tepoi waiting to carry Margaret ‘in state’ onto the station, with great rejoicing. I wish I could be there.

Much love to you,  Mother

It would appear Paul has not notified Ione about his trumpet lessons because it is the first topic in her letter of 26th February to him and Ken:

Dear Ken and Paul,

The $5 arrived this week which your Junior Church gave. Will you express to them my thanks, but maybe you don’t have that assignment now! Anyway, it is appreciated, and the tape, too, was appreciated, which came so long ago (3 months ago!). I guess the letter must have gone ordinary mail even though you had enough stamps on for Airmail.

Paul, did you take trumpet lessons this term? I hope you were able to continue. I had no letter from you boys this time, but two from Grandma and one from all but Stevie. Stevie is failing in Biology, so needs much prayer that he may try harder to do the work.

I had a package from Aunt Lucille in which was 5 pairs stockings for me and a dress and some mint candies, which I presume were for Tim. I was very glad especially for the stockings, and the dress is a good one for every day.

I received your letter of January 12 and 19 in the mail before the package came. I’m glad you were able to do some ice skating. I hope you don’t forget how!

Paul, are you playing in the Calvary Members Church orchestra?

What are your plans for Easter vacation? Mr. Crossman says he has paint here in case our boys want to redo the dorm rooms. They are pembi (good) at the top and that is still good but the bottom half needs pastel colours of various kinds. And I have asked the RVA boys to buy shiny white paint for our bathroom so that it will be brighter as we have no window there, only a sky light thru translucent plastic. David was also going to try to get a battery light so that it would be possible for me to comb my hair in the bathroom during the day!

I see by your letter, Ken, that you have the Junior Church this term so will you read the following to them:

Dear Friends:

I want to thank you very much for the $5 which I received from you this week. It was good of you to choose us for this Christmas and we were surely glad to have the money.

There are lots of white girls and boys in the school where I work (63 now). But there are many more of the Congolese children on our stations here. There are about 600 coloured children in the Congolese school, and people all around help them to have enough food and clothes; some come from great distances. There is a big church where they all go on Sundays to Sunday school. When the missionary children go to their homes on their various stations, they help their folks to care for the sick Congolese and teach in the schools. The weather is cool right here, but as soon as you go down from the high mountains it is very hot and damp. I like it here, because I feel needed, and the Lord is using me to help people to find Christ as their Saviour.

May the Lord bless you all.

With love, IONE

Whist writing to the boys, Mr Kline arrives with fresh mail from her sons. Ione adds to this letter:

About my book, the manuscript is at home with Grandma, and anything about it needs to be done thru her. I will try to work on it again when I get home, but do not have time while here.

Paul, if you were going to do summer missionary work, would there be any chance of your doing it here? It costs so much even to go to France, and David’s ‘charter’ flight is only going to cost him $100 more than the overseas fare between Britain and States. Could you inquire if there is any chance of a student ‘bargain rate’ to Nairobi or Entebbe? I think Grandma would worry about your going so far while I am away, but if it is OK with her, I would think it would be all right. If you could come here in June, I would try to get you on David’s charter flight home on August 2 and you could still have 6 weeks or so on the mission field.

Glad you were with the Holebs. Tim and I are still praying for them from our prayer cards. Ken, do not let Mrs. Odman persuade you to do other than the Lord and your family thinks best; she sometimes likes to tell folk what to do. I hope you can make some good meetings for her. The Lord can keep you with a simplicity of mind and heart that is well-pleasing to Him. Yes, the devil works very hard in a Bible School, and you will need to keep your armour on – and bright!

I am trying to get this done before the children come home and am rushing. Mr. Buyse went looking at Arua for 65 packages and not one was there. It is a mystery, perhaps they are still on the way from Kampala; we thought we’d get at least 2. I got a package from Aunt Lucille with socks and dress and am thankful. The Lord is so good and never lets us lack for one good thing. I am happy and satisfied to be where He wishes. And I have real joy in knowing you boys are going on with Him and learning what He wishes you to do.

Much love,  Mother

Ione makes a decision about the option she was given of moving to another dorm in a letter to her mother on 26th February 1969:

I don’t think it would be any easier for me in the Senior Dorm. I think I prefer the “little” problems. And I do love the little children. A new little boy (now total of 17) is real sweet. And his coming makes it possible for the parents to do more among the Congolese. I led my choir of 39 last Sunday in red capes & white starched bows and they did look like cherubs. 3 Intermediate boys played horns of “The Banner of the Cross” (Peterson arrangement). We’re working on Easter Cantata now, “No Greater Love.” I’ll sing a SOLO! Just a quiet one with trio coming in. And the Junior Choir has one number, “Suffer the Little Children.” I have succeeded in writing this letter between 4:30 & 5:30 A.M. One child vomited so I was wide awake by the time I mopped it up! But this is not frequent. Now they are stirring & I’ll get dressed. I have a new permanent & feel fine. Received last week Lucille’s package. Yours have not come yet. Tell Lucille thanks. Will write her, too.  Love, Ione

Ken gets a letter written on the 3rd March:

The Lord has given me many verses which speak of victory for you, and I have been wanting for some time to write them down. I believe when the Lord gives us something to say, He gives the opportunity to say it, so I am trusting Him to be able to finish this letter, although I have many interruptions. A sickness epidemic has been keeping me on duty round the clock for a long time but I trust there will be a let-up soon. It is kind of flu with sore throat. Stevie Davis is lying on his bed right now with it, and although is my day off, I cannot go far because of the sick ones.

I have been telling the Lord, as in John 17:15-“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil”.

They say now there are 73 packages that should be at the border, but when they go to get them, they say they have not arrived yet. Maybe this week! Small packages come thru better than big ones. We continue to have good food here. McAllisters’ recent letter tells of 157 baptisms at Bodela and communion for over 300 people. Many gifts and much rejoicing. They carried Margaret Hayes in style in a tepoi all over Bopepe.

A letter from the little Pontier girl’s parents told of a trip in an old truck with no brakes and as they came around a curve there were two elephants in the road. Just as they were about to hit one, the elephants moved apart and the truck shot between them! Missionary kids do have the thrills and there are many more for you in store when you begin your foreign work. I love you, Ken, and love to hear from you. Keep that simplicity that is in Christ, and don’t let anyone take it away.   Lovingly, Mother

On the 5th March, it is Paul’s turn:

Dearest Paul,

I have not had a letter since I wrote last, but I did want to get your verses written down, and to greet you by yourself. I had a letter from Sandey Taylor and will try to answer her questions. She seems quite interested in the work of the Lord out here.

In my last letter to you I suggested you inquire into the possibility of a student rate to Africa so that you might do your required mission field experience here. It may seem entirely out of the question, but at least you can ask, either of the sponsors of Operation Mobilization or even at the local travel bureau. With getting David home, I don’t see that there would be any money for such a trip, but it does not hurt to ask. We are not yet even sure about the charter trip of August 2 for David, as some people have decided to go home other ways, some want to visit the Holy Land, etc. So as yet we are not sure of that, as the Travel Service will not charter a plane unless a certain number agree to go the same route.

I must close now, but want you to know that I love you. I am sending a letter to the Admissions Office to find out why David has not yet received application papers.   Lovingly, Mother

Two days later:

Dear Boys,

We have had an epidemic of the flu here so there have been many extra jobs. Night before last Tim was sick all night, with fever, vomiting. But he is better now and helping me again. I surely miss him when he’s out of running.

Instead of blaming people because I have so much to do, I decided to “storm the gates of heaven” and bring down His blessing and help and this brought relief and peace. And I’m even getting letters written, as you see!

Just a few more weeks and the RVA boys will come home again. They will come on the RVA bus to a place near Arua. As I do not have the trip ticket yet I can’t take the truck across the border. So I guess Mr. Crossman & Mr. Schuit will pick up our boys & Bill McA and Allan Muchmore. They’ll arrive the night before the Rethy children leave so someone will need to sleep on the floor (Tim!). But it will be fun by the fireplace and he can lie on the couch. I will write to Grandma now.

Much love, Mother

Eventually, Lucille gets her ‘thank you’ note:

Dearest Lucille,

If I wait until I’m not tired I’ll never get a letter to you, so will write a short note before going to bed, and hope for more letters to others tomorrow after the washing is done. This has been a better day off than last, as I did not get too tired during the week-end for several sets of parents turned up and I was able to slip away on 3 occasions for trio practice and to get my Congo papers in order.

I wanted to tell you thanks for the parcel which I received. I think it was for Christmas as you wrote on the label, Merry Christmas. The red dress had only to be shortened a little and one parent did that for me. The stockings are just what I wanted and I could put them right on. I am even wearing them for Sundays as the one remaining sheer pair which David brought from Kampala is not going to last many more times. Tim was glad for the mints, but he shared them.

I enjoyed the joint Christmas letter written when you all were at 1205 Merry Rd. Thanks for all the greetings and news. I received your February 8 letter and thanks. Glad Vida did not have cancer.

We have had a lot of sickness but I have kept well; Tim was sick just one day. When I was having to get up a number of times during the nights I thought about people who cannot sleep for one reason or another, and I decided that the Lord was just as able to give sleep to the sleepless as He was to give an undisturbed night when a lot of little children are sick. And as I trusted Him, I found it was never too many times, nor for too long, and sometimes I could take a nap in the daytime to make up for it. So again, we prove that the Lord will never let it be too hard.

Did Jim and Sue move yet? I would appreciate having their address.

I must go and get my bath now and go to bed. I am hoping to talk to Marcellyn by short-wave on April 26.    Much love, Ione

The next couple of letters focus on plans for the summer vacation; Ione writes:

Grandma said Paul would like to work in the factories next summer and it’s all right with me, and would help for his next year of school and maybe help the rest of us some, too, as we seem to always be behind financially. Maybe he can work out something for the following summer for the mission field experience required in the Moody course.

If it might be possible to come out here that summer, he could go home with John and Don Schuit and maybe the Millers. I think you should try to be at home as much as possible while Aunt Doris is there in August. I surely wish I could be there then, too! David will get to see them probably.

And then there is ‘Rethy’ news:

I noticed they are using our Pasteurizer regularly now; it was at first only during the holidays. It is such a joy to see it used, as I remember how Daddy like to use it at Avonmore, when he brought the milk from Uncle Archie’s farm. He would be glad to know it was helping so many here at Rethy Academy. I hope you don’t forget what your Daddy was like.

The little Snyder boy has lost three teeth since the start of the term. He surely looks toothless now, but is cheerful. He’s the littlest one here, but Stephen Morris is younger. I have 9 boys now, as Kenny Amstutz has come. And 8 girls. Snyders visited this past week-end and he helped Tim and me to renew our visas “de sortie and retour” for Congo, by taking us to the border and getting the passports stamped. I think when Kinso’s come thru here around May 17 I will be able to get another couple to look after my dorm for a day or so and have kind of like a little UFM Conference in this area, I don’t know where yet, but maybe at the plantation nearby called the Hermitage.

Pearl Hiles may fly down from Napopo. A new UFM doctor is expected here in April, Doctor and Mrs. Kyle, just married recently, from England. They will do language study here at Rethy, then go to Nyankunde for a while before going to Kisangani area. No recruits from the States yet! Can’t you see any interest in young people giving their lives for Congo? Their whole lives, not just on a short-term basis. I was glad to hear from Sandey Taylor, and trust the Lord will guide her as to her future. I will try to answer her questions as soon as I can.

Paul and Ellen Brown are doing real well here; their baby is expected in May. Pray for replacements for Crossmans when they go on furlough next July. Pray for RVA as so many are feeling that the kids there are not going on with the Lord as they should.   Much love, Mother

As has happened before, Ione finds her plans about David’s travel arrangements to the States in August have changed, the charter flight cannot go ahead as the other parties have other agendas. As David has not had his application to Moody acknowledge, there maybe other options opening up for him:

He was asking if he might stay on at Rethy to help here as Crossmans were going on furlough and Tim would be at RVA. I will ask Grandma what she thinks about it. He would need to take a correspondence course from Moody Bible Institute if he did that. They are very short-handed for men here. But I don’t know whether the armed services would recognize that. A young linguist of the Berean Mission has come out to help his mother under an arrangement of PAX, as conscientious objector! They say he is doing a very good job of supervising the out-schools. I will book David for coming home but could cancel if he stays here. How much money do you have, besides that put away for medical school? I don’t know David’s fare yet.  Love, Mother

Ione discusses these changes with her mother as well as the boys:

David has suggested the possibility of his staying out here an extra year to help us at Rethy. Even if he took a correspondence course from Moody, he might have problems with his military requirements. However, one missionary son (Lindquist of Berean Mission) has come out for one year under the PAX (peace) as a conscientious objector & is helping his mother full time and doing a good job. What do you think about it? If David stayed out here a year, he could take charge of the Dorm maintenance (under a missionary man) and help me with the children and transport when I need it. Then go home with John. Steve could take his place here then for 1 year waiting for Tim. Just thoughts.   Lovingly, Ione

There is also an explanation about the lack of parcels:

I think the problem with the packages is because the Uganda government has let go the Asian employees and cannot cope with the many parcels. They say there is one Ugandan lady trying to release them (now about 83 for the missionaries but 500 in one room!) but is takes too long. Now the A.I.M. missionaries have asked their folk to send packages thru Bunia. Mr. Kline is having real problems with baggage, too. I have just learned that the Indian transporter overcharged me and Mr. Kline cannot use him anymore.

There had been unrest in Uganda following their attainment of Independence from British rule between the indigenous population and the Asians. It was the British who brought in many Asians in the mid 1800’s to work on the railways; the Indian Asians came over to escape the poverty in their own country. They set up community shops to provide for their needs as they worked, and some of the more enterprising made their businesses flourish, so when they were given the option of a paid package back to India, many declined and made Uganda their home. The Indigenous Ugandans saw the Asians as appropriating the majority of the country’s wealth through their shops and business enterprises which led to calls that these businesses be handed over to the local population. A few years later, under the rule of Idi Amin, saw a mass exodus of Asians who lost everything.

On the 23rd March, Ione writes to the boys (Ken and Paul) during afternoon siesta time, once again discussing what she hopes David will do during the summer and sharing what some of her responsibilities and who the children will be. She ends with:

Doctor Atkinson went home to U.S. to accompany his mother who had a mental break-down while visiting Nyankunde. A few days later Mr. Verick’s wife left with baby for US because her brother is mentally ill. We need to really put to use II Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” Because God hath not given it, we can reject it, and His spirit of power can reject it. Then the love can be put to use. Result is a sound mind. Depression, discouragement, etc. ALL stems from FEAR.   Much love, Mother – which perhaps explains Ione’s take on mental illness and why it was never discussed when she was caring for Ellen Westcott in the 12940’s.

On the same day, Ione writes to her mother:

I am just now enjoying a home-made Easter egg, made by Mrs. Kline, the lady who is in charge of laundry & mending. It is delicious pink fondant with fruit & nuts in, and dipped in a thick layer of chocolate. Tim was supposed to have half, but I bargained with him, trading a chocolate bar from the Canteen. Had swiss steak for dinner, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and strawberry ice cream (freezer).

We take Daraprin every Sunday here for malaria, even though it is high (altitude), many people get malaria. So far, we have had only one genuine case of chicken pox in our dorm and he is going back to school tomorrow so that I’m fairly certain of a little more free time during the day until school is out. The Intermediate Dorm had one case; station children 3 so far. Only one letter from Stephen during the last 2 months. Have you received any from him? It looks like he may fail in Biology. I hope he is not discouraged or getting side-tracked by someone. They will be here in 10 days and then I will find out. No packages as yet, except the doll and the books K & P sent from Moody. The mail goes out early tomorrow morning so you’ll probably get this in good time.  Much love,  Ione

Leone Reed’s letter to Ione and Tim written on the 24th March 1969 offers an explanation for Ione’s complicated management of money and how she and Leone manage their expense. In it we see that Leone is a strict surrogate parent to both Ken and Paul; she writes:

Your March 13th letter came, and it came in answer to prayer regarding money. I had prayed the Lord would send in something extra, for I had groceries to buy and gas for the car, and other things to be cared for. The Lord even gave me evidence that I would receive something that day. But I never thought it would be through you, for I had thought all the tithe money had been received.

I checked through all of your letters from the time you left home, and none of the names mentioned up to November and December of 1968 had been tithed to me. I figured on the money you had received over and above what your allowance was for all of those months, and even in Nov. and Dec. And the amount I found which had not been tithed was $295, and the tithe from this was $29.50. So I wrote a check for Cash for this amount. Now if this isn’t right please inform me and I will be glad to change it, and not take this much from the next deposit.

I had a letter from Paul late last week telling me that he would have to have a written permission from me in order for he and Ken to come by car with a student next week when they come home for spring vacation. I had to write Paul that since I didn’t know the student at all I couldn’t write a permission for him to ride with him. I couldn’t say in a written permission that I knew the student to be a good driver, and that I knew he was a qualified person to trust the boys with, for I never heard of this student until he had offered a ride to the boys. Since Paul isn’t 21 years old as yet the Dean at Moody said they would have to sign my written permission before this student could take the boys in his car for the trip to Michigan. I told Paul that he and Ken would need to take the train home. They have classes on the morning of April 3rd, then right after lunch they can leave. The train leaves Chicago around 4 p.m., and they can make it. The train only takes 5-1/2 hours to come, where if they came in a car it would take at least 8 hours. I am glad Moody has this rule.

I am glad they are coming home. So many things need their attention here. Especially the yard. The leaves were not all raked up last fall, nor the grass cut out in back, so I guess the boys will be glad to be out-of-doors in their nice yard, after the pavement jungle in Chicago.

I wish you could hear my canary sing this morning. I have him in the sun room, and I guess he likes the sound of the typewriter. I changed your end of the sun room around a little. I took my little yellow end table out, which had been in front of the window, and put it in front of the window by the end of the piano for I needed it for five violet plants. I had divided some of my violets because they had formed new crowns. Then I moved your desk around in the corner so that it faces out the window. It fits into the corner nicely, and doesn’t cover the hot air register. One can look out of the window while sitting at the desk. And I moved your little black book case up close to the desk in front of the window. I have my Camelia plant on it and a small violet plant. I put all your books inside the bookcase. When I rearranged them, they fit in all right. So that corner was left free for the bird. I cleaned the whole floor and waxed it in the sun room. It wasn’t very dirty even though we have lived here four years, and it had not been washed before. I also washed all the cupboards in the kitchen, and put new shelf paper in them. I found some real nice shelf paper which is rubber-backed and it lays so flat and nice in the cupboards. It can be washed, too, and won’t have to be replaced very often. I got it at Hudson’s, for 98¢ per roll. The roll is quite large and it was 22 inches wide. My next housecleaning will be wiping out all the drawers of dressers, and cleaning all the closets, except yours. I will leave yours until you come home. It is just as you left it. Also your desk is as you left it, except two drawers which I emptied for Paul and Ken to use when they are home.

Yesterday morning I taught the Eunice Philathea Class. And next Friday night I am supposed to have that meeting with the Jewish Annual Rally in Detroit. I have asked Richard Stimpson and his mother Joyce, from Drayton Plains to go with me, since Paul and Ken couldn’t be with me to help with carrying my bell table. Lola Morrow will be going with me also.

The weather has been quite warm, and spring-like. I raked the leaves off from the tulips, and they are budding already. It is raining this morning and may get colder and snow.

This week on Thursday is the Annual Spring Missionary luncheon at our church. I expect to go. Remember 2 years ago I was sick and couldn’t go? And you took Mrs. Borders in my place. I know Mrs. Borders smokes, for I have seen her with a cigarette in her hand coming out of her house. When she is with me she is respectful and doesn’t smoke, but I noticed she always has to chew gum to try to offset the need for a smoke. I sometimes wonder if they have gone past the time and conviction to accept Christ as Saviour. But I know nothing is impossible with the Lord. We can pray anyway.

It is time for the mail man, so I better get this letter in the box to be picked up.

I plan on practicing bells today, and finish an ironing. I have more letters to do too.

Love and prayers,

Mother & Grandmother

Ione is adept at multitasking and this perhaps explains how she manages to fit in letter writing with everything else in her letter to Lucille on 7th April:

Your letter of March 25 just arrived with some folk who came from the border. Stevie read it aloud to me as I stirred a milk pudding. I am hastening to answer as there is someone else going to Arua this noon. I was glad to have so much news.

It is good to trust the Lord for strength and find that He never fails. Whether it be for a night of sleep or for a daytime quietness, the Lord never lets it be too hard. It is no harder to trust Him for keeping the children from calling me in the night than for giving ‘His beloved sleep’ when I have a chance! When we had 7 cases of chicken pox and there was two weeks of night and day duty, there was a parent here and she looked after the sick ones while I practiced the Choir; and a big girl went and had her meals with them so that I could eat at my table in the dining room. I have not lost any more weight, still 127 lbs. which I weighed when the boys come home before. And I feel good and quite nimble in getting around since I do not have excess.

We had a nice Easter, as you may read in Mother’s letter which I am sending out in this mail.

When your letter came this morning there was also a notice of a parcel from Mother. I don’t know whether that is for the one I just received, or another, but have signed it and hope for the best when Millers come back!

We can go over the border now as our papers and car are properly covered; but we cannot go to Kenya until we get East African Insurance.

I appreciate very much your support, and am thankful that there were extra gifts last time. I hope soon to be caught up in our current bills and the form letter (the standard generic letter that goes to all Ione’s supporters) one especially as we need to send out another.

Will you ask Mother if she has any ideas about a form letter?

The boys brought some nice things for me this time from Kenya. At Christmas they had brought animal hand-carved lamp, and this time matching animals to stand up; now we have antelope, two rhino and two elephants in a pretty kind of teak wood. Also a nice wooden salad bowl; and Mrs. McAllister brought an ivory salad set which looks nice with it. The boys bought instant coffee and cocoa, some deodorant and these airforms (pre stamped airmail letters)and stamps, besides many other things. They got themselves some good quality Engl. Ribbed socks, and Jockey underwear, and coloured shirts. I had to let down Stevie’s good jacket sleeves as his arms were so long. David is now 6 ft. 1-1/2 inches tall.

I must get this in the mail now and clear the table for setting for dinner. I have my typewriter beside the dining room table where it is lightest; also the sewing machine.   Much love, Ione

And Ione writes to the boys and her mother:

We had 16 people here for supper yesterday, so I was working most of the afternoon and the boys were sleeping, and we did not get our letters done. We started out with an Easter Sunrise Service at 5:45 A.M. out on the tennis court. The boys played horns and Crossman spoke. It was so cold that even with a heavy dress and wool jacket I was cold. I sent John back to the house for a blanket and shared it with the others. After the sun came out it turned out to be a lovely warm breezy day. By noon I wore the pink dress made by one of the girls in the 3rd Phil. Class. We walked to the Congolese service which was in Swahili. We had decided at this end of the station to have breakfast, dinner and supper together for Easter, so the 16 of us went to Paul and Ellen Brown’s for pai pai (paw paw), goi (a little like puffed rice), and Swedish coffee ring. Dinner at Mrs. Crossman’s included roast beef, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on, also baked potatoes; fresh peas, jello fruit salad and two kinds of ice cream. Supper we had in the dormitory Livingroom as ours is not very large. We served buffet style; potato salad, tunafish salad, pickled beets, bread & butter pickles, pineapple jam, hot butterfly rolls, butter, baloney, cheese, juice (lime, strawberry and pineapple) with chunks of pineapple in, decorated cookies shaped like Easter eggs, some specially monogrammed by John, and no-bake chocolate balls shaped like Easter eggs and decorated very nicely with a decorator by John. These are a powdered milk base. There was a 7 o’clock service so we ate at 5:30 P.M. In the evening I sang a solo, “Gethsemane,” and twice in trios: “Were You There?” and “I Stood by the Cross.” The boys were all in a choir led by Phil Weeks, and Tim and David were in the horn number, “He Lives.” There were many other numbers, too, interspersed by poems and remarks made by Mr. Crossman, and the last was a beautiful solo by Mrs. Buyse, “The Holy City.”

On April 3 we received 3 packages: yours for which we were waiting so long! The stockings were all there and just right and the dress is beautiful!! Thanks very much. It does fit just fine; Stephen says I should shorten it, but I’ll see it in front of a long mirror before I decide. The $5 pen was gone, but I can use the cartridges that came, as they fit mine. The pen was paid for by McAllisters, but I have given them instead the two cartridge pens that did come (one of those was also taken out!). Two of the three knives were gone, but the one with John’s name on came. I think everything else was there. The SECOND package was from Fern Salle from the Eunice Phil. Class and contained hair rollers, combs and bobby pins. I will write to her a thank you. I can use these for the Senior Girls, as we have enough now for my dorm. The THIRD parcel was 87 toy favours for birthday surprises, all wrapped nice and ready to put on the birthday tables for either girls or boys, little dolls or trucks, etc. This was from Sunnyvale. And nothing tampered with in the box. Mrs. J.R. Phillipe sent it. I think I told you I received the stove part so that the oven will work now. I had all the four boys weigh themselves this morning. Tim and David have gained a little. But John and Stephen have lost several pounds. And all are taller. I am going to make some chocolate syrup this morning so that they will drink more milk. We have lots during vacation, and also meat, so they should show some increase soon. They all love the little half-grown cat which we have; almost every time I see Stephen, he is holding Gus. There are three at this end of the station which are identical males, and there is quite a bit of fun telling which is which.

I told them yesterday that when they start fighting it will be a case of “the survival of the fittest!”

 

We are planning a short trip to where the dentist lives, at Etende. John has four fillings and I need to have another impression taken of the partial which I need. The other one was lost in the mail. We will go to Bunia on our way back for a little shopping; we also plan a trip to the border for shopping at Arua, as we now have our trip ticket, and also the truck can now be used to carry the boys over to meet their bus when they leave in May. We are applying now for East African Insurance for the August trip. David received his application papers from Moody and had filled out but not sent it in yet.

Mr. Schuit has put him down for a reservation on a flight on or around July 31, with a week’s stop in Europe with the Schuits.

Love, Ione

In the April standard ‘form letter’ that goes to supporters, Ione writes:

We are managing all right, and happy to be looking after missionary children while their parents are working in areas all around in five missions to a distance of 1500 miles.

There are many elephants in the plains just below the high mountains where we live, and the three older boys see sometimes 50 at once as they travel from Kijabe, Kenya, home here for their vacations. Parents of some of our children here at Rethy work there and one day they were going rather fast in an old truck with no brakes, rounded a bend and came suddenly upon two big elephants in the middle of the road. In spite of signs warning, “Elephants have the right of way.” The old truck could not stop. But just as the missionaries were about to feel what it was like to hit an elephant broadside the two elephants moved apart, and the truck shot between them! I suppose they felt like they were going between two big buildings on Wall Street.

The boys and I did not get down to our Kisangani area, where the UFM works, during our Christmas holiday, because the main road was closed for repairs. But since our visit there in August the work has been going ahead with leaps and bounds. Mr. McAllister baptized 157 in Bodela, where the martyred Parry family last worked, and served Communion to over 300. When we were there, we saw 13 new churches along the road between Banalia, where 11 missionaries were speared to death, and this little new station of Bodela.

Our former station, Bongondza, abandoned from ’64 to ’68, is still not occupied by white people, but has a new secondary school going, as well as all church services. We will not get back there during the Easter holiday as the time is too short; and in July we expect to drive to east Africa to see David graduate from high school.

The letter Ione writes on the 12th May 1969 is an example of long distance parenting:

Dearest Ken,

Don’t forget that you can trust God’s integrity in your relationships with Grandma. I am glad that you have gotten along all right so far, but it is a continual thing of yielding and no resentment and God will make it a blessing and never get too hard.

About the money, too. I am waiting to hear if you still have money earmarked for David’s return. I am praying for a chance to talk to you boys in June before Schuits’ radio is packed up. As yet, I have not time off on Saturday’s to go to Linga. I had already asked time off for when Kinso’s come (next week-end). When do you start at Oakland? How do you feel about it?

Love, Mother

Dearest Paul.

I was glad for the April 20 letter, received May 1st . How will you pay for the panelling of the basement? Tell Ken the boys & we all worked on the Navigator verses while the boys were at home & got the 1st book done. Tim & I can’t talk out loud in our devotions, so can’t say much in our times in the early morning at 5:45. But we’ll try to keep it up.

Greetings to Barbara Bucher when you see her.

This term will not be any harder than last and I do not feel extra tired. We got every room in sleeping part painted & fireplace & touched up spots where holes had been repaired. Pray for tiling for our boys’ bathroom. I enjoyed having the boys’ home and I trust they will go on with the Lord at RVA. John took the guitar and I am praying he will never play in a way that the devil can speak. Keep happy and close to Ken. Love, Mother

Ione’s letter to Ken on 19th May is written as Ken prepares for final exams and graduation, an event Ione will miss. She writes:

And we will miss it all, as we did Paul’s last year. But I do have peace that we are where the Lord wants us. And I am glad that Mother and Lucille can be with you and stay at Wacker Hotel. I have stayed there and it is a nice place and handy to the school

How did you make out with the unsaved medical student from North-western? Did you have the privilege of leading him to the Lord?

I had a letter in this mail from Herb Boyes saying that David’s ticket home will be paid by UFM as he is coming for educational purposes. I have told the Menno Travel Services to get in touch with the UFM Business Manager, and to make David’s final destination Detroit and you will not need to pay for him.

Did you get my letter that had written on the outside that you would probably find my W-2 ’67 Income Tax statement in the file in Pontiac? I have the ’68 one here, but nothing before that. I hope you can get reduction for your next schooling. It takes a step at a time.  Saint Paul said, “This ONE thing I do,” as he could not do many things at once.

I have had a little sick spell just at the time the Jenkinson’s arrived here. But it has not been too much effort just talking to them. I have had not any meals to get as I was invited out with them. And I had previously arranged for Scheuzgers to take over my dorm for this week-end, but of course did not expect a bad sinus cold to hit me so hard. I was thankful the Scheuzgers came in time to relieve me. And by resting I have gotten over it. Will take vitamins now to build up a resistance against colds.

Tim drove to Kasengu and back as we had no other driver and got along fine. Kinso’s were scheduled to go to Aungba today, and it was possible to fit it in with an airplane medical trip, and even I got to go on the little MAF plane with them. I had to come back in 3 hours but they stayed overnight and Snyders will bring them back tomorrow for their last night in Congo. I surely enjoyed seeing Congo by air. The work is going well down-country, and Kinso’s got all around to the stations; Margaret Hayes visited the Catholic Sisters at Buta and they surely hugged her. Kinso’s say graves are not important and not to think too much of our Daddy’s. But they, too, feel this grave is the right one.   Much love, Mother

Although not stated in so many words, not having knowledge of where Hector has been laid to rest does upset Ione, she finds comfort in being with those people who knew her and Hector before 1964.

Dearest Paul,

See what Grandma thinks about going to UFM Retreat and coming back early. If you could get the panelling done first and everything was ready, it might not be too hard on her for you to come back just the day before they (The Crossman’s who have been working in Rethy are due for a visit back to the USA and are planning to stop and see them) arrive. But you should both be there. But maybe it is too far to go when you can’t stay for the whole time.

I like you to go to UFM things when you can, just to keep in touch with the mission activities. I do hope that you make out all right with your grades this semester. Do you know yet what you will be taking next semester? You ought to drop by the Admissions Office and see if they have got David’s application yet, as he was delayed in sending it in on account of leaving it at school when he came home for vacation.

I received a gift for $10 this allowance from the First American Indian Bible Church on Clark St., sent in March I will write a note of thanks. Much love, Mother

Without any indication of what Ken and Paul are saying in their letters to Ione, it is evident in the letters she writes to them that she is offering parental guidance; on 21st May 1969, she writes to Ken:

I have been impressed lately in the verses for you boys with the importance of completing what we start. God was quite insistent that the destruction of each enemy was total and wherever there was a lack of it (as in Achen & Saul) there was a great delay in the progress of God’s plan. I am trying to be more careful to be complete & thorough in carrying out God’s orders, even though some be disagreeable and not to other people’s (and my) liking. Ione list the verses she has been reading.

(Don’t be tempted by what the city offers.)  Much love, Mother

On the 28th May, Ione is more forceful in her views regarding the up coming UFM retreat and tells both boys in individual letters that they should not go and stay to help Grandma prepare for visitors; to Ken she writes:

I have an idea that Grandma would prefer that you not go this year, but try to fit in next year. She will be relieved if you are there to help get things ready for the Crossmans, rather than to rush away early from the Retreat, and only just make it to Pontiac by the time the guests arrive.

She also writes:

It seems a very long time since we heard from either of you, but we will probably get some letters when Mr. Miller goes over to Arua next Saturday. I can imagine you are busy just now and I hope that you will get along all right on Graduation Day. I will be proud of you, even though it must be by remote control!

The last chance to talk by short-wave from here is for us to use Mr. Schuit’s set before he packs up for furlough. He has set June 15 (Sunday) as the ‘schedule’ date, and I do hope it will be possible for you boys and Grandma to go over to Mr. Cogswell’s house that afternoon; he will tell you what time. It is not easy for me to arrange it from here as that is a busy week-end; however, there will be other parents here then, and I will try to leave someone in charge and slip over to Linga for that evening.

If you are able to do the basement panelling that would take quite a bit of time and effort. Did you find the W-2 income tax form in my desk?

Thanks very much for the lovely Mother’s Day card. It was thoughtful of you to remember that day. The boys here bought me a big black umbrella, a beautiful strong kind with a pearl handle. It is nice to still feel like a queen among you boys!

I want to hear any news you have about your course at Oakland U., when it starts, etc. Much love, Mother

To Paul, Ione adds:

Dearest Paul,

I think that Miss Bucher you mentioned eating with, I met when I was there at MBI on a visit, and she was nice to me. This term is not too hard for me. It is short, for one thing, as the school is closing early on account of some folk going on furlough. On July 18 we will be finished, and then Tim and I will pack up for the trip to see David finish RVA. By the time you receive this you will be through exams and maybe Ken will have graduated. I hope that it will be a real nice time, and that you will enjoy it, too. Then the trip home. Are you all going on the train? Then, are you going to try to get a job, Paul? Were you thinking of asking someone like Claude Edwards at Boise Lumber?

But one thing hard about getting a job, you just have to fit everything in with your working hours. You should have a good understanding of the hours when you start, and make sure it is OK with Grandma. But it is good to work, and get some money ahead for next year, just in case it might be possible to do your 6 weeks mission experience out here, and then go home with John and Don Schuit and the Millers. Much love, Mother

When Ione writes to her sister Lucille on 29th May 1969; she is not feeling too grand:

I feel pretty good, but seem to have a sore throat and head ache a lot. But this A.M. I took 2 asprins at 4 A.M. then had my coffee around 5 and by breakfast time I felt fine, except for the thickness in the back of the throat. I am thankful to have pep and feel like doing all the jobs that need doing here. It is nice to know that I am needed.

My hands are breaking out quite a bit again and if some time in a package you are able to send a large can of Whitfield’s ointment, I think I could keep it under control. There is not enough available here to do much. Another thing, I just broke my only pepper shaker yesterday, so have only one salt now. If you can ever get an unbreakable set that would last me. I still didn’t get Mother’s package with the measuring cups in. Still need measuring cups and measuring spoons.

And any pretty knick-knacks that would take away from the bareness of the kitchen. Wall is bright yellow, kind of an orange-gold, which looks nice with avocado but as there is only a room dividing cupboard between kitchen and dining-room and the walls there are grey, you have to remember the whole picture; my drapes are red velvet and the floor is a cement painted green, faded so it doesn’t show much and I have a big square grass mat over the living room.

Glad the work at your church is progressing. Glad you are going to Ken’s graduation. He said he was reserving places at Wacker Hotel. Did you get your car repairs paid for yet? And your car payment?

Mr. Schuit is arranging a radio contact June 15 with Mother and I hope Ken and Paul. If there is any chance for you to be there, too, it would be so nice to hear your voice again. It would be on a Sunday afternoon, however, so may not be possible for you. I am telling Marcellyn, just in case she can get Mr. Myers there to try, too, to tune in.

It may be that the Lord wants you to stay in Melvin yet awhile. I know He can give patience and love for whatever time He wants you to work among those people.

I surely do appreciate the stockings you sent. Just the right number of pairs to keep me going for every day. If ever you are able to collect some spare handkerchiefs I could use more, as so many of the ones I brought out have gone all to pieces.

Many were old ones that Mrs. Reh gave me from someone who had died, and now they have disintegrated. Tell Mother the Kicker Knick pants are the only ones I have really worn well. The cotton ones are gone. I think if it’s possible to get new ones again I would like some of the kind Mother gave which were too small for her, in white nylon. I don’t know why I’m telling you all my needs when you probably haven’t even paid for your car repairs yet! But it came to my mind, and when you see Mother tell her she can take money from my account to buy and send them. Better send to B.P. 143 Bunia c/o AIM Congo Rep.

All for now. I have lots of cleaning to do before the Saturday Open House of my dorm. Pray that I might “seek OPPORTUNITY rather than SECURITY.” Also, that I might learn to rest while I work, rather than to cease from work. That I might have the fortitude to remain steadfast when the flesh whimpers “get away from it all.” In other words, ask the Lord that I might not lapse into a middle-aged sag!!   Much love, Ione

By June 9th, Ione is obviously feeling better and writes to her mother and sons:

…Tim enjoyed the Junior to Senior Banquet held here in honour of the 9 who will leave Rethy at the end of this term. It was a lawn party with specially rigged up fountain and bridge, and Mr. Crossman did over 30 beautiful T-bone steaks on an open charcoal fire.

Tim and I sang, “According to Thy Loving Kindness, Father,” but we could not get the music anywhere so had to trust our memories. We wrote down one verse and then repeated the chorus, and it sounded nice. I wish we had that “Missionary Echoes” book here as there is another Spanish tune that is nice in there. I sang with the ladies’ trio. I have been vocalizing like I used to with better results.

I have 18 children here now as another little girl came this week. That makes 9 girls and 9 boys. I have stopped counting the toenails and fingernails I cut each week, but I have not forgotten that one requirement of being a widow indeed is to wash the feet of the saints. And there are some pretty sweet little saints here. I wish the kids at home could be here, where kids take time to enjoy the sunsets and show real appreciation for such things as special dinner rolls on Sun. They all clapped one day this week in the dining room when it was announced that the fresh pineapple, they were eating was flown here that same morning from Nyankunde especially for them. When they had Italian night the French bread, they used for the garlic bread was ordered by radio and brought the same day from Bunia. Of course, anything like that is always combined with other needs and seems to fit in as there are so many flights and trips going all the time. The doctors are here about every week on special flights for emergencies at the Rethy Hospital. And at the end of this week Doctor Ulrich will be here and spend 5 days checking on everyone. Tim had a good check-up before going to RVA. And this week they are all getting their teeth checked again. The impression taken of my two missing teeth has turned up at Arua, I believe, and they think the partial might come in time to be fitted to my mouth, if my one remaining milepost in that area of my mouth does not give out before then!   Much love, Ione

In the summer of 1969, Ione write for a church magazine, Gospel Echo’s:

I am glad I am still out here in Congo, as I enjoy my work, and am thrilled to stay long enough to see what God is doing at Bongondza. Doctor Westcott’s hospital has now a new look, repaired and gleaming white paint everywhere. The medical unit my husband put up in 1963 is now being used as a pharmacy. A team of wood-cutters, water-carriers, carpenters, masons, and nurses is on the job.

Back to my lively life as dorm parent, I never cease to delight in these small children, though I often get tired. But the Lord never lets it get too hard.  And a good laugh helps to relax. After a jigger (tunga penetrans, a parasitic insect that burrows under the skin, usually of the feet.) and its eggs were removed from a small toe (using a sterilised needle), we burned it in the fireplace, and listened to the tiny explosion when the eggs burst. While the children were standing around rather awed at the funny sound, little Julie, the Congolese girl of our group, said, “My Daddy took a jigger out of my toe and it was so big that it spit at him!” Can’t you just see that jigger, no bigger than a flea, standing there spitting at Mr. Babili?!!

Whenever I get tired of teaching these children how to be good soldiers for Jesus Christ, I remember the word “afterward.” I woke up the other morning, hearing the clock ticking it, “after, after, after.” “After what?”, I thought. After chastening, it was, and the verse was Hebrews 12:11 – and what was after the chastening? “The peaceable fruits of righteousness.” So it was worth it to hold those children to obedience and right living, because there was an afterward. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hand down and the feeble knees…“ I have no time to drop and get feeble, for God’s work, done God’s way, will not lack for God’s blessing.

Whilst Ione feels she has no time to be ‘feeble’ she is not immune from illness. On the 25th June writing to her mother and boys, she says:

The flu really hit me after a busy weekend with midterm visitors. I spent my day off in bed and am just beginning to crawl around. The flu is in our dorm and I am thankful that as yet none of them need to stay home all day. If they are at school I can rest between times. I am taking some strong capsules now as the regular flu medicine didn’t help, and now the fever is down and cough loosening up. I am taking vitamins, too. You can be sure that the Lord will never let it get too hard. We have only 3 weeks more and then I will have a few days break before we leave for Kijabe. Only one big weekend more which includes the Independence Day celebration of Congo on June 30th. And the Lord will give strength for that. I am just sorry I couldn’t write all last week, and Tim’s letter just sat here on the table. His 9th grade is having a special dinner today at the Kline’s. I am writing to Moody to give them David’s arrival date (August 4th) so that they can get in touch with him in Pontiac. As yet we do not know his time and flight, unless you were able to get it from Mr. Cogswell. Mr. Schuit said he would try to get it last Saturday night when he talked to Nairobi and let Mr. Cogswell know, but I’ve heard nothing since. Keep asking Mr. Cogswell if he has heard yet. And if I hear I’ll write you. But mail does not go out of here regularly, just when people go over the border. McAllisters are coming here July 17, and may stay in our house while we are at Kijabe, and even longer, as they do not plan to take their children home this time, but spend a vacation somewhere. They are all well; Asani is well; the Rethy pastor just flew down to Kisangani to talk with Asani about a meeting in the future and he said they are all fine. All for now as it is time for dinner and I chose the songs. My voice is bad, so I may ask Doctor Stam to play and lead out. He is such a nice man, the elder brother of John – 5 years older. His wife died recently and he has come back to work at Rethy. He bought my little refrigerator as I would like to get a new one whenever I come back again; and for now, I have use of a big dorm one on a monthly basis. I will need to stay home this furlough awhile and be with the boys more. If I don’t have too many meetings, I could take some courses.  Much love,  Ione

Rethy Academy (one end of the station – July 1969). School and Chapel are in the upper left. In the foreground (L_R) is the ‘Biggie’ Dorm, Intermediate Dorm, Dining Hall and Kitchen, and ‘Tichie’ Dorm where Ione served as dorm mother during her last years in Congo.

Ione reports being fully recovered on 29th June:

I’m over the flu now and feel real good. It is 8:30 at night and Tim and I are waiting for a cake to finish in the oven and then we’ll have a little treat. I wish the other boys were here to enjoy it. Crossmans sent me 40 shillings from Kampala (around $5) and I will cash a llcheck for $100 for our trip, the money given by Ken’s 6th floor. I am so thankful for that. If there is any extra, I will need to put it toward the RVA bill, as I am about $300 behind there. But gradually money will come from UFM to catch up there. I think they will start in July allowance sending $175 regularly there. We continue to have good food here and live in comfort. We are looking forward to the days on the ocean at Mombasa.  Much love,  Mother & Ione

Despite her long shopping list sent to Lucille. Ione briefly writes to her mother on the 6th July:

Could you please buy a haircutting set and ask Isobelle Jones to bring it on the plane with her? Write a cheque. We’re OK.

Love, Ione

On the 8th July, Mother and the boys get a longer letter,

I thought Ken’s picture looked quite different from the one he had taken in high school, but am glad it is the photograph and not that he has changed that much. It is nice of him, but I think he’s better looking than that! Thanks very much for sending it, and the two small ones for Tim and me.

We just had our battery charged and other things checked on the truck, so it should run OK. We’ll buy most of our gas in Uganda at 5 shillings a gallon as that we have here cost us $1 a gallon and we’ll have a couple of drums on hand. I am asking Mr. Lee to install a fire extinguisher, gift from Schuits, as that is a rule in Kenya for trucks.

Eleanor Yondeau sent me two airmail envelopes with a pair of silk hose in each, real nice kind. She is disappointed that you all can’t make a trip to Canada this summer, but I explained in a letter to here all that has to be done at home this time. I told her if Paul was able to do his 6 weeks mission experience in Congo next summer, it might be possible for him to leave via Montreal and see them all then.

They are getting on with the garage (instead of the carport which we were using) and the walls are going up. There will be room for gas and kerosene drums and other heavy storage items, and it will lock up.  Love, Ione

Ken’s graduation from Moody Bible Institute (June, 1969) with (L-R) Grandma Reed, Maurice & Lucille Peterson.

After Ken’s graduation, Ione writes on the 10th July 1969:

Glad you got thru your final week at Moody OK. I was praying for you. Tim took his Navigator verses on the Senior Sneak & left them at Nyankunde, so now we’ll have to get them back. He is working at them or WAS until then. Tim’s hunting does not hurt his grades. He’s doing OK. The staff is considering giving him the citizenship award this year.

Glad to learn in your June 2 letter that your exams were over & that you received $50 in gifts.

Thanks for the print from the slide sent in your June 9 letter. It surely brings back memories. Your senior picture was not bent up when it arrived. I was glad to have it & have put it in the centre of the mantelpiece.

Were you able to get trumpet lessons? And how have you come along with the panelling & eaves-troughing? I do hope your summer will be a blessed & satisfying one. In your June 24 letter you asked what David needs. It might be good to wait till he comes home & then go over the Moody equipment list & get him something he lacks from that.

Hope you will have a good time with Crossmans. We’ll be waiting to hear how David Crossman gets through his nose operation.

 

Received your June 24 letter, but none since then. I’m getting into (the book of) Judges now & the backsliding of the children of Israel & the hand of the Lord went against them. All the things they did I am claiming deliverance from such for my boys.

It’s so hard when the Lord is provoked to anger with what we do. They could not stand before their enemies and the hand of the Lord was against them. They were helped by the Judges, but as soon as the judge was dead, they corrupted themselves. I will put your verses on another airform. The real challenge, purpose, victory is in going on with Him. But it’s a fight all the way!        Love, Mother

On the 31st July, Ione, having a break in Mombasa, writes home:

Dearest Mother,

I suppose you will receive my cablegram today or tomorrow, telling you that David is not coming home yet. He needs to be with me awhile as he let himself get too busy in school and didn’t even finish his biographical sketch for Moody. I had a letter from Mr. Shervy at Moody and they might even yet let him come for September if he finishes it & sends his health certificate. But I intend to ask Moody to let him come for January. That would give me a little more time with him. He was working on the school annual, “Kiambogo” (means buffalo) and the school let them stay up until all hours of the night; then they didn’t make them even get up for breakfast. I don’t think any project is worth losing out on his time with the Lord for. To say nothing of the breakfast. I don’t think David has gotten into trouble, but both he & John were dropped off the Honour Society for the end of year & I can’t find out why. It may be a mistake, as their picture was on the NHS page in the Annual but did not appear on the list on the end of school activities. I’m not too happy about their dormitory supervision, as they will be having 80 boys in one long dorm (4 per room) grades 10-12, and only one couple in charge. I guess I was just too tired when I arrived at Kijabe as everything seemed wrong. And David had started keeping company with a girl the last 3 wks. Not too serious, and he will probably not see her again. But it added to the end of term problems.

I have a chance here to get my (? bank) balance. We are on the Indian Ocean for a few days of warm climate before returning to Rethy. We are with the Schuits & their 4 boys (their girl & other boy are in the US) and Mrs. DeYoung & sister-in-law, and 2 DeYoung girls. These girls are not after any boys, real nice to me & very high standards. The girl David likes lives in Nairobi; her parents are from Royal, Michigan & are Methodist Missionaries. Name is Machlin.

Just now Mr. Schuit is helping our boys & theirs and the 2 girls to pole a boat out in shallow water to a coral reef. He is so good & gave the kids such a good message this morning on Joseph.

I am not (as) worried now, but got so upset with being separated from them all at RVA that I am taking medicine for nerves. Where we are now is 300 miles from Kijabe. We’ll leave here August 5, stop one night to pick up a Miss Cooke (1st & 2nd grade teacher going from RVA to Rethy) then leave the 6th for Kampala, Uganda. Then on 7th to Rethy. The boys, plus Don Schuit (his folks & brothers have to leave from here August 3) will be at Rethy till September 2 when they take the RVA bus from Nebbi (near Rethy) Uganda. David will stay in Rethy Junior dorm with me & help with the little children & maintenance of Academy. As soon as he finishes his biography, I will send it with a letter to Moody to accept him for January. He does not object to going there, but just wants a little time at Rethy first. He says he wrote to you. I got a letter from him just before I left Rethy asking to stay. I got Lucille’s package with ointment. Tell her thanks. My hands are much better but I’ll keep using it. Much love & thanks, Ione

Back at Rethy, Ione writes to mother and boys on 10th August:

 Well, it was surely good to get back home again after the interesting, but hard trip. It was a thrill to find Mother’s letter of July 25 and Ken and Paul’s of July 24 and 25. Also the shoe box parcel with dress, foot protectors, labels, seals, hangers and birthday cards. Thanks very much.

Ken, Tim got his lost (Navigator)verses back and is determined now to keep on with his memory work. He’ll sure need it as he goes to RVA! When I saw what it was really like I felt sick, but I guess I would rather they be there than in some schools at home where there is no standards or ideals at all. They must learn to have discernment and refuse the evil. I don’t think they have got involved as much as I thought when I first came there.

When I said to someone there, “I’m going to write the school and ask why they can’t make the kids go to breakfast and keep their bodies regular.”  The answer I got was, “It’s up to you to talk to your own boys and get them to do it.” So I determined I would. And if everyone else is slack mine don’t need to be.

I am stressing three things this holiday; proper rising and mealtime habits, allowing good time for personal devotions; stick to our policy of no weekends out with other kids’ parents, but keep directly under school supervision, which would rule out the going to shows as the school still holds out against that; then the music – and that is the craftiest problem, as there are many folk songs introduced even in their choir, but as yet I have not heard the beat expressing the devil’s voice in the choir (the driving beat of 1960’s popular music must sound akin to the rhythmic tribal beat that greeted Ione when she first arrived in Africa in the 1940’s, and it had distressed then as it does now)  but in the homes of many people. And some of the same long-plays that play simple adaptations of old-fashioned songs we used to think OK, then they come on with somebody suggesting what he would do “Tonight…” I don’t want the boys to stay up after 11 o’clock even if the school annual is at stake. But John, who is on it this year, says, they will get it done early so it won’t be necessary. But there are plenty of kids who will make it necessary, and if there’s no good sponsor, who knows what temptations they’ll get into.

Well, I feel I can trust the boys, and they know how very upset I was, and I have heard it is a major concern all over Kijabe area among missionaries who really care, so I believe the Lord is going to send a real work of His Spirit and judge those who are so slack and lenient.

I know David would love a welder for graduation present. I just got him a new white shirt. Tomorrow after breakfast I will sit down with David and he has promised to finish up his biography. The medical paper needs a doctor’s signature, but there is a doctor at Rethy now. So, if Moody is wondering tell them the three things they yet require will probably be there in a few weeks. But if it is at all possible, I would like to book David to come in time for Christmas with you all, and I can ask the money to be applied on a ticket from near here (Entebbe) as direct as possible to Detroit. I should write very soon to ask for a booking, so I would appreciate your views. David has not changed in a bad way, just very slow and was very confused over his graduation. You will see by the pictures we are sending you all that they have not gotten extreme in hair or dress.

Trip to Kenya cost more like $300! Gas nearly $1 a gallon.   Love, Ione & Mother

On the 11th August, writing to sister Lucille, Ione says:

We left Kijabe August 6 and it was so good to get my boys home where we could talk things over. They need to be more than ever on their guard, as there are many missionary children whom they will need to count as their enemies now. Parents are letting them do as they wish and they try to get our kids involved. The school is still quite strict, but nearly half of the AIM staff is weakening some on music! At Rethy here there is a oneness in these things as yet. RVA will soon have 500 students. And our 3 boys will be among 80 in one dorm under supervision of just one newly-wed couple. But God is able to give our boys iron in their souls.

She also adds:

You surely looked lovely in the picture taken at Ken’s graduation. Thanks so much for going. Maurice looked nice, too! When your children have all left home, it’s nice to have a smart-looking husband. I was trying to teach Hector to smarten up, as I thought we’d be a long time “on our own”. But the Lord didn’t want to put Hector to that trouble. Now I have enough of a job to smarten myself up!  I just learned this week from some young people that seams in the back of stockings are “out”. Is this true? However, when my legs are cold, it does not matter to me about it. Those you sent are doing fine! Plus, the ones for Sunday sent by Mother. Thanks for the Desenex (an anti-fungal foot treatment) and the hankies.

I weighed us all: David – 163-1/2 lbs (gained 1-1/2), John – 129-1/2 (gained 3-1/2), Stephen – 139 lbs (gained 5 lbs), Tim – 97 (gained 9 lbs), me – 125 lbs. (lost 2 lbs).  Stephen is huge now and developing in every way. I have stopped worrying as that comes from fear and something not given by God. II Timothy 1:7 – It really works, & God gives the power, love & sound mind. Am working this morning with David on his biography. Will send him home in December   Love, Ione

On 12th September, Ione shares her worries, this time financial, with Ken, Paul and Leone:

Isn’t today my Dad’s birthday, or is it your anniversary? Yesterday someone came over from Uganda and brought Mother’s September 3 letter with the good news on financial help from Arkona. This will be very welcome as we have reached a real financial crisis. Both RVA and Rethy have bills so big that the money regularly sent from headquarters does not cover. And now news of so many overdrawns. Salary which has been regularly $1050 was cut down to $900 for the time which David is not in school; and they took out the whole $200 at once! While on the trip to the coast I wrote one check for $100 and since then I transferred $150 through a Greek in Bunia. I am wondering if these, too will cause you trouble. I am sorry. Have you tried lately to sell the station wagon? But I suppose that would not help much with our debts, as the boys would need to turn the money into a newer small car for going to school. And I do feel they should have some sort of transport of their own. Would it be alright if I write to some missionaries here (MacDougall) who are going on furlough in December to ask if they would like to buy it for their furlough car?

David has a choice of booking for 27 or 29 and we will choose the 29th. But if he did wait until 7th of January he could ride with the RVA boys on the bus to Kampala. I don’t know how destitute the Lord wants us to be as He is teaching us lessons of trust, but I’m willing to go along with His plan and not give up. I just want to do the right thing and not bring dishonour to His Name for my poor financial planning. Although we may ‘in heaviness through manifold temptations’ we can still be ‘good stewards of His manifold grace!’

David will be glad for Ken’s foot locker. He does not want a welder, but a good set of tools like he wanted before he left home. I think he is able to use them with better wisdom now.

The little new children are pretty well settled in by now. Only a few tears for their parents last night, but they are trying to be “good soldiers”. Two new ones are bed-wetter’s, so I was up last night getting them up in the middle of the night. They managed to get thru the night dry, but the MacDougall boy was washing out his sheet and pyjamas at 1 A.M. and he begged me to help him put on his clean sheet but I did not as he will stop if he makes a real effort to clean up after himself. I thought he was stopped, but now this lapse again. He is now going on 10 now and I can’t let him go to the Intermediate Dorm until he stops. (Evidently, Ione does not associate the boy’s bed wetting with psychological distress and from her bible readings would feel it would not be something to be tolerated)

I am writing this at Mrs. Ward’s house, as I am not interrupted here. This is my day off and I had a good nap this morning, and now feel rested. David had dinner here with me and will have supper. He is getting a part welded from the washing machine, at Mr. Cooch’s who is the senior maintenance man here.

Hector’s sister, Alice, wants to get me a knit suit, and I would surely like one. By the way, that one looks good you had on in the picture with Eunice Phil. Class, Mother. What colour is it? I think I’ll ask for 3-piece or dress and short jacket. I don’t know what colour to suggest. I got my dark blue one dry-cleaned recently and still like it; but wear it really too often. It is quite cold here, especially this season. All for now. I wish I knew what to suggest about finances. I am looking to our Lord for enough to carry on.   Much love,  Ione and Mother

Soon after, Ione writing to the three back home says:

I have not caught up yet from the busy ‘holiday’, and am having to rest a lot until I get used to the children. They require a strictness that takes all I have, but I try to be ready for them whenever they appear.

Just now David is making signs to put up in the dining room to help manners. He has a Watchbird and today is stressing “Clean Hands…..No Reaching”. When they are too noisy in the dining room I ring a bell and make them stop eating and talking for 30 seconds. Doctor Stam says that’s the way they do it at Bingham Academy in Ethiopia. He eats dinner and suppers in the dorm dining room. We have started geranium plants now for the tables. The deep pink azalea blossoms are now very abundant in the brick well in the front yard of our apartment. It reminds me of the peonies at home. Our entrance is behind the Junior Dorm and cannot be seen from the front of the station, but is quaint and lovely when you enter our part.

Yesterday’s reading in “Faith’s Check book,” was from Matthew 10:42. “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water…he shall in no wise lose his reward.” I felt convicted because some of the children had asked from me cold water from my fridge and I had told them to get it from their own drinking water containers in their bathrooms. So today I told them they could have cold water at recess time, and they were real glad, and my reward now will be forthcoming!

One little boy, Bruce (the worst right now), asked for some string. The only string I have is some course twine on a huge ball and you take it out of the middle. I took this out and asked if it would do and he said yes. I asked how much and handed him the end to pull out what he wanted, but he kept on walking and when he was going out the door, I called for him to stop as I had not cut the string yet. I said, “Do you want it that long?” He said, “Yes.” Then I asked what it was for, and he said, “To tie up a grasshopper.”

Little Debbie was talking to her tiny 6-year-old sister and then she turned to me. “I am teaching her places. And do you know, she has never heard of Hongkong and she has never heard of Turkey!”

John Walberg (last year’s worst) was killing bumblebees. 5 bees is a plus on our plus-minus chart. (The bees are a bother and a danger. But the honey bees we do not kill as John has them neatly corralled and working in his new beehive in the garden.) And in the middle of all the banging he threw the cat in the kitchen. He said Gus was eating all his pluses.

 

Much love,  Mother & Ione

More stories from the dorm about this time are as follows:

Two small boys were “having fun” strapping each other with their belts and howling when they should have been on their beds quietly resting. I picked up one of the belts and said, “If anyone is going to do some strapping it is I!” And I smote each of the boys soundly with the belt. Then, still feeling rather superior, I backed up toward the door, but stepped right on the cat, who set up a howl that reduced us all to laughter.   –  Ione

Jonnie Lee: Aunt Ione, do you have one of those things that don’t have some things on?

Aunt Ione: Now let me see. What did you want to do with it?

Jonnie Lee: (holding up a piece of string) I want to play with the cat.

Aunt Ione: Oh, an empty spool! Yes, here’s one.

My littlest child here, Stuart Williams (grandson of Bill Deans of Nyankunde) is about half the size of the other boys at 6 years. He can’t jump over the barrel like the others, so he philosophically told me he was the man who gives the prizes! Yesterday he had as his job cleaning up the bathroom, and I found it all decorated with flowers. He said he did one special thing and that was it. There were flowers in every outlet and in all the toothbrush places.   –  Ione

In a letter to Leone and Ken on the 29th September, Ione writes:

…Something sweet I overheard on my day off thru the walls. Mrs. Kline (my day off replacement) gave out a letter to a little girl from her mother. The little girl exclaimed, “Oh, look, my Mother has made a mistake!” Another little girl (little Beth Davis, Chuck Davis’s daughter here for first term) said, “My Mother NEVER makes a mistake!” That’s the way I feel about you, Mother. Just about right all the time.   Much love, Ione & Mother

Ione receives another package from her sister and as usual sends thanks:

Dearest Sister,

Your package arrived this week and I was so thrilled to have it. When David and I saw that it was opened up at the top, and the plastic container too, and things in somewhat of a jumble, we expected that a lot of the things would be missing. But when we checked the list with it, only 3 hankies and 1 dishcloth are missing. Also, the salt, as it spilled out, and some of the coffee got mixed a little, but the loss was very slight. Thanks so much for everything. I was trying to use a hand-made set of wooden measuring spoons, but was not sure of their accuracy. And I had one glass measuring cup which Mrs. Snyder recently gave me. So now I can measure both wet and dry ingredients without washing the cup. And I was real glad for the pitchers, too, as I had shared what I had with Doctor Harry Stam who had not any pitchers. And I was glad for the salt and pepper shakers.

When I broke the one of my only set, Miss Lohrman gave me an extra one she had. Now I am well fixed with what you sent. And I was needing handkerchiefs, as so many of mine have gone to pieces as they were not new to start with. That coffee looks good, and has no acid in it.

I don’t have digestive problems except when I eat too much when I’m too tired. Thanks for the ointment, as my hands are needing it again. During the vacation it went away, but now I am putting some on every night and wearing white bobby socks over my hands. When I get a call in the night, I throw them off in a hurry, and jump into my slippers. By the way, my slippers are wearing out, too. Funny how they just don’t last very long. I’m using the kind that have rubber or plastic soles as the cloth ones long since went through. The ones Grandma helped Tim to buy for me, real pretty and I was hoping to keep them for best.

I am going every Friday to Mrs. Ward’s at the other end of the station, and it works out well, first an hour’s rest, then letter-writing. And I am not so tired when I go out to dinner and supper that day. But today I did not come here until after dinner, as it is the Day of Prayer and I went to that this morning. And there is another session at 4:45, so am typing fast so that I can finish this before I have to go.

I guess you heard about our financial bind. I think if we can hold steady the Lord will do a big thing. I have written to Al Larson and explained clearly how we stand (or how we don’t stand!) and if he thinks I shouldn’t try to spread myself so thin he will say. In the meantime, I have asked for an account to be opened up in Kampala, and if there is anything to put into it, I will have HQ send money there, after the boys’ come out. Mother has only written cheques for what I told her. It’s my own cheques that have bounced. But we may need to have HQ send 2/3 home and 1/3 here as there is never enough to take out the boys’ full allowance. The Lord is just as able to provide in one way as another. I told Al that when Hector went on into our heavenly Home, I was left to tie up the horses. And I sure didn’t want them to run wild.

Now I must go. I’m still up night after night with the children. This week besides the usual bathroom parade, there was an earache one night and last night malaria. But the Lord has given times during the day when the children are not here for me to get extra rest. And my appetite is very good. I have taken nearly a whole bottle of vitamins. I was so glad to have David here the night of the earache (the little Congolese girl) as he could go and get medicine from the nurse.   Much love,  Ione

Ione, on October 24th 1969, writes to Leone and Ken:

It is a beautiful sunny afternoon (my day off) and David is getting ready to go across the border to Arua with Mr. and Mrs. Clements. It is the rainy season and cold usually, but nice in the sun just now. David picked some sweet-smelling deep pink buds yesterday and today they are all in full bloom in two vases. It makes the room smell nice. Shells that we collected at Mombasa add to the decorations in the living-dining room. David and I had dinner at the Millers, and it was just like a picture-book meal, prettier than you would have seen in a hotel: breaded pork chops, stuffed baked potato with cheese on, buttered carrots, a tossed salad, baked pineapple pudding with whipped cream on, coffee. I am going back there for supper but David will stay overnight at Arua. Clements will serve him a picnic supper, then their breakfast and dinner tomorrow noon will be with English A.I.M. missionaries near Arua. I have asked Catherine Snyder to stay here tonight to help with the children. Just in case I get a complication which needs two.

I got 7 kids up last night and all beds were dry; only up twice after that, once for a little fellow who thought he should have been in the other’s bathroom parade. Then a little girl who worried because the side door was not fastened tight and the basenji dog might come in (one DID come into the Intermediate Dorm the other night!). At 5 AM, I struggled out of bed in the cold and made a cup of coffee and a gargle for my throat. I let the cat in, and he made a dash for a rat which he kept chasing but would not eat as it has an odour, a long-nosed kind of shrew about 6 inches.  The shrew got into the children’s area and when the cat went after it, the little girls were all aroused, then the boys, and the bravest little girl, a German girl named Mimi Scheuzger (the one who said she was werry werry sorry when she bit another girl!), slammed a bucket over it. Then I gave permission for the bravest of the boys (and the worst), John Walberg to go into the room and kill it. He had his shoe, but threw it aside when things got exciting, and just grabbed it with his hand. I said, “Oh, John, it’ll bite you!” “No,” he says, “I am holding its jaws so it can’t.” Then he proceeded to wring its neck with his bare hands. He said, “It’ll die quick, and not suffer.” By that time, it was daylight and the guard had built a fire in the big fireplace in the children’s Livingroom. So, we just stood around talking and listening (not many listening!) and they had a good time. We had devotions early and got the jobs done mostly before breakfast.

My check-up on kidneys came back clear and so far as I know, I am in good health, gaining a couple of pounds. Finally got the partial plate fitted in by the dentist, but it is out again just now as it gives a chance to heal the sores it made. I’ll try again in a few days.

David needs to mail this in Arua, so will leave a space.   Love, Ione & Mother

On the 26th October, Ione adds:

…I am also running low on party favour items. If anyone asks you, say little things like tiny dolls, balloons, tiny cars, puzzles, but no noisemakers as we have enough noise in the dorm. dining room. I did not use the little boat-shaped whistles for favours but once a month let the little boys blow them in the bathtub. Did I tell you the last time I did it, five little boys were blowing at once (3 in a tub and 2 waiting – it’s a real big tub), and it made a terrific racket. A wasp up in the ceiling was thinking he might make a house but I guess he changed his mind and then fell right into the tub. The blowing all stopped and everyone took a long look at the wasp wiggling in the water. Then little Steven Snyder said, seriously, “It was our blowing that did it.”   – Ione & Mother

At the beginning of November, Ione writes about plans for Christmas and mentions again her desire to be back at the UFM mission, she says:

Dearest Mother,

…I will try to get along until the January allowance. We need a trip to Bunia (perhaps to be shared with someone here) for flour, fat, milk, (powdered for safari) and a tarpaulin for the truck. The other one is just about in shreds and not big enough for our December journey. I would like you and Ken to hold on to the Lord for these food items and the tarpaulin. Barrie Morris is coming up from Banjwadi in Doctor Moore’s LandRover on November 27 to pick up his little boy and also Ruthie McAllister. We will have two less when we travel December 6. Barrie will also bring a tirfor (come-along), which is a kind of enlarged jack and pulley which you hitch to a tree and pull yourself out of the mud. We will have the use of this for the bad roads. Pray that we may get through as you remember last year that road was closed and we could not go. This is the rainy season. The McAllister’s have just sent a letter saying they are making great preparations for 3 Conferences and we hope to get right out to the end of UFM field, with Christmas on a shattered station where the 6 Boyulu martyrs worked. Pray for the 2 big boys going with us (Don Schuit and Larry Ward) that they will get a vision of the need there. And that my boys will never forget what it is like there until they have offered their lives to go as far as they can with the Gospel message.

I hope you are well. Do you think you can hold out for 2 years more?

I may ask to spend my last 2 years in UFM area. Do you think I would be a quitter here at Rethy? I know the Lord is able to help me cope with the little ones however, and I would not belittle the Lord’s power. But it would be a real pleasure to work there again, in spite of poor food, unhealthy climate and lonely vigilante. What do you think? I would need to tell them in next Field Council November 24.  Love, Ione

A few days later, Ione writes to her mother:

…Our station leaders, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Buyse are going to Kijabe and Nairobi tomorrow. David and I have been trying during the day whenever we could get some good things to eat ready to go for the RVA boys. Just now David is fitting into a tin some pieces of brownie, and chocolate no-bakes. The fudge is a bit soft and I guess we’ll keep it here to eat ourselves. We have had no chance of a way to send any tins of things all term, so guess the boys will be glad for it.

The children tire me a lot, but I do praise the Lord I’ve had pep enough to get quite a few letters off, and I have the address file nearly finished to send to EMF.

Having David here gives me some extra rest times, as he sits in the children’s living room and answers their calls.

Doctor Stam is real nice to me, but quite a bit older than I. Maybe you would be interested, Mother? He’s lots of fun and enjoys eating in the dining room. He plays the piano for the songs I lead at noon and supper at the tables, and have never yet found one he could not play in any key, too. He loves to get letters from his daughter Ruth in India. But I could not imagine looking after him on top of all I have now. However, if I did not have my hands so full my heart might be tempted to take a chance.   Much love, Ione

To Ken, written on the same day, 10th November, Ione sends:

Your letter saying it was hard to visualize our situation here touched my heart. For I feel I have not given you a good picture in my writing. David is bringing some pictures taken last holiday which will help, coloured pictures of the front of the dorm, the garage (just finished) and motorbike. Right now, I am bundled up in a bed (because of the cold) similar to the one I slept in at home, with a candle on the white dressing table. I just mixed up some Sanatogen & water for my nerves which I do every morning these days. And also, a cup of coffee. I washed in cold water and Ivory soap (the nice perfumed kind is finished). Now I am ready to get some more verses which help me to pray for my boys. A cow or two is lowing in the pasture just beyond us. They nearly always come there, but peaceful and interesting to the children. Soon there will be a new motor at Rethy that will be on all day but I don’t think at night.  I’ll need a 12-volt battery light when we can get it. It was a thrill to hear of a gift of $800 from Soldotna Bible Chapel. This is allocated support as it was sent as their usual monthly support (which has been increasing).

The Lord never lets us go too long! And He will supply your mounting needs, too, Ken. Is the expense of the car(s) your biggest worry? It’s OK to sell the station wagon. But Bud MacDougall & family could use it if some arrangement could be worked out between you & Mother & him.

…David has been a real help with the children. He spends quite a bit of time with them on Sunday. Yesterday I heard one little boy say he liked David’s jokes. One of my little boys broke his arm two days ago, his right wrist. Fell out of an avocado tree in the orchard across from Senior Dorm. A branch he put his foot on broke off as it was rotten. I have to help him get dressed. Glad he’s not one of the bed-wetter’s. He’s John Walberg, the peppery one from CAR. I’m getting lots of letters done these days; working on the mailing list, too. Three verses specially for you the last three days. I Sam. 25:29; 26:24; 30:19  Much love, Mother

For Lucille’s birthday, Ione writes, 19th November:

I don’t know whether this will reach you in time, but I wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday! I hope that it will be a real nice day, and that someone will make you a birthday cake and do special things for you, as you deserve it. I realize more and more now what you have done for me through the years, in your faithfulness in writing, and sending just the things that I most need. I have not written regularly and sometimes this must have been hard for you. I want you to know that I appreciate all that you have done and I do love you very much.

I wish you had an easier place to work, but I know that the Lord gives more grace when the burden gets greater. He’s done it for me especially lately when I needed to be enlarged in many ways. I appreciated you going all the way to Ken’s graduation. And that large coloured picture of you all out in front of the school was so real and very good of you and Maurice.

 

How is Linda’s mother? I was sorry to know that she has cancer. I would love to have a picture sometime of little Timmy.

When I had a physical check-up there was absolutely nothing the matter with me, so since then I have been feeling OK! I rest when I can (this week I had the first undisturbed night since the start of the term! And the last, too, as I haven’t had it since!) and take Sanatogen powder in water each morning which helps my nerves. This group of children sure wear down the nerves. But they will go home November 27 so you can be thinking of how relieved I’ll be on your birthday!

Will you tell Mrs. Krause I surely appreciate the handkerchiefs she sent in that box, and also the plastic shaker. I received the kicker nicks from Mother and some other nice things, too.

I guess you knew how we have been having problems with the money being so short, and then how a big gift went thru the mission from Doris’ church for $800. That was a real help, and shows how the Lord works in our behalf and just in time. Huhtas have been sending $5 regularly through their church, and I surely do appreciate that, as I know they have so little. The money you send through the Melvin Church comes regularly, too, and I surely am thankful for it.

Of those 5 pairs of hose you sent, I still have 3-1/2 pairs and they are doing fine. Just right for every day. They are heavy enough to keep my legs warm in the mornings. And strong enough to stand kneeling and scrubbing children.

I have almost finished the Whitfield ointment you sent. My hands are not bad, though! When it is gone, I think I can get some from the nurse here as I heard her say she had it now.

How did you get along on Jury duty?

There is some talk of getting someone else to take this dorm, and folk seem worried that I’ll have no help when David goes. A man is needed for the type of boys we have now. One especially is quite trying for he cannot keep quiet and doesn’t stay in bed when he is supposed to. He’s new, but by now he should begin to obey the rules. Pray for him, his name is Bruce Linquist (Alan Redpath’s grandson!). He has a high type of refinement, but has been a bad boy for some time now and needs to change.

I must close now and get ready for girls’ baths. I start the water running before they get out, so that it is ready. There are two little visiting girls of 5 and 6 years, who are hoping to come here soon. They belong to the MAF pilot Mr. Voetman. The oldest boy is already here in the Intermediate Dorm.

I am sitting between two pretty bouquets, one of sweet peas which smell like Aunt Katie’s house use to. The other two huge white dahlias. There are autumn-colours in painted daisies in another vase.

Mrs. Lee, the one in charge of Senior Dorm and my boss, went around this morning with the gardener and had him clean up and transplant and clip so that it will be nice for the end of term visitors. She gave me bleach bottles of blue plastic and the children are helping me put decals on them to use for Christmas presents for their parents. My Junior Choir sang for the Thanksgiving dinner; also last Sunday for church; and will sing with the Intermediate and Senior Choir in their cantata, but we just do one little number in, ‘Carol for Christmas’.

We’ll have the boys of RVA back here December 3; then leave for Kisangani December 6; we’ll return here December 23 and spend Christmas here, but the Sunday before Christmas at Boyulu. David leaves December 30. RVA boys January 6. AIM Conference here (200 people) January 6-12. School starts here 13th.  Much love, Ione

On the 23rd November, 1969, Ione writes to her mother and it would appear that there is a suggestion that Marcellyn’s two children also lodge with Leone, their grandmother. Ione’s response to the plan is:

It is OK for Walter and Margaret to live with you providing Walter is ready to always obey you. I would not want any trouble like when he refused to obey you and his folks did not see that he did. But it would probably be all right if his parents were not there. But you should have a clear understanding that he would always obey, or else he will be losing his temper and then you will have to spank him, and that would be hard on a woman your age as he is a big boy.

It is hard enough for me to spank these 8 year-olds and I just wish I had a man here to do it, as it takes so much out of me, but you just can’t let anything pass or it is worse next time. Ken can help a lot in this, and I think he will, and also the other boys when they are on vacation. You may run into problems when you let them go to the lake by themselves. I know they are big, and it may be alright, but with so many other kids around, you can’t be sure what will happen. I wonder if it might be good to make a rule that one of our big boys be there when they go? I presume Larry and Marcellyn plan to have their furlough in ’71; is that right? And it will be all right whenever they take their furlough. I wish they could take it when I come home, but if they did come in ’71 you would have the children just one year and not have to plan for the long summer of looking after them. But it is just as right for you to help them as to help the boys, and I am so glad that you feel you would like to do it. It makes our home more and more of a missionary home, doesn’t it?

Glad Paul is coming home for Thanksgiving. See what he thinks about the station wagon deal.

…No wonder Ken is gaining weight with such nice things to eat. David could put on a little. The RVA boys have all been having dentistry. It is much cheaper out here than at home, but even so costs quite a little. John talked to the dentist about his stainless-steel tooth in the front which is too small now. Doctor Walker said he could put in a plastic one in the 3rd term this year. I wonder if plastic is as good as porcelain? Steve had two cavities filled and then went to Choir practice and passed out. Then he had to go back to the dentist again, and he says it will take the rest of the term to do all. Tim might get braces for some teeth that are crowding but he might just pull a couple out. We may come back here in time for Christmas Day, and spend the Christmas Sunday at Boyulu. Love, Ione

The next day, Ione writes to Ken:

…This morning I told the Chairman of Rethy Academy Committee that I would like to turn my dorm over to a couple next fall, as I felt that it was better for the children to have a man here. This term was so hard that I don’t feel I could cope with new children again, though I may be able to carry on thru the rest of this year as the children are used to me now. They will probably call me in at the Field Council this week about this, and it will also come up in the R. A. Committee meeting, too. But I will accept their decision as the Lord’s will for me. I do know that God is able to make me big enough for the job, if these folks here think I can do it. The Lord has many times shown me that He is a good husbandman.

I don’t know whether they’ll give me another job here, or give me help, or send me back to the UFM area. Will you be praying about it?

I am feeling fine and have a good appetite. Am looking forward to seeing the RVA boys again soon. I’m going to have David try to get some candied fruits in Arua and make some fruit cakes and special things for Christmas. We have a new sack of good Pillsbury flour.  Much love,  Mother

In the run up to Christmas, Ione writes to Lucille:

Thanks for getting a box ready. I trust it will come all right. Now we have to pay 100% duty, but I am sure it will be worth it to have something from you.

We are getting ready, first for the arrival of the boys, and then for the Kisangani trip on Saturday. A village ‘sewer’ (David says to say it’s one who sews, not a sewer pipe!) came to work all day for us, sewing on our ragged and torn tarpaulin. He used pieces of animal skins and did a nice job, even making a new hem on one side and new eyelets. It makes the tarpaulin smaller now, but it’s all we have. But we hope to buy one in Bunia on our way. But at least we have this, if we can’t get one. I talked on the radio today with Banjwadi and learned the roads are muddy but passable. We got our last instructions and some more things to bring (cheese, icing sugar, airforms, etc.) and McAllisters, who are at Boyulu now, will take them to Kisangani for the Ekoko trip from there.

We are trying to get a live pig, so that will need to be looked after all the way, too! Can’t you just see us? Especially when we get bogged down in mud. Then only the pig will be happy!

Glad Ruth made the right decision about the Nursing Home. The Lord will bless her for it.

I will be staying on here to work. The Lord has so marvellously undertaken in all the areas where I claimed victory. (Mother wrote and told me to claim victory in some more of my weak spots!!) I can trust Him to work for me continually, as He ALWAYS causeth us to triumph.

That was a great verse you sent – Colossians 1:11. I am trusting Him to “strengthen with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” Quite an order, but I’ll take it all.

I must close now, but wanted to get a note to you before we leave. I trust you will have a Happy Christmas Day and a real good year ahead.   Much love, Ione

On the same day, 1st December, Ione writes to Ken:

I enjoyed both your letters of November 5 and 16. And I appreciate your taking time to write such nice ones. I’m glad that the Lord is helping you to give the right answers in school. I am wondering if your advisor has given you the results yet for the French test. David wore the tie you gave him and it did look nice, not too bright, and the other boys here seemed to like it. David sang in the Christmas cantata with them, and it did sound nice. The Rethy Academy Staff presented him with $120 for his help in dorm and maintenance this term. He was surely surprised.

Today we were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Bob Robinson, Senior. He went very quickly two days ago and was buried yesterday at Aba. They told Paul and Keith to come ahead as planned on the bus tomorrow, but I guess the bus ride will be kind of sad. Robinsons were stationed at Adi. I suppose they will let Bob, Junior, know as soon as possible. I heard he was either married or going to soon be.

Mrs. Muchmore said in a recent letter that Southards (Marshall and Thelma) may be able to come back to the Theological Seminary this fall. The Muchmore’s are due furlough then. They will come here Wednesday, December 3, to pick up their two boys who will be coming from Nebbi with David. David will have around 11 passengers, and maybe some baggage for a missionary. I am planning supper for quite a number who will go on to Bunia the same day. It will be nice to have the boys’ home again.

I am feeling fine now and have gained some weight. Ever since I claimed the victory in some of my weak spots, the Lord has honoured His word and things have been going better: finances, letter-writing, managing the children, my cold and nerves, etc. I am glad that all power is given unto HIM in earth as well as in heaven.

It is chilly here, but not nearly so cold as it would be where you are. I hope there will be ice for David to do some skating. How are you getting the snow away these days? Did you get the windows washed before it go too cold? And the leaves cleared for before it snowed?

I was glad to hear about your Biological Lab (?test) at OU. Did you find the ones that looked like Papa and Mama?

Thanks for your loyalty and the assurance of your love as well as the poem.

I guess it is pretty sure now that I will stay here, as I told the Rethy Academy Committee that I felt that what I needed was not replacement, but enlargement. They were very helpful, and arranged for older girls to help me, and perhaps sometimes the boys, too. And I will have a battery light in both bathrooms, and an inter-com. Tonight Mrs. Miller said she thought maybe Mr. Miller could come to my dorm Saturday mornings and supervise the boys’ work while I see to the girls’ baths and work. That would be a help. I think I’ll get along OK. I told them I preferred the ‘little’ problems.

It would be good for Paul and David to be thinking what they should do next summer. You will be busy, I suppose, with summer sessions. If any of the subjects David missed this fall are offered in Moody summer school, David might take advantage of that.

How did you get along at Hunter Creek? I love you very much, Ken.     Mother

Ione reaches Kisangani, on the 11th December, pens a letter to Leone, Ken and Paul:

We wrote a joint letter at Lolwa to Paul, but this letter is to all, as we think Paul may be home by the time this arrives. We are all well, and even after a very strenuous trip, are raring to go on, perhaps to Bopepe for this week end. I am using the typewriter of Isobel Whitehead Bray, with whom I am rooming here in the corner apartment at UFM Headquarters. David, John and Steve have next room. Tim and Larry Ward have a room in McAllister’s house. Don Schuit stayed in Bunia with Brashlers, but we’ll pick him up on our way back to Rethy; he will spend Christmas there with us; also, Sue Schmidt, whom we are taking back with us.

We arrived at Spees around 7 P.M. last night. Have just finished a lovely dinner of roast pork & dressing and all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie with ice cream (19 people). I am going to have each greet you.

We surely did have a hard time in the mud. You can hardly imagine the amount of mud we passed through (and stood and sat in!). The tir-for (come-along) was much too weak to be of help and broke several times. After passing through a 7-foot hole, we came to a place between Niania and Bafwasende where a Greek truck full of live turkeys was hopelessly bogged down. It was beside a deep hole filled with water and very smelly (someone said there were two dead pigs in it!). Where I was sitting in the back seat on the right, the top of the bank was level with the window, so I could crawl out the window during the night when I needed to make a forest trip! On the other side of it was a narrow shelf and a high wall of mud. The boys built a road in this stretch and by 3 A.M. we were bogged down in this, so all climbed into the truck (4 in front, 4 in back) and sat till dawn; high wall on one side, smelly hole on the other; when the daytime pipi flies stopped bitting, the night insects started, so we were uncomfortable. We kept the windows as tightly closed as we could bear. We had a good lunch before dark, so got through the night.

(Everyone was miserable, even the Greek trucker. Ione poked her head out the window first thing in the morning just as the Greek trucker smoked his morning cigarette from his window across the smelly mud pit. She cordially greeted him with the standard, “Bon jour!”, but was brought back to reality when he snarled, “Quelle bon jour?!”)

In the morning just as I had wangled an open fire and had made tea and was passing around some date-nut bread, the three trucks behind us attached their ropes again and this time succeeded in pulling us backward out of our place, and then the last of them went through and waited to see if we would make it across. I was praying with my eyes shut and it seemed we just flew over it. We went through many more bad places but none so bad as that. Got into Boyulu 9 A.M.

 

We kept hearing rumours that the bridge was out at Km. 92 from Stan, but we felt we should keep going. If it was true, we could return to Km. 144 at Maganga; but soon we realized that we would not have enough gas to do that. So, we decided we could ask for a couple of rooms in a Congolese house and stay the night. But we all were pretty sure that a radio announcement about the bridge would reach Mr. McAllister’s ears and he would meet us there and tell us what to do. And sure enough, by 5:15 P.M. we came to a great line-up of trucks and there was Bobbie. There were a few tears of joy to see him. He had the LandRover on the other side of the great rushing river (Tschopo, I think). He said if the boys would form a human chain, they could pass our stuff over the wide-open spots of the trestle and Bobbie said, “It is dangerous, but if you are careful, you can do it.” The flies were absolutely terrible there and our spray had no effect at all. The boys’ bare legs were covered with welts. But they did their job carefully and when it came my turn, they just about carried me over, they were so afraid I would lose heart and fall into the dashing water.

We could not sleep at all at Boyulu when we got there at 9 A.M., but I did take time to adjust our food and pick up all the camp equipment we had formerly left there. So now we had another nice lunch all ready to eat, and when we got all the important things across (the pig had to stay and one or two heavy pieces, but Bobbie left a guard to look after it and sleep in the truck) we stopped in a cleared spot and thanked the Lord and had some hot tea which Bobbie had brought, with our nice sandwiches of cheese and salami, and brownies. We arrived at Kisangani at 11:30 and had some warm supper and a good bath and bed. Mud was caked all over everyone and the next day when I washed my hair, it took twice as much shampoo. I put a towel over my pillow until I could wash my hair.

We are rested now. And Bobbie and David and Billy have gone again to get the truck and pig, as we hear the bridge is to be finished by noon, or they will put planks across. We brought 60 kilos of potatoes & eggs & many other vegetables, too. All vegetables were held up on the other side, so all of Kisangani was happy to have some fresh vegetables. Bobbie went first thing this morning and got some vegetables. as they are so scarce in Kisangani. Half of the truck’s vegetables had spoiled though and had to be dumped out. I don’t know how the turkeys made out. We hope the pig is OK yet. McAllister’s have a big deep freeze which they have started up and will get the pig butchered and stored before we leave Saturday probably for Bopepe. It is nice to be with Isobel again. She is just the same, not any older looking. Viola Walker hopes to come out when Carpers return in July. Southards may come in September, Bill Gilvear in March. He broke his arm and had to wait until it was healed. He had a car accident. Mrs. McAllister broke her elbow a few weeks ago, but did not have a cast, and it is better now. Betty O’Neal is here, also Olive McCarten.

I think John will come home via Kinshasa in August, but will be looked after there by Gsheidles. And if there is a change in New York will be met by AIM or UFM folk. Pray much for a Conference of CPC to meet in Nbandaka (Coquilhatville) as the future of evangelical missions depends on the decisions they will make in February Merry Christmas to you all!

Love Ione & Mother

The trip and time spent in Kisangani has not been elaborated on. Ione writes on the 21st December to Ken and Paul from Boyulu:

Just a greeting from us all while we are here. We arrived a little after 7 P.M. last night having left Kisangani around noon. Sue Schmidt came along, to spend Christmas with us. Some Congolese passengers; a patient for hospital at Nyankunde; some children of a BMS nurse – 3 children – 2 men & 1 woman in all. Road was quite bad in two spots. We broke a main spring on right front and the boys are looking over Chester Burk’s old Chev truck to see if the spring of it would fit our truck.  –Ione & Mother

From Kampala, Ione writes on 30th December:

…I could not get Hermes typewriter ribbons anywhere. Mother, could you get 4 for me and send them to Crossmans if you can. They’ll bring them out. Also 2 pairs cheap tennis shoes size 9 as narrow as possible to make my everyday shoes last longer. The black ones are cracking. Or clinic shoes #9 triple A.

I love you so much and appreciate all you are doing. I’m left with only 3 now! (as David has flown to the US) – Ione

And

Dearest Mother,

Several letters we had written together and one separately, I forgot at home. They were beside my typewriter and I had a little more to write. Then I did not get back to them as I thought early the morning before leaving. It was the account of our trip to Kisangani mostly, a hard journey but really worth every bump and mud hole. We made a tape like the other one and a copy will come to you as well as Al Larson, from Ireland.

David will tell you more about it. He has 3 Diaprimes in his jacket, and should take one a week for 3 weeks, as he has so recently been in malaria country. When he gets in cold climate it may bring on sickness.

David has taken responsibilities well while he was with me, but is still slow. His attitude seems O.K.

We were stopped 7 times yesterday beside regular border crossings. They were looking for weapons, as the Uganda pres. was shot last week. He will recover however. We were advised here not to go out last night, so we went to bed. The journey was tiring, on top of the Kisangani trip.

Could you tell me what is the bank balance? I don’t want an overdrawn again.

Ask David for a picture of me & Tim. I am well. I just need my hair done again. I will buy a perm today. We have a lot of shopping to do for other people & will take back 500 lbs for the dorm. I want to wish you a Happy New Year. I am going to try & make a reservation for John to go from East Africa in August with A.I.M. friends. I must do up my hair for a little while as we talk to an important lady after breakfast!  Love, Ione     I love you.

In some ways this has been a difficult year for Ione, a single mother with 6 boys to guide and support. It is difficult enough when they all live under the same roof and so much harder when in different countries/ continents. Her trust in the boys’ carers at school in Kijabe has been dented but she relies and her faith and her belief that God will not let her down but meet all her needs.

Ione has no control over the world that her boys live in so invests in guiding and directing them to see life through her eyes and steel themselves against other influences.

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