Chapter 29 – Tying Up the Loose Horses

Chapter 29

Tying Up the Loose Horses

Ione is back at Rethy preparing for another year as a house parent, it is a role she enjoys, being with the little ones. As a single mother she has six ‘big horses’ to steer and guide through their transition years. A quote she uses is ‘Hector has gone on ahead and left me to tie up the loose horses’!

The 6th January 1970, finds Ione up at 4.50 am, writing to the family back home, she writes:

Dearest Mother, Ken, & David,

4:50 A.M.

I’ve written notes for each of the boys to carry with them as they leave for Kijabe at 6:30. And I want them to each add a line and mail this in Kampala. If they forget they can mail from school.

We had a good holiday. We missed David when we returned from Kampala. Had a real good trip. Left at 5 A.M. and arrived here before radio time – 1 P.M. Had to pay 33 Z (Zaires – local currency) for Dorm paint (customs) but managed to fund it among all of us. We’re busy receiving Conference visitors. McAllisters are here; Pearl Hiles, Isobel Jones and many others. The rest came today. Tables set at dorm – 6 big tables of 25 at a table!  Much love, Mother and Ione

PS: Please try to reserve next summer the UFM Retreat time for David & Paul, even if Ken is in school.

Ione manages to get a letter to Ken, January 11th, despite pressures of helping to host a conference:

Dearest Ken,

Just a note before the busy last day of AIM Conference. There have been around 175 people eating together all week. The meetings have been good. Highlight of business was their decision to merge with the African Church, and to come under one “personalite sinile” (personalite simile means like-minded), the legal representation before the government. UFM did this a number of years ago, and with real blessing.

I have had several nice chats with Doctor and Mrs. Becker, and he asked quite a bit about you. He says if you feel the Lord would have you take your medical studies where he did, at Hahnemann (spelling?) you should get your application in now.

 Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia is a tertiary care centre named after Samuel Hahnemann, the German founder of the medical theory of homeopathy in the mid 1800’s. There were other Homeopathic hospitals in the world – London, Glasgow etc. Although an ‘alternative’ branch of medicine, many doctors, especially in Germany use it as part of their medical tool kit). Bill Spees’ boy, Allen, is there now. I have heard that the studies are hard for him, and he has always been a straight A student. When I asked Doctor Becker about this, he said, “Oh, I don’t think he is having trouble now. I wrote and told him he should not miss his sleep, but to keep regular hours and since he has been doing this, his mind is clearer.”

I am glad you learned this lesson while at Moody. So many folks here have asked about you here and have looked at your picture. Epps are in real sorrow over Peter as he is ill with an incurable kidney disease, and still a Mormon. Pray for him. They (he & wife) are in Chicago area. Tim is getting engaged to the Mennonite girl he knew at MBI.

Love, Mother

Ione also manages to pen a quick letter to her mother:

Just a note before my conference guests waken. I have a dorm full, but they are very considerate and quite independent (4 families with small children, including the Chuck Davises). Mrs. Davis set my hair yesterday and cut off the yellow ends. I wish I had some wash ‘n tint to make the yellow all go. I sang a duet last evening at the musicale and wore my new turquoise & purple dress you sent. Sang a song (with Roscoe Lee – Senior Dorm. parent) from the Easter Cantata “No Greater Love.” The song was “Come Unto Me.”

A lady here at A.I.M. Conference put $50 in my dollars account as a gift. I would like you to take the $5 tithe from that from the bank. Also $20 for your birthday. I do hope you will have a nice birthday. I love you very much and appreciate what you are doing.

I feel good and am up to 130 lbs. Just now a sore throat, but it is a cold time & damp. Well, I’m about ready for the 16 children next Monday. I received the trinkets from Sunnyvale, Christmas stockings from Eunice Phil.; David can tell you about them. I received 2 dresses made for me by Esther Huhta. One is too tight, the other a bit snug. If she makes anymore, she should make them bigger. They’re real nice & nice style. Had nice talk with Olive Love about Washington.  Much love,  Ione

Ione has discovered more about the medical school she has mentioned to Ken and writes on 18th January:

Dearest Ken,

I think there is someone going over the border tomorrow and I want to send this brochure to you. It was prepared by Doctor Roger Moore who is probably by now already gone on furlough to England. He wants to see a hospital built when he comes back.

In the meantime, Doctor and Mrs. John Kyle, England, UFM, have just finished their first Swahili tests and are now at Nyankunde getting experience at the combined missions medical centre. I think they will go to the Kisangani area at the end of this year. Kyles are recently married and are expecting their first baby. Real nice couple. She is a teacher. I have read this brochure over and it gives a good overall picture of our UFM field medically speaking. The one thing Roger did not take into consideration is that, wherever there is a hospital, people move their houses nearby and plan all their living and gardens with that in mind, so he could not judge entirely by the numbers of people he found now at Bongondza. Nearly everybody has moved away because there is no doctor there, but since they are Babuas and count it their real home, would readily come back. I would be interested to know how many Babuas there are, as that would be the real test.

Since writing to you about applying at Hahnemann where Doctor Becker went, I have heard that they are strong on Homeopathy medicines. Doctor Becker is, too, but I don’t see that it is against him and he has a long record of usefulness to the Lord out here. I think homeopathy recommends small pills of various kinds that are different from the usual kind.

(Homeopathy’s main principles are to:

  • Treat like for like – so instead of using antibiotics to treat infection, they would use a drug that promotes a similar response in the body as infection. Some remedies would be made from the bacteria – these remedies are called nosoides.
  • Minimal doses – the smaller the dose, the more effective the remedy
  • Single remedies – so one remedy would be used and only changed if there was no response
  • Individualised care – Hahnemann believed that people were individuals and reacted in their own individual way to illness and by treating the individual’s personal symptom experience, healing would occur
  • Holism- the doctor would treat the whole person, rather than just focus on the physical aspects being presented, a person is the sum of all their parts.

Many of the British missionaries undertook a course on Homeopathy before travelling abroad. Ione mentions Dennis Parry; however, both my parents had the basic training before embarking on their missionary work.))

I have no definition here of it, but you can look it up in a bigger dictionary. Dennis Parry believed in it, too. I just thought I should tell you. I would not say that you should not go there because of that. You could write to Allen Spees about it, if you find the address. The name of the medical school is in, “Another Hand on Mine.”

What would you think about Paul spending most of the summer in DR with Dawson’s? Aunt Marcellyn wrote me and I said to ask Grandma, but it was OK with me. I had hoped at least 2 of you boys could go to the UFM Retreat. But of course, seeing a UFM field would be even better.

I trust you will remember to help Grandma to have a nice birthday. I’ve had no mail since David left so only hope he is getting along all right.

Doctor Herb Atkinson is a good one to ask for advice about your medical school. He is at Wheaton just now. You could reach him c/o Larry Brown, 318 E. Harrison, Wheaton, Ill. 60187. But I feel you should be getting your application in soon.

I am getting along all right. The Lord is meeting me at every tough spot. Yesterday a living room bench broke, and I thought I would be real independent and fix it myself. I went to the workshop thinking I would ask the carpenter for 3 or 4 of those curly things you nail into two pieces to fasten them together. But whom should I meet but BOTH Paul Brown and Roscoe Lee! I asked for the bits, and Roscoe said, “What did you want it for?” And then this led to their asking a big boy to come and do it for me!

I will close now and give this to Millers as they are eating at the dorm this noon. And they know who is leaving Rethy first.

“My Name shall be there.” I Kings 8:29       Much love,   Mother

As it is January, Ione gets a ‘birthday letter off to her mother on 26th 1970:

Dearest Mother,

I received your January 2 letter and am glad to hear that David got along all right. I suppose by now he is in school at Moody. I am sorry you had to make several tries to find the right plane that he was on. I will try to have you better informed when John comes. I believe the line was changed at London and he had to take the Pan Am from there on, but the time should have been 7:25. Anyway he got there and you were there to meet him, and that is good. John will probably come with AIM missionaries, not sure yet which, but I have asked for a reservation already on what they call the Raftim flight, a chartered plane, but may not be chartered all the way, but only to Holland. Did David get his money from UFM yet for this semester? I should have had him write to Mr. Sarginson.

…I am trusting the Lord to give real victory in the matter of finances. I am not discouraged, but feel I can wholly trust Him to keep us out of utter failure in this regard. And I am so thankful for your help and that you never blame me. It is nice to have such an understanding partner in our enterprise.

Glad Paul planned to come home for overnight to accompany David to Moody. Was David able to get some clothes? When I saw how many things were left in his drawer here, I wondered if he even had enough to get him there! But all of his clothes left here were old, and the boys can use them. I trust he was able to get a foot locker or luggage of some kind, as the suitcase I mended was too frail for many more trips. Did David get to visit with Ken? Well, I hope that your birthday on the 27th will be a happy one. I am fine and getting along OK. The Snyder girl slept here 2 weeks and now a Ryckman girl will take her turn. I do enjoy the battery night lights and the inter-com works fine. The little coloured girl, Julie, wanted me to pin on her dress front a picture of a water-buck which she had saved from the children’s meetings during Conf. She called it her water-bucket!

Love, Ione

And to Ken:

Dearest Ken,

I am writing you last, but not because you are last in my thoughts. You are always my first love.

I am so thrilled about your grades at University. How did you manage to do it? I was feeling that you would be getting quite low marks after your letter saying you had a D. This is good, and just goes to prove that the Lord is to do the exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!

I like your promise of Exodus 33:15 – “If Thy presence go not with me, carry me not up hence.” For it surely is of no use to go ahead if the Lord is not with you. But I am glad He is with you. I often pray, “Take not Thy Spirit from me”

This week we had a check for the dorm from Crossmans for $50 which was given by all Rethy former students who came to an evening’s prayer gathering at their house. They had a Chinese Auction, where you bring some crazy time and then it is put up for auction and everyone bids and then pays for whatever they get. The money amounted to $42 total and Crossmans put the rest in to total $50. They served some interesting foods; among them the strawberry porridge like in Rethy days (did they serve it when you were here?)

The kids want the money to be used for tiling in the dorm bathrooms. We’ll probably get tiling on the boys’ side, as the girls’ side is already tiled in green.

I am feeling fine and getting along OK. Pray especially about our finances. The devil would surely like to bring us down to failure in this regard. But the Lord will give the victory in this, as well as in the form letter. And pray for my discipline of these little children.   Much love, Mother

Ione bombards Ken with lots of questions in her letter of the 1st February, no doubt because he is the better correspondent out of his brothers:

Thanks for your letter of January 11, written with David’s. Glad David could visit you at University. I surely appreciate and read all those items sent by you from the newspaper. Is not 18 hours pretty heavy? How much studying a day do you do? About how many hours in all? Did you say you would finish at O.U. next year? Glad you are able to hold out against those who cheat. I told Paul Henry Brown and he said he had the same trouble even at Wheaton College. He was pretty good in math and science and they would want to copy whole pages of what he had done, so he just refused. The Lord will bless you and I am sure already has, with good marks, for taking the right stand against things dishonest.

How did the missionary map turn out? What did David buy in the clothes line (I don’t mean that he would wear a clothesline!) before he left? Did he get a suitcase or foot locker? Have you finished the Scholarship request yet? Have you taken your last amount you can get from UFM or is there yet one? I know you can’t work with the present schedule of classes, so the Lord will do something for you.

I had Millers here for a palm-fat-chicken African supper last Friday night (also an African family) and they were asking about how you were managing financially. I told them I thought you were on you last UFM amount. Mrs. Miller said, “What he needs now is a wife who has finished her training and can work to help him through!” I hadn’t thought of that. But it seems a bit out of balance in the husband-wife relationship, and might get them off to a bad start!

I am sending Tim 10 shillings in this mail for his birthday. Can you use the enclosed $1 to put with more perhaps to get something for David for his birthday next month?

How is the witnessing and contacts now at University? Does it still seem like a mission field? Tim says he is working on his Navigator’s Course, and would like to see Steve and John doing it, too. Pray for John as he goes on the Senior Safari *** – February13-16 dates will put in later, that he will honour the Lord. David did not when he went on his safari.

Tell Grandma I received the things that came in Isobel Jones’ drum. They arrived in a box by plane from her station, Aba. I was so glad to have everything there and will write to the Eunice Philathea Class now. I also received a lovely dark red suit (3-piece) from Alice Miller, and a turquoise blue warm housecoat. And some underpants for the boys.

If you and Grandma can get the form letter brought up-to-date I could try to send it from here, having it printed at Nyankunde or Kijabe.

Keep going, and be a good soldier for Jesus’ sake, and don’t feel sorry for yourself.   Much love, Mother

If Ken gets a letter, mother gets one too:

I don’t know whether I ever told you that I enjoyed the joint letter which was written on Thanksgiving Day. I was wondering if Paul did not bring a friend home from school for that day as was suggested previously.

…I would like to have a copy of Mary Baker’s ideas on relationships between Congolese and missionaries. There is a packet of about 5 or 6 pages on typewriter paper somewhere in with my book materials. It was found after Mary’s death among things she left at home. It is very good, and just now as the A.I.M. is just beginning a closer relationship with the African church, one of the Field Council members (Chuck Davis) would like to have it as an aim. It is just as though one from the dead is speaking to guide us in our present relationships. A.I.M. just voted on a move that U.F.M. took before the rebellion, what they call fusion with the church. It means there is only one representative voice before the government and that is an African. It is a real step toward a genuine indigenous church. It means humbling on the part of the missionary, and sort of writing off everything that belongs to you, as you would have to do anyway if you had to evacuate. But it makes a wonderful spirit, and I believe is God’s plan for right now. They did not do it in KENYA and already there are suspicions, and lack of confidence and a grasping of material things. I am sorry to give you the work of finding and copying it, but as you read it you will see what I mean and how important it is for this large missionary body to have it. I don’t know the title, but it speaks of our going a little bit farther in the giving of ourselves to them as we seek to serve Christ together.

The picture enclosed was taken during the AIM Conference and includes most of the Moody Bible institute Alumni at Rethy just then.

You asked about how the pig stood the Kisangani trip. He had so much character and when he looked at us through his long black eye lashes you just knew he was one of the group. He was very cooperative and went in and out of the truck with very little trouble for a 150 lb. thing. The boys made a special cage for the very back end of the truck so that he could go out over the tailgate. He had his private supply of dried corn and his own dish and Steve especially got water for him whenever we stopped by a river. Also, David McAllister. But David was a little bold when we stopped at Bunia at Muchmore’s for dinner that day. Mrs. Muchmore gave us cold water and Fizzies just as we were getting in the car. There were 3 glasses left and David asked Mrs. Muchmore if he could have them. She was suspicious and asked, “What is it for?” He rather ashamedly said, “For the pig.” Well, Mrs. M. took a dim view of that and showed him where to get water for the pig! He really didn’t expect ice water as he was a very agreeable pig. We did not have a bad smell either as he kept the odour to his own area, even when we were stuck in the mud so long (13 hours).  Much love,   Ione

Now that Ione’s mother is caring for her sons, Ione’s requests when she is short of things go to her sister:

Thanks for your January 22 letter. And thanks for your interest in John’s yearbook. He gets some renumeration for every sponsor he gets, and he needs money right now. I think this year’s book will be better.

Time out while I kill some bees. There was a whole swarm in my apartment when I came back from church yesterday. They came down the chimney, and some still are alive. We had to smoke & spray them. But they are not John’s swarm. His are happy in their hive. This swarm wanted a hive & tried first to live in Mr. Brown’s pigeon house. If John were here, he might make another hive.

I am feeling fine. Am trying to write lots of long-due letters just now while the children are at school. My student helper just now is a 7th grader, but very conscientious.

Thanks for your telephone number. The best way to reach me quick is via AIM headquarters. They have a short-wave operator near there and he talks once a week to Nyankunde Medical Centre 5 hours from here. Nyankunde is in touch with Rethy via radio every day.

I would like some more Whitfield’s ointment. But my hands are OK now.

I got enough party favours to start this term. Then Mrs. Kline brought me some little cars. But they sure go fast. I am economizing by putting the special toy only in the birthday child’s & in the rest only a balloon & 2 pieces of candy. But it would be nice to have a trinket or toy, plus a balloon & 2 or 3 pieces of candy. They should be marked outside for girl or for boy. They are used 8 at a time, sometimes 9, depending on number at a table, toilet paper rolls covered with pretty paper. All candy should be wrapped. I could use at least 200 readymade, plus any extra stuffing’s you can get.

I’m going to a UFM Conference at Banjwadi March 23-27, but will fly. They are going to get a couple to be here during that time. He is a practical man, and maybe will be able to fix a few things here (fridge, washing machine, both not working just now!). (Ione must miss her handy man – Hector could fix anything and frequently did).

I’m so glad for news of Ruth & Gary; I got 2 nice dresses from Esther. She’s making a jumper. I sent her $10 . Much love, Ione

To get all her letter writing in, Ione starts at 3am on this to Ken:

I am enclosing a bank transfer to a Greek man, so that Grandma can check the bank balance before she mails it, so that I won’t be overdrawn.

Thanks for your January 25th letter. A good verse you gave from Revelations. We need the blood of the lamb, and we need to give a testimony.

I was writing John early yesterday morning and mentioned that the bees were beginning to come down my chimney (not John’s swarm). And in the afternoon when I returned from the missionary service, as I walked into my apartment, I heard a noise like my teakettle singing. At first I thought my little 7th grade assistant had put the kettle on. Then I saw that it was the entire swarm in my living-dining room, hanging in clusters on the window sills, etc. Paul Henry Brown came and with John’s smoker which he borrowed last week to get this same swarm out of his pigeon house. Then he saw they were still coming in via the chimney, so he built a rag fire and smoked them out there; then sprayed them with bug spray & they died. Too bad to lose so many. If John had a second house, they could go in. But his own beehive is very active now and full. The gardener is complaining as he can’t go anywhere near them to clean the garden! He says, “They don’t like me!”

Can you not use that application for fall finances? I hope you can continue through the summer but you must not go at it too hard, and then not do your best. Will there be time after August 13 for a holiday? Was that your last $500 from UFM? What needs to be done yet on Paul’s boat? How was Paul going to get his 6 weeks’ requirement for mission field experience, or camp work?

Life is going smooth enough here in the dorm so that I can spend several hours each week day in letter writing. Pray for these letters that they may not just be a waste of words, but that they might go like arrows to the hearts of people.

I love you, Ken. Thanks for being such a good son. Thanks for being thoughtful of Grandma.   Lovingly, Mother

Ione tells Ken a few days later that she has managed 50 letters in a week. She says:

I am still going hard at it. But had just a little set-back with a kidney infection, and the sulfa medicine for 5 days makes me more tired, but I have only one more day on the pills. The discomfort of the kidney infection has stopped.

The boys from RVA need to come home a week early. We think it is because of some political doings in Kenya. I will be glad to have them early. Just hope that things are not too serious there. The same day I plan to return from the conference at Banjwadi, the boys will come, so we may be able to work it out together for the truck to pick me up when they arrive.  Much love,  Ione & Mother

Most of Ione’s letter writing over the past two years has focussed on her family, mainly her sons, and her friends and supporters have missed out as she explains in a letter to Lucille on 18th February:

I was writing furiously to all the people who had sent gifts in the past two years as I was hopelessly behind (got around 75 done last week), and this morning I was writing to Westwood Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, and I became concerned that I was not writing even to my own nephew there, and thus I started and finished a good letter to Larry and Linda. It was such a joy to write them as they are such a nice pair; I also wrote to Gary and Ruth. Since it was rapidly becoming a Peterson Day, I turned to Jim and Sue, and then I remembered that you said they were going to stop with you on their way to Bob Jones. I would like their address before I write to them. Could you send it, please? And I am going to keep track of when I write to my relatives, as the Bible says to “hide not thyself from thine own flesh.”

I had a letter of reprimand from Mr. Sarginson about my letter-writing, so have set aside the first period after the children go off to school each school day, unless a child is sick or there is a birthday that I have to prepare for. I am not doing as much in the dorm, but I feel I am putting first things first. Mr. Sarginson said it would not be any good if I did a real good job and even prayed a lot, it I lost touch with my supporters, who were just at the point of dropping me for lack of letters!

I noticed that your gifts of $5 each month are now coming in your name only. Is there a special reason for this? I do appreciate this continued help very much.

You can tell Mother that I have a booking a flight for John for August 9th from Nairobi, but I have written to another more expensive airline, the same one David went on, to see if they have an earlier date, as we cannot all stay in rented rooms that long. John will graduate July 28th, and we must leave RVA the next day as they cannot accommodate people after that. I have inquired about a cottage at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean where the boys love to be (where John went on his Senior Safari). But have not heard as yet. I don’t like the environment there, as there are many fundamental missionaries who let their kids do questionable things and it might be a constant battle, like last August. But John will not have to come alone as David did, if he goes in August.

I am wondering how Mother is? Did she see a doctor yet?

The RVA boys will be back here 6 days earlier than expected. We have not heard why, but the recommendation was made by the station leader at Kijabe. And we think it might be because of some planned political meetings or that the unrest that has been more and more evident lately makes it wiser to have the kids off the Kijabe station.

Congo is at the present time much more stable than Kenya. However, we have some new problems just now, too. Yesterday soldiers came on our Rethy airfield; and were stationed at the nearest local village, Kwandruma. This was due to a border battle fought in Mahagi (1 hour away) with armed Simbas who were trying to force their way back into Congo from Uganda. It will probably mean we may not get our mail for a while unless we get it through Bunia. And if our letters come to you stamped with Congo stamps you will know that we can’t use that way anymore, because of cramped relationships with Uganda. They say 17 were killed. I am glad the Congo soldiers are on their toes to keep out the invaders, but Uganda should not have let them in and it may make it hard to cross the border.

David will remember that when we went to see him off, we were searched six times by Uganda police, looking for arms as it was just a week or so after their President had been shot (not fatally), and the soldiers and police always asked us if there was any trouble in the Congo. We could truthfully say there was none. Now I don’t know what they would say! We will meet the boys at the border on March 27, not me but someone driving my truck and hope they get over OK. That is just when I will be coming back (I hope) by plane from Kisangani from the UFM Field Conference. So, the boys will need to bring the truck on to Bunia (4 hours.) and pick me up. I have had Congolese to my house for a meal twice lately with other missionaries on the station, and there have been the finest of relationships. I hope it continues. But if these border troubles keep up, we will wish we were back in Kisangani!

Thanks be to God who ALWAYS “causeth us to triumph!”  With love, Ione

The next update on the political unrest comes in a letter to Leone:

Dearest Mother,

Thanks for getting together things to send to the Carl Becker’s before April 1st. If you have collected any foil pie pans, I could use them. The ones I brought are finished now and I like to use them for the cat’s dish, and when they were nice, I could use them to serve popcorn to the kids.

By the way, I am all out of popcorn, too. But if I can get hold of some shillings the boys could buy some before they come home.

I’d like some picture wire, and also a spool of cotton-covered art wire for various lightweight wire uses. A big spool of kite string would be a real joy to some little boys here. I still need hem facing of all kinds, and many blankets need facing, too. The Hermes portable typewriter ribbons are much needed (am on the last). My shoes have splits in the sides but soles are good yet. Any style of Clinic shoe or that type is OK.  Size 9AAA. You will need to take these expenses out of the bank, and I would like you also to pay Mrs. Becker in advance for the cost of shipping (around $15 maybe). The Stanley things will be welcome. I still have no bread pans, square or rectangle cake pans nor the kind for angel food cake. And I need a couple of paring knives and a good butcher knife.

The Crossmans sent me a copy of the picture they took of you and Ken and Paul while they were at our house. You looked very tired, Mother, and I imagine you worked too hard to entertain them. Do you think you should try to have them again this year?

I sent Ken a $1 to get something for David’s birthday from me, but if you think he needs something that costs more, take it from my bank if there is enough there. Tim was 16, not 15 on February 6.

I’m sorry your heart condition has worsened. Do you think the diet will help? And if the medicine makes you groggy, that’s no good either. What was the result of the lung X-ray? If your heart and blood pressure and lungs are in a bad way, that doesn’t leave much else to count on – except your sense of humour! Would it relieve you of worry if I came home?

I am sorry that Marcellyn’s letter upset you. I don’t have a copy of the letter I wrote her, but I don’t remember offering the house for furlough. I will make it plain to her that it would not be possible, but that they should plan to come just for a visit, and get a house for themselves for furlough. And I will tell Marcellyn not to think of Paul’s coming to DR (? Dominican Republic). Do you think he should get the credits he needs for graduation at Camp Co-Be-Ac like Ken did? Or is there some other place? I sure wish the boys could go to the UFM Retreat together this summer. I guess Ken could not, though, as he says he wants to take two summer school periods. Is that OK with you? I wrote to Paul and told him to stick to his studies until his grades were better. And that he should listen with respect to whatever advice you have to give. I am sorry he was rude to you. I will tell him that Hammond is too far to go on a Sunday morning, and that he should not go to the RVA boy’s sister’s home again unless he asks you first. A lot of the RVA kids come from unseparated homes and the boys need real discernment regarding them.

I will have the prayer letter done here and send a big packet of copies to you to distribute.

I have a substitute (Mrs. Chuck Davis) so that I can go to the UFM Field Conference in Banjwadi. I will fly.

I’m glad David likes it at Moody. I have had no letter from him yet, but one from Paul.  Much love, Ione

PS: If this has Congo stamps on, the border is closed between Congo-Uganda. More Uganda-Simba fighting at border & a retaliation from Congo soldiers. Closed today but may not be permanently. Write to B.P. 143, Bunia IF SO.

Feb. 25

…I am writing in haste, but still don’t know if it will go over the border. They say there were 300 refugees who tried to return to Congo, but with a bad spirit pretty much like the tactics of ’64. But they’ll probably keep things in control as the Uganda air and ground military are on the job.  Much love, Ione

Ione obviously gets an update on Leone’s health and responds on 2nd March 1970 with:

Thanks for giving me the latest news on your health. Where did you hear about this Doctor Cerkez? I never heard of him before. I hope you don’t have to keep on taking those drugs. I looked up that verse the Lord gave you with regard to supplies and sickness, Exodus 23:25 – “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” It gives me confidence that you will hold out until ’72 anyway, and probably longer! But you will notice that the blessing is bread and water, NOT popcorn and some other things that have fat in. I imagine you are being careful to eat the right things. When I eat rich food here, I get a headache, so I need to watch, too. But I surely love chocolate bars and nuts.

I don’t know what to say about the washing machine and drier. I thought you were going to need some of the interest money to save towards the December taxes, but maybe you figure there will be enough for both? You would not dare to take it from anywhere else until I get caught up on my bills out here. I still owe RVA $700, even after the mission has sent the usual $175 there, and I owe Rethy $500. But I am not sorry you made the leap as I know it is needed. And we have a great God who can give in a big way. I am asking Him for large gifts of money which will get us caught up here, as I know you will be needing even more as the months to on, with John coming home, too.

I wrote to Marcellyn and clarified our position with regard to a furlough home. And suggested that they get a place nearby if possible as we surely want to get together from time to time. The reasons you gave with regard to zoning I did not think of, but can see that the restriction could apply to two families in our house, too.

The trouble at the border seems to have subsided. The Lord is so kind to keep back those 300 Simbas from coming our way, when they were so near. These last ones they say were not armed, but the first were, and I am thankful that they were stopped at the border. They are former Simbas who want to come back in Congo. They burned some villages and took cattle, and then the Congolese retaliated and it made a bad feeling. But now the border offices are operating as usual, and I think the boys will probably have no trouble getting across when they come March 27.

…I hope your next letter will tell that you are off drugs and feeling good anyway. The Lord is able. DOCTOR TO DOCTOR: You’re looking fine, how am I?  Much love,   Ione

Ione gets some mail from home and immediately sets to, writing to her mother:

Your letter of February 24 just arrived. Mr. Kline was in Arua to get a new car for a missionary, that is, to get it through customs, and brought the mail. He said he was at the border from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. and was marched around a bit, but not hurt. He was told that he was the last one who could go thru as the whole customs unit was folding up! I don’t know whether it is so. No one has tried to get thru since; there are a couple of other border places to cross, but it is hard. I think it must be that there are more hostilities between the two countries, and as a result the customs men are fed up and are leaving. So once again I say, if my letters come with Congo stamps on, it means there is no more Uganda mail, and you must send it via Bunia. On the other hand, we just heard that there is no air service out or in Bunia for 3 months while they repair the airfield! But it will be carried by truck between Isiro and Bunia, but the rest of the way by air. I am not sure what this will mean for my trip to Kisangani for UFM Conference. I have had the promise of a chance to ride on the MAF plane which is independent of the Air Congo, but it will not hold all who are going. Will you keep remembering this trip and the time there in prayer. I am glad you are feeling stronger, or were when you wrote. Hope it continues. Did the doctor find anything wrong with your lungs? That was good of Charlie Brooks to help by putting the two faucets on the water pipes. It will surely look different when I come home, and be more convenient! I appreciate your putting your own birthday money into the installations. Now, does that make it yours, or mine, or ours? What will it cost to put in the special fuse box? I am trying to get a mental picture of how it all looks.

I have just left this window twice as I am sitting right in front of a big window and it is lightning outside. I don’t want to get hit! Now I have moved my table, but must still type furiously to get thru before young peoples is out and then I have to open the door between my apartment and the dorm, and put the children to bed. I will draw a picture of my apartment:

Ione’s apartment at her dorm at Rethy.

5:30 A.M.

I got the kids in bed O.K. and then went to bed; it rained all night & is still raining. The guard should be coming in to build a fire for us in the dorm living room. I am under the battery light at the dining room table wrapped in sweater & blanket. The cat (Gus) is so glad to be let in that he is beside himself. He goes in the place under the roof when he’s out so he’s not very wet. He eats anything and is quiet unless the guard lets in Tiger by mistake. Gus & Tiger are identical twins (both marmalade colour) & are now mortal enemies, so the growls frequently wake up the whole dorm. Then the bravest get the brooms & chases Tiger out. John Walberg is the bravest of all & even picks up Tiger (in the right place so that he can’t bite!). Did you finish our circular sample I sent? I am going to try to write a lot of unanswered letters today. Much love,   Ione

19th March, 1970, Ione manages to write to Ken:

Just to say – hi, and to tell you thanks for the letter. That would be nice if you could visit Moody again the last week-end in April. Is the Northwest Medical School a part of the university in Chicago? It does sound interesting, and not too far from home. I’ll bet you are enjoying the dissecting of the foetal pig. You would probably do a good job of it, too, with the right tools, etc. I wish the boys here had better tools for their taxidermy, the boys of the academy I mean. Yesterday they were trying to stuff a huge hawk. Jim Pinkerton was doing it. They are following the North western booklet.

About the witnessing, if the fire burns hotter on the inside than the fire of opposition on the outside, you’ll probably be like Jeremiah and speak out even if it is hard.

There are many soldiers at the border on both sides, and Goli is closed for now. Do pray that the boys will get thru OK in March. Mr. Kline had a tough time last Friday, but was not mistreated, only delayed and harangued.

I am tired today from the week-end as I did not have as much help as usual. But I had a nap this morning so that I could write letters this afternoon. It is 2:45 now and at 3:30 the kids come. But some big girls will look after them from 4-5 while I am at staff meeting.

Ken, when you get the needed 124 credits, what will you graduate from? Is it the college course with Math major, or does it have another name?  What camp could Paul go to this summer, and how does that fit in with home plans? Is there any way of working in Pontiac (for David) without joining the union? I surely liked what you wrote in the circular (which has not been sent yet!) about throwing rebellion to the winds. It was a real comfort to my heart, and I hope the other boys will feel that way, too. I am so glad to have a son like you. I ask God to hide you in His pavilion from the strife of tongues, that you may be preserved for His glory.   Much love, Mother

Ione realises that mail has yet to be sent because of the border issues but none the less, writes to her mother:

Dearest Mother,

I don’t suppose my last letters have even gone yet, as the mail never even got across the border, nor did we receive any for several weeks now. The border is closed, but the governor has promised that it will open in a few days. I surely hope so, for the boys are due to come the 27th. And I am to leave tomorrow for Blukwa, then Bunia, then Kisangani, then Banjwadi. I will fly in a tiny M.A.F. plane that can only take 4 or 5 passengers. It will take around 2-1/2 hours, a trip that took the boys and me 3 days. I don’t like to leave here when I don’t even know whether the boys will get across the border. But the Field Leader, Mr. Brashler, is making alternate arrangements through the man in Kampala who looks after the RVA students when they stop there overnight. All arrangements made by radio and short wave. The alternate plan is that if the border is closed, they will be taken to the next, and my truck will be taken by Mr. Lee part way and another group of missionaries will get them over the border and bring them to Nyankunde. They may fly over one particular bad muddy road. If all borders should be closed to Uganda, then they will have to keep the boys at school. But I should be back before the boys arrive, so it should be all right for me to go, and we can listen at Banjwadi on the radio every day. They even have radio at Kisangani again now, same meter band as the A.I.M. stations.

I will mail this from Kisangani, as the mail service should be good from there and will add that I arrived there safely. All for now, With love,  Ione

March 22

Had a good night’s sleep at cool Blukwa. Expect to have a nap this afternoon. Then I’ll feel ready for the Conference. Will write to Paul & David today and Lucille. Remember to write me at Bunia from now on for a while, till we are sure the border is open.

March 25

Banjwadi. Had a good flight. Good Conference, with 31 people, counting 6 small children. This morning we noted that the new hospital ($50,000) will be at Banjwadi. Doctor Kyle is looking for more doctors, Ken, in the future. He is a young Irishman, married.

I am Recording Secretary of this Conference and on music & food arrangements. So am busy. Am feeling good. But the heat is terrific! Much love, Mother & Ione

Ione tells Lucille how she does her journey in stages:

Yesterday Mrs. Dick Lasse and 2 little girls came from Blukwa to Rethy (2 hours.) to bring Mrs. Cal Williams to take my place (as dorm parent while Ione is away). She has a 6-year old son, Stewart, and 2 girls at Rethy. Mrs. Lasse waited a few hours for me to help Mrs. Williams get started. We left there at 3:45 and we had supper at Miss Olive Love’s. Tell Mother that Miss Love is taking care of 3 tiny African babies by the fire in her living room (she has big girls to help), all sweet and clean. Many orphans owe their lives to her. She served a lovely supper on a sparkling linen cloth and beautiful china. She is from Grace Bapt. Wash., DC where Mother worked. Today I will be picked up by Bill and Coral Snyder (UFM) and we’ll go to Bunia.

The return trip:

Kisangani, March 27. Just arrived here by LandRover (McAllisters, Spees & I) and they are trying to make contact with the MAF pilot who is just now in the air coming this way. It takes 2-1/2 hours from Nyankunde here. We’ll leave here just after noon and I should be on Rethy station by 3 or 3:30. I’ll be there before the boys arrive.

The last radio report was that Mr. Lee would meet them in my truck, not at the usual border crossing, but the next one north. It will take longer, so they’ll have a late supper. We heard the place (Aru) has 75 soldiers yet and food is a problem for the missionaries who are trying to feed them. But they are supposed to be on their way to other parts, as the trouble is finished & the two countries have had a border celebration. Many Simbas were brought over the border and are now in Congo, but they are not armed, and not belligerent. Uganda is satisfied now apparently and peace reigns. Still I will be glad when the boys get past all those soldiers.

We have had a good UFM Conference with 23 missionaries (nearly all), and I (of all people!) was recording secretary. So, I spent hours of typing & preparing the minutes. We had some good talks and many memories of the past renewed.

Tell Mother the boys are expected over a border next to our own. Much love, Ione

PS: Border is open now, but everyone is afraid to TRY it!

Ione is happy to have John, Steve and Tim back with her, she tells Ken and Leone:

It is nice to have the big boys here. All are taller than I now. They are helping with maintenance this week. The border is open again now and a truce made between countries with a big celebration. Hundreds of Simbas are legally back in Congo now, but unarmed & desiring only peace & a place to live. I will have the form letter made in regular print.

Am very busy right now with 25 people in my dorm. The little kids will go in 2 days & I must pack their clothes. Received Lucille’s package (bed-room slippers, etc.) also 2 packages dolls from Fern Sallee. Will write to them.   Love, Ione

PS: I got here 6 hours ahead of the boys. John wants to go to Seattle Pacific.

As ever, Ione’s letter of thanks to her sister is more detailed:

I want to thank you for the package (also February 28 letter) which arrived about a week ago, containing bedroom slippers (just what I wanted and needed!); 1 apron; 3 packages handkerchiefs, and candy. (these lists enable the sender to see what got through to the recipient). It came over the border with the first mail since the border trouble. Peace is made now between the two countries. The Simbas who had been encamped near the border since ’64 tried the wrong way to come back to their homes in Congo. Then the officials received them in trucks and transported them to their various villages, it was OK. I suppose there are hundreds of them now in Congo, but they seem to want only to return to their former lives and will probably make no more trouble. There was a big celebration at the border and it was officially opened again. Business now as usual!

I am waiting just now for the boys to return from a camp-out a few miles away in the forest. They went with Mr. Brown, Intermediate Dorm parent. They took two live (tough) chickens to cook and eggs and bacon for breakfast. They went to Bunia on their own this week, came back the same day. But I sent the two houseboys to help guard the truck in town. They got along just fine, according to the ones who helped them in Bunia (Muchmore’s and Brashlers), and Steve received his long-desired driver’s license. Now he will be able to take charge of the truck when John goes home.

John listening to his transistor radio at Westervelt Dorm, RVA

John acts just little cocksure just now, and I am wondering if he will be ready to go home by August? And he wants to go to Seattle Pacific College and Grandma may feel that is too far away for her to cope with his affairs. If he keeps on acting independent, I think I will try to get him to stay our here and help me for 3 months like David did. I don’t think John has been accepted anywhere yet.

I’m glad you are practicing on your violin and on the organ. I sang a solo for the Easter Cantata here, also a duet and a trio. Maybe we can do some more singing and playing when I come home.

What is the news about Jim and Sue? Do they have enough money? And have you heard any more about being called to the Prescott church? How far away is it from Pontiac?

Just the night before Rethy Academy finished this term a third-grade girl (made lots of trouble this term) accepted the Lord. The next day she was radiant and so easy to manage. I trust she will go on being like that. A small first grader accepted the Lord earlier in the term.

Yes, the cystitis cleared up. I took the whole course of medicine so should have no more trouble. The news from the CPC (Congolese Protestant Church) Conference is contradictory, as there is a difference of opinions from different missions who attended. At our UFM Conference they seemed to be taking a stand sort of between the stand of the AIM and the Brethren. The CBFMS (Conservative Foreign Baptist Mission Society) was more or less ousted from CPC as they would not patch up differences they had with a spurious Synod group (the group which made it necessary for the Slaters to leave that work in Congo). But the MBK as they are called were received with open arms because they willingly humbled themselves and said they would be friends with CBFMS. I don’t know what to say about a group which includes such a conglomeration of beliefs. They passed a new constitution which declares that they will not go into the Ecumenical Movement but at the same time rules out an Evangelical Alliance, which we were ready to form if they went in. The CBFMS leader, Doctor Kile, stopped at Banjwadi during our UFM Conference and he and his wife had supper with us. The conversation was all about this and Mr. Kile was leaving Kinshasa, as his relationships there were terminated. The AIM attitude is that no harm can be done at least for this year, and we will wait and see, but continue membership. If a mission pulls out, it cannot get back into Congo again as all must come thru the CPC.

The fridge is fixed now and we are enjoying ice cream. We are doing our washings on the dorm machine until the part comes for ours. The boys are all well. John still frail and tires easily, but determined to be normal. He chose Seattle Pacific College because they offer a lot of biology courses and art, which John loves.

An encouraging letter came from RVA from Mrs. DeYoung, the teacher who spent last year here at Rethy, with her two daughters. She likes John and encourages the younger daughter to go to parties with John. Jocelyn is a real sensible girl with very high ideals and a true Christian who reads a chapter every night from her Bible (I roomed with her when we were at Mombasa last August). Mrs. DeYoung said in her letter: “I find your John changed – taking a firm stand for Christ – and able to speak with confidence. I see this because he is meeting with the teen kids here (a Bible study each week). These few who want to put Christ first can turn this place upside down.”

I have been working on the mailing list, and have deleted all I can consciously delete and still have 1350 names! I am trying to get the airforms from over the border now, and then can have the letter printed at Nyankunde which I sent to Mother to show her. I put what she wrote on the back flap. I will send her the name and address changes which I have, and also 50 extra copies when they are done (or more, if she wants them). I pray that there may be “no strange god” among us, but always a consciousness of His Spirit’s presence.   With love, Ione

On the 12th April, writing to Leone, Ken, Paul and David, Ione reports:

I am starting this out as a carbon copy letter, giving the general news and then the boys can add what they like. This is the third Sunday together, and we will have 3 more, Lord willing. The first Sunday, which was Easter, was hard as I still had the small children here, but the boys cooperated, and we got the letter off as usual. Today they are going to add to this when I finish. There are several dogs around and two cats, which always seem to multiply when the boys are here. We are looking after two darling little puppies just now while Buyses and Wards are away. They are part-Pekinese, part-dachshund, and part cocker-spaniel. Very short legs and long silky reddish-brown fur. I’m the puddle-wiper-upper, as I invited them here. But if I am smart and get them up early in the morning, there are less puddles to wipe up!

Last Friday the boys and I went to a village called Lokpa, where we used the truck to haul rocks up a short hill to the site of a new church. It was quite a thrill to me to see the first load of rocks be dumped out, as it was like laying the corner-stone of the church. The people have worked hard and have around 80,000 bricks made and stacks of wood to burn them. They expressed their appreciation many times during the day for our coming and gave us a nice native-style dinner. I learned of this need through a young evangelist who brings us peanuts, and whom I have been giving tracts during the year. I took a piece of cloth along, and while there hemmed it, carbon copied a design on one corner and then embroidered it. At the end of the day I presented it to the elderly lady who had all day interpreted my Bangala into the Kilendo language of that tribe. Only one thing during the day made me squirm a little; while I was sewing, I felt an itch on my arm and looked down to see a fat bedbug having a good suck of my blood. I threw him to the mercies of the hot sun and went on with my sewing.

Now is the time for the boys to write. They are waiting for the fudge in the refrigerator to cool. Yes, we got the refrigerator working when Mr. Brown needed extra space for some of his chickens. He is a good fixer and now we just keep it going.

Much love, Ione and Mother

Finally, Ione gets the Supporter’s newsletter out in April 1970:

Dear Friends:

This is the first circular since the colour-press letter over a year ago, so now you know that you have not been dropped from our mailing list.

We are still a “whole family in heaven and earth”, as it in Ephesians 3:15, the one member in heaven being my husband, the boys’ father, Hector McMillan. We gave him up willingly when we saw that the Lord was pleased to take him Home during the Congo rebellion in 1964.

Hector went on in, and left us to tie up the horses. And with the help of the Lord and you dear friends, we have not let the horses run away. “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trusted, they wearied thee, how then wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5). We must not get weary too quickly, or we’ll miss some wonderful things that God has for us.

Thanks for your help which has enabled me to continue here at Rethy Academy, in Congo, as a housemother to missionary children. We had a wonderful month last year (David, John, Steve, Tim and I), in the Kisangani area, where we visited the damaged stations of our mission, UFM. Again, this past December we saw old friends in that area, and witnessed God’s working among them.

The boys each give their own synopsis:

Tim

I am in the 10th grade now, and this is my first year at RVA. I have found that even here at a Christian school there is a lot to do for Christ. Choir and sports have been added to my schedule, which is something I can thank the Lord for. I am also thankful for all your prayers and support.  Love, Tim

Steve

Now that I’m in the 11th grade it seems a long time since the Lord brought us out here. He has helped me through this past year, and I trust Him to help me through this coming year. He has helped me through many problems such as keeping a good Christian attitude towards the Bible and to obey what the Bible says. I trust you all will keep in good health. I trust He will help me find a school to go to after I graduate from RVA.  Much love, Steve

John

This past few months the Lord has really been able to get through to me by His Word, and I am happy to serve Him here at RVA as a senior in high school. He has also given me responsibilities for which I’m trusting Him to help me. At Rethy, when home with Mother, I have fun with a motor cycle, and also with my beehive, which I have started. Thanks for your prayers; the effects of my illness are now nil. Pray that in my plans for future service I might glorify only Christ. Love, John

Ione ends with:

The three oldest of my six sons are in the States for further schooling. Paul and David are at Moody Bible Institute in the Foreign Missions Course: Paul in his second year, and David, who arrived back in the States in January, is in his first semester at Moody. Ken is a pre-med student at Oakland University, 10 miles from Pontiac, Michigan, and lives at our home at 1205 Merry Road with my mother, Mrs. Leone Reed.

Mother, who is still active with her ministry of speaking, teaching and playing her bells, and who has been an active part of our 3-generation gospel team for the past 5 years, is caring for our home. She looks after all home affairs as well as looking after the boys in the States.

John will be returning to the States late next summer.

Much love, Ione McMillan

Ione intersperses group letters to those residing at the same address with individual ones, especially when she has a particular message or words of encouragement to share, April 17th sees Ione writing to Ken:

I have finished praying for you all from II Kings 1:5-8 (second time thru Bible since Daddy died). Your verse was; “Why are ye now turned back?” vs. 5. They had started out to enquire from the god of Ekron, but when the king’s messengers met up with the prophet of the living God, they did not need to go further, so turned back. We should never be afraid to turn back, if it is from idols to a living God.

In a few minutes I will awaken the boys. Am letting them sleep later as it is their vacation and nice and quiet. But Tim & Steve were up stopping a cat fight in the night. Our Gus and his identical twin, Tiger, had the worst fight yet. They literally threw each other against our living room door and screamed and growled until Steve got a pan of water and threw it over them. Then he brought Gus inside and comforted him. He is still in, sleeping on a chair cushion near the fireplace! We are hoping for more mail when Weeks & Browns come from Arua tomorrow. Today the Muchmore family and Steve Brashler are coming to spend the week-end. The boys think Steve may come on his picki (motorcycle) ahead of the truck (Bible school). Our truck has gone to Kijabe to pick up a grand piano (Lees). We are assembling sleeping bags, etc. for a camp-out at Red Arrow forest tonight, just the boys. They did so well with Mr. Brown last week that I am trying them on their own this time – 10 boys in all as the two older Ward boys & Larry Buyse will go, too. They will kill & cook 2 tough roosters & bake potatoes on fire. Sleep on and under tarpaulins. Wish you were here. Don’t get discouraged, Ken. The hard studies will seem less hard when you get more used to them. Have you decided about a medical school? Didn’t Ruth Schuit’s husband-to-be get his medical training at Chicago University? Where does he live? His name is Steve Carter. They are to be married June 20. If there was a place where you could live with Christian fellows it might be O.K.

We are all well. I love you very much. Steve McM is 5’-11-1/4” now, John 5’-11”. Tim taller than I by ½ inch. – Mother

On the 19th April, Ione is able to share good news about her finances with her sister and writes:

Thanks so much for the support money. As some of our supporters have cut down, we appreciate it especially. The church in Alaska (not Doris’s) has cut theirs down from $40 a month to $20 as the missile site has been reduced in staff and the work now smaller. But we just got a cheque for $150 from Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church and it is a real encouragement to us as I did not know how I would be able to give the boys any money when they go back to school. And John needed a number of clothing items for graduation. Now I can deposit this cheque in my Kampala account and write each boy a shilling cheque. The Lord never lets us go too long.

She also shares her concerns:

I am worried about Paul’s weight going down to 124 lbs. That is even less than John and I thought he was very thin. Tim is ½ in. taller than I am now. I will be waiting to hear about your future plans. I surely do enjoy hearing all you do. And it inspires me to practice more with singing and piano. I may have to take 3 choirs in September as the lady who has taken the 2 older groups will go on furlough. I don’t know whether I can do it well, but would like to try.   Much love, Ione

On April 24th, Ione is able to complete the task she set herself, that of writing to nieces and nephews. She writes to Lucille’s son Jim, recently married the following:

I was glad to get your address from Mother Peterson, as I have been wanting for long time to write to you. I appreciated so much the picture sent at Christmas time after your wedding, and also the Christmas card sent this last Christmas.

I have heard, too, that you will soon be graduating, Jim, and I am glad. I hope my boys stay at it until they finish. What are your plans for afterward?

We have been talking over future plans quite a bit lately, as the 3 boys are here on vacation from Rift Valley Academy until May 5. John still has not made an application anywhere, and expects to graduate in July. But I don’t mind if he stays out a few months longer, like David did. David’s letters from Moody sound like he is glad he went there. He hopes to complete the 3-year Foreign Missions Course before going on to Technical College (maybe LeTourneau). Paul has one more year after this at Moody, and he is thinking of LeTourneau. Ken has a long way to go yet, and he does not even have money ahead for this next term which begins May 1, and ends June 20. Someone here suggested that he should get a wife so that she could put him thru med school! But I don’t know of any in the offing! The Lord has not failed Ken yet, and I don’t think He will start now. He’s making A’s and B’s so far at Oakland University, but has a heavy schedule, and will have through the summer, if the Lord wants him to continue. He also does the maintenance of our home, and gives Grandma a lift now and then with the house work.

I am putting a Congo stamp on this letter, not because of trouble in getting mail out by our Uganda post, but because I have run out of Uganda stamps! For a while we had to send via Congo, as the border was closed due to bad feelings between the two countries over several hundred Simbas who have been in Uganda since ’64 and wanted to return to Congo. They first tried forcing their way with guns and it only made trouble, and villages were burned and cattle stolen. But when negotiations were done in the right way, they were allowed to come back here, and were met at the border with trucks and a welcoming committee! Then there was a celebration and the border was opened. But during this tense time our boys had to cross when they came from RVA Match 27th, so they came in through a north border at Aru, instead of at Mahagi. The Simbas coming in now are peaceful and only want to settle in villages and be good citizens, we hope.

The country is quite peaceful all around, and opportunities are great for evangelizing. Last Sunday the boys and I had a good time in a nearby village; they played horns and there was a good response. No decisions, but a good welcome.

When the boys leave for RVA, my small charges will return; there are 16 small girls and boys in my dorm for 3 months more. There will be lots of noise then, and I will see how the Lord uses these very human conditions to do His work in my life and in the lives of others. Isn’t it amazing how He seems to prefer situations like crowds, clamorous demands, oppositions, lack of peace and privacy, and interruptions, and then we see what He is getting at, for we need either to be whittled down to size, or else enlarged to be more useful for Him. I think mine is at present an enlargement program. I thought last fall when the little new ones came and the going was tough, that I needed replacement, but several verses of Scripture were used to show me it was not replacement, but enlargement. Maybe others don’t notice that I’m a little bigger (only 5 pounds heavier!), but I think I am ‘lengthening the ropes and strengthening the stakes’. My verse: “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?” Ezek. 22:14   Much love, Aunt Ione

Ione shares her concerns about John’s readiness to return to the States with her mother and Ken, on 4th May 1970, she rationalises:

John has a chance to come home July 29 with all the 40 A.I.M. missionaries on a charter flight for $288. But we are going to have to refuse as he has not applied to any school yet. I will plan for him to come here unless he gets accepted either at Moody or LeTourneau. Just now he is planning to fill out the LeTourneau papers he left at school as soon as he comes back. But I can’t ask Mr. Barney (RVA) to hold his reservation. I can’t insist that he go to Moody and he is not rebellious in any other way. It may be the Lord leading him. He has given up Seattle Pacific. He wants very much to go on that July 29 flight, so be ready to receive him if he gets straightened out by then. Otherwise he will come here after graduation and make a booking for December like David. John has always been quite independent and does not go off the beam too easily, and IF YOU AGREE TO LETOURNEAU I will let him go ahead and try. There does not seem to be any RVA friends influencing him for LeTourneau and I think there was for Seattle (Lutherans). Pray for a week of spiritual emphasis to be held at RVA this term. And for me as I go there July 24. Ken’s letter touched John’s heart. Keep praying much for him. He wants to know God’s will & prays real earnestly.

Much love,  Ione & Mother

Ione is so busy with her charges that she misses ‘Mother’s Day’, when she realises, she writes to her mother:

Two days ago, was Mother’s Day. My hands were full as it was the small children’s first week end of the term, and there were a number of parents around, too, as the Field Council was meeting. After the children were in bed, the McAllisters helped me and we worked on signing, folding and stamping form letters so that as many as possible could go to Uganda with the General Field Secretary. We sent a shoe box full. The boys took another large amount when they left for RVA last Tuesday. One more big push and they should be finished. (Ione sent out over 1,300 letters.)

I hope I am not too late to show my appreciation and love to you. Thanks for all you did for me while I was too young to realize the effort it took. And thanks for guidance and careful up-bringing which I will remember. And thanks for what you are now doing for me. I want you to know that I love you.

When I went through Blukwa on my way to the UFM Conference in March, Miss Love asked if you would be interested in coming here just before my furlough and traveling home together, perhaps via the Holy Land! I may have asked you this before, but I did not receive your answer. She said if Rethy was too high, to try Blukwa or Nyankunde. And there are not even any mosquitos or flies. I’m glad you have been having some good meetings with the bells. Did you receive the packet of circulars with the check for $100? I am finding the Lord’s grace sufficient for every need.   Lovingly, Ione

Long arm parenting continues for Ione, she writes to Ken:

I wrote to Grandma last night saying the Alaska proposition was OK with me. I wish you could go, too. But the Lord is able to make even that possible, and I am asking Him to give you a happy and satisfying summer, well pleasing to Himself, too.

I notice this morning in II Kings 4:42-44 that the Lord is able to supply “exceeding abundantly above.” or else by making a little satisfy. 20 loaves before 100 men became more than enough when He made them to satisfy. I remember once at the Children’s Home in Kisangani when we had 1-1/2 loaves for 3 tables of children. They usually needed at least 3 loaves, but when the meal was over Hector & I remembered that not one child said he was still hungry. The Lord seemed to have satisfied you all with just a little. I am so glad that the Lord has given you a satisfied and happy heart with just a little now. For His is surely “waiting to be gracious” to you. He has the right wife somewhere, too, getting ready to join you in His time. But this is a hard time when faith is required. I’m glad you are helping Grandma in meetings. How is her health? One thing which would be hard with a part-time job is the possibility of their asking for time that would not be suitable to the schedule you keep for home & Grandma’s work. But even that the Lord can make possible. Could you ask Grandma which hours suit her before you offer at a hospital, and then see if you can get a hard & fast schedule of certain hours (like as if you were in class). The basketball net pole sounds good. John will like it. He is still not sure, but seeking. The boys’ Uganda shillings are no good now in Kenya. This was a disappointment but God is able.

Love, Mother

Ione perhaps forgot Mother’s Day as she had not received anything form the boys on the day itself, but they do think of her and she is able to respond to Ken:

I was real happy to receive that beautiful Mother’s day card and the $5 with it. Thanks very much. You are the only one that remembered, and I don’t mind that it was a little late. ‘The world’s best mother’ is stretching my capacities a bit, as I still have a long way to go and quite a bit more enlargement. When the Lord took your Daddy, He knew that having more responsibilities was good for me, and I am not sorry. But I was so well-cared for by your Daddy, that it was a big adjustment, and painful. And now without even my boys to help, I find I am able to do more and more things about which I was helpless before.

I don’t know yet whether John will be staying with me for a while or not. I have not had any letters, except the ones telling of their arrival at the school, and that their Uganda money was no good any more in Kenya.

How is the Calculus coming? Will you get a better mark now that it is your only subject? I hope that you can keep your average at B or above.

What are you doing afternoons? Did you ask for a part-time job? And what about the UFM Retreat? Your school will be finished in time for that, won’t it?

Would it be better to try to go to Medical school in Ann Arbor as it is closer to home? Someone told me that they don’t have the variety of cases there to make it interesting, but that was just a doctor’s viewpoint after finishing. I am sure if the Lord has put it into your heart to be a doctor, He will give you a love for every part of the things you will be learning. Any of those medical schools are fearful places to me, where they try to pull you down everything precious that you believe in the Bible. But I believe the Lord will guide you to the right place, as you have not been hasty. And He is also able to keep and use you while you are there.

Did the telephone pole come yet, and were you able to anchor it well so that it will not fall down with the steady push of the basketball on one side?

We have had sickness here with quite an epidemic of the flu. Mrs. Kline had to be flown to Nyankunde with complications of it, and so we all are missing her on the days we used to have off! Now she is better but waiting there till the MAF plane gets a new tank. The other got a hole in it I think from a tree at the end of the airfield.

I had some flu but did not have to go to bed any while the children were home; just in between times about 3 times a day until I was over it. Not much work done, but I kept going. Then this week-end I ate too much pizza and had a gall-bladder headache with vomiting, etc.

(In Ione’s letter to her mother included in this posting, she says:

Abraham staggered not at his age, so why should we? Ione does not admit to Ken that she has been overdoing it – that news is saved for Mother.)

Yesterday I did have to get extra help from the big girls, but they are really nice to me. Now I am OK again, and want to finish the circulars that Steve did not get addressed during the vacation. He had a term paper to do, and only finished it the day before he left.

Steve is steady and going on with the Lord, just slow about some things. He argued a lot with John to try to convince him to go to Bible school. And Steve is dead sure he wants to go to Prairie Bible Institute If he can’t go in ’71, he’ll wait until ’72, he says. He would like to stay here and help me, if he can. I will try to find you more slides of Congo, or the photos that make them. I am glad you are out in meetings some of the time.

As I learned last November to not say any more, “You can’t win,” I am still practicing the victory that is in Christ, and seeing Him working in little ways as well as big. We have had only one or two wet beds this term, and the obedience is pretty good. So far as I know, in the fall I will have less children as so many missionaries will go on furlough. I expect 8 girls and 5 boys. Three new girls and two new boys (last September I had 9 new ones; half of the dorm was new which is hard). So, whether John stays or not, I think I’ll get along. I may have added work with 3 Choirs instead of 1, but I do enjoy that. Ask Grandma if there are stockings in the stuff she sent with Mrs. Becker’s things?   Much love, Mother

On the 5th June 1970, Ione has to set the record straight and writes to Ken:

Paul & David did send me a beautiful Mother’s Day card, and I appreciated it. Tell Grandma the $25 check I wrote from the Marimont gift, I sent to the RVA boys because I found out that they could not get Kenya money for either the cheques or cash I gave them in Uganda money. I think US cheques can be cashed at the school. They are all needing clothes now.

I was glad to hear of the things growing in the garden.  Hope you get some watermelons. Be sure the other boys help a lot before they go away. I told John you were wishing he would come, and I think you two could have nice fellowship together. Pray much for him. I have claimed him and his entire graduating class for the work of the Lord. To stem the tide of the now millions without Christ we must pray for labourers to go into the harvest in large numbers. Not just John but his whole class. And God can do it. That’s 65; and then Steve’s whole class & Tim’s. And Paul’s at Moody. The need is urgent and the labourers are so few. I am praying the Lord of the harvest to send them out. In large numbers. Along with John.

Ken, if you went to University of Michigan for medicine, you would not have to pay extra as you are a resident of Michigan. Right? I’m so thrilled you are preaching. May the Lord bless & use you. My kids are waking up.   Love, Mother

The letter of the 7th June to her mother demonstrates how Ione tries to control her boys from a distance:

…I wrote a letter to Paul & David & if it gets there before they leave, I’d like them to arrange to stay in Three Hills with Aubrey Browns, World Evangelical Crusade missionaries from Congo. They were evacuated to Kinshasa from Poko, next day after us in ’64. And I’ll never forget how Mr. Brown cried when he heard Hector was dead. Their 4 children went to Rethy with ours. It gives you a lot of trouble, getting these boys off in the right way for Alaska. Warn them of hitchhikers and going too far in one day. Thanks so much for all you are doing. I am fine. I love the pictures of the house, boat and basement. It takes your breath away, the beauty & well-kept look. The gardener has re-done all around my house here, and the roses & azaleas are lovely, “Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.”  Love, Ione

This letter contains inclusions from the boys at Rethy:

Dear Grandma, Ken, Paul & David,

I hope you guys have a good vacation while we are here studying away. One more week here till free weekend. I will probably be staying here.

School isn’t too hard here but on the other hand it isn’t easy. When will David & Paul be going up to Alaska and could they give us their address? I sure wish I could be going up there.  Bye for now. Much love,  Tim

From John:

Glad you all could be together for a little while before David & Paul leave. Free week end is coming up and me and Reed and Jackson might take a reservation for block 58 on the valley and hunt with another guy during Saturday of free weekend. Mr Barnett is giving it to us. Now Uganda has no imports & exports with Kenya and maybe you saw in Time that Tanzania is using Chinese gun boats.

Through God’s word and the Bible studies each Friday night I am finding real peace of God about His choice for me for college and I think that I’ll go ahead and send the application to Seattle. I know that since I put Him first, He will bless concerning my future.

I am praying for you all and I hope you are sincerely praying for me.

Steve’s contribution is:

Last Saturday Mr. Paul Barnett took about 5 of us Juniors hunting. We had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. It took two and a half hours to go out there and we got back at 8 o’clock that night. Mr. Wilson (a missionary here) went along, too. He got 2 zebras and a wildebeest and Mr. Barnett got 1 zebra and an impala. Just as soon as a zebra is killed it has to be skinned. So us kids were doing quite a bit of skinning. Mr. Wilson didn’t want the meat from his zebras so we got some of it (The selalas, the meat along the backbone). It’s supposed to be the best part.

This Thursday afternoon we start working on (Jr/Sr) Banquet in Jubilee Hall. We get an extra 2 or 3 days because we have all free weekend to work on it and the week following. I hope we get it finished in time.

David, quite a few of last year’s seniors are visiting here; Mallory, Kaskella, Harry Johnson, Cathy Madin, Harry will play on 1st XV rugby on Wednesday. Bye for now,  Love, Steve

Ione’s little ones give her a great source of enjoyment, she sends her mother the following extract:

Dearest Mother,

…Here’s my latest joke:

Alan Redpath’s grandson, Bruce Lindquist: – (to me at the table)…

“There’s a bug in my slice of banana.”

Mrs. McMillan:- “I don’t see a thing in it.”

B.L. :- “Well, there’s a hole right there.”

Mrs. McMillan:- “There’s no bug there. Eat that banana!”

B.L.:- “(with a last look at the banana before gulping it down) – “All right, bug, you’ve had it!”

Mail going out.  Love,  Ione

In a letter to her mother on 15th June 1970, Ione has another ‘Bruce’ story in with her other news:

… I got a vicious bite from a mad cat last Sunday, but it is healing up nicely now. The two front fangs went in deep in my right forearm and it bled quite a bit. I told the nurse while she was soaking it in hot water that it would give me much shame to get through the ‘jaws of the lions’ and then die of a common cat bite. It was not our cat but the other yellow male, who keeps coming over to fight with our cat. I chased him out so many times with the broom that he now has a grudge and when I foolishly tried to pick him and lift him out more kindly, he turned on me. I have two holes in the top of my arm and two underneath, but the underneath ones may be from his claws. It bled so bad that by the time I got the broom and pushed him out, the floor was ready to be mopped up. But I left that, and the kids, and held it while I went for the nurse, and it soon stopped bleeding on the outside but bled enough inside to turn the skin dark and make it swell some. It bothered me until about 10 that night when it took a turn for good, and it was as though the Lord decided to let me get off easy. I was able to use it to pull the 3 kids out of bed to go the bathroom, and again in the morning to spank one. So, I am still boss, and don’t have to depend on others. And I thought my hand would be too stiff for typewriting, but it’s not. So maybe I’ll have a more noble death after all.

That little boy (Alan Redpath’s grandson) that makes such droll remarks, like when David was quoting the other morning the scripture Psalm 51:11- “Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” And just as he said ‘cast me not away’, the back of his chair gave way and he tipped back with heels overhead. He was not hurt at all, and it made a good laugh, for it looked like he was being cast away when he went back. It was a big Belgian-styled chair with red foam rubber cushions; a bar holds the back in place and sometimes falls out.   Much love,   Ione

Finances preoccupy Ione and Ione manages with help from her mother, on 28th June, she writes:

There is some tithe (Tithe is a tenth of the Income Ione receives that she uses to repay her mother) which you should have. The Lord graciously answered my prayer for $300 extra to help our RVA bill. A cheque came from the young people of West Bloomfield church for $371. And a cheque for $50 from Manchester, Michigan. Iron Creek Sunday School, and two $5 checks from 1st Baptist Pontiac from Arlene Thorpe. A total of $431. Then a lovely note from Doctor & Mrs. Carl Becker, Senior, at Nyankunde commending my work with the missionary children, and a cheque for $100! So, you should write yourself a tithe check for $53.10.

I will need to get some more Zaires (local currency at that time) from Bunia whenever I find there is enough in the July allowance, for paying my Rethy bill. I am going to use Doctor Becker’s money toward my Kijabe trip, but will need more in dollars, too. This morning I found another verse like the one you found in Hosea 1:10. It is II Kings 9:26- “Surely I have seen…the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the Lord; and I will requite thee in this plot, saith the Lord.” The Lord is blessing much in my dorm. And I am crying to Him for John and “all them that sail with thee” the 66 graduates for His Service! It is not asking too much of Him. Still not sure whether John will leave in July. If he does, I’ll cable you.   Love,  Ione

In a letter to Ken a day later, Ione explains her reservations about John going to the College in Seattle:

Tomorrow is Independence Day here. The children will have their Field Day sports then. I think there is a meeting at the church first.

I am waiting to hear whether Paul and David left for Alaska. I will send Paul’s birthday letter there.

I have a great burden on my heart for John and his class-mates. The Lord is surely doing something in their hearts during these busy last days. I will find out soon, either by letter, or when I arrive their July 25th.

I sent you a packet of flying ants. (French fried and cooked slowly so they would keep in transit. They are an African delicacy, safe to eat, usually collected when the ants swarm during a rainy spell). At least, I sent them to Mr. Miller to go out with the next mail. They may not be edible by the time you get them, but if they keep at all you can show folk how they look.

I gave John a little handful of ivory pickle forks to give away, if he can get them home without trouble. Mrs Amstutz (AIM Kampala) says the July 29 flight is going just a few hours after graduation (25th). But there are other planes available soon after that in early August. I have asked Mr. Barney to hold John back from going until I can talk to him. I think it may be friends’ pressure to go to Seattle. Students are allowed to dance there. (The rhythms and dances of the 1970’s must seem to Ione akin to the dancing and drum beats that greeted her when she first arrived in Congo and thus the association is that it is driven by the Devil.) And if so, they are not the friends he should continue with. If he does leave, I will send a cable so you can meet him. Mrs. De Young says John has a strong Christian testimony. I love you.   Mother

At the beginning of July, Paul and David write to Ione. They are planning to go to Alaska and spend the summer with their Aunt Doris in Soldotna, presumably helping the family can the salmon. Ione worries that the boys will not keep Sunday as the Lord’s day and maybe tempted to work as her brother in law does. Added to her concerns at this point is news that her mother has not been well, and Ione worries that the boys are not helping her sufficiently and the added worry of them being away and the forthcoming arrival of John is too much.

However, John allays some of her fears and she writes to her mother on: 3rd July, 1970:

A letter from John last night encouraged my heart. He said, “I’m not too busy that I don’t seek the Lord every night and morning by myself and on Friday nights with our Bible study. And He’s really blessing me because I put Him first. What is the address of that Ontario Bible College?” I sent John the catalogue with application in the back.

It looks like John is willing to go to a school which stresses the Bible. Would you be willing for him to go to Ontario Bible College, Mother? You remember when we were in Toronto on our way in ’64 to Pontiac, Doctor Boehmer took them through the College. I have been there a number of times. That is where 75 students offered for the mission field when some other missionaries and I spoke in ’65. And just recently when Pastor Yoane Akudri from Congo spoke there, 34 more offered. It is a small college and offers only Bible subjects, and music and a few other things. And they have a one-year course, in case John wants only one year. And this year would qualify him for mission field I think, if he wanted to go elsewhere after that. I have written to Doctor Boehmer, a classmate of mine from MBI, and asked him to write me and also you telling what John would need to do for border crossings and to get student card for attending school in Canada.

The cost for tuition for whole year at OBC is $480 and the monthly board and room is $85 to $92. It seems somewhat near what we could pay, don’t you think? And he should try to get work, too. I wondered, if you were in agreement, if Ken could arrange to go with John to enter school, just to stay a day and get him started. They could go the same way that we always used to go, on that early morning commuter train to the Detroit Grand Street Station, then take a bus through the tunnel to Windsor, then the Canadian train to Toronto. From there they could take a cab to the school, which is right in town. What do you think? The arrival of new students is on September 8, student orientation and registration 9-11.

Could you write me at RVA as the time is short, and I expect to be there July 25th until August 6 or 7? I might be able to let John come on the 29th with the other AIM missionaries if this is OK and I am quite sure Stewart Boehmer will make it possible for John to come, if it is what John wants, and you are satisfied.

Steve has his driver’s license now and can bring the truck and Tim and me back to Rethy. Pray for Steve’s U.S. History grade; it’s way down to D. He wants to go to PBI when he graduates next year. He is not in the Bible Study group at RVA and I am not sure he reads his Bible much. But he is steady and solid in his testimony so far.

I am still hoping for a radio contact with you during the last two weeks of August. And if Marcellyn is home then, it would be nice to talk to her, too. Let me know whenever you can of the date when she will come. If things get too complicated at home, let me know, and I will just come and help you out. The pull will be very strong on the American side with 4 out of 6 children there! But I still feel that the Lord would like to me carry on here. And I am needed, not only for the small children, but as a stabilizing help to some younger missionaries, and for the influence I can have at RVA through my boys.  Love,  Ione

Ione continues to ‘parent by letter’, on 17th July, she writes to Ken:

I think your latest letter was the one written June 17th& 18th. I don’t seem to be getting quite as many letters from you and from Paul and David. However, I have not heard from them yet since they were to have left for Alaska. I hope someone goes to Arua soon, as there must be some mail there by now.

There has been a fellow visiting here for a few days (3 months in Congo) who expects to go to medical school after this year. He is now at Princeton, majoring I think in English and something else. He says he has applied to 7 medical schools, and according to statistics only 1 out of 7 gets accepted. He is not a born-again Christian, so looks at it from the standpoint of the world and the way things are going. So far as North-western is concerned, if the Lord wants you there, He will open up the way, no matter how many or few applications you fill out. And the cost you named in your May 25 letter does not seem out of reason. I would not stop at the cost, as we have a great God who is very rich.

Have you heard anything from the Keith Memorial Fund? Is that the one that Al Larson wrote me about, I wonder. I think he said there was not too much hope from them. I suggested University of Michigan only as it is near home. I have asked several people and none seem to think that North-western is a Christian school, but no one has anything against it. Will you need extra money for your subjects in the fall? If so, how much will you need? People here are interested. Doctor Becker sent me $100 for my own boys, and if I thought you needed it, I would not use it for the trip to the east coast. It may be that there will be enough in the bank for me to write a cheque. I am waiting to hear from Grandma how much was left after the home allowances, etc. were taken out.

Your little garden sounds nice, and I hope you get enough out of it to justify the work put into it. It’s nice anyway, though, to be working outside. Did you have your birthday outside by the stone fireplace? How did you come out in your exam that day?

I have not heard from John since hearing that he was interested in Ontario Bible College. In fact, there has been no mail since then. I hope to have something before leaving next week on the trip. We will be in Kijabe from July 25 to probably Aug. 6 or 7th. You could send mail c/o John, Steve or Tim.

Steve and Tim will need to get 32 stares for wood this vacation (1 stare is a cubic meter) to fulfil our quota of dorm wood which is pooled in a big pile. But I guess they will be glad for something to do with the truck. It is still working fine. Before this trip I will have a ‘grease’ job done (either Mr. Lee or Mr. McAllister) and a board across the back of the box needs replacing. David painted the box black as all other trim is black, and the truck white.

How are the grapes coming? I sure wish I could have a taste when they are ripe. Tell Grandma to make grape jam just whenever she feels like it, and then there will be plenty on hand when I come home for furlough.

I am sending this letter with the Millers who have agreed to mail it in the States somewhere on their way. They are going around the world. Much love, Mother

Whilst Ione remains up beat in her letters to her sons, she is more honest with her mother; on 19th July she writes:

I am glad the term is ending, as I am very tired, and can’t shake a sinus headache. But it does not affect my singing, and I enjoyed singing a beautiful trio today with Mrs. Buyse and Miss Judy Cooke. But both are leaving this week, so I guess I will not be singing so much from now on.

John may feel the responsibility of the truck and want to see us back home before he leaves. I have heard this indirectly. (John has also agreed to go to Ontario Bible College, which pleases Ione immensely.)

Pray that I will get money from somewhere to buy needed things from Nairobi while I am there. But especially for the Seniors’ time for testimonies that they will reserve it and use it instead of substituting it with a panel like last year. And pray that they will really have something to thank the Lord for. And for the yearbook that it will honour the Lord. I would cry every time I think of the missed opportunities last year. But I think David has come through OK since then. He said in his letter he would not compromise while in Alaska.

I will lie down a few minutes while the children are gone. Just three and half more days until they go. I surely wish John would stay and help here in September.  But I will not urge him as he needs to get on with his training. I will have Senior boys to sleep here by turns, instead of girls. But maybe the girls will help at bath time. David’s high school diploma is here. I will send it with John.

Much love,   Ione

As term draws to an end, Ione gets to see old friends, The McAllisters who drive up to collect children and they give her an update on UFM News:

McAllisters arrived tonight after a very muddy and bad road, from Kisangani. All is well there and they had a good Field Conference. They said all of the missionaries were discussed by the Congolese delegates and their opinions passed on them as to whether they would invite them back to the field after their furloughs. And they said when my name came up they said, “We will not discuss Mrs. McMillan. She is in the class with the angels!”

John mentioned in his last letter that he could go home August 12 with some other missionaries, but I have to check on it. It would be from Entebbe, like David, and he would come here first and help bring the truck back, then we would drive him to Entebbe. But we’ll let you know by cable when we get the details. The 29th reservation was cancelled.

All for now as I have not even packed my suitcase yet and the lights will go out in an hour.  Much love,   Ione

Once at the school in Kijabe, Ione has an update for her mother:

John does not want to stay out here after August.

The trip here was good, and we arrived in time to see the Saturday afternoon rugby game. I have a small room in the motel and McAllisters have another room. We don’t need to cook for ourselves until after the graduation, which is tomorrow. We are eating in the dining room with the students.

I had a chance to buy an inexpensive ticket for John to New York. I had to use my cheque book for John’s ticket but dated it September 1. It is for $288. But I have notified UFM to put $400 in our bank account to cover that and other expenses so you will notice the difference in balance. I will also probably write a cheque for $100 as I need more money here. The Guidance Department here is sending a cable to check to see whether John will be accepted at Ontario Bible College. But I have not received a letter from you as to whether that school would be OK with you. John’s flight date should be August 21 but he might have a day in London at UFM Headquarters as they might be able to book him out of there the next day & he would go directly to Detroit. But we’ll need to let you know more definitely later.

John playing the drums during Senior Night, RVA.

John has been playing the drums here. I heard him tonight on the Senior night program. 3 numbers, one was, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Another – a drum & flute accompaniment to the Choir. And another with the pipe organ – a number something like the Sailor’s Hymn they played at Kennedy’s funeral. The devil’s voice was not in any of these. But in the yearbook, it said the school was relaxing its views of some music, so I have this feeling John may have been playing some that the devil’s voice was in. I talked to him about it & asked if he was compromising. He admitted he was, but Timmy said, “Mommy, you don’t know how many times John has refused to do questionable things.” I am not sure, but he seems ready for Bible school and says he does not expect to continue with RVA’s standards of music at Ontario Bible College. But he is frail physically. He needs vitamins and good food. The food here is not so good or as plentiful as at Rethy. Well, God is still on the throne. Hallelujah.

With love, Mother – Ione

Three days later, 30th July, Ione writes:

We were able to get a good booking for John. I have sent you a cable. He goes BOAC from Entebbe flight 044 August 11 at 14.15 arriving London 21.55. They provide hotel accommodation but I will ask UFM secretary in London to meet him. He leaves London August 12 flight BA561 at 12.30, arriving at Boston 14.45. He will depart Boston 16.10 and arrive in Detroit via American Airlines at 17.48 (5:48 P.M.) flight AA609 – August 12.

John received a cable from Ontario Bible College saying he was tentatively accepted, but he doesn’t have his medical paper in yet. John seems himself and willing to put the Lord first, and all the drum playing has not spoiled him I don’t think. I will have Steve & Tim give up the Choir as their grades are not too good and I don’t want them singing what the choir sings now and I will bring them home rather than to compromise further. McAllisters leave August 1. I will start back with John to Entebbe August 10 for his plane. No letters yet from you.  Love, Ione

Once back at Rethy, Ione writes to her mother on 5th August:

Well, we made it back to Rethy OK. Had a little trouble with the car (muffler, brakes) but each time the boys were able to cope with it. I think Stephen will be a good right hand man when John goes. He has such a curious mind and figures things out.

I thought for a while that we should all come home, as the RVA life was no better this time than last year when I went. The only improvement was that the boys realize now how much backbone they need, and they are beginning to put their feet down and stand up for what is right. After many talks with the boys, real frank ones, I am encouraged that they have not regressed hopelessly, but will perhaps gain more spiritual fibre by staying there. I am still not sure that I will let them stay in the choir. But if I take them out, their Sundays will be quite empty and Satan is so quick to fill a void with things even more questionable. Last year with David, it was shows and staying up nearly all night. This year with John it is the questionable music and widespread sex education with some slants on the side of the new morality. I don’ think coming home will lessen my problems. And it may be the boys will do well to cope with the kind of problems they already know about rather than to add to them drugs, etc., that young people have at home!

Lucille’s letter which I received when we arrived here last night is all I have to go on for news of you all. There was nothing from Ken or you, and I was hoping to hear what you think about John’s going to Ontario Bible College. I sent you a cable of John’s arrival time, but wondered when I read Lucille’s letter whether you would be well enough to meet him. Lucille said your kidney infection saps your strength. She did not say when Marcellyn would arrive, and I have the idea that she and the two children might be there when John comes. I hope it is alright to send him now. Maybe Marcellyn can do the cooking if you are not well enough. Give her my love!

We had two nice letters from David & Paul, which give some idea of what they are doing.

Now about John’s finances. John will show you the Ontario Bible College catalogue where it says that his fees must be paid in advance for one semester. He has written to Mr. Sarginson to send $500. But I see that he will need half of the tuition which would be $240, plus student activity fee of $17, plus board and room for 3 and 1/3 mos. which would be about $300, and also money for text books. If you could give him most of his allowance which would come in the September allowances, he might make it.

…He is not sure yet whether he will take the one year or the 3-year course. If he takes the one year, he might be able to make plans with Paul for the next step, as Paul will be finishing Moody then. Write when you can.  Ione

By the 7th August, Ione hears from her mother that it will be fine with her for John to come under her guardianship and attend College in Ontario, she writes to Ken:

I am anxious to know what you are doing about your finances for school. I was hoping to have a letter from you when we returned from Kijabe, but there was nothing from you or from Grandma. But there was a letter from Aunt Lucille saying Grandma was sick. And I am wondering how serious it is.

John will not have as much money as David to come home with. I have just received all the dollars Mr. Kline has, and it is $40, debited from my account. So, he will be able to get some underwear and shirts and pyjamas and a bathrobe. He has some nice-looking new trousers. He will need shoes for Sunday. I guess Grandma will feel that he needs fattening up. He eats pretty well, but does not seem to be able to put on more weight. He has to rest a little more often than the other boys. I know he will be so glad to be with you, and you can help him get established. I appreciate so much all you are doing at home. I know the Lord must have something in mind for the fall, but I don’t see where the money will come from for your university subjects. You have more to take at University don’t you? I thought you said you have another year. Please don’t be discouraged. This may be the hardest stretch, as your UFM money is finished and if we take from the Canadian Fund, there will not be as much interest money to pay the taxes and insurance.

But let’s keep our eyes on Him, and not get too anxious but wait right up to the time, and He will open the right way. I don’t think it is His will for you to borrow. Many here are doing it. Schuits and Muchmore’s have taken out loans for their boys to get started at Kings College. We can’t do what other people do, but keep in very close touch with the One who knows what is ahead.

The letters from David and Paul sound good. I know it would be nice for you to be there. But it is important for you to receive John there in Detroit and get him home to Pontiac.

As yet, it seems His will for me to continue here, and for Steve and Tim to continue at RVA. Though I have had many misgivings about their being so far from me when they need closer touch and oftener with their Mother. But if Grandma is not able to carry on there I will come home.

They (the McAllister’s) tell me that the hospital at Bongondza is to be reopened instead of building a new one at Banjwadi. Doctor and Mrs. Kyle will be going there in September and I believe also the Bill Gilvear (A British nurse that Ken would know from previous years). We expected the Bill and his wife, Margaret, today by plane from Nyankunde but she is ill and so they had to postpone it for a few days. They’ll miss seeing John but will see the rest of us when we get back from Kampala Wednesday. Mrs. Gilvear had an operation at Nyankunde. And is recuperating before going back to Kisangani area. They say she is a real nice Scotch girl. They are expecting a baby.

Viola Walker and the Carpers are back in Kisangani. The Harms and Southards are expected soon. I’ll see many of them at the opening of school here, as some bring their children, and Mr. Carper will come for a management seminar here, or something like that. I’ll have people sleeping here I think. Hope it’s some UFM folk.

It is the first days of school during the fall term. I am keeping well, but have had a sore throat ever since I left here July 29th but it never gets too uncomfortable, but I have to keep gargling. I am careful what I eat and then the headaches are less. I feel pretty good for not having a vacation yet. We’ll get a little trip to the caves at Mount Hoyo maybe around the 21st. Maybe Chuck Davises will go with us.

The Congo Zaires are getting more and more stable. That is good. McAllisters, Muchmore’s and Pearl Hiles left while we were at Kijabe for their furlough. We had some trouble with the car on the way back, brakes, but the boys are working on it right now. Got a new part and need to ‘adapt’ it to our car. Never seem to get the right sizes and kinds here. Same with the muffler. It didn’t fit quite right and aimed its heated venom at the brake linings and hence the trouble.   Love, Mother

John does get his wish to go back to Rethy before heading to the States at the end of August and gives Ione a birthday celebration with her three youngest sons, which is described in a letter to her sister Lucille on the 7th August. The letter is a ‘thank you’ for a parcel which contained fudge. Ione is able to express her joy at Bongondza mission station being opened up again – Bill and Margaret Gilvear will join Doctor Kyle and his wife and Viola Walker. Whilst ‘old’ missionaries return, Ione laments the lack of new blood; she writes:

So many UFM folk are coming back now, but few new ones. Only one American girl since the rebellion.

In the parcel containing the fudge was a gift of children’s party favours donated by Melvin Baptist Church ladies. In her thank you letter to this group, Ione explains:

Thanks very much for the two boxes full of party favours. They are just what I wanted, and I surely am glad to have them. The little missionary children here don’t mind so much being away from their parents when they have happy times. Every time any child at one of the seven tables has a birthday, the whole table celebrates. So I need 8 or 9 favours for each time. It makes it special, and that child can choose the kind of cake he wants. Sometimes all 60 children get that kind, and sometimes the rest get a less expensive kind but with the same colour frosting. This year one little boy from the Central African Republic had no mail or presents from home as mailing facilities are not good. What we provide was all he had.

I do enjoy working with the children, and am thankful to see this year a greater searching of the Word. Even tiny 6-year olds are finding precious verses that bless my heart, and help them to be good soldiers for Jesus Christ.

I am finding that my burden of raising my own family and looking after other peoples’ children is becoming a real blessing. I have found that there is no burden which, if we lift it cheerfully and bear it with love in our hearts, will not become a blessing to us. God means our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our shoulders to receive a load, is to decline a new opportunity for growth.

In Isiah 40:31, we read that “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” And this is the victorious, triumphant life, that is always above and not below. Praise His Name for His help in the past and for the hope we have for the future.

May the Lord bless you in all that you do for Him.      With love, Ione McMillan

John is barely out of the country and Ione writes to him:

Dear John,

I found your proof of selective service registration with your Congo Carte D’Imatriculation, which I kept here. I am sorry it is my fault that you did not take it. I think you will need it to prove that you applied at the right time.

We miss you a lot, and feel sad today, but writing helps, and we will get busy tomorrow on some jobs like getting wood, and getting ready to go to Aba Tuesday. The boys may pick up Keith Robinson at Adi. And if Crossmans do not leave by then for Oicha, Peter and David can go. It will just be a day of hunting and swimming at the Aba pool. Then the 24th and 25th we will go to Bunia, and spend some time at Mount Hoyo. So the boys will have some fun to look forward to. I just hope they can get 32 stares of wood in between!

John, do not forget to take anti-malaria medicine each week for 4 weeks after you are home. And if you are sick ask for Camoquin, if possible, as it gets you over malaria quicker than anything else.

We are all well. Especially Gus, as his stealing and his fighting is over! Remember, John, to make sure it is God’s plan, not just His blessing on Your plan.  Much love,  Mother

On the 16th August, Ione writes to Ken and Grandma:

It is lonely today, the first Sunday without John, but we are all trying to be cheerful. A classmate of Steve’s, John Pinkerton (AIM) is with us during the holiday, so the boys enjoy having him, but he is quiet, too, and we miss John’s sparkle. Hope you got word of his coming in time to meet him.  Much love, Ione

Dear Ken,

Thanks for your letter of July 28. I am glad about your dealings with the Keith Memorial Fund trust officer. And I am praying that it will go through. You will need more than that, though, won’t you? You said you will just barely have minimum requirements by the end of next year. Would that be the end of the school year, or by December ’71? It looks like you will be starting before I come home.

John seems to be quite sure that the Lord was leading him in applying to Ontario Bible College. I will be waiting to hear how he gets started.

I’m glad the garden is yielding some good things for the table.  Much love,   Mother

Ione updates her mother August 30th with their activities over the summer:

This busy vacation month is nearing an end. I have had but one afternoon of rest, but have had many short naps while travelling along the road with the boys. Making the trip back home from Kijabe with John was important, as he could be once more in Congo, and make another short hunting trip to the nearby Red Arrow forest. Then we got him checked out properly. This we neglected with David, and he will need to send me his matriculation card for Congo so that I can do this. If you don’t, it makes it hard to get in again when he comes back. Then we went to Entebbe to see John off and this, too, was expensive and exhausting, but worth it, and we have a great God who is able to do much more than this! My choice of BOAC was questioned by UFM as against the charter flights which many were using, but I think I have explained it satisfactorily by letter to Al Larson. At any rate, if I have to pay part of it as personal expense, I cannot complain, as I did my best for John. I didn’t want him to go until he was sure, and I did feel he was sure when he went, that OBC was the school the Lord wanted him to attend. As yet I don’t have your 10-page letter, but judge that you were rather surprised to have John come so soon. I hope this has not made it harder for you.

A few days after coming home from seeing John off, we made a trip to Aba with 2 extra AIM missionary boys, and the boys enjoyed hunting there, and swimming. That was the day I had a good rest, as they were with Bill Stough. We had a very muddy trip back, with stops at other AIM stations which the boys had never seen. Then after a week-end, we went to see the caves of Mount Hoyo, near Oicha where Ken was born. It was a very interesting sight, the huge caves and inside stalagmites and stalactites; a waterfall called, “The Staircase to Heaven,” which could be climbed in times when the water is low. But it was high as there had been much rain. The Chuck Davises went with us, and Joan Pengilly. In fact, 16 people in all, and they helped to pay the gas.

…Just now the boys are on a camp-out at Red Arrow forest, just over night (about 3 or 4 miles away) with Carl Becker, who is their age. We have a John Pinkerton with us during this holiday and next and maybe the third. His folks are on furlough. They pay $1 a day for him. He is finishing his Senior year like the Schuit boy did last year, spending his vacation here. He is a good friend of Stephen’s. He prays nice prayers in family worship, and is very good to offer to help. Quick to obey, and quiet. He does not listen to questionable music here as we do not have nor allow it. And I keep the radio either in my room or in Tim’s or Steve’s and then I am sure!

There will probably be $100 a month taken out of the allowance for a few months to cover the extra money I asked UFM for while in Kenya, for our expenses, as well as (possibly) the amount needed for John above the charter flight cost. However, I have asked Herb to lessen the RVA allowance by $100 per draft from now on. That will help but not underwrite John’s for several months. If you wish I will write Ontario Bible College and explain more thoroughly to them our situation and ask for a little help (even a loan) for John for the second term. Unless he is able to get a job right there which he can do along with school like Paul does at Moody.

I am claiming this VICTORY in HIM.  Love, Ione

On the 14th September, Ione writes a long letter to her mother:

I had the envelope and this bank transfer ready some time ago as you see by its date, and I wrote it with such trepidation as I knew we didn’t have enough money in the bank. But it the meantime, Mrs. Herbert Atkinson, the wife of the doctor who took Paul and David to a turkey dinner at his house in Wheaton one Sunday, has assured me that she is transferring some money to our account at home in the bank. She asked me for the number, and said it would be about $300, money which she received when her Dad, Austin Paul, died. The Lord laid this need on her heart and I trust it will be what you need when it comes.

The boys and I stayed at the Atkinson’s house in Nyankunde on our way back to Rethy from visiting Mount Hoyo caves during this past holiday. Their oldest boy is at RVA now, and a friend of Tim’s. The next son is the one who is helping me some here with the little children. Then they have a girl in the Intermediate Dorm, and a smaller girl at home. I had mentioned that I always seem to run $300 behind, and this touched her heart.

UFM had a strange succession of sad events just this month, and because of this, the Carpers were unable to come here at opening of school. But I was happy to entertain the Southards and the Harms, who came to enrol their children at Rethy. On a Tuesday while Viola Walker was washing windows outside her house (at Banjwadi, the house where the Nicholls used to live, then the Muchmore’s), she fell and broke her hip. And the bone was so shattered that there was no way to repair it out here. So, she and Betty O’Neal were to fly to Philadelphia last Thursday. Betty will stay with her as long as she is needed, then go on her furlough to Ireland. The Sunday after Viola was taken to Kisangani to hospital, her house mate, Jean Schlegel, a new missionary, died very suddenly. And up to now they cannot find the cause of death! The superstitious Africans are saying all sorts of things, accusing the houseboy of poisoning, etc., but the boy had not cooked for her all that day as she had been eating with the other girls there (Margaret Hayes and Jean Radden and Pat Olds). She was taken ill suddenly and was by herself several hours as her house was not very near the others. An African heard her groaning and called the girls and they had to hold her down, and she fought and tried to show them something pertaining to her mouth. Some think she took too much malaria medicine by mistake. They took specimens from the stomach to a laboratory, but have not yet received the report, but her eyes indicated poisoning as they were like small pinpoints, not dilated at all even though it was night. By the time they could get her to Kisangani they could not get a blood specimen as the blood was coagulated. She was not yet 30 years old. The only new missionary UFM has had from the U.S. since the rebellion. And how hard Satan tries to make people stay away from Congo! But we are even now on the winning side, as we have an all-victorious Christ.

I have 15 children and no special problems except one quite habitual bed-wetter, but I hope soon to find out the best time to get him up.

In Lucille’s birthday letter of August 17, she said she thought I should come home next summer as she was feeling the strain of learning so suddenly that John was coming home was hard on you. I guess I should have kept him here longer, as I had been thinking that I would do. But when I got to Kijabe and saw how earnest he was about going to Bible school I didn’t want to discourage him. And he didn’t have that strong feeling like David last year that he must stay on out here. I surely appreciate your being so adjustable and accepting him as you did. But if I have overstepped and you think you are getting imposed upon, I surely want to do something about it. If there is any doubt in your mind about the next vacation time or even while they are at school, do tell me, and I will do whatever you say.

When I mentioned to Steve and Tim that Aunt Lucille thought I should come home next summer instead of the one following, Tim sighed as he would really like to finish out here. And Steve said, “If I don’t go home next year it would help wouldn’t it? If I helped in the Dorm and with station maintenance then Grandma would not have any extra boys until we all come. Shall I plan to stay out a year after my graduation?” Well, I told him to wait and see what everybody thought. He wrote to David and asked him what he thinks of Moody. Steve is still interested in going to Prairie, but says he would be willing to go to Moody if it would be best. He will soon need to be making some applications, if he does go home next summer.

Thanks for your letter of August 21st. The 10-page letter has not reached me yet, but probably will come with the boys’ letters from RVA. They said they would send it. And I have not heard from them yet, as no one has been across the border lately.

I am feeling fine and keeping the same weight. I have added duties as I am leading 3 Choirs (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, form 3 to 3:30) but have the encouragement of the Music teacher here, who plays for them and takes them for the 15 minutes I can’t be there (3:30-3:45) for Music Theory). I am going to try to direct, “Born a King.” Pray for this.

Did I thank you for the birthday card and money you put in the bank? I did appreciate it.

How did Marcellyn make out? I suppose she has gone back by now.

I was glad to have letters from the boys in Alaska, and trust they got home all right and then off to school. Did you have any special problems with this complication of three going off? And does Ken have enough money to carry a good schedule of subjects this fall?

The Lord never lets it get too hard. We can trust Him for that.  Much love,   X    Ione

As a new school term starts, Ione hopes to get back some routine to her letter writing; she tells Ken on September 16th

I am trying to get my writing schedule established. As yet, I have not even got my desk straightened (I have Mrs. Miller’s desk for while they are at home, and am going to find it more convenient than using the dining room table) and am still preparing charts and schedules for here and dining room.

This morning I did one on dropping dishes, late to meals, behaviour in dining room and pantry, etc. I have still to do one on manners in the dining room. Then at the end of the term I will prepare an honour roll for behaviour and manners there. I have yet to prepare the little work charts for each door in my dorm which tell them the job they change to each week in the dorm and for table setting. I have it all written out, but need to do the individual ones. The Dorm staff has to meet them and revise all rules for dorm and make them more concise (Mr. Becker is now Principle and wants this, and a new improved list for clothing needs at Rethy. But if it does not take me long to do a chart, and I am expecting by the end of this week to get busy in earnest on writing supporters.

I haven’t got your letters written to RVA yet, but hope they will come in tomorrow’s mail. We did unpack the drum sent with Becker’s and are enjoying the cake mixes and jello and Kool-Aid and other nice things. That is, we did while the boys were here. Now I am eating in the dorm. But I did make a little ice cream yesterday as I had left-over cream from when I took milk, and the little children enjoyed some in a cup before they went to bed last night.

We are getting stool and urine specimens from all of them this week, so I have to get up early enough to watch when they go to the bathroom. Already 3 little girls have needed to begin taking worm medicine (round worms and pinworms) and another girl has ring-worm on her leg.

I was able to get Grandma’s letter done in time to get it over the border, but not yours, and I am sorry to be late. In her letter I mentioned the possibility of a gift of $300 from the Atkinsons, to be deposited into our bank account in Pontiac. This morning I received a copy of the transaction and it is for $400, so you should soon see a difference in the bank balance. Aside from the Greek transfer which I sent to Grandma for $150, I need to write several small ones, for Bobley books which have come out here, and some subscriptions. Tell her to leave about $50 leeway and then use the rest for your tuition or extra expenses, or John.

Aunt Lucille wrote that I should plan to come home next summer. She was worried about Grandma’s having a heart tremor when she got the cable about John’s coming. What do you think? I should tell them here a good while ahead if I cannot be here next fall. They will need to get someone anyway for the following year, and would plan for it. I could help do some of the heavy work that you are doing as this will be needed when you go to medical school. Or do you think Paul might consider taking his college subjects locally? Well, I would appreciate hearing your opinion about plans for the future. The Lord will never let it get too hard. But remember that, “it pleased the Lord to bruise HIM!” and He knows what is good for us. I was more encouraged with Tim and Steve by the time they left home. But something Tim said worries me. He said, “Both David and John played around some, while they were at RVA, and then when it came time to leave, they became serious about doing God’s will, and made the right choice and were then ready to settle down.” It sounded like Tim might be planning to live a light frivolous life at RVA and not try to get close to the Lord. I told him in my last letter that if he did not live for the Lord at RVA, he might find it very hard to get back to Him later. He has not been working at his Navigator’s Course, but did pray about it that he might be more faithful. Steve does not go any farther spiritually than he is pushed, but he did come out with a good verse when I held him to it one Sunday morning; it had real depth and he seemed to lay hold on it for himself.

Steve added a little humour to our holiday times and I was glad to see him come out some in that way, with his droll remarks. We plan to go to Kisangani area December 4 and stay there until the 18th. Will try to get to Ekoko this time and stay longer at Bongondza.

Did Grandma tell you about the death of the new missionary at Banjwadi, Jean Schlegel? Very strange. Also Viola Walker’s accident.   Love, Mother

September 22nd, Ione writes to her sister and starts by describing her birthday:

I really had two celebrations, as I received something from the boys on one day (3 ready-installed globes to cover the bare bulbs in the living room, dining room and bedroom; and John’s cuckoo clock, the latter to be kept by me until he gets married he says and then everyone laughed as he has no girlfriend. I made a lemon chiffon cake the last Sunday John was here and asked him to decorate it with some special things which had come out with Isobel Jones’ baggage and we called it my birthday and his farewell cake. Then after John left, we found that my actual birthday and the birthday of Dave Crossman were just a day apart. The Crossmans were here at the time, on their way to their station, Oicha. So, we made pizza and had another cake made by Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Crossman. The dorm cook, who comes to us during the vacation, made half the dorm recipe for the dough and the group I had here ate it all (around 16, but the boys were all big who joined us). I made the sauce and Mrs. C. helped to get it in the little bottle gas stove I brought out. The oven bakes 3 loaves of bread at a time

The favours your ladies made are exactly what I wanted and I don’t have to change them at all. It is such a help. The ones the Eunice or Sunnyvale send are not uniform, as some have lots of toys and some lots of candy, so I dump them out and pack them again as I use them, so that the kids get the same amounts. The ideal set-up is 2 or 3 pieces of candy (some chocolate is nice) and one toy and one balloon. And having on the outside for girl or boy is fine. I have enough for this term and maybe next.

A new missionary gave me a sackful of beautiful hose which she did not want because they have seams. I am enjoying them as they are such nice quality. And I don’t have to do a washing now more than once a week. I still enjoy most the jumper you gave me which Esther made; and the 3 which she sent which are like that. I rotate them, in fact. But my blouses are getting worn out now, so would not mind having another white or pastel blouse with collar size #38.

I am sure you enjoyed having Ruth and Gary around for a while. I guess you missed them when they left. They are such a nice couple. It was nice of them to give up their own plans to wait and see Marcellyn.

I was surprised to hear that you gave Mother a permanent. I thought she was not going to have any more.  How did it turn out?

Did Esther come in August? I noticed in the last UFM statement that they have increased their giving to us from $5 a month to $10. It comes through their church. This must be a real sacrifice for them, but the Lord will bless them. And they are very faithful.

It looked like I was going to get behind financially again like I did last year after the Kijabe trip. Then a missionary doctor’s wife at Nyankunde felt burdened for our needs and has transferred $400 to our account at home. This will help in many ways at home, as you well know. John’s additional needs, plus Ken’s shortage, plus Mother’s during the time of having company.

If you think I should come home next summer I can let the Field Council here know by the time they meet again in Dec. I have written to ask Mother and Ken what they think and Paul to see if it would help if he planned to take his college subjects locally in the fall and help at home, if Ken goes away to Medical School. Steve says he would not go home next summer but wants to stay out here a year, if I stay. Tim is very anxious to finish at RVA. But ALL of our plans must be according to what is best for Mother and the boys as a whole.

Glad to hear that Jim (Lucille’s son) will be a father. Trust all goes well. It would be nice if you could go out to Ruth and Gary next summer and see if that is what the Lord would have you do next. If you would like to count on my being home for sure next summer just let me know. That climate would be good for you. Well, my little ones are coming in now for dinner. I am well, and getting on OK. Pray for me.   Love, Ione

After sending out a mailing of 1300 letters in April, Ione gets lots of letters by return and finds herself confessing to her mother:

I am terribly behind in my letters again. But I am claiming the Lord’s victory in this and working hard.

Some letters are returns from people who no longer live at the address Ione has and she says:

We’ll have to really revise our mailing list before we send out another letter.  Love,   Ione

Juggling finances remains complex and difficult, Ione writes to Ken, September 28th:

Thanks for your good letter about the bounced cheque. I may be getting it back in the mail when someone goes over the border and brings our mail. Then when I see it, I will write the cheque to replace it. I am sorry about it as I was assured by UFM that they would wire the money, not wait till the next allowance remittance!

Well, I am just thankful that David and Paul were willing to put in tithe money to help make up the deficit, and that can be their part in John’s homecoming. Has the $400 come to the bank that the Atkinsons transferred? Be sure that Grandma gets the tithe from that. I think I have straightened out by recent letter other tithe monies she should get.

How are you making out financially? I have only heard sort of round-about that you are getting help for your fall’s tuition. How much is this? Is this the $700 loan that can change into a scholarship if you go on into medicine on the mission field? And are you sure yet that you can finish your requirements for medical school by next fall?

I got my small pox vaccination done as the other expired August 31. I could travel any time as my papers are in order, and they would just have to get someone else for my dorm, if I am more needed at home. And Steve and Tim would need to come, too, at the end of the whatever term I need to leave. But it would be hard if they had to leave in the middle of the term.

Well, when I hear from you all I will have a better idea of how serious Grandma’s arm pain is, if it should be like the beginning of a stroke, etc. But I wanted to get these letters off while I had the time and to send when they go over the border after the mail.

I am feeding upon His faithfulness day by day. Enjoying wonderful grace, just in nice tastes at a time. O taste and see that the Lord is gracious. His grace is in manifolds, and I take them a fold at a time. Grace to help in time of need. And we should be good stewards of this manifold grace of God. I am trusting that all of our children shall be taught of the Lord. Not just trained up in the way they should go, but day by day being taught of Him, and going on to know Him better and finding out what He wants them to do.    Much love,  Mother

Ione’s letter to Ken must have hit a nerve, at this point in time, he is a young adult 23 years old.  In response to a letter from him, she writes on October 6th:

Thanks for your September 22 letter. It was short, but answered some of my questions. I have been wondering if you ever felt that your present lot and effort to get your required subjects was too hard. I don’t believe that God will ever let it get too hard, but I wonder sometimes if you feel that it is! I was glad to see that you were able to weed out some of the psychological principles, and come out in favour of God’s principles. (For some Christians, the field of psychology is seen as a threat to their principles and beliefs; similar to arguments that counter Darwin’s theories). And that as a result your own beliefs stand out more clearly. This is good.

Should we urge Steve to go to Moody, or just wait and see if he shows some indication first? I noticed in one letter he sent to David he asked what David thought about Moody. Steve’s last letter emphasized the fact of his wanting to stay out here a year after graduation.

I’m glad you are keeping in touch with John. And he should telephone to talk over any new plans he makes. Did you think he seemed well? He looked so tired when he left here.

Grandma says I should try to stay out until Tim graduates. What do you think Aunt Lucille would say if I did? She said I should come home next summer. Grandma also said she and you think Steve should come home next summer. Maybe if he came at a time that would not be quite so rushing if would be better for Grandma, like as if we waited a few months first. But if he waits until the January term, he might as well wait until we come the following July.

Tell Grandma I had a nice answer to prayer this week. There is a new missionary here, Miss Elaine Weibe, AIM, studying the Swahili language here, and spending 3 months in what they call orientation. She is helping mornings in the pharmacy, though she is not a medical person, and does not enjoy it. She has lessons in the afternoon. But she has requested several times that she be allowed to help me here while she is here. And now she has begun, and it is so nice. She comes at 4:30 P.M., just when I am glad for someone to play with the children. She eats supper at dorm dining room, and then helps after with playtime, devotions, story time, and putting them to bed. She is Canadian, tall, and used to camp work and kids. She is from Prairie Bible Inst. Just now at the term I am trying to help the kids get used to being here, it is a real lift. And when my nights are broken up, I can count on that help in the daytime. Miss Weibe says she will come every day except Sat. Then on Sun. this week she will stay at my dorm while I go with the Intermediate and Senior Choirs to sing at the native church.

Ken, when you choose a wife, be sure she has had some sort of Bible school training. There are some missions that are not strict about this, and then the wife is handicapped, and does not have a spiritual depth to take the hard things on the mission field. I have seen a number (Phil Weeks’ wife). And just recently in the Immanuel Mission they are letting a girl marry one of their fellows and they are coming out right away. But I wonder how it will turn out. His name is Rick Knox and she was Beth Burns.

Even Chuck Davis does not lay an emphasis on Bible training before college. We had an argument about that this week. But he conceded to my opinion, at least he stopped talking about it when he heard how strongly I felt about it. But it does seem the best to at least give the Lord a chance through special Bible study, to show what He wants us to do. It seems like that is what He is doing with David, as he is beginning to feel that missionary aviation is his work. Did he say anything about it when he was home? I noticed in I Chronicles 5:10 the verse for you, “They dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.” Then the next day’s verse for you, vs. 21-“They cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them.” I prayed that you might be a good pilgrim, sensing the IMPERMANANCE OF OUR STAY and the IMMINENCE OF OUR HELPER.

I am only beginning to taste of His grace. And I want so much to be a good steward of His manifold grace – remember Daddy’s saying it comes a fold at a time? Did you write to Doctor Becker after you got that check for $100? His address is c/o Medical Centre, Nyankunde, Bunia. Did the $400 come thru to our account from Atkinsons our here?  Lovingly, Mother

Whilst recognising Ken’s status in the family and relying on him for help and advice, Ione still feels the need to influence and direct, to ‘steer’ her sons.

It is evident that when Ione sends out ‘form’ or supporters’ letters, it does reap rewards and this is clear in the letter to her mother, 6th October:

…Isn’t it nice to have some new supporters right in the middle of my term? I surely am thankful for your help in getting this. I have already written to Lucille Andrews the secretary, and hope I can keep the letters going their way to encourage them. If anybody asks what is a special money need tell them that when we go to Kisangani this time, we want to take paint, wire screening and materials to fix up Bongondza and will need money to buy this in Uganda before we leave; also it costs about $300 every time we go, and the Lord has graciously supplied it every time. The car needs a new carrier bearing and other small parts which the boys can buy in Nairobi and bring with them when they come December 2, if they have the money to do it. This is a strategic trip as we hope to see the real opening of Bongondza and the hospital this time, with two couples installed, for medical work there.

You surely wore yourself out during August, and I hope you can gradually get back your strength. We must try not to give you so much of a strain another holiday time. It was nice of Mr. Kitchen to do the boys’ hair, and I’m glad you included them in on the fish bake. Wish I could have been there to enjoy it, too. We almost never get fish here. I am glad to hear the details of Ken’s dealings with the Keith Memorial Fund Committee (the source of Ken’s funding for medical school discussed above.)  I trust this will work out all right for him.

I’m glad the other transfer of $150 went thru, as Chuck Davis had helped me to get it, and I didn’t want him to be asked why it was not through. It is not easy to get Zaires in Bunia for Davises or Southards to buy gas bomb, sugar, soap, and should need to get another transfer, but if possible, I will try to get it thru the AIM Field Treasurer, Mr. Kline. The Davis family was just here conducting the meetings at Rethy for our annual Spiritual Emphasis Week-end. They said the Seminary there in Bunia where the work is going well now since the Southards came to take charge. It is an inter-mission seminary. Joan Pengilly teaches there, too. That is where Samuel Mbongo attends, the boy Paul and Ken sent money to while he was studying in France.

Thanks a lot for helping John to get his clothes for school. And thanks for getting him a nice blanket. The bedding he and David left here helps for when I have company, and some of it the other two needed. David and John’s sleeping bags are the only ones any good anymore, I’m glad to use them with the camp cots for safari.

I don’t know what to say about when I should come home. It is good of you to be willing to carry on till ’72, but I sure don’t want you to get a stroke. I thought when I heard about your arm that it was the beginning of a stroke.

What did Paul finally do about the Senior Retreat? Mother, you should not be lifting wet clothes like sheets. Does Ken do this for you, and hang them up? What would you think of Paul taking some college subjects next year at Oakland University and living at home when Ken goes. That is, if I don’t come home. Glad David fixed up the Falcon (the old car). Wish he were here now to fix our truck.  Love,  Ione

Ione writes separately to her mother and Ken on 21st October, 1970; to Ken, she confesses to feeling tired but her spirits are boosted with a visit from UFM missionaries:

I surely enjoyed having the Southards and Carpers here. Saturday night we sat up with Doctor and Mrs. Alden Gannett till midnight with the Petromax pressure lamp. Then they left Sunday morning for U.S. Sunday night it was just the others (all UFM missionaries) plus Snyders, and we reminisced a lot of rebellion days. And we had some jokes and it was great. Cathy was not able to get in at RVA as she is taking a Domestic science course with Mrs. Lee, and other subjects as well. She helps me 4 times a week. A new missionary is helping twice a week from 4:30 to 7:15. The Lord’s provision. I must close now and get the bath water ready for the 9 little girls. I love you so much Ken, and am so satisfied with what you are doing and your right spirit. May He undertake for you and give you a wife who will appreciate the things you have learned while working with Grandma.  Love, Mother

To mother, Ione writes:

 I have not special news except to say that the girl in UFM that died so suddenly at Banjwadi the last of August died because of an adverse reaction to an ordinary dose of chloroquine, which is often given for malaria. It was strange that five days before her death Viola Walker fell while washing windows outside their house and has been laid up ever since. She was flown to Philadelphia, and had surgery, but is not doing very well, has fever and is somewhat discouraged. It would be well to pray that the Lord will lift her spirits.

The parents of the dead girl have been separated for a time and not compatible. When the word came, both asked for her belongings. The American Council has her things and will have to decide which gets them. If a person has no will out here, everything goes to the government. But maybe the Council will be able to straighten things out. I just got the story straight from the Carpers who are now in charge of UFM out here, and were there in Kisangani at the time. They did not get the message of her death for 12 hours, as the runner was delayed by rain. Then they got in touch by radio, but there was little one could do except go after the body and bring it to Kisangani (about a 2 hour journey by car). Mrs. Carper said everything was such an effort, even getting a casket, and it was all very discouraging. Now there is another girl there at Banjwadi to be with the 3 other missionaries. A British nurse who is learning Lingala from Jean Radden.

Bongondza is being opened up really now and 3 couples will be there. We hope to see quite a difference when we go in December.  A fellow Marcellyn knows, Charles, from Aketi, will escort us around in the Ekoko area, where they say a real revival is going on. And no white people. The reason Carpers came just now (along with Southards from Bunia) was to bring Doctor and Mrs. Alden Gannett (UFM) who are visiting from U.S. who wanted to talk to all UFM folk in this area. His message was regarding our affiliation with what used to be called the Congo Protestant Counsel, now connected with the Church of Christ in Congo, and they say it is getting more and more affiliated with World Council of Churches. Doctor Gannett gave a good word from the Bible, and warned against this, and said churches at home would withdraw their support if the missionaries did not form a separate Evangelical Alliance. They started to do this last year and were stopped by the Congolese Protestant Council saying that they would not go into the World Council Churches if we did not organize a separate group. Now it is hard to know what is going on, but Pastor Asani has his ear to the ground, and I think we can trust him to do what is right. He is one of the organizers of the Evangelical Alliance and will go right ahead fearlessly if he thinks it is the time for it. But it may mean being accused of forming an illegal group. Will you pray about this? As yet, our mission up here have no definite proof that there is an affiliation with the world movement.

We had some good laughs during the week-end,(see letter to Ken above) and it was made easier for me in that on the night that Doctor Gannett was here I traded nights off with Mrs. Kline, so was free.

I wrote a cheque for John for his birthday for $10; and just this morning I wrote a cheque for $15 for Steve so that the boys could buy some brown sugar and other foods and parts for bicycle in Nairobi before coming home December 2. Our trip to Kisangani is planned, but we need a carrier bearing for the truck and can’t get it either in Kampala or Nairobi, so have asked David to get one and airfreight it to Kampala to be picked up by the RVA bus when it brings our boys home. I hope he can do that without running himself short of money. He said he was going to ask for a job at Moody.

I heard there was a beard-growing contest at RVA; I told Steve to be sure and arrive home clean cut; I don’t think Tim has enough fuzz to sprout a beard. Steve wrote in his last letter that I should not worry about his being apt to go to shows, as he has decided he will not, and does not want to, and besides he, as prefect of his dorm, wants to set a good example. That gives me some encouragement just at the time I have just heard that some of the Congo missionary kids are smoking. I wrote warning our boys, and I don’t think they are involved. Pray for a Spiritual Emphasis time which will be held there early in November. Doctor. and Mrs. Atkinson will be in charge. That’s the folks who just sent the $400. Did it ever arrive?

I would like to pay up the Bobley book bill as another book of the year has arrived. I will write another cheque, probably for around $20. I have had some precious times with the Lord and have been making use of His grace, just a fold at a time, as we can only be trusted with a little. And we should be good stewards of His manifold grace. “God’s help is always sure, His methods seldom guessed; Delay will make our pleasures pure; Surprise will give it zest; His wisdom is sublime, His heart profoundly kind; God never is before His time, and never is behind.”  – Lynch.

Much love,   Ione

The political issues surrounding missionary’s permission to remain and work in Congo is discussed in more detail when Ione writes to her sister Lucille, November 11th:

In a former letter you mentioned Bill Battershill and Mr. Kile, and I know them both. I am wondering if Mr. B. did return to Congo as I have not heard. And recently there has been a sharp feeling from UFM at home that we should be more and more separate from Congolese Protestant Church (CPC)  in Congo.  Doctor Alden Gannet was here with a special emphasis about this, and called all UFM missionaries in the area together to talk it over. He had just come from Kisangani. Our Congolese pastors, especially Asani Benedict, felt that we should wait just a little before doing anything contrary to Congolese Protestant Church wishes (like reactivating the Evangelical Alliance) and he, Asani, says he has his ear to the ground and his eye on them, and as soon as he has proof that CPC is a part of WCC or ICC that he will pull out. Doctor Gannet’s proof did not sound convincing enough to the rest of us, and when he left, I think the general feeling was that UFM missionaries here wanted to wait a few more months. If we pull entirely out of CPC and instigate the Evangelical Alliance, it would be against the constitution of CPC (which is no longer called by that name but is now covering all churches and is called ECC (Eglises du Christ au Congo) as they agreed to stay out of WCC if we did not organize a separate alliance. If we did, we would be in line to be kept from continuing in Congo with government permission. Pray much about this. I don’t sense any compromise as yet, and have utmost confidence in our African leaders who have real discernment and are led of the Spirit even more than some missionaries. (President Mobutu introduced the concept of ‘Authenticity’ , whereby people of Zaire were encouraged to question imported ideologies – this included religion. Most churches were now organised by indigenous people and missionaries only allowed to continue working with their blessing.)

I’m glad you are taking organ lessons and keeping up your music. I love music but feel a lack as I stopped too soon. I am working with Mrs. Sylvia Ward (her husband died in 1965 and she was left with 4 children) on the choir work here and she is a specialist in music and plays the harp but does not have it here since the rebellion. I enjoy working with her as she plays so nicely and has such a nice spirit. Today we will try out for the angel solo part in, “Born a King” and Mr. Lee will come to see about where the choir sings from and seats for them, etc. Both choirs will meet together today and we will go over some parts that both sing. I will finish in time to be with my little children at 3:30 for boys’ baths.

If Ken continues at Oakland University, Paul may decide to go elsewhere but we will be hearing I guess. We don’t know yet what John will do either, as he is taking only the 1-year course at OBC (Ontario Bible College). Steve wants to go to MBI in January ’72 and stay with me for 3 months like David did, unless he changes his mind. I will be needing him in September as that is my hardest term. This term has been hard and I can’t seem to get rid of the sinus cold. I just now rested a half hour in the sun to see if I could dry it up. My bedroom never gets either morning or afternoon sun, but gets the warmth of the fireplace at night, so I went into the guest room where the afternoon sun is nice.

(In a letter to her mother, Ione says she has been taking medication for the heavy cold, but omits it at the weekend because it makes her feel sleepy. Ione hopes that by eating lots of grapefruit and travelling to a warmer climate – Kisangani, she will feel better.)

  The truck is being looked at today to get it in good condition for the long Kisangani trip December 4-22. I am looking forward to seeing the friends there again. I tried today to arrange for a pair of rabbits to take and also another pig. Don’t know how it will work out. We will be taking 8 missionary kids to their homes on the way.

They will be arranging today by radio for a missionary parent from Asa, Congo, Ray Pontier, to come a little early at the end of the term and take my truck across the border to meet the RVA kids (12 of them), so it is good to have that planned.

In both Tim’s and Steve’s letters they assured me they will not try smoking or movies at RVA. Recently a student there was expelled for peddling marijuana, so I guess I will have to add dope now to the list of evils they have to contend with at RVA. There is a girl there who was on dope for 3 years and smokes. She is being ‘helped’ at the home of one of the missionaries. However, she is frequently in the girls’ dorm and smokes there. (Ione knows this because another pupil described the incident to her mother, stationed at Rethy.) If missionaries are looking for really safe places to send their kids, they will need to look a long time now. And many missionaries are compromising so that they will not be guilty of ‘polarization’ as they call it!! Well, it is not time to let down our standards, and the higher we lift them up the higher our kids will, I believe. But if I find my boys are not going on with the Lord, and are just compromising, I would feel I should not be on the mission field. Africans are asking here already just where the missionaries stand on worldly music!   Love, Ione

In a letter on the same day to her mother, Ione writes:

I am glad I have no daughters who would need to go there.

Ione’s concerns for her sons back home are different, to Ken, Ione writes:

If you will still be at Oakland University next fall then I suppose Paul may decide to go elsewhere to school. Has he done anything about it yet? Or does he still want to do military service and get his college training that way? What does Grandma think about this?

Has John anything in mind yet for next fall? He may not know yet whether he still wants only one year at Ontario Bible College. He seems to like it there, and the folk at High Park Church were surely good to him. He needed a suit and could do with the clothes they gave him.

What did you do about car insurance at the end of Oct? Was there enough in our account to take it out of there? I have not written any big checks, only little ones, like for John’s birthday and to pay for the Bobley books. I wrote a check for $40 for new washing machine part, but did not send it as Mr. Lee (Dorm Supervisor) said to wait until Mr. Cooch (Mechanic) could take the machine apart and see for sure what it did need. You need not save that amount until you hear from me. Let Grandma know. And I should make a transfer however before we take the Kisangani trip, to buy gas (car fuel) and also I owe almost $100 in Zaires to Mr. Kline for local expenses, so when I make the bank transfer I will need to make it for $300, but will send the copy of the transfer to Grandma first and she can put it through when she is sure there is money.

Steve’s letter received just yesterday says he wants to go to MBI and start in January like David did. I really need help in the fall and unless it sets him back too much in his education it would give me a lift and also save the car from being neglected. Too many people do maintenance, and just now I don’t know where I stand to get it ready for the Kisangani trip. It is between Mr. Lee and Mr. Clements and Mr. Cooch, the need for putting in a new carrier bearing and U-bolt for shock absorbers. They are very kind and good careful men, but too busy with other things. Pray that Steve will learn more and more about it and really take this responsibility. I think he will with John gone. I told Paul to send application papers to Steve for MBI. It would mean Steve’s coming home alone, but would get him into school in January and then Tim and I could come the last of July. But if there is anything unusual happening here, or a reason for Steve’s staying the whole year we can make the change at the time.

I still have a bad sinus cold and need to rest a lot. Was resting all my free time for over a week. But now I am better. Just headaches. But I do love my work and don’t like to get cross, but delight in the children. I’ll get through OK this term as there are just 2 weeks after this.   Love, Mother

There are several references to girlfriends and possible future wives in her letters to the boys and Ione has definite ideas about who would or would not be appropriate. This is a topic Ione discusses with her mother on 16th November:

David wrote to me asking for the address of Marilyn Carper. He said he would like to find out how she is getting along. I sent the newest address, which I have given you. Of all of our boys, David was the one she liked the best. But I am not sure David will carry it through. Best not say too much, but I just wanted you to know and Ken, that if something does develop from this it is OK with me, as she is the nicest girl I know. And if David is not quick enough to do something about it, Ken or Paul ought to keep in touch with her. I think she will go next year to West Suburban Nurse’s Training which is or was a branch of Wheaton, and often the West-Suburban girls go to the same churches as the Moody kids. One very nice girl from there is one of our dorm parents here, Ellen Brown. If there are more there like her I sure hope my boys find them.

Will you tell them in the form letter that I want to go as far as I can for Jesus, and for as long a time as I can? And by your being there I can now plan to stay till ’72. And tell them about this next trip, which you might call the most ambitious one, for we will go still two or three days beyond Bongondza which is a long day’s journey into the forest from Kisangani. We heard on the radio that the roads are good as far as Kisangani, so that is a good start. The truck is almost in order now, only a blinker to check on. And you don’t use blinkers much in the forest anyhow! I arranged this morning for a pair of rabbits to take, and also a 70-kilo pig (150 lbs.). I will need dried corn to feed the pig, and the vegetables we carry will give the rabbits cabbage and carrots all the way. Literature and tracts will be picked up at Bunia, when we let off some of the 8 children we will carry. Our dates are from December 4 to 22. Better just write us here, as we might miss the Kisangani mail, as we will spend little time there, but be most of the time in the forest. What are your plans for Christmas? I will be glad to hear.  With love, Ione

At the end of November, Ione sends Lucille ‘Birthday Wishes’ and includes a poem taken from a book of Hector’s which she found at Bongondza:

“God’s help is always sure,

His methods seldom guessed;

Delay will make our pleasures pure

Surprise will give it zest;

His wisdom is sublime,

His heart profoundly kind;

God never is before His time,

And never is behind.”  -Lynch.

To me, it’s nice to know that God will never let it be too hard for us. I proved it out just last week. I try to keep always in touch with the 1, 2nd grade teachers here, as our care of the children is mutual. But during the recent very rainy season our agreement to hold the children till there was a break in the heavy rain ran into a problem. There just wasn’t a break. But I bundled them up with boots, extra shoes, etc., and sent them anyway. At a staff meeting it was brought up and decided that I would keep them more or less indefinitely until the rain stopped. I in my heart thought this a bit unfair as I didn’t know what I would do with them for a long period of time. And I wondered what sort of frazzled condition I would be in without a chance to rest a bit. But I didn’t say anything and trusted the Lord to never let it get too hard. And then the dry season started! And just now when I need extra time to practice the older children in their two choirs for Christmas music, Miss Stewart has offered to keep the children 15 minutes longer on the days I am with the choir, so that we can have a good practice time. And even though it is the end of the term and a hard term at that, I can see the Lord giving when I ask, a right spirit.

Pray for our 3 weeks’ trip in the Kisangani area. We’ll start out with 10 Rethy kids and 3 to 5 RVA boys, then by the time we get to Lolwa it will be only Tim, Steve and the 2 Harms’ girls and I. The roads are best ever, and we might even make it in 2 days. With much love, Ione

Besides her cold, Ione has developed a bladder infection; she tells her mother:

…I had to rest a lot just then as I have had some bladder infection that hangs on, but there were several different friends who looked after my dorm during that week-end;  some of the fathers went with the children for walks. I am on sulfa over a long period of time to see if the chronic condition can be terminated. I don’t have a temperature and am able to do all of my jobs, plus get ready for the trip. The sinus cold I had at the beginning of the term is all gone. Being able to sit more will help this feeling that the bladder is falling thru. So am looking forward to the trip.

I will try to write you from Kisangani. If you need to get in touch with me there, call AIM, New York by telephone, and they can short-wave to Nyankunde, Doctor Harry Wilke, and he can reach Kisangani and now even Bongondza station by radio! At Bongondza now is Doctor and Mrs. John Kyle (Irish and English couple) Mr. and Mrs. Tim Kaufman (American builder) and soon to be there after their baby arrives is Bill and Margaret Gilvear of England. Isobel Whitehead Bray will accompany us from Kisangani on. Pastor Charles will escort us thru the Ekoko area. Marcellyn knows him well.

John finally captures the chimney’s bees for his hive.

I have made a small fruit cake for the journey and a large date and choc. Chip torte; the dorm cook will make peanut-butter cookies today (50), and on Thursday, he will make doughnuts (50) and round rolls for sandwiches (50). We’ll start out with 13 aboard and arrive with only 5, as we leave kids off on the way. Still hoping for a live pig and rabbits.

Pray for the literature we hope to pass out, and the meetings where Tim will play the horn. Steve will be in charge of truck and all loading, etc. Wish John was here just now as bees are swarming around my head; they got in somehow from a swarm that is in the chimney. John would capture them. John’s letters are good, and he gives me news of his classmates from RVA who are going on with the Lord. What are your plans for Christmas? We’ll be cutting a nice evergreen tree and fixing up the apartment pretty and probably have chicken. Have you heard how Doris made out yet with her finances? And did John Peterson go there for their Cantata November 15th? Thanks for all you are doing there and will do especially during the holidays. I love you.    Ione

Ione’s next batch of letters are sent as she travels back from Bongondza, December 20th finds her at Nyankunde, writing to her mother and boys:

MERRY CHRISTMAS ! ! !

We are on the return journey from Kisangani. Because the roads were very good, we were able to go from Kisangani to Mambasa (in the Ituri forest) in one day (5:30 A.M. to 6:30 P.M.) A road company called Sonocotra has done wonders with the terrible mud holes, and one travels in real comfort with no bumps even. I wish we could say the same for the road beyond Kisangani. We had to sleep at Banjwadi on our way to Bongondza. And on the way back we slept at Bopepe and again at Banjwadi. We could have made it to Kisangani if we had not had a broken spring. We did not go beyond Bongondza for two reasons; the roads, and Stephen was not feeling well from malaria. If we had gone on the spring might have broken in a territory we were not familiar with. The other reason for our staying a week at Bongondza was that I saw a job there that I could do and that needed to be done. The two new couples there needed someone familiar with the language and people to straighten some misunderstandings with the people. And my white hair gave me the authority to talk plain to the pastors and leaders at Bongondza and they listened and did what I said. Then I got hold of the ‘notables’ who are the men under the chief and got 3 of them on my side, took them to the chief, and by the time we left the builder missionary was happy with enough workmen, the doctor was happy with the volunteer labour from villages taking turns, and I was happy to be the neck that turns the head. I was really encouraged as the station is getting a real overhauling. And another couple will be there in a few weeks. Bill & Margaret Gilvear. When Bill gets there, there will be no problems of coordination, as David & John and Paul and Ken well know. He has a wonderful way with the Congolese and a real longing to get out in the districts there like Hector and I did. And boys, the pygmies were not destroyed as we thought, but the same group is now even closer to the mission; one couple is at Bongondza for medical help. I hope there will soon be a Bible school once more at Bongondza. An English nurse, Eunice Nevey is learning Lingala from Jean Raddon, and in a few weeks will be stationed at Bongondza. So, they will have 7 adults, and 3 children of Kauffman’s and one of Kyles. The Kauffman’s expect a baby in March or April. Gilvear’s baby is due now at any time. Pray about that. She is real nice and our boys have chosen them as their favourite couple.  I’ll leave room for  the boys.  Love, Ione and Mother

Steve writes:

David, the carrier bearing and ‘what-not’ came but I couldn’t get the package because it needs an invoice. So, I guess you’re supposed to send an invoice out.

The road between Kisangani and Mambasa is just like pavement. We broke the right front spring on the truck. Same place. We put a funny clamp with those extra U bolts. It took us to Banjwadi from Bopepe. We found another spring at Banjwadi but it was too long so we moved the stationary end back behind the broken piece and put this U bolt clamp on it. It has held until here. I couldn’t get another one in Kisangani. Maybe in Bunia. Nothing much else is wrong with it.   Bye for now. Love, Steve

Pre stamped airmail letters have limited space, so Ione continues:

We are staying this week-end with Atkinsons. I told Mrs. Atkinson on our way to church this morning how I gave you the tithe of the money and how you were able to get a dress and other things. She was pleased; she is so warm and friendly. We are going to Bunia together tomorrow and do some Christmas shopping. I have enough money to take them out to dinner at the Greek hotel there as she so often has to cook for other people and it would be a treat for their family and ours – 8 in all. Tim and Steve need shirts and we will look for a few other things that might fill up stockings. We will go back to Rethy the next day, probably taking Ray and Mrs. Faulkner who used to be in our mission; he was the one at Ekoko that didn’t get on very well with Marcellyn. They left UFM and are now working for AIM. He had a heart attack and she is waiting to hear whether she has recurrence of malignant cancer; if so they will go home. They will spend Christmas at Rethy with the Kline’s. This typewriter sounds so loud and the others are resting so I think I will finish in my room and check on the boys. I am in a little guest room outside and they are in a trailer; this is a crowded station – 30 children alone. There is a good swimming pool; the boys went swimming 3 times yesterday after we arrived at 1:30.

We are hoping to find lots of mail waiting for us at Rethy. We left things in a muddle there so there will be lots to do before Christmas. The beginning of our trip was hard as Stevie was sick with malaria for 2 days on the journey. When it did not come down at Bunia, the missionary nurse there talked to Doctor Becker by radio and he ordered more Camoquin. And then Stevie got better. Now he is fine & full of pep. I feel quite refreshed from the change of climate. We will try to get a new spring for the car tomorrow in Bunia. We passed out lots of tracts & had some good meetings.  Much love,  Ione

While we were at Kisangani and Bongondza we met up with a photographic team making a picture for UFM. The script writer is a professional man whom UFM hired to come out. The photographer is Mr. Ray Holley, UFM missionary from West Irian who lives in Sarnia. I have met him before. Had a talk with him at Kisangani the night before we left there. The picture is a post-rebellion story, but he wants a good picture of each of the martyrs to be labelled and super-imposed on some of the peaceful and rejoicing scenes of this present time. I gave him your telephone number and he will call you from Sarnia asking for permission to come there and take a picture of a picture which you might have of Hector. The best one is from the family picture taken at Cornwall, but I don’t have it. Hector was smiling. Mr. Holley really wants a colour picture of coloured slides. You can do what you like about it, but I think it would be OK.

Mr. Holley might invite John to visit them sometime in Sarnia. But you advise as you like about that. One of his sons likes “music with a thump” so I don’t know what that means & I think they watch TV. I refused for him to consider a Christmas holiday visit as I was sure he should be with his brothers. & you.  With love,  Ione

Tim’s letter to his aunt is refreshingly brief:

Dear Aunt Lucille,

How is the good ole US doing? We seem to be doing fine here.

We only have 1 more week of vacation left before we have to go back to school. Three weeks have passed since vacation started. Most of that time was spent in Kisangani. It took 3 days going down there so quite a lot of the time was spent travelling. I hope we can do a few more things before school starts again.   Your Nephew, Tim

Ione writes next:

It is nice to be here with the two boys, plus a friend who is with us for the vacation. John Pinkerton is in Steve’s graduating class and also rooms with him at school. John’s parents are on furlough and agreed to his finishing his last year at RVA as long as he spends his vacations with us. They pay for his stay. John knows the Lord and prays nicely when we have family worship. He is helpful, too, around the house.

The package with pink blouse and 2 pairs hose came just before we left for the Kisangani trip and I was glad to have the things then. The blouse goes nicely with several of my jumpers. The other packet with the white blouse came after we arrived back, just a few days ago. After reading your letter saying why you had declared it to be worth only $1, I looked right away to see the customs slip, and was surprised to find that the words were printed beside it, “FALSE DECLARATION” with an arrow pointing to both the ‘used’ and the $1.00!! I guess they opened it and decided it was too good!

The letter is eventually finished and posted on 11th January 1971:

Steve did not get his part done, and the boys have gone back to RVA. I wanted to thank you for your continued help financially. I trust the Lord will supply your needs, as He is using you to supply ours.

When is Sue’s baby due? Lucille, don’t minimize your musical ability. You said, “No one plays any better than I do.” It’s probably because you’re so good. I have found that all of us girls have more musical training than most people we are with. We got more in the grade schools. Remember Mr. Quayle? He taught us even Music Theory in high school and we were singing syllables in 2nd grade. I’m going to start teaching sight reading here at Rethy when they get the books, as no one here knows more about that than I do!! Just now the good pianist is having an operation and the piano playing is painful, but I am keeping on with the choirs.

Wish we had some venison steaks out here! But Larry would enjoy the hunting. Our boys are going to try climbing Mount Ruwenzori next vacation. My hair is an ugly yellow these days.  Love, Ione

The Last letter of the year is to Ken, written on 30th December:

Dearest Ken,

This is to enclose a cheque which was left here for me when Doctor and Mrs. Becker left by plane after spending Christmas with their son who now lives at Rethy.

He did not say how to use the money, but I felt that he might have given it because he wants to encourage you, as well as the rest of us. I took the liberty to divide the money but think you should have $100 toward your medical education. I have given out of other funds here. Steve and Tim each $25, and you should give Paul, David and John each $25. Then the tithe for $25 goes to Grandma. The remainder should go in the bank in order for Grandma to write a cheque for the total of tithes from other Christmas cheques which have come here:

1st Baptist – $182.70

Buyse – 25.00

Eames, Canada – 25.00

3rd Phil – 25.00

Mrs. Cressman – 10.00

Hanselman – 10.00

Becker – 250.00

$527.70  Grandma’s tithe check should be for $52.77

 

I am using the cheques to pay for money we owe at RVA and Rethy. Tell Grandma I may not need to write a cheque for $300 as I said in a previous letter, as Mr. Kline gave me the Zaires for our trip and charged me in dollars and after these cheques go into it, I think I will only owe about $200. I still have not heard how much is in the bank there, so will not write any cheques until I hear, but let this debt stand. Ask Grandma if the cheque for $623 made it all right without bouncing. That is the one that went to BOAC for John’s passage.

I am giving Steve and Tim each $20 from the 1st Baptist cheque ($182.70) the same as you boys received there, then they get the $25 from Becker’s gift. Also $10 extra each for Christmas and birthday gift from me. And I would like you to see that each of the boys and yourself get $10 each as a gift from me, and the $250 will not cover it all, but take the rest from the bank if there is enough there. After you do this, tell me how much there is left in the bank.

I am wondering how Grandma is feeling now, and if her knee is better. Steve prayed especially about her knee this morning.

I will get this off and then try to write a more newsy letter on Sunday when the boys and I write again to everybody in separate places.

I love you very much,    Mother

Tying up the loose horses has proved problematic, especially as Ione’s sons are in different countries and most of the communication is done through letters. Ione uses her mother and sister Lucille to help out, which they do diligently. However, Ione has found it difficult when the Boarding School does not adhere and share the same principles and viewpoints. This has made it challenging for Ione.

It is also challenging for her sons, who for the most part conform and fulfil her wishes, in a changing and dynamic world. It is right for teenagers to question and think for themselves, just as the emerging nation that for now is called Zaire, questions its ideologies and practises.

Download Chapter 29 - Tying Up the Loose Horses