Chapter 31 – Rest and Recuperation

Chapter 31

Rest and Recuperation

As Ione is living with her mother, letters detailing her activities are few. The letters this year are for her sisters and focus mainly on family news and of course ‘thank you’s’. As she starts with ‘dear sister’ it is difficult to determine which accurately. Presumably, the first is to Marcellyn but could be Lucille, written January 17th 1972:

Thanks very much for the nice Navajo lady in purple. I do like it very much and it looks nice on the dresser, surrounded by perfumes and other such things.

Nellie Monroe died Saturday night. She had a slight stroke and was in the hospital only a few days. The funeral will be Wednesday at the church.

Mother still has the flu bug but is up most of the time. She went to Thornville Community Church yesterday with our ‘team’ and played bells twice. I don’t think it made her any worse. The congestion in the lungs is gradually breaking up. But she coughed too much to feel she could go to church last night. Her appetite is good. I have a cold, but I don’t think it will turn into the flu.

We don’t have meetings for a while, but I am expecting to be called some day this week for Doctor Westcott to take me to see his wife. Ellen is dying of cancer and has asked for me to come over there once more. I telephoned this morning and they were just thinking of calling me. Anne (their eldest daughter who Ione cared for when she first went to Africa in 1942) is there. The other day Doctor called here to tell us Ellen had cancer in her knee and in her lungs. Mother thinks he might be wanting me to encourage a closer friendship now that his wife is soon to be gone. But maybe not. Anyway, I could not be interested, as it would be too complicated right now, or even probably in the future. I was surprised that he offered to come and get me. But Mother says I will need to be careful that he does not decide that I should take his wife’s place. He is so strong-willed. But it may be the fears are without reason!

I have made my reservations for plane travel to and from West Palm Beach, Florida, for January 31 and February 3. Mother thinks they can get along OK here so that I can take some meetings at Irene Pierce’s church and thereabouts. I will be gone 3 nights but only 2 full days, as I will leave Monday evening when the boys can take me to Holiday Inn, where the airport limousine picks up passengers for Metro. And I’ll be brought back there at a good time for the boys to pick me up again.

You surely have had some real missionary experiences. We are praying that you will have physical strength to cope with it all.   Much love, Ione

On the 15th February, Ione writes:

Dear sister,

We are following you in all your many activities and praying for strength in the strains of more and more physical and nervous and mental exertion. Just remember that you don’t have to wait upon the Lord very long for strength, because, “The JOY of the LORD IS your STRENGTH.” And that is right now. I am just getting fat these days, but expect to lose all of it soon after I get back to the work in Zaire.

Today is a deadline out there. Because of the decision the Zarois church made concerning the World Council of Churches – influenced group now at the head of the Congo Protestant Council, that is, to pull out a year ago at February, now there is a repercussion. And it affects the Conservative Baptists, the Brethren and others as well. I am not sure about AIM. But the legal status of these missions is now under question as they have no group to represent them before the government. Our mission and the others have organized another group called CEPZA (Council of Evangelical Protestants of Zaire) and we are waiting to hear now whether they are accepted or rejected February 15.

If rejected then those missions will be banned from Zaire. It is something to be prayed every day about.

Now I must go out to the post box.   I love you, Ione

There is more news of the church in Congo/ Zaire in a letter to Lucille:

I’ll start this while waiting for the boys to come from fishing. Supper is nearly ready and it is going to be a good one: lamb chops, and garlic bread, sweet potatoes, lima beans, lettuce and vegetable salad and coconut custard pie. Tomorrow we expect to have Al Larson (Field Leader UFM) to eat with us at noon. He is taking part in a missionary conference in Plymouth – Pat Clifford’s church. Did you know him?  He died in February. Mr. Clifford, I mean. I answered a letter which came to me on the field that was written by a lady from Court St. Church in Port Huron and she knows you, Lucille. She helped to take care of you in the hospital there, and attended the Blue Water area meetings for ladies. I can’t remember her name now, but she had some nice things to say about you.

Thanks for the picture taken at Aneth, Utah. It gives us a good idea of what the church looks like there.

We read with interest the account of your trip. I am glad that you arrived home safely. Glad you got all the pictures you wanted. Will we be able to see the brochure when it is finished?

I do remember Pat McIntosh. She is very brave to stay so long alone. I think she had a meal with us once when we lived at Three Hills.

You said you would send us a copy of the picture of your Farewell in Melvin, but I don’t remember receiving it.

March 13

I’ll try to finish now. We received another letter from you today with the picture of your Farewell at Melvin. That was a nice occasion and we all should have gone over for that. I don’t know why we didn’t. It will be nice if you can come here the middle of August to get the rest of your things. You are very welcome to stay here. And if Jim and Sue come to see you they could stay here. Jim wrote us and said something about the possibility of seeing you here. It would give me a chance to see them, too. I want to plan a trip to visit Larry and Linda. Mother may arrange to see the eye doctor at Kalamazoo at the same time. But we would write them ahead of time.

The boys and I will be in meetings during June and July, most of which we have already arranged. But nothing definite yet for August. If you could let us know approximate dates, I would like to be sure to be here.

Al Larson was here for lunch on Saturday. He seemed cheerful enough and there was no special problem. He explained the new crisis in Zaire concerning legal status. It is not finished yet and special prayer needs to be made that the President will take a kindlier view of missions and churches who have not felt they could cooperate with the ecumenical leanings in the one group which represents all before the government. There are two representative bodies now bidding for legal acceptance, the CEPZA (Council of Evangelical Protestants of Zaire) and CZA (Church of Christ of Zaire). We (UFM) settled for the one which was only a council as the church would envelop our own church and mission and reduce us to a ‘community’. But now the ones above us are saying that it must be a church and not a council. Now that would be OK, BUT within the 18 groups of CEPZA are now several missions which are in favour of the ecumenical deal (Methodists etc.). Furthermore AIM is on the other side (EZA), and Al said he was just a day or so ago talking with an AIM leader trying to figure out how the two missions can stand together with this present set-up. Al has told the missionaries to sit tight and be quiet until we see how the matter will fall. (The relationship between the UFM and the local church degenerated to such a point that the UFM finally pulled its work out of Zaire in 1977.)

Mother and I will go to Sarnia next Thursday for lunch with Mrs. Holley and a ladies meeting at Temple Baptist. Friday we will go at 2 PM to Calvary Baptist to judge a poster contest. Friday evening will be our night at Silvercrest Mission Conference. Then beginning Saturday is the Marimont Mission Conference which lasts 5 days. My night is Monday. Mother is practicing the bells now.  With love, Ione

On 25th March, Ione again writing to Lucille says:

Thanks very much for the early birthday gift. I have some material which I will soon be making up into a dress (given to me by a lady in Canada) and it is the same colour so I’ll plan the dress to go with the necklace!

I imagine you and Maurice are real busy taking the Girton’s place until May 13. May the Lord give you wisdom to do everything right while they are gone. It is good you have Mrs. McAdams there. What happened to her husband, did you tell us?

And I want to thank you for the cheque for $25. We are counting this as your gift to Tim for his graduation, and he will be thanking you for it. Tim had not seen Moody, so we used it for him to make a trip to Chicago to visit the school. I wanted to go (and decided in a hurry when I had a letter from David’s girlfriend!) and it was a chance for Tim to spend all one Monday morning visiting classes and chapel. We went on the bus but came back by plane as we had to squeeze it between two missionary conferences. And also, so that Tim could have some time when school was on. He missed his own Monday school. That was last weekend. Tim and I were met at the bus station by David and Becky, Becky’s brother, and Steve, and we went and had dinner at Moody. They drove in the brother’s car 3 hours to St. Anne, and stayed that night at Becky’s home. They live in a camp for blacks, a real work of faith. Mr. Williams, her father, is director of Bible Witness Camp. They are real people of faith, and of a Wesley Methodist background, but now independent. Mr. Williams graduated from Moody when I did. I was satisfied that Becky is the right girl, and the couple are just glad I approve and all they want is to be good friends and keep on with their schooling. David is still planning on another school after Moody. Their future seems to be for foreign missions, but not clear yet.

Mother is thinking of calling Doris tonight. If she does, I will save space to tell you the results. The hope is that Doris might come here at the time you come, and that I think would be August, if you come. Can you let us know dates as soon as you can? We will have a comfortable bed for you this time as Mother has just bought a lovely Simmons mattress and spring for that bed which was so uncomfortable.

A letter from Vicki tells me that she and Larry will be here for one day during the days of April 5-11, on their way to Brazil.

Monday AM

Doris is planning to come here (fly) the first week of May, get a car (rent maybe), and drive it to New Mexico & then fly to Alaska.  Much love, Ione

Ione takes many meetings in churches and at conferences to spread the word about the work she is doing with an aim of garnering in increased support, especially financially support. Besides the Christian message, Ione tries to include something which will engage her audience. She has a story about snakes.

There was the FIRST SNAKE, THE LONGEST SNAKE, & THE LOADED SNAKE.

THE FIRST SNAKE dropped through the leaf roof and fell beside my bed. It made a smacking sound, like a book falling, when it hit the brick floor. I put on my flashlight and saw the snake curling around the leg of my bed. I got out the other side of the bed and carefully reached for my bedroom slippers to put them on. I didn’t want to meet a snake in my bare feet. Another time when I got up in the night and I didn’t put on my slippers, I stepped on a toad. It was cold and soft and slimy. And a friend of mine (Pearl Hines) did once step on a snake, and even with her shoes on, it had quite an effect on her. She made a noise like this –“WAAA!” I didn’t want to step on that snake with my bare feet, so I put my slippers on, then I reached for a machete.

By this time the snake had uncurled itself from the leg of my bed and was heading for the wall, to go up from whence it had come. I raised my arm and brought the machete down on the middle of the snake. I cut it in half. The front half started after me, so in desperation, I chopped furiously until the snake was in a number of pieces. I waited till all the parts lay still, then I pieced the snake together and measured it. It was 37 inches, not much to write home about, but it was the first snake.

THE LONGEST SNAKE that I remember was a Boa-Constrictor (Python, actually), 19 feet long. My friend, Viola Walker, was trekking through a narrow path in the jungle. And in this part the path was so small that the snake could loop right around it. There was a little Basenji dog running ahead of the party, and he ran right into that snake’s loop. In a moment the dog was crushed to death. It didn’t even have time to cry out (even if he could, since Basenji’s don’t bark). Then the Africans with Miss Walker killed the snake, and she measured it with a piece of string, and showed me later where the know in the string was tied. We compared it with a tape measure and it was 19 feet.

Then there was THE LOADED SNAKE. Miss Walker was sitting one evening in the living room of her mud house, next door to mine, reading by the light of a small kerosene lantern. Her half-grown cat was beside her. And she heard a noise out in back, toward the School Girls’ compound. “Dear me!” she said, “Those little girls are not settling down as they should. I must go out and see what is wrong”. So, she picked up her lantern, and stepped out the back door down into the path. The little cat followed her. Then she saw the snake. She shouted, “Nyoka”.  That’s the word for snake. If you see an animal you shout, “Nyama”. One time another missionary saw a cockroach and she shouted, “Nyama”, and a band of Africans came running to her aid with spears, and she had a hard time living that down. Miss Walker shouted, “Nyoka”, and her helper, Patrice Likali came running with a machete and with one stroke he cut the snake in two halves. And out from one half, of all things, jumped a live mouse. Patrice Likali was surprised. And so was Miss Walker. And so was the mouse! The mouse looked himself over, and he had his tail, and his ears, and his legs, and he said, “I’d better get going.” He started to run. Then what do you suppose happened? The cat got him!

So, you see, everyone is born the first time into a family, and everyone faces death two times – the first time is when this body dies but the second death is when we face God’s judgment and face spiritual death.  The mouse was born once and had to die twice – first by the snake and then finally by the cat.  People who are born again into God’s family are born twice and only die once when their body dies. They will never die the second death but live forever with God.   If you’re born only once, you die twice. But those born twice die only once.

On August 17th 1972, Ione writes ‘Dear Sister’ again:

Thanks very much for the cheque and card received yesterday. I have put $5 into the “utilities” envelope and marked it for Petersons phone calls. But I don’t remember any you made. I bought a house dress with the $5 from my birthday (in the afternoon). I’m glad you had a good trip and arrived safely. It was so nice to have you here for that short while. It seems like a dream now.

McMillan’s 1972c – (L-R, back row) David, John, Ione, Stephen (front row) Tim, Ken, Paul

In yesterday’s mail Ken got a letter from Wayne State University and, knowing he was on their waiting list for medical School, I opened it. And sure enough, he is accepted for the entire four years. He had already sent application as Post-Bachelor to Oakland University but now I know he will go to Wayne. And he will need a car. So the Falcon will be “retired”.

Mother is still having some trouble with the chest ailment. But I don’t think it is any worse. And she has not really had time to think about it as she was so busy the last three days.

The Millard’s were here with their trailer and camped under our willow tree. That is Hector’s older sister Florence’s daughter & family (3 small children). They ate with us, but slept in their trailer. We did enjoy them, and I think Mother helped Audrey pray through a problem she has. I looked after the children so she could. Mother will try to finish the washing now and get ready for another busy time:

  1. Farewell & birthday supper with Dawson’s here tomorrow night (they leave the 19th),
  2. Saturday David, John, Steve – return, Lord willing,
  3. Sunday 2 meetings in Breckenridge, MI (10 am and 2 pm),
  4. Then at 5 PM more company – Kay McLean from Finch, Ontario with a car full of girls, on way to Texas,
  5. Monday to Thursday Mother David, John, and I are to go to Toronto for dentistry and a meeting Wednesday night at High Park Baptist Church,
  6. Wednesday Tim & Steve leave for Moody,
  7. Thursday Ken & Paul return
  8. Friday or Saturday Paul & David leave.

After that Mother might have time to think about being sick or tired!!

Know you will be praying, “ALWAYS CAUSETH US TO TRIUMPH IN CHRIST.”  Much love, Ione

At this point, Ione heads back to Congo, this time without any of her sons and goes via the United Kingdom!

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