Chapter 32 – Once More in Congo

Chapter 32

Once More in Congo

Ione has responded quickly to the invitation from the McAllisters to visit Ireland, this time to appear at venues and meetings that were not included the previous year. Northern Ireland at this point in time was a divided community, bombings and rioting were frequent occurrences.  On arrival, Ione telephones home but follows this up with a letter to Ken and her mother on 9th November 1972:

It was nice talking to you on the telephone from Belfast. The first night we were there, there was shooting and a bomb burst, and attempt to destroy the world’s largest crane. The next night a big supermarket was destroyed. I saw this afterward, as well as many other burnt-out places and it is amazing to see signs up, “Business as Usual.” The Irish are an undaunted people and very tender-hearted. In all the eleven meetings during the 7 days there, I saw either people getting saved or dedications for service. And the offerings were good. I was able to deposit £200 in the UFM office for a refrigerator or anything else needed when I get to Zaire. I will figure out exactly what this is in dollars and Mother can write a check for the tithe when it is in the bank or its equivalent. It will be over $40.

I am finished in Ireland, have flown back to London, left my heavy baggage with UFM secretary, Mr. Ross, and am on my way to a meeting tonight in an English town called Coventry. I don’t know yet where I’ll sleep, but will be met & cared for by “Pastor Owens”. Then I’ll go back to London by train tomorrow, and be taken to Jenkinson’s (Kinso’s). Train moving now, so hard to write. I am carrying a film, “Jungle People,” made by the Spees, Lolwa to be shown tonight & also when I am with Kinso’s. I am feeling fine, and looking forward to next stop. Had letters in Ireland from the Moody 3 (David, Steve and Tim), and from Paul. Paul says he wants to apply to UFM for Candidate School this summer; but will also apply to Dallas Seminary & Trinity (Chicago). Thanks for all you did for me at home. Nearly all the prayer cards were taken in Ireland. I’m going on now asking the Lord for a clean heart & a right spirit. With love, Ione – Mother

By the 17th November 1972, Ione is once again in Kisangani /Stanleyville; writing to her mother and Ken and describing her trip and arrival:

“Thanks be to God, WHO ALWAYS CAUSETH US TO TRIUMPH!”

I sent you cards from the airport in Brussels. Betty O’Neill (a British nurse working with UFM) and I had a nice dinner there, then made our way with the hand luggage to the right gate. They made a thorough search for firearms, including an inspection by a woman in a little curtained-off room. When they were satisfied we had nothing, they let us go. Betty has some mousetraps for Doctor Kyle, and they were curious about them, and I had a huge sack of shelled walnuts which Mrs. McAllister bought for me to share with all the missionaries. I didn’t have to pay overweight on that, as Betty weighs it with her luggage, but I carried it. We had a good night, and arrived on time in Kinshasa. It was about 75 degrees temperature just then. Betty’s ticket from Kinshasa to Kisangani was for a plane which left in just an hour from the time we got through formalities, so we asked if there was a place on that plane and there was.  I did not need to spend a day in Kinshasa as planned. Volker Gsheidle was there and would have looked after us, but when he saw we could get the next plane, he did everything he could to help us with baggage and porters, etc. He loaned me 5 Zaires to pay the overweight I had to pay there. Paying all along has made the excess baggage cost more than its worth, so I think I might better have cut it down and sent another barrel. And I am sorry I did not try to bring more pictures, as I have none for here. They were all used in Europe. If Ken could wrap a good one of those packages of 500 and send it under the printed matter price, it would be good. Or if the barrels have not gone out yet, it would be good to take out other things and put in some pictures. Also, a letter reached me here which had gone to Bala from a couple at Bongondza (Wilmshurst’s) asking for a set of measuring cups. If there is any chance of sending at least one set of measuring cups it would be good.

I am staying with Isobel Bray (a missionary who worked with Ione at Kilometre 8). Del (Carper) asked us both to stay over the weekend so that there could be a proper reception at the church here by the Africans. He said after that there would probably be a way for Betty to go to Banjwadi and for me to go to Bongondza. But first we must meet with Pastor Asani and the church leaders or executive committee. So yesterday an appointment was made for 7 P.M. for Asani to talk to me. And I was glad to hear him say the whole field was open to my decision, and that I could go where I liked. He also said his idea of women’s work was to more or less look after all the aspects of this on all stations. “And,” he added, “You could do this better if you were living right here in Kisangani.”

Well, it started me thinking about that. The Kyles were expecting me to live with them until they leave soon for furlough. Then the Moore’s would move into the doctor’s house. Nothing has been planned as yet in any direction. Any change would be in order. Just now I am waiting for a telephone call from Asani asking Betty and me to come to the rendezvous with the executive committee. We went down once but Machini was called away, and so now we will wait here until we are called. There is an American girl at Bongondza named Caroline Nebel, a nurse, who lives with Eunice Nevey. The two were here until this morning for shopping, with Doctor Kyle’s LandRover driven by a chauffeur. I could have gone with them except that it would not have been good to rush off so soon. But I told them to tell Doctor Kyle that there was some question as to the possibility of my being stationed here in Kisangani instead of Bongondza.

Del is going to set up an office in the African compound, where the old church is, and will need some help in remodelling and lifting the roof. This may be one of the jobs Steve will get while here next summer.

I am keeping well. I miss you all very much. I am wondering if Mother is better yet. Yesterday I bought a charcoal iron and a lantern. That is a start! I had my first mosquito bites this morning as I read and prayed in Isobel’s living room. I got 20 Camoquin at the pharmacy. The 4 thin dresses Mrs. McAllister bought for me in Ireland (size 18) feel too tight in this heat, so I am glad of the ones I brought from home. Have had one-half pawpaw each morning for breakfast. I smelled palm fat, but have had none yet. Prices of things are the same. A shortage of bread in Kinshasa, but not here. Salt is scarce and high. Thieves are everywhere.

Had a nice talk with Mbongo; he is interested in making a centre at KM. 8, and they have already planted gardens there, and he wants to have young people’s camps, and try to reach the rebellious young people. He has 6 children now. I saw Mawaya Jean on a nice new Mobilette bike. Asani has a nice little bug to drive around in; they said he has been given two lately. Barnes and Green are here for a few days; Barnes are going on furlough soon. They took Mrs. Elder’s shoes to give her at Rethy at end of this month. Lois Carper will return December 2.

If I do stay here, I think I would have the nice centre apartment where the boys and I stayed when here (in August, 1968). It is the nicest one, and already has some furnishings. Still hoping to get my things from Rethy the end of December.

I will be waiting to hear about your Thanksgiving. I will send these letters to the three addresses, but if you are at home, Moody boys, you will know the same information is in all. I am looking out the window and watching a lizard nodding his head in the crotch of a tree. Cars go ploughing thru terrible mud holes in the street. It rained hard in the night and so mud is everywhere. I wonder what it would be like to go walking around in it visiting the women in Kisangani. I think I would be working with the new missionary (she has been out 1 year) Celia Pullen, from England.

LATER – Definite now that I will work in Kisangani. Address now permanent B.P. 216, NOT Bongondza.  Love, Ione and Mother

It would seem that whilst Ione was working at Rethy, seconded from the UFM to the AIM, things had changed for UFM and this was more than the African led executive committee sanctioning where missionaries worked. 3 days later, 20th November, 1972, Ione writes to the family:

I am beginning to understand now the various divisions of the work of UFM here. And while at Bodela (the village where the Parry’s worked in 1964) this past week-end I found out why there is to be no Bible School at Bongondza. It is because the Bodela Bible School serves the Bongondza area. I thought it was only in Swahili, but learned that the station is bi-lingual, like Bopepe and Bongondza. (Mission work was complicated as each area had its own tribal language, many spoke Swahili and French but Congo cover a huge area and Swahili is not common everywhere).  I saw work being done on the blackboard in Bangala, and there is one student there from Bongondza, and three from Bopepe. It is a district school. It was good to get right out in the villages so soon after arrival here. It was Del Carper, Betty O’Neill, Machini and Asani and some others who started out in Del’s car (used to belong to Dunbar of Mambasa), and when we got to Banjwadi Barrie Morris said to use his new LandRover, as it was more dependable.

There were some bad mud spots and rain, but we got along OK. The first bridge between Banalia and Bodela had too few boards and when the car went over the one on the edge cracked. We wondered what would be done when we returned. But it was no great problem. They were able to roll huge stones under it. It cracked again, but we did not go down. There was a snake in our room the second day when we were packing up to leave. Betty almost touched it as it was behind the bedding case on her side. It was not very long and black. She took the pole which was holding open the window and pinned it down to the mud floor, but because the dirt was soft, it kept getting out. I ran and held the window open so she could see; then Del came and I handed him another window pole and he hit its head with the hard edge until it died. We only took a few sandwiches to eat on the way and a thermos of hot water to mix with tea bags or coffee. The rest of the food was provided by the Africans. We had lituma (plantain and manioc pounded together), palm fat sauce, antelope, chicken steamed in a big leaf with ground cocoliko (seeds of a native squash). For Sunday morning breakfast they brought some delicious fried ripe plantain, which we ate with our remaining bread and coffee. We also had pawpaw. And we cut a sweet pineapple for Sunday dinner. I had a good chance to talk to the two pastors on the way. The occasion of the visit there was to ‘consecrate’ two men so that they could give communion and baptize. One of them was Patrice Likale from Bongondza. The other named Lendola.

Banalia looked pretty much the same, except the water was unusually high, almost to the road. We stopped at a shop and bought some powdered milk and asked if they had anything to drink, but he could only suggest a packet of tea. The Coco-Cola factory has broken down in Kisangani, so there are not so many cold drinks. But Grenadine is OK, with a little lemon juice in it. Although people stand in line in Kinshasa to get bread, it is plentiful in Kisangani. Many items which usually are brought from Uganda are missing on the store shelves. I guess the border has been closed. However, Samweli Mbongo was going to try to go across to Doctor Peter Williams for the trouble with one eye. Evidently the AIM missionaries are still there. And Mr. Barnes was here and said he and family are being flown from Rethy to Kampala for furlough. They say only Americans can cross the border, not British. (It was a former British Colony)

I may move from Isobel Bray’s apartment tomorrow and stay with Celia Pullen, English girl who is doing so much open air and personal work, and organizing book stalls in the market. I will probably stay with her until Lois Carper comes back December 2 and then it will be decided whether I will continue as such or occupy the empty apartment. It is the only place they have for families when they come, so they are not sure I should go there. There is another apartment, the one nearest to Carper’s house, but Salvation Army people are there temporarily. I may get that.

I got some good sounds on my tape recorder on the Bodela trip, crickets, water splashing, night creatures, the band, people greeting, singing, cheering, etc. We stopped at Banjwadi last night on our way back and they gave us supper and we sat and waited there until a meeting of the men was over. Had a good talk with Verna Schade, Sue Schmidt, Jill Thompson, Coral Snyder. Verna’s Mother is happy now that Verna came back to Congo. She is relieved, as she had felt that she must die before Verna could go. But now she is satisfied as she knows that Verna is happy. Verna’s friend is visiting her regularly and writes her letters for her. At Bodela, Doctor Kyle came and was planning to stay on for a conference. He said his wife was a little disturbed when I did not go to Bongondza. But I think it was probably because she had prepared a room for me and was disappointed at the change of plans. But other than that, it was probably a relief as they must have been wondering how I would get a house built and lived in by the time my two years were finished. Mrs. Snyder put in a bid for Stephen to help put up the secondary school they are starting to build at Banjwadi. The road is excellent now between Banjwadi and Kisangani, so it might be possible to do something for them and still be with me some in Kisangani.

Gordon Molyneux is a real nice young man, working full time and doing a real good job of teaching in the secondary school and leading people to Christ in Banjwadi. He is the son of missionary parents from another part of Africa. Well, I must get to bed. We were late last night, coming in at midnight from the trek. And now I am clean again, with a bath and hair washed. And tomorrow we will get another washing done, I think this time by an African lady. Am looking forward to more letters. Have a good Thanksgiving. Love,  Ione and Mother

In her first month back in Congo, Ione is getting around; on 27th November, to her sister Lucille, she writes:

I had an opportunity (while in Kisangani) on 10 minutes notice to go to Bunia and Rethy, so jammed two dresses and a few other things into a small bag, and left, even without buying food, I took a bottle of drinking water and accepted on leaving a package of cookies – for a two-day trip! The driver (Gordon) had some homemade buns & jam, and we were able to find food at nearly every stop.

I was with a single young English UFM Secondary School teacher, Gordon Molyneux, out just one year. He’s a MK raised in Kasai Province, Congo (Africa Evangelistic Band). He is someone our boys would like to know. Has his own LandRover and all equipment for pulling himself through mud (AND WE USED IT ALL!). We didn’t leave Kisangani until 4 PM, so went through the worst mud after dark.

We stopped at Maganga station for a few minutes, and arrived at Boyulu after 10 PM. Had to waken the Africans, but they unlocked the guest house. We had eaten Gordon’s buns & had coffee with water from his thermos so only needed beds. I didn’t ask for mosquito nets which I knew were there somewhere, but slept for the first time at Boyulu without a net. And there were no mosquitoes that night. Only a spider the size of my hand which I chased off the bed before I put down my borrowed sleeping bag. If he came back later seeking his choice spot, I didn’t know it! Two old African friends made us a nice breakfast of papaya, oatmeal, coffee, and eggs fried in palm fat.

By 1 PM we reached Mambasa and found Brethren missionaries, the Barnes, whose children I had looked after at Rethy. They were just about to have their dinner and shared with us delicious roast pork, potatoes & carrots and ripe pineapple. We had tea at 4 PM with the Spees at Lolwa and arrived at Bunia at 7:30 PM.

I will be able to go on to Rethy after a few days. We’ll pick up the Snyder & Morris children & take them back. In the meantime, Gordon is lecturing here at Theological Seminary. I am writing today to especially wish you a

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Lucille!

May the Lord give you many more before He comes.

At Rethy I will make some definite arrangements as to my furniture & belongings and there will be a way to take them at the end of December when the children are brought back to school. I don’t know yet whether I will be given an apartment immediately or whether I will stay with one of the single girls. We’ll find out when Mrs. Carper comes from US December 2, the day I get back to Kisangani.

This letter fell into a pool of water where rain came into the room – hence the brown on the other side. I am feeling well – just a little diarrhoea from African foods. I think my good health will throw it off. The bumpy roads took off 5 lbs. already! But I’m glad to be able to come here. And I might not be free later on.  Much love, Ione

Ione tells her mother and Ken more about her journey to Rethy:

I want to get this off before I go to Rethy as I will be busy looking after children for 2 days and don’t know what after that. The trip up was hard, I had forgotten how bad the roads were in rain. But I’ve had a good rest now & ready for the bumpy ride to Rethy this afternoon. Gordon Molyneux will give his last lecture on “In Christ” from Ephesians this morning. Very good and a good reception among the 25 – 30 theological students and 18 wives. Praise indeed.

I met Crossmans in town yesterday and got a kiss from BOTH. They send their greetings. They will bring my table & chairs when they come next time with their girl to Rethy. They will leave them here in Bunia with my washing machine to be picked up by truck 1st of January. I have an invitation to spend Christmas here, but am not sure.

Ernie Derksen flew to Entebbe yesterday, but was told he could not make another trip, so the RVA kids had to be sent back via another plane to Nairobi. Maybe they’ll try via Rwanda. Richard Dix could not go across the border at Goli but his chauffeur could take the truck & get 106 pieces of A.I.M. baggage. (Rethy was considered a safer are than Kisangani, but tribal conflict and disaffection because of broken promises meant that even this border had problems. Idi Amin led a successful coup d’état in 1971 but unrest and skirmishes continued as Obote’s supporters tried to regain control. As a former British Colony, Amin promoted anti-British sentiments) 

I will be back in Kisangani; God willing December 2 and I hope then to have some letters from you all. The AIM folk at Aba may plan a hunting trip for Steve when he comes. It is cool in Bunia & will be cold at Rethy, so I’m going to dress now accordingly. Thanks for all you are doing at home.  Much love,  Ione  – Mother

If Ione felt she had sorted out her boys, it is apparent that some ‘ling arm parenting is still required! She writes on the 9th December:

Dearest Mother,

…John’s letter received last night sounded like he wanted to spend the Christmas vacation in Florida helping Pontiers (AIM) build a house at Media, the AIM place for retirees. But I told him he had better plan to be with his own family during the Christmas holiday and he could spend time with the Pontier boy when he goes back to school in January. John wants very much to come to Africa this year, but I don’t know how it could be worked out unless he gets a GMTC (General Motors Truck & Coach) job when LeTourneau finishes, like last year, and earns enough to leave with Steve. I am wondering who will be the one or ones to stay at home and do the summer work there? That is, if Paul is thinking of the Candidate school, but of course that would only be for 3 weeks, and if he planned to be home the rest of the time the jobs could get done. John may be writing to you or talking during vacation about the possibility of going to Africa for a while. He could stay with me, as I have enough room, and could find plenty of work with the missionaries. And we could maybe even arrange for him to go to East Africa, too, while here. Has he said anything about this in letters home?

Apparently, Becky and David are definitely not led to consider a mission society yet. Do they have any plans yet for after graduation in June? Was David still thinking of Alaska? Or will they Schmidt’s (Ione’s sister Doris and her husband) be bankrupt by then?

It will be good if you can go to Toronto when David goes January 8th. I hope your cough is completely gone by now. I have had a bad cold and all but lost my voice; was planning to sing a duet with Celia Pullen tomorrow but have not enough voice yet. But the cold is better and cough stopped.

Thanks for all you are doing there.   With love,  Ione   X

Despite not getting letters, Ione faithfully keeps letters flowing and on 15th December has this to say:

Dear Mother and Ken,

I haven’t had mail from you, but expect it is on the way somewhere. Some of my letters are going all the way to Bongondza, but they are trying to keep them out here. I have been keeping well, gradually getting used to the extreme heat, 120 degrees a good deal of the time now as it is the hot season. But it makes the roads more passable when they are dry.

I am enclosing a cheque I received from Mrs. Pardee with a Christmas card. This will help for the extra needs at home so can be put in the bank or cashed. Mother, take the $1 tithe from it.

It will soon be time to write a check for the January allowance. It may be in the bank by the first week of January, we will need to wait and see. Then, as planned, you should write a cheque for $650 which is for: Tithe – $100, Ken’s food – $100, Utilities – $250, Boys’ Bank Accounts – $150, and Insurance (cat and personal) – $50. I will write a cheque for $225, and some will be taken out at Headquarters for Savings and Social Security. I hope this works out all right. If there are any variations from this, let me know.

I sent you a set of basketry coasters for drinking glasses, Mother. They were turquoise, so thought they might match the dishes. I am collecting some oil paintings and when I get 6, I will roll them up and mail them to the boys for their Christmas presents. I may be able to send some for Lucille, Doris and Marcellyn, too if they turn out OK. I can’t get waxed paper to wrap them, but was able to get foil in Bunia. No icing sugar, cocoa, or brown sugar here, but I’ll try to get some in Bunia if there are still some things from east Africa there. I see some things from Italy here now, but not foods, except for chocolate.

Having the bars on the windows and doors are an absolute necessity here. I had a thief the other night and he couldn’t get in, so reached through the open window, separated the screen where it was joined. I heard the screen being separated and saw from my bed his shape which filled half of the window. He was standing on a tiny ledge about 4 foot from the ground. His hand was inside the screen, but he remained motionless when I got out of bed. I picked up my torch and approached him. I should have screamed and then the guard would have heard me from there. The guard was inside of the locked gate, so would need to unlock the gate before he could come where the thief was (my windows are outside the walled area, right on the road). But I just couldn’t scream. Instead I spoke to the man and urged him to leave. I spoke first in Swahili, then Bangala and he just stood there. I flashed my torch in his face, and he angrily grabbed his own torch and flashed it in my eyes. When I saw that I was challenged I thought I’d better get out and shout in the back for the guard, which I did. I called to Celia, too, but as I turned to see what he was doing, he was going into frenzied action and tore the screen farther, pulled at the curtain and beat on the glass, which did not break. By the time I got back he was tugging at the curtain string, trying to lose the curtain from it. He did not succeed so went trailing the coiled wire, which uncoiled as he went, and finally broke. Celia had another curtain to make (she has already replaced one) and a new piece of wire to put up. I have kept the glass window closed since that night. I wondered why so few people around here have curtains at their windows, and now I know why! It is easier to get rid of a snake!

Had a real good women’s sewing class yesterday, doubled in number now. And in this big city there will be many more. I am going this morning to get a calling list from Machini. We are getting the names and addresses of women as well as the new converts from recent meetings.

In my spare time I am working on the little songbook, “Tasali Lembo”. And I am getting the tonic solfa written out so that there will be a music copy. But this takes a lot of time. If I can keep spending 3-4 hours a day at it, I will finish sooner. The choir leader at the church wants help with putting some songs in the solfa so that he can teach them by syllable. He also wants me to help with costumes for the Christmas ‘drama’.

I am going to try to get a plane to Bunia December 28 or 29 and then ride to Rethy. I will come back with Carpers around January 5. But Verna Schade has agreed to come here for Christmas. Last night the ‘staff’ here decided to try to get a turkey at the vegetable place and Mrs. Carper brought back a tin of cranberry sauce, so that is a good start for Christmas dinner. There will be around 21 people, with visitors.

I do hope that all goes well for the boys’ coming home, and that they will get some of the jobs done which are needed.  Much love, Ione

Again, on 19th December 1972, Ione writes:

Dearest Mother and Ken,

…Shopping for soap & candy for the prisoners. I will be speaking there next Sunday morning & we’ll (Isobel & I) give out gifts. A queer feeling to be inside the walls that enclosed Paul Carlson & Chuck Davis & others (in 1964). It’s damp & clammy and the smell of urine nearly knocks you down as you go in. But they look well – fed and happy except for one woman who had killed her own child just put her arms around me. She is now a Christian.

Oh, this is my last airform & it is borrowed & no way to return them. Could you get some plain ones & send a packet Airmail? Herb Harms has a few stuck together, ones he’ll let me have if I steam them apart. You can’t get them anywhere now, not even East Africa. Verna Schade is coming here 22nd & spending Christmas – (turkey). Oh, and a permanent I will be needing one before my barrels arrive! Had a nice letter from Lucille. Must go to breakfast now. Hope to move into apartment as soon as it’s painted & screen at back. I can sleep there in a room at back – more protection from the hooks of thieves.  Much love, Mother & Ione

Ione receives an update on John’s plans and quickly informs her mother, writing 20th December:

I had a letter from John yesterday saying that he would be driving Ron Pontier to Florida and staying there for Christmas. I believe the address is c/o Ray Pontier, R.D. No. 2, Box 73, Clermont, Florida. 32711.

That is the address on the AIM leaflet for Media, the retirement centre for AIM folk. Mr. Pointier’s mother is there and needs a house, so I think that is what John wants to help with.

So far as I know, John plans to go back to LeTourneau for the rest of the term and then plans to go to East Africa, and also Zaire.

I will try to keep track of him so that you will not need to worry or feel responsible, Mother. I have the address of the two places he is likely to go in East Africa.

I got a letter from David the same time as from John. David said you had telephoned him. He said he did not see that anything would be gained by my coming home, and it would be better if I were out here if John is coming to Africa, as well as Steve. David said it might take John a year or so to seriously see his responsibilities to other people around him and learn more self-discipline. David was sure that God would not let John get too far.

I want to be willing and ready to let all of my boys go when the right time comes, and then they go out like arrows to the jobs to which God has called them. But I did not think it would be required of me so soon for John. I am confident that he is born again, and that Christ is living inside of him. A verse he recently sent to me was I Chronicles 6:20 –“For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The command given for risen Lazarus was, “Loose him and let him go.” But I will not let John go except the Lord blesses him like Jacob. John is yet immature, but God is not through with him yet. I will keep as close as I can and try to see what God can do in and through John in this present situation. I think he will keep writing every week.

Now I will not be able to receive letters for a while after the 27th, as I will be at Rethy. But I am hoping that something will come during this week before I go, which will assure me of what I should do about John.

Have a good Christmas. The enclosed card is a view of the other side of the Zaire River a little way from Kisangani. Will be thinking of you all Christmas day.  Much love, Ione and Mother

Ione and it would appear her mother are experiencing difficulty in knowing where John is or what his plans are; Ione writes on the 30th December 1972:

Dearest Mother,

I received your December14 letter before I left Kisangani. I am wondering whether the letter I sent to you previously helped to know how to take John’s decision to go to Florida instead of coming home for Christmas. I have not heard yet whether he did go or not, as I have not been in Kisangani to receive my mail. I told you in that letter which I sent that I did know the people where he wanted to go. I had two of their little girls in my dorm while I was here at Rethy. They are OK and would see that everything went all right. I wondered if John planned to go to Michigan after being at Florida. I am not sure when school starts again at LeTourneau, or at Moody either. I don’t know when to start writing to the boys there. But David planned to work for a week and ½ of the vacation in Chicago. Could he stay at the school then?

I flew Air Zaire from Kisangani to Bunia December 27th. The next day I got a ride with AIM missionaries to Linga; then stayed overnight with Margaret Clapper and Carl Becker Junior came from Rethy to pick me up (he also came for some Rethy supplies from Bunia & mail). I had a nice talk & supper at Blukwa with Olive Love. The Epps were there & they said Peter (the one who had the kidney operation) is going blind now. It’s a terrible thing for a missionary kid to turn away from God to Mormonism! I am sleeping in the senior dorm with the Alvers. Have spent 1-1/2 days on my things & am nearly finished. The furniture is assembled in the garage. I want to wrap legs in rags & mark items so they won’t get mixed up next week. I will leave here with Carpers in their Chevrolet Carryall. I am trying to get sacks of wheat & coffee & vegetables. Will stop at Etendey (Brethren dentist) with Carpers one night then Bunia, then Lolwa then Kisangani by 7th or 8th January Psa. 73:24 “Will guide me here and receive me hereafter.”

– With love, Ione

The new year starts with a letter to Leone in time for her birthday, on 17th January 1973, Ione writes:

…They surely need Doctor Westcott up in AIM region, and will welcome him.

In David’s letter he says he is thinking of getting Becky a diamond soon. He is thinking of a couple of years of school (degree) and then apply to a board. Maybe a wedding in early summer of ’74. I guess I would need to come home then. But if less than two years out I will need to pay ¾ of my fare home.

I wish I could be there for Paul’s graduation. I have missed his high school and Moody and now his college. His letters are real good; I used his outline in a women’s talk yesterday on Philippians 1:21, Col. 1:27 and Philippians 2:5 along with the assigned topic which they gave me in John 8:51. I did some calling today in the neighbourhood of the mission but did not have much success as so many speak Swahili. Nice time in 4 places.

I must close now as the other apartments are all quiet and my typewriter sound so loud. I have mosquito-proofed my bedroom now so can work at the desk without being bitten. I just closed up windows and doors and sprayed a lot. Then opened the windows. But I left the spray in a long time to really kill the ones that were here. I sleep under a net too. I enjoy the new twin bed mattress on the nicely painted white Hollywood metal bed with springs. Hope you will have a nice birthday. Happy Birthday!    With love,  Ione

On the 28th January, 1973, Ione can update her mother on John’s movements:

…I found out that John was at Moody when I heard from David last. John’s last letter was written at LeTourneau and did not tell of his plans to go to Minnesota, but David told me, and I think that John told him to tell me. I have not heard from anyone since, but am surely anxious to find out what John is doing. If he is not in school from now on, I will need to notify the mission as they do not support kids that are not in school. This will change our financing some. But I will wait before writing to the mission, in case he may have decided to go to evening school and work.   With love,  Ione

The 5th February sees Ione writing to her mother again:

…Electricity is sometimes about $40 a month. I may see the work fund go way down though, so don’t know what it will mean for the evangelistic trip for Steve. Just keep praying that I will be able to make the right arrangements. I think he may get a trip with Bo Martin (he is in town today and I am to see him) to the pygmies past Bongondza. Then Gordon Molyneux wants to take Steve in his LandRover on a long 2-week trip, including the pygmies of Lolwa, and a hunting trip at Aba. But I have not written to the missionaries there yet. Gordon will be free the last two weeks of July, just after the Conference. There is a Women’s Conference at Ekoko the last week of May, and I am wondering if I will be there when Steve arrives. Pray that this will match up OK, too, as I don’t want to miss the Conference and the chance to go to Ekoko. At the same time, I must be there when Steve arrives.

I had a long letter from John two days ago. He said he passed the written test in flying, and he will be able to go on and finish the practice time, etc. for the license, right there in St. Paul. He plans to get an apartment which he can have free if he does the work of caretaker for the apartments.  Jim (Philpot) is a mechanic for Standard Gas and they are paying for more schooling for him in mechanics while he is working so he’ll get a certificate.

I told John I would not write the mission that he was not in school until I heard from him as to whether he would be part time or evening school or whether the flying would take the place of school. I doubt it. He was staying with the Philpot family until he got his apartment. Mrs. Philpot was going to have a Bible Study at the house in the morning and John had helped Mr. Philpot shovel snow and vacuum the rugs. I must find out whether they are Lutheran or Conservative Baptist missionaries. Lois Carper knows well the part of St. Paul where they live, and says Hayden Heights Baptist Church is near there and it is a Conservative Baptist Church. I will ask John whether they go there.

The verse John sent were good, from Ezekiel 36:9-11 and if the Lord is going to till and sow John with His good seed, there will be the harvest. It is a Living Word and the harvest is sure. And the seed among the tares was good seed, too. That is the Christian. Growing up among tares, but never mind, leave it till harvest and the tares will be burned, the harvest gathered. The mustard seed was the smallest, but became the greatest (Kingdom of Heaven) and never mind the birds perching in it. It is the wonderful EVENTUALITY of God. We’re on the winning side.

Yesterday the Carpers and Isobel Bray and I went to the cemetery to see Hector’s grave. The birthday had never been put on the cross merger with curly ends, so we took a small can of white enamel and a brush. The two large bushes were now a tremendous size, and the red-leafed one was loaded with bright red blossoms, three times the size of the dusty stinted ones at the mission headquarters. Del had to chop down some of the shrubbery to even get close to the marker, and he lopped away the stems, we picked up the flowers and they made a beautiful big bouquet for the English church service last night. One doesn’t usually take flowers away from the cemetery! But I think Hector would enjoy being different and supplying the flowers from his grave!

I went over to see how Jean Schlegel’s grave was doing and, on the way, saw a beautiful little bird feather which I am sending to John. Jean’s grave was, like Hector’s, covered with weeds, and sunken in about a foot. We decided that when Steve comes we will give him a gardener to help him, and about 100 cement blocks and some cement, a machete, and gravel, and see if we can’t isolate the weeds and there has been money sent to put a rose on Jean’s grave, so Isobel will do that when Steve gets it real cleaned in a permanent way.

I am going to ask the boys to send you something for a form letter. I am going to get into trouble if we can’t get out a circular soon. In the circular I want to let them know that my work is a combination of three jobs; Women’s Work, the teen-age children of pastor’s and Bongondza people who now number 6 who come to me for help in their Bible study; 5 of these 6 accepted Christ here. One, Joel, works for me after school. The third job is the Lingala translation work, and I am learning Lingala as I write hymns and revise the book of songs. The old Bangala is being changed rapidly. I have led 4 to the Lord in the women’s section of the prison. Love,  Ione

Ione’s sister Lucille, keeps a watchful eye on the family and obviously has had concerns about John, Ione responds on 17th February 1973:

Thanks for the little poem, “Helping Together,” which was so appropriate. You have helped for so many years in this prayer ministry and in so many other ways, too.  It hardly seems possible that one day we will be safely in glory with “prayers and needs changed for wonders new”.

I did not know what to write about John until I heard from him himself, and finally I heard. It seems the rebellion is only toward Grandma but not the Lord. He seems yet to want to go on with God and is searching for verses. And the one he sent me was good. He wants to get an apartment with Jim Philpot and work and also finish his practice flying which he started at LeTourneau. The parents of Jim had taken him in and were very nice to him, and he was helping with shovelling snow and vacuuming, so that Mrs. Philpot could have a Bible study there that morning. They are missionaries but I am not sure whether Lutheran or Conservative Baptist. I told John about a good church that was near where he is, the Carpers are well acquainted with the area as it is on the outskirts of St. Paul. I have not heard yet whether he got a job.

I am so sorry that Ruth and Gary had their new car smashed up. It was still not finished when you wrote January 22. Hope they have it again by now.

I want to know why you have the recurring spells of vomiting and diarrhoea since September 15. Does it have anything to do with the cancer you had? It does not sound good. Are you losing weight? How about your appetite? Have you had a real good check-up? I hope you will tell me the results of the X-rays, as well as the blood tests.

I have lost about 15 lbs., but am glad and feel better. Have a good appetite. Still not small enough to feel comfortable in the heat, so I have taken the sleeves out of some dresses and that makes it better. Grace Harms made me a nice lightweight one which I wear as much as I can, and I think I will find some more yard goods here and she says she will make some more, simple A-line with a couple of tucks and a fairly high round neck and little collar or similar trim, and no sleeves. Plenty of room at the waist. We have a few cool days now and then but this is the hot season yet and it is hot nights, too. But I have a refrigerator now (small) and two fans. I keep one in the guest room. Had Doctor and Mrs. Kyle here all last week and they appreciated the fan.

I am going to take a trek with them and the Carpers in March, all around the Bongondza area, to the pygmies and all. Steve will get to go there when he comes. Am looking forward to this.

We are getting the brunt of restrictions here in the city, and the Lord is letting the curtain fall a little. Some of the Christian publications from Nyankunde are banned and all youth meetings; Church, Sunday School and Choir OK but several times lately they have held (political) party meetings at church time. Tomorrow it will be 9 AM. So, it may be the church will be in the afternoon. Some people are afraid to come at all, but the Pastor tells them to not fear, as there are no barriers and Bibles are not being taken away. We just are not sure how far the restrictions will go. I saw two members of a Chinese delegation which has come to help with agricultural affairs. They are quite young and attractive, in modern dress. Keep praying that doors will remain open.

A new group of missionaries should be on their way now from Ireland (two couples and two single ladies) and we hope they will not be discouraged. One couple was hoping to do youth work. But there are still many ways to help the young people. And the biggest thing right now is the Choir at the church. They have turned into an evangelistic team and are singing all around. They meet every day and have Bible study, and are building a camp at Km. 8 (where Hector was killed) and one of them is working for me when out of school, so I can keep close touch with them. I am going to help finance their trips with money for gas (petrol). Don’t know how it will work, but want to keep them going.

One girl turned out bad, Pastor Machini’s daughter. For when she came to me and began reading her Bible and praying, she started bringing other girls to be saved (3) and then I found out that it was because she wanted access to my house to steal. She took 8 Zaires ($15) and then ran away from home. But they got her a few days ago and I have said she must work and pay it back before she comes again. Her name is Louisa. She is 14 yrs.

I’m sure you have such problems there, too, and have to be careful. But it is worth the risk to get involved with them. It is their only chance to grow and get roots in and be ready when the curtain falls. Sunday School is another place the new couple could work and there are thousands of kids in Kisangani.

I have been praying for Pat McIntosh. That is a real problem. I would need to leave my mission if any of my boys is wayward. If John continues out of school, I will need to tell the mission as they do not support any who are out of school. They may stop his income anyway as he is 21. They were only supporting 3 this time, the 3 younger boys. I seem to have enough money but don’t know how much the baggage will cost when it comes. They say $100 a barrel! And the stuff in it is not worth it!! Or IS it? Just things from home do mean a lot. I am getting the kitchen fixed up with wall cupboard and long table with shelves under and light-yellow Formica on. I use bomb gas and sometimes Primus like on trek. Electricity sometimes goes off, but not too much. Fridge is electric.    Much love,   Ione

Ione gets to go to Bongondza with the Carper’s in March and recounts the trip to Leone and Ken:

March 8th

We are back at Bongondza and I am sleeping in the north-west room (2 beds). We will leave here the 11th. What a trip! There were 5 or 8 or less decisions at every place. We had to leave the 2 cars at Bokapo and walk to Bogwama (where our family slept in ’63). Doctor Kyle & Del Carper went on over the Longele River (dug-out canoe) and spent 2 nights there in different places, looking for pygmies. They found a few. We talked to the little pygmy man that went with them.

At Bongondza we talked to Dengi who is the deaf-mute Christian with one eye. He is as lively as ever and has 2 children now. I am going to give him some baby clothes. He said when you boys come back, he will come & help you. He is still on the Buta Rd. We found that there were many more animals than before. Large groups of huge baboons. Today they were all standing on their hind legs like people and just staring at us. The people take turns each night chasing away the elephants from the gardens. I had elephant meat for supper at Kanwa. One had fallen into a hole. Last night at Bogwama I heard chicken cry and a low growl. The chicken had roosted in a tree behind my house. When the chicken cried, a man came over and rescued it from a leopard. They are very brave people. I think this is the first visit since you boys & we were there. They remembered it well.

We watched a baby dying when we waited for Doctor to come back across the river. It was of a pygmy mother, Mobua father. There was nothing we could do for it. No temperature, nothing seemed wrong with it just like a little doll. The mother did not cry but looked very sad. The doctor arrived just as they took the baby to bury it (5 months.). My guess was bowel obstruction, but was not sure enough to do anything about it. We kept waiting for the Doctor. (This occurs when babies are weaned too quickly from mother’s milk – something Ione witnessed in her early days of being a missionary.)

Saturday March 9th

I’ve just come back from visiting Anna Lebami’s garden and am ready to sit down (Lebami – perhaps her father was our family gardener at Bongondza). My legs are a little scratched. It is on the slope in the area between our former house and the main road. You go to it half-way down the hill on the first road. She showed me her manioc, makemba, peanuts, cocoliko, sugar cane, and peppers. Then she said, “All this is yours! I will feed you always. Get your sons to build a house and I will see that you are fed!” Then she bowed her head and prayed for you boys and me and committed the gardens to Him.

The roof is not on the primary school, but they are raising the pitch of the peak with bricks just now. Gaston Tele is helping Kasi to build a nurses’ house near the hospital. We heard by radio that the two Welsh nurses have arrived and are spending a few days at Banjwadi. We will pick them up on our way to Kisangani day after tomorrow. They need to get signed in. The two couples from Ireland are due anytime now.     – Ione

Back in Kisangani, Ione is again writing to the family:

I arrived last evening in Kisangani after a very good trek. We were 2-1/2 hrs. waiting for the ferry to move, but eventually got across at Banalia and then we were a couple of hours at Banjwadi as so much is happening there – the new secondary school ground has all been cleared and a good road made to it, overlooking the Lindi River and another river that runs into it. They need the Bongondza tractor, so arrangements have been made for someone to bring it from Bongondza to Banjwadi today and tomorrow.

They had had some problems in the school, but the boys who were difficult got right with the Lord, and it made a real change in the atmosphere of the whole school. Keep praying for all those young men that they will go on for God. Steve will find lots to do, probably will be running the tractor for hauling rocks and sand. Airforms are now available at CEDI, so Paul, don’t worry about sending them now.

I am typing as fast as I can as I am sure I will be interrupted before long. And I was. Now the dinner is under way, and Joel can carry on by himself.

We did the washing in the machine, that is, I did and he helped. It is the second time that I have used it. After Mr. Sterks worked on it for an hour, just before our trek, it started. It is working fine now. Wish I could say the same for the sewing machine. The part that is broken is the plate right under where the foot is, it is shaped like a half-circle. But Steve will have so many things for people that the sewing machine part may not be top priority.

Mrs. Harms wants a special kind of permanent called Bobbi Roller Perm (Body permanent) just the refill kit. Mr. Snyder has a camera which he very much wants which was left at the Bala Head Quarters. This may be sent to Steve at home, I think. The belts for tape recorder which I found here last evening which David sent are on the recorder. I gave them to Mr. S. last night and he brought the recorder back this morning and said it still wavers as the battery indicator waves which shows that the battery connections might not be good. We tried to run it without a battery but on the current here with the little transformer which is here, but am held up for an adapter which connects the narrow-pronged part to the wide pronged part. Prongs are widely available here. He said Isobel has one, so when she comes back from her office at CEDI I will ask her. If we can get this, then I can try the tape recorder on the current; also I can use the electric beater from Rethy and the small toaster, but the transformer here is only 750 so can’t use the electric iron. Using a charcoal iron.

Caroline Nebel brought some Ping-Pong balls from East Africa while she was there; and I think they will soon be available here, along with net. The young people need money to buy the board for a table, Tim, if you have tithe money. I was so pleased with the pictures Tim sent from Christmas and Thanksgiving. It does not seem too long now until I will be coming home. I received a letter from Maranatha Bible Conference asking for the dates July 15, Monday, through to Sunday, July 21, 1974. I hope this does not interfere with Marriage and Graduation plans, as I do not want to miss any of the good things happening summer after next.

The heat here should be finished soon. The rains have not really started, but the people are burning off a lot of weeds and grass, and this is usually just before the rainy season.

I am sending a separate envelope to Steve with 3 papers which he should send to Al Larson and he should ask for his visa NOW, Bill Snyder says. The 3 months part of it starts the day he arrives, so it does not matter if he gets it a little ahead, and Bill says don’t wait any longer than March 15, but I guess it will arrive after that; he figures 6 weeks is OK. Mother, if you could get a couple of pairs of footlets (not the white towelling kind, but like regular stockings only just for the feet) then I could wear my Sunday shoes and the tight black everyday ones, without a girdle. They would not take up much room in Steve’s baggage. I have 4 new dresses since coming out, which Mrs. Harms has made, so I’m not too badly off for dresses. But do not have a Sunday one. Hope to hear soon about Ken’s summer job and as to what John is doing. Am sending a package similar to the one sent to Tim, to David for his birthday. I would like a copy of Founder’s Week messages. Thanks for the book, Mother. Steve don’t change your travel plans unless you clear it with Al. It might be OK to tell him about the Spurlock’s cheaper charter. But I understand there are not charters to Kinshasa or Kisangani. Had a letter from Mrs. Spees. OK for the Lolwa stop and the pygmies will do an elephant pantomime and there will be a meeting. for them. Anziambo is getting his picky fixed for the other trek for you. Hope you can all see Paul graduate. Just got the allowance statement, but need to see Herb Harms before I can say anything. I am not sure whether Boyes sent the money direct to you ($650) or whether it is in the bank. Anyway, you could draw out that much, and there was $40 personal, so there is $4 tithe ($10 from Mother, thanks very much).   Love, Ione and Mother

Once back from her trip to Bongondza, Ione gets to grips with work in Kisangani, 12th April 1973, she writes:

Dear Mother & Ken,

I have used up nearly all the cool-aids on the choir members and Bible study young people. It has been so hot. But now the rains are starting, and what a relief! I hope my prickly heat welts will gradually go away. My co-worker, Celia Pullen fainted in the market place during an open-air meeting. Yesterday I felt like fainting on my way back from the market where I bought threads for sewing class. I laid down awhile. The two new single girls are helping with the women and it is nice. The Edward Morrows and baby live with me until another apartment is available (June or July). So I am learning how to be a grandmother.

Joel was in Bible study as well as choir yesterday and Mbongo played his trumpet for, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory,” (Hallelujah, Yesu Azi). I have had my 12th Lingala lesson with the new ones and am getting more fluent in correct Lingala. (the teacher learns a swell as her pupils).

The heads of UFM in England and America will need to come out by July 2 to help decide what to do as the executive committee has not accepted the Head Quarters plan for mission-church relations. They want Kinso as one to come out. They would like to have direct contact with Head Quarters and no Field Leader. This is holding up the assignments of the new missionaries. But all are in language study. And the nurses can do their medical “stage” here. Plenty of Young Peoples work for Morrows and plenty of cars to fix for McGowan’s (just arrived yesterday from Ireland).

The prayer cards came, in good condition. My baggage was all in real good condition. Jam tasted so good! I sent an oil painting to Marcellyn but it came back. I think my return address was too prominent. It was all squashed but am straightening it out and will try again.

In a few minutes I will need to get up and get breakfast for 9. We have a real good houseboy but it’s 7 kilometres for him to walk. I hope he can have a bicycle soon. He will get here in time to serve at 6:50. We go to prayer meeting at 7:25 at the church on Troisieme Avenue every day except Saturday & Sunday. We are following the League de Lecture Biblique portions for each day. (Bible Society).

Our apartment was torn up in 4 places to get the toilet going properly. An awful smell, but now it’s OK. But the cracks in walls are wider. A mason is building a retaining wall in 3 places. Hope he gets it up before the rains melts it all down. All my nice re-decoration is marred by cracks.

Joel (Ione’s houseboy, Ansiambo’s son) is helping Morrows with the language. He said yesterday he is sure he is a Christian, but is afraid he’ll be lost if he doesn’t get baptized soon! I still have not drawn on my personal money in the bank there, but have run out of personal money here. Let me know exactly what you take out if it is about the $650. I want Steve to have some traveller’s checks. I received a china teapot form Doris (her sister) & Bob via Fiji. Thanks for all you are doing there. Much love,  Ione and Mother

Ione shares more with her mother and Ken on 19th April:

…I sure look forward to his coming (Steve). I have not finished the tape yet to send to you, but will try to get it done as soon as I can. I am very busy now with Lingala lessons every day and it takes time to prepare the lessons. The choir and writing of the songbook are taking a lot of time. The women make me so tired but I am thankful to have the help right now of two new missionaries. The 6 new ones are not yet assigned and it looks like they will not be until representatives come out from home and solve the problem of direction here.

Asani talked to Isobel Bray and me for an hour yesterday and I understand more his burdens. But it is not possible for him to understand why we do need a missionary field leader. Pray much for him. He is making Christ known among the leaders of the country, but it means many trips to Kisangani and that makes it seem less possible for him to direct the entire program of the new ones. In the meantime, they are all busy and happy that God has called them here.

As April turns to May, Ione writes to her mother, initially focussing on the boys:

I am wondering if you were able to go to Paul’s graduation. I will hope for news soon. I sent a cablegram of Congratulations to Paul but it got only as far as Dallas. They would not forward it and the Post Office here would not send it to Longview as it wasn’t on their “list”.

…John is not in school. So next time you should draw out only $550 for the boys. I am not sure how this will change the dividing of it. You can talk it over with the boys. The boys may agree that EACH receive less (or none) in the bank rather than to just take it from John’s. But that is OK as really the mission is supporting only Tim & Steve now but we are dividing among all.

I am sending a copy of Del Carper’s explanations of present circumstances here. The boys may want to make copy of it for Moody Bible Institute Prayer Focus. Maybe I will send then one in Chicago as they are there now.

Hope Steve got all his home affairs attended to as he will leave from Chicago. Am getting excited about his coming. There was only $10.54 in Work Funds this time. That is why there is so little added to the amount in the bank. I may need to send for more work funds (by transfer) while Steve is here, so I want your list of expenses. I’m looking forward to seeing the circular. Tape recorder still not working well. Am claiming the open door of Revelations 3:8.   Love,  Ione

“As yet the Word of God is honoured and every freedom to preach and travel.” Steve will be here for a very big time of crisis. But it will not be dangerous. Just trying to get on with the job of doing the Lord’s will.    Much love,  Ione and Mother

Ione manages to get a newsletter out to her supporters in the Spring 1973 and she summarises her present time in Congo thus:

On November 15th I arrived back in Kisangani, Republic of Zaire, (formerly Stanleyville, Congo), and was asked by the Zairian church leaders to stay in the big city instead of going to the bush station of Bongondza as I had expected. The week of arrival I made a trip to Bodela, and visited 2 other UFM stations; saw a new Bible school started there and students even from Bongondza and Bopepe there. A snake in the bedroom of the mud house was killed by our field leader while I held the window open so he could kill it.

Just after Christmas I went to Rethy and packed up my belongings I used last term, and arranged for the transport of them to Kisangani, I saw the good work being done at the Theological School at Bunia under our mission as well as the AIM Mission and Conservative Baptist Mission. My official assignment was for Women’s work. However, it was not long before I could see that there were at least three areas of work in which I could become more involved.

I – WOMEN – I attend and participate in two afternoon sewing classes on Mondays and Thursdays. They are called “Foyers”. The women themselves take charge, make any necessary announcements, now and then take an offering for something special like their Bank of Love (‘Caisse na Bolingo’) which they use to entertain strangers. There is a lot of informal conversation and a little counselling, usually a song and prayer at the end.

A third women’s meeting on Tuesdays is strictly a Bible study, and this is conducted by them, too, with assigned topics. Celia Pullen, English UFM missionary, assigns the lessons. I have been asked to speak several times when their speaker was sick or failed to appear. Once a month they meet in one of the five communes of Kisangani as a general city-wide meeting, with even a meal following, as some travel quite a distance. But the weekly meeting is at the small church a few blocks from where I live.

 

The fourth women’s meeting which I attend is combined with men, and is a weekly prayer meeting on Friday afternoons. There is an Executive Committee meeting every month and I go to this, too. The last time they met we planned the yearly Women’s Conference to be held in May at Ekoko. The women will finance this themselves. They have a trained young woman in the sewing class chosen by the church to help them cut out their sewing materials. There is also a Methodist pastor’s wife who comes and voluntarily helps them to get started on the embroidered table cloths which they do in the cross stitch. She has a book of lovely patterns. The women conduct their own open-air meetings once a week, and have two bookstalls a week in the marketplace. But this is under the inspiration and supervision of Celia Pullen. She even helps the women look after their money affairs, and makes schedules for turns in speaking.

I take a turn at the prison now and then. Afternoons on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays are women’s meetings. Wednesday is calling day, but if I can call in morning, I can go shopping in afternoon for soap and candy for prisoners. I will be speaking there often and we’ll give out gifts. It’s a queer feeling to be inside the walls that enclosed Doctor Paul Carlson, Chuck Davis and others. It is damp and clammy, and the smells nearly knock one down as you go in.

 

II – “All them that sail with thee.” (Acts 27:24) The young people who are contemporary to my own sons have for some time been upon my heart. As I realized while I had four sons in Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, and I was a housemother at Rethy Academy in Zaire (last term), I began to see there would be a struggle if my young men were going to go on for God. And the battle would be mine, before God, as I would storm the gates of Heaven for the answer of a good conscience in sending them forth in His service clean and ready. As I prayed for John, I became aware that all of his high school classmates had the same need as John. Could I trust God for these 65 also? I found in Acts 27:24 – “And lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” The Apostle Paul was able to get the fellow travellers all ashore, even after shipwreck. And I could trust the Lord for John’s classmates as well as himself. I got the list of names and started praying for 10 a day. Then there was David’s class, just finished the year before. So, I added them to the list; and then Stephen’s, and then Tim’s. And NOW here in Kisangani, I find this same tremendous prayer burden is upon me for the Pastor’s children here. Same age-group, and I know them as well as I know my own children, and they have started coming here to my apartment: Joel, Gerrard, Louisa, Dorothea, Karoline, and others I have talked to at Banjwadi. “All them that sail with thee,” – is the promise. The ones who have come here have met the Lord, and are beginning to read their Bibles and write down their impressions in a little notebook. I try to be available when they are out of school. One of them, Joel, is my houseboy, so he keeps me posted on the rest as he comes every day. It is the Joel who is in the UFM film, “Congo Update”, Ansiambo’s son.

III – HYMN WRITING IN LINGALA. This job can be fitted in, an hour or two a day, while I keep available. Have been working together in this with Pastor Machini, and have had help from Lois Carper. I am at the last stages of preparing a hymnbook, a revision from Bangala to Lingala. I have been asked to write or rather copy several sacred songs and solos into Lingala. The Choir Director will use them and they may eventually make another book. I have not acquired enough Lingala yet for speaking, still use the old Bangala, but I am learning this way, and am enjoying a fuller vocabulary by trying to use Lingala.

Praise the Lord!

Love in Christ,   Ione

The next letter is another on for supporters and is sent not from Congo but from her family home in Pontiac, August 1973:

Dear Ones in Christ:

Some of you have heard me say I want to go as far as I can for Jesus. During the months of March and May it was my privilege to go to three remote places in Zaire. In March – to the Longele river beyond Bongondza, where I trekked with the Carpers and Kyles. We went to the end of the motor road. The men of our group crossed the river in search of the pygmies. Mrs. Carper, Mrs. Kyle, and I held some meetings with the ordinary-sized women on our side of the river and were encouraged to see a thriving work there, though many people had died during the rebellion. The wild animals have multiplied to such an extent that every night the villages had to guard their gardens against herds of elephants and scores of baboons.

The trek in May was especially satisfying because it fulfilled a desire I had of seeing every place where missionaries had died in 1964. During that time, Bill Scholten was taken by the Simbas from Ekoko to Aketi where he died from mistreatment in prison. Here at Ekoko as in all the other places where missionaries had died, we found a wonderful active church. At Ekoko I gave a series of three messages at the women’s conference using the subject from Revelation – “The Church, the Spotless Bride of Christ.”

During the last session of the conference I was taken ill with bacillary dysentery which was later complicated with malaria. I was flown by Missionary Aviation Fellowship plane to the large Evangelical Medical Centre at Nyankunde (four flying hours away). It was here that my son, Steve, joined me as he had come out to spend the summer in Zaire. He was a real help in looking after me. The dysentery and malaria stopped. But after a month I was still being fed intravenously. The field leader thought it advisable for me to come home. Steve and a missionary nurse flew to the United States with me. I was put in a hospital in Michigan where I stayed two weeks before I was allowed to go home in Pontiac. My weight and health are slowly coming back, but I will have to rest for several weeks yet as it has taken so much out of me.

I would like to thank all of you for your many cards, letters, and assurances of prayers for my needs. God’s purposes are sometimes more than we can understand, but we need to be faithful in all things. As strength permits here at home, I will complete revision of the Lingala hymnbook “Njembo Na Bomoi” (Hymns of Life).

And so, ends Ione’s time in Africa, 31 years dedicated to preaching the gospel, living in faith that God would supply her every need. There were times when she struggled with managing the family finances and as her family grew and lived away from her, this became more and more complex.

Ione was always mindful that money donated by supporters for God’s work ended up being used for that, which was always a further complication to her book keeping!

Ione relied on the love and support from her mother and her sisters, they shopped, wrote letters, sent parcels and took on the care of her sons so she could fulfil what she had been asked of God to do.

For a great deal of the time she had the love and support of Hector, and although she does not dwell on it, he was sorely missed. However, his legacy continued with their six sons who seemed to have learnt how to fix things much as he had done.

Download Chapter 32 - Once More in Congo