Chapter 26 – Reflecting and Rethinking

Chapter 26

Reflecting and Rethinking

On January 22nd, 1965, Ione writes to Hector’s sisters from Drayton Plains, Michigan thanking them for all their letters.

Ione and the boys, back in the US.

It is still not possible to make any real announcements as to our plans, but I can give a little account of our past month.

First, I will say that we are all well. We had a medical check-up with Dr George Westcott (the Doctor Ione had helped when she first went to the Congo) in Ypsilanti and he found everyone very well. Ken’s wound had been draining but with special pills this stopped and it is completely healed. His mastoid had and still does drain slightly from time to time, but we were told this, too, is not unusual, and he does not have any discomfort. Doctor said they did not even need vitamins, but gave some to me. We are all eating well, and enjoying the cold weather.

I have decided to try and get my American citizenship back and proceedings have begun. I don’t know what this will mean so far as residence, pensions or children’s allowance. But I expect eventually to retire in this country, and it seemed the opportune time to think about it. It seems the right thing to do, that is, to carry citizenship in the country in which I was born.

The house at 1205 Merry Road, Pontiac, Michigan, was provided by gifts from churches and friends.

We are still living with our friends the Johnsons, but expect very soon to engage a rented house, probably until June. Mother has furniture in storage near Kalamazoo, and we expect to have it brought here. The church here will help us with used items of furniture and linens which are not among Mother’s furnishings.

The boys are in three public schools, all near to one another and near to the place where we live. Ken and I will be soon taking driver training. We have enough money to buy a car and will do so very soon. (Within a few months, Ione, her mother and six boys moved to a house in Pontiac, with help from supporting churches and family. The boys were moved to the Emmanuel Christian School in Pontiac.)

I have not taken secular employment as at the moment my time and strength are pretty well taken with appearances here and there (Ione took on many speaking engagements at this time). My church will continue my missionary support until November, ’65.

I did not go to Philadelphia yet (going February 9-11), but am expecting a telephone call from Mr. Odman (The UFM leader who took over from the Pudney’s). I hope I won’t have to go, but there are still many business matters to care for. There will be $5,000 in insurance through the mission. I have not yet learned if something will be coming from the Baptist Life that Hector had, but a letter from the agent said he was sorry that we could not get double indemnity.

Thank you, Irene, for the copies of the church magazine which told about the memorial plaque in the Jordan church in honour of Hector.

My sister had her operation January 8, (Lucille had been diagnosed with cancer) and is now at home, feeling quite good. The doctor said she was one of the lucky ones who were able to get rid of cancer. Because of the radium treatment, plus the operation, she is now free of cancer. I do thank the Lord for leading her to this doctor in the new pastorate who discovered that she had cancer. It was in good time.

I would like to be near Lucille yet awhile and we do need each other. There are many openings for appearances around here. I have committed myself for around 30 engagements.

I do appreciate the telephone calls you have been making to me, and want to thank you. I think I have had calls from all of you except Jean. And she has written a number of times. Thanks for your January 9 letter, Jean. Also I received Alice’s from that day.

Thank you, Eleanor, for your letter of January13th. Much love, Ione.

Trials of a different nature continue and Ione may be home and provided for in part but testing times continue as seen in a record of one of her talks that she has been giving:

The other night when I was sitting on the bleachers at a basketball game, another boy’s mother moved over beside me and said:

“Our missionary circle is about to fold up.

I asked her, “Why?”

She said, “I guess they’ve lost heart. There is just no interest anymore. So few attend and although they promise $5 a month to the missionary’s child, they are already eight months behind in paying it.”

It was evident that something was very wrong. And I wondered how many other groups were like this one…their hearts just not in it.

So I looked in God’s Word for the cure. And I found it in the Bible.

“a new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you; and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordnances.” Ezekiel chapter 36 verses 276 and 27.

If God can make an army of bones to stand with life and breath, He can give us a new heart and new life. Almost every day my prayer is, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew” thru Christ, “a right spirit within me.”

When my children came along so fast (in 6 years), and my time with the Lord was interrupted, I became discouraged. I tried waking up before they did, but as soon as I opened one eye, there was a child awake and needing attention.

But I remember when I discovered the coldness of my heart, I made a covenant with the Lord to keep my going on with Him. And as in this verse, it became an everlasting covenant – no more ups & downs. Always up.

For now I could give the children the attention they needed without grudging. And then when everyone was either off to school or comfortably settled, I would fly to my Lord.

Going to prayer as soon as I could, became an anticipated pleasure. And it became even more precious than the previous well-preserved hour at the beginning of the day.

In the Spring of 1965, Ione was invited to be a guest on Front Page Challenge, a Canadian panel show about current events and historically significant moments that were televised over a number of years, the last series running in 1995. The panel was made up of notable journalists who were asked to guess a recent or old story by asking questions of a guest Challenger. For one programme, Ione was the guest Challenger.

The panellists on this occasion were: Gordon Sinclair, a radio commentator who had been brought up as a Methodist but by now had become a forceful critic of churches and religion and had a reputation for being controversial; Betty Kennedy, a broadcaster and journalist and Pierre Breton, an author who like Hector had been conscripted into the Canadian Services (army) during the second World War. He didn’t get to go to war as he trained as an Intelligence Officer and when he reached Britain, he had to retrain; by then the war was over. Also, on the panel were Gerald Fitzgerald, a ‘gossip’ columnist with the Montreal Gazette and Fred Davies, the host.

Once the panellists guessed the story, a short interview took place and what follows is a transcript of Ione’s Interview: 

Betty Kennedy: “Mrs McMillan, first may I express sympathy on the loss of your husband, and then ask, ‘How long were you held captive, and how were you rescued.'”

Ione: “We were hostages for three and one half months and we were rescued by mercenaries.”

Betty Kennedy: “How did it happen that your husband did not get out when you got out?”

Ione: “We were together, but when the shooting took place, they missed me.”

Betty Kennedy: “Can you describe this particular incident? How were you rescued? Was it a general battle scene?”

Ione: “It was an attempted massacre and the rebels who came to our home made us go into the house and sit down in the living room. They asked the men to go outside. The young man with the pistol walked nervously up and down and finally whirled about and shot into the midst of us. There were fourteen children and nine women. The women protected the children as well as they could. At this time, two of my sons were shot. We heard the shots outside and later learned that my husband was killed.

Betty Kennedy: “When did the mercenaries arrive on the scene, about the same time?”

Ione: “Yes, two and one half hours after they came.”

Betty Kennedy: “And how were you taken out?”

Ione: “By jeep and pick-up truck. They managed to get us all on and we were hurried to the airport.”

Gerald Fitzgerald:  “Mrs McMillan, during the time you were held captive, along with your husband and the others, had you been mistreated by the rebels?”

Ione: “No, not very much. It was not pleasant. It was more a case of restricted activity than mistreatment.”

Gerald Fitzgerald: “You’ve been quoted, Mrs McMillan, as saying that your husband’s death and your deliverance was a work of the Lord. Do you hold any bitterness against these rebels?”

Ione: “No. I don’t recognize any bitterness in my heart.”

Gerald Fitzgerald: “What portion of those rebels were Christians, or renegade Christians, and what portion were heathens?”

Ione: “It’s hard to say. There were some people who were adherents to our mission who were with them but I don’t know any Christians who were with the rebels.”

Gerald Fitzgerald: “They would be ……. to your mission.”

Ione: “Yes.

Pierre Berton: “Mrs McMillan, could this rescue have been handled any other way that would have saved more lives, do you think?”

Ione: “I couldn’t suggest any better way.”

Pierre Berton: “You, I think, were quoted as saying that the Rebels were frustrated by the appearance of American planes that made them trigger-happy. Do you think this was what happened?”

Ione: “That is true, but it may have been worse had they not come.”

Pierre Berton: “I see. What will you do now? Will you go back to the mission field or is that part of your life behind you?”

Ione: “Well, for the moment, my job is to help our boys get through school.”

Pierre Berton: “Yes, of course it is.”

Ione: “I have six sons and that’s our program right now.”

Pierre Berton: “What about your children? Do you think any of them will become missionaries?”

Ione: “Yes, I’m expecting two at least who have indicated that desire.”

Pierre Berton: “Gordon…”

Gordon Sinclair: “Mrs McMillan, my questions in cases of people professionally involved with religion usually lead to misunderstanding and I’m sorry for that, but, I must ask my question: You say that the Lord God caused certain things to happen and saves certain people and cause certain other people to be killed. Why would God make such a choice?”

Ione: “Well, I would think that it’s His business to decide that, not mine.”

Gordon Sinclair: “To take lives of useful people like Carlson?”

Ione: “Well, if you consider some more useful by their death than by their life, that’s His affair.”

Gordon Sinclair: “Does He have to have their death a matter of violence?”

Ione: “I would again say that He is very wise in choosing the means of death.”

Gordon Sinclair: “When you talk of God, which God do you mean? In Africa, there are countless gods, I think. Is this true?”

Ione: “There are more or less spirit-worshipers in our area.”

Gordon Sinclair: “Allah is not a spirit-worshiper.”

Ione: “No.”

Gordon Sinclair: “Do you believe there is no Allah?”

Ione: “I believe there is one God but He is a triune God and Jesus Christ is His Son.”

Gordon Sinclair: “But what about Allah?”

Ione: “Well, Allah belongs to the Mohammedans, and I can’t be responsible for Allah.”

Gordon Sinclair: “But do you believe that Allah exists as a god?”

Ione: “It’s possible.”

Gordon Sinclair: “I didn’t ask you if it was possible. I asked you if you believed it.”

Ione: “Well, I believe in God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. If He’s the Father of Mohammed, He’s not my God.”

Gordon Sinclair: “But what puzzles me is when people talk about God, which god do they mean? Now you don’t seem to have a clear answer for this.”

Ione: “Well, there’s only one God.”

Gordon Sinclair: “Now, now, now, Mrs McMillan, you have been in Africa long enough to know there is but one god and he is Allah. That’s what they say each hour of each day.” (Whilst Gordon Sinclair had travelled widely and to Arica, his visits were to Muslim countries such as Ethiopia so his views are biased and not representative of the whole continent).

Ione: “Well, if God has many names, it’s possible, but I do believe that my God is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Mohammedans have a belief of their own, but the main question is, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ and Mohammed doesn’t have the answer to that.”

Gordon Sinclair: “Give all your money to the poor.”

Ione: “Well, if you want to do that, it’s all right.”

Gordon Sinclair: “I guess I’m misunderstood again.”

Fred Davis: “Well, Mrs McMillan, may I say, ah, it’s obvious you’re a lady of great courage and you’ve shown that again tonight not only in facing our panel, but also in discussing a story that must still have very many painful aspects and we’re very grateful to you for coming on our program. Thank you so much.”

In April 1965, Ione gets a letter from Al Larson telling her of his plans to return to Congo to check out the situation. It would appear that although, Stanleyville/ Kisangani is relatively safe, the surrounding areas are not. Al writes:

There is very little water and electricity in Stanleyville. All whites there have been issued guns and 500 bullets each, with the understanding that this would enable them to fight their way out to the airport if that should become necessary. About 50 rebels come out of the forest weekly to surrender. One wonders what happens to them then.

It appears that despite Major Hoare (a mercenary working for the government) saying the area had been cleared of rebel soldiers, there  were still skirmishes occurring and the area was unsafe.

Also, in April, Ralph Oldman shares the news that Margaret Hayes, a missionary nurse from London serving with the UFM is still alive and being well cared for by rebels as she is running a dispensary at Bengamisa. She is held with 100 other Europeans in the Buta area

There is sad news in that fellow Canadian missionary David Grant dies whilst undergoing heart surgery on Thursday July 15th, the same day as news comes through of Margaret’s release from the Simbas. It was David Grant who had travelled to Kilometre 8 with Al Larson on the rescue mission.

In August 1965, Ione publishes a newsletter for all of her supporters, the first since her newsletter in June 1964 that she and Hector worried over before dispatching:
Dear Friends,

We want to express our thanks to the many folk who sent letters and money to our family recently since the loss of our husband and father November 24th in the Congo Republic.

And we want to thank you for praying so faithfully during the long time when other communications were not possible.

In the last general letter which we sent out in July, 1964, we reported national workers numbering over 350, making a team of ordained pastors, evangelists, qualified nurses and subsidized teachers.  These were leaders of 250 congregations, 8 dispensaries and 95 schools.

The work, which was for many years indigenous, would, we felt at the time of the sending of our last letter, go on even when missionaries were gone. We concluded our communication in July of 1964 by saying, “Your fellowship with us in this adventure is necessary for the full achievement of our hopes for the Congo.

We didn’t dream when we wrote that letter just to what extent our adventure would be taking us!

Of the group of 68 UFM missionaries (including children) in the Congo at the time of the rebel invasion in August, 20 are now dead.

Our family was in the group of 28 missionaries who were held as hostages at Kilometre 8, Stanleyville. We were under house arrest for 3-1/2 months, living in the three buildings which comprised the headquarters of the Unevangelized Fields Mission.

The Lord is good. He delivered us out of the mouth of the lion. He could have delivered us all but He chose to take Hector McMillan unto Himself.

We as a family have accepted our loss as a reasonable service and are claiming His promise that where a corn of wheat dies there will be a harvest (John 12:24).

The Congo area of the UFM is still controlled by rebel leaders, but the main part of Stanleyville is free. One of our missionaries, Bill Snyder, hopes to go there soon to stay for 6 months. Other men will be going into nearby areas and it may be possible to soon reoccupy our own stations. Merchants and Catholic priests are going back, and the servants of the Lord need to be there, too. The Psalmist said, in Psalm 132:4,5, “I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.”

So, we still call upon you to fellowship with us in this adventure. There is work to do yet for us in the Congo, and since we are now, more than ever, sure of a harvest (John 12:24), it is only normal for our family to want to have a part in that harvest.

We cannot go back yet, but are hoping that by September of 1966, we might leave Kenneth in this country for Bible school, and go back to Congo with the other five boys.

Thank you so much for all you have done for us. Won’t you who know the Lord fellowship with us in wrestling prayer for the souls in Congo?

Lovingly in Christ, Ione McMillan and boys

Whilst holidaying in Three Hills Alberta on the farm, Ione writes to her mother on 6th August:

Dearest Mother, and Marcellyn if there,

Just a note before I wake the boys. We are all well and happy. The boys are doing just what they had hoped to do: farming, horse-back riding (and horse –chasing as the 5 horses got out two days ago during a storm) and hunting gophers. Ken and his helpers (John or Stephen) have been working on 2 gophers, a magpie and a skunk (Ken’s taxidermy projects).

The boys & I are more and more inclined to feel that we should try to go back to Congo by Sept. ’66, if Rethy gets re-opened by then. If we did this, would it be possible for Ken to live with you at 1205 (Merry Road, Pontiac) and attend Bible School nearby? He could be of some help to you and I hope be not much trouble. Paul could do 2 years (11th & 12th) at Kijabe before returning to the states.

I thought if Rethy reopened I might help with the missionary children or perhaps do something on another A.I.M. station until our area is opened up. I have always loved the A.I.M. folk (and climate!)

These are just thoughts. What do you think? I have had NO mail from anywhere yet.   Lovingly, Ione

PS: I could consider another field, like Brazil maybe with the Boyes, except for the martyrdoms in Congo. And because of the promised harvest, I would like to have a part in this.

Ione seems desperate to get back to Congo and it would appear she has even approached Mission Headquarters as Al Larson write to Ione:

Dear Ione and boys:

On return to Bala Cynwd (Mission Headquarters) I found your letter in a large stack of mail awaiting us. I have consulted with Mr Sarginson concerning your request to return to the Congo.

This request will be brought to the Home Council at the next meeting, which is September 21st. However, we would like to express to you our thoughts.

We praise God for your desire to return and pray that as God leads you so He will provide your financial need. For ourselves, we have no objections to your returning to the Congo as we realize that your boys are old enough so as to release you for an effective service for the Lord amongst the Congolese, or as you are led of Him. Our trust is that your supporters will stand with you and this will also be a witness of God’s grace as you look to the field.

Our thought is that you should aim for a return in July 1966, at which time our area may be more open and by which time we will most likely be sending back our women to the UFM area. This would facilitate all arrangements being made for your boys at Rethy or Rift Valley Academy.

May God richly bless you these coming months and give His seal for your return.

Sincerely in Christ, Alfred Larson, Field Secretary – Congo

A summer holiday in Canada allows Ione an opportunity to catch up with Dolena Burke in Calgary. Whilst both have been widowed by the same atrocity there is no mention of their grieving together. The two ladies take the children to the zoo.  In a letter to a friend Ella Spees who was a missionary at Lolwa in the Congo, we learn more of how Ione is dealing with her situation:

Dearest Ella,

Please forgive me for waiting so long to write. Your lovely letter written in January did arrive, and did its work of comforting. I didn’t forget it, but because there were so many letters which came, it was necessary to alphabetize them. And if your name had been Brown or Green, you would have had an answer by now. But try as I did, I could not get to the letter S!!

The quotation you made in your letters was precious. Truly affliction does not come haphazardly, the weight of every stroke of the rod is accurately measured. “He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”

Your second letter in August brought me to the realization that in you I had a real friend, who would write a second time just to make sure I knew you loved me! And I have known it all the time, and greatly admired you through the long years that we have laboured in sister missions. I was impressed when I first met you as you always seemed to have a sense of something lovely waiting just around the corner. I have seen it each time we met and the love and interest manifest on each occasion made it a joy to stop at Lolwa.

I was reminded of you yesterday when I was reading the autobiography of Martha Snell Nicholson. She said, “I frequently waken with quick wonder in my heart. What bright gift is God sending to me with His new day?” Well, perhaps Bill would have something to say about your first impressions upon waking in the morning!

I am thankful to have such a friend in you and I want you to know that I love you.

I suppose by now you are doing some deputation. With my Mother here I am able to get out for quite a few meetings in the nearby areas, and for two or three days at a time in the more remote areas.

The boys and I are hoping to get back to Congo next September. But right now I am telling them to forget about it until they settle down to their studies right here. They are so keen to go back, but it is not good for them to measure just everything they do here in such a temporary way. So far, their grades have been good, but I don’t want them to miss some of their opportunities of learning.

My mother, also a widow, is trying to help the boys to have better habits of cleanliness and now that we have a nice home, to learn to take care of it. And I am thankful for her help as it is in answer to prayer that they may be “polished shafts”. But I can tell you there is not much enthusiasm about becoming polished!! If you see a bit of shine on them and they seem tidier when we next visit you in Lolwa, it is to my Mother’s credit.

We have a brick and stone home on 1 acre of land with fruit trees. I am hoping that if Mother’s health permits, she might live here when I return to the field and look after Kenneth while he attends Bible School. Ken has sent for an application for Moody, but is still undecided as to whether the Lord might have him to go to a Bible College. He wants medical training later.

Paul would rather go back with us, even though he would have only two years left at Kijabe. He said he would try to take one year at that British University in Nairobi afterward and wait for David to finish. Then they would come home together to go to Bible school. What do you know about the University of Nairobi?

I received a letter from Eldo Epps and presume they must have left Congo by now.

Can you tell me something about Geneva College? Is it a Brethren School? I was glad to have news which you could give of Biasiku. A letter this week gave us news from Stanleyville. Bill Snyder is there and has seen Asani and Bo Martin together, but Bo is very thin, and has a look of real suffering in his eyes. He must have been thru a lot when the Banalia folk were killed. (At the time of the atrocities, Pastor Asani was in the Bukavu region; his wife had been very ill and had travelled to Oicha to see Doctor Becker.  When the rebels took control, Pastor Asani and those at Oicha were able to slip out of Congo and across the border.) Ofeni was looking for his family and he had heard that his wife and nephew had been killed. A number of Seminary students had found their folk and were going back to AIM territory by plane. The road to Buta must be open now as we heard the Dixes were going to travel that way by car.

A notice from our mission says that Herbert Harms will join Bill in October for an evangelistic ministry and to assist in food relief. They will also look into the possibility of opening a high school. Don Muchmore expects to go to Bunia in September to re-open the joint Seminary. The Boyes’ house in Banjwadi was burned; also, the Mann’s house at Aketi. We have yet no news of Bongondza, except that it was completely looted.

Now I must close and finish cleaning the refrigerator.   Much love in Him,    Ione

It’s not long before Ione gets her much-needed news of Congo, Bill Snyder, a fellow UFM missionary writes to her on 28th September 1965:

First news is that the army has finally got moving and something is getting done. They are at Km. 23 Route d’Ituri and past Km. 8 Old Buta Road. They have retaken the Route des Elephants. I got out to Km. 8 yesterday. A mortar emplacement is right at the entrance and gun emplacements around the back but the Rebels are long gone. I heard today that they are continuing on out and breaking up the whole camp. Hundreds of civilians are out and they say thousands will be coming out. The hospital is already overflowing. Relief work will not be a big job.

Kilometre 8 is a ruins. Both the hangar and the house are completely burnt. Bill tries to establish where Hector’s grave is but there isn’t one here. Apparently, the mercenaries came back and retrieved Hector’s body and took it to Stanleyville. He was buried with Bob Latham, a friend who was working with the United Nations. The garage is not. The Simbas have gone off with all the roofing to make shelters in the forest. I got 3 small wash basins and a toilet that were in the back of the hangar along with Del’s side boards. One end gate is missing. The rooms in back of the house are intact. I got two doors that were for the hangar from there. There are still gas bombs and roofing and I will try to get that hauled. On the way out I had a tyre go out on me. Don’t know what I hit. The road is overgrown a lot, but the tyre is out and no good. I’ll look around here but if I can’t find one, Ben is here and I will send an order with him for the things we need. There is boat service now that is quite regular.

On the 28th October 1965, Al Larson writes to Ione and tells her that the mission Council agree in principle to her returning to mission work in the Congo in September 1966. Unfortunately, he cannot confirm or lay to rest rumours circulating in Congo about Malenza, a faithful house boy to the Macmillan’s.  Ione writes:

There is not space here to discuss all of the dedicated staff members at Kilometre Eight, I would like to add a comment about one. Alexander Malenza was a faithful house boy. In 1960, when missionaries were temporarily removed from Kilometre 8, it was Malenza who guarded the mission property. Formerly from Bongondza area, he came under the influence of the teachings of Christ at the UFM mission school. When he went to work at a rubber plantation at Kilometre 15 on the old Buta Road outside of Stanleyville, he found he could not forget what he had been taught. For 11 years he worked stripping rubber from the trees. Then one Sunday on his way from Stanleyville to the plantation, he saw a Gospel service was being held in the front of the home for missionary children.

Hector was preaching in Bangala and Malenza stopped to listen. All of his early teaching came back in a flood, and he accepted Christ that very day. Later, when he brought his cigarette-smoking wife, Foramina, it was my joy to lead her to the Lord. Malenza told us then that the Lord had put in his heart the desire to give up his secular work that he might spend the rest of his days doing something for the Lord.

He asked, “Can I help you in the home for missionary children?”

We told him he could. So after his work was done at the plantation where his hours were 5:30 to 11:30 AM, he walked 7 kilometres to work for us until dark. Then Hector drove him home. It was many months before he could be released from his rubber contract, but eventually he was able to work full time at the home.

Malenza and Foramina built a house just off the mission property, planted a garden and became a vital part of the ministry of the mission in that area – not only in the Sunday meetings in the yard or living room of the Children’s Home, but up and down the road in village meetings. In 1960 when the mission children could no longer attend the Belgian school in Stanleyville, the Home became the headquarters of the UFM and Malenza, having guarded the property for a number of months while no missionary was there, was happy to stay on and work with Al and Jean Larson and us through the trouble.

It was Malenza who came to me one day at Kilometre 8 in November 1964 and questioned, “Why doesn’t your President help you?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

He lowered his brown eyes, “You missionaries are in a very bad way here. The enemy is holding you. And they are saying if mercenaries come to fight with them, they will kill you. Your President is strong. Will he help you?”

“How can he help us, Malenza, when we aren’t allowed to send a message or even tell him of our trouble?”

“But the enemy will take everything,” he worried.

“Soko boyo,” (That may be) I answered resignedly.

“They may take your lives,” his concern was genuine.

“Malenza,” I spoke bravely though in my heart I was not so brave; “They may take our lives, but the McMillan’s are a big family. We have six sons. Some of them will surely be spared to help tell the Congolese about Jesus.”

Eventually, Ione gets news that people in Stanleyville do not believe Malenza to have died, Bill Snyder reports that many people come out of the forest severely malnourished, and some do not come out at all, still fearing for their safety.

As 1965 draws to a close, there is a gap in the recorded letters. It would be hard to imagine that Ione suddenly stops writing or receiving letters. The story does not stop, but perhaps becomes humdrum. The family have a routine around school, keeping the family home and themselves tidy, attending church. It would seem that the refrigerator took a lot of cleaning!







Download Chapter 26 - Reflecting and Rethinking