April 15, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

Sunday, April 15, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

I have a few minutes before supper so I will start this letter to you. Early this morning I had services for the men. We sang three different songs, had prayer and I spoke on John 15:1-11. What I wrote to you in last nights letter was the theme of my message. In brief, the Golden Rule is personified in Christ and to fulfill it we must abide in Him. There were 62 present which was very good considering combat conditions. We could hear the artillery but I managed to talk loud enough for them to hear. As soon as the service was over, the men scattered to their equipment to work for the day. Last night we had more trouble with infiltration but none of our boys were hurt. However, they killed two Japanese soldiers. Yesterday, three of our men captured three Japanese soldiers in a cave. They had a radio and a lot of grenades and guns. They were probably spotting artillery fire behind our lines.

I have just finished eating and much to my surprise and joy that there was some more mail for me this evening. There was your letter of April 4th and a letter from Paul, Sarah Coyne, Margaret Simonian, and Doug Powell. There were also some other official mail. It was certainly good to hear from you so recently. However, there are a lot of letters missing in between I’ll be glad to get. That was certainly thoughtful of Captain Wilkinson to write you, Dear. He was certainly a real pal and I hope we will be able to visit them sometime. He was certainly gracious in many things he said about me. I’m sorry Mom got so worried about the arrival of his letter.

I visited the hospital again to see how the men are getting along. They have really thinned out now. Most of them are being evacuated by air or hospital ship. The letter from Paul was just as good as ever, praise God for such wonderful Christian friends. I certainly love Paul and Gen and Stan and Lee as well as their families. I will be so happy when we can have our own family, Dear. I do hope we won’t have to be separated too much longer.

By the way, after I had my dinner I took enough time to write a v-mail letter to my father, Don and Verla, Connie and Mac, Gail Holly and Dr. Hepburn.

Dear, you will find in this letter four more stamps for Dr. Mantey. I’m sorry I lost one of them, however assure Dr. Mantey that I’ll be on the watch for stamps for him. Darling, I have been meaning to ask you for sometime to let me know the number of Joe Large’s outfit. There are several outfits like his here and one of them might be his.

Well, now I’m going to start with your letter of the 7th of March. Darling, you must have had a beautiful notebook in New Testament to get 100. I’m certainly proud of your splendid work at Northern. It is such a challenge and inspiration to me. It makes me exceedingly grateful to know Stan and Lee’s splendid work. It surely means a lot to have such consecrated Christian friends. I know Soule Chapman who used to be there, and knowing him as I do, I know the people didn’t get much. Soule is a friend of mine but he just doesn’t have it. The year before you and I went to East Bay he taught a class and really was a flop as far as the young people were concerned. I’m glad they had Paul Conrad in chapel. He is a fine man and I have had some mighty fine talks with him. He is an earnest Christian to say the least.

I know you are happy to hear about Laurice Mitchell. I only hope she retains what she has begun and continues to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Darling, I am sorry about Dr. Sword; but I can see he has changed. I don’t know what possesses some individuals. His case just sounds like my cousin at Drexel Park. He started the same way and grew worse. Of course, I haven’t heard much about him the last three years so I don’t know how things are now. What you know about him is what is true about many of those who are in the service.

I was certainly surprised to hear they are going to call the new apartment building “Koller Hall.” However, I think it grand on the behalf of the splendid leadership of Dr. Koller. I do hope they name a building in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Ferguson. He was president of Northern before Dr. Koller came. He wasn’t president long, but he taught there several (sorry! The interruption Darling but we just had an air raid and I had to get in my old foxhole.) Well, as I was saying, he taught several years; he was a splendid, a lot like Dr. Stiansen. He stood about 6 feet 3 and it was straight as a ruler. I only wish you could have known them, they were such fine Christians. They have been missionaries in India for over 40 years.

I was sorry to hear that they haven’t decided to do anything definitely after the fine leadership of Dr. Richardson. I know Roland Turnbull, he is a fine man and I’m sure he had a fine message. I hope Hank Boubelik’s wife is well by now.

I know it must have been good for you and Margaret Wells to visit over the phone. She is a fine girl I’m sure. By the way, here’s a secret…they are expecting an addition to their family sometime in September. Thank you for sending the copy of the letter from Roy String. He was most kind in the things he said.

Dear, when I said not to expect me before late summer of 1947 I was trying to let you know that we are not to think of it that way, and if I get home sooner so much the better. I’m not wishful thinking when I say I may be home before you can complete another year at Northern. It is a possibility unless they should send us on another campaign right away. Be that as it may, I would try to get your thesis as much out of the way as possible this summer. As you know, I would be happy to start on my way home to you tomorrow.

Dear, it is about dark so I must close for now. By the way, the air raid did no damage although a little flak landed nearby. I crawled in a foxhole but when the anti-aircraft started bursting overhead I got out of the foxhole and crawled under a truck. In plain words, we have our ups and downs here. We are very close to southern Japan and about as far as Chicago to Albany, New York from Tokyo and Nagoya. 

Good night my Dear and God bless you and the folks in all things.

Yours alone in the love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed is a letter from Gail Holly.

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