April 23, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

Morning – 24 April 1945

My Dearest Darling:

I’m sure you will be wondering why I didn’t write this last evening; but it was impossible to do so under circumstances. I only received one letter yesterday and that was from Vivian Schaeffer. She always writes a very interesting letter. She is really a very earnest Christian and has done very outstanding work at the church in Chenoa, Illinois.

Yesterday morning I spent most of the morning organizing things and making some plans for future work here. I also washed out some more of my clothes. Our commanding officer has a little gas stove which I used. I found an old used lard can and chipped up some soap and let them boil for a while before scrubbing them and rinsing out.

After eating dinner I had a little time so I decided write some v-mail letters. I wrote to another chaplain about a request of a soldier, Louise Davis, Dad, Hollys and Connie and Mac.

About 1:30 I left here to go to our cemetery to take care of some things. While on the way, I stopped by another one of our units to visit the men. By the time we returned it was time to eat, so I went to Division Headquarters with Major Wilhelm and his driver. I went to see Chaplain Walt, our Division Chaplain. It is certainly a privilege to work with a man like him. He cooperates and does all he can to help the other chaplains. He is certainly a different kind of man than the one in my old regiment. It was almost dark when we returned so you see it was impossible to write to you. Several of us men visited for quite a while, we decided to go to bed but were only in a bed a while when the fireworks began. A little after midnight it started to rain and you should see us this morning, we are certainly a mess. Well, that goes as a part of Army life, especially is that true in the Infantry.

By the way, I’ve meant to tell you several times that I’m certainly thankful I bought that sleeping bag before I came overseas. It has been a real help and comfort in sleeping, that is, when you can sleep.

My Dear, I have a few moments so I’m going to start with your letter of March 30th. From your description of the Good Friday communion service, I would say it must have been most impressive. I’ve always thought NSBC conducted their communion service beautifully.

Dr. M. Quickens’ message on Prayer Day sounded very good and I agree with what he said it 100%. The Missionary Church which Hoppy Gulsinger and Eloise Grimm are starting sounds very encouraging and I do hope they will prosper in their work for the Lord.

It must be very good to see all the flowers and trees in Chicago in bloom. I love Chicago in the spring and summer. It has been my privilege to see a lot of territory now, but I have yet to see anything to compare with the beauty of pastoral life in the middle west. And I think the beauty of nature in all her glory in Northern Michigan and Wisconsin is beyond compare. When I come back I hope we will be able to buy a good car and take a trip somewhere where we can meditate, pray and ask God’s guidance for as we look to our future work together.

I’m glad you have been hearing from my father regularly and that you’ve been keeping me informed of his welfare. I’ve only received the one letter from him since my arrival here and that was the one just before he had the operation.

I agree with you about the Protestant church as a whole. And as you said about Illinois having 70 churches without pastors. Darling, I cannot possibly tell you how anxious I am to get back into our own church again. I have learned things in the Army I know, but it cannot compare to the joy and privilege of working with a group of Christians who have the one desire of abiding by Christ’s will and making His words known to the ends of the earth.

Darling, I love your description of “devotional reading”, and that is just the way I feel about your precious letters. It seems with each reading they grow dearer to my heart. And I cannot read one of your letters without a song of praise and Thanksgiving unto the Lord for such a good sweetheart and wife as you are. Darling, I haven’t seen a Reader’s Digest for some time. Those I have seen were all old. The article “Road to Serfdom” sounds very good and I shall be on the watch for it.

I was glad to know you and Gilbert’s wife had such a nice visit over the phone. It will certainly be nice if you can get together sometime. I think you will be glad to know Paul Allen’s wife. She is very nice and it will do you good to have a visit. I’m sorry Gilbert is still sick. I do hope he gets better soon, for he is doing splendid work down there among the men.

Dear I’m glad you like your corsage and I am more than happy to know that the folks like theirs also. The service at Buena sounded beautiful and most impressive, it will certainly be wonderful to be in a church for service again. Out here there are so many distractions, but I’m sure I and many others will appreciate church settings and sanctuaries more than ever. Darling, what you said about Dr. Hepburn is so very very true. “There is always with him such a wonderful sense of the holiness and greatness of God.” I love that about him and from that alone you can tell of his close communion and fellowship with the Lord. Dr. Wilson has never impressed me with that feeling in any sermon he ever preached. I have, through my study of Evangelism and Church History, found that the servants of the Lord who did more to lead men to a sound conversion were those men who had just that wonderful sense of the holiness and greatness of God. I think of such men as Finney, John Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon, F.B. Meyer, Phillip Brooks, Dr. Truite, Dr. Scarborough, Will H. Houghton, Dr. Hepburn, Dr. Massey, Dr. H.B. Riley, Dr. E. Stanley Jones, Dr. Axling, Brayton Case and Dr. Winfield Edson.  There are many others but you cannot miss it when you see a man. Another man I have always loved was Dr. Abernathy, you will remember we heard him at the State Convention.

Sweetheart, in one of your letters you were wondering if I would like to have anything. I would, so if you and the folks would like to send me one of the following; we shall see how long it takes it to arrive and if it isn’t too long, where the freshness would be spoiled, I may have you send more later. It would be nice to have some mixed peanuts or any other kind of nuts. If you send them, don’t send them with the shells on, for it will take up extra weight. And Darling, I’m very hungry for some of your good cookies, but don’t bother if it is going to take too many of your ration points. I wouldn’t send too many first time, that is until we see how well this comes through. You always made such good things to eat. As I said before, I’m thankful for the food the Lord has provided for us, it has very little change. But I would feel entirely ashamed of myself when I know there are millions whose stomachs are gripped with a gnawing pain because of hunger. Isn’t a shame to think people are starving to death in a world where there is plenty produced for all? The lust for power and wealth has more to do with starvation than anything. I can remember 10 or 12 years ago when they were crying there was overproduction and at that very time millions were starving all over the world. I haven’t forgotten the time when they were killing little pigs and plowing under cotton, corn and other staple food products. They were interested in establishing the AAA program and they bribed many a farmer into it by paying him for something he didn’t raise. When they were feeding the farmer that baloney about overproduction in hogs, I work in the cold storage plants and saw carload after carload of pork coming from Argentina, as well as pork from Czechoslovakia. They may try to stuff that stuff down some peoples throats, but I, as well as many others at the Wilson’s, saw it and wondered who they were trying to fool. The farmer who joined the AAA finds himself ruled and regimented by all kind of degrees and regulations. And if he is not in it, his life and freedom as a farmer is entirely haltered by his exclusiveness. Don’t worry, we shall pay for the folly of destroying what the Lord has given in the harvests. We are still trying to proceed on the principle that we can spend ourselves rich. Much flagrant spending and political corruption is being sheltered and protected because we are at war. And any man or a group who raises their voices in protest to such waste is an isolationist, a Nazi lover or unpatriotic. These words spoken of old are still and ever will be true. “Righteousness exalted a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” And it’s a sure thing we are not above reproach. History gives us many graphic illustrations of nations which God cast on the ash heap because he could no longer use them. There are those who cry, “Yes, but we are much better than any of these other nations”, but at the same time, they forget we have greater revelation than any other nation. That is a most wonderful privilege and always with privilege comes responsibility. All in God’s word doesn’t mean special privilege to a people of certain class, color or rank. It just makes me sick to hear how some people are acting in the Pacific Coast states about the Japanese. They have forgotten that they are not what they are by virtue or their superior knowledge and understanding of truth; but they are the sole inheritors and beneficiaries of all the truth of God and our God-fearing forbearers. As Emerson said, I’m a part of every man I ever met and I’m a debtor to those who passed on before.

We often hear it said those poor dumb Japanese, but we have been blessed with the truth of God. I don’t know how any honest student of ancient history or archaeology could be so poor in analysis to think that we are superior because of our own wisdom. God chose a people and we have inherited from them the truths which are basic in our nation’s greatness and place among the family of nations. We have our Lend Lease to the allied nations, but the greatest program for world security and peace is embodied in Christ’s mighty command in Matthew 28:18-20. We have learned the value of missions and its untold benefits and returns; since being out here in this theater of operation. It is well to remember the Good News is the only thing you can keep on giving away and still have more.

The most powerful locomotive in the world cannot move its own weight unless there is fire in the fire box to create steam which drives the great pistons and driving rods. We can build planes and propose great world organizations, courts of justice and tribunals before which aggressor nations can be tried, but unless God be in it, it too will fail. An engine can even have plenty of steam and power, but unless she is on the track she will beat herself to pieces trying to get somewhere. The track being His words, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things shall be added unto you.” We cannot long live by the principle of subtraction and expect God to bless us with a more abundant life. 

World organizations in the hands of men who have had no place for godly living or abiding by God’s commands will only mean a more potent weapon in the hands of those who propose to govern and dictate the lives of others.

Well Dear, that happens to be some of my thoughts on the proposals of men who are going to set up this organization. It is to be remembered, “Men may propose but God still disposes.” Let us pray for those who shall lead and also pray that there shall be more who are willing to dedicate their lives to the service of Him who has the answer for all the ills which have frustrated and distressed the nations and people of the earth.

God bless you my Dearest and give my love to the folks.

Yours and so glad to be forever in the

Perfecting and abiding love of Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

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