October 20, 1944

October 20, 1944

Sarah, My Darling:

This has been a long long day and I am really tired. Having not had much sleep for three days has helped to make it seem longer. I do wish I had a couple of your letters to read. It is a sure thing I will not have any more mail from you until I return.

Early this morning I left here for the Chief of Chaplain’s office. I had a long talk with him about some existing problems on the island. He also talked to me about some other things which I’ll tell you about later. Later, I went to several other places to check up on some things that have needed attention.

The Chief asked me to have dinner with him so I accepted the invitation and it was good to have a good full course meal again. After dinner, I left the Chief and went to the large post exchange to see what they had. They happened to have a pair of low-cut shoes in my size, so I bought them. They were Florsheim’s. I paid $8.15 for them.

At 2 o’clock I had an appointment with the Chief Chaplain on General Richardson’s staff. I was with him for almost an hour and a half. I saw Lieutenant Carl Anderson, General Richardson’s secretary and so we decided to have dinner together this evening. We had a good dinner and then returned to his quarters and spent the evening talking about our beloved wives. They have the prettiest baby, she will be a year old November 12th. Before I left, we read the Bible and had prayer together. He is one of the finest man I have ever met since being in the Army. I wish there were more like him.

Sweetheart, I’m so tired I can hardly hold my eyes open so I will close for now. God bless you in all things.

Now and Ever yours in the love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Pardon this poor writing, it isn’t easy to write on your lap.

October 19, 1944

October 19, 1944

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

I’ve thought of you many times since I wrote you last. I’m sorry I didn’t get a letter off to you last night, but it was impossible to do so. Since writing you the night before I have traveled over 3,500 more miles by air.

On one leg of that journey, I saw one of our ships go down, but fortunately the men were all able to get into their life saving equipment safely. We circled over them for two hours and 12 minutes sending radio messages of their position to three different islands. Eventually we had to go on to our destination because our own fuel was running low and we were very heavily loaded ourselves. About a half hour out from our first destination we saw a destroyer which was on the way out to rescue the men of the plane that had gone down. With good luck the destroyer should be to the men in 36 hours, which isn’t so bad because the rafts carry a lot of concentrated rations as well as water.

Here I am in Honolulu again, although this time I traveled almost 1,000 more miles to get here. There are many things I would like to tell you Dear, but they must wait until we are together again.

Willis Reed and the other chaplain graduates at Harvard University. 1943.

By the way, Alrik and I spent some time in the home of a former governor of Hawaii this afternoon. This home was almost like a dream. I don’t know when I have ever seen a more beautiful lawn and flower garden.

This morning I had the good fortune of meeting Alrik Blomquist. We spent all afternoon and evening together and had a most enjoyable time together. I had your latest pictures along and he enjoyed them very much. He was glad to see the picture of Hazel and John. We always do have a good time when we are together. I also got to see Chaplain Mitchell and several other chaplains I know. I’m up here because our Chief of Chaplains wanted me here for a special reason. It seems something new is in the offing and as soon as I know Dear I’ll surely let you know. I’m supposed to see him tomorrow morning, but of course I won’t be able to let you know until my orders are printed and I’m on the way. But be assured, I’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Dear, I’m so tired I can hardly see straight so I will close for now. Not having had any sleep last night and very little the night before really makes me tired. God bless you Dear and give my love to the folks.

I will ever be just yours in the love

Of Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

October 17, 1944

October 17, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Is surely is hot here tonight. It has just been raining and I feel like I’m sitting in a steam bath. I suppose it is nice and cool back there. It is hard to realize that cooler weather is in the offing for you. One of these days I’ll probably get a letter from you telling me you just had your first snow flurries.

Early this morning I did some things I wanted to get out of the way before leaving. We took off at noon and arrived here this evening. Ill not be able to tell you where I’m headed for until I arrive there. We had a very good flight, we only had a little rough weather for about a half hour. Someday I’ll tell you all about it. Of course, there are a lot of things I could think of telling you but they will have to wait until we are together again someday.

Willis with a small tropical bird and his men.  October 1944.

It has started to rain again, from all indications I think it will be rather difficult sleeping because of the heat.

The tropical birds make all kinds of weird noises. Some of them sound almost cheery. There is one right outside my quarters that makes a sound which sounds like a fellow trying to shift gears without using the clutch. Their plumage is about every color you can think of with all in between colors.

I had a good visit with the chaplain stationed here. Unless we take off too early I will see him again in the morning.

Well Dear, times like these handicap me when it comes to writing an interesting letter, but remember I love you more than ever I have before. It is such a blessed privilege to have a good wife like you. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

I am so grateful to Our Lord because of 

Your precious and purifying Love,

Always your husband,

Willis

Ruth 1:16-17

Colossians 3:3

October 16, 1944

October 16, 1944

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

There wasn’t any planes today so that means there wasn’t any mail for us. We will all be glad when more mail comes in. I’m grateful to have your old letters, for I read them over several times and I do enjoy them each time I read them because I feel again the assurance of your wonderful love which to me is such a refining influence. It is so good to be one in Christ forever. Dear, I shall forever be grateful to Him for the privilege I have of being your husband. Ever since we first met I have known nothing but the deepest joy and blessing because of what you are and always will be to me. When first we met there was a quietness swept over my heart that shall never leave because the quietness speaks of the fact that we are supposed to be each other’s for the ages of the ages. Sweetheart, you are such a good wife and it is all because you want above all else to live according to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is surely a blessed assurance to have each other for prayer partners, and no matter how many thousands of miles we may be apart, we can meet at our Father’s throne. And then we can always broadcast on our special wavelength L-O-V-E.

Dear, most of the activities of this day were involved with things I’ll not be able to tell you about, so you can see how limited I am when it comes to try and write you an interesting letter. This afternoon about 4 o’clock, Captain Wilkinson and I went out for a drive. It was very hot so it was good to get a little breeze as my little jeep sped along. We stopped in one area where there a lot of Gooney (boobey) birds and had quite a time watching them, especially with little ones. The goonies go out into the ocean to catch fish. On the way back, they are generally overtaken by the Man-O-War (Frigate) bird and they steal the fish from them by grabbing their tails and going into a climb. If the Frigate bird jerks them hard enough the gooney bird will lose the fish, and generally before the fish hits the ground the Frigate bird swoops down and grabs the falling fish. The Frigate cannot land on the water, and as a result, he steals his food from other birds. The Frigate is a very large black bird with a white stomach. Some of them have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet.

Willis Reed with a baby Frigate Bird. October 1944.

After supper, Major Stenson, Captain Stark, Captain Wilkinson and I played horseshoes until dark. We really had a lot of fun. After visiting for a while I came back over to my quarters and sprinkled two pairs of trousers and shirts, one of the officers here has an iron so I’m going to borrow it and press some of my things. When you have to wash out clothes like we do down here, they really look like we had slept in them for days.

By the way, I did do some more reading this evening, I think our devotional material has been very good here lately. I just happened to think that you should have received the first bond that I have started to buy out of my pay each month. They told me when I signed up for it that you should receive it on or about the 15th of each month. Be sure to let me know, Darling. They are taking $18.75 out of my pay each month for a bond now.

Lover, there is very little news so I will close for tonight and do remember I love you more tonight than ever I have before. Be sure to get my love and best wishes to those we love, Dear.

I am just yours forever in the Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

October 15, 1944

October 15, 1944

Sarah, My Dear:

This has been a very busy Lord’s day and it is one more that we will not have to be apart. I suppose you’re very busy also, if you thought of me as much as I thought of you, I’m sure you must of been able to know that I was broadcasting to you, Dear. I’ll surely be a happy man we can be together on the day set aside for the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We had a good attendance this morning at the services. It was the best total attendance we have had. I changed to only two services on Sunday morning rather than three services as we used to do. I used Romans 12:1-2 as my text for the message which I titled, “Are you willing?” In the second service, the natives sang for us which was very good as usual and I know the men enjoyed it very much.

Immediately after dinner, Raymond and I left here for the place of the Baptismal service. I believe I forgot to tell you that we had to postpone it from the 1st of October because Raymond’s wife wasn’t able to be baptized then. There were around forty soldiers present for the service. The native sang, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” for the opening of the service. Then I read the Matthew account of the baptism of Jesus and also Romans 6:1-6. After that, I gave a short message explaining meaning of baptism and Timete interpreted it to the natives. Mofete lead in prayer and then Raymond and I started to walk out into the Pacific Ocean. When the water reached our waists, we turned around facing the crowd on the shore. First I asked him if he took Christ as his Savior and then performed the Baptismal service. When we started back to shore the natives sang their hymn, “The Love that Jesus Has for Me.” When they finished singing the song, I pronounced the benediction. I wish you could’ve been there, Darling. I know you would’ve enjoyed it very much.

Willis often had the natives sing for special occasions. October 1944.

Dear, there is something else I would like to tell you, but it would be impossible to do so now. There are a lot of things I don’t care to remember when this thing is over and this is one of them. Of course, there are many worthwhile experiences and then there are other things that you would like to be able to erase from your memory forever.

Darling, Raymond is so happy now that he has been baptized, with help I believe he will become a real servant of the Lord. His baptismal service is one that he will long remember I am sure.

It is so late and I am very tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you in all things, my Dear. Give my love to the folks.

Yours forever in Christ and His 

Wonderful love and salvation,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

October 14, 1944

October 14, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Another day has slipped by and I am so thankful that it is one less that will have to be apart. Sweetheart, I have thought of you many times today, and as per usual, there are many more things I found in you to love and be thankful for. I have just finished reading your letters over again this evening and they are sweeter than ever. I’m going to answer a few questions you asked and make comments on other things you said in your letters.

From what you told me in your letter of September 30th, you must of had a grand time over at the Reid’s for dinner. I’m glad to know they all enjoyed looking at the shells we have together. I suppose you have some interesting things to talk about. I agree with the statement that Ruth made, “700 new members in the last three years, but where are they?” You said that Dr. Wilson welcomed 30 new ones into the church October 1st. It would be interesting to see how many of them will become active enough in the church and it’s work to be noticed, I mean that in the sense of being members who are regular in attendance as well as good workers.

I take that you now have a regular Sunday school class for which I am thankful, I think it will be much better for you that way, and now you will be able to prepare your lessons ever with the needs of your boys before you. Personally, I think that helps a whole lot in preparing a lesson.

I was truly surprised to hear that Bernice Ptacek had a date with Ralph, knowing Ralph as I do, I cannot see him as being worthy of a girl as fine as Bernice. I’m sure that she will see through him. Let me know more about it if you hear anything in the future.

It was good to hear that you have been asked to become the sponsor of the High School BYF. It shows that the young people like you. I am thankful for the fact because it shows the Lord is able to use you. I can easily understand why they would like to have a person like you for a sponsor.

Newspaper from October 14, 1944.

It was surely a shock to me to hear that Joe Large’s brother has been killed in action. As you say, it will surely be good when this terrible war is over and men will be able to return to those they love. Was Joe’s brother a married man?

You were wondering why the natives wear the leaves around their heads when they give their dances. It just happens to be one of the ways they like to dress when they give one of their dances. They fix up all kinds of things to make their dances different.

This has really been an unusual day but I’ll not be able to tell you about it now. I can tell you this much though, I have added quite a few more hundred miles to my flying. Some of the cloud formations were very beautiful, especially was that true when the sun set over the ocean. I know you would’ve enjoyed it very much. The Chief of Chaplains left this morning.

It was rather late when we returned this evening and as a result I am very tired so I think I will close and try to get enough sleep for tomorrow and the services. Lover, I love you more than ever before. May God richly bless you in all things. Give my love to the folks.

Just yours in the love of 

Jesus Christ, 

Willis

Colossians 3:3

October 13, 1944

October 13, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling

I’m so tired I can hardly stay awake but I do want to get this letter off to you, so if it is incoherent in places you’ll understand that I was extremely tired when I wrote the letter to you. Before I started this letter to you, I read your letters over again and I will try to answer some of your questions in the first three and will answer the other three tomorrow evening and make comments along the way. Sweetheart, I love you more tonight than ever I have before. I am so very very happy in your love.

This has been a rounder of a day also, that is one of the reasons why I am so tired this evening. It took most of the morning to take care of some problem cases. I dropped up to the Air Base to check up on some things up there, but I was unable to accomplish that which I had hoped to accomplish. By the way, while I was at the Infantry area seeing a man about a problem he had I managed to catch the paymaster. This was the first time I have been paid in two months.

While up towards the Air Base, I stopped in to the post office and bought two money orders, they are for $100 a piece. Sweetheart, one of those $100 money orders is for your Christmas present. I give it to you with all of my deepest love, Dear. Feel free to do with it what you like. It is all yours from me. I love you so much, Darling. It is impossible to get suitable Christmas presents out here.

I was interested in what you mentioned in your letter how to handle board members, etc. I shall be glad to know about his suggestion someday. I’m glad that the class seems to be more interesting here lately. You really made a good grade in New Testament, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the class much more when you get out of the period between the Testaments. Dr. Mantey is surely a grand teacher. You cannot sit in his class and not catch part of his wonderful humility and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m so glad that you can drop over and see Gen and the children so much, knowing them as I do, I realize fully that it means a lot to you, my Dear. It is good to know that Gen is coming along so well with her piano lessons. I would surely like to hear her play some time. From what you tell me, Paul really has his hands full, but I am confident that he will come through with flying colors.

Your description of Prayer Day sounded very interesting and it must’ve been a blessing to all of the students. Prayer Day was always a highlight day when I attended Northern. It is occasions like those that you look back to and thank God for the blessing and instructions He gave you on those occasions.

I’m sorry to hear that Fred Lemmert feels so bad about being separated from Sophie. As you say, I think the experience at Northern will do him a whole lot of good if he will stick by his study. Perhaps there will be an opportunity open up for them in the future that will make it possible for them to be together and also attend Northern.

Your thesis on the cooperation of the church in the home sounds interesting and I’m glad to know that Dr. Mason thinks it will be a good subject. Perhaps by the time this letter reaches you, you will have limited it to some definite phase of the above mentioned field. I will be interested to be informed from time to time how you’re coming along with your research.

Carl Scherenberg is in the front row in the white t-shirt.  He worked on the farm on Christmas Island. 1944.

It is good to know you had such a good visit with Vi Scherenberg. I saw Carl for a few minutes today and we talked about the fact that you two were able to get together. When you see her again, be sure to tell her not to worry, because he is getting along very well and is still here with us.

Lover, I must close for tonight but remember I do love you more than ever and may God bless you in all your work and undertakings. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

Always and Ever only yours

In the Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed you will find two more pictures that Captain Wilkinson took of me with his camera. He also gave me the negatives so I will send them on to you. I wrote on the back of the pictures for your interest. 

October 12, 1944

October 12, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

. Words will never be able to tell you how happy all of us were to have mail today. Sweetheart, your six letters were a feast to my hungry soul. Your letters were for September 27th  through October 2nd. I loved them very much and the joy that filled my heart when reading them is unspeakable. You are such a precious wife, I love you more each and every passing day. As long as I live I will never be able to thank God enough for you and your wonderful love. Whenever I read your letters, I always feel warm on the inside because you are in my heart. It means everything to me and to have a wife like you who is so very faithful and true.

This is one Columbus Day I will never forget. From early this morning until this very minute I have been on the go. More has happened this one day than happened in two weeks during other periods of my tour of duty down here. It so happens that it is after midnight now. But I dated this letter as yesterday and will write you another tomorrow night. There are a lot of things I would like to tell you but that is out for now. This morning early I had three cases to take care and in the meantime the Chief of Chaplains of our area arrived.   This afternoon after dinner another very peculiar problem came up the like of which I have never heard of in the Army. It is surely trying on the poor soldier. I will do my best to remember all that happened today and I will tell you all about it someday and then you’ll understand what I mean when I say we were very very busy. I’m thankful for it though because the day slipped by faster and I am that much nearer the time when we shall be together again. Just before supper something came up and as a result, Captain Wilkinson and I missed our supper. I’ll tell you about it someday, Dear.

We had a meeting of the officers this evening which lasted about three hours. When we came back to my quarters we had a long talk with the Chief of Chaplains. I won’t be able to tell you anything about it now, but perhaps later on I can tell you about it.

Willis leading a service aboard a ship. 1944.

Sweetheart, the pictures and your letters are wonderful, I love them, every one. Please keep them coming this way. Remember that is one thing you can never overdo as far as I’m concerned. I love to look at your pictures. Every time I do so, I think of how much I ought to do for the Lord because of you and your love. And I mean that  apart from the salvation which is ours in Christ. Your love is so absolutely pure because of the oneness we have together in the Lord. It is my earnest prayer that I may partially be worthy of such a good wife. And I only hope you can love me as unreservedly is I love you, Dear.

I still had a staggering stack of letters to answer but after today’s mail arrived I have even more. Even if I had the time to answer them, it would take three or four days. Several different enlisted men have written me expressing their gratitude for the services we have had down here.

Besides your letters, I received the following letters: Aunt Annie Scurlock, Mil, my father, Vivian Shaffer, Scheus, First Baptist Church Long Beach, Connie, Ruth Reid, Mrs. Riley and a bunch of official mail. Oh yes, I got a very nice letter from Gail Holly. She is surely a fine Christian girl, I believe she has a fine future and I’m going to do all I can to encourage her in the Lord’s work.

From what you tell me in your letters, I can see that you are working very hard in school. Please be careful and don’t overwork. I will be proud of the fine record you are going to set, but please remember I love you more than I ever will or ever could any record you might set.

There are a lot of things I would like to answer my Dear, but I’ll save those for tomorrow night. As it is, I’m so tired I can hardly hold my eyes open and I must get a few hours of sleep before daybreak. God bless you my Darling in all things. I love you with all my heart and life forever.

Yours forever in the Love of the 

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

P.S. Enclosed you will find a good picture of Captain Joseph Wilkinson, our medical officer, who is a real pal and friend. He is from New York City and they have a six month old baby daughter. We have more fun together than a barrel of monkeys. He is a Catholic and I would say far above the average I have ever bumped into in my experience thus far in the Army. There isn’t a day that goes by but what we talk about our wives at least a dozen times. Every once in a while, he’ll look at me and say, “You sure love your wife, don’t you?” And I always reply, “Words never could tell how much.” And then he will say to me, “It is written all over you, in everything you do you express that fact.” That in itself makes me very happy, for Darling I will ever only love you and it is my earnest prayer that my life will express that fact by the things I do for you and Christ.

October 11, 1944

October 11, 1944

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Well, it was 10 months ago tonight that I saw you for the last time. When I think about it Dear, it seems like that many years to me. I know that I will be more than happy to see you again. I do hope that when we see each other the next time that we will not have to be separated like this again. I realize that there is a purpose for all of this and each of us are learning many worthwhile things, but is costing us each day with an aching heart. My heart feels very heavy at times when I think of you and and how good it would be to be with you. As I have said before, no place please will ever be home to me unless you are there. I will never forget how hard it was to leave you, I’m sure I left my heart with you, for as I walked down the train shed to my coach my heart felt as though it was in my throat.

Early this morning, a radiogram came in for me about a soldier’s mother who had passed away with a stroke. I had quite a time finding him because he was out working on a detail. But at last I did find him and asked him to come off to the side and told him the news. He was almost overcome with grief, for the last letter he received from home she was well. He said he could never remember when she was sick so it really made him feel very badly. I talked to him for some time and left him. Since being in the Army, I’ve had to carry a lot of messages like that and some of them are not so easy to convey to the men, especially when you are over here and there isn’t a chance to go back home. I always feel for the men, for I know how I would feel if such a thing would happen to me.

Yank Magazine October 1944.

Later on, I went over to see another man about a problem he has, I talked to him for quite some time. His case is one that would break your heart for sure. It always makes me more grateful than ever for you and your wonderful love when I run into such problem cases. Later, another man came to my quarters to see what I could do for him with a problem he has. Darling, when I get back I will have enough things to tell you to keep us talking for a long time. I’ll probably be thinking of different cases for a long time. One of our greatest problems after this war is over is going to be the problem of reconverting socially. Many a man is going to return home and find that his wife has been on untrue, and that in itself will be an overwhelming problem. Something that happened to a soldier’s wife, makes me want to warn you again about ever taking chances of being alone at night. Sweetheart, please be careful, avoid by all means of ever being alone at night. I would like to go into more details, but I’m sure you understand what I mean. Be very careful, for I don’t want anything to happen to you.

This evening I wrote two more letters, one was to Jeanne Wyckoff and the other was to Louise Davis. This afternoon I did some more studying. It was very very hot today. The last three days here on the island have been the hottest I have experienced since being down here. It was hotter today than I ever remember the thermometer ever recording in Chicago.

Sweetheart, it is late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you in all things and give my love to the folks.

Yours forever in His Wonderful Love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Sweetheart, I forgot to tell you that Captain Wilkinson, Captain Stark and I went out after supper looking for shells. I found quite a few and while we were looking for them I saw a large octopus, I picked up a large piece of coral and stunned him. We were able to kill him. By the way, I am enclosing two pictures. I have written on the back of them.

October 10, 1944

October 10, 1944

My Dearest Darling Wife:

Well, another day has rolled by Dear and how happy I am that it is one less day for us to be apart. I will surely be happy when I can be with you at least part of the day, as in the mornings and evenings. Sweetheart, I’m lost without you, I never knew it was possible to love someone like I love you. You are so much a part of me, that actually I feel that a part of me isn’t here. Loving and being loved this way is indeed a foretaste of glory divine. It will be so good to hold you in my arms again as often we did when we were together. Remember Darling, you are the queen of my heart and soul and as for me, your throne is one forever because we are hidden together in the love of Christ Jesus which is for the ages of the ages. Sometimes when I’m alone, I sit here on this coral island in the mighty Pacific and think of what a precious wife you are and how thankful I am to the Lord for giving me the privilege of being your husband and lover forever. Dear, there are many things in my life that must be purged, if I am to be partially worthy of your love and please pray with me that I shall be willing to cooperate with the Lord in freeing myself with the sins. I love you Dear with all that I am or ever hope to be in the love of our all glorious Savior.

This morning I made my regular tour around to various places to see if there was anything I could do for the men. While going to the various places, I stopped to visit with some of the officers. I arrived back here at headquarters shortly before dinner. I had enough time to clean up for dinner.

It was surely hot this afternoon, it was one of the hottest days I remember down here. After dinner, I came back to my quarters and read for a while and then I sought to balance the Chaplain’s Fund for the regular monthly inspection by the Adjutant. By the way, don’t you think that the reading in “My Utmost” has been wonderful lately? I certainly enjoy the reading of such a good book. I also think “Abundant Living” is very good and provokes real thinking.

Willis Ready to go shelling! 1944

Later this afternoon Major Benson, Major Stenson, Captain Wilkinson and I took a good swim which helped to cool us off for a while. The water was truly salty and made your eyes really burn. If you happen to get a mouthful of water it made you think you were taking salts.

After supper, Major Stenson, Major Stark, Captain Wilkinson and I went to one of the places where the Gooney birds nest and I looked at some of the small ones that have just hatched out. They were really cute, when little gooney birds hatch out they are completely bare. They don’t have feathers like a little chicken or duck. We also walked along the beach for a while and watched the tide start to come in. The waves really create a mighty roar when they break over the reef.

Darling, it is late and I am tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you in all things my Dear, I love you more each and every passing hour.

Always yours in the Love of our

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. I wrote a short letter to Gen wishing her a happy birthday. I hope you’ll be able to get her something good from us.