October 13, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

13 October 1945

Sarah, My Darling Wife:

Another day has slipped by but there wasn’t any mail, and from what I’ve heard about the damage done in the storm which struck Okinawa, I suppose we will be without mail for several more days. It is now over three weeks since I’ve known what you were doing. That is entirely too long to be without news from you, Lover. It will be so good when we can know each day what the other is doing. I’ve just finished reading some of your letters over and they do help, but I’m hoping for some more because they do help me so very much. I hope that my mail has been coming through better to you lately.

The sun was out all day but it was still quite cold. All of us had to wear our fields jackets to keep warm, even during the warmest part of the day. This morning I studied for a while and then two different men came in to see me about some problems with they had. After I had taken care of them, I wrote a letter to Freddie Romer, Pearson’s at Chenoa, Illinois, and Miss Pettus. After finishing those letters, I made up another envelope with letters and sent them on to you to read it. There was just a little time left before dinner so I went over to the Regimental Medics and got my shot for influenza. My arm hurt a quite a lot this afternoon but it feels much better now. I believe I have had shots for almost anything they can give you shots for now. It won’t be long until I have to start taking some more booster shots for the different things I’ve been given before. You can be sure that when you are over in this theater of operations you can get shots for almost everything there is to have.

After having had my dinner I came back to my office and studied for a few moments before leaving for one of the companies a long way from our headquarters. I had services for them and there were twelve men in attendance. I spoke on Matthew 19:16-22. The Rich Young Ruler. The theme of my message was this, “Even though salvation is a free gift, we are to remember that it isn’t cheap.”  Of course, I brought in such passages of scripture as Ephesians 2: 8-10. By the time we got back here and there was very little time before supper so I used the time to write a letter to Bill and Mabel Fetz. As soon as I had finished supper I came back over here and studied for Bible class. While studying, there were eight men came in to see me about a certain problem we face here which I care not to mention in a letter. I’ll tell you about it sometime. By the time they left, it was time for me to hurry over to the place where we meet for our Bible class. We finished all of the 5th chapter of John but where Christ fed the 5,000. I hope we will be able to get to that out of the way and start on the 6th chapter in our next class. They were 18 in attendance this evening. Some of old faithfuls have moved out to an area over 50 miles from here. We will certainly miss them in our Bible classes and services.

Seoul, Korea. 1945

I saw something just before dinner which just crushed me and I still feel within my heart an ache for that dear mother. One of our big trucks ran into her eleven-year-old son and killed him instantly. He was such a fine-looking lad even though very poorly clad. It was easy to tell by the mother’s manner of dress that they were exceedingly poor. Her clothes were not dirty but they were tattered and badly worn. Of course, she being Korean she couldn’t understand what I might say. She was so stunned she was speechless and there were tears . Darling, I cannot go into detail but I shall never in all my life wanted nothing more than to be able to put my arm around that mother and talk to her in a language she could understand. When we are together I’ll tell you more about the situation, be sure to pray for this mother. Some of our drivers drive like they were on a speedway and expect everyone else to look out for them. And actually, that is what you have to do if you value your life at all.

Sweetheart, I’m glad to know that you got the diamond insured, for after all, it is very valuable and it wouldn’t pay not to have it protected. It certainly makes me happy to know that you liked it so very very much. It must be very nice looking from what you and Mom have told me.

I was surprised about you getting to see Bob Bothwell. So he is back in the States now? I know it must be nice for him to have his wife with him. I knew they had one child but I didn’t know about the other little girl. Did he say anything about hoping to get out of the Army very soon?

So, Dr. Clearwaters spoke in Chapel again? I suppose you will be missing some of the good speakers in Chapel this year when you are not there all the days of the week. I look back on some of those Chapel days as marvelous experiences. I only hope I can be as good as speaker like he is someday, and most of all, a real servant of the Lord. Honestly, I am praying and hoping that you will be able to notice a genuine improvement when you hear me the next time. There may be a tendency to think so just because I’m back, but I hope that will be such a marked improvement that there will not be any doubt in your mind.

Lover, I like the drawing of your brown dress, it must be very nice. You are such a wonderful wife to make all of your dresses like you do. I think it ought to be pretty nice to wear this fall. Darling, I’m rather tired so I think I will close for tonight and write to you more tomorrow evening. Be sure to give the folks by love.

 I’m yours and yours only for the

 ages of the ages in Christ’s love, Dearest.

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find a letter from Pearsons at Chenoa and from Bill Fetz, the fellow I met while going to Lakeview Evening High School.

October 12, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

12 October 1945

My Beloved Darling Wife:

Well, another day has gone by and there wasn’t any mail and of course that didn’t help very much. I understand a terrible typhoon hit Southern Okinawa and destroyed a lot of our equipment and some planes were also damaged on the Naha airstrip, so that maybe the reason for the delay here the last few days. I do hope that we will have some mail in tomorrow or the next day. I do have your old letters and I have read them over, and of course, they helped me very much.

Damage from the typhoon in Okinawa. October 9, 1945.

This morning I spent about 2 hours painting up some things which we are going to use in our chaplain’s work. After I finished that I studied for a while and then just before dinner wrote a letter to Marguerite Simonian. After dinner, we went out to a company to have a service, but because of existing conditions it was impossible to get enough of the men together to have a service. So we came back. That took about 2 hours and a half, and immediately upon returning I wrote a letter to Gladys  Carson and her brother who used to be members of the church at Lexington. I had a problem case to take care of so that consumed most of the time up until time to eat. We had the best meal I’ve had since our arrival here in Korea.

After eating I came back over here to the office and studied for the Bible class this evening. There were 19 in attendance. We finished the fourth chapter and got down through the 9th verse of the fifth chapter. I came right over here and wrote a letter to Betty Weiskopf and now I’m writing to my Darling Sweetheart. I would be so glad if I could just take you in my arms and talk to you like we used to talk. Darling, words just cannot describe how lonesome I am for you. By the way, the sun stayed out all day and it was still pretty cold. These woolens feel really good.

I’m going to make a few comments on some of your back letters starting with yours of September 10th. I’m glad you got your watch cleaned and I’m glad to know that it is running so well. I’m glad you like your watch Darling, if I had all the wealth of this world it would not be able to buy in terms of what you mean to me, Beloved. I love you so very much and I shall never be able to thank the Lord enough for your wonderful love and devotion. I’m glad you didn’t have to wait so long to get your watch back. That was nice of Margie to take it to her friend for you.

Darling, I’ve just finished reading the first letter you wrote on the night when you received your diamond. It is such a beautiful letter and means more to me than you will ever fully realize. I have read that letter over many times and you can be assured that I’ll read it over many more times. Darling, I only wish you knew how happy it made me to be able to give the ring to you. I certainly appreciate all Jack and Bertha did to get it for us. I knew we could trust them to get us a beautiful ring, that is why I got it through them. Sweetheart, I knew the diamond was your birthstone and that was another reason why I wanted to give you a real nice diamond ring. A diamond as large as Pluto could never scratch the surface in letting you know how much I love you, Dear.

It seemed quite providential that the orders concerning my citation should have arrived (hold the phone, I guess I hit the little lever that pushed up the ribbon to the red part), on the same day which your folks gave you the diamond ring for me. I owe all the honor of that citation to you and the Lord, for apart from either one of you I could have never come through that terrible field of fire without being hit.

It is something to hear how well things are going in the church down at Towanda. I do pray and hope that many souls are won for Christ. I was glad to hear that Milo Nixon feels that Rev. Dollar is a good man at Lexington, perhaps the church will be revived under his leadership. I was also surprised to hear about Sophie Lemmert and the news she told you about Mildred Davis. Such things are certainly a black eye for the cause of Christ. After all, if he is that kind of man, perhaps it is best. The news about Dave Goodwin and his wife isn’t so good either. From what I’ve heard through several sources it would be better for them to leave the church now.

Well, Beloved, I’m very tired for some reason or other this evening so I think I will close for  now. God bless you and the folks in all things.

 Yours alone always

 and so glad to be in Christ,

 Willis

  Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find the last letter I received from Betty Weiskopf. I love you more than ever, Sweetheart.

Your “ Willie”

October 11, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

11 October 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Wife:

Twenty-one months ago tonight I boarded the El Capitan at the Dearborn Street station for Los Angeles,  California. Words will never be able to tell you how I felt when I left you that night. The pain and ache which I first felt then has only intensified with the passing of each day. And how good it will be to have that ache lifted when I returned to you, my Darling.  I had so hoped that there would be mail but none of it came in today. It was nothing but a few fighters and medium bombers flying overhead, so I imagine there is very little hope of any mail for us tomorrow. There will have to be some transport planes come in before we can have any hopes of mail. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they cannot get mail from here to us when they have so many planes as they do now. Darling, I’m still missing your letter of August 22nd. Maybe it will reach me eventually, I certainly hope so.

October 1945. Cubs final World Series appearance until 2016.

This morning I studied for a while and then wrote a letter to Wallace Connell and to Mr. and Mrs. Mason. I also sent home to you Mom’s last letter in the letter from Mr. Mason, I sent it free mail. Immediately following dinner we left here to go to a certain company to hold a service for the men. Chaplain Vogel had made arrangements for the service and supposedly knew the way out there, but got all mixed up and by the time we found the place it was too late and the man had had to return to their guard posts. It was a long ride back in the cold, and riding in a wide-open vehicle didn’t help very much. It was time for the evening meal by that time we returned. So after having something to eat, I came back over and studied for a while before Bible class. We had 16 again this evening. I know if these men didn’t have all this guard duty we could average between 25 and 35 all the time. We finished the discussion concerning the woman of Samaria this evening. There are several new Christians who are very faithful in their attendance. Please pray for them and for me as I teach them.

One man talked to me for quite some time after the class was over, but finally, I came back here and had my devotions for the day. Then I wrote a letter to John Stroo.  And now I’m writing to the Sweetest Sweetheart there ever was or ever will be. It is so good to be yours and loved by you, my Dear.

I was surprised to hear that Charlie Mosher is over here somewhere in the Pacific Ocean area, I thought maybe he might be able to get back to the States on his way over here. I’ve been overseas twice as long as Charlie has. I can understand how badly he must feel about not being able to see Nettie. I haven’t heard from either one of them for a long time now.

It is certainly too bad that a church as large as North Shore should have so much trouble getting workers to carry on with different departments of the church program. It is indicative of devitalized Christianity, true Christianity is ever on the watch to see what can be done to win the lost for Jesus Christ. Please forgive me if this is critical but as I read over the North Shore Baptist and the Guide each week, I find them woefully lacking in those things which are indicative of a deep sense of the responsibilities of winning the lost for Christ. It forever seems like some kind of a contest, let’s have more than a year ago, come to the party and have a rip-roaring good time. Only occasionally have I ever seen a solemn note which would indicate a concern for the lost. I’ve been receiving bulletins from the First Church of Long Beach, First Church of Los Angeles, Tremont Temple and the University of Redlands Church and I note from careful observation that all of them carry a more spiritual tone and emphasis. I’m certainly praying and hoping the Dr. Wilson will change and seek to lead people to deeper waters.

I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Langston is going to leave the men’s class as teacher. I do hope that they are able to get a good man to take his place fir it is a sure thing they need a good man. Be sure to let me know who becomes their new teacher.

My Darling, it is very late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things. I love you more than ever.

 Yours for all the ages because

 we are His forever,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find the last letter I received from John Stroo. Also, find enclosed a picture of Chaplain Vogel, Chaplin Wells and I along with our assistants taken shortly before we left Okinawa – we were standing in front of the chapel we had constructed of scraps of lumber. If you look closely you will know that we used mortar cans for seats. A man (soldier) took this and came in and gave me a copy yesterday. Sweetheart, I love you more than ever.  You are such a good Christian wife.

October 10, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

10 October 1945

Dearest Darling Sarah:

Willis receiving his 1st Bronze Star from General Hodge. October 10, 1945.

What a day this has been, I have about frozen because today they had the presentation of our medals. Today I received the Bronze Star medal. At 9:45 this morning we started practicing for the ceremony this afternoon. It was very cold and we had to be dressed in our summer uniform for the presentation. Of course at the official presentation this afternoon we all had to stand at attention while the citations were read and that was really hard when it was so cold. There were four General officers at the ceremonies this afternoon, General Hodge (he is the one who pinned the Bronze Star on my shirt;  he is the Commanding General of all the troops in Korea),  General Arnold (former 7th Division Commanding General and now the Governor General of Korea),  General Ready (former Assistant Division Commander of the 7th, now Commanding General of the 7th) and General Stuart (former 7th Division Artillery General and now the Adjutant General of Korea).  Enclosed in this letter you will find a copy of the names of those who are decorated out of the 184th Infantry Regiment. By the way, I found out something this afternoon which I never knew before. I am the first chaplain of the 7th Division or 24th Corps who was decorated for Heroic Achievement while under intense enemy assault. A few other chaplains have received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in the Corps and Division. I thought you might like to know that. Someday I’ll tell you what General Hodges said to me and also General Arnold and our Regimental Commander, Colonel Green. I only wish you could have heard it. I don’t care to write it in the letter. I only pray that it will bring more glory and honor to His name. A part from our Lord’s wonderful protection and strength and your wonderful love and devotion I would not have ever been able to come through.

By the way, during the ceremonies and United Press photographer took my picture when General Hodge was pinning the metal on my shirt. After the ceremony he came to me and asked me several questions and the name of the Chicago papers. He said that he was forwarding my picture with the brief story of my citation to the Chicago papers. He said that it would probably appear in one of the Chicago papers in about 12 to 15 days. I don’t know whether he was trying to make me feel good or what but you might be on the lookout in case it should be printed. I certainly wish I could get a copy of the picture for us but I’m afraid that will be impossible, for he said these prints are forwarded from here to Manila for permanent keeping in the United Press headquarters there. If a little story or picture does come out I would like to see a copy of it. But I’ll have to see it before I believe it. I was interviewed on Okinawa after a certain mission was completed and he told me that he I would sure make the newspapers in Chicago but nothing ever came of it so far as I know. I’ll tell you about the Silver Star later. As soon as the ceremony was over I came back here and changed into my woolens and then wrapped the metal up and mailed it to you. I sent it Air Mail and registered to be sure it came through all right. I enclosed a little note inside. I wanted to send it back to you, for it isn’t so good to keep them around here, you may not have them too long. You are to receive it within the next two weeks sometime. Lover, remember that is ours, not mine. If you only knew how much I love you and how much you mean to me you would know why I say “ours”. I only wish you could have witnessed the ceremony, even though it was very cold it was most impressive and the playing of the band was a thrill, and then we were standing to the immediate right of the Generals as the troops passed in review. All of the men who went with me when we got those men watched me receive the medal. Only three out of that whole group over 40 is left. Some were killed, some wounded and some sent home because of other physical disabilities. Thank you Dear for being such a good wife.

I studied for a while and then had supper and after that Don and I got everything ready for the communion service which we had this evening. It turned out very well. There were thirty-seven men in attendance. I spoke on, “Freedom of Worship.”  My scripture being found in Isaiah 6:1-8 and Psalm 55. It turned out very well and the quietness naturally helped me very much.

As soon as the service was over, Don and I came back here and washed and cleaned the communion set and then started to write a letter to the folks and was interrupted several times. I do hope they can make something of it. I had wanted to answer Mom’s letter sooner but there has been too much to do that I’ve had very little time to do the things I wanted to do.

I was certainly sorry Kitty has been feeling so badly here lately. The next time you talk to her be sure to tell her hello for me and give her my love. By the way, Alric was supposed to come up here to Korea but I haven’t heard a thing about his unit since I was leaving Okinawa.

Darling, it is late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you Lover in all things.

 I am always yours alone for always

 in the love of Christ Jesus,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. By the way, when you receive the medal you will note there is one piece which is to be pinned on my blouse when I wear it – it is the same size as the Asiatic Pacific ribbon. You only wear the medal at official reviews – also note a little thing which looks like a cuff button – that is to be worn in your lapel of a civilian suit if you so desire. I guess I’ll have to buy the Philippine Liberation ribbon, two battle stars and Arrowhead when I get back to the States.

October 9, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

9 October 1945

My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

I’ve been on the go since very early this morning and it seems I have accomplished nothing whatsoever now that the day is almost over. I had hoped there would be some mail today but none came in. I wish you knew how lonesome I become to hear from you. A month ago today we arrived here in the capital city of Korea, and honestly it seems like about 3 or 4 months ago. Don’t let anybody ever tell you otherwise; occupation duty under conditions like these is a trial to say the least. The men are pretty well disgusted here, for all the emphasis seems to be on taking care of the troops in Japan proper, and if there is a ship or plane extra they may come up here and bring us a few things. Some of our high point men are hoping to be leaving here pretty soon. I certainly wish I were among the group but we have little chance of getting out now until late spring. They are doing everything imaginable to try and rope some of us in. In the last two weeks I have received three different things to sign. And then to top it off, this morning after having expressed myself previously three times that I was not interested in remaining in the Army and wanted to get out the first opportunity; a paper came to me wanting to know if I would sign up for active duty until June 1947. I’m really telling you that really burns me up. I frankly told them I don’t want anymore of this Army than necessary, so now they come around with something like that. We are away over here at the end of the shipping lines and they will probably take  their time with us. I’m sure from reading the newspapers back there you can see that Japan proper is getting all the interest. Even the Stars and Stripes, the daily Army paper, only has an article once in awhile about Korea. Please forgive me for complaining but it does become tiresome this constant bungling of everything. I didn’t get out of the wrong side of bed this morning, (even though it may sound like it).  I just got up on the wrong side of the world. My heart is back there with you Beloved and I’ll never know true joy again until I’m able to be on the same side of the world as you are.

Willis with his assistant, Don McClintock.

Don and I got the box ready and sent it to you this morning, I sent it first class and certainly I hope it gets through all right.  I hope it doesn’t take too long. It will probably be about the 1st of December before you receive it. We packed it real tight and it is in a wooden box and ought to be able to stand quite a lot of rough treatment. After that, I studied and was interrupted several times. After having dinner we left here to go out to a place and have services for a group of men. Because of the situation there were only three men in attendance. It was rather late by the time we returned, so I read for a few moments and then went over to my quarters and washed my winter clothing. We are supposed to start wearing the winter clothing tomorrow. As soon as supper was over I came over and went over the fourth chapter of John for our Bible study this evening. There were 16 in attendance which is pretty good under conditions like these. I came back over here to the Chaplain’s  headquarters and wrote a letter to Louise Davis and I just started this when a fellow came in it to see me. He’s a nice fellow but very long-winded, finally I told him I had to write this letter;  but by the time he finally caught on, too much time had slipped by and it is very late now.

Well Darling, 21 months ago tonight is a night I will long remember. Do you remember what we were able to do for the last time? I’ll be so glad when we can be together again, I don’t know how you feel, but I get lonesome for such joy as we always experienced on such occasions. It will be some time yet, but I’m hoping it won’t be too much longer. Darling, that is entirely too long to be away from each other. Just think, in three more months it will be two full years. Darling, I’m so lonesome for you. This wouldn’t be near so hard if I could see you once in a while.

In your letter of the 7th of September, you told me all about Betty Mahannah’s wedding, I know it must have been very lovely to say the least. Mrs. Mahannah must be about tired out after such a wedding and then preparing for their move back to California. Thank you for taking the pictures of yourself in the formal which you wore to Betty’s wedding. I’ll be so very glad to have the pictures. Darling, words cannot describe to you how lonesome I have become for pictures of you.

My Dear, I’m so tired and I must close and try to get some rest. God bless you in all things, be sure to give the folks my love.

 I’m so glad to be one with

 you in Christ for always,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find two letters from Louise Davis.

October 8, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

8 October 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Today was our first day off since our arrival in Korea. Don and I decided it was time for us to have a little chance to see what the city looked like. And it so happened that the company we have been going to on Mondays was moving today so we felt it as good a time as any to walk around the city and visit some of the places of interest. I got up as early as usual this morning, came down to the office and wrote a letter to Al Beaudoin, the new pastor at East Moline, in answer to the letter I received from them a few days ago. As soon as that was over we left here and started to walk toward the heart of the city.

It was very interesting to see how things were being sold on the side streets and alleys. You could buy anything you can imagine ( just let your mind think of anything and I know you could find it on some of those streets somewhere).  Everything from vegetables even up to and including all kinds of power equipment and lathes. If I thought of you once I thought of you 100 times, wishing you were there by my side, for I know you would have enjoyed such a tour.  I made mental notes of everything and will do my very best to describe it all to you some day. There were a very few well clad and then there were others who only had a mere pittance. Some little children rather healthy looking and others so very thin and undernourished. It is easy to see that some of them are deficient in some of the necessary vitamins. As you would expect, Korea has very few milk cows, for most of them were slaughtered to provide meat for the Japanese troops. Now our occupation forces are encouraging the people to only butcher the bulls and steers and raise the cows for milk. Along some streets you can see poor old people as well as other young people who had probably walked for miles to come into the city to sell no more than a small shopping bag of potatoes, apples or pears. And of course they had lugged it all the way on their backs and heads. The more fortunate may have an old bull and cart, and the others might have very small Shetland ponies up to some nice medium sized horses with a fair wagon which I described to you in a former letter.

Seoul, Korea in 1945 during occupation. Photo by Donald K O’Brien.

While walking this morning, Don and I saw a church and we decided we would investigate, so we walked up to it and there were three youngsters out in front and when they saw us coming they disappeared into the church like greased lightning. We proceeded and entered the open door of the church and when we got to the top of the stairs we were practically swept off our feet and carried into the church by a large group of boys and girls between 5 and 12 years old. They cheered us, patted us, fought to see who could hold my hand and arms. Honestly, they nearly pulled my arms off. There must have been around 125 of them. There were three men and three women there, all very young who were teaching them English, arithmetic and Sunday school work. After I could get my bearings, I finally told one of their leaders Don and I would like to hear them sing. So they saying three or four different songs for us. And I wish you could have heard them sing. I thought they would sing their little lungs out. Darling, it was a blessing to my soul to hear them singing about our wonderful Lord in Korean. Remember the song about a thousand tongues to sing Our Great Redeemer’s praise? Well, after they had sung for us I went up to the front of the church and expressed my thanks to the leader and told him to tell the children for Don and I. Then they keep saying something which I couldn’t understand and finally the man told me they wanted to hear me sing and have Don play. Those poor children didn’t realize what they were asking for, they kept begging so finally Don played, “Everyday with Jesus” and I sang it. Honestly, the way they applauded and cheered you would have thought I was John Charles Thomas or maybe Caruso returned. They kept saying they wanted to hear some more, so I sang the first verse of, “The Old Rugged Cross”  and also the first and last verses of, “Onward Christian Soldiers.”  We told them that we must be going on and again we were grabbed by the arms and pulled, touched, rubbed and what beautiful smiles. They felt my Captain’s bars, kept pointing at my cross and saying Jesus. We finally managed to get to the door and out of the building when the minister’s son begged us to stop by the house for a moment and meet his father. I met him and talked to him for about 15 minutes. Because of being partly Japanese he thinks it will be necessary for him to return to the Homeland. But he said if it be the Lord’s will he is ready to go, for after all, the thing Japan really needs is Christ. Of course he hates to leave Korea because he was born here and he has known no other home but the feeling among the Koreans is so strong against anybody of Japanese ancestry that he is afraid he may have to leave. He knows Kagawa personally and says he is a great Christian leader and will be a great help for the cause of Christ in Japan. He wanted us to stay and have dinner with them but Don and I wanted to get down to the Corps headquarters to see Chaplain Lowe; you remember I told you about him before.

I visited with Bruce Lowe during the dinner hour.  It was certainly good to see him again for a little while. His kind of chaplain are very very few and far between. I was with him for about an hour and then Don and I decided that we wanted to go on and see some more of the city. We visited several of the public buildings, all very modern and beautiful. Actually, some of them would shame many of the buildings in Old Chicago. We visited the Capitol building and found it to be a very beautiful structure in every way. While over in that direction we looked for Chaplain Wells but didn’t find him around and no one seemed to know where he was either. We did see one of my old friends though in another building. That was Sergeant John Mills.

By that time it was after 2 and it was a long way from our home quarters so we decided we had better start walking back this way in a hurry. We took in a lot of sites along the way. When we were about a couple of miles from home we happened to see something which I liked very very much and I hope you do too. I got a gift for both you and Mom. I’m not going to tell you what it is, I want both of you to be surprised. I do hope you like them. Everyone who has seen them think they are beautiful and that I was fortunate to get them. Don also liked them very much. I won’t try to build them up, I’ll let them speak for themselves. I’m going to try and get them in the mail by tomorrow morning and I do hope it won’t take any longer than 6 weeks to reach you. I love you so very much, my Beloved. You are such a wonderful wife. I showed your wonderful picture to at least a dozen people and every time I showed it I only wished I could have said this is My All In All, (wife)  standing here by my side. Lover, you are so very very sweet and how can I ever make you understand that I only love just you for the Ages of the Ages.

It was suppertime by the time we got back here, so immediately following the supper hour I came over here to the office and did some reading in my Bible and had my devotions for the day. Just about the time I was finishing the devotions for today a soldier came in to see me who has been coming to services regularly here lately. He said that he was all troubled and mixed up and he was sure that I could help him. He is the son of a minister but in spite of growing up in a home of that kind said he never really knew the Lord. He said that it is an awful thing to admit, but he said, “Chaplain, that’s the truth.”  He is 21 years old and had finished two years of college before coming into the Army. He said he had heard the men talking about our services and decided to come about three weeks ago. He said some very gracious things. He said he wished he could understand Christ like I do and was wondering if I could help him. He said you make Christianity so appealing and so challenging and you seem so full of joy. He said he had never known Christ that way, etc. Please pray for this young man, Darling. I gave him a Reason Why and asked him to read it prayerfully and then come back to me and we will start from there. We talked for a long long time and now it is very late again. It is encouraging to have men come to you during the week and still carry within their hearts a concern which they have felt one or two Sundays before from messages they have heard. Sweetheart, I know your prayers and those of many others have certainly undergirded me in reaching the men. Continue to pray that I may more and more be fully in His will.

When I came over to the office, I found a package on my desk, and believe it or not, it was your can of cookies from May 7th. It took exactly 5 months and one day to reach me. I opened it after the young man had left, and Darling, everything was in the best condition. The cookies are so very good and you know that all that time in between didn’t affect your love baked right into them a bit, in fact, it’s sweetened them. No fooling Dear, I can hardly believe how good they are after taking so very long to get here. The small can of mixed nuts was very fresh and good also, the Milky Way candy bars were good also, the only thing which didn’t come through so good was the sack of salted peanuts. They taste a little old but are edible. It was easy to see that the can had taken some rough treatment but it came through without having the seal broken and that is the reason why it was so good after being so long in transit. Chaplain Vogel got a box yesterday, but it was in such terrible condition that he had to throw the whole thing away; it was moldy and unfit to eat. And his had only been underway about three months and wasn’t as badly banged-up as this box. When I saw mine this evening I thought there is a lot of work my Sweetheart went to that is actually wasted, but I found out different. As always my little Sweetheart does things extra special and it even came through just that way in perfect shape.

Lover, your little sweetheart is so tired he can hardly see straight so I’ll sign off for tonight. God bless you Beloved and be sure to give the folks my love. It is so very good to be just yours.

 Yours alone in the love of Christ

 which forever makes us one,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

October 7, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

7 October 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Beloved, at last there was some mail and I had two of your letters, they were for September 23rd and 24th. In your letter of the 24th you had received my first letters from Korea and I’m certainly glad you didn’t have to wait any longer, for I know how trying it is to wait for mail and have none of it come in. This day was so much better after having those wonderful letters of yours. Besides your letters, I got a nice letter from Dolores and Bob Peterson and his wife. I also got a copy of the new Secret Place from North Shore and the North Shore Baptist and Guides for two different weeks.

This has been a full day and I’m rather tired tonight, but I like to have a lot to do, for that way it helps the days slip by that much more rapidly and every passing day means we are one day nearer the day when we can be together. This morning we had the largest crowd yet in our services and really it amazes me when I consider how our men are scattered and with so much tiring guard duty. There were around 120 in attendance. This morning I spoke on this theme, “Struck it Rich.”  My scripture being John 10:7-10. I started by using the illustration of the young man who was elected to probably be the one most likely to succeed in his senior class; and then 25 years later when they had a class reunion one of his old classmates noticed how well he looked, how full of joy he seemed to be and knowing he went west in the years after college said, “You’ve struck it rich.”  Yes, I did. “Gold.” NO, REPLIED HIS FRIEND, GOD. Then I used these four points as parts to be developed in being rich towards God. (1)  Rich in Conviction. (2) Rich in Repentance. (3)  Rich in Consecration and (4)  Rich in Faith.   My conclusion was based upon the necessity of meeting the terms of striking it rich in God by ahering to the terms God has laid down in his ultimatum as found in the Bible. Thank you for your prayer, for Don and I know the Lord was there and we were both conscious that many must have prayed for the service. There was a Korean Christian doctor who attended our service this morning. He said he had heard about us and said he wanted to attend. He talked to me for over an hour and a half following our service. He told me some of the unbearable things that he, along with many others, went through because they refused to bow to any kind of Japanese shrine. From what he told me, a quite a few of the Christians must have tolerated the Japanese militarists wishes to escape the accompanying punishment which they generally meted out to those who refused to do any kind of thing that would show weakness. Many of the Christians did bow to the shrines and bowed to the Emperor toward the east. From what he told me and all I could gather, it may cause a break in the church, which I certainly hope doesn’t happen. Those who didn’t follow the wishes of the Japanese feel that the others are weaklings and deserve no consideration. However, I told this Korean doctor that I felt they ought to be more considerate than ever and seek to lead people to repent of their sin and weakness and really bring about a revival which would not only take in Korea but spread out to the ends of the earth. Apparently the little group he was associated with went through some very horrible experiences during the winter months. They lived on hardly enough to keep body and soul together. From our discussion, I gathered that they had a tendency to go off on a tangent over prophecy. You know what I mean, ear marking every verse and symbol in the book of Daniel and Revelation. Be sure to pray for them Dear, for Korea needs Christ. He begged me to come to his home and visit with them and talk over these things. As things are now, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to do it. Our men are being scattered more every day so you can see what a job I have.

7th Infantry Division in Korea. 1945.

This man I was telling you about is married and has three children, a little girl and two boys. Won’t it be good when we can have our own family, Beloved? You will be such a wonderful mother, you will never know how thankful I am to the Lord to have someone like you to mother our children. I have thanked him so many times for you, Dear. You probably do not realize how many times I think about it, Darling. This mans name was Dr. Cho Whal Yong.  I asked him some of the names of missionaries he knew before they were forced to leave here in 1940 and 41. I thought you might like to have them and see if Dr. Heparin might happen to know some of them. One of them was Edward Adams, a missionary to the south province of Korea. Another was Dr. McCune, connected with the Christian (Presbyterian) College at Heijo. (That is Japanese pronunciation and spelling and that is probably the way it will be spelled on the map.)  It is about 200 miles north and west of here. Another missionary was Reverend Blair and his wife. And two or three others he didn’t know so well.  Rev. Kingsler, Rev. Swallon  and Marsberry.  It might be the Dr. Hepburn heard of some of them.

This afternoon I worked on a message for this evening. I used as my scripture Luke 23:32-46. The title of my message was, “ The Crosses on Calvary.”  The idea being and so developed as follows: (1) The cross of the man who cried out to Christ, if you be the Christ save us and yourself. (REBELLION) – this man died in his sins. (2)  The cross of the penitent thief.  (REPENTANCE) – this man died because of his sin but was saved through forgiveness. (3)  The Cross of Christ. (REDEMPTION) –  Christ died for our sin and was free of any judgment but took the burden upon Himself.

Darling, I have been interrupted for a long time now because several different men came in to talk to me and it is very late so I think I will close and try to get a little sleep. God bless you Beloved in all things and be sure to give the folks my deepest love.

 Forever yours alone Beloved in

 the love of Christ Jesus our Lord,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. We used to have a little tan book called Harnshell’s English or Grammar Book. I loaned it to Paul and he bought a copy of his own. If you could find it I would appreciate it, if you would send it to me for I would like to do some reviewing in my spare time. Don’t go to too much trouble if you cannot find it. (If you send it, send it first class mail – book rate would probably take forever.) Also, find enclosed services for the coming week.

October 6, 1945

Keijo (Seoul), Korea 

6 October 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Another day has slipped by and there wasn’t any mail, I had so hoped that there would be some mail today. It seems they are not doing such a good job getting mail through to us. Now is the time they ought to try more than ever to get it through to the men because at best occupation duty is not very pleasant. And above all else men like to have mail. I wish you could see their disappointment when the word gets around there isn’t mail for any one certain day. I can fully appreciate their feelings for I miss so having your wonderful letters. I’ll certainly be glad when we can forget this business of writing letters and just talk to each other. For some reason or other I’m very tired and weary tonight and as soon as I finish this letter to you I’m going right over to my room and go to bed, for I want to be fully prepared for tomorrow’s services.

Willis and Mr. & Mrs. Holly.

This morning I studied for a couple of hours and then I wrote a letter to the Hollys. They are such a wonderful Christian friends. Enclosed in this letter find the last letter which I received from them, I know you will enjoy reading it. After dinner we left here to go out to another place to hold services for a group of men. It was quite a long way from here and a tiresome ride. There were 11 men in attendance. I spoke on Romans 14:13-23. There was very little time left before supper when we returned, so I went over to my room and marked some of my clothes. After having supper I came back over here to the Chaplain’s office and read until time for the Bible class. There were 17 men in attendance at our Bible class this evening. And we finished the third chapter of John. We are now ready to start on the 4th chapter in our next class next Tuesday evening.

By the way, this afternoon I had the privilege of meeting Rev. James K. Chung, the Korean General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church. I only got to visit with him for about 10 minutes. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1925. Knew Dr. Stevens, then president of Princeton, Dr. Samuel Zwemer  and Dr. John Timothy Stone. He is certainly a wonderful man, you can tell by his appearance and his actions. I asked one of our interpreters if he knew him. And he said I certainly do, he is one of the most important Christian leaders in all Korea and is known by thousands and loved and respected in every way. When you talk to Dr. Hepburn the next time you might tell him about my meeting with him, for I’m sure it might be of interest to him. Rev. Chung has asked me to come out to his home sometime for dinner, but with all I have to do now I don’t ever see how it will ever be possible. It would certainly be a privilege to visit longer with him. I’m going to do my very best to know him better. It has really been very chilly today. The old field jacket and sweater really felt good.

What you said about Dr. Stiansen is certainly true, he is one of God’s most unusual men and I’m glad you have had the privilege of sitting under his wonderful inspiring teaching. I’m glad that you like the class under Mrs. Heaton, it really sounds interesting. I’m glad you had a visit with Mrs. Burton, and I was so glad to know how well Rawls is doing with his church. I would certainly like to see Rawls again. I don’t believe I’ve seen him since 1940 sometime. Darling, I thought you would like the pictures of the children which I sent you. I got such a kick out of the one where the baby was crying for all that was in him. Sweetheart, this isn’t such a good letter I know, but for some reason or other I’m very very tired so I’ll close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

 I am yours alone for always and

 always in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

October 5, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea 

5 October 1945

My Darling Sweetheart:

Captain Mason – 1945.

I have just finished writing a letter to Major Mason. I haven’t heard from him for a long time, but I thought I would drop him a letter anyhow. As I told you, I got a very fine letter from his father 3 days ago. Another day with no mail, I had hoped that there might be some today and in a way I was expecting some for we have had very nice weather the last 3 days. Well, I have all your old precious letters and maybe there will be mail tomorrow, and besides, we are one day nearer to the time when we can be together and that is such a wonderful thought. Today is the 633rd day that we have been apart. And as for me, I hope we are never apart that many minutes after I come back again. My guess is that there are still between 200 and 225 days apart but everyday is one less. It may not be that long but I would rather plan it a little longer and then be pleasantly surprised.

This morning I studied the book of Hosea and also read some more in the book, “A Biography of the Gods.”  And then before dinner I had my hair cut. There is a very little left on the top but the sides still need trimming every few weeks or so. Following the dinner hour, I came down here and we went out to one of the companies to have services. Because of the situation only three men were able to attend the service. It was rather late when I returned to headquarters so I hurriedly read through the last Time Magazine and then had supper this evening. After that I came back over and studied a few moments before Bible class. They were 19 in attendance this evening. And we finished our discussion of Nicodemus and Christ and followed through the 21st verse. Now that it is all written it seems like I did very little today but I have been busy all the time, and as far as I know, I didn’t waste any time. 

I shall try to make a few more comments and some of your last letters. By the way, the last of those wonderful cookies and nuts are gone and how I miss them. They are so good and if you can send a couple such boxes for Christmas I would appreciate it very much. Darling, I don’t think it will be wise for you to send me any kind of packages after the 15th of November, for the way the packages have come through it would probably be ruined and no good by the time they were returned. And it would be a shame to make a lot of nice cookies, nuts and so on and have them ruined. Unless I notify you otherwise, please do not plan on sending any kind of a package later than November 15th. As for something for Christmas, I care not that you send me anything as far as personal things are concerned. I’ll get along, and besides, I don’t like to have too much to carry around and being on occupation duty this way we can probably expect a whole lot of moving around. If you and the folks would like to go on together on getting a present for me, I do have something which I would like to have for us and I do believe it would be helpful for both of us. The only thing, it is quite expensive, so do what you like. It maybe if some of the folks out at Valpo are thinking of giving us something you can all go together and it won’t be so bad and they will help us both. What I have in mind is, “Webster’s New International Dictionary”, (latest edition).  I have a Judson press catalog here and it is advertised in there. It gives three different prices, as No. 1, 5 and 6. I’ll leave it up to you as to what you think is the best. I hope that’s not asking too much. You think it over and see if you think that is a wise investment, and if not, forget it and maybe we together can get something together when I come home to you, Dear. As far as I’m concerned, the one thing that would make this Christmas the best ever would be the privilege of being with you.  If you think the Dictionary of India paper and leather binding is best – get it. You can tell a lot more about them when you see them – would it be possible to buy the dictionary through Mr. Paul at a reduction? I know when I used to work at Greg Publishing I could get things like that at quite a savings.

Darling, as to the other presents we give, I’ll leave that up to you, for out here and being separated this way it is pretty hard for me to make any worthwhile suggestions. After all, I know you will do that which is best.

Darling, those Hurricane lamps you bought for Betty Mahannah  sounded very lovely and I’m glad they liked them. I know it must be pretty hard to buy under present conditions. In a year or so it ought to be a little easier. I’ve been wondering what he decided to do about school this fall? Apparently it is going to be rather hard for them to get started but of course with her folks back of them they will get along all right. I don’t know how Fred is now, but unless he has changed a lot I think she could have done better. Betty is a fine girl and I have always thought a lot of her. She will probably be able to help him along a lot as they prepare for the days ahead.

I was certainly surprised to hear about the Bible which Helen gave you. From what you said in your letter, it must be a very beautiful Bible. I only hope she meant what she told you the night on which she gave you the Bible. I feel sorry for her, but even though she has a trying home life, if she would center her affections on Christ I’m sure she would find a stabilizing force in her life which seems so lacking now.

I’m so thankful to the Lord to know that Stan and Lee are getting along so well out at Morrison. The Lord can really use those who are yielded to Him. I’ll be glad to go out there some weekend and speak for them. I knew you would be glad also. I hope we can have a good car when we go home so we can travel and talk like we used to when we were together before. It was always so good to feel you right there by my side. Darling, please remember, no matter how long we are married or how old we grow and when we are traveling somewhere please always sit close to me, will you???  Even right now I can call to remembrance how it helped me to have you so near me.

Sweetheart, I’m very tired for some reason or other and it is rather late so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you Lover in all things and be sure to give the folks my love.

 Forever yours alone in the

 perfect love of Christ,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find Doug’s letter, clipping of Howard and Cleo, card from Sherry and John, and a clipping from The Corps paper about surrender ceremony.

October 4, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea 

4 October 1945

My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

Lover, one more day has passed for which I am very thankful, for that means we are that much nearer to the time when we can be together. I had hoped that there would be some mail from you today but none arrived. However, I am happy to know that there are many on the way somewhere. It is very late and I’m very tired but I want to get some kind of letter off to you tonight. After class (Bible), a man came to me saying that he wanted to talk to me for a while about a problem which he has. Darling, it was another one of those heartbreaking cases and there are two children involved, and little girl 3 years old and a little boy just a year old. I cannot go into detail for it is most heartbreaking and it is hard to understand how people could be that way, but when you know that they throw themselves open to temptation in relationship with other than their own husbands, what can they expect? Someday when we are together again Beloved, we can talk over our thoughts on these things and I will give you an idea of some of the cases that I have had to handle. I’m sure that we, together through our discussion, will be able to come to some real conclusions. Please pray for this man, he is about beside himself. He said he dearly loves her and hates to think of losing her even in spite of the mess she has put herself into with this other man. Naturally, he is concerned about the children also, but he says they should be reared with their own mother and father. The man in the case is over twice as old as this soldier’s wife. Darling, you will never know how many times I thank the Lord for a wonderful Christian wife like you are. It means so very much to know that you are to be fully trusted in all things. And more than that, we are each other’s forever no matter what happens. As for me, I only ever want just you, Beloved. Christ has been so very good to us, Dear. Right from the first all the phases of our love life has developed around Him. Every one of our relationships together have been nothing but real joy because of Him.

by Willis on back: Mr. & Mrs. P.C. Hansen standing on the steps of the apt building of which they are assistant managers.

This morning early I wrote a letter to Hansons and one to Doug Powell. I want to try and get a few out of the way each day and then that way they won’t pile up on me too much. And then this morning I had two more problem cases to handle, and by the time I had taken care of them it was almost noon. As soon as I had a snack we left hero hold services for another one of our groups of men who are scattered a long way from here. There were only nine men in attendance. I spoke on I Corinthians 16:1-14. The main verses being verses 13 and 14.

We hadn’t been back here more than 5 minutes when another man came in to see me, and before I was through with him, over another hour had slipped by and it was time to eat our evening meal. I had supper then visited with some of the men for a while and then came back here and studied for a few minutes before time for Bible class. We had a very good class this evening, there were only 16 in attendance but that was very good considering what has come up in the last couple of days. We continued our discussion on the meeting of Nicodemus and Christ in the third chapter of John. I hope we can get it out of the way by tomorrow evening. I’m so thankful to the Lord for the way of the man are taking hold of the class. One chaplain said to me today, “Do you have Bible classes?  I tried it but the fellows were not much interested and so I just quit trying to have them; only three or four would attend.” That’s where he was failing, measuring the worth of having a Bible class by the number that attend. I like to see a lot in the class also, but as I said to you before, if no one comes I’ll have a class by myself. Someday when we are together there are many things I want to tell you from observations and experiences I have had since being in the Army. I could tell you some about them in letters but it isn’t the best, and besides, it will mean a whole lot more to just discuss things by ourselves learning of each other. Tis so sweet to be one with you Dear for we have the blessed joy of learning from one another through Christ Jesus, our wonderful Lord. Sometimes I wonder how the Lord is able to accomplish anything at all when I see some things.

Darling, according to your letter of September 4th, you had a long talk to Dr. Mantey about further school work and I’m so glad you did. I suppose by the time this letter reaches you, you will have had another talk with him after receiving the letter which I sent you from Dr. Kohler. Be sure to tell me what you talked about and just what Dr. Mantey thinks about the whole thing. I know that first day of registration at Northern must have been a full one and I’m sure you must have been glad to get it over. For having registered several times I know how tiresome those long lines are. I’ve stood in many long lines in the Army also.

Lover, it is so late and I must get a little shut-eye, morning will too soon be here. God bless you and keep you in all things, my Darling.

 Yours alone for the ages

 in Christ’s wonderful love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find the letter from Mrs. Hansen, I’ll send Doug’s letter later because it makes the letter too heavy trying to send it in this letter.