April 24, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

24 April 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well Darling, it is still raining and I am covered with mud, it is dry here in my hovel. What joy and comfort to be in a home again with you Dear. There are none to really have Christian fellowship. You know what I mean by that, such as prayer, Bible study and discussion. You know like those blessed hours we had with Paul and Gen. Believe it, my Dear, I’m still living spiritually off some of those blessed hours together. When you see Paul and Gen be sure to tell them that for me. Sometimes I get so hungry for real Christian fellowship that I can only praise God for all the times of sweet fellowship with Christian friends in times past.

You meet so very few men who do not profane the name of God. Honestly Dear, it breaks my heart to hear so much profanity. A man can be liable of court martial or shame if he uses the name of the president of the USA in a derogatory way, but men will all day long blaspheme and profane the name of our Lord. You cannot make me believe that a man reveres and obeys God who continually uses His name in vain. I cannot see the manliness that some proclaim; those you talk to use all kinds of excuses for it, but if you used the same kind of excuses for neglect of duty in the Army they would break you or court martial and fine you. To be an effective fighting unit they teach discipline and obedience to Army regulations. But in the spiritual realm, men completely ignore God’s commands and think they will get by and that they will not have to harvest for the careless seeds they have sown. Some say, “He’s a God of love,” but true love demands justice and judgment. I think it’s a shame the way men delight in foul language. Then there are those who delight in telling off-color stories and think it doesn’t stain their minds and moral fiber. All I can say is, I’m sorry and I wish we had more who would set the example of clear-cut and refined speech.

This morning I did some studying and washed out some more fatigues. It has been raining all day so they haven’t been able to dry. At least they’re clean and will dry out when the sun appears again. After dinner I wrote a letter to the pastor of one of the men who is a Christian. I also wrote to Doug Powell, Marguerite Simonian, ABPS and the Chief of Chaplains in Washington about my change of duty to this division. I left here and took care of a case for a soldier through the Red Cross. Later I gathered some more information on one of our men who was killed in action. By the time we got back from Division Headquarters over the slippery roads it was time to eat.

And now I’m doing the thing I love next best to having the privilege of reading your lovely letters.

Willis with his friends Elliot and Mason during jungle training in Hawaii.

What few minutes I have left I will try to answer some of your questions beginning with your letter of April 2nd. Dear, concerning those pictures, perhaps in my rush to get ready to catch the plane for the Philippines the pictures were put in the box of things I sent home. You see, Don and Tommy helped me get ready. The pictures of Hawaii you said were in the box. Did you receive all the pictures which Captain Mason gave me of himself and Major Elliott and the two of me by my pup tent? One in my helmet kneeling by the tent and the other typing? You will remember I sent another such picture before but it was blurred because the camera was out of focus.

Darling, it got so dark and miserable last night I had to quit and finish this letter this morning. If you didn’t receive my letter about my visit with Paul Allen I’m going to send you his wife’s address so you can write her and get acquainted. Or you may look up her telephone number and call. (Mrs. Paul C. Allen, 1040 North Haller Avenue, Chicago 51, Illiniois). When we were preparing and loading to leave the Philippines, I happened to find out that one of the ships in our fleet was the same name as the one I had heard Paul was on, so I managed to see him on two different occasions.

In the Navy, you serve 18 months overseas duty and then you are returned to the States for a leave and six months there for you are sent out again. Paul plans to be home in August or September so you may be able to see him and he can tell you about our visit. Paul came into the Navy in May before I did in August. We have no regulation whatsoever in the Army which limits our service overseas to a certain period of time. Personally, I have no hopes of getting home until it’s over over here. If it’s too hard on. Your health, they often return chaplains to the Mainland. Paul, as I told you, was quite discouraged with his work as a Navy chaplain because he said there’s not all the glory in it some would try to make you believe. However, I told him he had much to be thankful for because he always has fine living quarters and accommodations, the best of food and an assurance of getting back to the States by this fall. Whereas we have to sleep in a fox hole, or under anything that may help keep us from the elements.  Our food is okay, but not as good as theirs and we have no assurance of a definite period of time of service overseas. He said he realized how much better off they were. And he said he certainly hated to see me, as well as all the other men, dumped off on a beach where there would be no welcome and we would have to fight to live.

I was in school with Leonard Gillings and I’m glad to know he is doing so well. He is a fine man and an earnest Christian. I was also happy to know Paul did so well with all his seminary work. I know they are going to be splendid servants of Christ in the years ahead.

In your letter of April 6th, you said you sent my father $30, evidently he needed that much more to cover the expenses of the operation. I’m missing a couple of your letters in between so I imagine that you told me about it in one of those missing letters.

Thank you for the clipping from the paper. I know two of them, Norma Arbuckle and Glenna Abbott. That was really doing their part for the school at Towanda. I was also interested to read about Dr. Virgin assisting in the church at St. Petersburg, Florida.

I was surprised to hear about Clara Ives and her mother moving to California. Did Clara get a better offer out there or something else? Be sure to give them my love and best wishes. They have always been so good to me.

I realize Frickenberg is a great missionary as well as Buker, but as I’ve said before, I cannot agree with a lot of tactics of this new group. 

Darling, Mother’s Day is May 13th, so I wish you would buy a nice corsage from us for Mom and a red carnation for yourself and a white one for the Chief. I love the folks very much and I want to do anything I can to assure them of that love.

Well my Dear, I must close for now and the Lord bless you in all things.

Forever yours alone in the love of Christ

Which makes us one,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

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

April 22, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

22 April 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

We really had a miserable night last night with bombing, strafing and some enemy infiltration. We were up and down all night. As I’ve said before, it is always good to see daylight, no matter how tired you may be. We had some more of our men injured early this morning. By the way, I just now received two more of your letters, they were for April 6th and 12th. They were very good, Dear. And I read them twice already. I also got a letter from John and Helen Mueller and the bulletins from NSBC. 

On Okinawa.

I had services this morning and they were around 70 present. I spoke on Jonah the first chapter using as my theme the third verse, “And Jonah paid his fare to Tarshish.” Tarshish meaning nowhere. I developed it along with the theme that anywhere without God is nowhere.

I called around and several units before time to eat this noon. Darling, I did something for the first time this afternoon. I was so weary and tired I laid down right here and slept for almost 2 hours and a half. I felt some better but I’m still very tired. Just before supper I wrote a v-mail letter to Mrs. Riley and Elizabeth.

Well, I’m going to answer some more of your letters starting with yours of March 22nd. I’m still missing your letters of March 6th and March 15th, I think they were sent to the 98th Division so I’m hoping they’re not lost somewhere along the way.

Yes, I know Herman Meyer quite well, we often had some good discussions while I was attending Northern. I think that was fine of you to give $50 dollars from us to the World Emergency Fund. Our needs in Christian work are tremendous. I’m not so eager about helping some other things they plead for the public to help.

I was surprised to hear that Sophie Lemmert was in visiting Northern. I hope things work out alright for her and Fred. It’s good to know that Gen’s father is feeling better. I know Gen must be thankful for that.

I was certainly glad to hear that Maurice has been invited to preach at the First Baptist Church of Omaha. Personally, I hope they get a good church of their own; as it is at NSBC he is limited; it will be a loss to NSBC. But still, that isn’t a good enough reason to keep them.

I’m certainly sorry to know about Donna, from what you told me she must be a psychological case.

Darling, your Sunday school class of boys sounds good, and from all you tell me, I’m sure you are doing very well with them.

Your description of the Calvary night service was beautiful. Mr. Swerthout must have spent a lot of time on preparing such an intricate lighting affect.

I’m glad Mom is happy with APO 7. I hope she is correct. This is between you and me but one of my units is the number Mom considers so unlucky. And it happens to be the largest group.

I’m glad you were able to get a good comfortable pair of shoes for a change. Dear, please remember if you need things do not hesitate to get them. I don’t want you going without things you need. 

My Dear, it is so dark I can hardly see so I must close for tonight. God bless you and give my love to Mom and the Chief.

Just yours forever I am in the 

love of Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

April 21, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

21 April 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, I have just finished reading for more of your letters, they were for March 22nd, 24th, 25th and April 13th. As per usual, they were wonderful and helped me more than you know. It is always such a blessing and lift to read your letters. It will certainly mean a lot when we don’t have to depend on letters to know how each other feels.

I ate at dawn and finished your letter. I also wrote a v-mail letter to Katherine Riley who is a Red Cross worker at Cushing General Hospital at Framingham, Massachusetts.

Shortly after that, I left here to go on to our cemetery to check up on some of our records. I also gathered some information to see if we can identify one soldier killed in action.

While up there, who should I run into but Alrik Blomquist. We visited for about 20 minutes. It was certainly good to see him. We talked mostly about you, his wife and baby, John and Sherry. Of course there were many experiences to talk about here. But you loved ones back there take priority. That is true with most of us. Nearly every man you talk to will talk more about home and loved ones than anything else. After all, that’s really all we have to look forward to on this side of Eternity.

On our way back, we were not far from Warren Larson’s division so I thought I’d drop by in that I had transportation. I found him almost immediately. I think he was about speechless for he said it just didn’t seem true that we were so close together. I also saw Lieut. Peterson from NSBC. We decided all we needed was a Guide. That will be a news item for them. Warren and I talked for about 15 minutes and then I had to go on. I missed something to eat this noon and then proceeded to Division Headquarters to take care of some things that needed attention.

Later, I came back here and made arrangements for services tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM-that is both Catholic and Protestant. I notified all the units around here by going out and telling them personally.

By the way, when you see Jennie and Laure, be sure to inform them that Warren looks good and he, as most of us, is anxious to get home. He has been over now quite a while so he will probably get to go home after this campaign is over. The Marines have had it easy this time where the Army has had it hard because the enemy concentrated all their fortifications on this end of the island. The northern end of the island is mountainous and very sparsely populated. Alrik said he was glad he wasn’t up here. Our men are moving ahead in spite of great opposition. We had some infiltrate here again last night but all were killed or captured without any of our men being hurt.

Some of the rough terrain on Okinawa. From Sarah Reed’s scrapbook. April 1945.

We had some hot beef stew tonight which really hit the spot. Something like that really tastes good, especially after so much of the same field rations. I’m not complaining because I realize the things we have are healthful and full of vitamins. However, if you had strawberry shortcake almost every day you would become tired of it. Really, Dear I think they do a wonderful job keeping us fed like they do. Often you hear men complain but our rations are so much better than the enemies that there isn’t even a comparison. Every time I get in that chow line and see all the food which is the fruit of our own USA which God has blessed us so abundantly, I cannot help but thank and praise God for His wonderful blessings to us. When you see all of the thousands of men and realize how the fruit of our land supplies our physical needs, not only here on Okinawa but on all the battlefronts of the world. I cannot help but further realize how wonderful it would be if we as a nation would accept the mighty marching orders of the Captain of Our Salvation, “ Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in my name and teach whatsoever things I have commanded you.” Physically we are healthy and strong as a nation because of God’s great blessing to us in the harvest, but spiritually we are suffering from malnutrition. We couldn be strong but we are like the farmer who says there is plenty of time to harvest the crop, but along comes the hail, the insects and fire; and very little is saved or harvested. Unless our zeal for the word of God is greater than our zeal for a world of peace again, we shall see all our ideals and panaceas of a more abundant life vanish like a mirage, only to realize on the desert of worldly gain there is nothing but frustration and despair. The headlines, the news flashes, the radio and movie only thunder out more clearly, “Except God build the house, they that build in vain.” The farmer or gardener when he sees a plant turning yellow, leaves curling or apparently stunted in growth, he immediately looks for insects, moles, weeds or things that may be stunting the growth of the plant. How true the words of the prophet, “Why will not the nations listen to God?” Weeds, insects and diseases are eating at the spiritual life of men, why will they not, as the true horticulturist, look for the enemies which destroy and hinder us from harvesting the more abundant life? The fruits of the flesh are prevalent everywhere, to know the more abundant life we must have the fruits of the spirit. May we together sow seeds of the Spirit that the harvest which He promises will be ours to share with all those we contact. Isn’t that a blessed thought, Dear?

That is a thought which came to me as I saw all the little fields around Okinawa that are ready for the harvest.  I carry a little notebook in my pocket and I have made a few notes and titles for several sermons I hope to preach someday. Some are just titles, but I write them down and when I have more time I’m going to develop the outlines. I feel the main thing is to capture the idea and you can always develop it.

It will certainly be grand when you and I can meditate and discuss the Lord’s word again. I feel confident that we together will be able to serve better than we have before, even though it has caused us much loneliness and heartache. This is the way I have thought of our separation on different occasions. It was hard for Christ to leave the Father but in leaving He came and sought the lost, thus on the cross He could say, “It is finished.” And the Father’s seal of approval was the raising of Christ from the dead. This time of our separation is naturally not the easiest thing, but if it will mean we are met for the Master’s use in years to come, I’m glad we are counted worthy to be so used. My prayer and hope is this Dear, that we together with Paul can say when we came to the twilight years of our life, “I have fought the good fight, I have run the race and I know there is laid up for me a crown, and for all those who love the Lord.”

I have always been happy in the service of the King, but I was only half as happy as I am now because when I met you and learned of your precious love and devotion it was automatically doubled. And together in Christ we have riches untold, for we have that glorious promise found in Philippians 4: 19.

I only pray and hope that my life will be a joy and help to your life and the folks. I only wish you, Mom and the Chief could realize the untold joy and sunshine you have brought into my life, Dear. It seems there has never been a time when I did not know you or the folks.  As for me, the two highlight days of my life are October 1, 1933 and November 1, 1940. And all the other days or anniversaries which are dear to my heart are those which are important to you also. And they all find their source in Him who is the timeless one, for He is our High Priest without beginning or end.

My Dear, it is almost dark and I must close tonight. God bless you my Dear, I will try to answer some more of your questions tomorrow evening.

Yours I am for all the ages in the 

love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

April 20, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

20 April 1945

My Beloved Darling:

I have just received two more of your letters, they were yours of March 23rd and 26th. Those two were ones you sent to the 24th Corps. I will be glad when all those other missing letters get here. Besides your letters, I had a v-mail letter from Dr. Mantey (I’ll send it to you as soon as I answer it), Gail Holly, ABMS letter, Louise Davis, two letters from Dolores, bulletin from NSBC and other official mail. Your letters are always such a lift to me after a trying day out here. I will certainly be thankful when we don’t have to depend on letters to know what we have been doing or what is nearest our hearts. Well, I hope it won’t be too much longer before we can be together and do the things we love the most.

This morning early I went to the hospital to see the wounded who were being brought in. The fighting has been very bitter all day and in some sectors it was hand to hand. The enemy is certainly entrenched on the high ground. They have all kinds of caves and tunnels. Actually, the ground is honeycombed. We still have a long way to go, and I will be so glad when we have secured the island.

Later this afternoon I saw Chaplain Schreyer and he was well and thankful he wasn’t up this way. I would have liked to talk to him longer but I didn’t have the time.

I arrived back here from Division Headquarters about an hour before supper so I wrote to v-mail letters to the wives of soldiers, Mrs. Hadford (whose letter I’ll enclose for you to read), Daunt and Mil, Aunt Annie and Elise Pierce. I just don’t have the time to write anything else but v-mail letters except to my darling wife. Dear, I am always going to try and write you a good letter everyday. I know some of them are not what I would like but it is the best I can do under existing circumstances.

Willis leads communion. April 1945.

By the way, the photographer came by today and gave me a copy of each picture he took. I was surprised when he gave me five, for I thought he only took two. The men were so scattered out along the steps he couldn’t get them all in for which I am sorry. He told me he didn’t want to interrupt the service or he would have asked them to move, and that would have meant moving boxes or sitting on the ground. He said he thought the altar was the most important which was thoughtful on his part. I hope you like them, Dear.

Well Dear, I’m going to start with your letter of March 23rd . 

It was a fine grade you got in Church History, it’s unfortunate you had to miss that one little question. I’ve read F.B. Meyer’s book,”Tried by Fire,” and I think it is really a fine book.

You said you were going to talk to Dr. Mantey about the job at church. I guess you told me about it in another letter, I don’t know what it’s about so I’ll wait and see what it was about.

By the way, I forgot to mention the fact that I finally received the song book. It is lovely and will be of help to us sometime in the future. Darling, I didn’t get a chance to finish this letter last night because the Japanese came over and did some strafing. Naturally, we took to our holes. By the time it was over it was so dark I couldn’t see to finish this letter. The sun is just coming up here now and it is certainly beautiful; sprinkled all over the eastern sky you can see rosy tinted clouds while as they span across the sky to the west, they change from many shades of red to a deep bluish purple.

I suppose Ellen is very glad to have Charles back with her in the States. From what you said in your letter, they must have a nice little place to live.

I hope the Chaplain’s Department returns your picture of me undamaged as they promised. I wonder why they want it. I sent them a copy when I had to those taken at Harvard University.

Yes Dear, I have flown about 20,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean now. Which means I have over 110 flying hours all together now.

Dear, I will have to close now and get at the things I have planned for today.

God bless you my Dear and give the folks my love.

Yours I am now and forever in the

Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

April 19, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

19 April 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

I’m all soaked and very tired but I’m going to try and write you a long letter tonight. It so happens that we have a little blackout room here now, with some candles. By the time this letter reaches you,you will have read about the great artillery barrage that our forces threw against the enemy. I’m sure it is the greatest of the Pacific war and is undoubtedly as great as any in the European war. At dawn, some of our mighty battle wagons standing offshore gave the signal with salvo after salvo. At that signal the artillery of the Army opened up. You cannot imagine the terrific concussion and mighty roar of those belching guns. Over our heads we could hear the shells speeding to their mark. Inside of a half an hour after the barrage began, the southern end of this island was so covered with dust and smoke that it looked like the island was on fire. By 9 o’clock the rays of the sun were blotted out. Very early I managed to get up to the front and help with the wounded coming back to our aid station. While there and doing what I could to help, another chaplain came up. We introduced ourselves and busied ourselves with the men. After a lull we talked for a moment. When my mind had cleared enough to think after all we saw, I asked him if he attended William Jewell College. And he said he did. And then I said,”Did you marry Mary James of Long Beach, California.” And he said, “I certainly did.” I didn’t know her personally but I was in her parents home many times, and Dorothy Jones is her sister who leads music at the First Church. I believe I told you about her, she is such a wonderful Christian. If you will remember, she was the one who led the choir when they sang for my Christmas services at Long Beach.

While up front helping with the wounded, the enemy started a rocket attack, but we managed to get the wounded to safety and cover for ourselves. Dear, when I get back to you I will have spent so much time in bomb craters, foxholes or caves that you will think I’m a gopher or a bear. 

It started to pour rain and after doing all I could I came back here for the night. The man have to dig in to hold their lines against infiltration or counterattack.  We still have a terrific battle in front of us. The enemy holds the high ground, which makes it costly to capture them. The Marines had an easy time as compared to the fortifications and installments we face on this end of the island. I have seen both and they are really dug in the down here, there is only one way to get them and that is with flamethrowers and demolitions. But you can imagine how hard that would be when you remember our men have to climb the rugged terrain in the face of mortar, machine gun and sniper fire.

Just before supper I wrote Gen and Paul a v-mail letter, it isn’t as good a letter as I would like to write them but I want them to know I love them and think of them. By the time this letter reaches you, you will know that Ernie Pyle, the great war correspondent, was killed yesterday with one of the divisions in our Army. Dear, you cannot worry or become too much concerned about yourself when you see so much need about you. When they start landing and exploding you automatically dive for some kind of cover.

Darling, there are many more things, but I cannot tell you about them now. In that I have a lot of your letters to answer I will start with yours of March 14th. By the way, I just finished reading some more of your letters which arrived. They were for March 31st, April 2nd-7th-8th-9th and 11th. It is certainly wonderful to receive all of those letters. Those you addressed to the 24th Corps must have gone to the Philippines. I’m still missing several you must have sent to the 98th. I hope they come through soon. I also got a nice note from my grandmother and Connie. Your letters were such a lift to me after the grind of today. Dear, I’m glad you liked those things I sent you from Hawaii. Nothing gives me more joy than being able to give things to you as a small token of the joy which is mine in having the privilege of being yours for now and all eternity. Dear, even in eternity I will not have enough time to let you know of my joy in your love. By the way, I know the bag was too large for a purse but I thought it would make a nice knitting bag now and especially good to carry things in for our babies, you know like when we go somewhere for a day or two. What do you think, Dear? I’m glad Mom liked the things I sent. I’m still vainly searching for a souvenir or present the dear patient Chief. I’ll bet he thinks I don’t love him.

I’m sorry to know Dukey’s neck has been bothering him and I hope Dale can be operated upon so it won’t be so hard for him to breathe.

I was grateful and thankful to hear about the fine opportunity Lois Sloane has to be of service for Christ. I have always taken a real interest in Lois. I love her for her sweet Christian devotion. Be sure to give her my love and let her know I’ll remember her in prayer.

You were wondering if Captain Mason’s family are related to the Stomms. No, they are not, they are very good friends and have been for a number of years. Captain Mason’s father is a PhD from Columbia and superintendent of schools in Paterson, New Jersey. Captain Mason’s wife is a daughter of a retired Rear Admiral. Quite outstanding in service during World War I against German U-boats. I was glad to hear about Dr. Pierce’s talk in Chapel, and from what you said, I take it that he gave some fine suggestions for books to have in our library.

Darling, I’m glad you got permission to take Evangelism by correspondence. I realize it will be difficult and an extra burden for you this last quarter, but I know it will be a relief to you to have all of your required work finished for your Master’s degree. Darling, I’m so grateful for the splendid record you are establishing at Northern. I only wish I could have been as good a student and scholar.

I am happy about the opportunity you had to lead the devotions at Second Church. I would have liked to heard you, Dear. I know Miss Green and have worked with her several times in city youth work. She may have forgotten me and I suppose she doesn’t know I’m your husband.

Darling, don’t worry about the records, they may be a little longer in reaching me so we can use them here when the fighting is over and when we don’t have to worry about having a service interrupted by shelling or an air raid. And eventually I think I can get the goods to the natives.

In your last letter of April 11th, you said you had not has yet received the last pictures I sent you from Hawaii. That cost me 24 or 30 cents and I’m sure they were addressed correctly. Don sent them for me Air Mail. The pictures I took while on DS to Hawaii were to be taken care of for you by Captain Wilson, Major Ender and Don. If they haven’t forgotten or had trouble getting them, you should be receiving them soon. Some of them ought to be good. Let me know when they arrive.

I was sorry to hear about Mary Alice’s mother being killed. Mary Alice is a splendid Christian girl and I hope everything works out alright for her. Darling, what Wayne Van Kirk told Joe is true, for I’ve seen it again and again and it is true beyond doubt. Do you know what engineer outfit he is with? As a Special Troops Chaplain I have Combat Engineers to take care of. We have some fine men in Special Troops. I also have several other companies to take care of. Your work as a Special Troops Chaplain is more difficult because your men are scattered so far in carrying out their respective responsibilities under combat conditions.

Darling, I’m going to skip to your last letter of the 11th of April because it was written on the day of your birthday. I’m glad you liked the roses, Mom is so sweet in carrying out my wishes. Be sure to tell her how much I appreciate that help. I love her and the Chief so much. I’m glad they were deep red roses, for that is the kind I wanted. I may not be paid for quite a while so tell her I’ll send the money when I’m paid. The folks, as well as others, were very kind to you on your birthday. I hope I can celebrate your next birthday with you, my Dear. That was nice of Mom to have the painting framed for you, I will be anxious to see it when it is finished. Tell Estel Heinz if I were in his position, knowing what I know now, I would choose the mission field because of the importance of leading those people to Christ and explaining to them the reasons why supposedly civilized nations are worrying to the death and destruction of human lives and invaluable property.

I was interested in what Dr. Mason said about invitations. I heartily agree with all he said.

Mrs. Melberger must have been shocked and I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Claudia, John and Mrs. Melberger.

Another reason I’m answering your letter of the 11th is to give you a clearcut idea of what I said to the War Correspondent who interviewed me while in the Philippines. He came to me because he said he had heard about me and wanted to interview me. He asked me all kinds of questions and answered them, but I never realized it would be a news release.

I’m a little puzzled to that statement about a small parsonage as you said it stated. What I did say was this, “I believe the small churches are often neglected and not nurtured in the gospel of Christ; they too can be of important as a Riverside Church or a Tremont Temple. And it is our (meaning us) supreme aim and purpose to serve in the place where God wants us, wether in a small church in a little hamlet or a large church in the city. The statement about men not being naturally bad is only part of what I said. I think you have heard me make this statement in sermons before or our own discussions. “The nations, be they white, yellow, red or black, they all unknowingly are seeking for security in money, pleasures, good health, industry, labor the farmer, the magistrate or whoever he may be, but we are admonished by Christ, the captain of our salvation, to seek first the kingdom of God.” I further stated that man may spend a whole lifetime seeking anyone of these things and then come to the twilight years realizing he has not deposited things in heaven. Man is not really aiming for the dissatisfaction he has in later years when he realizes earthly riches are not all, but that is where Christ comes in, for we cannot philosophize our way out of man’s bent toward sinning. In brief, a man cannot lift himself by his bootstraps, he needs power from above, and that moral, saving spiritual power is in Christ. He asked me about child delinquency and I said I didn’t think it was properly termed, it ought to be adult delinquency. And then I made a statement to the effect that parents exert a profound influence on their children by their own lives and the type of people they have in their circle of friends. While asking me questions, he only jotted down notes now and then so it looks like he ran those two statements together and left out important things in between. And about dogmas and confessions of faith, I made this statement, “Churches and church bodies are often more concerned about them than they are about the person and the power of Christ, which is the only lifting power for this age or the ages to come.” The only timeless message and plan we have is the word of God, for we have His own statement – “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away.” Christ is ahead of us, Church history is important, but it’s importance lies in the realization that we need Christ, not political maneuvering for worldly favor. That is the essence in brief of my statements. From what you told me, I can easily see some of the brethren thinking the chaplaincy has made me a heretic.

And I also want to mention this from all the information Paul Allen told me, I am not in favor of the New Society even though I cannot agree with the old in some things, and I know there are many fine individuals in the new group but some of their tactics cannot be classed as a Christian or Christ-like. In brief, I always remember the statement, “Why abandon ship because rats are on board.” We, or I, should say our forebearers had everything to do with the establishment of fine institutions and mission stations all over the world, why give them up to lesser aims or ideals than those we have in Christ, for that is what our forefathers wanted us to hold high until He comes again. I have been to conventions, state and national, and seen some brethren idly talking in hotel lobbies or parts of the church building when important matters or issues were to be voted upon. If it didn’t go like they thought it ought to, immediately you heard the cry modernist, liberal or many other such remarks. But when they could have done something, they were interested in themselves and their friends. At every national and state convention, Paul Allen, Dr. Mantey and I, or well as a host of others, have asked these individuals to vote, many you could never find at the time when important matters were to be decided. Then we hear them cry underhanded, unfair or unchristian; when to me they are the ones to blame. Concern for souls is most important, but issues upon which decide our course and aim as a national body is important also, because our aspirations and aims are expressed in our national voice for the NBC is so organized. I think how miserably we would be able to hold out against our enemy here on this island if various units said, “I don’t like the orders of the General of the 10th Army. We are going to pull out or not do anything, we will just hold what we got.” You know what would happen, we, everyone would eventually be annihilated or captured by a greater foe. Oneness in Christ is the only power which conquers Satan and his cohorts.

Darling, I must close now, God bless you and the folks in all things.

Yours forever and ever in the

Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3 

April 18, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

18 April 1945

My Beloved Darling:

I still have a few minutes before we eat so I’m going to start this letter to you now. Just a few minutes ago I received two letters from you, they were for March 27th and April 10th. It was certainly good to have them. I’m still missing a lot of old mail but I hope they soon catch up with me, for I’m wondering what you have been doing for about half the month of March. Your letter of the 10th came through in one week which is very good service. Nothing in all this world so helps me as your letters, Dear. Words are not adequate to tell you how I long to be with you again. It will mean so much to kneel in prayer with you and just talk about His word and His goodness to us. Those mornings and evening of prayer and the talks we had while going to Chicago to see the folks are such a grand memory now. Again Dear, I want to thank you for being such a wonderful Christian wife. Your devotion to Christ and your love for me are a great inspiration to me to do my best for our Lord and Master.

Willis having a communion service on the hood of his jeep. May 1944.

I had supper and immediately afterwards had a communion service for the men. When you have units scattered as I do, it is hard to get very many together at a time but whenever possible I try and have services. You have to have services under almost all conditions. I used a shipping box for an altar. In getting over the reef on Invasion Day, my communion set was all soaked, it really made me feel badly but to get in we had to wade ashore. Some places the water was over our heads. It may look about the same and you would drop over your head. I came ashore with about  130 pounds on my back and my communion case in my hand. If it had been a muddy bottom it would have been much more difficult. Tell Emma Laymon my Testament was all soaked in getting in, but it means more than ever now for you can tell somewhat of what I went through to get over the reef. By the way, a news photographer came by and took a couple of snaps of our little communion service. He told me he would give me a copy of the pictures if they turn out okay. I spoke briefly on Joshua’s words in the third chapter. “We have not been this way before.” Our commanding officer Major Wilhelm and Major Reaugh passed the cup and Warrant Officer Maxwell passed the wafers. A Cpl. Poured the wine and helped me set up for the service.

Early this morning I wrote a letter to Arthur Mitchell, the Jewish soldier I baptized on Christmas Island. I am enclosing his letter for you to read. I sent him a baptismal certificate but it must have been lost, so I’m going to send him another. I also wrote a letter to my old assistant Raymond Cox. I called at the hospital, many other units and gathered more information on some more of our men who lost their lives.

Darling, I must close for I can hardly see what I’m writing. God bless you my Darling. Give the folks my love.

Just yours forever in the love of

Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Willis

Colossians 3:3

April 17, 1945

Okinawa Shima  – Ryukyu Islands

17 April 1945

Dearest Darling Sarah:

Well, 20 months ago today I was on my way to Harvard University which means we are that many months nearer to being together. Those months have seemed almost like years because so much has happened and my heart has been so lonesome for you, Dear. I will never be able to be completely happy or satisfied without you. I could and would be willing to serve the Lord anywhere but I want you with me. Darling, I got another letter from you today and it was yours of March 16th. I hope the others soon reach me for I am anxious to hear from you. Besides your letters, I heard from Louise Davis, (Easter card), Connie and Mac, Dolores and bulletins from Long Beach. I forgot to mention a beautiful Easter card from Mrs. Riley.

I have been busy all day, early this morning I saw Chaplain Schreyer and made some arrangements for a communion I’m having tomorrow night for my men, as well as some scattered units of his. While out that way I met another chaplain who told me that Alrik Blomquist had arrived on the island. He is way back from us because his outfit is Garrison and non-combatant. I hope to be able to see him sometime soon.

I spent some time at Division Headquarters and came back here later this afternoon. I had a little time before supper so I wrote a v-mail letter to Captain Wilkinson, Dolores, Lieut. Erb, an officer who was with me in the 98th. He was a fine fellow and one of my real helpers. I also wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. John Rivers Nixon. They live on Hermitage Avenue, 5738 North. (Please look up their address in the phone book, so I’ll know for sure.) I think it would be nice if you called them up, they were so very kind to me and took me on several trips to Northern Illinois. I also had several dates with Marjorie. You remember she came to our wedding and gave us that beautiful silver tray-at least I think it was a tray of some kind. When you talk to her ask her about Marjorie and her husband, Bill and Sylvia and Kenneth. If you can find out where Kenneth is, the last I heard he was anti-aircraft somewhere in the Pacific.

Dear, we had several air raids last night but the flyers didn’t get back to tell what they saw down here. Otherwise we had a peaceful night and I rested better than I have had since our landing.

Well Darling, I’m going to start with your letter of March 13th now. I’m glad that book of Hawaiian flowers arrived. I thought you would like it. Did Mom like them? I’m happy to know Mrs. Powell wrote you such a nice letter. I think Howard should be allowed to come home soon and I think probably he will. You, as I, feel Mrs. Powell probably doesn’t know too much about the mission board affair. And I would further venture that Rev. Colas never examined the whole thing fairly. He was never in NBC before and he impressed me as a fundamentalist type. Several things Louise Davis told me gave me that idea. He seemed to be very dogmatic. I’m glad Walter Zude  got home, I know Mrs. Zude and the rest must be very happy. I think the church was unwise in giving up the house, they will probably have a hard time getting a minister without some kind of house for him to live in.

Yes, Dear I have read Dr. Morgan’s book, “The Teachings of Jesus”, it is a good for our library.

Well Darling, I can hardly see anymore so I’ll close for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things.

Yours forever I am in the love of

Christ Jesus our Lord.

Willis

Colossians 3:3

April 16, 1945

Okinawa Shima  – Ryukyu Islands

16 April 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

I have just finished reading your letter of March 29th and April 2nd. As usual Dear, the letters were beautiful and they helped more than you can realize. Out here you get so weary, dirty, tired and lonesome sometimes it seems ages before this thing will be over, you have to be on a constant alert as you go about to do your work. My units are very much scattered, and as a result, it means I have to do a lot of walking and riding from place to place. When you get up near the front you always have to be on the watch for snipers.

This morning I visited one group of my men and then went onto the hospital to see the men there. As soon as I returned, I wrote some more letters to mothers of sons who would have been killed in action. Just before dinner Paul Wells drove in with his Jeep, that was the first time I had seen him since we were separated in the Philippines. He looks good and is also very busy. His outfit has suffered more casualties than our outfit has so far. The enemy hit his sector very hard. We shared many of our experiences together thus far and thanked the Lord for His goodness in protecting and leading us. For some reason or other he hasn’t received any mail as yet so I read to him what you said about your visit with Marjorie over the phone. When you talk to her, be sure to tell her he is doing a fine piece of work and I only wish we had more like him. It’s really helped to see an old friend. We stayed here and we had our rations together then we went to another field hospital together. We had a lot of men to visit, so after a while I started walking to Division Headquarters. I wanted to see our commanding officer but he wasn’t around. However, I did get to see Chaplain Walt, our Head Division Chaplain. He is a rather a young chaplain for such a job. I would say he is around 36 or 38. I like him and I believe he will help rather than hinder as did the other chaplain in my old outfit.

I came back here and I stripped off and took a bath out of water in my helmet. It will certainly be good to have a decent shower again in a place that is nice and clean. Whenever you take a bath, always remember how I would like to have that much warm water. You are limited to the amount of water a helmet will hold but I certainly feel better after my bath.

Dear, I’m going to start with your letter of March 9yh. I like Dr. Mantey’s attitude about movies, that is the reason I would never say I thought it was wrong to go to movies. I think it is for each individual to make the choice. And I also think an up and coming church should have a wholesome recreational program for the young people.

It was interesting to hear about Arthur Anderson’s talk in chapel. I worked with him one summer at Northern so I know him pretty well. We washed apartment walls and painted. We worked in every building at Northern. Whenever you visit Taft Hall, remember your little sweetheart has washed a part of every wall in every department. I’ve washed walls twice in Wilkinson Hall.

I got a kick out of Mom picking a certain wall paper and then not being sure she likes her choice. From your description, the house must look pretty nice after the decorators finished. It will certainly be grand when we have our own home again and can plan things for ourselves.

 Darling, often you have said you would like to be with me; in a way I wish you were too, but Darling I would never want to see you go through the hell of battle. When you see men mortally wounded, children and mothers, you cannot help but breathe a prayer of Thanksgiving-“Thank God my dear ones don’t have to see or go through the atrocities of war.” As I’ve said before my Dear, there are things I wish I could erase from my memory forever. As it is Dear, you will not have that to remember or rather be reminded of on different occasions. It will be such a great day when we can share our joys and sorrows together again. A letter never half expresses the things I feel down in my heart. Just to pray and meditate together again will to me be standing in the portals of Heaven.

I was glad you received the $40 money order. I wasn’t paid for last month so I won’t be able to send any home to you now. By the way Dear, I heard today that the ship I came up here from the Philippines was sunk. That certainly makes me feel badly if it’s true, for there were some mighty fine men aboard. And those 47 letters and the $50 in cash I sent Captain Wilkinson was aboard besides your six letters. I utilized all my time to write those letters to different individuals and if what I heard is true, I wrote many letters in vain. I’m glad I registered the letter with the $50 to Captain Wilkinson, for if the ship was lost, I can recover the money for the natives cloth.

I’m glad you had such a fine time at your last club meeting. Be sure to give my love and best wishes to Teacher. You will be interested to know I met Minnie Lennon’s husband before I left and we had several good talks. I knew his wife pretty well through Chicago B.Y. work. I’m glad Teacher drove you, for I always feel better when I know you are not alone at night.

Well Dear, it is about dark so I must close for tonight. My desk is an ammunition case so I hope you can read my scrawling. Give the folks my deepest love.

Yours forever, and so glad to be

Because of our one Love in Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed is a letter from my father. I also got a lovely letter from Mrs. Schue and an Easter card and note from Hollys today.

April 15, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

Sunday, April 15, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours alone in the love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

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