December 23, 1944

December 23, 1944

Dearest Darling Sarah:

I am so tired I can hardly keep going but I do want to take enough time to let you know that I love you more than ever and I’m so grateful to the Lord for all His blessings unto us. I tried several times to imagine what you may be doing today. I hope you had a good visit with my father. I think this experience will mean a whole lot to him. I am so grateful to you for your kindness and goodness and seeing that he will have a good time while in Chicago.

The first thing this morning I took enough time to write a letter to the following folks: Betty Mahannah, Aunt Annie Scurlock, and Louise Davis. After having my breakfast, Raymond and I left here to make the final arrangements for the Christmas services. Later, I saw Chaplain Brady and had all of the equipment transferred to him. I am now free of all property down here and I’m ready as soon as my services are over to catch the first plane. The rest of the time was spent cleaning up some other things that needed attention.

Immediately following dinner, I came back to my quarters and started to prepare my last box to you from Christmas Island. I’m going to give you some idea of what the box contained. I hope it doesn’t take too long to reach you. The box contains the following things: a palm leaf fan, a shark tooth sword, a hot pad or coaster made up of palm leaves, a palm leaf belt, a palm leaf mat, (the dies used to color and make the designs are what they make from different roots), six necklaces, mixed shells (they are in the box which you sent to me this Christmas, the shells in that box were the ones I picked up as I walked along the shore, I didn’t take the time to sort them, I thought you might like to see them just that way), White cowrie shells (they are in the white box), the shells in the shaving cream box are rather rare and hard to find, I thought they might make nice buttons, I think I know a way to make them, five mother of pearl shells, three envelopes of various shells and three suits of the kind of short C.K.C.’s we wear down here. There is a surprise for you in that brown envelope, I hope you will like it. Be sure to let me know when it arrives, Dear.

I read your letter of December 11th over again, as per usual, it was a blessing to me. I have begun to think it is about the last mail I will receive from you before I leave the island. If there is a plane tomorrow there may be a chance for mail, but I’m inclined to feel there will be no planes tomorrow.

Sweetheart, I am so very tired that I’m going to close for now and I think I will be able to write you a much better letter tomorrow evening. God bless you in all things and be sure to give my love to the folks.

Always and Ever just Yours in

The Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 22, 1944

December 22, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

This has been another one of those days when you are on the go all the time, and try as you may, at the end of the day it is almost impossible to see that anything has been accomplished. It would be impossible to tell you how many times I thought of you today. I tried to imagine you meeting my father down at the Rock Island station. According to what my father told me about his arrival, or I should say, the time his train was supposed to arrive. I awoke at that time and couldn’t sleep anymore because I was thinking of you, my Dear. This afternoon I thought about you visiting after supper and how I wished I could be there with you. Once, while doing something in my quarters this afternoon, some tears escaped my eyes. What I was doing had no connection with you or things back home, but all the sudden I thought of all of you back there and before I knew what was happening there were tears. So don’t ever think that I don’t do some real thinking about you, Darling. You are so very sweet and I love you so very much.

In that I couldn’t sleep this morning after waking so early, I decided I would write some more letters. I wrote to the following people: Ruric and Edna Jenkins, Horace and Pauline (by the way, they had a baby daughter born on December 5th), Reveals and Marguerite Simonian. By the way, I also sent Marguerite Simonian a shell necklace that the natives gave me. She is such a very fine girl and Christian worker that I know she will appreciate it. She, along with the Rileys, were so very good to Chaplain Soliday and I while we were at Harvard.

From Christmas Island 1944.

Most of the morning was spent getting things ready for our Christmas program as well as doing a few more things preparatory to my departure for the new outfit that I have been assigned to. This afternoon Sergeant Cooper and Corporal Winkler came down and helped me finish the programs. The programs are already to use for the services. I will enclose a couple of them in this letter. I do hope that you will like them. You will note the title of my message is the same as the title of the reading in “My Utmost for His Highest” on December 25th. It seemed to be a most appropriate title. The title itself challenged my thinking. I will tell you more about the message later.

This evening we had the orientation lecture and at the conclusion I took the opportunity to announce the services both Catholic and Protestant over Sunday and Christmas Day (Monday). We returned to headquarters and I went to see the movie. They had a good news reel this evening. The main feature was an Abbot and Costello comedy. I stayed for it and really had a good laugh. I don’t know when I have laughed so much. It was funny and what I appreciated more than anything else about it was the fact that to be funny they didn’t use smutty or suggestive stories, as is so often done, especially with some of the USO troupes they send around the men.

I read your letters for December 9thand 10th again and will make a few comments on things you said in your letter. I liked the poem that you sent along. But I like the one you wrote much better because it goes deeper. I don’t know whether you know it or not, but I carry a copy of the poem you wrote all the time with me in my billfold. Darling, I find that it is impossible to express to you in adequate way just how much I love you. Only with Christ will we ever fully know.

It must’ve been grand to hear the “Messiah,” down at Buena, I certainly wish I could have been right there with you. I had hoped to be able to pick that up somewhere on the radio, but about all you can find is “White Christmas,” or a few of the Christmas carols played by some name and they almost swing them. I always do like to hear a good choir. I’m glad you were able to be under the leadership of Mr. Baer. I’m so happy you got to see them. I would certainly like to see them again. I think they are such fine people. When you see them again, be sure to give them my love and best wishes. I was sorry to hear that Kitty isn’t feeling well. I wrote to her yesterday and told her I had heard from you she hadn’t been feeling so well. I do hope she will soon be well. I was interested to hear what Mr. Paul said about the Session putting their foot down. I think they are to get a good assistant pastor and endeavor to build a strong evening service. How is the young peoples work coming along there now? That was very nice of Mr. Paul to give you so much for doing the extra work for him. They are such fine people. How thankful I am unto the Lord for the good friends he has given us, Dear.

From what you said in your letter, the squirrels must be having a grand time in the shack. I can just hear the Chief talking to them in his unique manner. And I can see Mom going after them. It was truly something to hear about your big snowstorm back there. It hardly seems possible that it could be snowing back there when it is so hot out here.

Imagine my great surprise when I read your letter of the 10th to know that Dr. Edson had been at North Shore. I am certainly glad you got to meet him. So he still remembered me. He has a very fine wife, I know you would like her. They have two boys, about nine and 12 I believe. I imagine the Hollys will be happy to find out that you met Winfield Edson. They will probably write and tell me about it in the next letter.

It is good to know that Dr. . Wilson preached such a very good sermon on the 10th, I was interested to hear about the “Disciple Plan”. It sounds good, only it seems to me if we really try to make Philippians 3:9 and 10 the theme and  emphasis of our lives we will not always have to be initiating plans or programs to do what we are to do normally as true followers of Christ. We need Isaiah’s experience as expressed in the sixth chapter of his book. Darling, as for me, I am willing and ready to go anywhere at any cost if He wants us to go. I’m convinced we are never going to reach men until our following Christ costs us something. It means so much to have a wife who is ready and willing to follow Christ anywhere, cost what it may.

Sweetheart, it is late and I must get a little sleep before morning. God bless you in all things. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

Yours alone for the ages of the ages in

Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 21, 1944

December 21, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

We were all pleasantly surprised with the arrival of mail. There were three letters from you, they were for December 9th, 10th, and 11th. I wish I could tell you how much those letters meant to me. I have just finished reading them over again. I cannot help but praise the Lord every time I think of you and what a wonderful wife you are to me. Darling, it is impossible to find words adequate to describe my great love for you. Just know that only in heaven will we be able to fully fathom the depths of the wonderful love we have for each other.

Besides the three letters I received from you, I heard from the following people: my Father (He wrote and told me when he was planning on leaving for Chicago. According to what he told me, he is about half way back there now. He seems to be so thankful for our gift to him. Darling, I know it will mean a whole lot to him. Thank you for being so sweet to him. I do hope you heard from him in time to make your plans. My, how I wish I were in a mighty C-54 winging my way back to you, Dear. I’ve thought about that several times today.), Mrs. Frank Powell, (Her letter was very nice, she says that Reverend Colas is a good preacher but the church doesn’t seem to be doing so well. The young people’s work is almost nonexistent according to her), Mrs. James Elliott (a very nice letter telling me about the last days of Mr. Elliott’s life and how much he always thought of us), Scheus, Bill Hill (he is now in Australia, from what he tells me he has a much better set up now), Jack and Bertha (They were so very thankful for the money order as a Christmas present. Bertha receive her necklace and likes it very much.), Hollys with a nice long letter. Now the rest I mention were Christmas cards with notes attached, they were from the following people: Mabel, several young people of the college BYF of First Baptist Church at Long Beach, Jeanne, Johnny and Jimmie (you should see the cute picture of Johnny that was enclosed with the card, I think Jeanne was responsible for sending that card), Gen and Kenyon, Chief and Mom, Mrs. Carson (I just sent her letter to you day before yesterday), Mrs. Mallory, Mrs. Boughton, Bob Peterson and his wife. There were also some Red Cross letters and some official mail.

This has really been a rounder of a day. There has been so very much to do. I’m so tired right now I cannot hardly keep going. It is certainly going to feel good to get into my bed. Early this morning I wrote a v-mail letter to Ann Clark and also one to the Hansons. The rest of the morning was spent getting things in order so I will be ready to leave here by the first plane to Honolulu. We have about everything lined up for our services. We were going to practice again tomorrow evening. As soon as our programs are mimeographed I will send you a copy, for I think you’ll like to have one. It won’t be as nice as what you’re used to, but I think it is going to look nice considering what we have to work with down here.

Timete – Native Overseer, Willis and Mofete – native Pastor.

This afternoon late I worked on some things that Timete wanted me to do for him before I leave. I washed up some clothes and then went over to the mess hall and had my evening meal. Shortly after supper a man from the Air Base called me and wanted to see me about a problem that is troubling him. His wife is seeking a divorce and he is about beside himself. Some of those women back there ought to be wakened up somehow or other. I have just seen so many men go all to pieces over such things that is certainly heartbreaking. The fellow hadn’t been all he should have and he admitted it after I talked to him for sometime. I will not going to anymore details, but such experiences make me realize more than ever how wonderful it is to have a dear wife like you. I only pray and hope I can be partially worthy of your beautiful love.

After that I wrote six letters to the following people: Kitty, Mr. And Mrs. Norris, Alice Bantli, Laurie Larson’s, Dolores, and Carlsons, (old friends in Nebraska). Then I read your letters for the seventh and eighth over and will seek to answer some of the questions now. I am certainly glad to hear that you have been having such fine chapel speakers lately. I never have heard of either of those who you said were so very very good. The chapel services were always a great blessing to me. My Dear, I assure you that I pray for you often every day. And you may know that I will pray that both of us will be willing to be lead of Christ. I was glad to hear that the folks picture turned out so well. I will really be looking forward to its arrival.

I was very sorry to hear about Mr. Maugans. I do hope that he will be able to resume his studies. And Darling, I think it was very lovely of you to put in $10 from us to help little Shirley Bender. And I suppose she will be happy with the shells. You always doing the most thoughtful and lovely things for others. I’m glad you got such a nice letter from Betty Weiskopf. By the way, you can tell Edith that I took the song books with me, or I should say I sent them ahead. It hardly seems true that I will be soon leaving here for a new outfit. I’m glad the October bond arrived. They are surely behind, for you should have the November bond by now.

Thank you Dear for wanting to get me something for my birthday but I don’t need anything. To have you and your love means more than anything you could possibly ever give me. Darling, thank you for being such a good Christian wife. If you would like you can give me $10 for my birthday and then you can pass the $10 right on to Dr. Mantey and say it is your birthday present to me and we passed it onto him to be applied towards the purchase of a new apartment building. In other words, we give $10 towards a new building and I’ll consider it my birthday present from you, Dear.

Sweetheart, for some reason or other I have forgotten to mention it in other letters to you, but I do hope you’ll be able to get some good pictures while my father is there. Darling, again thank you for making my father’s Christmas such a happy one. I love you more than words can ever tell.

It is so late and I’m tired so I will close and may God bless you Dearest in all things. Give the folks my deepest love.

It is wonderful to be forever one with

You in love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed you’ll find a letter from Edna Jenkins, I thought might like to read it.

December 20, 1944

December 20, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling

I have just finished reading some of your last letters over again and they mean so very much to me. It seems each time I read your letters I find greater joy in your wonderful abiding love. Dearest, it means so much to be able to count on your love now and forever. On every hand there are things that would discourage you, but to know we are only each other’s forever does help to bear the unpleasant things. I miss so very much the good talks we used to have. Even being able to talk to you as we used to do was the most beautiful way to express our love to each other. The Lord has been so very gracious to us in granting us that wonderful privilege of being ONE in Him for all the ages of the ages. Just to be with you again will be pure joy. Darling, I certainly hope we will never have to be separated again this way. I only wish there were some way for me to let you know just how precious and dear you are to me.

I got up early this morning and wrote a letter to the folks. And then after breakfast I worked on several things that have to be done before I could leave here. I also transferred the Chaplains fund and later left for the Air Base to have dinner with the officers up there. Immediately following the dinner, we went over to the chapel and practiced our special number we are going to have in our Christmas services. We practiced for about 1/2 an hour, then I went to see Chaplain Brady. I wanted to show him how to take care of Red Cross cases that may come up after I leave. I showed him how to send radiograms, investigate home situation, emergency furloughs, etc. In the meantime I had received an answer to a radiogram I had sent three days before. The soldier who it is for was at one of the outposts so Raymond and I drove out there to take the message to him.

When we returned to my quarters I did some washing and by that time it was time to go to supper. Immediately following supper, we left for the Air Base to do some more practicing on the special number, as well as have a regular midweek service. There were 10 and attendance this evening. As soon as we returned I came to my quarters and worked on a couple of Red Cross cases and prepared them to send out. Then I wrote a letter to Hollys and Gail. And now Darling I am writing to you having just finished reading some of your beautiful letters.

By the way, I forgot to tell you that on our way up to the Air Base I stopped by the post office and sent you a little Air Mail package. I do hope you like what is in the box. I’ll tell you what it is, I saved enough of those rare tiger shells to make you a bracelet. Captain Wilkinson’s wife sent him quite a bit of silver chain so I got some from him and made the bracelet for you. I think it will be a little large, I made it that way, so you can cut it down if you like. I wanted to send you two well matched tiger shells that would make good earrings, but I couldn’t find any to match very well. I enclosed the last four I have, perhaps with others I have sent you in the past you’ll be able to find two that will match enough to make a nice set of earrings.

Illinois Baptist Camp at East Bay 1943. Faculty. Willis is Third in the back row, Sarah is on the right in the front row.

I am going to answer some of those questions and make comments on your letters of December 5th and 6th. I know Dr. Montgomery, he used to be the pastor of the Baptist Church at Peoria, Illinois. I was with him in camp at East Bay the year before we were there together. We had several discussions together.

As I often told you before, I was hesitant about Kinzer. But I am further surprised to hear about him associating with the kind of men you have told me about in your letter of the sixth. Such things are certainly a black eye to the cause of Christ. I do hope that Ralph will wake up and perhaps he will be able to help Kinzer.

Darling, that was very good of you to give Stan and Lee $20 from us. And I have said before Dear, whatever you feel led to do for Christians through Christ, always know it will be meet with my approval. As you say, it is indeed a privilege to help a fine Christian family like Stan and Lee. I am glad they were helped with it. It surely means everything to me to have you as my companion forever because you are wholeheartedly interested in investing our wherewithal in Christ’s work. It is so good to know you feel as I do, that what we have and earn is nothing more than a sacred trust and the Lord holds us accountable for our investments. Dear, thank you for being such a good wife.

Our Bible class is still going on, I just haven’t mentioned it I guess. We have been averaging about eight in attendance. On a few occasions we have had as many as 10. If I can, I will want to have a Bible class in the next outfit I am assigned to. So Frank is right up where the going is tough. Florence is probably quite anxious now that the German army has started the great breakthrough. I think we better quit posting about our superior equipment, assembly lines, planes and what we have, and as a nation ask the Lord to forgive our wicked ways and cleanse us of our sin. After three long years of war which has cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars we are an arrogant nation at large and do not fully or even partially trust in the Lord and the power of His might.

I look at your picture many times each day and it means more than you will ever know. It is absolutely the best present you could’ve given me, outside of course the wonderful privilege of being with you. I was certainly surprised to hear about the death of Mrs. Jones. I think it will be nice for you to give Dr. Mantey a shark tooth sword and I’m sure he will be happy with it. I was glad to hear that the Goe’s baby finally arrived. Won’t it be grand when we have our own children, Dear? The last pictures I sent you of a ship service were held on another ship.

I’m sorry you haven’t heard from my father, I haven’t either. However, I did write him sometime ago and tell him that probably the best time to leave for Chicago would be on December 20th or 21st because if he waited until later the trains would be so crowded it will be most unpleasant traveling. So if he decided to go tonight, the train he is on is racing toward Chicago. My how I wish I were on a train nearing there.

It is so late and I’m tired. So God bless you my Dearest in all things.

Your husband and Lover forever in Christ’s

Wonderful Love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 19, 1944

December 19, 1944

My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

This has been a very full day and I have not been able to accomplish all the things I would have liked to accomplished. But anyhow, I did my best and will have to try and get some things out of the way tomorrow. In spite of all there was to do, I thought of you many times and thanked the Lord for the wonderful privilege which is mine forever to be yours in the enduring and eternal love of Christ. Each day I realize more and more that you are such an important part of my salvation, as I have said before, they are one and the same thing. I am convinced no man could ever have a finer Christian wife and you are to me, Dear. You may not have attained, but by following Christ we will attain together through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was awakened in the middle of the night last night to see a man about some great problem that was distressing him. I talked to him for almost an hour. And finally sent a radiogram through the Red Cross to investigate the case on the other end. It is really hard on the soldier when he knows there is something wrong on the other end and he is not able to do anything about the situation.

This morning I got up early and then had my breakfast and came back to my quarters to line up the things I was going to do. Raymond had to take some special training this morning so I drove around to all the areas and visited with the men, as well as checking up on anything that may need attention. Later on, I went to the Air Base and made some further plans with Chaplin Brady about his masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I also had a good visit with Captain Austin and then I went to see another soldier for a few minutes. When I finished talking with him it was time for me to get back here for dinner.

As soon as dinner was over I came back to my quarters and started to work on the Christmas program, that is, setting it up for the final form and stencil. A soldier at the Air Base who is very very good at artwork designed a cover for us that will surely be something for us in a place like this. I am setting it up something like last year’s program, so the men can use the last page to write a letter home to the folks or friends. There are two men up at the Air Base who are doing all they possibly can to see that our Christmas program is a success. We really appreciate men like that because their numbers are few and far between.

When I came back, it was just suppertime so we ate and later Captain Wilkinson and I went to the native village for they wanted to see us. Captain Wilkinson helped them out with some of the problems. And they had a farewell dance for me. It wasn’t very long because I had to get back here. They gave me some more presents, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank them enough. I will not tell you about them until I get the box made up on it’s way home to you. There are some things they gave me I know you will like. Someday I will tell you all about this experience for I know you will want to know.

Darling, I read your letters for December 3rd and 4th over again this evening, so now I will answer a few of your questions as well as make some comments. I was interested to know that you had a visitor in your class and that your boys seem to be doing better. Keep up the good work, Dear. I was surprised to hear that Maurice is going to St. Louis to study church architecture. I suppose he will visit some new churches down, there is that correct?

So you have started to read the book, “The Apostle,” I think you will like it and I feel it will help you in your New Testament. It is good to know you had a such a nice visit with Katie and Olga over the phone. When you talk to them again be sure to give them my love and best wishes. I was certainly surprised to hear that Jack only writes to Olga about every two months. I think it is unfortunate that his wife should dislike Olga. What seems to be her reason?

I know it must’ve been a great thrill for Joe Large and Wayne Van Kirk to meet each other out in the Philippines. And it is good to know that Wayne is doing such good work. I know Joe must be very glad to have him for a chaplain. I can imagine that Emma feels pretty badly about Hugh going overseas. When are they expecting their baby? So that Chief thinks I had a power machine to polish those pins. Well, you may inform him they were done with what is commonly known as “elbow grease.” In the process was used three kinds of sandpaper and polished off with jewelers rough. It makes me glad to know that mom likes her pin. If I had the time I would try and make some other things.

newspaper, December 1944

Darling, if you find me complaining in my letters, please forgive me. As I have said several times before, all I hear is complaining. I know we have few comforts and the food isn’t the same as that at home and a host of other things. But we ought to thank the Lord for His great goodness to us in the past. And I realize that we now have so much to be thankful for. I hear so much of it from every angle it may creep into some of my letters, if so forgive me. Don’t misunderstand, I am not in love with Army life. No one will be any happier than I when the day comes for my promotion to a civilian. I have learned with the Apostle Paul, “that in whatever state I am I will through Christ seek to be content.” Also understand my statement above in no way whatsoever relieves the ache in my heart. That ache will be there my Darling until we are able to be side by side in the work we both love so well.

My heart is really heavy over the word that Franklin Chapman is missing in action. He is one of my best friends at North Shore. We were together a lot when I first worked at the church. If you hear anything further be sure to let me know. I’m glad you had such a nice talk with Edith over the telephone. I hope you’ll be able to visit with her again soon. I also think she is a wonderful person. I wish they would keep my bonds coming to you. I’m glad you had a good visit with Helen Christie and your life is a help to her I’m sure.

Sweetheart, it is so late, I will close for now. God bless you in all things. Give the folks my love.

Yours only forever in Christ’s Love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 18, 1944

December 18, 1944

Sarah, My Dearest Darling Wife:

A plane came in early this morning and had mail aboard for us, I tell you the arrival of your letters really brightened up my day in more ways than one. It is impossible to tell you how much they meant to me. If my letters mean to me what yours mean to me I know just exactly how happy you must feel when you see letters. Darling, your letters are such an inspiration to me. I love you so very much that I am concerned about everything you do. And I am happy beyond words to know of the fine work you are doing at Northern and at North Shore. I only hope I can make you partially as happy as I am, in your accomplishments. Dear, I received your letters of the following dates: November 29th, 30th, December 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th. For once I have all your letters in order again. It really helps to have the letters come through in order.

Besides the letters I received from you, I received the following: Mrs. Tornga (Mother of the soldier who lost his life, remember memorial service pictures), Mrs. P.C. Hansen, two letters from Dolores (one of them was thanking me for the necklace), Laurie Larson’s (a Christmas card and note with it), Dr. Mantey (Christmas card with a nice note on the back, he told me about your excellent work in his class, and he also said Dr. Stiansen told the whole faculty one day in their meeting about what a fine student you are. Things like that really cheer me more than you will ever know, Darling.), a card and letter from Chaplain Mitchell, Alice Bantli (a card and short note with it), Vivian Shaffer, Optimist Class (Christmas card), Ann Clark (Christmas card and letter), two letters from Louise Davis, Glen Carlson (old friend in Nebraska), Nettie (Charlie has left the state for Europe, she misses him very very much), Mrs. Norris, Marguerite Simonian (Tremont Temple, Boston), Mrs. Cable (a wonderful Christian woman from the First Baptist Church of Long Beach), Joan Cable (the daughter of Mrs. Cable and President of the College Young People’s group. She said they missed me and wanted to know if there was anything they could do for me  and my work with the soldiers. Wasn’t that grand of them?), Aunt Annie, Paul and Gen, (a Christmas card and a short note with it), Newingham’s (a nice Christmas card), Gail Holly, Hollys (they enclosed with their letter one of those special shining clothes that Fuller brush sells. They were so thankful and happy for our present to them. I think they are going to write to you soon. They love you very much, Darling. Also, a letter from an officer in charge of an outfit guarding prisoners of war. I sent them some mother of pearl shells, for which they were most grateful. There were also three Red Cross letters. I investigated two of them already and will take care of the other one in the morning. You can see from that bunch of mail why it is already late. I didn’t have enough time to read them all during the day.

Of course the mail brings with it joy and sorrow, this being true, there were three soldiers to see me about sorrows. I wrote up the cases and sent radiograms immediately to the Red Cross to see what can be done with the above mentioned cases. I cannot go into details but I tried to help them as much as possible. One of the men was quite overcome with the sad news he had received. I’m so thankful I have learned to know Christ, he has certainly helped me along the way so many times.

Paul and Genevieve Vogel and their children. 1943

I think that was wonderful of Bob to bring the young boy to the Bible class at their church. I can easily see why Paul and Gen were so happy, I am so happy for them. By the way, the letters today contained some more pictures, there were three of them. Two of you studying in the library and the other with the children. Sweetheart, they are wonderful and I have looked at them more times than you will ever know. Remember, keep the pictures coming my way. I find they help me so very much. If you have an opportunity try to get a picture of Dr. Mantey, if you take one you stand with him and get someone else to take the picture. If Mrs. Mantey could be in the picture I think it would be nice also. I would also like to have a picture of Dr. and Mrs. Koller and the girls. I would like to see how much Carolyn and Evelyn have grown up. And a picture of Dr. and Mrs. Stiansen would be very nice also. Have you ever met Mrs. Stiansen? She is about the sweetest person I have ever met. The more pictures of you with other people the happier I will be. Always try to be in as many as possible Dear, for I love you more than you will ever realize, only in His glorious presence will we know fully of each other’s love.

I think it will be nice to give Bob, Dale and Dukie something for Christmas, and I feel as you do about giving something to Gen and Paul. If we should send them something they will think they should do the same for us. Their wonderful love and friendship is the finest Christmas present anyone could ever hope to have anyhow.

Darling, it is good to know that you have a better seat in chapel now. I cannot figure out why they seated you where they did in the first place. As you said before, it was hard for you to see over the heads of others. Now you’ll be able to study the speakers very well. Mofete and I shared the funeral service together for the native boy who died. Dear, you did very well in Christian Education. From what you told me in a previous letter, the questions were very vague but you did very well on the exam and I think your term paper must have been very very good.

I’m glad you had the opportunity to become acquainted with Geraldine Newton. She always seemed to be a very fine girl and we did have several very good talks together. I, as you, always admired her thoughts and convictions. From what you told me in your letters, I cannot for the life of me understand what Ralph is aiming at. He seems to be drifting along, perhaps I am wrong. I hope so. Is Bernce going with him very much?

As I said to you one other time, forget what the Arm Chair Generals and news commentators are predicting about the war. Most of them have never faced the jungle, the tropics or enemy bullets. It is easy to make predictions. If you want to find out the truth about this work, talk to the men who are doing the fighting and the junior officers who lead them. Unless something unforeseen happens, I do not expect to return to the mainland until late summer or fall of 1947. And if I return sooner so much the better. I would like to start home tomorrow, but that cannot be. There are so many things I would like to tell you and discuss with you.

From what you said about Mrs. Moen, she must have given the women of Taft Hall something to think about. I agree with her about going out and getting those who are in such places. Darling, I am no longer surprised at anything. I have had contact with individuals and cases that are enough to tear your heart out. Christian people are so sheltered to a lot of things which are taking place right in their own communities. Darling, again I want to warn you to be careful at night, please do not take chances of being out alone. With drinking so wide open and men with lustful passions, it is almost unpredictable what some of them may do. I give you this caution because of a couple of incidents which I have had contact with. Along with profanity and the degradation of mankind, I hear almost every kind of remark that a man of the world will or can make about a woman. I’m sure I need not go into details. If men will make the remarks and think such thoughts about women, it is impossible to tell what they may do when they have had a few drinks.  Especially is that true with men who are going back to the States after long tours of duty in this area. Remember, they are not all like that, but there are enough that I think you are to be careful Dear and avoid all things which will call for you to walk alone at night along some dark street in Chicago.  It is so hard to write this in a letter but I think you understand. Having discussed some of these things to an extent together, I think you will be able to read more between the lines. Remember what the last part of the first chapter of Romans had to say about such things.

It is certainly good to know the seminary has been able to buy the apartment building next to Wilkinson Hall. It will help the housing problem some at least. Darling, I have been using the hair preparation you sent, but I cannot tell whether it is helping any or not. Now that I have the opportunity I want to tell you that my new assignment is to an outfit that will probably go into combat sometime soon. It may be a month or it may be six, I cannot tell, but remember this, if you do not hear from me for sometime don’t worry, for when you are alerted, generally you are not allowed to write, and we will not be able to do so until we have invaded the objective and fully established our beachhead. I’m telling you this now because I might not have the opportunity later, it may happen as soon as I arrive or it may be quite a while yet. So remember, if you don’t hear for a while you will know we are moving out somewhere.

I thought for sure I would have a letter from my father today, but none arrived. I’m sorry he hasn’t written to you either. I hope you have heard by now so you can make some plans for over the holidays. Darling, please pray for my father, I do hope we will be able to lead him to Christ, and that this experience will make him happier.

Well, it is very late and I am tired so I think I will close for this time. God bless you in all things is my earnest prayer. Sweetheart, I love you more than words can ever tell. Give the folks and my father my love and best wishes.

Yours forever in the Love of Christ

Which makes us one,

Willis

P.S. I answered this letter this evening. It is from Gladys Carlson who accepted Christ while I was preaching at Lexington. I also married Gladys and Maurice. He accepted Christ, but being from Bloomington he didn’t join our church. Gladys’ brother Harold also started coming to Sunday school after I talked to him several times. I’m sending this letter because I thought you might like to read it. I love you, Darling.

December 17, 1944

December 17, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Another Lord’s day has slipped into Eternity and we are that much nearer being together. Sweetheart, I thought of you many times today. How happy and thankful I will be when we can be together working for the Lord. I had hoped we would have some mail today but none arrived. I am lonesome to hear from you. Dear, I wish there were someway for me to tell you just how much your letters mean to me in every way. Well, today is the last day you will mail your letters to me, that is, if you receive my letter telling you to do that. As soon as I know my new address and as soon as I arrive with the outfit, I will write you for I want those letters as soon as possible.

Services were attended fairly well today. In that next Sunday is so near Christmas, I am going to speak on a Christmas theme. So today I took an opportunity to talk to the men out of my heart, for it will be my last opportunity to talk to them in such away. Most of the men in attendance were the old faithful, so therefore it worked out very well for me. I used as my scripture Mark: 43-55. With this part of the fourth verse as the key, “And Peter followed at a distance.” The King James version has it, “and Peter followed him a far.” I used the Goodspeed which made it clearer. My theme was this, a person can never expect to know the glory of His presence if he follows Christ at a distance. I sought to bring out the necessity of living in such a way that those without Christ will want to know Him because they know you. In other words, one of my points was this, that the worst enemy of Christianity is not the outside forces but those within. From what several men told me afterwards, I believe the Lord was able to use the messages. Thank you for your constant and abiding prayer Lover, I was aware of it in a most wonderful way.

Lt. Harkness and Willis Reed. Natives in the background. June 1944.

I had dinner with the Infantry officers and visited with them for a while before returning to my quarters. I took time enough to take a nap. After that I got up and did some reading and then wrote a letter to Betty Weiskoph and the members of the Galilean Bible Class. I also wrote a letter to Calvin Lee who used to be down at the farm. He is in a new outfit. You will remember his aunt called you on one occasion.

After supper Raymond and I left for the Air Base services. We spent most of the time making final arrangements for our services this coming Sunday evening. We also practiced some of the songs we hope to sing at that time. The men who are interested in spiritual things are few and far between but they are good men, that is, I mean those who are interested are good men. They seem to hate to see me leave. I know I am going to miss some of them for they are really fine Christians.

When we returned to headquarters, Raymond and I stopped by the movie and watched the news reel and left before the main feature began. I came right over here to my quarters and started to write some more letters. I wrote to the following ones before I started your letter: Chaplain Schreyer, Connie and my Grandmother and Vivian Shaffer.

It was rather hot again this afternoon, but this evening a nice breeze came up which has made it nice and cool. You know Dear, I haven’t heard from my father for a long time. I wrote to him a little while ago. I’m wondering if you’ve heard from him. I do hope he received the money all right. I suppose he will arrive in Chicago sometime this coming week, unless something unforeseen happens. I do hope he enjoys himself and I am convinced your life will be a living testimony to him of what Christ is for a person who trusts and follows Him. It hardly seems true that Christmas is so near. I will appreciate anything you and the folks do for my father, I surely hope it doesn’t cause too much trouble. Personally, I think it will help my father to see old friends and meet new friends. Darling, I know you realize fully that I am most concerned about my father’s relationship to Christ. Thank you Darling for being such a good wife.

This coming week will probably be very busy and Sweetheart, I know I will think of you many times. How happy I would be if I were only coming home to you, Dear. By the way, my new APO number will be 98, but please do not start sending your letters until I give you further instructions. 98 will mean I am part of the 98th division. But I will not know what part of that I am assigned to until I arrive up there. I do hope we will have some mail tomorrow. It seems there was something else I wanted to write to you about, but I cannot think what it is now.

It is late and I am going to retire for tonight. God bless you Dearest and remember, I love you with my whole heart and life forever in the love of Christ Jesus. Be sure to give the folks my deepest love, and if my father is there when this letter reaches you give him my love also.

Forever grateful and thankful to God

For the privilege of being one with

You in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 16, 1944

December 16, 1944

My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

This has been a very different day than those we have been having for some time now. It rained here several times. And when the sun shone it was steamy hot. I suppose it was nice and cold back there. Today was filled with many different experiences, most of them will have to remain untold for now. It hardly seems that I accomplish anything even though I have been on the go all day. In spite of all that, I thought of you many times and wondered what you were doing, and most of all, I thought of how much you mean to me and how much I love you. 

This morning early I wrote a letter to Carl Anderson and then immediately following breakfast Raymond and I left for the Infantry area to see about an officer that need some attention. Later on, we went to the Air Base and while there I saw Captain Austin and we really had a good visit. After that, we left for the native village and I spent some time with Timete talking over some things that I am going to try and do for them this next week because it will be my last here. If a plane is departing from here on the 26th I will leave for Oahu at that time. From now on, I will be rather busy all the time. 

On the way back from the native village, we stopped by the farm and I had your Christmas present picture along and I showed it to Carl and several of the other men and they thought it was wonderful. Carl said you can see why his wife likes you so much, and more than that, he said he knows for sure why I am always talking to him about you. 

Timete – Native Overseer, Willis and Mofete – native Pastor.

We arrived back here just in time for dinner. After dinner I came back to my quarters and did my daily devotional reading. After that I sent Raymond to the village with a message that I wanted to send to Timete. Captain Wilkinson was going to the Air Base so he wanted me to go with him which I did. We saw a large passenger plane come in. There was a chaplain on board who is originally from Texas. He knew of Dr. Koller, and of course being a graduate of Southwestern, he knew all the great teachers and preachers down that way. He graduated from Southwestern in 1934. He has been down below and is going to be assigned now at Hickam Field. It really helped to see a chaplain again. 

After supper this evening, I drove up to the Infantry area and played some more badminton with some of the men. I came back here about dark, washed some clothes and then took a shower. I straightened what things I have left and now I am writing to you. All my other belongings have been sent on ahead. 

Before I started to write this letter, I read your letter of December 2nd over again, and as per usual, I enjoyed it very much. I will make a few comments about it. I got quite a kick out of you getting up in the middle of the night and rushing around thinking you were going to be late for work, evidently you were trying to make up for sleeping so very late that one morning. Was that it, Sweetheart?

I think that is very nice of Mr. Paul to let you study down at work while there on Saturday mornings. In a way, I think it will be good for you because it will break the routine for you. And if I know my Sweetheart, she would be working hard at a lot of other things at home. Remember Dear, the main thing is this, by all means be careful for your health and don’t overwork yourself. It will be good for you to have a Master’s degree, but I want you most of all to have a Ma’s (Mother) degree conferred by the Lord Himself. And we know if you overwork yourself and break, it will be harder for you to have the latter degree. I will be happy to see you get your Master’s degree and it will cheer me greatly, but most of all keep yourself physically fit. 

It seems so strange when you talk about it being cold back there. I wish you could put your cold feet on me tonight, yes, every night. That is one thing I will be glad to have you do again, I don’t care how cold they are. Because when your feet on my legs I know we will be very near each other. It is a sure thing if you’re down here, your feet would never have a chance to get cold. 

The way you fixed the boxes for the Oak Forest Home sounded very nice. You always do wrap up things so nice for Christmas. I do wish there was something I could give you for Christmas, but down here it is impossible to buy anything, and besides, if they did have things I would not know what would be best. Whatever would you like to have, be sure to buy it and consider it my Christmas present to you. 

I am glad to know that Connie came through the operation so well, from what you said, she must have had several tumors. She will probably feel much better now. I think it is very good of you to call them and pray for them. Perhaps our life for Christ will help them understand what it means to be a Christian. 

I have not heard from Chaplain Cavender since he went back to the States, but I have heard indirectly that he will be there for a while. His wife is improving slowly. They have a boy 10 years old and a girl 12. When we came overseas he showed me his family picture which was very nice. 

By the way, tell the Chief the perch are not out in the ocean proper, they are found in the lagoon around the areas where it is quite rocky. The reason they stay around there is because they can dash into the rocks when the big fish take after them. I would surely like to go fishing with the Chief some day. When I come back we will do that sometime. 

Thank you for sending me corrections, I appreciate that more than I can tell because I do want my letters to be correct. You are such a wonderful wife and Sweetheart. I appreciate your help and guidance more than you will ever know. Thank you for enclosing the Northern, I enjoyed it very much. It always helps to read about the school where old friends are going, and especially is that true when a person has someone as Dear as you are there. 

Lover, it is very late and I must get some rest before morning rolls around. God bless you in all things Dear and remember I love you now more than ever I have before. 

Yours in Christ’s Love, Forever and ever,

I love you Darling,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

December 15, 1944

December 15, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, another day has rolled by for which I am very glad because it means that it is one less that we will have to be apart. How thankful I will be when we don’t have to write letters to know what we have been doing. I hope you will have some mail soon for I’m rather anxious to know what you have been doing lately. Christmas is so very near, but it doesn’t seem at all possible that it will be here and gone. All holidays have lost their significance since we have been apart, Dear. 

I got up early this morning and wrote two letters, I wrote to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Mildred at York, Nebraska and I also wrote a letter to Dolores. After breakfast, Raymond and I went to the Air Base to see about final arrangements for our Christmas services. I talked with Chaplain Brady (Catholic Chaplain) for a while and then I went to the Air Base headquarters to see the new commanding officer about the time we have chosen for services. The Catholic chaplain will have a midnight mass at the Air Base and a service for the infantry at 9 o’clock Christmas morning. I have set up our services as follows: a Christmas Eve service at the Air Base at 7:30 PM and I will have a service at the Infantry area at 10:30 on Christmas Day. Now our problem will be getting everything in shape for a good program. It isn’t so easy when your facilities are limited as we are down here. I will be glad when the services are over for several reasons. 

I spent quite a while trying to locate a certain soldier about a problem the Red Cross has asked me to investigate, but I never did get a hold of him. I will have to see what we can do tomorrow. We returned just in time to give me time to read my devotional material before eating dinner. After dinner I came back to my quarters and did some more reading. Then I decided to go over and see Captain Wilkinson for a little bit. 

Sallman – head of Christ

By the way, I gave Raymond $10 as a Christmas present from us. I paid for a money order and asked him to have his wife get a nice home size picture of Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ. And I told him they could get something for the little baby with that which is left over. I told him they could consider the picture as our present to them and the other our present to their little boy Stewart. 

I had a few minutes this afternoon, so I worked on something which I am going to send to you as soon as I finish it. I hope you will like it, it won’t be a lot but is something I will have made myself. If I had more time I would really try to make some very nice things for you. But I cannot feel justified in doing these things when perhaps I can be doing something to help the men in some way or other. 

Immediately after supper Captain Wilkinson and I went down to the beach for a while and we looked for a few shells. I found several interesting ones. Before I leave here in the next two weeks I will probably send you another small box of shells. 

We didn’t stay long at the beach because we had to go to the Orientation lecture. But before it was finished it started to rain and we had to call it off, for which most everyone seemed grateful. We are approaching the rainy season now. While I was watching the news reel it rained again for a while. Say, by the way, if Mom still gets the Saturday evening post, take the time to read the editorial at the back entitled, “Is it a foreign policy or guesswork?” You will find it in the issue for October 28th, 1944. There is also another article entitled “Return Trip” which I think is very good. You will find it in October 14th, 1944 issue. I called your attention to this article because it is so very very true to actually what you will see on such a ship. Someday I will tell you of some of my experiences, and as I said before, there are a lot of them I hope I will forever be able to erase them from my memory. 

You were wondering if Dubner had anything to do with Arthur Mitchell accepting Christ. No, he did not, for Dubner is no longer here, and besides, Mitchell never did meet him. I am very much interested in Arthur Mitchell and I am going to help him as much as possible before I leave here, which is not very long now. 

I was glad to hear about John Raad’s ordination, it must have been very very nice. I will never forget my ordination, it meant more to me to have you there than you will ever know. Actually, whether you have ever realized it or not, you inspired me for that occasion. My how much I loved you, but how much more I love you now cannot in any way be described or expressed. Dr. Mantey must have had a lot of fun shooting rabbits.

I’m glad to hear that Chaplain Goe gave such a very fine message in chapel. I surely hope I will have the opportunity to meet him someday. We need many chaplains like him. The party they had for Lee sounded very nice and I’m glad you were able to attend. I hope everything works out well for them in their new church. 

It is certainly wonderful to hear about Bobby being so interested in other children and their relationship to Christ. It means everything for children to have parents like Paul and Gen. Won’t it be grand when we can have our own family? Darling, I look forward to that just as much as you do and there is hardly a day that goes by without me thinking of it sometime or other. 

Is the same old story and it is true, I am very tired and it is late. God bless you Darling in all things and remember I love you more tonight than ever before. And by this time this letter reaches you I will be loving you more.

Always and forever just yours in the

Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

P. S. I’m looking through a Cornet magazine I found something on the back cover. I read it and have my opinion or rather conviction. What do you think about it, Dear? And to think he is a relative of mine. If you remember I have told you about him. 

December 14, 1944

December 14, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

We had a pleasant surprise today with the arrival of some more mail. I received your letters for November 20th and December 2nd. Now I am missing your letters for November 29th, 30th, and December 1st. They will probably come in with the next mail, that is, I hope they do and I hope it isn’t too long before mail comes in again. As always, your letters are such a blessing to me and they mean more than words can ever tell. I’m glad your letter came for the 20th of November, because I had begun to wonder if it was ever going to come through.

Besides the letters I received from you I heard from the following people: Harold and Buena, Dolores, Laura and three other official letters. The letters from Harold and Buena and Laura also had very nice Christmas cards with them.

Today was as routine as ever except that we were paid this afternoon, and Darling, I think I will keep extra money this time because I may need extra going to my new assignment. And I think it would be a good idea to have some in case of an emergency. After I get to the Division and it looks like I won’t need the extra I will buy a money order immediately and mail it home to you. After we were paid I started to write some letters and then took my regular shower just before time to eat. After my supper I took a walk down the shore and did some reading and watched the mighty breakers coming in over the reef. This is the time of year when the land swells show up and there are really some tremendous waves coming in over the reef. Darling, I prayed for you and if thinking about you is broadcasting, you must have been able to pick up my messages of love on our wavelength. Darling, I cannot enjoy those things like I used to because a most important part of me is gone and I am sure you know that part is you. 

Life Magazine – December 1944.

After supper I came back to my quarters, that is after my walk along the beach, and started to write some more letters. Before starting this letter to you I wrote to the following people: Mabel, Kenyon and Gen, Don and Rachel, Harold and Buena, Jack and Bertha. I thanked each one of them for the nice Christmas boxes they sent. I sent them V-mail letters because I haven’t the time to write them each a long letter. When you see them be sure to explain that my time is so limited I couldn’t very well take much more time, and besides, you can keep them informed through the folks.

By the way, I finally received the pictures from the fellow who took my picture with the big fish I caught on one of the first fishing trips. I caught the ONO I’m holding with my left hand, I believe he weighed around 38 pounds dressed. The one I’m holding in my right was caught by Raymond, he weighed over 40 pounds but I can’t remember the exact weight. And just in front of my feet you will notice two tuna fish, Raymond caught one and I caught one but I don’t remember which was which because they weighed almost the same thing. You will also note the barrel of a gun. That was Lieutenant Fox’s gun, we took it along to shoot any tiger sharks that might try to eat our fish before we could get them in. It so happened that the sharks never did show up that day, and besides, Lieutenant Fox didn’t even get a strike that day. I have been out with the men when they got a nice one on the line like either of these in the picture and in two mouthfuls those tiger sharks will have all of the Ono eaten with the exception of the head. On a couple of occasions, tiger sharks have been landed when they bit on such a fish. The picture I sent you some time ago with me by the side of that big shark was such an incident. If I remember correctly, they shot that one five times with a 45 pistol before they were able to land him. 

I read your letters of November 20th and 28th and will probably make a few comments and answer as many of the questions as I possibly can. In your letter of the 20th, Mom and the Chief went to Dr. Lovell for a treatment. I certainly hope Mom regains her strength, be sure to tell her to be careful and not overwork herself. I was sorry to hear about the shoe situation with Bob. Why did he have the folks send him shoes? Does he have trouble with his feet?

Darling, you mentioned the fact that you received another statement about the personal property tax in East Moline. I think it is best to go ahead and pay it, and then have a clear conscience. Be sure to keep the receipt for our files. It isn’t much I know but I think it is better to do our part, otherwise some person may say things that would not necessarily affect us personally, but it might affect our usefulness in the work which is ours for the Lord. 

I was surprised to hear that the folks upstairs have a baby, I do hope it will be all right. Sweetheart, I know just what you mean when you said “I’m hoping.” No one hopes for our own children more than I do, Dear. You will be such a good mother. 

Sweetheart, it is very very late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight and try to answer some more of your questions in tomorrow evening’s letters. I love you more than ever Darling in all things. God bless you and give the folks my love.

Yours forever Darling in His mighty

Love. I love you so much, Dear.

Willis

Colossians 3:3