February 18, 1945

February 18, 1945

My Beloved Darling:

This has really been a very full day, I have been on the go since before dawn this morning. I am very tired tonight but I feel a deep sense of joy in my heart tonight because I know I have given the best that I could. In brief, I sought to be worthy of the Master’s use. The highlight of the day was the arrival of your letter for the 10th. Captain Wilson received two letters from his wife at the same time. Darling, I wish I could make you realize just how much I love you and how that I will ever only want to be yours. Be it forever known unto you that no one will ever be able to take your place. I love you unreservedly and I mean my love for you once and for all. All of the expressions I can think of seem inadequate when it comes to describing what is deep down in my heart concerning my feelings for you. Darling, thank you for being such a wonderful Christian wife and sweetheart to me.

Chaplain Lee of the hospital took very ill suddenly, so I was asked to take care of his service which he has at 9 o’clock. It is about 8 miles to the hospital so you can see you I really had my hands full. There were 46 men at the hospital service. I finished with the service at about 9:50 so you see you we had to really hurry to get back in time for my 10 o’clock service. We arrived here at the Regiment at about 10:15. The men very patiently waited; for one of the men informed them about the service which we had at the hospital. Well Dear, I’m glad to say that the number at our service climbed again this morning. There was a total attendance of 84. And when I gave the invitation a sergeant came forward to accept Christ. Thank you for your prayer Dear, I felt absolute freedom and I know that there was power there other than anything in me. I would like to tell you a few things, but after all the things that some said were not to my credit, but to our glorious Lord for all that we are together in Him we owe to Him.

I am enclosing this Sunday’s bulletin with this letter. I thought you might like to look at it. You’ll know that it is just the same as last weeks. Being out in the field as we were, we didn’t have enough time to make new ones so we used the same outside over again. Don, my assistant, in typing the order of our service forgot to type in the Scripture so I wrote it in with ink. You will also note that there is a little writing about, “Something to think about.” Last Sunday the soldier whose name is at the bottom went back to his tent and wrote what you see on the bulletin after hearing the sermon which I preached last week. He is a fine fellow and he said he wanted to see if he could write something worthwhile after hearing the message. He happened to show it to me this last week and I thought it was so very good that it deserved a place on our program. You will note that I preached on, “So take care how you listen.” I developed the message along the lines that there is a difference between hearing and listening. And only those who listen will receive the full fruition of the salvation we know in Christ. I may hear something, but listening carries with it in addition to hearing APPLICATION. I also brought out the point that you can hear a thunderstorm, but a mother’s love calls for listening. And I also applied Psalm 46:10.

Major Elliot on the pistol Range. From Sarah Reed’s scrapbook.

This afternoon I spent most of the afternoon talking to two men who came to my tent to talk about some religious problems. I talked to them for almost 2 hours. I certainly enjoy trying to help encourage men in the Christian life.

By the way, I forgot to tell you that Chaplain Wells came over to my quarters just before noon, so Captain Wilson, Captain Mason, Major Elliott, Paul and I had dinner together. We had a very nice time.

After the two men left, I studied for the rest of the time on my sermon for tonight. I preached on, “What difference does it make?” I used the outline which you sent me. I studied the whole book of I Thessalonians so I would have a clear picture. It was such a blessing to me that I skipped the evening meal and spent some time in meditation and prayer. After that, I went to Chaplain Kern’s 6 o’clock service. There were seven in attendance counting my assistant and I, and also his assistant. I am enclosing his service for this Sunday. You will note that he changed his evening service somewhat but he preached another five minute sermon and he shot at nothing and that is just what he hit. It is hard to do anything about his case because he is conceited and always half apologizes for the gospel. He said to me tonight that he changed the program a little because he thought that might develop interest. He talks about living up to certain ideals and to be good, but he hesitates to ask men to stand out firm and true for Christ. He came in the Army two months before I did and because he outranks me, he certainly lets it be known. Don’t think I’m complaining Dear, but that is just one of the unpleasant things I have to put up with. You would think with a fellow in such work you could have fellowship with but he is so two-faced that I do not care to be around him anymore than necessary. Please don’t worry about it Dear, because I will go ahead and do my best under all circumstances and I will preach Christ under any and all circumstances, for when I was ordained I excepted that vow and I mean to do it with all that I am. Darling, I am learning many things, this is very unpleasant at times, but I intend on having all the services I can for these men.

At our evening service Chaplain Wells led the singing which was very good. And I preached the sermon I told you about above. You’ll probably be interested to know that two men came forward tonight. Oh yes, we had 58 in attendance also, that was better then we have had thus far. You will remember they were having no evening services whatsoever when I arrived here. Several things were said to me after the service. I only wish you could have heard them. Chaplain Wells was also very kind in one of his statements.

After the evening service, Captain Mason and Captain Wilson walked to my tent with me and we had a good visit. I wanted to write this letter but he had some things they wanted to tell me. Darling, it is so very late that I must close. God bless you in all things, and remember, I love you more than ever I have before.

Always and forever just yours

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

February 17, 1945

February 17, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Is very late but I will take enough time to write you a letter and let you know that I have been on the go all day. I got up early this morning and took care of several things that needed attention. Of course, the highlight of the day was the arrival of your letters this afternoon. Your letters of February 9th and 11th arrived, but for some reason or other your letter of the 10th is missing. I am anxious for you to receive the box which I sent to you sometime ago. Darling, your letters always give me a real boost. I wish there were some way for me to be a to tell you just how much they mean to me. I know each time I read your letters I am more thankful unto the Lord for the privilege which is mine in being your husband.

This morning I called in at the hospital to see how our men are getting along. I always enjoy visiting with the men. I find that I never have enough time to really do all the visiting I would like with the men. You have to keep going or you will never be able to get anything done. This afternoon I gave a sex morality lecture to the men of our battalion, and besides that, I also talked to them about the excessive use of profanity. I didn’t pull my punches one bit and I called upon the officers of the regiment to set the example. I don’t know how all of them will take it, but two officers came to me after the talk and told me they were glad I had enough courage to say something about it. Some of the profanity you hear in the Army is enough to make you ashamed of how low men will sink in their normal communications with their fellow men.

Captain Mason and Soldiers. February 1945.

This evening Major Andraska, Captain Wilson and I had dinner together down in Honolulu. I also got to see several other men I have met since been over here. A couple of men were here to see me and as a result it is very late. By the way Dear, I don’t know whether you have thought about it or not, but a year and a half ago today I left Chicago for Harvard University.

I am going to answer your letter of February 7th and 8th. I’ve had the privilege of visiting with Dr. Koller’s friend, Mr. Elmer Staub. I visited with him when he was staying at the Steven’s Hotel. He is a very fine businessman. I was glad to hear that you got to see John Raad.  I’m sure he must be happy looking forward to marriage as he is. I was surprised to hear Cliff is in Germany. You remember he came back from East Moline with us the first Sunday we were there. When you see Vernon Ritter be sure to give him my best wishes. I am so glad to know that things are going along so well for Stan and Lee. I feel confident that the Lord will use them to His glory. I was surprised to hear that Bernard Kruse is still in the States. I remember him quite well, in fact, we had some very good times together when I first started to Northern. If I remember correctly, he has been in the Army about a year now. I was certainly surprised to hear about Ralph and Bob Spratlin getting such a large apartment together. I hope it will work out for them, but for some reason or other I don’t think it will be best. Something about the set up doesn’t seem good to me.

While looking through the paper today I found a cartoon which I thought the Chief might enjoy. Darling, it is so late and I am tired so I will close for tonight. May God richly bless you in all things.

Yours forever in the love of our

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

February 16, 1945

February 16, 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, we are out of the jungle tonight and I am going to be able to sleep on a cot. Really, after the first or second night you don’t mind sleeping on the ground. We were very busy this morning and then this afternoon I spent sometime trying to clean some of my equipment. So much rain and mud out there really messed things up, for some reason or other mud really sticks here. I’ve been on the go since before dawn this morning and it seems very little has been accomplished. The highlight of this day was the arrival of your letter for February 8th. Darling, it is always so good to hear from you and know you are getting along so well in school. I will certainly be glad when we can be together again and talk things over like used to do, there are so many things I would like to talk over with you.

Darling, besides your letters I had letters from the following people: Harry Janish, Vivian Schaeffer, Betty Riley and a very sweet note from Mom. I know it is hard for Mom to write because she feels that you tell all the news. But be sure to assure the folks that it means a lot to receive one of their good letters, because after all, it is reassuring, and sometimes that is all it takes to tide you over some of the rough spots. Darling, I have seen so many of these men who all they need is some real love. And whenever I see such cases I cannot help but think of that grand hymn, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus.”

Captain Wilson. February 1945.

By the way, I don’t think I mentioned it to you but Captain Wilson told me that he would figure up my income tax for last year, in this last week while we were in the field he did so, so this evening I bought a money order for eleven dollars and will send it in. You see, Captain Wilson is our personnel officer, and as a result he knows just how much I have been paid for the whole year. I’m going to send the duplicate tax form and money order receipt to you to keep among our important papers. That which you get is so small that he said to forget it. And by the way, what I earned last year was so small that we didn’t have to make a report.

After reading for a while this evening, I took enough time to write a letter to Dr. and Mrs. Mantey. I am very tired but I wanted to write to them, because if I put it off I don’t know when I will have time. I also wrote a letter with the money order and tax form which I am sending in this evening. By the way, in the letter which Vivian wrote to me she enclosed to an article out of the Tribune about my old assignment. I will send it to you because you might like to keep it. I’m also going to mail you the letter which Captain Wilkinson wrote me yesterday. Dear, it is so late and I am tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Yours only I am in the love

Of Christ Jesus.

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S By the way, a year ago tonight was the last time I heard your voice. God bless you, Dear.

February 15, 1945

February 15, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Well, another day will soon be past and I know I will certainly be glad when I can roll up in my blanket for the night. Right now I’m so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’ve been on the go since before dawn this morning. I went to several of the problems this morning, and enjoyed it very much. I really had to crawl over some rugged ground. This tropical vegetation is so thick in some places that you can only see a few feet. Another thing that helps to make me so tired is the fact that in the middle of the night we were awakened to go on an alert. Then another time it rained very hard and that woke me. As I said in yesterday’s letter, rain on a pup tent certainly makes a lot of noise.

February 15, 1945.

Darling, you will be interested to know that we had our midweek service last night and there were 38 to present. I had hoped for more, but when you are out in the field like this it is rather hard for the men to gather in one place. I picked a high spot of ground where we could see the towering mountains off in the distance with the sun painting many different colors on the great thunder heads. It sprinkled several times during the service, but I went along alright anyhow. From the point I had chosen, we could get a wonderful view of the mighty Pacific. I know you would’ve enjoyed the beauty of the spot. We sang three songs during the service and they were for the opening, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, and just before my message, “Day is Dying in the West.” And after the message “Abide with me.” In that yesterday was the beginning of Lent, I used as the theme of my message, “Give up those things once and for all that will not lead to the joy and peace the Lord has promised.” I used as my text Galatians 5: 16-26. Someday I will try to tell you more about the service and the setting. Darling, some of the terrain out here would make the Dunes look like a picnic in comparison, that is, when it comes to climbing them. On a volcanic island like this, you really run into some rough and rugged ground, especially when so much of it is formed from solid rock.

By the way, this noon the mail orderly brought out a little mail, and all that I received had been sent down below and returned. There were three copies of North Shore Baptist and The Guide. The latest date being January 30th. I don’t understand it, they sent me two directly to this address of an earlier date, for now some reason or other they are sending them to my old address. Dear, will you please check into that for me and see that they send those things to me at my present address? It always takes a lot longer to get here this way, and besides, it is a lot of work for the mail orderlies to check back through the files and find out where you have gone. And then of course it takes up valuable shipping space. I know it is a big headache for the men who are continually checking back to find out where certain individuals are. Some are so careless about changing their addresses. As small an outpost as my former assignment was, I have seen them send out as many as 11 sacks of mail that had to be forwarded. So you can see, the result when people are careless about changing their addresses. The same thing happened with material from the Judson Press, for a couple of weeks they sent us things to me at this address, now I am receiving things of a later date which are being sent to my old address.

I also got a nice an v-mail from Captain Wilkinson, as soon as I answer it I will mail it on to you because I think you might like to read his letter. Dear, I got a card from Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Koelsch at North Shore Baptist Church. I must confess, I don’t know who they are, I guess I’m getting very forgetful. Please enlighten me, for I would like to know who they are. It was a very nice Valentine’s card.

Now I will answer some of your questions beginning with your letter of February 5th. Darling, thank you for praying for our work, it is growing. Of course, it isn’t as large as I would like but when you consider the fact that they have never had such things before, it is coming along. As I said one other time, in work like this you cannot count anything for sure because men so often want to see you and they may come in at most any hour. You were wondering if they have blackouts here anymore. No they do not, only on practice air raids. However, they do have a curfew which means that everyone must be in their permanent locations by 10 o’clock.

I was surprised to hear how Bartels talk about the Baptist Leader. I agree with you Dear, I think he didn’t use very good judgment in bringing the matter up as he did it. As I have said to you before, there are ways of doing things that I personally feel that way isn’t the best. It was surely a great surprise to me to hear that Paul Allen has resigned as the pastor of Judson Church. Dr. Frazier used to be pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bloomington, Illinois and I understand that he did a marvelous work while pastor there. In fact, I think he did the best work of any man in the the history of the church. At least Miss Hulva used to tell me that, you’ll remember she was the woman in the Bloomington hospital who was a sister of Aunt Annie’s.

I am surely glad to hear that things are going along so well for Stan and Lee. Surely it is alright with me for you to let Stan use our typewriter until he can get his fixed. It is good to know that they have been able to raise so much for the Benders. Going through such things are indeed difficult, especially when going to school. Darling, under present conditions I feel it is not wise to take time off, as I have said before, I want to do my best to see that things are going before I take a day off. If I could explain some things to you, I think you would understand, but that isn’t possible at the present time.

Dear, I feel about Amy just like you do, and after reading what you said I can easily see what she has in mind, especially after reading your letter. I’m going to send her letter to you to read. You can see she has certainly wrapped Chester and Dorothy around her finger. And I know from several sources that materially they have collected plenty. You remember how she used to act when I would refuse to let her buy things for you or for me. I wish she would catch on to herself.

Well Dear, I see the mess line is forming and it will soon be dark so I will have to close for this time. God bless you in all things. I love you more today than I ever have before.

Yours always in the love

Of Christ which makes us one,

Willis

P.S. I forgot to tell you that I wrote a short note to Dolores last night with the use of my flashlight. I also wrote to Jack and Bertha. It is rather cramped writing in a pup tent, especially when you have all your equipment on the inside as I have to have to keep them from being soaked. A field organ is no good at all if they ever get wet.

Colossians 3:3

February 14, 1945

February 14, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, another day is almost past and I am tired as can be. I imagine I will be able to sleep very well tonight. It rained very hard during the night and as a result I was awakened several different times. Rain on your little pup tent generally makes a lot of noise. All morning it was really muddy and wet as we walked around through the jungle. When we came in this noon we were all very hungry and tired.

Last night after I wrote your letter, I went over to another location to find the Catholic chaplain. Today is the beginning of Lent and of course that is a very important day as far as the Catholic men are concerned. He is coming over here in a little while to have a short service for the Catholic men and provide ashes for their men. By the way, you will probably be wondering about Bible class in midweek service, in that Paul Wells is still at our same permanent location, I asked him to take care of those services in our absence. It is just the second battalion that is out here for the week. The other two battalions and service units attached are back at our permanent headquarters. However, we are planning a service (midweek) here for the men tonight. It looks rather rainy right now, but I’m going to try and have service anyhow.

Early this morning I got up and studied and prepared our bulletin for this coming Sunday, I also worked on my message for this coming Sunday morning. After eating this noon, I came over to my little pup tent and I took the time to write a v-mail letter to Dale Vogel. His birthday will be February 24th, it isn’t much, but I thought it might make him happy. I also wrote a short note to Carl Anderson wishing him a happy birthday, his birthday is the 17th. In that it was a year ago today that the Hollys took me to the train for my departure for the Port of Embarkation, I wrote them a little note. I never shall forget their kindness to me. They are certainly like my very own. Darling, I know you will love them very very much. I also wished them a happy wedding anniversary. The date of their anniversary is February 25th. Darling, I will enclose some of their last letters in this letter to you and then you can place it with the other letters they have written to me in the past.

Willis Reed and Paul Wells. February 1945

Well, that is about all the details I will be able to give you now, so I will answer some more of your questions in your last letters. Our mail orderly hasn’t returned as yet, but I am not expecting any mail after getting so much the other day. Your description of Mabel and Mom looking for a coat was good and I can almost visualize them in the midst of the whole escapade. Yes, Paul Wells remarked about you being in his Theology class last year and he also told me what a fine girl he you were and what a very fine student. Paul isn’t assigned into our outfit, it just happens that his outfit is stationed at the same headquarters.

Helen Christie is certainly a problem to me. That girl is going to have to get a hold of herself or she is going to end up in a most miserable situation. I was also surprised to hear that Gilbert Davis and Pat Vaux are going to be married. Of course, I don’t know Gilbert very well, but it seems to me they are not the best suited couple. Nevertheless, the main thing is that the Lord’s will be done.

I was certainly surprised to hear that Kenyon has a farm now down in Texas. I suppose one of these days he will be buying another one of the planes like the government has up for sale.

From what you said in your letter, you must have had a nice visit with Margaret’s family. I am so glad to know that they are such fine people. I know that Bob and Margaret will be happy when they can be together. And I hope it won’t be too much longer before they will be able to be together. Your description of their apartment was very good and sounded nice and cozy. I was glad to hear that you finally got to see Vivian Schaeffer, she is such a fine Christian girl. I was glad to hear that Norma is getting along so well. I know that must be a real encouragement to Mrs. Wheeler. 

The Men’s Class night sounded very good, but I was sorry to hear that the service was so long. I agree with you about applause in the church. It just doesn’t seem that it is the proper place for applause. To me, it always seems something is lost when the people applauded. Dear, I, as you, like the bas-relief very much. The series of sermons that Dr. Wilson is going to preach sounds interesting. I was surely glad to hear how the Chief entered into the part of getting as many as he could out for the Men’s Class night. You can be assured that I will continue to pray for him.

Well Darling, I will have to close for now, it looks like it might rain, but I’m going to try and have midweek service anyhow. God bless you Dear in all things. I love you more than words can tell.

I am forever just yours 

in the love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed are the last letters from Hollys.

February 13, 1945

February 13, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Just about dark last night the mail orderly came around and to my great surprise there were four more letters from you, they were for February 2nd , 5th, 6th, and 7th. Your last letter was postmarked out of Chicago at noon on the eighth, which meant it reached me here in this jungle training spot in four days. That is certainly record service. It will soon be a year since I came overseas and that is the fastest and best mail service I have had yet. I’m quite sure that I will not hear from you now for at least three or four days. Darling, your letters were very beautiful and they helped me so much. I crawled in my pup tent and read your letters with my field flashlight. I slept quite well last night except for a few mosquitoes. It started to rain during the night, and while I was trying to close up the end of my tent to keep from getting wet, a few mosquitoes got in and bothered me for quite sometime. When you are so tired even the hard ground isn’t noticeable.

Willis and Mr. & Mrs. Holly.

It will soon be dark so I will try to answer a few of your questions. We have been on the go since before dawn this morning and that is all I can say now. We have covered a lot of ground today and most of us are pretty weary. By the way, I failed to tell you above that I also got a very nice letter from the Hollys. They are both much better and are still carrying on their splendid work with the College Young People’s BYF at their church. I wrote them a very short letter because I have no idea when I will have the time to write them a decent letter. I just took enough time to let them know that I am alright and love them very much for all their goodly counsel for the young people.

It is certainly good to know that Dr. Frickenberg has been bringing you such fine messages. As you say, such men are blessings to your heart and life. All of the things that you told me, you mentioned in his messages are certainly true, I have had occasion to see them firsthand. You know Dear, I always told you that I didn’t care too much for Kinzer, and if you will remember, I told you that I hated to see Ralph Cathcart so friendly with him. I hope that Ralph soon straightens himself out and settles down to what he really intends to do. Nevertheless, the important thing is the fulfilling of the will of the Lord.

Well Darling, it is so late I can hardly see anymore so I must close for now. God bless you in all things, and remember, I love you more than ever.

Yours forever in the love of our Lord Jesus,

Willis

P.S. I’m enclosing a little picture which I found on the front of a Time magazine. I liked it very much and I thought you might like it also. You know what I thought when I saw it??????

Colossians 3:3

Ruth 1:16-17

February 12, 1945

February 12, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Wife:

I have my typewriter with me out here in the field, so I’m going to try and get a letter off to you before dark. My assistant and I have just finished pitching my pup tent, and in that there is nothing to do for a few moments, I will write this letter to you. I was very greatly and happily surprised a few moments ago when our mail orderly brought me two of your letters for February 3rd and 4th. Your letter of the second is missing but it will soon be here I suppose. I have read your letters twice already and will probably read them again before dark. As always, your letters were a blessing to my heart and I cannot help but thank the Lord for your wonderful life and love.

Early this morning I got my equipment ready and they picked it up and brought it out with the first troops. There was a man who wanted to see me before I left and that took almost an hour before I could finish with him. As you might expect, it was another marital case and there is a two -year-old son involved. It so happens that both of them are at fault and I really talked cold turkey to the fellow. Just think of it, he hasn’t written to his wife or asked about the baby for almost 6 months. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking of. Since being in the Army I have found that some people live lower than animals. Some of the sins of the flash which I have run into almost seem beyond human understanding. There is certainly an urgent need for sex education. Be on the lookout for any helpful material, and if you find any, be sure to file it away for I am sure it will prove helpful. By the way, before I left Captain Olsen and I had a good visit for about 10 minutes, he is absolutely one of the finest Christian officers I have met since being in the Army. He is a real Christian and he lives it every day. He told me this morning that he has more joy out of our friendship than he has had since he has been in the Army. He is been in the Army over four years. Naturally, when we are together you and his wife (Mary Alice) are the main topics of our conversation. He is blessed with a good wife, just as I am and we cannot help but rejoice about it. Whenever we meet, generally the first thing I’ll say is, “Well, I love Sarah more than ever.”, then he will say no, then he will say, “I love Mary Alice more than ever.” Then I will reply, “Is that right? Well, I love Sarah more than ever because I feel it.” And Darling that is true, at the end of each day I wonder how I could ever love you anymore, but as sure as a next day comes I feel deep within me a deeper love than the day before. I think it is like the chorus that you and I like so well. “Everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” However, I would say that this way, “Every day with Sarah is sweeter than the day before.”

Willis and Captain Mason. February 1945.

Captain Mason and I have just had a talk, but he is gone now and I am going to try and write some more to you and answer some of the questions in your last letters. I have more time right now then I will the rest of the week. I’m going to start with your letter of January 29th and go right up to letters I received today. If I can, I will answer those tomorrow. The term paper you are going to write on, “The Brethren of the Common Lot” sounds very interesting. I remember reading about them in Church History but I have forgotten a lot of it now. Won’t it be a lot of fun when we can talk these things over and discuss the many things we have learned? I am certainly thankful for the opportunity which is yours in taking Church History under Dr. Stiansen. I think he is one of the finest teachers that has ever been my privilege to know. He is such a fine consecrated Christian and that means so much. There isn’t anything he does which would make you think that he doesn’t love the Lord. Praise the Lord for such men.

In your last letter you asked what made the chaplain’s meeting such a flop. It isn’t so easy to say on paper, but briefly it seems there is not enough interest about the real relationship of men with Christ. When we had our meeting last Tuesday in a certain place (eating) all of them had their cocktails but three. That is, they were sipping them during the time of the meeting. There is one other Baptist Chaplain, he is a graduate of Rochester and very liberal to say the least. Perhaps it’s just me, if it is, please forgive me, but I cannot see this business of holding a service and thinking that sufficient for the needs of men’s souls, especially when there is never an opportunity for men to take an initial stand. By the way, the other chaplain didn’t have anyone come out for his service which I sent you in last night’s letter.(I mean his evening service). He had 47 at his morning service. And you will recall from last night’s letter how many we had. I shall count on your prayer for our services for I am interested in reaching these men.

I hope by the time this letter reaches you that the box will have arrived. Darling, it gave me a great deal of joy to buy those things for you. And I do hope that you will like them. I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to find anything for the Chief. Thanks for your suggestion as to a little gift for him from out here. The only thing they have along that line are tremendously high, but if I watch I may be able to find something for him. By the way, when I was getting these things for you and Mom, I happened to see little outriggers which were not as nice as those which the natives gave us, with price tags on them anywhere from five dollars to $12.50. The only difference being that those they were selling in Honolulu had been varnished. And Darling, those necklaces with the tiger shelves like Mofete made for you had the price tags on them from $15-$18. The ordinary necklaces with the white cowrie and a black shell at the bottom were five; two six dollars and right up the line. I looked at some of them and the workmanship on them was not as good as those the natives gave us. And besides, all their gifts to us have the added beauty of the fact that I knew them and worked with them for Christ. Oh yes, they had a finger shell, not near as nice as the first one I sent you and they wanted $10 dollars for it. By the way, the mats for Gen and Paul and the purses for you and Mom are made from the native Lauhala or Pandanus tree. If you look in the book I sent you about Hawaii you will see a picture of the Lauhala tree. The purses, the mats and the wooden centerpiece were all made by native Hawaiian people. The center piece is made of Milo wood.

From what you have been telling me in your letters, the Chief must be having a great time with the shells. I’m glad he likes them so much. He will probably have quite an exhibit down at the office. I would certainly like to see it some day. I surely love the Chief so much, I only hope I can make him happy and that he can feel grateful to the Lord that I am his son-in-law. Your description of the children (Paul’s and Gen’s) are certainly good, from what you tell me, you must really be going a lot. Isn’t it grand to have such fine children? I do hope we shall have the opportunity to have our own. It is certainly good to know that Stan and Lee are getting along so well. We need more of their kind. It was good to hear that people have been so good to them for I know they will need it. Will Stan be able to finish this May? By the way Dear, I have prayed about it, and personally feel that we are to pay the difference in rent for Paul and Gen. What do you think? I don’t want to see Paul working extra either, I would rather see him working less hours if anything. Dear, I think it would be best for you to put it right up to them them and tell them that we feel led to do that with our money. Assure them that the money which we earn is a sacred trust, etc. I wish they would put in a request for one of those apartments right away, otherwise they may hesitate and lose out. Please talk to them Dear and get them to have one of the apartments reserved.

My Dear, don’t you ever worry about saying the same things over and over again, it is a blessed privilege to read anything you say because I know that you mean what you say. And it does mean a lot to read your “I love yous!” It is certainly good to know that you are having the privilege of hearing such a good missionary as Dr. Frickenberg must be. The things that Dr. Richardson told you in your second session sounded very interesting and I agree with him fully.

It is so strange to hear how cold it is back in the States when it is so nice and warm here all the time. I can see from all reports that they have had a rather hard winter this year. I suppose all of you folks will be glad when winter is over. Well Dear, that includes all of your questions up through February 1st. I will answer the third and fourth in tomorrow’s letter if I find the time.

Dear, we have a phonograph with a loud speaking at attachment in the regiment which I can use for services. But I don’t have any appropriate records. I’m wondering if you would speak with Maurice and Edith and see if one of the young peoples groups or the Philathea or Women’s Class would like to buy about a dozen or so records for us, which we could use in services. Such records as Beverly Shea, John Charles Thomas. I want them all sacred music, not classical, there is plenty of that in the other chaplain’s record collection. Don’t send those others I sent home to you, I would rather have the newer records which have been electronically recorded. Please check up on that as soon as possible and if there is any group interested, have them sent as soon as possible because I would like to have them before we move up.

Darling, this letter is longer than usual but all books in this world could not sound the depths of my love for you. I must close now because darkness is creeping up on us and I want to do a few things before too late. God bless you Beloved and be sure to convey my love to the folks.

Yours forever in the love of our

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. We certainly have a beautiful view of the mountains from here. We are in the midst of a lot of tropical vegetation. It looks like rain, but I have my tent ditched in case it does rain.

P.S. By the way, Legion (Hamilton Post), or Men’s Class may be interested in sending records. I’ll leave it up to you and Jacksons.

February 11, 1945

February 11, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Wife:

I am so tired I can hardly see straight but I do want to take a few moments to write to you. As you know, I love you more than ever and I am ever so grateful unto the Lord for your precious love. I had hoped there might be a letter from you today, but none arrived so I thought about you a lot and thanked the Lord many times for the wonderful privilege which is mine in being your husband. The only thing that I had in the mail was second-class materials such as papers from ABPS.  I also received the book from the Galilean Bible class, the name of the book is, “How to read the Bible” by Julian Price Love. I have read parts of it before and found it very very good. I’m going to use it in connection with our Bible classes.

Willis Reed preaching at a memorial service while still on Christmas Island. 1944.

Well, this morning I preached to the largest group since my coming into this outfit. There were 71 in attendance. I had hoped for more, but I shall keep on doing my best and perhaps we will reach our intended goal. I certainly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me as the service was going on. I could not help but realize that you were praying for our services in the chapel. There were 38 in attendance. Paul Wells led the singing and had the prayer. I preached on “What’s your ceiling?”, using as my text Genesis 13:1-15. Having flown so much since coming overseas, I realize the importance of ceilings. The four points of my sermon were, “no ceiling, low ceiling, high ceiling and ceiling unlimited.” I am thankful to tell you that a man came forward tonight. That is one more, keep praying Dear, for I am anxious to win men for Christ. I am going to pass this onto you, I hesitate to do so, but you asked me to tell you some of these things, but here goes. A men after the service was over tonight came to me after the service and said with tears in his eyes, “Chaplain, I have been in the Army over four years now and that was the greatest sermon I have ever heard since being in the Army.” This man came because he had heard about the services, he isn’t a man out of our organization. He further said he was glad to see a chaplain who had enough courage to give an invitation to the men at the close of the service. He said other things but that is all I will tell you now.

This afternoon Captain Wilson and I had a good visit for about an hour. We had such a good time talking about our wonderful wives. He is a fine Christian man and I am thankful to God for his kind. I know that he has a good wife and I only hope you will have the opportunity to meet her some day. Later, a soldier came to see me about a problem and that took up most of the afternoon. After church an officer wanted to see me about something, so I talked to him for a long time, I will tell you about it some day, Dear.

Darling, I had hoped to answer the last of your questions but I am so tired and weary that I will have to go to bed. We leave early tomorrow morning for more training out in the field, so we will be roughing it till the week end. I will do my best to write to you, Dear. By the way, I am going to enclose another one of the other chaplain’s programs. Note the evening service, I attended the morning service and it was filled with more of the same. It just makes your heart ache, I often wonder what they think being a chaplain means.

God bless you Dear in all things and be sure to give my love to the folks. I love you more than words can ever tell.

Always and forever yours in

The love of Christ Jesus

Willis

Colossians 3:3

February 10, 1945

February 10, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, I was happily surprised today with the arrival of your letter of January 17th. I had really thought it must have been lost. With the arrival of that letter I have all of your letters now up through and including the first of February. It will be nice if one of your letters comes tomorrow because it will be 13 months since we saw each other. I certainly hope it won’t be that much longer, but it is very hard to tell how long it may be before we will be able to be together again. As always, your letter was an inspiration to me even though it was an older letter.

Picture sent from Willis to Sarah. Taken from Sarah’s scrapbook. 1945.

For a while I studied this morning and then I spent the rest of the time with the men. You do have to have some time alone. They have an officer’s club here in the area, but I never go unless I have to, as for example, when they show us secret pictures. I’m sure I need not explain why I do not though. My coworker spends a lot of time playing cards and so on with them, but as for me, all the available time I have I am going to use it to become better acquainted with the Bible and to know our Lord better. When you are out like this you need that indwelling presence and power more than ever because there are untold numbers of things to be faced and cope with, and apart from His help, I have found it impossible to do so. I’ve learned to love and rely upon Christ more than ever. There are times when you almost feel like your heart will break, but then I remember Christ and your wonderful love and it does help carry me on with whatever may be at hand to do.

This afternoon I spent the entire afternoon visiting with men in the large hospital. I always enjoy such visitation with the men. Just as I was ready to leave, Chaplain Lee asked me to have dinner with him this evening. So my driver and I stayed with him. It is so much nicer where he is, it is entirely different from our field set up out here. It started to rain here about 4 o’clock and has been raining since. It has stopped now for a little bit, but we still have an overcast. This evening I found a very nice valentine from the Larson’s that was thoughtful of them to send it to me. When you see them, be sure to thank them for me.

I studied for a while this evening and then I wrote a letter to Chaplain Schreyer, to Mrs. Riley in Boston, and a short letter to Paul and Gen. Darling, I will seek to answer some of the things in your letter of January 17th as well as the last of the letters which I have not answered before. I was surprised to hear about Kelvin Lee sending you the Honolulu papers, that was certainly kind and thoughtful of him. I haven’t seen him yet, but I hope to do so soon. Dear, I think that was very kind of you to give more toward helping with the funeral for little Shirley Bender.

Dear, it seems you are having a trying time with the Intermediates. But from all indications you have more influence than you now realize. Keep up the good work and the day will come when you will be able to see what was accomplished in the past. I know it is trying, I would certainly like to work with a crew like that; that age has always been very challenging to me. It is so late and I am so tired that I will close for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things. Give my love to our dear friends.

Yours forever in the love of Christ

Which makes us one,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Find enclosed tomorrow’s bulletin and a believe it or not about the Infantry which is very interesting and TRUE.

February 9, 1945

February 9, 1945

My Dearest Darling:

Again this evening I was pleasantly surprised with the arrival of your letter for February 1st. That is the best mail service I have ever had since being overseas. I suppose we will be in for a spell going without mail for awhile. That is certainly wonderful mail service. I certainly feel badly about not receiving your letter of January 17th , that must have been the letter where you told me about receiving my letter telling you to go ahead and send money to my father, for I have never received any other letter from you and mentioning it outside the one which I received yesterday when you told me to send the money out here if I wanted to. Darling, your letters are such a blessing to me in every way. I will certainly be glad and thankful when we can be together again and talk as we used to do. It was always such a blessed privilege to pray with you in each other’s arms.

John R Mott.

Well, Beloved, this has been a very busy day. I spent a part of the morning calling on men in the hospital and then came back to be with the men in the field for awhile. After dinner, I studied on my sermon for this Sunday. After I did that I read the book entitled, “The Larger Evangelism” by John R. Mott. It is certainly a wonderful book. It isn’t very long and I am going to send it to you soon, for I know you will enjoy reading it. Dr. Mott is surely a wonderful Christian man. I would like to have the privilege of meeting him someday. We certainly need more men like him.

Immediately following supper we had an officer’s meeting which lasted for almost an hour. As soon as that was over, I came back to my tent and wrote a letter to my father and one to Betty Weiskopf. I am going to send her letter to you, for I am sure you will enjoy reading it. I’m certainly thankful to God for such a wonderful young peoples group. Wasn’t that nice of them to offer to give me $5 a month for our work out here? I wrote and told them to take the five dollars each month and mail The Pocket Bible Handbook to us, that is one of the finest things you can give men who are really interested in Bible study. And I find that book is one of the best source books also. Don’t you think that it is the best thing, Dear? I love you so, Darling. Every time I think about you I find that I love you more. In my letter to my father I let him know how much you think of him, I know that will cheer him a lot. The two letters that I have received from him since he had the trip show more joy than I have seen him express since I can remember, we shall continue to pray for him, Dear.

Well, I am going to answer some more of your questions now. I am catching up with your letters now, it won’t be long until I am up on your letters. That was a nice letter from the Sparks family, thank you for sending the news on to me. They were always so good to me and I could not help but love them. They certainly have three fine sons. Their kind are few and far between. I was rather surprised to hear that Edwin was flying now. Yes, if Dr. Stiansen teaches his Cults class next year it would be well to take it, for I am sure you would enjoy it. Anything under him is good, you can be assured of that. I’m sure you will see why I always liked his teaching so well. The men in the Army have their idea about Elliot becoming a General but there is little they can say or do. There are many men who are so far his superior that it makes you feel badly, one I have in mind right now will be lucky to become a first lieutenant. He should have been one a long time ago, but they buck it back every time saying there is no place for him at that rank. There will be many a good man come out of this Army lucky to have risen one rank, but thank God some of these men who now go around with such a high and mighty air will be asking privates and corporals for jobs when they become civilians. Darling, you see a little bit of everything in the Army. You know the old saying, “Some people grow with the responsibility, others just swell.” My heart goes out to a many of the enlisted men.

When you see Vernon Ritter again be sure to give him my best wishes. He was one of my best friends while I was going to Northern. Thank him for praying for our work out here, I assure you, as well as all our friends, it does help us over some of the rough spots. The program which the Middlers gave sounded very good.

Dear, it is good to know that you got yourself a new pair of galoshes. And I am happy that you got the new dresses. You know it is perfectly alright with me, as I have told you many times before, I want you to have all your needs supplied. Please do not go on without the things you need. I think it was sweet the way you drew pictures of them and the little pieces of material gave me a fairly good idea what they look like. Be sure to have your picture taken in them so I will see how grand you look, Dear. Whenever I can get an extra moment I always look at your pictures, for they do help. 

You asked me in one of your letters who furnishes the music for our services. Donald McClintock, my assistant, plays the field organ at the Sunday morning service which is held out in the open. A the Sunday evening service, we use the chapel I told you about before.  In the chapel they have an old broken down piano, but it is just a little bit better than nothing. We are supposed to have a day a week off unless there is an emergency of some kind. But as yet, I haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Perhaps I will try to take a day off this next month some time.

What you and Mom said about Dr. Wilson is quite true. I shall pray for them. I do hope to be a real minister and servant of the Lord. If there are things in my life which ought to be removed please let me know Dear, for I do want to be the kind of husband you can love unreservedly because my life tells for Christ. Darling, you will remember that I told you how fine North Shore was under Dr. Virgin until just the last year or two. You will remember that I also told you that it doesn’t seem like the same church as when I was working with young people.

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

Forever yours in the love

 of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3