January 10, 1945

January 10, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

This has been a very busy day but I have thought of you many times and found many reasons for thankfulness to our Lord for your precious life. A year ago tonight was our last evening together and I thought about that more times than you will ever know. 

This morning I spent all my time studying and getting some things in order here in my quarters. As I studied I thought of some of the good discussions we have together. It is certainly a blessing to have such hallowed memories, especially during this time of our separation. I worked and meditated on my message for the midweek service. The rest of the time I spent reading my devotional material. 

Note from Captain Hirsch to his wife. Sent through Willis and then Sarah.

Immediately following the dinner hour, I left here to do some more hospital calling. It was certainly good to see the men. While calling at one hospital I saw Captain Hirsch. By the way, he has been very sick. (Don’t tell Mrs. Hirsch though, because there is a lot of domestic trouble.)  As I told you last spring, I was afraid it was coming. It is very difficult to write things in the letter, that is to a satisfactory understanding on your behalf. I feel it unwise to say anymore. I talked to him for sometime and the whole case reveals the lack of Christ in their relationship with each other. You cannot be unfaithful and expect to harvest joy and peace of heart. Pray about it Dear, as you know the future years of their daughter’s life is involved. 

It was time for supper when we returned to headquarters. After supper, a certain officer came to my quarters for a visit. We had a good time until I had to leave for the Post Chapel for our first midweek service. I am thankful to report there were 17 in attendance at our first meeting. There was an officer there also. It is very late now because two soldiers stayed to visit me for quite a while. It is certainly a privilege to become acquainted with such fine Christian men. 

By the way, while in a certain PX I bought two more caps, a picture folder for the Holly’s picture and a pair of sunglasses. I hated to spend the money for them, but they do help when on certain types of training. They had cheaper ones but I bought a pair of polarized glasses which cost $16. That is certainly a lot of money for sunglasses, but I thought they would be better in the long run. 

Darling, do you remember what we did together for the last time a year ago last night? I often think about it and wish we could do such things again. Do you ever think about it? 

I will certainly be happy when some of your letters start coming through, I’m so lonesome to know what you have been doing. 

Dear, it is very late and I must go to bed because I’m leaving here early in the morning with a company of men on some specialized training. I think a good way to learn to know the men is to go out on their maneuvers with them, no matter how rigorous they may be. In fact, I enjoy it very much and it challenges me because it makes me realize more and more how well we are to be trained and prepared to serve Christ effectively. 

Good night Darling, and remember, I love you more tonight than ever I have before. God bless you in all things, my Dear. 

I am ever and always just yours in the 

Love of Christ our Lord,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 9, 1945

January 9, 1945

My Beloved Darling:

I wanted to start this letter much sooner but three different men came in to see me, and as a result, it is rather late now. Although in between the time the men came to see me I did get a letter off to Dr. and Mrs. Mantey and to the Hollys. I got the letter off to Hollys just before an officers meeting. Some of these poor soldiers really come to you with heartbreaking problems. And to help them as you ought takes time, and before you know it, the evening is gone. I like being busy though because that way the time slips by faster. I will be so very very happy when we can be together again. Don’t you ever worry, I will grasp the first opportunity to come back to you. I will be glad when we can be together and work side-by-side for our Lord who has blessed us in so many ways. 

This morning most of the time was taken up in the meeting of the chaplains of the division. I will make no comment because it wasn’t worth wasting time and space. I’m very very thankful to the Lord for the joyous experiences we have had together in fellowship and prayer. 

After dinner I called in another hospital. It was good to see them the men. The man who is Chaplin over there, is really a fine man. We had a wonderful time calling on all the men. We visited the various wards together. It was almost suppertime by the time we arrived back here. Immediately following supper a soldier came to see me. 

After that, I came to my quarters and wrote the letter to Dr. and Mrs. Montey. I had planned on surprising you with the gift that the natives gave me to use for Christian causes when I left down there, but I decided I will tell you that I sent a money order to Dr. Mantey for $115. I gave him all the information I could in his letter, so I won’t bother to wright it in this letter to you. Because I’m sure he will let you read that letter. My time is so limited now I can hardly find enough time to sleep. The natives goodness to me before I left down there is something I shall never forget as long as I live. Perhaps by the time this letter reaches you, you will have received the mats, palm leaf material and necklaces they gave me just before I left. When they gave me the money in a white envelope I could hardly believe my eyes. When Raymond drove me away in the jeep I could not keep back the tears. Christ changes all men regardless of the color of their skin or their background. This morning with my first opportunity to go to our post office since arriving up here. 

Sarah receiving letters from and sending letters to Willis. 1943.

Even though it is late I want to take enough time to make a few comments on your letter of December 15th and 16th. It sounds strange to hear you talk about snow and ice when it is so nice and warm here all the time. 

I suppose Stan and Lee are settled now in their new home. I am so thankful for them. I am confident they will do fine work in this new church. The history test that Dr. Stiansen gave you truly sounded natural but I’m not at all worried about what your grade will be. I’m thankful you can study under such a fine man. I was interested to hear what Dr. Mason said about your teaching. Keep up the good work, Dear. I knew you would love Dr. Mantey. He has such a beautiful humble way of presenting the truth of the New Testament. I’m glad you gave more to the Bender’s. I shall pray for God’s will in her life. Remember Darling, I am always thankful when you give as you are led of the Holy Spirit because I can and do trust you on unreservedly in all things. Dear, I will answer the rest of your questions in tomorrow’s letter. God bless you Lover in all things. 

Yours forever I am in the Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 8, 1945

January 8, 1945

Beloved Darling Sarah:

Imagine my great joy and surprise to have two of your back letters today. They were yours of December 15th and 16th. They had gone down below and returned back here. Sweetheart, words cannot possibly describe the joy that was mine receiving those wonderful letters. I have read them over three times already. And I will read them several more times I’m sure. 

Willis and his assistant / driver – Carlos Turner. 1943.

Besides your letters, I had mail from the following people: Hollys and Gail with a nice photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Holly. I am so thankful unto God for such wonderful Christian friends. The Lord has been so good to us that it seems at times like we are really experiencing some of the wonders of heaven. I wish I could some way or other make you aware of how much joy you have brought into my life, Dear. I shall forever be grateful to the Lord for you and your wonderful life and love. Everything about you makes me desirous of being my very best for Christ. Well, I started out to tell you who I heard from but I see you have first priority, as a result I got off from what I started to tell you in this paragraph. That gives you view somewhat of an idea of how I feel when I cannot finish a paragraph without again reminding you how much you mean to me. Now, to finish this paragraph: a nice Christmas card from Phyllis Van Valley’s boyfriend in Italy, a nice letter from Mrs. Cox, the wife of my former assistant thanking us for our Christmas gift of $10 to them, a letter from Paul and Gen, Carlos Turner and his wife (my former assistant at Long Beach), Chaplin Brown, a birthday card from the Davises; two letters from Dolores and a nice birthday card, a Christmas card from Jane Jackson, a birthday card and letter from my grandmother, a birthday card and letter from Jack and Bertha, church bulletins from Chicago, Boston, Long Beach and several Lexington Unit Journals. I also failed to mention the fact that I received a beautiful billfold from the Beacon Class at North Shore. When I can get a moment I will try and write them a thank you note. 

This has been a very busy day for which I am thankful.   This morning Don and I worked on arranging things in our outfit. After dinner, I left here to call at another hospital. I certainly enjoy calling on the men. I only wish I had more time for such work. Someday I will tell you about it, Dear. 

Immediately following the evening meal I came to my quarters, did some reading and was just going to start your letter when an officer walked in who wanted to see me. We talked for quite some time, then three soldiers came in to see me. Shortly thereafter the officer left. In brief, the men said they had heard about my coming into the division and what I was like. We talked for a long time about the Christian life, etc. I asked them to pray for the souls of men and asked them to pray for me that my life might be fit for the Master’s use. Before we left, we read scripture and all knelt down around my bed and prayed for men to be converted. Darling, we shall count on your prayer also. I assure you I’ll do my very very best to be clean and pure for our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Darling, after reading your letter over I made several comments on the back which I wanted to write you, but it is so late now, I think I will save them for tomorrow evening. Remember Dear, each day I love you more. God bless you Beloved in all things. Give mom and the Chief my deepest love.

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 7, 1945

January 7, 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, another Lord’s day has passed that we will not have to be apart. I thought of you many times and wondered how you got along this first Sunday of the new year. It always makes me happy to know that I can be sure you are serving the Lord in some capacity on this day. Darling, words can never adequately describe the joy which is mine because of your wonderful life and your love. 

I attended the service of Chaplain Kern at 9 o’clock and started my new service at 10 o’clock. There were 18 in attendance which isn’t so bad for starting a new service at an entirely new hour. This morning I had a communion service for the men. 

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

This evening I started a new service at the Post Chapel at 7:30 P.M. For the life of me I cannot understand a division like this with 15 chaplains and no evening services for the men. Well, we had, as strange as it may seem, 18 in attendance this evening. I used as my scripture Mark 14:43-54. Key verse 54, “Following Christ at a distance.” If you will remember, I used the same text and message on December 17th. I studied it some more and gave it over again. It was a blessing to me as I sought to prepare myself for the responsibility of giving it. I really felt God’s presence as I gave it. I asked the men to invite others so we might win them to Christ. I extended an invitation and one soldier came forward to accept Christ another came forward to rededicate his life to Christ. Darling, there are a lot of things I would like to tell you, but not right now. Please pray for me and that my life may be a fit instrument for God to use, there is so much in my life that needs to be cleansed and purified. Honestly, my heart aches when I see those who are supposed to represent Christ live so loose and worldly lives. It seems they are satisfied with sermonettes and merely fulfilling the duty of having at least one service for the men. I realize it is going to be difficult to do what I think should be done, but I’ll stand by what I believe, even if they transfer me out of the outfit. I believe men ought to have the opportunity to know Christ instead of this tickling their minds and letting it go at that. Again Darling, I ask you and the seminary and North Shore to pray about our work here.

I’m going to enclose the order of service. I used this morning. I thought you might like to have one to look at. 

Sweetheart, there are many more things I would like to tell you, but it is so late I will have to get into bed. I talked to three men until very late following services. 

By the way, I am certainly thankful to God for my assistant. He is a wonderful Christian fellow. May God bless you in all things, my Dear. 

Just yours I am forever in the 

Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 6, 1945

January 6, 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Right now it is raining and the rain is making all kinds of weird noises on the roof of this building. A lot of mail came through today for the men. I was in hopes one of your back letters might catch up with me but no such luck. Of course, I could hardly expect any of the letters you have been holding because you have probably just now received my new address. When mail comes in there’s a great upsurge in morale. Darling, I wish I could find words adequate to describe how much your letters mean to me. You are absolutely the finest Christian wife any man could have. Whenever I think of you I cannot help but utter a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for your wonderful life and love. I was really lonesome when I saw all the men reading their mail, but I know you have written me every day and soon the letters will be here. 

Most of the morning was spent doing  little odd jobs in preparation for services tomorrow. Don mimeographed the bulletin and we also tried to do a little more in getting my office set up with my troops. I am certainly thankful for a fine Christian assistant. 

Immediately following our noon meal, I left here with Don, a driver and visited another hospital. It was good seeing the men. There are four of them that are leaving for the States soon for further hospitalization. On our trip we really got to see some beautiful scenery. It is certainly a treat to see green vegetation, flowers and all kinds of fruit growing again. It really poured rain on us while we crossed the mountain range, some of the peaks thrust their mighty heads even above the clouds. Such splendor I have never before witnessed. 

Following our evening meal I did some reading and cleaned up around my quarters. I think “My Utmost” for today was very good. His readings are certainly a blessing to my heart. I so want to be a better Christian husband than when I left you last year. You are such a good wife. Well Dear, I want to be fully prepared spiritually and physically for tomorrow’s services so I will close for tonight. God bless you Darling in all things. Be sure to convey my love to all our friends. 

Yours I am for the ages of the ages in 

The Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 5, 1945

January 5, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

I have thought of you many times today, and of course I could not help but think about being together this time last year. I will certainly be grateful unto the Lord when we can be together again, this being apart is so very very hard. 

An explosion at sea that Willis photographed while on Christmas Island.

Early this morning I went out with some more soldiers on specialized training. It was very interesting and well done. I want to be able to know as much as possible tactically so when we going to combat I can be of help to those men I am assigned to. It rained for a while and of course all of us got a good soaking. While it was pouring rain where we were, you could see the sun shining on other peaks. I know you would enjoy hearing the various echoes off the walls of the canyon as the artillery and mortar shells exploded. The walls of the great canyons are just like mighty sounding boards.

After dinner I left to call on more men in the hospital. The hospitals are so very large hear that you spend a lot of time walking from ward to ward trying to find the various men of our outfit. I wish I could tell you some of my experiences in this connection. It was rather late when we got back here, but I had dinner with the officers from another company that were out late on some other specialized training. 

After supper I visited with several different soldiers. I happened to run into a soldier from Granite City, Illinois. We talked for a long long time. He told me some things that made his heart very heavy. His wife has been untrue. That is all I’ll say for now. Such things only make me realize more than ever how good our Lord has been in giving me a wonderful Christian wife like you, Dear. I am so very thankful that we are each other’s forever no matter what may happen. I will surely be glad when we start getting some more mail. I am so lonesome to hear from you. It seems ages since I last heard from you. Darling, it is very late and I am so tired I’d better close and try to get a good nights rest. God bless you, Darling. 

Always and forever yours in the Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 4, 1945

January 4, 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well another day has slipped by and we are that much nearer being together. It will probably be many many more days before we see each other, but at least it is one day less. I will certainly be glad when I can start hearing from you again. Quite a few of the men got mail today. 

This morning I worked on services for this Sunday. My assistant cut the stencil for church call and I planned the order of service for my 10 o’clock service Sunday morning. Don will cut that stencil tomorrow morning. I’ve visited with several different officers and men. Later, I came back to my quarters and took advantage of the opportunity for a quiet time. In a set up like this, it is rather difficult to find a time to be quiet by yourself. The day never seems right without it. 

Natives at communion. 1944.

After dinner my assistant, driver, and I went to Honolulu to see the director of the Pacific Ocean areas Red Cross. I informed him of my work at my old assignment and thanked them personally for all their help. While there I informed them of what they might do to help those still left on the island. 

While down that way, I took advantage of the opportunity to get some things for the natives. They were always so good to me and helped in every way in sending shells to hospitals out here for our soldiers. 

We arrived back here just in time for supper. After supper we had an officers meeting of the battalion. Later,I went to the Chaplain’s office and talked with two different soldiers for awhile. By that time it had grown rather late, so I came right back to my quarters and wrote a letter to Chaplain Wilkinson informing him of my good fortune in getting some things the natives wanted. 

Well Dear, you are right back in the swing of school works. I know you are doing wonderfully well. It is hard to write when I don’t hear from you. There are many things I do which would make this letter more interesting but I cannot tell you about them now. 

I am going to close for now and try to get a good nights rest. God bless you Beloved in all things. 

I always and forever just yours

In the Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

January 3, 1945

January 3, 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Wife:

I have just finished reading some of your last letters over again. I’m so happy to have them. Your letters are a real source of joy and encouragement to me in this time of our separation. It will probably be a couple of weeks yet before I get your back letters. I can hardly wait until they start coming through. Sweetheart, it means so very much to know what you’ve been doing and that we are each other’s forever. 

This morning early I left here with a group of men on a specialized training course. I would like to tell you about it as well as the beauty of the surrounding territory, but that will be impossible now. I will have to wait until we are together again. I know such a paragraph doesn’t make it very interesting reading for you but I want above all else to be above question when it comes to things I may mention. Being with the men today gave me an opportunity to learn many things. The men of our division are very well-trained. Our Commanding General was present for a while and watched. I was actually proud of the way the men did their work. 

We arrived back here at our campground around 5 o’clock. I took a good cold shower. I was really dirty after the training of today. It was hot around noon and afternoon and we did a lot of perspiring. And just a little while ago I saw a late newspaper that said it was down around zero in a good portion of the U.S.A. I am so glad to be able to take a freshwater shower again. At least you feel clean afterwards. A brackish water shower was never very refreshing. About all it did was cool you off. The water is cold but we do feel good after having such a shower now. 

Hawaii – 1945.

After eating, I came back to my quarters and got some of my clothes and washed them out. I always like to wash my own underwear and socks. By the way Darling, I am reading “My Utmost” again for this year. I think it was so very good and provokes real thinking. I especially liked the reading for today. In fact, I sat here on my bed and read parts of it over several times. Such reading is certainly good for spiritual growth. I also read my other devotional material. I read the book of Philippians this evening and I also spent quite some time meditating upon the message of the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi. 

In reading your last letters over, I ran into two or three things I thought I would comment upon. First of all, I was very much interested in what you said Dr. Smith said about being a civilian again. I fully agree with him that we need training of the heart, emotions and will. Darling, I assure you that I will do my best to keep you informed of what I’m thinking or any changes of attitude. This I know now. Willis A. Reed needs to know Christ better (Phil 3:9-10) and I am, by His power, going to do my best to be a chaplain who lifts up Christ in my own personal life. In brief Dear, in the Army as well as the church back home we must remember it’s not so much methods or programs that reach men for Christ, but it is an absolute consciousness of His abiding power (Holy Spirit) and presence that will make men feel the challenging power and might and righteousness of God as we know it in Christ Jesus. (Zechariah 4:6) Darling, pray for me for there are many things in my life which are not pleasing to Christ I know. I want to be a better Christian and husband than I was when we were last together. I want my life to be ever growing in Christian grace and beauty. I think that is one of the most challenging things in Christianity, the more we learn and know the more we want to live and abide by His will. Perhaps you are not aware of it, but being so absolutely happy and satisfied in your beautiful life and love have only challenged me more than ever ins the life which we know as one in Christ. I am thankful you are praying for me, Dear. I assure you of my prayer for you, that we together maybe one real channel of blessing for all those we can possibly contact for Christ. 

I was sorry to hear about Mrs. Groom being hurt. I hope everything goes better for her in the future. 

By the way, a Christmas present arrived for me today from the Hansons in Long Beach, California. It was a very nice billfold. The Pastoral Directory Service had stopped it up here and sent it out here to our Division Headquarters. 

I am so thankful about the Chief and the stand he took. I am anxious to receive your letter of December 17th evening, for I am sure you will tell me more about it. Well, my Dear, it is late and I’m tired so I think I’ll close for tonight. God bless you Dear in your school work. I’ve thought about it so much, I know you will come through with flying colors. Be sure to give the folks my love. 

Yours forever in the love of Him

Who died to redeem us as His own,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed you will find a sad sack cartoon-I had a good laugh out of it because I’ve seen some soldiers who had such a hard time learning close order drill. I think the folks will like it also.

Your loving husband,

Willis

September 16, 1944

September 16, 1944

My Beloved Darling:

Another day has slipped by and I’m still waiting to get a plane back to our island. This waiting around is surely tiresome. I like to be busy and have things to do. Perhaps you have heard the expression that most men use in the Army, “Hurry up! And wait.” You will not be able to appreciate that statement for you have not had any close contact with the Army. From all indications I will have to wait two or three more days before I get out of here. This inactivity is monotonous to say the least.

One of Willis’ friend’s and dogs on the island.

I waited around here for some time this morning, and finally when I found out I could not get out today I decided to call the Chaplain Cavender and we planned to be together for a while this afternoon. We contacted Chaplain Brown, so we spent about five hours together this afternoon. Chaplin Cavender left a little early because he had some things to do. Chaplin Brown and I had dinner in Honolulu and had a very good visit. He is really a fine fellow and is planning on going to Northern to finish his seminary work. We have a good many of the same ideals. We are about the same age and his wife is just a little older than you are. They’ve been married five years. He is anxious to get back with his wife, just as I’m anxious to get back with you, Dear. He came into the Army as a chaplain two months after I did. They also look forward to having their own family. So many of our ideals are like that it is amazing.

I arrived back here just about sundown. I read magazines and newspapers to help pass the time away. There are no more to read, so I guess I’ll have to twiddle my thumbs.

I surely hate missing services for the men tomorrow, but I’m not able to do anything about it. I just have taken a nice warm shower (so good after nothing but brackish water) and will read my devotional material and retire for the night because I’m tired, even though I haven’t done anything.

Well Darling, in closing let me remind you that I love you much more than ever. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

Now and forever yours in the love of the

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

September 15, 1944

September 15, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

This has been another busy day, and it seemed the day just flashed by. There are a lot of things I would like to tell you but I will not be able to do so now. However, there are some things I can tell you.

Early this morning I left Honolulu to go to the Chief of Chaplain’s office. While there I had a good visit with him about the problems we face.

Later, I called upon several other officers about needs we have down on our island. I’m hoping they will do something about them for it is a sure thing man cannot give their best when needs are not supplied.

I returned to my room in Honolulu and had a good dish of ice cream for my dinner. I wasn’t very hungry. I packed all the things I bought for men down there and prepared to go to the airfield to get a plane back. Shortly after dinner Carl Moller (Louisa Hae’s husband) called me and wanted me to have dinner with him this evening. So I arranged to do so.

Immediately after that I left for the airfield to make arrangements for my flight. It took over two hours to get everything ready, and at that I’ll probably have to wait two or three more days before I catch a plane.

On my way here I stopped by the Pacific Ocean Red Cross Headquarters and sought to get some help from them with some urgent needs down on our island.

I met Carl downtown at 6 o’clock and we had a very good dinner as his treat to me. It was good to visit with him, he seemed to be very happy to visit about Louisa and Evelyn.

In the meantime, Chaplain Cavender and Chaplain Brown came down to Honolulu and looked for me at the place where I stayed. Fortunately, I met another chaplain friend who told me so I found them and all of us really had a wonderful visit. Chaplain Brown knows a lot of our friends so we really had a feast of fellowship.

There is nothing in all the world like Christian fellowship. I have missed such fellowship for a long time now. Chaplin Cavender’s wife has had a very serious operation, so please remember her in your prayers, Dear. I wish you could know him, he is surely a grand a chaplain and the kind I like. Chaplin Brown is a fine man also, his wife is attending William Jewell College, our Baptist college in Missouri.

Well Darling, it is late and I’m tired so I think I’ll close for tonight. God bless you in all things, my Dear.

Yours always and forever in the Love 

of Christ which makes us one.

Willis

Colossians 3:3