March 31, 1945

Philippine Islands

31 March 1945

My Beloved Darling:

Well, we are one day near being together, as for me, that day can come none too soon. It will certainly be grand to be together again. I’ve been very busy all day and haven’t had much time for anything. However, I did have enough time to have my devotions. I didn’t sleep very well last night. I have had a miserable cold the last few days but it is improving now. I have had treatment for it every day.

Invasion fleet sailing for Okinawa.

There is very little I can tell you now. We are going to have our Easter services tonight because of what is ahead of us. Tomorrow all of us will be very busy. There will not be time for services. Darling, I hope you folks have a nice Easter. In spite of all things, I will think of you and be loving you more than ever. I do hope you get the letter asking you to buy you and Mom a corsage. And the Chief of boutonniere. I will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of your back letters. I hope you get my letter telling you of my new address in good time. Because it will help in speeding the letters to me. Those letters you sent to the XXIV Corps will probably take quite awhile to reach me, as well as those which went to the 98th  before you knew of my new assignment. Your letters mean more than anything can possibly describe. It is rather difficult for me to write you very interesting letters, but under circumstances I do my best. It makes it difficult to write a good letter when you have to forget to mention many of the things you do. However, I can always let you know of my limitless love for you. Remember, to me you shall ever be God’s little girl and again I want to thank you for being such a wonderful Christian wife to me. There are deep feelings in my heart which only being with you could describe.

Well my Dear, I must close for this time. God bless you my Beloved and I’ll write as soon as I can. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

Yours alone for this life and that

Which is to come because of the love

Which binds us together as one in Christ.

Your husband,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

Ruth 1:16-17

P.S. I’m enclosing a letter from Dave (Phyllis’s fiancé). And another letter from the mother-in-law and wife of an officer in our old outfit. His father-in-law had passed away. Save that letter.

March 30, 1945

Philippine Islands

30 March 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

It is mid-afternoon and because of certain things I’m going to write to you now. I have just finished with the communion service for those men who could not attend last night. A fairly good group of men attended. I used the same kind of service I had last night. We will have our Good Friday service this evening. It is a little nicer today, there is a nice breeze. It was certainly hot last night and I didn’t sleep any too well.

Willis and Wayne Soliday at Harvard training school. 1943.

I took advantage of the situation this morning and wrote some more letters. I wrote to the following folks: Dr. Allin’s, Chaplain Soliday, Dr. Russell Orr (State Secretary of Baptist Convention), Harry Allin’s, Dolores Nelson, Olga and Kitty, Captain Wilson, and Bob. It may make him realize that I think of him once and awhile.

Well Dear, you will never know how lonesome I am for some of your letters. Yours of March 5th is the last letter I have. So at this time I’m going to make some comments on that letter. From now on I’ll have to read your old letters, and from all indications that will be for quite sometime. I’m glad you liked the pictures. We have to go through a lot of red tape to get pictures at all. So remember when you receive them they have been hard to get. Be sure to keep as many of your pictures as possible coming my way. Dear, the more pictures of you the better. I only wish you could realize how much they mean to me. No, I have not gained any weight lately. In fact, I have lost some weight.

I’m glad you have your Evangelism course finished now. I’m sure that must be a burden off of your mind.

Since being together I have seen many things and had many unusual experiences, the whole thing only makes me more grateful to God for the privilege which is mine in being your husband. Darling, the one thing that keeps me going is the assurance of your abiding love. It means everything to know we are forever each others. So many times I think of our last good talk together in the bedroom. Your eyes said so very much. You remember our promises to each other?

I was surprised to hear about Mac candidating at Norwood Park. I wonder if they will call him? I never did find out whether my father got the money or not but I hope he did and that he has had the operation and on the road to recovery.

Well Dear, I shall close for this time and remember, by the time this letter reaches you I will love you just as many more days worth. God bless you, Dear. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Yours alone for the ages of the ages

In Christ’s love that makes us one,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed is a letter from Edith Jackson and Mrs. Schreyer. I thought you might like to read them.

March 29, 1945

Philippine Islands

29 March 1945

My Darling:

Well, another day has passed and I have not accomplished a lot as far as my work is concerned. I have used what time was mine to write some more letters. I wrote the following ones today. Paul and Gen, Harold and Buena, Jeanne Wyckoff, Scheus, Jane Breese, Vancell and her husband, Zylpha Watkins, Hazel Blomberg, my grandmother and Connie, Florence Wright, Mrs. Whiteman, Mrs. Elliot, Daunt and Mil, Dave (Phyllis’ fiancé), Mrs. Fosdick and Mrs. Cox, the wife of my former assistant. I certainly miss Don, my assistant. He was excellent. Now I don’t have an assistant, but if I ever needed one that time is now.

I also did some studying today. It has been rather dark and dreary all day. It rained once early this morning.

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

This evening I had a communion service for the men. There were a good many there, it was the largest service I have ever had since being in the Army. I used as my scripture the last three verses of John 13 and the first 15 verses of the 14th chapter. I am planning on having another communion service tomorrow for those who could not come today. Many men commented about the beauty of the service, under conditions like these you have to do a lot of improvising. All such experiences will help in years to come I’m sure. I will certainly be glad when we can get together and talk over all the things we have learned. These days of being apart are terribly trying and heart rending but I feel we will be happy and more, I should say better equipped to serve our Great Commander and Chief, Jesus Christ. Darling, I’m so very lonesome to hear from you and I know it will still be a long time for your mail starts reaching me.

Dear, I’m enclosing some letters in your letter tonight. I think you will enjoy reading them. They are from: Dr. Koller, Carolyn and Evelyn, Mrs. Elliott, Harry Janisch, and Mrs. Fosdick. Well Darling, I am very tired so I will close for tonight. God bless you in all things. Give the folks my love. Thank you Dear for being such a good wife. 

Just yours I am, because of 

our founded and grounded love in Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

March 28, 1945

Philippine Islands

28 March 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This has been a rather stormy day and I haven’t been able to do much, so under such circumstances I took advantage of the opportunity and wrote a lot of letters. I don’t know when I’ll have time again so I thought it best to do all I can now.

Miss Pettigrove, Gale, Willis and Mrs. Hollenstiener.

I wrote to the following people: Vivian Schaeffer, Dr. Koller, Evelyn and Carolyn Koller, Mrs. Reid & Ruth, Jack and Bertha, Aunt Annie & Uncle Ed, Mr. & Mrs. P.C. Hansen, Elizabeth Riley, Calvin Lee, Louise Davis, ABPS, Don & Verla, Mrs. Carson, Mamie & Lillie Reed, Uncle Jim and Aunt Mildred, Betty Weiskopf, Laura Pettygrove, Bob Peterson, John and Helen Mueller, Miss Hulva and Bob’s Margaret. I’m telling you my hand is really tired tonight. However, I am glad to get them written. I had another service for the men again this evening. There were around 80 in attendance. I preached on the sin of Achan. This scripture is the seventh chapter of Joshua. The men sang very well this evening. It rained several times during the day. We had a most beautiful sunset, I do wish you could have seen it. I know you would have admired it very much. Only God could paint such a sunset. I noticed some other beautiful things but I’ll tell you about them later.

My Dear, it certainly means a lot to be sure of your love now and ever. So often I think of the times we have talked and prayed together. God has been very good to us, but I’ll be so glad when we can be together again and share each other’s love. I only wish you could realize how much you mean to me, Dear. You are my all in all. For, as you know, to me you will always be God’s little girl.

I’m going to enclose four letters in this letter, I think you will enjoy reading them. In reading Elizabeth Riley’s letter you will note she mentions a trip west. If she comes to Chicago, it would be nice to have her stay with you. She is a very fine Christian girl and I know you would like her very much. They were so very good to me while at Harvard, I would like to be just as gracious if she comes out Chicago way.

Well Darling, I must close for tonight. God bless you my Dear and give my love to the folks.

Always just yours because we are

 forever one in the love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

I hope you have received the box which I sent you from Hawaii. And I hope you like the things in it. My love for you can never be expressed in gifts. My all it is yours forever, Dear.

March 27, 1945

Philippine Islands

27 March 1945

Sarah, My Dear:

I am very tired tonight and it is late so I’ll not write you a very long letter. I certainly miss having your wonderful letters. They help more than you will ever know. I hope my letters are getting through to you in pretty good time.

Willis in jungle training preparing a sermon. 1945.

It was really a beautiful morning, but since noon has been rather stormy. Right now it is raining. I had services again this evening for the men. There were around 100 in attendance. I spoke on, “We’ve Never Been this Way Before.” The scripture was Joshua 3:2-13. I thought about you and wondered how you were getting along with your schoolwork. It will certainly be good when we can be together again and not have to write to know what we have been doing.

Well, Dear I am going to close for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things. I love you more than ever, Dear.

Yours forever in the love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

Lover, enclosed you will find a Christmas card and letter I received from Josephine Hulva, also a letter from John Mueller. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading them.

March 26, 1945

Philippine Islands

26 March 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

I’ve thought about you many times today and I certainly thought how good it would be to be near you again. Darling, you will never know the vacant empty feeling there is in my heart because of being separated from you. Always it has been a joy to be with you. I shall never forget how I felt the very first time I saw you. And I have found the longer we are each others, the greater has been the joy. Thank you for being such a good wife, Dear.

A lot has not been accomplished today as far as I am concerned, but I have kept busy. It rained early this morning and several times during the day.

I became acquainted with an officer whose home is near Grant, Nebraska. We visited for a while and found out that we know the same people. It is interesting to meet somebody like that when you are so many thousands of miles from those you love.

Willis’ assistant Carlos Turner and another unidentified soldier.

This evening I had a service for the men. There were between 75 and 100 present. I spoke on the theme of, ”Spiritual Fitness.” The scripture I used was I Timothy 4:8-16. I certainly miss Don, my old assistant. I don’t have an assistant now. And if ever I needed one that time is now. Even though I know it is going to be difficult, I will do my very best. I certainly miss your letters. I know it will be a long time before I receive any mail. It will take your mail some time to reach me, and even then, it will be some time before I receive any because of what lies before us.

I have here before me your letter of March 4th. I have read it over but there are several comments I will make. You see I can write many things that are interesting but because of security I will wait until later. It was Monday here but I thought about you and Sunday services back there. I figured the time difference and tried to imagine what you must have been doing.

You mentioned our candlelight service at E.M. just before Easter. I thought it was beautiful also. Not so long ago Louise Davis wrote and told me that she would never be able to forget that service. It made an impression she will long remember. I’m glad you get to see Normans so often. Be sure to give them my deepest love. Assure them that I would gladly write if I could find enough time, but I’ll keep you informed so they will know what I’m doing. I can imagine Lois it is very happy over the thought of getting married June 23rd.

Glad to know you have had such a very good visit with Mil. I will have to depend on you keeping them informed also. Be sure to convey my love to all of them.

Dear, I definitely do not like the kind of evening services they have been having recently at NSBC. I’m surprised to know they use the loose offering to pay the guest artists. In the long run, they will not gain what is necessary for the establishment of a strong work which edifies others.

Well my Dear, I am tired and weary so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you, Darling.

Yours alone, Dear with all my love,

In Christ’s love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

March 25, 1945

Philippine Islands

25 March 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, another Lord’s Day is past and we our that much closer to the day when we can always be together. It is certainly going to mean a lot to be together again. We can pray, study and plan and work together. That one thought helps to carry me over many rough places out here.

It was very hot last night and as a result I didn’t get much sleep. I got up and walked around for a while. But still I couldn’t sleep. I got up early this morning and did some reading in my Bible as well as devotional study. A little while later, a soldier came to me with some marital trouble. A most involved case and very difficult under such conditions.

Troop ship carrying troops to war.

I had one service and there must have been around 125 men in attendance. I spoke on the theme and title of, “What’s New.” I used the scripture text I Timothy 6:3-16.

This afternoon I had the joy of seeing Chaplain Schreyer. We came overseas together and he is a very very good man. We visited for about 15 minutes. I hope to be able to see him again. While here I had hoped to be able to see Wayne or Joe but it will be impossible now. It would have been good to see them for a while.

I’ve thought about you many times today but I will be so glad when I won’t have to think about you or try to imagine what you’re doing. But you will be right there by my side or in our home somewhere. It is things like that that I think of often during my waking hours. Another thing that will mean a lot is not having to write each evening. Letters cannot or do not describe the things deepest in our hearts. Dear, it has always been such a blessed privilege to be near you and just think together.

Well Darling, I am very very tired because of the events of the last three nights. God bless you my Dearest in all things. I love you so much.

Ever just yours in the love

Of our Lord and Savior,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

March 24, 1945

Philippine Islands

24 March 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

We have been on the go today, and as a result, I am a little tired. There is very little news I can talk about but I do want you to know that I love you more than ever I have before.

The chaplains of Harvard 1943

It was my privilege to see and visit with Paul Allen again for about 2 1/2 hours. It was certainly good to see him and we visited every moment of the time. We think and feel many of the same things. Both of us have decided we are through with fundamentalism as such. I’m sure you understand what I mean. So often you find them egotistical and actually allowing no room for the Holy Spirit to operate in the lives of men. Be sure to see or call Lucille, for I know she will be glad to hear from you and it will be good for both of you. They have a boy and a girl. Paul, as I, have heart aches constantly because of being separated from our dear ones.

There is very little else I can tell you now but that I am more thankful that it ever for you and your wonderful love.

I have had several interesting talks with soldiers today. There are so many things I would like to talk to you about. We are certainly going to have a lot to catch up on when we are together. It has always meant so much for me to discuss things with you, Dear. I guess I did most of the talking but you were always very patient and kind to listen. I love you so much more than you will ever know.

Well, I shall close for tonight and may God bless you and the folks.

Yours alone in the love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

March 23, 1945 (2)

Philippine Islands

23 March 1945

Sarah, My Darling:

This afternoon I had a little time so I took the opportunity to write to Charlie, Nettie and Captain Mason. I’m sure you would like to see Charlie and Nettie’s letters so I’m going to enclose them in this letter. They are certainly good friends, they are so much like Paul and Gen. Of course, Paul and Gen have a greater place in my heart but Charlie and Nettie are equally fine. I only hope you will get to know them better.

I felt pretty tired and weary in the joints until after dinner, but I have felt better since. I got the last of all the series of shots yesterday. I didn’t sleep too well last night, being tired now and late besides I think I will be able to sleep alright tonight.

I just finished writing two letters to the mother and father of soldiers. In the one case, a soldier had received word of his mother’s death, so I wrote the father. In the other case, the father had died so I wrote the mother. I always seek to use an opportunity like that to let people know of Christ and His wonderful salvation and the joy there is in following Christ.

Darling, during my devotional time today I was reading the book of Philippians and noted especially Philippians 4:19 in the Goodspeed translation. Look it up, Dear. I love the last part which says, “through your union with Christ Jesus.” Isn’t that precious, Dear? I’m so grateful and thankful to God for the oneness we have found in Christ. In times and trials like these such assurances help to carry you over the rough places. That verse in this translation blends in so beautifully with our life verse.

Many things happened and I know there are things you are interested in but they will have to keep for now. When we are together again there will be many things will have to talk about. I had hoped to be able to see Alvin Hamilton’s grave but that will be impossible now because of what is ahead of us.

Darling, it is late and I am tired so I will close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things. Also give my love to the folks.

Yours I am for now and ever in

The love of Christ Jesus which

Makes us one.

Willis

Colossians 3:3

Ruth 1:16, 17

March 23, 1945

Friday Morning

23 March 1945

Dearest Darling:

After writing to you last night I wrote a v-mail letter to Hollys and one to my father. I have here the letters I received from the Hollys just before flying out here. In that I have answered, I’ll mail them on for you to read. They always write such good letters and they do have such a wonderful Christian home. You can file these letters away with the others we have received from the Hollys.

Well, that will be all for now, Dear. God bless you in all things. I love you very much, Dear.

Yours always in the love of Christ

Which makes us one.

Willis

Colossians 3:3