September 28, 1944

September 28, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Sweetheart, I love you so very much and will be so very happy when I can tell you that face to face again. This time of separation makes me realize more than ever how good it was to be together and tell each other of our love for each other. I shall never forget some of those talks we used to have together. It was so good to just hold you in my arms and feel your nice soft hair against my face. You are such a sweet and precious wife to me, Darling.

This morning we went through our usual routine, that is calling on the men at the various outposts. We also went down to the native village and while there Raymond and I were able to have a good visit with Timete. Timete is surely a good man and a very quiet leader for the men. By the way, the men had some more presents for me. I will be hoping to have a box ready to send home again to you soon.

Willis with Timete.  From Sarah’s Scrapbook 1944.

This noon I had dinner up at the Infantry area and had a good visit with most of the officers. While at Captain Merrow’s quarters we listened to the news by shortwave, then I came back to my quarters and started to study. I spent the whole afternoon studying. After supper I went up to the Air Base to play another ball game. I pitched again, we won this evening by a score of 11 to 10. I also had pretty good luck at bat.

As soon as the game was over my assistant and I hurried away to the farm for our regular farm service. We had nine in attendance this evening. We had a good song service and then I spoke on James 4:13 to 17. I emphasized the necessity  of knowing Christ personally. To enjoy and receive the benefits of the Christian life, it is necessary to know Christ and not just know about Him.

We visited with a men for a while, but we left for I wanted to get back here and write some letters. First of all, I wrote a letter to Maurice and Edith and enclosed with it a letter of thanks for the hymn books that she can read to the class if she so desires. After writing to them, I decided to write a letter to the folks, for I have not written them for some time now. And now here I am writing to you, my beloved Darling.

By the way, I got up early this morning and wrote a letter to Lt. Carl Anderson, the officer who came to my quarters to read the Bible and pray. As I told you before, he is the private secretary of General Richardson of the Pacific Ocean areas. Technically, MacArthur is under General Richardson. It is really fine to have a man like Carl in such a place to be a living witness of what God can do for a man. He is surely a very fine man. I hope to be able to see him some time again in the future.

Lover, it is so late and I am tired so I think I will close for now. God bless you in all things, and remember, I love you more tonight than ever before. It is so sweet to be just yours forever.

Now and Forever yours in the Love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. I’m enclosing two poems, I especially like the one entitled, “Blood Donor”.

September 27, 1944

September 27, 1944

 My Beloved Darling Wife:

Another day has rolled into eternity and we are one day nearer home and one day nearer being together. Won’t it be wonderful when we can be together again in our own home? Our one year together was the happiest of my whole life. And I look forward to greater happiness in years to come because the Lord has been teaching us so many new things. It means everything to a man to have a wife and companion like you in the Lord’s work.

This morning most of the time was spent making final arrangements for the dinner following the Jewish Yom Kippur services which began last night at sunset. We had 24 in the services last evening and there were 23 at the dinner this evening. They also invited the commanding officers of the Task Force and the Air Base. The services turned out very well when you consider how little we had to work with, as you realize several things are quite necessary for the proper celebration of any Jewish service, or especially Holy Days.

Just Before Yom Kippur Service. 1944. Willis Reed is in the center.

It was really very hot today and this afternoon I spent some more time reading and trying to catch up on some things I wanted to do for sometime. In my reading this afternoon, I happened to run into a little article which I am sending on to you. I think Dr. Sweet hit the nail on the head, what do you think, Darling?

By the way, I failed to tell you yesterday that I received three other letters besides yours, they were from the Hollys, Ruth Reed and Elizabeth Riley. The letter for the Hollys was just as lovely as ever. I will be so happy when you can meet them. I am so grateful to God for His goodness to us, Dear. You know, when we stop and think about it, He has truly given as a host of wonderful Christian friends in almost every section of the United States. Darling, they love you so much, how could they help it? When I think of you and the fact that your God’s little girl, I cannot but feel very humble and all within me makes me want to be a better man, and at least be partially worthy of your blessed love which is a refining and purifying influence in my life and has been ever been since November 1, 1940.

The letter from Ruth was very nice and she seemed to be so glad to have a necklace from us. She thinks so much of you, Dear. All these nice things people write and tell me about you helps to remove a part of the sting and ache of being apart. For it seems through this whole experience that the Lord is teaching us the joy of following His leading, and in spite of being separated we are being drawn closer together because we are one in Him to the extent that we have sought His will first, even though it meant separation.

We did not finish with the Jewish services until almost 9 o’clock. So as soon as possible I came back to my quarters and wrote a letter to the Hollys. Another fine family in Long Beach were the Cables. I became very well acquainted with them while there. The Hollys informed me that Mrs. Cable had a very serious cancer operation. They had to remove her left breast entirely. I wrote them a letter also and enclosed it with the Hollys. Joan, their daughter is President of the College B.Y.F. and a mighty fine girl. Please pray for her, Dear. I will inform you as to her welfare as soon as I hear.

A year ago tonight I was on the Northwestern Challenger racing across the state of Iowa. I’ll be so happy when we can do all of our traveling together. Perhaps if we can get it over now, we will be able to do the rest of our traveling together.

Sweetheart, it is so late and I am so tired so I will close now and asked the Lord to bless you in all things to His honor and glory. Dearest, you grow more precious as the hours roll by.

Yours now and forever in the Love

Of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Willis

Philippians 3:9,10

Colossians 3:3

September 26, 1944

September 26, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

We were pleasantly surprised with the arrival of mail today, Dear. I have three letters from you, they were for September 15th, 16th, and 17th. Your letters surely mean a lot to me. I feel so good all over after reading them. I’m surely  proud of you Darling and I thank the Lord every day for you.

In the letter you wrote me on the 15th, you were all curious about my flight. Well, you will know from some of my later letters that I was in the Hawaiian Islands on detached service. But in order to get there I had to fly down to the islands you mentioned as number nine. Yes Dear, I have flown a good many miles by air. And almost all of it has been over the mighty Pacific Ocean. There are so many things I would like to tell you but that is impossible now. It is comforting to look out and see those powerful engines going on ceaselessly without missing a single stroke on one long leg of our flight. It was on that long leg that we experienced the beautiful sunset. We flew so high that it became very cold for the stretcher patients. However, I spent a good part of the time with the crew where we had heat. In fact, we flew so high to get above one storm that we gave three of the men oxygen to help their breathing because of the rarified air. I also helped the flight nurse by helping to keep the men warm with extra blankets and warm coffee.

Sweetheart, thank Dale for sending me the picture. I enjoyed it very much. Tell the boys if I had anything to do with it I would come home to you right away. As you say, they are surely sweet boys.

You should not go to all the trouble of sending that oil down here for my hair. Say, by the way, if you get me a picture of yourself for Christmas, please don’t send it as a Christmas present or I will probably not get it for quite a while. If you send it as a Christmas present they may hold it back until about Christmas time, and by that time I may not be here. I should really look forward to my Christmas present picture of you, Dear. I was sorry to hear that you lost the slip which makes it possible for you to get your pictures. I hope you are able to get them soon for I’m anxious to have as many pictures of you as possible.

I’m glad to hear you finally contacted Mrs. Kleinsmith, Lee’s Aunt. I know he will be glad to know that you two were able to visit. He is a mighty fine man. He is around 35 years old. Carl Scherenberg will be sorry to hear that you and his wife were not able to get together.

I’m going to write to Edith Jackson tomorrow if I get a chance and thank her class for the books. They are really very good, we used them this last Sunday.

From what you told me in your letter, you must have had a very nice visit with the Pauls. They are truly wonderful people and I appreciate their kindness to you very much. Their home must really be very nice, it must be good to have such a fine place to live. I’ll be satisfied to live with you anywhere as long as we are able to get along, serve the Lord effectively, and give our children a good home background and education.

It was good to hear about Mrs. Starrett, but knowing her as I do I am not at all surprised at the way she is getting along. I will never forget her and how well they got along together. Mrs. Starrett is one of the very finest Christians. I was also glad to hear that you heard Mrs. Blachely speak. I’m surprised you haven’t heard her before. She is very good. I taught Chinese Sunday school under her for 2 1/2 years.

I’m sorry to know that Maurice injured his ankle. It will make it difficult for him to work under such conditions. I hope it doesn’t take too long to heal. He will probably have a good time when he is out in Kansas with the young people.

Really I am glad to know you are going to have a regular Sunday school class. I think the way you have been teaching is very unfair to the children and to yourself. It was a surprise to hear that the quartet is going to be dismissed at North Shore. Although I’m glad to know they are going to have their own choir from now on.

Do you remember a year ago today? Well, I arrived in Chicago from Boston at about 11:10 after graduating from Chaplain School at Harvard on the day before. You will remember that we were together until the next day until a little before eight at the Northwestern station. At that time I boarded the Challenger for Long Beach and my first Army assignment.

Well Sweetheart, it is very late and I am tired so I’ll say good night and may God richly bless you in all things. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

Yours always and forever in 

The Love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 14, 1944

August 14, 1944

My Beloved Darling Wife:

I love you more than ever my Dear and I am so happy to be always and forever yours. I’m so thankful to have your letters for I can read them over again if mail fails to arrive for us. I suppose we will have to wait several more days. I just wish you knew how much it means to me to have your letters.

This has been another unusual day for this time of year because we had several little showers during the day and quite a high wind at times off of the ocean. Early this morning my driver and I went to the Infantry area to see Lieutenant Murphy about some future plans. Later, we went up to the post office and picked up a few papers which arrived for the Red Cross.

About 10 o’clock we went down to the farm to see some of the men about some things. While down there I had a good visit with Private Lee. I was able to have a good visit with some of the other men also. We made a few plans for the future. We arrived back here at headquarters just in time to clean up and have our dinner.

After having my dinner, I took enough time to write a letter to Stan and Letha. It wasn’t a long letter because, as you know, there is not a whole lot you can talk about down here. And besides, I informed them that I was depending on you to keep them informed of what I’m doing. It surely means a lot to have such good friends as they and the Vogels, doesn’t it Dear?

I had some work I wanted to do for some time around my quarters, so I took the time to do it this afternoon. I was able to finish the job in about one hour and a half. Later, I finished reading the book of Revelation which means that I have read the entire Bible through this year. As usual, I read all of my devotional material which was very good I think.

We played ball again this evening and we won by a score of 12 to 1. I pitched and had good luck at bat, I think you know what I mean, don’t you Dear? I really love sports of any kind.

After the ball game was over I hurried back from the Air Base and took a shower with my old reliable brackish water. By the time I finished, Corporal Dubner and my assistant had arrived for our class in Hebrew and Bible history and archaeology. I really get a real joy out of these classes. Two other men who usually attend couldn’t come this evening. I learned a lot from reading the Bible through this year Dear and it is helping in our class discussions.

Darling, it is getting late and that is about all the news so I think I will retire and try to get a good nights sleep. Remember that each passing day finds me more in love with you. God bless you in everything lover, it is such a foretaste of the glory divine to love and always be yours. Give all of our friends my love.

Always and forever yours in Christ

Jesus who makes us one,

Willis

P.S. Enclosed you will find some more pictures.

Colossians 3:3

August 10, 1944

August 10, 1944

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Wife:

I suppose about now you are resting quietly up at Lawsonia. I met a man this evening who has been there many times and said it is really a beautiful spot and he says you ought to really have a good time. I’m not sure what time you will be getting up there, but I suppose it will be about the time I go to bed. Dear, another day has slipped by and I find that I love you much more than ever. During our evening service this evening I asked for the men to tell of some things they were thankful for. We were singing, “There Shall be Showers of Blessing.” At the end of each stanza I would ask for others to tell what they were thankful for. And I told them I was most grateful for Christ and you. I meant it with all my heart, Dear. I always love to tell others how much you mean to me and how much you inspire me in working to be a better servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I told you yesterday, we spent the greater part of the morning delivering magazines and papers to the various outposts. It gave my assistant and I real opportunity to see many of the men and find out if there was anything we could do for them.

After dinner I packed another box for you, Dear. I hope it reaches you in good time. You have not received the second box I sent yet, have you? In the box I mailed today you will find the following things: nine shell necklaces, six bracelets, one belt made of palm leaves and shells, four pieces of coral and two fans made of palm leaves.

Now as to the necklaces, you do what you like with them. Be sure to save one for Jeanne Wychoff and I think you had better save one for Rachel’s girl, (for some reason or other I cannot think of her name). Also give one to Emma Laymon, I want her to have one for sure. When I wrote to Ruth Reid I asked her if she wanted one, so if she does I’ll let you know and you can give her one. Darling, I want you to keep the three nicest bracelets for yourself. And you can do with the rest what you like. As to the shell belt and fans, they are a special gift from Mofete and his wife to you. The belt was made by Mofete’s little nine-year-old girl. The dyes used in the fans and belt are made from the bark of the scrub trees. As you know, Mofete’s wife is many miles from here and he hasn’t seen her since his arrival here. Someday I’ll be able to tell you how the fans and belt got out here for you. When I tell you the story you will appreciate them much more than ever I know. By the way, the shell bracelets are made large on purpose, if you want to make them smaller all you have to do is remove the shells on either side, (be sure to leave enough of the palm leaf cord to sew to). Perhaps you can pick up some snaps in the $.10 store and sew them on, however, I should think little hooks of some kind would be much better. Most of the coral is all white with the exception of the one, if you will look closely you will know that it has a light pink color. If I am able to get some nice colored pieces I’ll send them to you later.

We had another ball game this evening and we won by a score of 10 to 8. I pitched for our team and had good luck at that. It was quite dark to play ball by the time the game was over. As soon as we finished, my assistant and I left immediately for the midweek service at the farm. They were 10 in the service this evening. The men are really getting to the place where they can sing some of the courses very well. None of them had ever sang any of them before but all seemed to enjoy them very much now that we are singing them. I have taught them three of them so far, they are “Do You Know That You’ve Been Born Again”, “It’s a Grand Thing to be a Christian”, and my old favorite, “Wonderful Jesus.” Remember how well our young people used to sing that chorus? And the times when we would have the men hum softly and the girls whistle. My other great favorite is, “Every day with Jesus”. I think I will teach them that chorus in the near future. It will surely be grand when you and I can get together again and sing, Dear. I have always enjoyed singing with you.

I used as my scripture text Joshua 1:1-9. I sought to challenge them to accept and seek to make Joshua 1:8 true of their lives. And to note with interest the last part of the ninth verse.

After the service was over we sat around and visited for awhile and now it is quite late. It was during this time that I found out that Corporal Jensen had been at Lawsonia on several occasions and he told me that he thought it very nice and that it ought to be ideal for what our denomination has in mind. He said they were surely fortunate to get it for such a reasonable price.

 Some more pictures of the Bob Hope Troupe on the Island being entertained by the natives. From Sarah’s scrapbook – July 1944

I’m going to enclose newsletter a card which Katherine Riley sent me taken on the inside of Tremont Temple. I thought you might enjoy seeing the interior of this great church. Evidently this picture was taken from the first balcony. I have attended five services in this church and every time I was there it was filled to capacity. On two occasions I had the privilege of being on the platform with Dr. Brownville. On another occasion I was on the platform with all the chaplains who were attending Chaplains School. (Let me make this clear, all the chaplains who were in the service who were attending Harvard were asked to go to the platform and be seated.) On one occasion I was on the platform with Charlie Taylor, the evangelist who I also had a part in a program with him at Long Beach, perhaps you remember me telling you about it.

Darling, it is so late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. May God bless you in all things. I do hope that your experience of this and next week will be very much worth while.

With all of my love in Christ

Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. I finished reading II Corinthians today. 

Willis Pre-war

Willis Reed before the war and marriage.

Next Saturday, we will begin to post the letters again for the next two and a half years.  The longest we will go without a letter is 3 days!  Those were the first three days of the Battle of Okinawa.  For the next few days, we’ll post a combination of photos that some might find interesting.  Here is a picture of a young Willis from his Seminary Day.

December 28, 2017

Sarah and her parents celebrating Christmas – 1943 (taken in 1944 when Willis came for his visit).

In late December 1943 (presumably the 28th) Willis received an unexpected gift – furlough!  He was able to spend 2 glorious weeks with Sarah and her family.  While we don’t have any written record of their time together, we do have some pictures that we’ll be sharing over the next couple of weeks.  We also will share some other material – so visit back!