October 15, 1943
Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-
Well, I will take a little time this morning to let you know I love you more than ever Dear. Yesterday, from 11 A.M. on I was extremely busy. We had an early dinner and Major Hammond, a warrant officer, and I left for Long Beach, just south of Signal Hill. I picked up a part of the infantry outfit and advanced with them right up to the Douglas Airfield. I enjoyed it very much. I looked like I had been through a coal mine when I got here to Headquarters. We had advanced about 2 1/2 miles through brush, weeds, oil wells, ditches, junk piles, bean fields and almost anything you can think of, crawling on our stomachs. Advancing by the duck waddle in fields of corn etc. Our actual traveling distance was much further because we had to zig-zag and do every thing imaginable to not be observed by the guards. I managed to stay with the advance patrols most of the time, mainly the men who set up the machine gun nests. It was a really fine experience and the fellows were always surprised to discover I was a chaplain when they saw the cross on my shirt collar. They thought it not so unusual to see a 1st Lt., but when they saw the cross, they would say something like this, “Gee, this must be something, even the chaplain is in it.”
By the way, I had a good talk with the man in the guardhouse who called for me yesterday and he indicates that he may be taking a real stand for Christ. My, his background is heartbreaking. Time will not permit me to tell you, but it’s a wonder he hasn’t done more. I believe I told you sometime ago that I talked to him when the J.B.I. had returned him to his outfit. I had a long talk with him then about God’s Word and so on. This encouraging works comes to me by telephone yesterday, a certain noncommissioned officer where this young man is being kept a prisoner called and I had a quite a talk with him. He said he has noticed a change in him and has been being a model prisoner. “Praise the Lord!” Yesterday, I reminded him that becoming a Christian as a means of escape of punishment was futile, but if God so willed him to live, it may mean years of service ahead. I told him he will and must be determined to face whatever punishment the Court Martial may give. He looked me in the eye and I shook hands with him and he said, “I’m ready to take my punishment and the sooner the better.” Then he added these words, “I only wish I would have know this before.” Maybe he would have if some Christian somewhere had not failed to seize an opportunity. By the faithful ministry of some Christians, I have been spared what this boy now suffers. And since talking to him yesterday, I’ve thought so many times, “Except for the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that’s Willis A. Reed in that guardhouse.” I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful share,” but Praise God Christ lifted me. And I’m so ashamed of the little chicken coop I’ve built when I could have built a skyscraper. What a foundation we have in Christ. All I can say is, Lord make my heart and mind be sensitive to the plans of the Master Contractor. The difference between heaven and the world is this, Heaven is where God’s law, as far as humanity is concerned, is a choice, and so many choose not to obey it. I left this out concerning Heaven, all those there choose to obey it. I guess I’m preaching again, enough of that. You know what? “I Love You” more than ever for the ages of the ages. Interruptions – interruptions, if you can’t follow me forgive me, I’m trying to think double and work, as you can see from this letter, I’m no good in that respect.
The Chief’s suggestion concerning bonds sounds O.K. to me. When it comes to things like that I know not what to do. Is it possible to dispose of those bonds whenever, for instance, when we need the money or something? If it is, I think it’s the wisest investment. You’re right Darling, our Money is the Lord’s and we want to use it where it will do the most for the Kingdom. We are His trustees.
Last night I sewed a patch on the sleeve of my green shirt and what a time I had. The thread kept breaking all the time. Either the thread was weak or I pulled to hard, but I’m inclined to believe it was the former. I’m going to enclose one of the patches so you’ll recognize one of the men in our Command if you see him wearing this kind of patch on his coat or shirt. It isn’t A.A. as I showed you in Chicago because I’m attached to a larger outfit, not just a unit, but a Headquarters. The black part which forms a “W” stands for “Western Defense Command”, black being used because we can black out the whole coast from Lower California to British Colombia -(Vancouver). Yellow means the setting sun and the red the flaming sky.
Lover, I’m looking right at you and you’re smiling so sweet. My arms are hungry because they are empty and my lips are aching for yours, but I mustn’t be impatient ’cause God’s got work for us to do. Lover, so long, God Bless and keep you and may I be a better husband when in God’s good time we are together again.
Always and forever yours in the Love of Christ,
Written on the side:
P.S. Enclosed is a bulletin of this Sunday’s services.
2nd Letter of the Day
October 15, 1943
Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-
I wrote you this morning and this is evening and “I Love you” more now than ever because I feel it. And it’s a sure thing to know what love is, you have to experience it and Lover, how I praise the Lord for the fact that together with you I’ve begun to sound the depths of God’s love through experience. And Oh the joy that fills my heart when I think that I’ll continue this with you until the Lord says it’s enough, and what we have lacked to experience the Lord will make up to us because we’ve honestly sought to live Colossians 3:3. I’m writing this now because tomorrow will undoubtedly be very busy.
My jeep has been in the hospital for two days and of course that has slowed things up somewhat. I only mean this in the sense that I’ve been unable to get around to the batteries to see the men in the isolated places. I’ve had a plenty to do around headquarters, hardly a quite moment. Every 6,000 miles the jeeps have a check up which amounts to a complete overhauling. They want them to perform without a hitch and on almost all occasions they do.
Tonight I was invited to a B.Y.F Banquet by Rev. Winfield Edson of the First Baptist Church of Long Beach. I managed to go and enjoyed it very very much. I’ve found from Boston to Chicago, from East Moline to Long Beach, there is one group of people who have and really enjoy life and that is Christian Young People.
I got a letter from Ann Clark and called her on the telephone. Delores Nelson had sent her my address. Don and Ann only live seven blocks from the 507th Headquarters where I’m stationed.
We went into our woolens today. They feel pretty warm during the day but really feel fine in the evenings.
Thank God Darling we as Christians do have the answer the world needs, but what are we Darling? We’ve been resolving this and resolving that but the need of this crisis hour is not resolves but revolution, the ripened and badly needed fruit of regeneration. We’ve trusted science, education, philosophy, psychology, and almost anything that has been created by man (not created but discovered). But I’ve come to this conclusion, men are not going to, and more than that I’m not going to expect to them to trust in a Christianity that isn’t real. Our Christians need the vitality that speaks of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. At it again, sermonizing to my beloved wife.
You ask in today’s letter about my sleeve insignia, it so happens that I sent you the one our group wears and told what it was supposed to signify in the letter I mailed to you this morning.
Thanks for the clippings you sent, I enjoyed them very much and I’ll probably be able to use them sometime.
There are four lines which describe my prayer because of you.
“God make me the man of her vision, and purge me of selfishness!
God keep me true to her standards, and help me to live to bless.”
I mean this with all of My heart Lover.
Well Dear, I’m going to close and try to get a little shut eye, because I am quite tired. But it’s the same story, “I love you more than ever for ever and ever.”
In His Matchless Love,
I am forever yours,
P.S. I suppose you’re having a time trying to read my horrible scrawling, but a foot locker as a table and a bed for a chair isn’t the best combination in the world. Finding a quiet place around here is like trying to find needle in a haystack. Coming to my room only eliminates some of the interruptions but it does help some.