September 13, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea 

13 September 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, another day has slipped by for which I am very thankful, for if God so wills it means we are one day closer to seeing and being together again. And if not here we know we will be together over there because of the precious thought found in our life verse, Dear. (Colossians 3:3) 

  In the short note I wrote to you last evening you will remember how I told you about the downpour of rain. I’m sorry that was such a short letter and not as interesting, but if you knew the conditions and the contrary weather I’m sure you would understand. It rained steady until about dark tonight. There was a break in the clouds at about sundown but I don’t know whether it will clear yet or not. I spent most of the day trying to round up my equipment and dry out those things which were soaked in the downpour.

Korea 1945.

  By the way, this afternoon I met a missionary interpreter who had helped missionaries until about four and a half years ago when the missionaries he was helping were forced out of Korea by the Japanese military men. Shortly after the missionaries left, the police found him reading his Bible and immediately threw him into jail asking no questions. After that they rounded up all the men of this little church, as well as any who had Bibles. They were kept in a prison for over two years. One of the Christian men died while in prison. He died his first year in prison. The Japanese Army personnel gave them very little to eat and made them do many unpleasant tasks. In all that time he was not allowed to see his wife or three boys. The wives did the best they could under such conditions and came through all right. This man was finally turned loose because he was sick and had been for 7 months. He went back to his wife, children and little acre of land and finally regained his health. I’ve never seen more genuine joy written on a man’s face then on this man’s. He told how grateful the people of Korea are that we have taken over the responsibility of liberating them from the power and shackles of Japanese domination. He said it was almost akin to the joy that comes when we realize that Christ can and will save us if we but profess real living faith in Jesus Christ. He believes there is a great future for the cause of Christ in Korea if Christians in the USA and Korea really show forth the power of salvation in their lives and relationships with each other.

  On every hand can be seen the fruits of Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and a host of other lesser Oriental cults. What a difference our Lord makes. It makes me think of the song which goes, “Jesus Set the World to Singing when He Came.” And it may be said this way concerning what I’ve seen so far in Korea; Jesus changed Korea when He came because His coming changed Koreans and Koreans as a result changed their native land.

  Beloved, in spite of all that happened today and all the various experiences, I thought of you many times and I am so thankful to our Lord for the privilege of being just yours forever in Christ’s wonderful love. When Mr. Ko told me about his experiences I thought of you Dear and thanked the Lord for your ever faithful love and devotion to Christ and to me, your most blessed of God husband.

Many men spend a lifetime seeking gold, gain and fame, but in you I have more than all these put together because the above-mentioned are here today and gone tomorrow but in you (with Christ) I have immortality and incorruption. Dear, I wish there were some wonderful way to let you know just how much you mean to me and how much I love you. Again, thank you for being such a good Christian wife and sweetheart.

  Dear, I have just finished reading your letter of August 20th and 21st. They were the letters written on Monday and Tuesday of the days Paul, Gen and the children were with you at the Dunes. Words cannot describe how lonesome I am for some mail from you, it actually seems like ages since I’ve heard from you. Your letters mean more to me than you will ever know. Those letters being read, read again for the umpteenth time did help but I’m anxious to know what you have been doing since that time. From what you said in your letters I could easily see that you had a wonderful time with the Vogels. I love them so very very much and will be glad when we can have a good visit again. Yes, those boys are dears and I do hope we can have a family of our own someday. There is nothing that can compare with children.

  After all I have seen and experienced in my work as an Army chaplain, no one could more fully appreciate the blessed privilege which is mine and having a good wife like you, Dear. And I’m sure that you will be a very good mother to our children.

  By the way, I finished reading the book entitled, “The Great Lakes”.  I’ll send it to you later to read, I’m sure you would enjoy reading it and perhaps when we get our new car we will be able to take a trip to some of the places of interest. Anywhere with you will be blessed as far as I’m concerned. I cannot possibly tell you how lost I feel without you, Dear. Solomon was certainly correct when he said a good woman is above the price and worth of rubies.

  For some time I have been unable to take enough time to answer some of your questions and make comments on things that you have written, so here goes.

  Your description of swimming and playing in the waves made me think of many times when we had the joy of playing, walking, and talking of the things nearest our hearts. Remember when we used to say, “Refuel me, Sweetheart.”  The very thought of you and your love and devotion does just that for me.

  I enjoyed your description of the martin’s teaching the little ones to fly. They will need strong wings for their long flight to the warmer zones.

  It was interesting to hear what you said about Truman’s speech on August 10th. I have never heard him speak, but as you said, I imagine there would be a great difference between his speaking and that of former President Roosevelt.

  Darling, I’m pretty weary tonight so I think I will close for now. God bless you in all things. How I hope some mail will arrive soon. It is so good to be just yours now and ever.

 Yours in Christ’s love for always

 because we are one 

(how glad it will be when I can say together again),

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

September 12, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea 

12 September 1945

Dearest Darling:

This has been a rather disagreeable day. It was rather chilly all morning and then shortly after dinner it started to rain and has been raining ever since. It wouldn’t be so bad but when you have to sleep out on the bare ground under a pup tent it isn’t so good.

  We are still rounding up Japanese soldiers and starting them on their way back to Japan proper. Very little was accomplished today and all I did was help clean up one of the dirty areas around here and the weather was so miserable this afternoon very little could be done. Dear, I shall close for tonight and try to write you a better letter tomorrow.

 Just yours

 forever in Christ’s love,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

September 11, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea

11 September 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Beloved, it is now 24 months since we saw each other. Those months have been very long and I’m very lonesome for you, Darling. This time 20 months ago I was on the “El Capitan” speeding for the West Coast. It seemed each mile of that fast-moving train only intensified the ache and loneliness. And now each day makes me look more than ever to that glad day when we can and will be together again.

  Well, today was another day like yesterday and all we did was clean up the dirt and mess that Japanese Army had left behind here.

Transport and Troop carrier.

  Today was another good and it made me think of the good old United States. I had a little time after my devotions today so I read a quite a little in a book entitled, “The Great Lakes,”  by Harlan Hatcher. It is very interesting and I’m sure you would enjoy reading it.

  A soldier was just here to see me about a marital problem. It is another of those heartbreaking cases. There are two children involved also. It is so hard to do things for a soldier when ten or eleven thousand miles from home. I cannot thank the Lord enough for the good Christian wife you are, my Dear. It certainly means everything to know I can trust you unreservedly in all things. 

We see many of our planes flying overhead and of course the Koreans marvel at all our equipment and our great Air Force and ships. By the way, you will note the name of our city at the top of my letter that is the Korean. Whereas most maps show the capital named as Keijo or Seoul.  Both of which are Japanese.

  I will have to close for now because we have an officers meeting. God bless you my Lover in all things. More later. Give my love to the folks.

 Always just yours in Christ’s

 Love and salvation,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

September 10, 1945

Capital of Korea

10 September 1945

My Beloved Darling:

Very little of worth or interest to you has been accomplished today. It is generally this way whenever you move to a new area because you have to wait for your rear echelon equipment to arrive on trucks. We spent most of the day cleaning up in this area and I imagine that is what we will do most all day tomorrow. We will probably only be here for a while but we always have to clean up for the troops who come behind us. Our main job is disarming the Japanese Army and starting them on their way to places where they can be shipped back to Japan proper. This place here was their Army Headquarters. The buildings are all very nicely equipped but they’re sanitation (I mean the Japanese soldiers) was worse than anything you could imagine. How they could have such nice buildings and be so dirty about their sanitation I cannot understand.

Japanese Troops surrender.

The climate here is just like the States at this time of the year. Nice days and the evenings very cool and damp. Last night I slept on the ground and I got pretty chilly before morning. As I said before, this country surely makes me think of the United States. Off in one direction there is a most beautiful mountain range.

  Around in various yards can be seen peaches, apples, pears and plums. Oh! Yes, there are grapes but so far I have been unable to have any to eat. Perhaps I shall be fortunate enough to have some fruit to eat a little later.

  I know we can hardly expect any mail yet but I still long for your precious letters, Dear. They are the one thing that keeps me going as the days roll by. Of course, it hasn’t been so long since we left Okinawa but actually it seems like a long long time. Won’t it be wonderful when we can be together every day, have our devotions, prayer and discussions? Those hours with Gen, Paul as we sat in the front room, our own home and when we traveled in Paul the First are so precious to me now. I’ll be glad when we get our new Paul II and we can travel somewhere far for a while and be alone and just talk, love and see what our Lord’s will is for our future. I do hope that time isn’t too far away.

  I’m certainly sick and tired of these canned Army rations. The Navy and the rear echelon Commandos always get the better food and equipment. It will certainly be a privilege to have something green and fresh to eat again. So many of our canned rations contain greasy pork in different mixtures and I just don’t care for it. They must be trying to absorb some of the overproduction of pork the last two years. Darling, I’m so very lonesome for some of your good cooking. Are you and Mom going to have one of my favorite meals ready for my return to the States? It will be so good to sit by your side again and have the Chief on one end and Mom on the other.

Well, Sweetheart, it is late and I’m tired and I’m going to roll up in my poncho and blanket for another night. God bless you my Lover in all things. Give the folks my love.

 Yours alone forever in the wonderful

 love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

September 9, 1945

Capital of Korea

9 September 1945

(A day I shall long remember)

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This evening I am trying to write you a few lines with my flashlight in my left hand. We have a new moon tonight and it is quite appropriate after the events of this day. I’m very tired because we were up at 1 this morning and came ashore just as the new day was breaking in the East. It was a gorgeous sunrise and I knew you would have enjoyed such beauty in God’s heavens.

The Japanese flag comes down in Seoul.

I cannot go into full detail but we loaded on a train at the port and came on up here to the capital. The civilians saw to it that we had their best coaches and really they were much nicer than I expected to travel in. Along the railroad all the way from the port to here, Koreans lined the railroad cheering, saluting and waving little USA flags they had made with plain paper and Crayola. They had banners such as, “Welcome, American Army” and “Welcome, American Apostle of Justice and Peace.”   And the one I never shall forget as we pulled through one town.  The people were all standing at the station platform singing, waving USA handmade flags and their big banner read, “Welcome, Christian friends.”  When I saw that I couldn’t hold back the tears because it made me realize all anew the privilege you and I have in knowing and serving our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Darling, words cannot possibly describe to you what I have been privileged to witness today. When we are together I’ll tell you all about it for I know you will want to hear about it.

  Mother Earth will be my bed tonight but that’s not so bad when you don’t have to fight the enemy. I just wish you could see the expression on the faces of the Korean people, they are completely overjoyed and express their joy by cheering and shaking hands.

  There are some very beautiful mountains off in the distance. They are far enough away that they appear to be purple. The land between here and the port made me think of the country between Chicago and East Moline. It really made me homesick. And as you know, I could not think of that territory without thinking of you, Dear. The people here all dressed in their very best clothes. Most of them being dressed in white.

  This evening I had a service for our men, they were still busy putting up their pup tents but I thought it best to have a service. It was about dusk. One hundred fifty three were in attendance, which was very good considering the fact that the men had not had their suppers, still had tents to put up after a long hike out to this camping area from the railway station. The train whistle made me very lonesome for you Dear and I kept wishing that it was taking me into some station in Chicago.

  As we marched up to the Capitol building to lower the Japanese flag and raise the US flag, the people cheered, some shed tears of joy. As the Japanese flag came down they clapped their hands and cheered and as our flag went up they let loose with all within them. Our Division Commander and an Admiral represented the United States while the Japanese officers and men watched their flag brought down.

  Sweetheart, I am very weary after this long day so I must roll up into my poncho and blanket for tonight’s sleep. God bless you my Lover in all things. I’m so anxious to have some of your letters. I hope they start coming in soon.

 Just yours now and ever because we are one

 in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

September 8, 1945

At Anchor off Korea

8 September 1945

Dearest Sweetheart:

It is late and I am very weary after a long tiresome day and there will be very little sleep tonight. Tomorrow will be exceedingly long and wearing. As we moved along the coast this morning we saw many many small Islands. They were really beautiful. This afternoon was filled with much activity.

We had our service again this evening and there was a very large group in attendance. I used as my scripture Galatians 5: 13-26. I have used that scripture before and perhaps you remember the message, “ Freedom. What does it mean to you?”  After the service a man came forward upon the invitation. Please pray for him and me. I talked to him for over 1 hour and a half. I’m thankful for God’s blessing. Dear, I would like to write you a better letter but I’m so weary I can hardly hold my eyes open. I’m so lonesome to have some more of your letters. God bless you, Dear.

 Yours alone and so glad to be in

 Christ’s glorious love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3: 3 

September 15, 1945

Kyongsong, Korea 

15 September 1945

Dearest Darling:

About all I can say for this day is the fact that we are one day closer together. Days like these certainly try your patience and from all indications there’ll be many more of them. This rounding up and looking for soldiers or enemy peoples is indeed difficult when there are so many obstacles to overcome. Actually, things are so poorly managed that you cannot help but wonder how much longer you will have to put up with such foolishness.

  There seems to be no one concerned about getting US mail through to us so I suppose we will spend a good many more days without mail. This kind of situation would be just a little bit more bearable if I could hear from you now and then. It will soon be a month since I’ve known what you have been doing.

Bob and Marge Price at the Dunes. August 1945.

  We did some more moving today and naturally had to clean up some very dirty areas. I will not go into detail. Suffice it to say they were very very dirty. From all indications we are going to have a lot of running around here. Our troops will be scattered all over creation. Two of my boxes were broken into on the trip coming up here. It seems nowhere men have honor anymore. It seems like it’s all right to steal someone else’s belongings as long as you are not caught.

  A few more comments on some of your last letters and then I must try to get a little rest for tonight. By the way, just before I started this letter to you I wrote a letter to Laura Pettygrove. I’m going to enclose Mrs. Allen’s letter in here for you to read, I answered her letter yesterday.

  I’m glad Margie was able to spend one day at the cottage with you. From all you have told me she is certainly a marvelous girl and Bob ought to consider himself most blessed of God.

  I’m surely happy to know that they have a patch over Daniel’s eye now. And I hope his eye is strengthened so he will not have to wear glasses or have trouble of his eye crossing. I suppose Kay will have a nice time at Lake Winona.

  How is Leann coming now since her operation? I do hope she will be able to hear better in the future. When you see her be sure to greet her for me.

  The news about Mrs. Textor’s husband was surely a great surprise to me, and from all I know, I think Mrs. Textor  has done a wonderful job. I do hope Jane wakes up and treats her better.

  Well Darling, I must close for tonight and God bless you in all things and I hope mail will soon be forthcoming. Be sure to give the folks my love.

  It is so good to be just yours for

 always Dear, in Christ’s love,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

 Ruth 1:16-17

September 7, 1945

Yellow Sea

7 September 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

When we got up this morning and I looked out at the sea, I could surely understand how the Yellow Sea got its name; the water actually has a yellow cast to it. They say that is caused from the lack of depth. It only averages between 200 and 300 ft deep which was a great surprise to me. I only wish you could see it for I know you would really enjoy it.

Parade of Allied Forces held in Berlin. September 7, 1945.

  This morning and this evening we had a most beautiful sunrise and sunset. It seems that God used every color in his spectrum to paint the sunset this evening. There were just enough clouds tonight to add to all the splendor spread across the great expanse of the sky. The clouds on the horizon looked like mighty peaks of the Alps. They were the most gorgeous purple you could imagine. And above them were many curdled clouds of gold and red.

  And off to our right are many of the small islands along the coast of Korea. We sighted the first island about 2:30 this afternoon. It became fully dark before we had the opportunity to see the mainland of Korea. If we just had a full moon now things would be much nicer. But it could never never be complete without you, my Dear. 

This morning I studied and worked on my message for this evening. I used as my scripture verse Isaiah 30:15 and the title of my message was, “Rest for Strength.”  I developed it along the line that all grant that rest and food are necessary for strength physically. Then I developed the same idea on the spiritual plane and then concluded with how to rest and partake of food spiritually. There were only a little over one hundred in attendance this evening but that was to be expected in that we are so near our objective and the men are working on some details. We had to have the service down in one of the holds tonight because of a rain squall which lasted about half an hour.

  Dear, a fellow wants to see me so I will have to close for now. A little while ago I had a very nice talk with Nick Medina, he is certainly a splendid Christian man is a real testimony for Christ. God bless you my Beloved in all things. Be sure to give the folks my deepest love.

 Forever yours in Christ’s love,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

September 6, 1945

East China Sea

Not so far from Shanghai, China

4 September 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This is the calmest sea I’ve ever sailed upon. However, from what I’ve heard she can really be mighty rough and dangerous, especially when a typhoon is on a rampage. Our convoy was most impressive in their movement. I never dreamed that one day I might be sailing upon such a ship so far from home and those I love.

  This morning I had my devotions and then visited with as many of the men as possible. I enjoy getting around to visit with them. I also spent some time helping one of the men who received a very discouraging letter just before we boarded ship.

Willis Baptizing men on Okinawa.

  After having my dinner I rested for almost two hours. I was so very tired after such a hot night last night. Of course, we still travel under blackout conditions and that means closing the port hole and very hot room. There was a good breeze so I rested fairly well. After that I worked on my message for this evenings service. My scripture was Daniel 6: 10-16. And the title of my message, “ You Can Take It with You.”  Using the idea that most things we are unable to take with us beyond the grave. It worked out all right and several indicated it as helpful for them. I believe there were more present this evening than last evening. One of the Navy men aboard the ship is a fine Christian and talked to me for some time. During the course of our conversation I found out that he has attended First Church Long Beach and knows Dr. Edson. He attended B.Y.F. three or four times and has been in Holly’s home for Sunday evening get togethers on two different occasions. He could hardly believe it when he found out I knew them and heard from them regularly. 

  Well, I suppose today was your first day of classes at Northern. I suppose the main thing was assignments and materials and books you will need.

  Dear, I shall try to get a good night’s sleep so I’ll close for now. God bless you my Beloved in all things.

 Yours now and ever in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3: 3

September 5, 1945

East China Sea

5 September 1945

Sarah, My Dearest:

  As you will note we are at sea having weighed anchor just before noon. We pulled out of Buckner Bay in the mighty blue Pacific past the Kerama Retto’s and now moving along in the calm East China Sea. Our convoy is really moving along very nicely. I only wish you could see it. After having dinner I spent a good while out on the deck watching Okinawa drop below the horizon. That is probably the last time I’ll ever see that Island unless I come by there on my way to you my Dear; and as for me, I hope that isn’t too far away. While out on deck I visited with a lot of the men and also had a good talk with Don.

Picture of sunset in Hilo Bay. Sent from Willis to Sarah.

  I spent a good share of the morning preparing my message for this evening. I used as my text I Timothy 6:7-12. The theme of my message was one word, “Building.”  When we think of building we think of planning;  and planning means seeking the wisdom of one who knows thoroughly the field in which we are desirous of building. Therefore, we who know man’s whole duty of glorifying God ought to go to Him who knows us all together. It worked out fairly well and I really got a blessing others preparing the message. As long as we are under way I’m going to have a service every evening at 6. It was hard to tell exactly how many were present, but as near as we could tell it must have been 150 or more. I had it on the front of the ship and it made a beautiful sitting as we watched the sun going down to a fiery sky of many colored clouds. Dear, there is a soldier wants to see me about something so I think I will call this all for today. God bless you Dearest in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

 With my deepest Love now and forever,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3