Billy Graham Center

Interview with Roger Walkwitz - Collection 166

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Roger Walkwitz

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Brief Description.
Taped interview which relates early life in Wheaton, Illinois, attendance at Wheaton College, and experiences of 23 years in the Philippines (1958-1980) as a missionary with Far Eastern Gospel Crusade; includes translation, church planting in the tribal areas, discussion of Philippine education, government, evangelism. Interview transcript is available. This tape is part of Missionary Sources Collection.

Collection 166 [March 20, 2000]
Walkwitz, Roger; 1929-
Interview; 1980

Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collections.



Roger Walkwitz was born in Michigan on September 14, 1929. Because his father was a civil engineer, he and a brother and sister moved often around the country with the family before settling in Wheaton one week before the Japanese attacked on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He attended Wheaton public schools, graduating from Wheaton Community High School in 1947.

In 1951, he received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Wheaton College, having also spent his first three collegiate years in track and cross-country running under the coaching of Gil Dodds. Those years were also spent in active involvement in programs at College Church, including the initiation of services to shut-ins, visitation, and the Christian Service Brigade. During this period, his future life focus remained on the fields of chemistry, physics, and mathematics with the intention of teaching.

In July 1951, he accepted a position at William Jennings Bryan College as a track coach and mathematics teacher, but was drafted into the Army for a two-year term of service because of the Korean War. These years were spent in quartermaster laboratory work in the United States after his training at the Petroleum Laboratory Technical School. While stationed in Los Angeles, his interest in the mission field, and particularly in Philippine tribal people, was awakened by attendance at churches where missions and this particular area was a concern, and he became convinced that the general commission of the church required a personal response from him. On discharge from the Army, he returned to Bryan College as athletic director and to teach chemistry for a one-year period with the understanding that he would prepare for mission service after that period. During that year, he renewed an acquaintance with a senior student, Naomi Hildebrand, and they were married in September 1956.

Roger and Naomi's preparation for missionary service included two summers at Wycliffe's Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota and study at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina, where Roger received an M.A. with a major in missions and minor in biblical education. The decision to serve with Far Eastern Gospel Crusade was made with the advice and consultation of Wheaton's College Church mission board members, among them Jack Frizen and Kenneth Taylor. The Walkwitzes left in December 1957 to serve in the Philippines with College Church as one of their sponsors.

En route to the Philippines, brief visits were made to Japan and Hong Kong to study mission operations there. Initial activity for Far Eastern Gospel Crusade in the Philippines included many areas: translation, teaching, evangelizing, church planting, and work with Overseas Christian Servicemen's Center. Gradually concentration was narrowed to training Filipinos and assisting them with church planting, both in lowland and tribal areas. For the first two terms, Roger also taught high school three separate years at Faith Academy for missionary children in Manila. His primary work, however, was in tribal areas. This was divided into two periods. For eight years, he and Naomi worked in Banaue, Ifuago Province, learning the language, doing personal evangelism, teaching in a local Bible School which they set up, and translating John's Gospel into native Ifuago dialect. Then, in 1970, the Walkwitzes were transferred to Baguio City, situated in the gateway to the mountain tribal area. Here the decision was made to switch to concentrated evangelizing of those coming into the city from the provinces and assisting them to set up churches in their own areas. Within this framework, Roger specialized in the ministry of personal evangelism. He remained in this work until May 1980, when the Walkwitzes returned to the U.S. on furlough.

The years between 1958 and 1980 included two study periods. One was in 1964 at the University of Hawaii for graduate work in chemistry, and the second for a summer's study in Tokyo after winning a National Science Foundation grant. Three sons were born in the Philippines: Ray on December 25, 1958; Randy, November 24, 1959; and Ronnie, April 10, 1962. In 1980, a ten-year lease was taken out on property in Baguio City with the intention of building classrooms, a chapel, and expanding programs in the city.

Scope and Content

Roger Walkwitz was interviewed by Glenn Spitler on November 18, 1980, at the Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

Tape 1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
01:00 Early family life; move to Wheaton, 1941; affiliation with College Church
01:30 Wheaton College graduate degree in chemistry, 1951; teaching position at Bryan College, 1951; uncertainties because of Korean War
02:45 Teaching-coaching duties at Bryan; benefit from Gil Dodds' Wheaton training; two years in Army as draftee; year at Bryan on return
03:15 Preparation for mission field; Columbia Bible College, Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota
03:30 Walkwitz married to Naomi (Hildebrand), September 1956, former Bryan student; departure to Philippines, December 1957
04:00 Student years at Wheaton College; campus buildings erected; favorite recreation places
06:30 Campus social life as student living at home in Wheaton
07:30 Sports participation; senior year activities in Christian Service Brigade, College Church
08:15 Gil Dodds' interest in each runner; usefulness of sports training for teaching career
08:45 Student attitudes toward missions; grade competition on Wheaton campus
10:15 Influence and friendship with faculty members
11:00 Personal growth from freshman to senior years, relationship to later mission career
13:00 Personal use of faculty availability
14:00 Spiritual example of faculty
14:45 1950 revival on campus
16:45 College and community relationship
18:30 Bible study programs on campus
19:00 Student attendance at Wheaton churches.
20:00 Student attitude toward politics, national leaders
21:45 Appreciation of Christian principles at Wheaton, Bryan Colleges
23:15 No special crisis events of campus years except possibly financial
24:00 Activity of student groups, intense interest in missions
25:15 Reasons for choice of Wheaton College, means of personal financial support
26:15 Post-graduation summer activities
27:00 Occupation during Korean Army draft years
27:45 Naomi Walkwitz's days as a student before marriage
28:30 Led to tribal work in Philippines during second year in Army; return to Bryan to teach one year only
29:30 Two summers of linguistic training with Wycliffe; M.A. at Columbia Bible College
30:15 Uncertainty of future direction
31:30 Good health deciding factor
32:45 Reasons for selecting Far Eastern Gospel Crusade; FEGC evaluation at College Church, suggestions from church personnel
34:30 Operational strategy and development of FEGC in Philippines
36:15 Number of FEGC personnel, geographical spread; absorption of Central Alaska Mission, 1970
36:45 Personnel and institutions in Philippines, Asian Theological Seminary; College of Bible, Manila; Faith Academy for missionary children; teaching years there
38:15 Route to Philippines, 1958, via Japan, Hong Kong; visits to other missions
39:15 Adjustments to Philippine culture
40:15 Evaluation of mission work from tribal areas to city evangelism
43:15 Life of Philippine tribal peoples; western influences
46:00 End of side 1

Tape 1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:00 Language and schooling opportunities in Philippine history; present wide-spread use of English
04:15 Illiteracy of native languages, English
05:30 Extent of cultural barriers to presentation of gospel
07:00 Comparable barriers in U.S
08:00 Individual and group evangelism; training of Philippine evangelists
09:30 Scope of reactions to preaching, degrees of opposition
10:45 Typical church service
12:00 Operation of Holy spirit in daily events, Walkwitz's personal involvement and receptivity
14:15 Racial tensions among Philippine tribes, Muslims, Chinese
14:30 Cultural absorption of Walkwitz family in Philippines
15:00 Missionary role in Philippine society; opposition of Roman Catholic priests
17:15 Effects of martial law under Marcos since 1972; present level of freedom, stability
19:00 Government attitude toward America; Billy Graham's Manila campaign; governmental acceptance of missionary activities
20:00 Inter-faith relationships; Roman Catholic attitude since Vatican II
21:00 Predominant pro-western feeling in Philippines; University professors, students' opposition
21:45 Assessment of democracy's usefulness to Filipino culture
22:30 Influence of Communism in Philippines
24:00 Health facilities, supply of doctors, drugs
25:15 Educational structure
26:15 Economic growth
28:45 Cooperation of different mission boards in Philippines
29:00 Departure for furlough, 1979; furlough year activities
29:45 Future plans; international crisis level
31:45 Hopes for increased interest in missions on Wheaton campus as in 1950's
33:30 Plans for leased property, Baguio City
34:30 End of tape


The audio tape in this collection was given to the Archives on November 18, 1980.

Accession 80-161
November 20, 1981
Frances L. Brocker
G. Spitler
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 80 - 161
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 80 minutes. One side only. Interview of Roger Walkwitz by Glenn Spitler, November 18, 1980.

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Last Revised: 9/05/02
Expiration: indefinite