Billy Graham Center

Interview with Naomi Hildebrand Walkwitz - Collection 167

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Naomi Hildebrand Walkwitz

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
An interview, taped on furlough, relating childhood experiences, education & marriage to Roger Walkwitz; describes their careers as missionaries to the tribal peoples of the Philippines under Far East Gospel Crusade between 1958-1980. Includes discussion of Philippine customs, tribal practices of Christian groups, training of singing gospel teams, education in the Christian and national schools, relationship with Roman Catholics, & Philippine governmental policies. This is a Missionary Sources collection tape.

Collection 167 [March 20, 2000]
Walkwitz, Naomi Hildebrand; ca. 1934-
Interview; 1980

Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Naomi Hildebrand's early life was so unhappy that she ran away from home. The courts later removed her from her mother's home and forbade contact with anyone in her family and she was sent to live with a pastor and his family. She stayed with them until his wife became ill; and then she was sent to live in another foster home. Again this experience proved to be a negative one, and Naomi requested a transfer. A woman in her late sixties, a member of the pastor's church, accepted responsibility for Naomi, though she was then a teenager. Naomi's pastor offered to pledge the church's support to send her to college, which she would not otherwise have been able to attend. She enrolled at William Jennings Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee, where she was inspired to become a missionary after hearing a woman speak who had worked in Africa.

In her freshman year, while working in the chemistry lab to assist in her support, she met Roger Walkwitz, a chemistry teacher. Naomi and Roger began to date in her senior year, and were married in 1956 after her graduation the previous year from Bryan. The following year, both Walkwitzes attended Columbia Bible College and continued with language training at the University of North Dakota in preparation for their mutual career as missionaries to the tribal people of the Philippines. Both were accepted by Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International) and spent one year as interns in a church in the Detroit area as preparation for the mission field and church planting.

The Walkwitzes arrived in Manila in January 1958 and spent their first year in that city on the staff of Faith Academy, a school for missionary children. Roger taught chemistry and Naomi substituted when possible. Their first son, Raymond, was born in Manila in 1958, where their other two sons, Randy, born in 1959, and Ronnie, born in 1962, were also born. The Walkwitzes also spent the first year of their next two terms of service for Gospel Crusade teaching at the Academy. The majority of their work involved translation, teaching, evangelizing, and church planting in Banaue, Ifuago Province.

In 1970 Naomi, Roger, and their family were transferred to Baguio City, which is situated strategically at the entrance to the mountains north of Manila, where they were able to concentrate on work with tribal peoples who came into that city. There they set up a center for students, established a church for tribal Christians, taught, and developed programs for outreach. They came home on furlough in May 1980, and returned to the Philippines in 1981.

Scope and Content

Naomi Walkwitz was interviewed by Janice Soderberg 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.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:15 Removed by courts from her family because of mother's unfitness; life with pastor and family after running away from home
02:21 Illness causes transfer to foster home; request for removal from poor situation
02:50 "Adopted" by church member in late 60s; promised to be obedient as a teenager
03:15 Converted at an evangelistic service when sixteen; zeal ebbed in senior year in high school; nightly trips to next town after play rehearsals
04:07 Playing "chicken" with cars; accident
04:53 Pastor's concern; offer to send her to Bryan College, Tennessee
05:54 Homesickness; impact of missionary from Africa, decision to stay and become missionary in future
06:50 First contact with Roger Walkwitz, future husband, Bryan's chemistry teacher; dating in her senior year
07:37 Meeting through athletic program headed by Walkwitz; job cleaning chemistry equipment to help church with college support
08:22 Bryan College
08:46 Graduation, 1955; Columbia Bible College, University of North Dakota for language training as missionary
09:17 Married September 8, 1956; one year internship in Detroit area church; beginning of twenty-three years in Philippines for Far East Gospel Crusade
09:56 Crusade begun by G.I.'s to fill need in Philippines
10:26 Arrival in Philippines in 1958; stop-over visit in Japan to see missionary friends
11:36 First impressions; arrival with no Americans to meet them
13:02 Hot climate in January's "cool" season
13:53 Teaching assignment in Manila at Faith Academy; arrival of first son, Raymond; Philippine hospitals
15:29 Reaction of Filipino women to pregnancy, blond boys
16:22 Difference of children's dress--American/Filipino
17:05 Differences in food, clothing
17:56 Teaching three times at Faith at beginning of each term
18:25 Decision to move to Baguio City; need to start church there for tribal peoples
19:16 Work with five tribal groups; languages and usage in Philippines; school system
20:30 Decision to keep boys at home for elementary school years and teach them based on Roger's research for thesis and knowledge of missionary children's feelings
21:40 Boys at Faith Academy; substituting there as a teacher
22:09 Getting a "house girl," reluctance and acceptance
23:55 Example of Walkwitz family for tribal peoples through house girl's observations
24:47 Experiences with orphan house girl
25:54 Security problems from threat of robbery
26:43 Baguio City; retreat from heat; overcrowding during Holy Week, vacation times
27:52 Tribal peoples in Baguio; attitudes of lowlanders toward mountain people
30:38 Walkwitzes formed church particularly for tribal people
30:57 Main groups of Filipinos
31:30 Morro National Liberation Front
32:50 Missionaries' freedom under benevolent dictatorship if no political interference; decision to give up democracy in Philippines
35:06 Main cultural differences; animistic traditions, ancestor worship
37:01 Episode of sick baby and ancestor's bones; omens of red birds
38:22 Description of marriage customs
39:45 Receptivity of Filipinos to Gospel; knowledge of Flood, fondness for Americans
42:32 Description of facilities and activities at Center in Baguio City; courses available to students, training for outreach activity
45:30 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:30 Requested to help with singing; formation of quartet, training gospel singers for tribal areas
04:00 C.I.A. (Christians in Action) basketball team as witnesses
05:00 Furlough replacements from Manila because no other couple working in Baguio City
05:30 New church built onto Center; first service on Mother's Day before furlough
06:45 First wedding in new church, problems, excitement of groom's family, type of services
09:15 Relationship with Catholic Church; false accusations during first term, resolution in courts
11:00 Return to begin twenty-fourth year, joy in work there
11:30 End of tape


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

Accession 80-162
June 2, 1982
Frances L. Brocker
J. Soderberg
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 80 - 162
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 55 minutes. One side only. Interview of Naomi Walkwitz by Janice Soderberg, on November 18, 1980.

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Last Revised: 4/05/03
Expiration: indefinite