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Interviews with Malcolm Maurice and Helen Irvin Sawyer - Collection 256



[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biographies of Malcolm Maurice and Helen Irvin Sawyer

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

List of Audio Tapes in this Collection


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Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Click to listen to an excerpt from this interview. Click to visit the exhibit Web page featuring this and other excerpts with transcripts, visuals and audio links.

Transcript 4





Brief Description.
Two interviews each with Malcolm (recorded on 9/27/83 and 11/14/83) and with Helen (recorded on 11/22/83 and 11/30/83). The Sawyers discuss their childhood, schooling, and working for the Christian and Missionary Alliance in China, 1948-1950 and in Laos, 1950-1975. Mission activities in Laos include church planting, training of pastors, and medical assistance to the Khamu and Hmong peoples. The Sawyers also opened a Bible school which included literacy education and they developed and expanded the literature program for the C&MA. Interviews also include information about their work in the Chicago area with Hmong refugees.
Vol: 4 Reels of Audio Tape


Collection 256
[March 16, 2000]
Sawyer, Helen Irvin; 1923-
Sawyer, Malcolm Maurice; 1919-
Interviews; 1983
4 Reels Audio Tape

Restrictions:
There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

THERE ARE TYPED TRANSCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR ALL THE INTERVIEWS IN THIS COLLECTION.



Biographies

Malcolm Sawyer was born April 24, 1919, in Laconia, New Hampshire. He was converted in 1930 through the influence of his uncle, James Sawyer. Partly because of the influence of Robert Ekvall and his mission work in Tibet, Malcolm later felt a definite call to the mission field while he was living in Old Orchard, Maine. This decision to be a missionary determined his choice of Nyack Missionary Institute for training, and it was there he met his future wife, Helen Irvin.

Helen Irvin was born in August, 1923, and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in a family which included four brothers and sisters. The healing of her mother's tuberculosis of the bone, the family involvement with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), and the presence of many Christian guests in the household contributed to the subsequent involvement of all of her brothers and sisters in Christian work. Helen decided to become a missionary, and selected Nyack Missionary Institute, New York, for her schooling. There she met her future husband, Malcolm Sawyer. They were married in 1943.

After their marriage, Malcolm was required by the policies of the Christian and Missionary Alliance to serve a pastorate as preparation for the mission field. The Sawyers went first to West Haverstraw, New York, and next to Dixon, Illinois, where they stayed for two years. Both felt strongly called to go to China while in Dixon, and this decision led to departure for training in language and cultural studies in Montreat, North Carolina.

The Sawyers left for China from San Francisco in 1947, and arrived in Shanghai in 1948. Their first assignment was in Gansu Province near the Tibetan border in Labrang. They spent the following year in study of the Tibetan language, but were forced to leave in 1949 because of the communist takeover. The eldest of four daughters, Janet, was five and a half years old when they left after spending a few months in southern China.

Following a short period in Hong Kong in 1950, the Sawyers were sent to Saigon, Vietnam, and then to Dalat for French language study, where a center for Christian work was established to work with tribal peoples of Vietnam. After nine months of learning French, they were next assigned, in September 1950, to Luang Prabang in Laos for language study. The Sawyers remained in Laos between 1950 and 1975. Two more daughters, Karen and Susan, were born in Indo-China, and the youngest, Ellen, was born in the United States during one of their furloughs.

Their first assignment in Luang Prabang included work in church planting in tribal villages of both the Khamu and Hmong peoples and with Laotian Buddhist believers in the city. This evangelistic activity included training of pastors and dispensing simple medical supplies because of the absence of medical facilities in Laos. The Sawyers also spent one year working in a Bible school which included many students from the Hmong tribe.

In 1959 the Sawyers moved to Vietiane, Laos, to open up a Bible school and begin a program of Bible training. Between 1960 and 1971, the campus was enlarged and more extensive training provided for different grade levels as literacy increased. The Sawyers were asked to take over the literature department for CMA in 1971, and they worked with its expansion and with church planting until 1975. In that year Laos was taken over by communist rulers following the fall of Vietnam and Cambodia. The Sawyers crossed the border into Thailand, expecting to return shortly, but were unable to do this. They remained in Thailand for several months and then returned for furlough in July 1975 to Wheaton, Illinois.

Their next assignment was to Thailand to work with refugees in 1976. A year later they were transferred to Hong Kong until 1981. After their return to Wheaton, Illinois, both Sawyers became involved in working with Hmong refugees who had emigrated to the Chicago area. Their ministry was conducted through the College Church and Blanchard Road Alliance Church, both in Wheaton. They also conducted a ministry to Laotians in Hanover Park, Illinois, and in Chesterton, Indiana. As of 1985, the Sawyers lived in Wheaton.






Scope and Content

Malcolm Sawyer was interview by Robert Shuster on September 27 and November 14, 1983. Helen Sawyer was interviewed by Stephanie Dixon on November 22 and November 30, 1983. 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 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:15 Grandfather's healing of TB and subsequent desire to share Christianity's blessings with family and all others
02:00 Involvement of Malcolm's father's brothers and sisters in Christian work
02:15 Malcolm's conversion through his uncle, James Sawyer, 1930; impact of messages at school, Robert Ekvall's call for missionaries in west China
02:45 Attendance at Nyack Bible College
03:00 Meeting his future wife; healing of the hipbone of Helen Irvin Sawyer's mother and father's healing of alcoholism; their founding of Alliance church in Louisville, Kentucky
04:00 Description of Helen's oldest brother's birth; other siblings of wife's family; Dr. Morris Irvin, Pittsburgh pastor
06:45 Call to be missionary in Old Orchard, Maine, because of Ekvall's influence; China as first destination, 1947; study of Tibetan for one year in monastery town with seven thousand Buddhist priests; to South China in 1949 for a few months to study Mandarin; move to Saigon, 1949, to study French; next to Laos in 1950
08:45 Flight into Vientiane, then to Luang Prebang to study language until 1954; return after furlough to stay until 1959
09:00 Work with churches in northern Laos and difficulty of converting Buddhists
10:15 Khamu tribal people; twenty villages of Christians and Bible training school
11:15 Move to north Vietnam in 1959 to open Bible school; problems rebuilding on former site and first graduation in 1963 for the Hmong people
13:00 Continued work in Vietiane until 1975; work in Bible school, 1960-1971; building of Christian and Missionary Alliance school, third grade to high school
14:15 Description of locations (from map) of the Lao, Hmong from northern Vietnam looking for opium
15:00 Working on border of Thailand, 1970-1975; transfer to literature department of C&MA, 1975; leaving Laos after communist takeover, 1975
16:00 Sawyers' concern for people after returning to U.S.; Hmong refugees in Thailand; return to Thailand, 1976, to work with Hmong; start of sponsorship of Hmong through College Church and Wesleyan church members
18:00 Results of original call to the mission field; Bible study, concentration on good preaching, and certainty of attendance at Nyack as God's will; meeting wife at Nyack
20:45 Grandfather as a family spiritual leader; father's concern for making money and desire for Malcolm to be a farmer; many grandchildren now in Christian work
22:45 Mother's unspoken support of grandfather's desires
23:45 Other brothers and sisters and their careers
24:15 Reasons for choosing Nyack
24:45 Wheaton College as choice of three Sawyer children
25:00 Evaluation of training for the mission field at Nyack
25:45 Teachers with field experience; careful screening of candidates; language school first in Montreat, then Toronto; two years of language study on the field; compulsory return in case of failed courses; discontinuation of private tutors for language study
27:30 Description of courses required; early colonial pattern of missionaries before World War II; change to national staff and decisions after this
30:00 Establishment of youth conferences and development of leadership
31:15 C&MA substitution of Christian hostels when Christian schools forbidden; concern over present conditions
32:30 Gaps in training and need for more cross-cultural preparation; summer programs on field now available, more short term programs; change to concept of servants to national church
34:00 Need to work with national leaders and to understand the culture
36:45 Screening for mission work at Nyack
37:45 Measurements for compatible temperament for mission career
38:30 Two years as pastor in Dixon, Illinois, as requirement; C&MA conferences; direction to "go to China"; Helen's similar experience; to Montreat first and leaving for Tokyo from San Francisco
40:30 Courses at Montreat; contemporary requirement of six weeks' study in Toronto
41:00 Courses in Chinese culture taught by Miss Cummings from Nyack
42:00 Plans for Tibet; only Chinese taught at first, and switch to Tibetan
42:45 Arrival at Shanghai, 1948, by ship
43:15 Rough voyage on Marine ship
44:00 Other missionary passengers; disembarking in Tokyo and impressions of war-flattened city
45:15 Impressions of Shanghai and numbers of people
46:15 End of side 1


T1 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:15 Rickshaw trip
01:30 One month stay for customs clearance; climate during Christmas holiday
02:15 Attack of asthma
02:45 Living in Hong Kong, 1948; return in 1980 on mission tour; help to find C&MA church from passerby; guards of secret police
05:15 Visit to man's home at night; his imprisonment for twenty-one years and escape; episode of the man's being told to go out into the street when Helen Sawyer was passing; waiting taxi driver given note to return to hotel because of fear of riot
07:00 Description of life in prison; deaths of Christians and "beautiful Christians" who remained faithful; recognition of a former church member, now heart specialist in Wheaton
08:15 Threats from government if contacts are made with anyone out of the country
08:45 Impressions of Chinese countryside; types of illness; landscape in central China; mountain terraces; meeting Ekvall on arrival in Tibet
11:45 Response of Chinese people to Ekvall; use of government connections to get to Peking
12:45 Arrival in Gansu province; C&MA mission and hospital; C&MA territory in southern Gansu mountains; western Tibetan country and living in Labrang; Moslem Chinese
15:45 C&MA's work since early 1900; pioneer work of Ekvall's parents; twenty-five other missionaries and the Sawyers; Chinese church and killing of any Tibetans who became Christians
17:15 Governmental status of monastery in Tibet; medical treatment of Ekvall and use of this for witnessing; services in Chinese church; prayers each morning
18:15 Learning the language from these contacts while studying Tibetan
18:30 Work with Tibetan nomads; food supplies from hunting, gardens
18:45 Description of Tibetan foods
20:15 Continual dysentery from environment; absence of doctors and picking up some medical knowledge
21:30 Head of C&MA mission, C. Carlson, supported by College Church in Wheaton; Robert Carlson on tour in China with Dr. Armerding
22:30 Shooting of Robert Carlson
22:45 Police questioning for Tibetans who came to the church services because of their medical treatment at the mission station
23:30 No obvious results from use of slides; escape of some to Darjeeling; similar experience of Ekvall
24:30 Betty Ekvall's death in 1950s; Sawyer's return to her grave
25:30 Visiting Chinese Christian church; pantomime to ask for gravesite.
26:15 Life with Tibetan nomads to gain experience for future work; leaving China after only one year
27:15 Lack of evidences of Chinese civil war on the Tibetan border; Moslem group defending the country and danger of being cut off from leaving the country
28:30 Departure before arrival of Red army; slaughter of Moslems
29:15 Chinese church help from self-supporting policy of C&MA; independent from West and strong churches
30:15 Missionaries' teaching in Bible schools; visiting at perimeter; strength of Hong Kong church; Chinese-run seminary; C&MA's program to establish new churches and move on
32:15 Sian, capital of Gansu province, and its English school to teach teachers
33:15 Visiting classrooms; report on church in Gansu; 7000 in one area and promise of information for Sawyers on the Chinese church; persecutions
35:15 Close relationship between missionaries and Christian leaders in the churches
36:30 Attitude of non-Christian Chinese toward church; Buddhists' persecution in some instances, but church established for fifty years before this
37:45 Jealousy between races and tribes and massacres for revenge
38:45 Description of Sunday worship services
40:00 Women's meetings; attendance only by those living close by
41:00 Content of services; hymns and Psalms, Doxology
42:45 Comparison of sermons with Western patterns; C&MA liturgical pattern used in most Chinese and Western churches
43:45 Tibetans' interest in philosophy; more practical attitudes of the Chinese; use of Buddhist principles to "prove" Christianity
45:15 Government of mission station, then a dirt house; use of rooms by the families; schedule of language study and visits to Tibetan and Chinese homes
47:15 End of side 2


T1 - side 3

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 2
02:00 Reincarnation and the dog which was killed; need to placate the village
04:45 Yearly mission conferences; voting privileges, allocations, furloughs; Carlson family and daughter's leprosy and return in 1947; government through Nyack for missionary care and support
04:45 C&MA support with allowances for missionaries; servants in Laos to prepare all the needed foods, services
07:15 Salaries of $60.00-$70.00 per month
08:00 Relationships between missions and difficulties of interpersonal relations within missions; stresses between different national customs, forced living arrangements; requirement to attend non-English churches; difficulty of language study; loss of allowance to return if failure; care provided for children during language study
12:15 Methods of handling personality conflicts
13:15 No doubts about missionary call
14:30 End of tape

T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:30 Trip to Saigon from Hong Kong; study of French in Dalat; next to Laos
02:15 Minimum contacts with French colonial residents; tribal center, mission school, Vietnamese church in Dalat
03:30 Tribal Bible school at Dalat; 60 different tribes and dialects in Indo-China; Vietnamese missionaries and their work with tribes
04:24 Gordon and Laura Smith: aggressiveness, fund-raising, liberal use of funds, leaving C&MA to work independently, casualties of Communist activity
08:30 Communism and cheapness of life; dislike of foreigners
09:30 Missionaries not held for ransom; awareness of world political affairs
10:15 House arrest of Protestants in 1911 under French rule; French Catholics and tolerance for Protestantism in southern Laos; behavior of Protestant residents; attitude of superiority toward Americans
12:15 Return in 1954 and hatred toward French, but respect for Americans
13:00 Differences in attitude of Vietnamese toward French and Americans because of colonial rule; Americans at checkpoints
14:00 After independence; incidents of rains, jeep and Army vehicle; being struck by French Army officer and asking to be hit on the other cheek; later request for forgiveness
16:00 Relationships between Protestant and Catholic groups; rise of conversions because of war violence; Protestant churches everywhere"; Vietnamese prayers for 10 millions converted; second-class citizenship of contemporary Christians; strength of C&MA churches
18:30 Interaction with Catholic groups; government functions and attendance by Christians
19:30 Learning tribal customs from older missionaries; more understanding of sociological-cultural contexts and altered approaches to mission work; creation of self-supporting, propagating ethnic churches and benefit because of political structure under communism
22:15 Assignment to Laos because of greatest need
23:15 Plane trip to Saigon and rainy runway; tutoring under a Buddhist priest
25:15 Living with other missionaries after arrival and conditions during language study
26:15 Weekend ministries with local pastors; scarcity of Christian converts in the city; success in outlying areas; response of villagers; teaching reading skills; U.S. government aid for tribes
29:45 Predominance of the Khamu tribe
30:30 Response of oppressed people to the gospel in Indo-China; attitude of Laotians to Khamu; rejection of tribal people in cities; medical treatment and compassionate treatment by American Christians as factor in conversions
32:45 Prevalence of spirit worship over Buddhist principles
34:15 Laotian population in Warrenville, Illinois; episode of child in hospital in Elgin, Illinois, strings to keep evil spirits away, and effects of recovery on her parents; attending Lombard, Illinois, church
36:30 Removal of strings and destroying other fetishes as evidence of loss of fear after conversion; training of pastors to teach prayer, singing of hymns instead of beating gongs, ministering daily through visits
38:00 No evidence of demon-possession in his experience in Laos; dealing with the situation in the U.S. by exorcism; use of continual prayer in Laos
39:00 Description of initial and follow-up procedures when contacting a tribal group; medical supplies and their use, clinics; preaching in the evenings; work with nationals, teaching and performing baptisms
41:45 Feasts and pageants, slide shows, youth programs; training youth in the city
43:15 C&MA principle of working always with national staff; their teaching of the culture to U.S. workers
44:00 End of side 1


T2 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of side 2
00:05 Futility of anger in mission work; sharing meals, living conditions in Laos
02:00 Treatment of respect for Hmong elders
03:00 Teaching value of Christmas pageant, festivals; music and instruments
06:00 Use of Gospel Recording materials; travel with records and tapes
07:00 Worship services; training of pastors to sing hymns and development of hymnology; differences of Western sounds to Eastern ears
09:15 Using the sun's height to time medicines; length of sermons
10:45 Use of church by many national groups; cleanliness as an issue
12:30 Sermon topics; training of elders in preaching and Bible schools; pastor's leadership basis in training
15:15 Polygamy and strictures within the church; forbidding new second marriages
18:00 U.S. government's treatment of polygamy in States; incident of Philadelphia man and two wives
21:15 Reactions of Laotians to Christians
22:15 Death threats, other penalties and problems
23:45 Lack of difficulties for American missionaries with government
24:15 Independence and its effect on American missionaries; booth at fall festivals; literature; attacks on pamphlets, insults in church
25:45 Meeting with Lao in Elmbrook, Illinois, church and hostile man; two-headed bird response to Buddhist objector
26:15 Good cooperation between other resident missionaries; C&MA as first in Indo-China until after the war
28:00 Relations with Jehovah's Witnesses; Southern Baptists' arrival in early 1970s, later cooperation; cooperation with OMF and Swiss Brethren; help with housing and other activities
28:45 Relationships with the Catholic church; mutual work with language translation; cooperative Easter services occasionally; conflicts with fetishes and crucifixes and subsequent change of emphasis to repentance
34:15 Friendly personal relations with French Catholic staff
35:00 End of tape


T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:15 Family members in Louisville, Kentucky; healing of mother' TB of the bone; full-time Christian work of all four brothers and sisters
01:15 Father's occupation as iron molder and activities in Christian and Missionary Alliance; continual presence of guests in home
02:15 School in Louisville, then to Nyack Missionary Training College; three years' pastorate with husband before mission field
03:00 Impact of missionary from South America during Sunday School when she was twelve years old; rebellion because of desire to be a teacher
03:45 Desire of her parents for the mission field
04:00 Studies at Nyack
04:30 Impact of World War II on Nyack; pastorate in Dixon, Illinois, during the war; application in 1946, permission granted in 1947
05:45 Mutual decision to go to the mission field, yet fear for the children; same message given by God to each of them in different places
08:15 Strong mission emphasis within C&MA, background of both Sawyers
13:00 Language training in Montreat before leaving for China
13:45 Sufficiency of preparation at the time; more linguistic training needed
15:00 Rough trip in November on converted troop ship; stay for one month in Shanghai; move to Labrang on Tibetan border and five-day trip
16:15 Weather conditions in west China; stay in CIM home; attention given their daughter, age three, by Chinese; pairing with Tibetan teachers for language study; completion of only one year because of communist takeover
19:00 Methods of teaching by Tibetan monks from monastery; Chinese church
20:30 Different characters of Tibetan and Chinese
[BREAK IN TAPE]
21:45 Difficulty of learning Tibetan; requirement to attend services in Chinese
22:15 Moves from south China, to Hong Kong, 1950; transfer to Laos; separate interviews for each missionary to assign to other fields
24:00 Leaving the Chinese field and transfer to Dalat; furlough after two years in Laos and return
25:30 Wheaton, 1953, on furlough; 1954-1975 in Laos; people's movement in tribal areas prevented travel; work in station
27:30 Family of four daughters
28:00 Buddhist beliefs of Laotian people; characteristics of the people and their lack of response; evangelizing the tribal people; work in station with Bible school training; Hmong converts; learning language of tribes through students in the school
33:00 C&MA work first in cities; expansion of Bible schools to include Laotians, Hmong and other tribal people
34:00 Differences between Chinese and Hmong languages; recent written language for Hmong and some Bible translation
34:30 Lack of written language for the Khamu people
34:45 First assignment and work with twenty-five villages and new Christians; distribution of literature, church services, medical help and overwhelming need; short term Bible schools
35:00 Training men; length of programs; building a school, dormitory, dining hall
35:45 Ten-year stay in Luang Prabang; 1960-1975 in Vientiane
37:15 Evangelism in schools; initiating women's meetings, youth meetings; description of literature work, methods with Sunday School quarterly lessons to accommodate illiteracy
39:00 Involvement in international community; use of one building, work with national pastors
41:15 End of side 1


T3 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:45 Cessation of travel because of the war; clustering of refugees and help from Mission Aviation Fellowship flying programs to bring missionaries to the people
04:15 Reaction of Laotians to Americans; differences of Hmong response; differences between numbers of Laotian and tribal converts
05:30 Avoidance of communist areas; fighting around the house
07:00 Continual flight of refugees; attacks but no deaths among missionary population
08:15 Different mission groups in Laos--Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Swiss Brethren, Southern Baptists
09:15 Cooperation with literature work, conferences, dialogues
10:00 Christianity as cause of converts leaving villages; churches formed from refugees; educated Hmong family in southern Laos
11:45 Support given through the C&MA budget; speaking at conferences
12:45 C&MA financial policies for new churches; support of church conferences; missionaries as advisors only
15:00 Evacuation of all missionaries; decimation of large church of Hmong because of flight to Thailand and United States
15:45 Use of U.S. plane to fly out Hmong general; thirty thousand Hmong people in U.S.; Wheaton's Hmong population and difficulty of adjustment for hill tribal people; growth of church to become one of largest ethnic churches of C&MA
18:00 Growth and government of the church in Laos; organization as independent church; dissolution
18:45 Services similar to western pattern at first; now use of native music, language
19:30 Writing music for services
19:45 Meetings for women, youth, prayer services, evangelistic teams
20:15 Training of pastors
20:30 Problems of opium, multiple wives and subsequent discipline from the church leadership
21:15 Methods of evangelism
22:15 Desire for advantages of western culture as conversion lure
23:00 Description of economy and family conditions; corruption of local leaders
24:45 Status of women and leadership of missions to change this
26:45 Work with women as part of C&MA approach to evangelizing; lack of effect of Laotian attitude toward women on her personal ministry
27:45 Use of nationalism in presenting gospel to Laotians; totality of Buddhism in Laotian culture; food fairs; spirit worship of tribal peoples; Laotian attitude toward this
30:00 Methods of evangelizing the Lao people; effectiveness of literature; Laotians living in America converted by literature distributed at fairs, also by radio broadcasts
32:00 Differences of attitudes of Laotians and tribal peoples toward Americans
32:45 Methods of evangelizing tribal peoples; changes in behavior and cultural practices; training of elders
35:15 Laotians' pressures from community when converted; liberation from Hmong fears on conversion; confession of Buddhist priest about his lack of change in his personal life in spite of his religious belief and practice
37:15 End of tape


T4 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:30 Daughters; problems with Tibetan reaction to a blond child, differences in hygiene; schooling
03:45 Education in schools for missionary children; reactions of her daughters
05:30 Schooling in the United States; furloughs
06:15 Excellence of education; continuous training for teaching staff
06:45 Results of growing up in a different culture; Sawyers' attempts at compensation for separation
08:00 Home routine; shared chores on children's vacations
09:30 Difficulties of sharing time during Christmas vacations
10:45 Social life with other missionary families
12:00 Sources of knowledge about the U.S. for the children; life in larger cities of Indo-China
14:00 Problems with five-year terms on the field; separation from their daughter
15:30 Social life of Laotians; fairs as biggest event
17:15 Lack of industrial base for economy; poverty
18:30 Ethnic and tribal divisions of Laos; attitudes of Laotians toward tribal peoples
20:00 Refugees from North Vietnam, Cambodia; mountainous areas
21:00 Adjustments required of refugees; difficulties of city life and climate
22:00 Different foods
22:30 Status of Laotian women, tribal women; illiteracy and more recent education for women
24:00 Communist barring of missionary activity; C&MA's early work in French Indo-China as only Protestant group; former relations with a cooperative government; leaving in 1975; Christianity's acceptance by animists, rejection by Buddhists
26:45 Government corruption as cause for ease of communist takeover; later disillusionment
28:00 Anti-western feelings not usually expressed
29:00 Laotian response to communism through emigration
30:15 Laotian contacts with other countries since communist takeover
31:15 Russian removal of young men for training in China and Moscow
32:00 Enmity between North Vietnam and China
32:30 Strength of Buddhist influences in Laotian society
33:30 End of side 1


T4 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of side 2
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:30 Merit for alms in Buddhist religion; tribal animist customs
02:00 Toleration by Laotians, but not acceptance of Christianity as attitude of most nationals
03:15 Gratitude for freedom from fear of spirit-worship after conversion; Buddhist nominalism
05:15 Problems of Laotian converts with families and former obligations; conversion of family units
07:15 Frequent moves for Christian converts because of hostility
08:15 Lack of government persecution
08:30 Health problems of Laos' population
10:00 Lack of doctors, medicine; opium as a medicine; other sources of drugs; poor hospitals
10:45 Necessity of families to accompany sick to hospitals
11:45 Division of school years; subjects taught; languages used in Laos
13:30 Government attitudes toward missionary schools; lack of Christian schools for Laotians
14:00 Diligence of tribal peoples in learning languages
14:45 Subjects taught in regular schools in Laos
15:30 Money system; black market
16:15 Effects of war on economy
17:00 U.S. aid to Laos
18:00 Uses of U.S. aid; return of trained hill people to assist tribal villagers
19:15 Leaving Laos in 1975; previous period under three-pronged government before communist takeover; demonstrations against presence of missionaries, threats; flight across into Thailand
22:15 Evacuation from Thailand and return to U.S. on furlough in July, 1975; husband's return to Thailand for refugee camp work; assignment in Hong Kong for four years after period of helping Hmong people in U.S.
23:15 Husband's occupation with accounting, her work as a teacher in a Christian high school and Bible seminary
24:00 Description of simplicity of rural life of refugees and desire to leave without knowing of destination and its problems
25:00 Difficulties with apartment life, illiteracy, poverty
25:45 Numbers of Laotian Christians in U.S.
26:45 Lack of interest by Buddhist believers in Christianity; influence of concerned love as most effective for conversion
27:30 Reaction to Americans' presence
28:15 Scope of C&MA involvement with Indo-China
28:45 Difficulty of continuous contact and concern with Laos since take-over and parallel to years of China's isolation
29:00 Attempts of some relief organizations to get into Laos; hopes for native churches; communists' presence at services
30:00 Her concern for existing churches; hopes for literature and Bibles to be made available
31:00 End of tape



Provenance
These tapes were received at the Center in September and November 1983.

Accession 83-106, 83-133, 83-147, 83-151

December 18, 1985
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz
October 31, 1995
Paul A. Ericksen






LOCATION RECORD
Accession 83-106, 83-133, 83-147, 83-151
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:


T1 - Reel-to-reel tape, 3-3/4 speed, about 107 minutes. One side only. Interview of Malcolm Sawyer by Robert Shuster on September 23, 1983. Sawyer discusses childhood, schooling, work in China and Laos for Christian and Missionary Alliance.

T2 - Reel-to-reel tape, 3-3/4 speed, about 78 minutes (1.36 minutes of introduction at 7-1/2 speed). One side only. Interview of Malcolm Sawyer by Robert Shuster on November 14, 1983. Sawyer discusses mission work in China, language study, Gordon & Laura Smith, and transfer to Laos.

T3 - Reel-to-reel tape, 3-3/4 speed, about 76 minutes. One side only. Interview of Helen Sawyer by Stephanie Dixon on November 22, 1983. Helen Sawyer discusses her childhood, schooling, mission work in China and Laos.

T4 - Reel-to-reel tape, 3-3/4 speed, about about 63 minutes. One side only. Interview of Helen Sawyer by Stephanie Dixon on November 30, 1983. Helen Sawyer discusses her family of girls, their schooling, Laotian and tribal people and conversions, cultural situations, and contemporary Indo-China.






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