Collection 282 [December 1, 2000]
Adolph, Bonnie Jo Adelsman; 1933-
There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
COMPLETE TRANSCRIPTS TO THE INTERVIEWS IN THIS COLLECTION ARE
Bonnie Jo Adelsman was born in 1933, the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Adelsman. She grew up in Mason City, Iowa, but during her later adolescence her family lived in Wheaton, Illinois. She attended Wheaton College as a Home Economics major and graduated in 1955. While at Wheaton, she met and became engaged to pre-med student Harold Adolph. Through Adolph's influence, she also decided to become a missionary. They were married August 19, 1955.
They moved several times in the next few years. From 1955 until 1958, they lived in Philadelphia while Harold completed his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. While in Philadelphia, Bonnie Jo taught home economics at a public junior high school. Then they moved to the Canal Zone in Panama, where Harold took his surgical residency at Gorgas Hospital. Their two children were born during this period: David Harold (1959) and Carolyn Joy (1961). In 1962, the family moved to Banner Elk, North Carolina, for Harold's surgical preceptorship. During this time, the Adolphs were accepted by the Sudan Interior Mission for service in Ethiopia. In 1965, it was time for Harold to complete his military service. He became an officer in the navy and was assigned to the HSA Station Hospital in Taiwan. The next year, the family headed for Ethiopia.
Most of the next eight years were spent at SIM's hospital in Soddo. While Harold worked in the
hospital, Bonnie Jo was mainly occupied with her duties as wife and mother, but she also became
hospital bookkeeper, teaching her children and leading Bible classes for hospital staff. The entire
family came back to Wheaton in 1970 for a year on furlough. In 1974, because of growing
difficulties with the new national government, the Adolphs left Ethiopia for good and returned to
Wheaton, where Harold set up a practice. In 1981, Harold and Bonnie Jo traveled to Bangladesh to
serve as short term missionaries for about two months. Harold was surgeon at the Memorial
Christian Hospital in Malumghat. They also visited briefly in Hong Kong and Taiwan. From
December 1983 to February 1984 they again, along with their daughter, served as short term medical
missionaries in the Central African Republic.
Scope and Content
Collection 282 consists of two reels of tape of an interview of Bonnie Jo Adolph by Wheaton College student Britta Koch. This interview took place at the office of the Archives of the Billy Graham Center on October 30, 1984. The interview was mainly concerned with Mrs. Adolph's life from about 1954 through 1974. The topics discussed are listed below. Time elapsed from the start of the tape is recorded to the left of the topics. This index is keyed to the cassette copies and not the reel-to-reel original.T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
T1 - side 2
00:00 Start of tape
00:06 Adapting to Ethiopian culture; Christmas in Ethiopia
05:10 Health habits; the place of gratitude in the culture
07:00 Common types of meals; pancakes as the national food
09:45 End of side 2
T2 - side 1 (Click to
link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Start of Tape
00:08 Four types of religious worship in area: Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, evangelical, nonbelievers
01:05 Coptic Christians
02:20 Similar approach to all groups
03:35 Eastern Orthodox and Muslims least responsive to Gospel, animists most responsive
04:45 Importance of children in the Adolph home; Harold and Bonnie both agreed on not sending their children to boarding school; taking their son to language school with them; resisting pressure to send their children away
11:25 Reaction of the Adolph children to Ethiopia
13:30 The hospital facilities in Ethiopia; teaching at a mission school
15:45 Interpersonal conflicts between missionaries
16:20 Resolution of conflicts
16:50 The development of the Adolph's family during their missionary work; pressures of missionary work; influence of the books of Merlin Carothers; praising God no matter what the situation
24:25 Changes in the Adolphs during their furlough year
26:00 The change of government in Ethiopia; the departure of the Adolphs at the end of their term
27:05 Attitude of the new government to missionaries; support of the local population for the medical work; lack of trauma in leaving; meeting with supporters
29:35 Attitudes towards women in Ethiopia and Bangladesh
33:10 Current attitudes toward missions; short term missionary activities; Harold's continuing interest in missions
37:05 Dislike of flying; comfort from the Lord; personal struggles
39:45 End of tape
The tapes of this interview were received by the Archives in October 1984.
February 5, 1986
February 22, 1990, revised
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:
T1 -Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4, 72 minutes. Interview of Bonnie Jo Adolph by Britta Koch. Adolph discusses her childhood, conversion, decision to become a missionary, marriage, training by the Sudan Interior Mission, and arrival in Ethiopia. October 30, 1984. 1 side.
T2 -Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4, 40 minutes. Continuation of Adolph interview in which she discusses
rearing children on the mission field and her work in Ethiopia. October 30, 1984. 1 side.