Billy Graham Center

Papers of Diane Wilhelmina (Powell) Hawkins - Collection 312

[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. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Diane Wilhelmina (Powell) Hawkins

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

Lists of Audio Tapes and Photographs in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description.
Correspondence, audio tapes of reports and programs, an oral history interview, almost all relating to Hawkins' work in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) as a medical technologist and youth worker for the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). Among the topics covered are the languages and culture of the Shona people among whom she lived; the evangelistic, educational, and medical work of TEAM in that country; the summer Bible camp program she developed; and the guerrilla civil war that was going on in the country while she was there.

Collection 312
[December 14, 2000]
Hawkins, Diane Wilhelmina (Powell); 1947-
Papers; 1970-1985

1 Box (1 DC, .25 cubic feet); Audio Tapes, Photographs


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Diane Powell was born in Racine, Wisconsin on June 26, 1947, the daughter of C. Robert and Wilhelmina Powell. She was the middle of three children, both her siblings being boys. Her father was a salesman and her mother was a homemaker. While she was still a baby, the family moved to Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, where she spent the early years of her childhood. The family was very much involved in the local Baptist church. In September 1959 her parents divorced and Diane, two brothers and their mother went back to Racine where Mrs. Powell got a job as a secretary. Diane had been born again at the age of six and was involved in a variety of Christian activities in high school and at her church, Calvary Memorial. During the summers she worked at a summer Bible camp in Chetek, Wisconsin. Every summer she acquired more responsibility at the camp, eventually becoming director of the waterfront. Missionary speakers she heard at the camp aroused her interest in the possibility of she herself becoming a missionary.

After graduating from high school in 1965, she enrolled in the medical technology program Taylor University in Indiana. As part of this program she spent a year in the medical internship program at St. Luke's Memorial Hospital in Racine. She graduated from Taylor with a B.A. in Medical Technology in 1969. She then went back to St. Luke to work. After about a year she decided that she should get further training in the Bible and theology in order to enter full-time Christian work, so in the fall of 1970 she enrolled in the graduate school of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Shortly after she had done so, she received a letter from the Gunderson-Horness Mission Hospital in Karanda, Rhodesia, among the Shona people. This institution, which was run by the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), was looking for a medical technologist and the staff there had heard that she was interested in mission work. The letter asked if she would be interested in coming out as a short term missionary. Powell decided to cut short her time at Wheaton and accept the offer. On January 19th, 1971 she left for Africa.

After arriving at the hospital, she spent her time in supervising the laboratory (which was much more primitive than what she had been used to in the United States), helping to train student nurses, teaching Bible classes and doing some evangelistic work. After a year and a half, she decided that she wanted to become a full-time missionary. In the spring of 1972 she returned to the United States for TEAM's orientation program, to raise support and to complete her graduate training at Wheaton. While at Wheaton, she worked at the nearby Central Dupage Hospital. During the summer of 1973 she was a counselor at her church's youth camp in Dunbar, Wisconsin. Also during the summer she was officially commissioned as a full-time TEAM missionary. She graduated with a Master's degree in Christian Ministry in the spring of 1973 and was back in Rhodesia at the beginning of September. She went to the mission station at Chironga in October to learn the Shona language. At about this same time, the civil war in Rhodesia intensified and began to have agreater impact on the lives of the missionaries. While at Chironga, she became convinced of the value of a summer Bible camp for Shona youth, similar to the one in which she had participated in Wisconsin. A local pastor, Jerry Mungadze, also saw merit in the idea and together they started a program. The first camp was held August 19-25 and was attended by thirty children. Hawkins continued to help develop the program when she returned to Karanda in September, 1974. Her duties at Karanda included supervising the lab, training technicians and nurses, teaching Bible classes and Sunday school for the student nurses, coordinating the activities of the African Christian who taught Scripture classes in government schools, and planning the summer camping program. A growing number of children attended the camps each year and Powell turned over most of the responsibility for the program to Mungadze and other African leaders. In October 1976 she returned to Racine on furlough. While in the United States she met and became engaged to Reverend Tom Hawkins, with whom she had corresponded while in Rhodesia. Hawkins was a widower with two girls (Kimberly, 10 and Julie, 9) and pastor of the Prairie Creek Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. They married on July 9, 1977. Diane resigned from TEAM that same month. The family lived in Garland, a town near Dallas, where Diane was interviewed for the Archives in the fall of 1985.

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "Folder 2-5" means Box 2, Folder 5.]

Scope and Content

Collection 312 consists of letters, audio tapes, articles, minutes of meetings, reports and other items from Hawkins' time in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) as well as the tapes of an oral history interview conducted several years later. Among the topics covered are: TEAM's evangelistic, and educational work in Rhodesia; the lifestyle, music, and beliefs of Shona people; the civil war between white government and the black nationalist guerrillas which raged while Hawkins was there; Hawkins summer camp program and other youth work activities; and the life of a white, single, female missionary.

All of the paper records are in folder 1-1. This includes a brief autobiography Hawkins (then Powell) wrote for TEAM; letters she wrote to various missions asking for information about their work; letters she wrote to her supporters back in the United States describing her daily activities, first as a short term missionary, then as a full-time staff member; the brief yearly reports she made summarizing her activities and spiritual growth; articles that appeared in United States newspapers or magazines about Hawkins or about the civil war in Rhodesia. Of especial interest are minutes of meetings which were sent to Hawkins after she left the field. One set of minutes is from TEAM's Rhodesian field council and it gives a good idea of the mission's activities in that country and the conditions under which it worked. The other set of minutes is from a evangelism committee made up of missionaries and black Rhodesian evangelists. This document describes evangelistic work in the Keeps or fortified villages in the area. It contains some information of the civil war, but mainly deals with the evangelistic work, which was carried out by the Africans, largely independently of the missionaries. All throughout these materials can be found information on the topics mentioned in the first paragraph, especially her plans for developing a summer Bible camp program for children and the effects on the mission of ongoing civil war. These topics are also important themes in tapes T4-T9. Of particular interest are tapes T5 and T6. These were recordings made by Hawkins for her mother in the United States. They give a somewhat disjointed (since Hawkins would turn the recorder off and on as ideas occurred to her) but very personal description of her day-to-day activities. Particularly emphasized on both tapes is Hawkins' own Christian faith and how it helped her to deal with the frustrations and fears caused by her situation. A letter to her future husband, Tom Hawkins, in folder 1-1 also contains a summary of her personal faith and her belief in the movement of God in human affairs. Tape T6 has a long segment in which she describes to her mother how the missionaries came to the decision to continue their work in the embattled area. Both the folders and tapes also have a great deal of information on the development of the summer Bible camp for Shona young people by Hawkins and the turning over of the camp to the African pastors who helped her start it. Tapes T5, T8 and T9 contain detailed descriptions of the camps in particular years. Lorraine Waite, who was the TEAM staff person who continued Hawkins' camp work, gives her personal reports to Hawkins on these tapes on the continuing development of the program. Especially interesting on T8 is the taping of an actual session where a Bible story was translated from English into Shona. There is a great deal of information on the Shona people throughout the collection. Hawkins observations can be found throughout folder 1-1 and on most of the tapes, especially T5-T7. The end of tape T9 contains greetings to Hawkins from some of her Shona friends. Shona religious songs (along with renditions of Western hymns by Shona singers) are on T4 and T9.

Hawkins was interviewed by Robert Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives on October 26, 1985 in her home in Garland, Texas. The time period covered by tape T1 is from 1947 to 1971; the time period covered for both tapes T2 and T3 is 1971-1977. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered.

Tape T1 - side 1
00:00 Start of tape
00:25 Introduction
00:30 Childhood; parents' divorce; positive influence of her church's youth group; influence of her pastor and his commitment to Christ; saved as a child during Vacation Bible School; feeling different because she was a Christian; sitting out dances
08:45 Activities of her church in Racine; missionary work and street evangelism during her teen summers; witnessing to strangers door to door; attending and working in family camp during the summer
15:30 Responsibilities as waterfront director at camp; reasons why camp was important to her; reason for attending Taylor University; interest in medical technology; the positive influence of Taylor on her development
22:30 Social events at Taylor; the premed program at Taylor; her fascination with science and the human body; listening to missionary speakers during summer camp and their influence on her; inner conflict over wanting to be a missionary and fear of going to a foreign land; stages in her commitment to be a missionary; signs of God working in her life
31:30 Desire to tell the Gospel in countries where people have few opportunities to hear it; working at St. Luke's Hospital in Racine, Wisconsin for a year; contacting Wycliffe, SIM and TEAM; reason for attending Wheaton's graduate school in Bible
36:15 Receiving an offer from the Gunderson-Horness Mission Hospital in Karanda, Rhodesia; conflict between desire to be a missionary and desire to be married; appeal of the Rhodesian opportunity; great peace after making her decision; reaction of her mother
41:30 Leaving in January 1971; reactions of coworkers at hospital to her becoming a missionary; reaction of church members; preparing to be a missionary; supplies she needed to take with her to Karanda, Rhodesia
45:45 End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Start of tape
00:10 Overlap from side 1
00:25 Description of Wheaton professors: Merrill Tenney, J. Barton Payne, the LeBar sisters (Mary and Lois), Daniel C. Jessen; the "boy, book, boy" method of teaching the Bible
06:30 Living in outside housing while going to graduate school; the grad school retreat and socials; very little orientation from TEAM before going to Rhodesia; value of her responsibilities as a camp director for her later work in Rhodesia; importance of training received at Wheaton; benefiting from knowing the manual methods of medical technology in Rhodesia
13:00 Things she wish she had learned before going to Rhodesia; insensitivity of experienced missionaries to the difficulties of new missionaries in adjusting to a new environment; ways of coping with cultural shock; horseback riding at Mount Darwin; first contacts with the Shona people; first impressions of the hospital; difference from a hospital in the United States
22:15 First visit to her laboratory; the simplicity and primitiveness of the equipment; method of making their own culture medium; "nothing was disposable"; mission aviation activities; other activities at the station; cordial relations between missionaries
29:30 Social events on the mission station; transportation on the dirt roads in the area; temporary immobility in the rainy season; decision to become a full-time missionary; returning to the United States in May 1972 to get further education and training; returning to Karanda in October; language school at Chironga in Shona; characteristics of the Shona language
36:00 End of side 2

Tape T2 - side 1
00:00 Start of tape
00:45 Overlap from the end of T1
01:45 Further discussion of the Shona language; frustrations caused by her inability to evangelize because of her lack of mastery of Shona; description of worship services in Karanda; importance of music in the service; sermon themes
06:45 Brief blank space in tape (caused by the cassette on which the original interview was taped ending and a new cassette being started); burden over the difficulty of the Christians among the Shona people in abandoning the worship of ancestor spirits; evidence of the influence of spirits; demon possession
11:45 Reactions of Shona friends and family when a person became a Christian; illness caused by spirits; the particular attractions of the Christian message among the Shona; ideas about heaven
16:15 Process of selecting student nurses for the hospital; beginning of her camp youth camp work in Rhodesia; Christian camp in Racine, Wisconsin served as inspiration for program; involvement of African pastor Jerry Mungadze and his emergence as leader of the camp program; growth of the program and transfer to African leadership
24:00 Importance of not making the camp program dependent on outside funds, so it could controlled by the African leadership; reasons why the camps in Wisconsin and Chironga never developed a close relationship; differences between camp work in Rhodesia and camps in the United States
29:30 Similarities between Christian camping in the two countries; sources of children for the camp; effect of lack of ground transportation on the work of the camp
34:45 Reactions of parents to sending their children away to camp; fear of kidnapping by guerrillas; visit of terrorists to the youth camp; institutions similar to youth camp in Shona culture; relations between western missionaries and African church leaders
40:00 Reasons for poor communications between Westerners and Africans; example of an African telling a missionary what he thought she wanted to hear; difference between the relations with Africans of older and younger Western missionaries; influence of the white Rhodesians on the missionaries view of the black Rhodesians; differences in viewpoints between older and younger African generations
47:00 End of side 1

Tape T2 - side 2
00:00 Start of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:45 Description of the beliefs and practices of the Vopostori cult, an offshoot of Christianity; extreme differences between the way Westerners and Africans were regarded, treated, and paid; appeal of Communism to blacks in Rhodesia because of the inequities; origins of the civil war
07:00 Description of contacts with guerrilla forces; attitudes of the missionaries toward the guerrilla forces and the civil war; description of an April 11th, 1974 guerrilla visit to the TEAM mission station at Mavuradohna and the murder of the chaplain of the high school and beating of the headmaster
12:45 Effect of the Mavuradohna incident on the other TEAM missionaries; visit of Dr. Vernon Mortenson from the United States; importance of the hospital because of the treatment it gave to soldiers and victims of the war; decision to keep the hospital open; reason of the murder of the African chaplain (Rev. Frank Kakunguwo) and headmaster (Richard Tsinakwadi) by the guerrillas
19:00 Several examples of terror tactics used by the guerrillas; attacks on schools; learning to deal with fear
26:15 End of side 2

Tape T3 - Side 1
00:00 Start of tape
00:15 Overlap from end of Tape #T2
01:15 Finding guidance in dealing with fear in I John; reevaluating her purpose and usefulness as a missionary and guidance she found in the Bible; attempting to show God's love through her life; struggle with fear of death; surrender to God's will; learning from Jesus' example of loving sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross
10:15 Hearing gunfire on or near the mission station at night; encouragement from her promise box; visits of guerrillas to the Karanda station to demand money and supplies; Dr. David Drake
16:15 Lessons learned that apply to other missions in crisis situations; returning to the United States in 1976 to help her mother; speaking activities during her furlough
21:45 Loneliness and desire to marry; brief blank space on tape; meeting Rev. Thomas Hawkins through the mail; decision to marry and resign from the mission; current feeling about missions and the camp work in Zimbabwe
29:00 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in October 1985 from Diane Hawkins.

Accession 85-155
May 25, 1992
Robert Shuster

Accession: 88-155
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the Audio Tape file.

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 65 minutes, one side only. Interview of Diane Hawkins by Robert Shuster. Discussion of family life; conversion; summer camp work; education at Taylor and Wheaton College; begining of her work in Rhodeisa. This reel was copied from the cassette on which the interview was originally recorded. Original recorded on October 26, 1982.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 72 minutes, one side only. Continuation of interview of Hawkins. Discussion of Shona language and culture, worship services, animism, the summer Bible camp program she helped start, the Vopostori cult, different reactions among missionaries to African culture, the Rhodesian civil war and its effect on the missionaries, learning to deal with fear. This reel was copied from the cassette on which the interview was originally recorded. Original recorded on October 26, 1982.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 29 minutes, one side only. Continuation of interview of Hawkins. Discussion of dealing with fear caused by terrorists, resignation and marriage. This reel was copied from the cassette on which the interview was originally recorded. Original recorded on October 26, 1982.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 29 minutes, one side only. Group of Shona Christians and student nurses singing African and Western hymns and songs in Shona and English. This reel was copied from the cassette which was a copy of the original tape. Original recorded at TEAM's Karanda mission station in Zimbabwe in 1972.

T5 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 35 minutes, one side only. Tape from Diane Powell (later Hawkins) in Rhodesia to her mother Wilhelmina Powell in Racine, Wisconsin. Powell describes in detail her activities, especially the summer Bible camp she was instrumental in starting. This reel was copied from a cassette which was a copy of the original tape. Ca. August 1974

T6 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 60 minutes, one side only. Tape from Diane Powell (later Hawkins) in Chironga, Rhodesia to her mother Wilhelmnia Powell in Racine Wisconsin. Powell describes her work and daily activities. Much of the tape is talking about recent terrorist attacks in which Christians were killed and explaining to her mother why the TEAM missionaries had decided to stay in the area. This reel was copied from a cassette which was a copy of the original tape. April/May 1974.

T7 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 40 minutes, one side only. Presentation Powell made about her work in Rhodesia to her home church, Calvary memorial Church of Racine, Wisconsin. Included in the presentation was a slide show about TEAM's activities in Rhodesia. (This collection does not include the slides.) This reel was copied from a cassette which was a copy of the original tape. April 4, 1977.

T8 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 30 minutes, one side only. Report to Hawkins about Karanda youth camp of 1977, narrated by her replacement Lorraine Waite. In the middle of the tape is a long segment containing a Bible story being translated from English into Shona. This reel was copied from a cassette which was a copy of the original tape.

T9 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 40 minutes, one side only. Greetings and special music form the Karanda youth camp, recorded for Hawkins by Waite. Much of the early part of this tape was lost, but the remaining section includes songs sung by the children at the camp and greetings to Hawkins from her former lab assistants Enock Chakubvah and Lazaro Kakomve. This reel was copied from a cassette which was a copy of the original tape. 1977.


Accession: 88-155
Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

MISSIONS - ZIMBABWE. Snapshot of Diane Powell with Anne Watson at Gunderson-Horness Mission Hospital in Rhodesia, 1971; Snapshot of Zimbabwen pastor, evangelist and youth worker Jerry Mungadze, 1974. 2 b&w.


Box Folder Item
1 1 Correspondence; 1970-1977

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Last Revised: 12/14/00
Expiration: indefinite