Billy Graham Center

Papers of Roger Henry Malstead - Collection 337

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Roger Malstead

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)


Excerpt from Transcript T1.

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.

Brief Description.
Two interviews in which Malstead describes his youth, Wheaton College education, and missionary work with Operation Mobilization (OM) in the Soviet Union, Turkey, Lebanon, the United States, on OM's ship, DOULOS, and at OM's headquarters in England. Subjects covered include OM's director, George Verwer, evangelism through literature distribution, Islam in the countries where he worked, the training of new OM short-term staff, and the American church. Interviews were recorded on 7/14/86 and 7/16/86. Collection also includes Malstead's prayer letters between 1986 and 1989.

Collection 337 [November 30, 2000]
Malstead, Roger Henry; 1941-
Papers; 1961?, 1986-1993
1 DC (.1 cubic feet), 4 Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Sketch

Roger Henry Malstead, one of three sons, was born in Nebraska on June 24, 1941. His family moved several times during his youth between Nebraska and California. Malstead was converted through the ministry of a Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Good News Club and his Christian faith and commitment were strengthened through his participation in and leadership of Youth For Christ activities in his high school in California, as well as in church activities. While in high school, he also gained experience in ministry by working among migrant workers in northern California and Mexico.

Malstead began his college education in 1959 at Wheaton College. While at Wheaton he was elected president of the freshmen class, played football and participated in the Wycliffe prayer group. During his freshman year, he became involved in a Chicago-area prayer group which included Operation Mobilization's founder, George Verwer.

During that year the group Send the Light emerged under Verwer's leadership, emphasizing evangelism through literature distribution. In 1960 Malstead transferred to BIOLA College, where he completed a second year.

In 1961, Malstead and Dale Rhoton, a fellow Wheaton student, traveled to Europe to establish an evangelistic outreach in Turkey. Upon reaching Europe, Malstead and Verwer traveled into the Soviet Union to distribute Gospels before being arrested in Rovno, Ukraine. They were expelled through Czechoslovakia into Austria. In 1964, Malstead married Alwyn Yvonne Fittz, a 1963 graduate of Wheaton. Later that year they were stationed by Operation Mobilization in Istanbul, Turkey, where Roger studied English linguistics and his wife taught English. In 1965, Roger was expelled from Turkey. Followed by his wife, the Malsteads settled briefly in Frankfurt, Germany, where they carried on work among Turks.

In 1966 they moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where Roger studied at the American University while establishing a witness among Muslims there. The Malsteads were evacuated from Beirut during the 1967 Six-Day War in the Middle East. They briefly returned to Lebanon in 1968, but relocated in California later in that year. After studying at UCLA between 1968 to 1970, he earned his M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language. Between 1970 and 1978 Malstead taught at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO.

The Malsteads discontinued their affiliation with OM between 1968 and 1978. In 1978, the Malsteads rejoined OM, coordinating the onshore evangelistic outreach of its ship, DOULOS. In 1980, Malstead was reassigned to work at OM's international headquarters in London with a variety of duties; he continued in this capacity until 1985. In 1981 the Malsteads began planning to return to Turkey, which they did in late-1986. The Malsteads were again asked to leave Turkey in 1987, and awaited their readmittance in the US and Great Britain until 1989, although both the Malsteads made brief return visits as tourists.

The Malsteads had five children, two of which were foster children.

Scope and Content

In addition to the oral history interviews, folder 1-1 the collection contains the Malstead's more recent prayer letters and a clipping from a English-language newspaper published in Paris regarding Malstead's expulsion from the Soviet Union while distributing literature. While the event as described by Malstead occurred in 1961, the clipping is dated for 1968; no explanation is provided for this discrepancy.

Roger Malstead was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on July 14 & 16, 1986 at the Archives office in Wheaton, Illinois. The time period for events covered in the interviews is: T1: 1941-1964; T2: 1961-1966; T3: 1961-1967; T4: 1967-1985. 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 the reel-to-reel original.

Tape T1 - side 1 (Click to listen to an excerpt from this interview. You can also visit the Archives exhibit with the audio excerpt and accompanying transcript.)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:00 Introduction to interview on 7/14/86
01:30 Growing up in Nebraska and California; father and brothers
04:00 Parents' Lutheran background and conversions; everyday religious life of family
07:00 His own conversion through CEF Good News clubs led by his mother; impact of conversion
08:30 Involvement in YFC clubs and rallies; confirmation of salvation; witnessing, leadership in YFC club; church involvement and outreach among migrant workers
11:45 YFC rallies: locations and activities
12:30 Organization of YFC clubs; influential students and success stories
14:15 Exposure to missionaries at home and C&MA summer camp. Commitment to missionary service. Impression of missionaries
16:45 Process of deciding to attend Wheaton; desire to play football and get missions emphasis
20:15 Wheaton: first impressions, recollections, academic and social life
24:45 Election as freshman class president; influence of short term mission experience with Wycliffe in Mexico and perception of superficial goals among fellow students; desire to encourage commitment to missions
28:15 Influence of Dale Rhoton and George Verwer. Beginnings of Operation Mobilization: all-night prayer meeting for world missions at Moody and subsequent prayer meetings at other Chicago-area schools. Resulting zeal: resignation as class president and other "extremes"; student and staff reactions
34:30 Send the Light: organization and activities based at Emmaus Bible College Greg Livingston. Literature distribution in Wheaton, Bible memorization
37:00 George Verwer. Protest quality of OM parallel to broader social change among young people in the 1960's
40:15 Verwer's challenge to distribute Bibles and literature in unreached Turkey; leaving Wheaton, attending BIOLA, and joining Rhoton in going to Turkey
43:30 His relationship with Yvonne Fittz
43:45 End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape and overlap from side 1
01:15 Continued discussion on his relationship with Yvonne
01:45 Exploratory trip in 1961 to Soviet Union to distribute Gospels: travel, equipment, methodology and distribution; arrest and detention by Soviet officials; release and escort to Austria
11:30 Conceiving the idea of Operation Mobilization while recuperating from Soviet trip; initial campaigns of OM
13:00 Establishing ministry in Europe after Soviet trip: debriefing, planning, conference in Spain; entering Turkey; tract distribution at communist rally in Greece
17:45 Establishing work in Turkey; minimal evangelical missionary presence in Turkey; history of witness in Turkey
19:30 End of side 2

Tape T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:30 Christian contacts in Turkey and their stories
03:45 The legal and social costs of being a Christian in Turkey; examples
06:30 Engagement and marriage to Yvonne; exemption from the draft for Vietnam due to marriage and parenthood; higher priority of working in Turkey than fighting in Vietnam
12:45 Expulsion from Turkey; transferring to Germany to work among Turks; transfer to Lebanon
15:45 Reactions to OM's new work in Turkey by established mission boards: TEAM missionary, Bible Society, Greater Europe Mission. OM's influence and reemergence of evangelistic zeal in Europe
21:15 Strategy for evangelism used in Turkey based on Pauline model. Police questioning in process of establishing correspondence course; relationship with the police.
27:00 Learning Turkish
28:30 End of interview 1

Tape T3 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:15 Introduction to interview on July 16, 1986
01:30 Change of name from Send the Light to Operation Mobilization, and accompanying ministry philosophy; early organizational development
06:00 Process of joining OM; orientation for new workers
08:30 Philosophy of OM fund raising; OM financial and prayer base; living and literature expenses; sacrificial living on limited income; fiscal administration and standard of living
18:00 OM philosophy on going into closed countries; practical ethics of smuggling Gospel literature and witnessing
21:00 Responsibilities in Turkey: teaching English, studying, Turkish, establishing Bible correspondence course, and literature distribution. Reaction to books
24:15 Relationships in Turkey: government, people, fanatics. Incident of confrontation with a fanatic and resulting crowd; arrest of Turkish companion in small town
30:45 First impressions of Turkey. Transportation. Cultural miscommunication. What he missed most after leaving Turkey
34:00 Characteristics of Turkish people. Building relationships
38:00 Coordinating OM workers in Turkey. Conflict resolution
40:15 Contacting Christians in Turkey
42:00 Process Muslims went through to convert to Christianity
43:45 End of side 1

Tape T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:00 Continuation on Muslim conversion
02:45 Description of worship service: Turkish music, prayer, shared leadership, communion, baptism
05:30 Plans to return to Turkey. Evaluation of accomplishments in Turkey; expansion of expatriate Christian community
08:30 Turkish response to tent-making Christian workers; extent of Christian community
10:00 Expulsion from Turkey; transfer to Germany and Beirut, Lebanon. Muslim-Christian division in Lebanon. Comparison of ministry possibilities with those in Turkey. Beirut's evangelical community
15:00 Wife's activities in Turkey and Lebanon; adjustment to departure from Turkey Evacuation from Beirut during the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel
18:45 End of side 2

Tape T4 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:00 Introduction to second interview on July 16, 1986
01:15 Observations about changes in Lebanon after the Six-Day War. Experiences after coming back to Beirut
03:15 Studying and teaching in the United States. Observations about the US and American evangelicalism. Adjustments to American conservatism
08:00 Turkey's non-time-oriented culture
09:15 Rejoining Operation Mobilization to coordinate on-shore evangelism from its ship, Doulos; comparison of programs and facilities between OM's ships, Doulos and Logos
12:30 Description of onshore evangelistic program: planning, response. Problems of operating a ministry on a ship: follow-up, contacts. Annual schedule. Family life on the ship
17:00 Transferring from work on Doulos to administrative work in International Office in London
19:00 Observations about George Verwer. The function of OM's International Office Changes in OM since its beginning
22:45 Desire to return to Turkey. Plans, responsibilities, goals
27:00 Changes observed in American evangelical churches: growing political conservativism, lack of interest in missions
32:00 End of interview



The material in this collection was received by the Archives from Roger Malstead in July 1986 and September 1989. Subsequent prayer letters were received and added to the collection, 1990-1993.

Accession 86-79, 86-80, 86-83, 89-101
June 7, 1990
Paul A. Ericksen
L. A. Ferguson

January 20, 1994
Sara Henning
P. Ericksen
M. Larson

Accession 86-79, 86-80, 86-83, 89-101
Type of material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 65 minutes. Interview with Malstead by Paul A. Ericksen. Recorded on July 14, 1986. Discussion of family, growing up, conversion & early spiritual activity, attending & leaving Wheaton College, literature distribution in the Soviet Union, entering Turkey for ministry.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 30 minutes. Interview with Malstead by Paul A. Ericksen. Recorded on July 14, 1988. Discussion of establishing work in and being expelled from Turkey, OM's philosophy of Turkish ministry, relationships with other missions and Turkish officials.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 65 minutes. Interview with Malstead by Paul A. Ericksen. Recorded on July 16, 1986. Discussion of OM's administration, fund raising, philosophy of ministry, literature work, relationships in Turkey, ministry among Muslims, relocating in Lebanon, wife's role.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 30 minutes. Interview with Malstead by Paul A. Ericksen. Recorded on July 16, 1986. Discussion of work in Lebanon, Turkish culture, OM's ship ministry, George Verwer, observations about American and its evangelical church.

Box Folder Description
1 1 Prayer letters & clipping; 1961?, 1986-1993

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Last Revised: 07/11/01
Expiration: indefinite