Billy Graham Center

Papers of Janet Ann (King) Kuhns - Collection 390

[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


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

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

Brief Description.
Three oral history interviews in which Kuhns describes her childhood (observations growing up in the C&MA in which her father was a pastor/administrator); family; conversion; education; missionary work in Indonesia, including language training, the culture and church of the Dyak people of West Kalimantan, Christian education and Theological Education by Extension (TEE) among the Dyak people, the church/state relationship in Indonesia, raising and educating a family, her marriage, and relationships with other missionaries. Interviews were recorded on 4/26/88,5/9/88, and 5/17/88. Collection also includes a paper on redemptive analogies between the Gospel and the animist beliefs in traditional Dyak culture. For more information, please see guide.
Vol: 1 Folder, 5 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 390
[October 13, 2006]
Howard, Janet Ann (King); 1938-
Papers; 1987-1988

1 Folder, 5 Audio Tapes

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Janet Ann King was born November 6, 1938 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while her parents, Bernard and Dorothy King, were attending St. Paul Bible School. Kuhns' father was a pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and so the family lived in several locations during her childhood: Lisle and St. Paul, Minnesota, and finally in Nyack, New York, where her father worked as treasurer of the denomination.

Janet had a conversion experience at the age of four. During her high school years she wrestled over what to do with her life, and eventually decided to serve as a missionary. To prepare herself for that, she attended Nyack College. There she met her future husband, William K. Kuhns, and they were married in June of 1960, following her graduation. In the fall of that year, they were accepted as missionary candidates with the C & MA. In preparation for that work, they served an internship in a small Free Methodist Church in the Detroit area for nine months.

In May 1961 their first child, Rebecca, was born. In the following November, they sailed for Indonesia. They spent a year of language study in Bandung, Java, before being appointed to West Kalimantan to help construct a new Bible school building there. When the building was completed, the Kuhns began ministry among the Dyak people of that area, especially through teaching at Immanuel Theological School in Kelansam, and through a Theological Education by Extension program. During their fifth term (1982-1986) the Kuhns were asked to teach at Jaffray Theological Seminary in Ujung Pandang for a year, after which they returned to Kelansam.

In the fall of 1987, the Kuhns attended Wheaton College Graduate School to hone their skills in adult theological education. Following their return to Indonesia in the late spring of 1988, they were again assigned to Jaffray Theological Seminary. They eventually retired to Florida. Bill died August 9, 2002. Janet remarried to David M. Howard on August 27, 2005.

Scope and Content

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "Folder 1-1" means Box 1, Folder 1.]

This collection consists of three oral history interviews with Janet Kuhns, and a copy of a manuscript she wrote in 1987, titled Redemptive Analogies in the Contextualization of the Gospel to the Dayak of West Kalimantan (Folder 1-1). The paper gives a short history of the Dyak people (also spelled Dayak) of Indonesia, with particular emphasis placed on their religious traditions, practices, and legends, and how those compare to and intersect with the Christian theology of redemption.

The interviews in this collection cover events during the following time periods: #T1, 1938-1960; #T2, 1960-1962; #T3, 1961-1986; #T4, 1961-1986; #T5, 1961-1986. The interviews in this collection were conducted by Paul A. Ericksen on April 26, May 9, and May 17, 1988, at the offices of the Billy Graham Center Archives in Wheaton, Illinois. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is noted in the margin to the left of the topics discussed. The index is keyed to cassette copies of the interviews, not to the reel-to-reel original. The boldfaced entries correspond with the Cross Reference List at the end of this guide and are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview.

#T1 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Introduction to interview on April 26, 1988.
00:45 Kuhns' birth in Minneapolis, while her parents (Bernard and Dorothy King) were in St. Paul Bible School.
01:45 Religious background and upbringing in her family.
02:45 Other children in her family; "success."
03:30 Parental involvement in spiritual nurture of children.
04:00 Father as pastor of a Christian and Missionary Alliance church.
04:30 The church and community at father's first pastorate, in Lisle, Minnesota.
06:00 Father's decision to go into the ministry.
08:00 The commitment and sacrifice of her parents.
09:00 What her father was like; jobs he had; World War II chaplaincy.
10:30 How she was affected by the Mennonite and Norwegian communities where she lived.
11:00 Dates for locations in which they lived.
11:45 Life with her mother while father was in Europe during World War II; story of a letter from her father about the Battle of the Bulge.
15:00 The birth of her sister when Janet was eight years old; trauma.
17:00 Her conversion at age four; the influence of the altar call.
22:15 Her later spiritual struggle; the need for reaffirmation of commitment.
23:15 The concept of childhood conversion foreign to Indonesian culture.
25:00 Other influences on her spiritual growth: grandparents and Girl Scouts.
26:30 Moving to St. Paul; father as C&MA Northwestern District Superintendent.
27:45 Effect of the move from rural community to inner city in Jr. High.
28:00 Social life among teenagers in St. Paul.
30:00 Church choir and youth group.
32:00 The move to Nyack, New York; her father as Treasurer for C&MA.
32:30 Youth group and HiBA (High School Born Againers); Brant Reed; Jack Wyrtzen.
34:00 Fathers attitude to never getting to the mission field; his work as treasurer; early C&MA work in Irian Jaya.
37:00 Father's retirement; C&MA retirement center in Ft. Myers, Florida where he was executive director.
40:30 Her father's personality.
41:30 Her mother's personality.
43:00 Her parents' conversion at the University of Minnesota.
43:45 Her decision to be a missionary; the influence of the C&MA church when she was growing up.
46:15 Her struggle with career selection in high school.
47:00 Nyack Missionary Institute; HiBA.
48:00 Witnessing in high school; friends' assumption she would be a missionary.
49:00 Influence of guidance counselors and teachers toward a career other than missions.
51:30 Her prayers for guidance; John 15:16.
53:30 Parents' revealing their committing her to missionary service before her birth.
55:00 Her life as experience and background for missions.
56:15 Her training at Nyack Missionary College and favorite classes.
58:00 The overall value of her education at NMC in preparation for missions; classes in anthropology, linguistics, and journalism.
60:00 Teaching religious studies to students in Nyack public schools through "release time" program. experience with black students' home life.
61:00 End of Side 1.
#T1 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:15 Overlap from Side 1.
03:15 Continuation about release time teaching.
03:45 Musical outreach of trio and chorale.
04:15 The importance of leadership roles in missionary work.
05:15 End of Side 2.
#T2 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Her thoughts about influences.
00:45 Meeting her future husband at Nyack College; conflict between her commitment to mission work and his uncertainty of it. Questions about the possibility of being a single missionary. Husband's willingness to become a missionary; their reunion.
07:00 The influence of William Conley, a missionary to Indonesia.
08:00 Candidate process for Christian and Missionary Alliance.
09:30 Missionary Internship program. Their pastorate in a Free Methodist Church: lessons learned, living conditions, structure of internship.
18:30 Graduation from Nyack in 1960; marriage; birth of first child; departure for Indonesia, in 1961.
19:45 Language school in Indonesia; feelings about language ability.
22:45 Initial experiences in Indonesia: first house and language problems.
25:45 Description of Bandung, Java, climate and adjusting to having servants.
27:00 End of Side 1 and interview.
#T3 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Introduction to interview on May 9, 1988.
01:00 Chronology of furloughs.
02:00 First impressions of Indonesia.
02:30 Impressions of their first assignment in Pontianak.
04:30 Handling the adjustment of more primitive situation in Pontianak.
05:45 Isolation; the assignment of starting the Bible School building project.
06:45 Primitive conditions.
07:45 Feelings about first year; Indonesian Christian family as co-workers; learning about cooking and other survival techniques.
09:45 Second assignment at Belitang River in West Kalimantan; encouragement of native pastors to evangelize.
11:00 Impressions of the Dyak people.
12:00 Learning Dyak language, impression on the Dyak people.
13:45 Evangelistic work in Dyak villages; role of chiefs.
15:00 Importance of Christian teaching and nurturing for the villagers.
16:45 Reviving Christian teaching in villages where Christianity had lapsed.
17:45 Description of Dyak long houses and accompany problems; advantages of community.
22:15 Dyak culture: marriages (decision of which family's long house to join); engagements; importance of uncles; Christian community rules about engagement.
26:00 Emmanuel Theological School, and its role in unifying the eighteen different Dyak tribes.
28:00 How Dyaks fit into Indonesian society; the importance of Java; other tribes in Indonesia; relative social standing.
31:00 The self-image of the Dyaks in East and West Kalimantan; Sarawak; impact of self-image on the church.
36:00 Agriculture: rice farming; community involvement; change in attitude toward land availability; rubber crops; rice as a cash crop; selling to the Chinese who live in Indonesia.
46:00 Dyak and Chinese relations; Chinese control of economy.
48:30 Dyak religious practices: sacrifices, the shaman, reality of the supernatural, appeasing the spirits.
49:45 Christian celebration of the rice cycle traditions.
51:00 Carryover from non-Christian culture: evil spirits and the shaman's power, fetishes and charms; cures for sickness.
54:45 Church discipline for those who return to leave Christian ways.
56:00 Pastoral education via Bible school or Theological Education by Exten-sion.
57:00 Missionaries' role in disciplinary problems.
58:00 Dyak places of worship.
58:30 End of Side 1.
#T3 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:45 What the Dyak Christians do in church before they have a pastor.
02:30 How a church is built.
03:45 What worship is like; Dutch influence.
06:30 Irian Jayan worship.
07:00 End of Side 2.
#T4 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Continuation on comparison of Dyak, Irian Jayan, and western worship.
01:45 Strengths and weaknesses of Dyak church.
04:00 Her work at the Bible School and Theological Education by Extension; Dr. Jaffray, founder of Bible School.
06:45 Regional schools for pastoral training; attrition rate.
10:00 Her role as teacher; classes offered; size and composition of faculty; role of missionaries at the school.
14:15 Mission Aviation Fellowship's role in facilitating Theological Education by Extension program in Indonesia.
16:00 Failed communist coup of 1965; coup's effect on religion.
18:30 West Kalimantan as pilot project for TEE in Indonesia.
19:30 Funding for MAF and TEE.
21:15 Growth of TEE program; how airplanes helped; time elements of program; centers; missionary/Indonesian teachers ratio.
27:00 Indonesian style of teaching.
28:00 Levels of training for a student.
31:00 Weaknesses of the TEE program: dependent on MAF airplanes; benefits of MAF airplanes for the Indonesian church.
33:45 Role of missionaries as servants to the people; problem of missionaries building up dependency on themselves.
35:00 Problems with visa renewal for missionaries in Indonesia.
38:00 Indonesian government decrees of 1970 and 1977 regarding evangelization in Indonesia; impact on missionaries; Muslim opposition to Christian evangelization; student breach of the decree.
41:15 Renewal of visas; pros and cons of becoming Indonesian citizens.
44:45 Recent cutback of missionaries in Indonesia.
45:30 End of Side 1.
#T4 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:45 What she likes most about work: people and teaching; patience needed.
02:45 Dislikes about situation: difficulty of leaving her children; giving up individuality to work in Indonesia.
05:15 Use of free time.
06:00 Thoughts about returning to Indonesia.
07:30 End of Side 2 and interview.
#T5 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:10 Introduction to interview on May 17, 1988.
00:30 Raising a family in Indonesia; C&MA schools for missionary children.
02:00 Role of women in C&MA; her children as preschoolers.
03:45 Children's school experience: importance of family relationships to boarding school experience; letters from children; where their children went to school; preparing children for separation; missing the children; special family times.
12:30 The children's adjustment to life in America.
13:45 Observations about US: narrow viewpoint, materialistic, low tolerance.
15:30 Struggle with leaving daughters behind in America; lack of roots for the family; commitment to lifetime mission work.
17:45 Communication with the children when they're far away.
19:00 Pressures of mission work on marriage; their life and work as a team; strain of separation on marriage; importance of open communication; lack of counseling resources for struggling missionary families.
23:30 Potential for team cooperation; tensions when missionaries don't work as teams in their areas.
26:00 Use of radio because of MAF.
26:45 What happens when tensions occur; how to prevent them.
28:00 C&MA Executive Committee over Indonesia: decisions, yearly conference.
29:00 Story about listening to the C&MA executives as a girl.
30:00 How getting along with people is crucial for productivity as a missionary.
31:15 How children produce tensions between missionaries.
33:30 How C&MA has changed in Indonesia; Indonesia as a developing country.
35:00 Different teaching emphases in Indonesia; difficulty of applying truth for Indonesians; classroom interaction; problem with lecturing.
40:00 Kuhns' study of redemptive analogies; applications in work in Indonesia; Indonesians' difficulty in expressing practicality of the Bible.
43:15 Feelings about furloughs; enjoying being in America, and the feeling of belonging; ease of communication.
45:15 Difficulty of communicating American culture to Dyaks; frustration of disowning part of herself to be in Indonesia.
47:00 Belonging to both worlds; hard to leave both.
47:45 End of Side 1.
#T5 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:45 Her joy in her work.
03:15 The responsiveness of the Indonesians.
04:00 How she likes Indonesia, variety of what she does.
05:00 Irritations on the field: the different values of the Indonesians.
06:45 Next term on the Island of Sulawesi: the people; Muslim influence; her work there; people of Ujung Pandang; Indonesians' opinions of Americans; work in Jaffray Theological School.
11:00 End of Side 2 and interview.


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in April and May 1988 from Janet Kuhns.

Accession: 88-43; 88-45; 88-46; 88-54


Lannae Graham
P. Ericksen
S. Feeck
J. Nasgowitz

1/17/90, revised
L. Beloz

Accession: 88-43, 88-45, 88-54
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Interview with Janet Kuhns by Paul Ericksen. Recorded April 26, 1988; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes). Kuhns describes her childhood and youth, family, conversion, spiritual development, decision to become a missionary and education at Nyack Missionary Institute.

T2 - Continuation of interview recorded on April 26, 1988; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 30 minutes. Kuhns discusses issues surrounding her decision to become a missionary, her marital status, the process of joining the C&MA, the Missionary Internship program, their internship and initial experiences in Indonesia.

T3 - Interview with Janet Kuhns by Paul Ericksen. Recorded May 9, 1988; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes). Kuhns describes her and her husband's responsibilities in Indonesia, language learning, working among the Dyak people, Dyak culture and their relationship with other Indonesians, and the Dyak church.

T4 - Continuation of interview recorded on May 9, 1988; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, approximately 50 minutes. Kuhns continues her discussion of the Dyak people and church, as well as theological education for the Dyaks through a TEE program, and political and ethnic issues which affect missions.

T5 - Interview with Janet Kuhns by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on May 17, 1988; reel-to-reel, one side only, approximately 60 minutes (1 hour). Kuhns describes issues related to raising a family (education & boarding school), marriage, the development of C&MA work in Indonesia, and intercultural communication.

1 1 Paper: Redemptive Analogies; 1987

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Last Revised: 1/23/01
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