Billy Graham Center

Interview with Ruth Winifred Temple Adeney - Collection 394

[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 Ruth Winifred Temple Adeney

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Brief Description.

Interview describing Adeney's youth, spiritual growth, education and preparation for missionary work, her missionary experience, and her husband, David Adeney. Mrs. Adeney worked with China Inland Mission in rural areas of Henan Province (1934-1941), and assisted in her husband's work with university students in Nanking (1946-1948) and Shanghai (1949- 1950). She also describes her husband's work with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Stacey Woods, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and her return visits to China. Time period covered by the interview: 1915-1978. There are restrictions on the use of this collection. For further information, please see guide.

Collection 394 [June 1, 2017]
Adeney, Ruth Winifred Temple; 1912-2011
Interview; 1988

2 Reels of Audio Tape




Ruth Winifred Temple was born September 29, 1912 in Morristown, MN to Lewis E. and Laura Temple. When she was nine, Ruth commited herself to Christ. Following high school, she attended Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis, from which she graduated in the missions course in 1933. In 1934, she joined China Inland Mission, and by year's end was studying Chinese at the mission's language school in Yangzhou. For the next six years, she worked in Henan province. After completing the six-month course, she was first assigned to work in Wuyang, along with Helen Nowack (later Frame). In 1936, she was moved to Yengcheng. In 1938, she married fellow-missionary David Adeney, and together they opened a station in Fangcheng. Wartime conditions required them to leave China in 1941.

The Adeneys returned first to the U.S. after leaving China. While David joined Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship to work first as Missions Secretary and then, based in Boston, as secretary in the Northeast U.S., Ruth cared for her family and entertained student guests. The Adeneys then moved on to reside in London, where David worked on the mission's home staff.

David returned to China in 1946 as part of CIM's effort to reestablish male workers on the field before bringing out their families. Ruth returned to her home in Minnesota with her three young children, where she suffered a slipped disc before she followed David back to China. From 1946 to 1950, Ruth assisted David in his ministry among Chinese university students in Nanking and Shanghai. The Adeneys evacuated China a second time in 1950, returning again to the United States.

From 1950 to 1955, David again joined the staff of Inter-Varsity, and the family lived in Geneva, IL. In 1956, he was offered a position in Hong Kong, working with International Fellowship of Evangelical Students [IFES]. The Adeneys lived in Hong Kong until 1967 when he resigned from IFES.

In 1968, the Adeneys were readmitted to the mission, by then renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship. David was assigned to coordinate the Discipleship Training Center in Singapore. Following the reopening of China to Western visitors, Ruth and David made a number of trips to China.

The Adeneys had four children. Mrs. Adeney died in Berkeley, California, on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Scope and Content

Ruth Adeney was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on June 10, 1988, at the office of the Billy Graham Center Archives. The events described in the interview cover the time period from 1915-1978. 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 (69 minutes). (link to transcript and audio file) Family background, conversion, religious practices, spiritual growth, education; David Adeney: meeting and further contact, call to marriage, impressions of character, impact of busyness on health, his mother's role in their courtship; Temple family: father and mother, examples of character, spiritual influence; Joining China Inland Mission, evaluation by mission executive, role of Jeremiah 1 in her call to missions, influence of Isaac Page and others; Bible school education at Northwestern Schools, William Bell Riley; First impressions of China, culture shock, learning and using Chinese language; First assignment in Wuyang: process of assignment, denominational considerations, false doctrines in area, loneliness and dependence on the Lord; initial responsibilities: language study, preaching, evangelism, first convert and beginning Sunday school; Miss Soderstrom (elderly senior missionary at 2nd station): character; communication working as an American in mission with British character; Helen Frame, assistance, prayer and fasting together, spiritual influence; Conflict with several older senior missionaries; Japanese air raids, refugees, bandits, birth of daughter Rosemary; Lessons from deaths of John and Betty Stam in 1934, ongoing bombing threat, crossing enemy lines to evacuate in 1941; Interim assignment with Inter-Varsity: David at Harvard, Yale, her work with family, entertaining student guests, child evangelism classes. Living in Geneva, IL, proximity to Stacy Woods, character. Inter-Varsity in early days; David's IFES position in Hong Kong, extended absences for travel, relationship with children during this time. Following David to China in 1946, recovery after surgery, difficulty of separation from David; Life in Nanking, IVCF house, evacuation to and from Shanghai

T2 (8 minutes), (link to transcript and audio file) Continuation on evacuation from China, CIM attitudes about evacuation, raising a family during turmoil; Times that she enjoyed most: in London at mission headquarters, Geneva, IL; Return visits to China, observations about continuing suffering


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in June 1988 from Ruth Adeney.

Accession: 88-67
November 16, 1993
Paul A. Ericksen
S. Henning

Accession: 88-67
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 68 minutes, one side only. Oral history interview with Ruth Adeney by Paul A. Ericksen, recorded on June 10, 1988. Topics covered include her family, spiritual development, education at Northwestern Schools, call to missionary work with China Inland Mission in China, rural work in Henan province, co-workers, impact of war and separation on family life, evacuation to the U.S., work with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, return to China and second evacuation.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 8 minutes, one side only. Continuation of oral history interview with Adeney by Paul A. Ericksen on June 10, 1988. Topics covered include the Adeneys' evacuation from China in 1950, fondest memories, and observations during her 1978 return to China.

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Last Revised: 6/01/17
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