Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Ruth Lillian Maxwell - Collection 424

[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 Lillian Maxwell

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Interviews in which Maxwell talks about her grandfather, who was president of Prairie Bible Institute) and her parents, who were missionaries for the Sudan Interior Mission in Nigeria, Nigerian village life, boarding school, conversion, spiritual life, education in Canada, her joining the Sudan Interior Mission, her work in Liberia teaching the Bible and leading study groups for women, the church in Liberia, syncretism and animism in Liberia, and attending Wheaton College Graduate School.
Vol: 4 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 424
[April 4, 2000]
Maxwell, Ruth Lillian; 1955-
Interview; 1989

Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name: Ruth Lillian Maxwell

Birth date: January 10, 1955

Birth place: Jos, Nigeria

Parents: Ernest and Freeda Maxwell, Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) missionaries to Nigeria

Grandfather: L. E. Maxwell, founder of Prairie Bible Institute

Siblings: Two brothers: David older, Mark younger

Conversion: Accepted Christ in grade 2 at Kent Academy in Nigeria

Marital Status: Single

Prairie High School, Three Hills, AB, Canada--graduated June 1973
Prairie Bible College, Three Hills, AB, Canada--ca. 1973-1977 major: Bible/Missions, degree: BRE
Columbia Graduate School--Cross Cultural Communications Course
Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL-- M.A. in Missions/Intercultural studies, 1990 (degree completed after interviews)

1978-1981 Assistant Dean of Women, Prairie Bible Institute 1981 Team Leader of SIM Student Missionary Interns
1982-1983 Dean of Women, Prairie Bible Institute
1984-1985 Church Secretary, Prairie Tabernacle
1986-1989 SIM missionary to Liberia

Plans: Continue work for SIM in urban church planting and counseling of short term missionaries.

Scope and Content

Ruth Lillian Maxwell was interviewed by Robert Shuster on November 21 and December 8, 1989, at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL. The time period covered by the interviews is 1895-1989. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview. 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.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Introduction to interview
01:00 Family background in missions: grandfather L. E. Maxwell founder of Prairie Bible Institute (PBI), parents met as missionaries in Africa, uncles and aunts around the world
05:30 Childhood memories of growing up in Africa, importance of interaction with other missionary children, family atmosphere among missionaries
11:15 Typical day at the mission station, father always training national workers, both parents teaching at Bible institute, African friends, devotional life of the family, types of students and classes at the Bible institute
18:00 Sense of cultural difference as a child, discrimination and fear of missionaries
21:15 African church, worship and prayer style, evangelistic messages, parents work with Theological Education by Extension (TEE) to train pastors
28:15 Daily prayer meetings at the church, discipleship groups, parents' effort to bring worship into home to make up for non-English services
32:45 Presence of animism and Islam in Nigeria, parents earned respect through skill in the Hausa language
36:00 Personal conversion at Kent Academy in second grade, commitment to obey God in Canada in eighth grade in Canada
39:30 Positive and negative qualities of boarding school, adjusting to being away from parents
43:45 End of tape

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:00 Reasons for children's reactions to boarding school, alternative options, activities for boarding school students, differences between boarding school and North American schools
09:15 SIM missionaries in Nigeria, family atmosphere, Harold Fuller, Art and Helen Redekop
13:15 Family vacations, helping parents in their work, hospitality of home, bargaining in the marketplace, psychology of bargaining
18:45 Biafra Civil War in Nigeria, realization of true meaning of freedom, awareness of causes of the war from a national's perspective
23:45 End of tape

T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Continuation of interview
00:15 Spiritual decision to leave boarding school and attend Prairie High School in Canada living with grandparents, memories of grandparents (L. E. Maxwell and his wife)
07:15 Problems at Prairie High School from being a missionary kid (MK) and grandchild of the founder of the school, students' stereotypes of missionaries
12:00 Influence of discipleship training in college, choice in Bible school to invest her life in young people, nurse's training, selfish desire for security in nursing, decision to return to PBI to work
16:15 Early desire to be a missionary, waiting for Lord's permission, impact of death of parents in 1982, remembrances of mentors
21:45 End of tape

T3 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Introduction to interview
00:45 Personal effects of death of her parents, portion of memorial fund dedicated to build a church in northern Ghana, Kasena tribe's difficulties understanding Christian funerals, impact of this gift in their understanding
08:30 Her desire for control revealed by God through prayer, personal struggle through the process of growth, thankfulness overcoming discouragement, choice to leave Dean of Women position at PBI to give up control of her life
14:00 Decision to work at home church one year before going overseas, waiting for church's blessing
17:45 Application process to SIM, candidate school, important questions and lessons learned, complete dependence on God for guidance
23:30 Problems assimilating to Liberia, types of classes and students, problems with noisiness and discipline, fear caused by unstable conditions
30:45 Feelings of failure and loneliness, realization of gifts through the counseling of others
34:45 Bible Knowledge program in Liberian public schools, government sanctioning of the program, response of various students
38:45 Problems caused by her small stature and by being the only woman teacher at the school, good relationships with girl students
41:00 Definition of discipleship, most important character qualities
43:15 Beginning a women's ministry in downtown Monrovia, combatting sexual immorality in Liberia, social pressures on young women, developing discipleship material for use in the women's group, importance of accountability and lifestyle change
52:30 Leader for International Women's Bible Studies run by Christian Women's Club, work with missionary kids, comparison of being a modern MK to her childhood experience, SIM International Outlook Course (SIMIOC), work with short term missionaries, their specific needs
59:45 End of tape

T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:15 Freedom as a single woman missionary because of family background and support, American conflict on the issue, importance of using gifts
07:00 Organizational and decision-making process in SIM, solving problems on an individual level, variety of churches in Liberia, desire for biblical foundation
10:30 End of tape

T4 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:20 Introduction to interview
00:30 Syncretism and animism in Liberia, interaction with spirit world and witch doctors even among Christians, difference in concept of prayer between Americans and Liberians, no dichotomy between physical and spiritual worlds, differences this causes in prayer meetings
07:45 Denominational influence in Liberia, strength of middle class church, large number of churches in Monrovia, need for church leaders, spiritual hunger of Liberians
12:30 Lessons learned at Wheaton College, greater confidence through training, importance of relationships over programs on the field
15:45 Strengths of the Liberian church, importance of national leadership, weaknesses of the church, comparisons and contrasts between Nigeria and Liberia
20:45 Story of Liberian Christian friend Immanuel, trust in their relationship
25:45 End of tape


The materials for this collection were received by the Center in November and December 1989 from Ruth Maxwell.

Accession 89-123, 89-130
April 25, 1995
Mark Congdon

Accession 89-123, 89-130
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 68 minutes. One side. Interview with Ruth Maxwell by Robert Shuster, November 21, 1989. Discussion of growing up in Nigeria, boarding school experience, missionary background, African church and worship style, Theological Education by Extension, and the Biafra Civil War.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 22 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview with Ruth Maxwell by Robert Shuster, November 21, 1989. Discussion of grandfather L. E. Maxwell, attending high school in Canada after being in Africa, schooling and work at Prairie Bible Institute, death of her parents.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 68 minutes. One side. Interview with Ruth Maxwell by Robert Shuster, December 8, 1989. Discussion of application to Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), teaching Bible at public school in Liberia, leading a discipleship group for women, sexual norms in Liberia, other work and activities, results of being a single woman missionary.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 26 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview with Ruth Maxwell by Robert Shuster, December 8, 1989. Discussion of syncretism and animism in Liberia, differences in prayer style from America, indigenous church leadership, attending Wheaton College Graduate School.

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