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January 2011: All that is required of us is that we be found faithful

From Photo File: Ethiopia

Robert William Hockman (1906-1935) was born in China of missionary parents with China Inland Mission. He graduated from Northwestern Medical School, Chicago, in 1932. The following year he was accepted by the Foreign Mission Board of the United Presbyterian Church and appointed surgeon at the George Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When the Italo-Ethiopian War broke out in 1935 he volunteered his services to head up a Red Cross unit. Prior to this his wife, Winifred, who was expecting their first child was evacuated to Egypt. In December Dr. Hockman was killed while trying to defuse a bomb which had been dropped near his station.

For more information about the Hockmans and the letters they wrote during the two years they were in Ethiopia see the guide to Collection 200 - Papers of Robert William and Winifred Thompson Hockman.

Below are excerpts from three letters Dr. Hockman wrote.

Dr. Robert William Hockman  


Missionary endeavor at time is very hard. I find it very difficult to love some of these people at times. So many have nothing attractive about them, full of disease and filth and covered with lice. And yet I take courage in the fact that Jesus must have seen similar sights and yet he had a message for every one of them. The physical appearance repulses me, but the mental picture of what they would be if only in Christ Jesus allures me, & gives me new courage, new zeal. It is hard to love dirt but after all dirt is superficial and God looks on the inside. Our desire is to be missionaries to the inside and we find that the outside will automatically take care of itself. June 30, 1934.


It is time to stop and put this in its envelope. Your continued prayers are needed in the days to come. What the future holds for us is unknown and fortunately so. All that is required of us is that we be found faithful. October 28, 1935.

...they [Red Cross in Addis Ababa] asked me to reconsider my plans and go back to camp. Of course this request on their part was like a bolt out of the blue to me and I felt rather crest-fallen, for I had banked on being with Winnie for Christmas if things were quiet down my part of the front, which they were and still are...I have therefore forfeited my chance for a Happy reunion and Christmas and will be on the truck again this evening going back to camp, disappointed and a little blue, but again feeling that it is the right thing to go under the circumstances. This sudden change in plans is going to be very hard on my Winnie but we will again have to experience what we have before that when trials come and things unexpected there will be grace sufficient provided to sustain. I have experienced this already in this sudden blow, for blow it really was. Now, the next thing on the program is to forget plans for Egypt and await the Lord’s leading, for I feel sure that when the right time does come He will make it up a hundred fold to both of us for the sacrifices we have been called upon to endure. It has been much harder on Winnie than it has on me, I am sure. December 3, 1935 just ten days before his death .

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Last Revised: 01/01/11
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Wheaton College 2011