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Isobel Kuhn - Letter - January 1, 1957
[Note: This is the text of of one of the prayer letters
that Isobel sent to her supporters in the United States to keep them informed
about her ministry. The Kuhns had left China during the civil war that followed
the end of the war with Japan, but in 1951 they helped establish the Overseas
Missionary Fellowship's work among the Lisu people in northern Thailand and Burma.
In 1954 the Isobel was diagnosed with cancer and the Kuhns returned to the United
States. Isobel continued to remain in touch with her supporters in the United
States as wrote several books about the Lisu church and stayed in touch with the
people. This was one of her last prayer letters. She died March 20, 1957. Punctuation
and spelling has been maintained as far as possible as they were in the original
letter. Comments in brackets  are by the archivist. The letter is in Collection
435, Box 1, Folder 2. ]
January 1, 1957
I wonder how many of you saw certain cartoon on Christmas Eve? It pictured a small boy holding a empty stocking standing disconsolately before on empty fireplace on which a clock was ticking very slowly. A faithful dog, drooping with weariness, watched his small master'-but still Santa did not come. The caption underneath read: "Dec, 24. The longest day in the universe"
As Daddy and I finished trying to hold down one counterpart of the boy in the cartoon, we decided that the caption name for Dec. 24, was justified! "The longest day in the universe."
Yet the first one up on Christmas Day was not Boy [their son, Daniel], but Dad.
He and Mom had a wonderful time together at dawn, worshipping [sic] the, One whose
birthday it was. But finally daylight and its meaning penetrated Dan's dreamland,
and he was up, with gusto.
One of his best presents was from "Auntie" Ella Graham - a beautiful blue and
grey parakeet. Dan had been wishing, for a pet and received this one joyfu1ly
naming it Joseph Blowhard (In this stage of life this make of the species is mainly
interested in tournaments, battling off pirates and well, fighting of any kind,
Hence a fellow needs a tough name) Unfortunately, dainty 1ittle Mr,. Joseph Blowhard
took fright at the loud voice of his young master, and was informed that until
he attained the proper stamina of character he would only be known as Joey-blowey
The pretty little bird has real affections, if somewhat short of stamina, end
gentle Auntie Ella has quite stolen his heart, When she leaves him alone in the
room now, he sends out loud, determined "chin-up chin-up" as if to say, "Come
back, Auntie Ella. I'll blow hard for you!"
Another gift to Dan was a Brownie Box camera with films and a flashbulb attachment. All day he went around "shooting" us and every snapshot came out! So sister will get to see what we did on Christmas Day. Some of you must have been asking for special strength for me, for that is what I was given. I was able to sit up in the wheelchair twice; once for the tree, and once for the dinner;; and I have not been able to do that since. So we had a Merry Christmas with beautiful cards, pots of flowering plants, candies, cookies--everything
Lisuland. And a day or so before earns a letter from Lucius, H had just received a snapshot of Danny and it had stirred up his heart to renewed longings for us, He poured out his love, then said wistfully that it was over a year since he had the smallest bit of news of his children and dear ones behind the bamboo curtain, This led him to tell of very recent discussions between Burma and the Red Chinese. Lucius knew the names and vicinity of the "3 Kachin Villages" which China asked that Burma give them in exchange for their withdrawing from the Wa States And these villages are just that pert where most of the Christian refugee Lieu have settled, So this fear is hanging over their heads Please pray that the power of the Lord will be manifested in this situation.
Miaoland, And now we must add a whiff of missionary news, Kathy [the Kuhn's
daughter who had married Donald Rulison. The Rulisons were missionaries to the
Miao people of northern Thailand.] had just reached Namkhet village (where she
and Don are to work after their marriage on Feb. 23) in company with Dorothy Jones,
As Dorothy (and Frances Bailey) had been away to conference, the shanty was very
dusty and the winds had blown debris over everything. Even so Kathy noticed such
a difference between arriving in a Christian village and in a heathen one. She
had only been to heathen ones before. "Right away, she wrote, "Basa's old mother,
Priscilla, swept the floor for us and gave us some of her rice." In the evening
"the believers came in for their mid-week sing and prayer. It was heartwarming
to be with them. 'Rolled Away' has been taught then in English and it was so cute
to hear a good old trilled 'r' with every 'rolled'!.... My White Miao name is
Yah-Mee.. The false prophet, Fie Shoong, has had 3 deaths among his followers
(he had promised eternal life, i.e. never to die, to his disciples) Now he says
that in about two months he is going to create a new heaven and a new earth" Here
we see the tribal picture in a nutshell - rough housing quarters but loving Christian
hands to help. Singing joy and - devilish deception and opposition.
John and I send the church our warm thank you's for the book "The Arena of Faith" by Dr E Sauer. He is a favorite author with us. It was so kind of you all to give to it to us for Christmas.
And now in closing my verse for the New Year is Isa 46:9, "...I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning...My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" It is wonderful to have the guidance of one's life determined by One who knows the future as well as the past. There is rest in turning over the helm to Him.
"So Ho! for the Pilot's orders
Whatever course He takes--
For He sees beyond the skyline
And He never makes mistakes"
Yours in the certainties of Calvary
Isobel S. Kuhn
PS Your prayers for Edna McLaren have been answered She is now healed and given permission to return to Chiengmai, sometime in February, I think.
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