a billy graham center archives exhibit
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  MEMORIES 9
Interview with Betty Skinner and Millie Hopkins by Dr. Lois Ferm on March 8, 1972. From Collection 141, audio tape T6; transcript in box 10, folder 22. Duration: 3:39 minutes.

FERM: And as Betty and I were sitting here chatting about it we were thinking about some of the interesting things that happened relative to the ‘49 Crusade. Betty, why don’t you start. Maybe you could pick up from where we were discussing, and that will get us at least started. We were talking about being out there, about many of you being out there.

BETTY SKINNER: Well, the crusade, to begin with, came to Los Angeles. And right in the middle of town they set up this great huge tent, about a square block in area, seating six thousand, I think. And that was quite a shock to the city of Los Angeles, because they hadn’t seen anything like that in a long time. It took a lot of faith on the part of the Committee to...to anticipate that. I think they started for three weeks and then they kept extending it to another week until it lasted about six [the meetings actually lasted eight weeks].

FERM: Yeah.

SKINNER: In the meantime, a lot of people that were being prayed for had begun to make decisions, and it kept increasing and momentum was picked up. The Navigators part in this was that Lorne Sanny and the Navigator fellows and some of the girls were involved in the counseling [of new converts]. In fact, they were in charge of rounding up counselors for each night.

FERM: It wasn’t a systematic thing yet? We didn’t have a follow up program?

HOPKINS: Oh, no. No.

SKINNER: No. A number of our fellows [?] would go each night to act as team captains...team captains to see that everyone got helped. And I remember at that time they had the chairs set in twos in the counseling tent so that each person would get individual attention from a counselor, and it worked very well.

FERM: And what were you doing out there? I mean, you were staying?

SKINNER: I was a secretary in the Navigator office.

FERM: In the Navigator office in Los Angeles? That was before, of course...before Glen Eyrie [the Navigator headquarters in Colorado] materialized.

HOPKINS: Uh-huh.

FERM: And how about you, Millie?

HOPKINS: I was a secretary in the Navigator office also. And Betty and I at that time, both lived with the [Dawson] Trotmans in their home, in fact, as did most of the office staff. The rest of them, I think, lived in Lorne Sanny’s home.

SKINNER: Uh-huh.

HOPKINS: I think one of the nights that was most memorable to me was when Lila Trotman [wife of Dawson Trotman] and I came from the parking lot into the prayer tent and we saw Suzy Hamblen outside waiting for someone. And so then, they always saved the front rows for those who had been in the prayer tent, and so we sat on the front row and there were a couple of extra places by us. And Suzy came in late with Stuart Hamblen and he was nervous as could be. He had a little stub of a pencil and a match case, I think, and anyway he was always writing with it and making remarks to Suzy. And later on it turned out that that was the night [October 16th or 17th] that he left Suzy there and went to the bars, I understand it. And then he called...came home [very late] and talked with his wife, then called Billy Graham early in the morning indicating he wanted to receive the Lord. And then another person who came to the Lord in that crusade was Jim Vaus. And we at Navigators had quite a large part in him. Dawson took a personal interest in him, and I know various ones loaned him cars and helped him every way we could with his own life. So many were pessimistic and felt like he wasn’t real and wouldn’t have much to do with him. But Dawson whole heartedly took him in. And we all became his very....


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