Billy Graham Center
Collection 57- Susan Schultz Bartel. T4 Transcript
to listen to an audio file of this interview (32 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the first oral history
interview of Susan Bartel (CN 57, T4) in
the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except
for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers.
Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few
cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely
sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word
or phrase in question. If the transcriber was not sure of the spelling, particularly
of proper names, “[sp?]” was used. If the speech was inaudible or
indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such
as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Place names in non-Western alphabets are
spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to
how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, Peking is used instead of Beijing, because
that is how the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which could
be understood were spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify
the accepted transliterated form which corresponds to it. The transcribers have
not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered
the standard English word the speaker was expressing.
Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows
a different rhythm and rule than written English
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within
the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Robert Shuster and Kirk Haywood and was completed
in April 2007
Collection 57, T4. Interview of Susan Bartel
by Larry Clark, February 4, 1979.
CLARK: This is an interview with Mrs. Loyal Bartel, by Larry Clark, for the
Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place
at Mrs. Bartel’s home in Wheaton, Illinois, on February 4th, 1979, at
3 pm. This will be the last in a series of four interviews with Mrs. Bartel.
[recorder turned off and back on, feedback] Okay, Mrs. Bartel, this is our fourth
session, I believe our last session, and last time we ended up talking about
how you were on the ship coming back from the United States [from China], and
it’s been, probably thirty years or so since you’ve been back, now.
What are some of your impressions, as you’ve lived these last thirty years
in the United States, and what were some of the adjustments that you had to
BARTEL: Well, first of all, when we did come back, it was a real joy to meet
our loved ones, because I had really not seen them for over twenty years, and...twenty-six
years after I had attended Moody Bible Institute, I had stopped at home, just
for very, very short periods. And it brought mixed feelings. We were happy to
meet our loved ones, and at the same time, there was this longing and wish that
my husband also would and could soon be with us. And after three years living
at Mountain Lake, Minnesota, we definitely felt led to move to Wheaton. And
my big concern always was that we would be...and know, the Lord’s will...
BARTEL: ...so that we would all honor him with our time, and with our lives,
and too, that the children would do well in school. And to my great joy, they
all graduated from college before they married.
CLARK: All of them?
BARTEL: Yes, all five of them.
BARTEL: Yeah. And, now, they all have their own homes. I could not go into
detail about their five weddings, which were very important and interesting.
But they all have their own homes now, and their own jobs and they all love
the Lord, which gives me much joy and satisfaction....
BARTEL: And the Lord also, during those years, led so that I could have employment
in Wheaton, and the children all had part-time employment. David, as small as
he was, he was able to deliver papers, and that brought in a few pennies, and
taught him where the money comes from.
CLARK: Did you move into this home at that time...
CLARK: ...when you first moved to Wheaton?
BARTEL: No, we first rented a home. In fact we lived in three different homes,
because the first home we rented was Mrs. [Alice?] Windsor’s house, she
went on a vacation, extended vacation. And she didn’t want to have the
house empty, and it came in very handy. And then, the next one was Dr. [Martin?]
BARTEL: ...and for how many months, I couldn’t recall right this moment,
and the third home, we rented was Paul and Ina [Bartel]’s home. And then
we looked for a place to live, and my older children helped me, and we felt
that this was the home that we would like to buy, because it was in walking
BARTEL: ...for the grade school, for high school, for college, and so we never
had the expense of a car, nor the convenience of a car [chuckles]. And, made
it that way.
CLARK: In those years, Wheaton was much more of a community atmosphere, I’m
sure, wasn’t it, than the suburban atmosphere?
BARTEL: Yes, yes, but David talks about it when he comes home. He...he says,
“My, mama, when I was small, we were the only ones walking, and now there
are other people walking. How come?”
BARTEL: Because people had cars, you know, and...and we didn’t.
BARTEL: But there were friends that took us to church regularly, which was
a very, very big help, because we attended the [Wheaton] Bible Church, and it’s
over a mile, I believe from here, if I’m walking, if you wanted to hurry
to church. And so we had friends that would give us rides to church.
BARTEL: And then, there was also an opportunity to take a few correspondence
courses that would keep my mind off my problems and an evening class. And those
of course, like I said before, they were years of waiting and suspense, and
the Lord used these ways to really draw me just only to Himself, because nobody
else would understand. Those that had lost their husbands, they’d lost
and buried them...
BARTEL: ...and I still had my husband, and still hoped he would come, and quite
a few friends were very thoughtful, and helpful, in praying. And...and many
other ways, just showed untold love to all of us, because they loved the Lord,
and they didn’t want us to...to suffer. And I also started growing some
African violets, and they did very well, and they brought much cheer to our
humble little home, and in the evening, if there was any pep left, I would do
handwork, and they would...the baby blankets, and I still do that as a hobby.
I feel that the babies keep on coming, I told my girls that “If there’s
a bag of blankets when I leave, be sure to give it to the hospital, because
that’s where they’re born.” [chuckles] And, so, there have
been things that...many other things that have encouraged me. I’ve not
been able to do as much reading, as I would have enjoyed, but see, my eyes don’t
permit that, they make me too tired to do much reading. I aim to read through
the Bible once a year, and I’ve used this Bible Pathway, which is quite
BARTEL: It assigns the chapters for every day, with just a little side note,
and I’ve done much memorizing and reviewing.
CLARK: Oh, that’s nice.
BARTEL: The Psalms have been a really big comfort to me. And like I said before,
that there always was a God-given help with the many hard places. And the Lord,
of course, only can be ours if we rejoice in Him. And, of course, in Philippians
4[:4], “Rejoice, in the Lord always.”
BARTEL: That often would come to my mind, and I’d memorized a portion
CLARK: Who was...what...at what....How can I ask this? How...in getting letters
from China, did you...did you...was there any particular period where letters
seemed to come more often than other times?
BARTEL: Well, no.
CLARK: Or, how often did the letters come?
BARTEL: My brother-in-law, Paul, was instrumental in getting letters to us
for a while, when he was in China, in unoccupied China. His family was in the
States, if I remember correctly, and he was still on the field, and he was with
the [Christian and Missionary] Alliance Mission, and it seemed to be easier
to mail letters there to my husband. And my husband would frequently mail our
letters to him, or to some other missionaries, before he’d mail them to
us, so he would not have [Clark talks over her last few words]....
CLARK: Well, how often would you say the letters...you were able to have contact?
A few times a year, or not as much as that?
BARTEL: Oh, sometimes a month, once a month, but then there were long periods,
and it kept on drawing out and drawing out, towards the last. So, all in all
it is with a heart filled with deep gratitude that we are still here. The Lord
has...has been...been very faithful, far beyond our thinking or description.
And of course, I owe much gratitude to our many relatives and...and friends
that were so wonderful to us. Now, I...I don’t know if there’s something
else that you would...well, some of the questions have helped me very much,
[unclear] Philippians 4...4. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say
rejoice, let your moderation be more, amen.” And, “My peace I give
unto you.” [John 14:27]
CLARK: John 16.
BARTEL: Yeah, “The peace of God which passes all understanding, which
I keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Philippians
4:7] That’s one of them, and that’s.... “I will keep him in
perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Me.” [Isaiah 26:3] And Psalm 121,
Psalm 103, Psalm 1, portions of that area, so....
CLARK: Let me ask, what were the circumstances of you hearing about your husband’s
death? How did you hear? How did you get word?
BARTEL: Ah, through the Red Cross.
CLARK: And they had...they had just...the Chinese authorities had contacted
the Red Cross, or....?
BARTEL: I...if I remember correctly, that questions were asked because we didn’t
receive any mail anymore, at all.
BARTEL: And, they evidently inquired. And reported that...that he had died.
CLARK: And was there any circumstances about his death? Was it just an illness...?
BARTEL: No, they said natural death, so, that’s all we were....
CLARK: One thing that I’ve thought of as we’ve been doing these
interviews, and it really doesn’t have too much...it might not have too
much bearing, but were you ever familiar with the person that Americans know
as Watchman Nee?
BARTEL: Oh, yes. I’d heard quite a little about him. Personally, I’ve
not...not had any contact.
CLARK: When you were in China, you heard about him?
BARTEL: We heard about him.
CLARK: And was he indeed a leader of the national church in China?
BARTEL: Well, I suppose he was, in the area that he was living.
CLARK: I see. I remember hearing about his death, about the time...let’s
see, your husband passed away in ‘71, is that it?
CLARK: I think about 1972, or approximately, thereabouts, I think it was summer
of ‘72. I remember hearing about the death of Watchman Nee, and that he
had just six months before, been released from prison, he had been in prison
for about twenty-five years, was the story that I heard. But you...you don’t
know any...anything else?
BARTEL: No. I don’t know details. My husband had a cousin who was in
prison in Shanghai for a long, long time, but he never was in Christian work.
His parents were missionaries, and I think he took out with just some secular
work in Shanghai, and he was in prison for a long, long time.
CLARK: Let me ask you some questions dealing with...since you’ve been
in the United States, your impressions of...as you’ve heard about China
through all these years. First of all, the U.S. had the Korean War, and then
there was the traditional...even though we think of the Cold War in terms of
Russia, we had sort of a period where there was no communication, and then in....
My first question would be your impressions in 1967 and ‘68, for an outline
there, there was a lot of word that came out about the Cultural Revolution.
Did you...what were your impressions when you were hearing...did you understand
what...what might have been going on behind, and inside of the country when
they referred to a “Cultural Revolution” under Mao Tse-Tung?
BARTEL: Not...not very much, because my mind was so occupied with our own situation.
CLARK: Right. I see. Okay, because they...today, as China’s back in the
news so much, they refer a lot back to the 1967, ‘68 sometime in there,
the Cultural Revolution, they refer to it sort of in a negative light, today,
on the news. And so that brings me up to today, what are some of your thinking,
and some of your reactions, some of your own impressions about...or as you listen
to the television networks report about China, and it started with President
Carter, and well, it started with Nixon.... Your impressions of Nixon over there,
now Carter, officially making the...reestablishing the relationships, and in
this week we have Premier Deng, I believe is his name, today I believe he’s
in Seattle, so it’s in the news, and when we started these interviews,
we didn’t...we had no way of relating to current events with China, but
now we do. What are some of your impressions these last two months?
BARTEL: Well, I’m hesitant, and really unable to say much about Deng,
and...and his...I guess our people would call him Deng Xiaoping. He must be
of course, smart, and maybe sly, possibly a great leader, for his country, and
his trip, of course was for business...
BARTEL: ...he came. Then, if we think of him as a person, he carries a very
heavy responsibility for more than one fourth of all people, who either live
in China, or call China their home.
CLARK: That’s a staggering statement.
BARTEL: Yes. It’s...it’s great. And, of course, this put...would
put a very heavy weight on a seventy-four year old person. I think that we should
do business with China, but I would not know where to draw the line because
I lived there for so long.
CLARK: Such a hard question these days, especially after these last thirty
BARTEL: Yes. That’s it, you see. And, personally, I would feel that as
a Christian, and having been in China, that much prayer support is needed for
the believers in China. And second, that we should also pray that the seed which
was sown so many years ago would continue to prosper. The Bible that has been
taught and preached. And another thing, I would say that much interest should
be shown to the college students that come to the U.S.A. to study. If they could
be brought to faith in God while they’re here, then it would be wonderful
for them to return to their own land after graduation...
BARTEL: ....and they would accomplish far more than any missionaries would.
Because they know the culture, the....
CLARK: They’re already one with the people?
BARTEL: Yes. That they would be able to be a far better help. Then of course,
another item, I felt that the so-called Christian workers should always be ready,
from our side, you know, say, to go and preach in another land. And I believe
that if China does open for missionary work, the missionaries should go as a
helper, and not as a leader, like they did years ago, you know, opening new
stations. They should work together with the Chinese...
BARTEL: ...Christians, and that way it would not put them above the Chinese,
and the Chinese would be free, more free to...to work, like in Bible schools,
colleges, churches. That’s of course, if the leaders were Christians on
the other end.
BARTEL: Now, if they’ve never heard, then of course, you have to start
from the way...from the bottom.
CLARK: I see.
BARTEL: And, of late, I’ve often thought of all these young university
students that are being accepted, though it’s...you’ve no doubt
heard of it, from China, that those were..those that had been on an honor roll,
there are hundreds of them, are coming to the States to study.
BARTEL: And if they could be reached, it could be so...so very, very wonderful,
because they could make much better missionaries, like I said before, than...than
any other foreigner would.
CLARK: I’ve heard also.... Let me get your reaction to this,....well,
let me ask you this: when you were in China, would you say that there was more
of an emphasis in mission work, in the large urban centers, or more the rural
areas? You know, the smaller villages and rural areas, or was it...was there
a lot of emphasis in the urban areas in mission work?
BARTEL: I...I really don’t know, since we didn’t travel much.
BARTEL: Now, Paul would be able...my brother-in-law would be able to answer
a question like that, but I...I wouldn’t....
CLARK: Do you think that today, the effective ministry would probably be more
effective in the urban areas of China, or...or in the smaller regions? What...what
would you prefer, if someone asked you, “Should I go to the urban areas
or should I go to the rural areas?
BARTEL: Well, I think it would all depend on how much Communism has influenced
the people. Now, personally, I would think that the unlearned ones would be
persuaded easier. I mean, they would be ready quicker than those with higher
education that are anti-Christ, and all that.
CLARK: Right. It’s...it would be interesting to find out what kind of
restrictions are being lessened in these last four years, concerning religion
in China. There has...I have scrutinized the news, and I don’t believe
I’ve heard any reference, even indirectly, to any kind of loosening up
of religious freedom, or...not necess...maybe we can’t relate to that
word “freedom” for China yet, but you know, as religious toleration,
you know. You never hear any reference.
BARTEL: That’s the thing, like here, the missionary and the journalist
are not permitted....
CLARK: Oh yeah, not yet allowed.
BARTEL: Not...not allowed into the country.
CLARK: That’s why...what I was calling...it might be a misnomer, a “career
missionary,” that has a job with some other corporation, or some other
occupation, who’s a Christian, seems to be the...right now the vital person,
to go there, besides the Chinese themselves.
CLARK: Well, that certainly is interesting. Are there any overriding, concluding
remarks concerning all four of our interviews, that you’d like to...that
you’d like to make? We’ve covered from day one of your life, through
Moody [Bible Institute] and your childhood, then going to Moody and then meeting
your husband, and preparing for China, being in China, and the imprisonments,
and then, now here in the United States. What are some...maybe some concluding
BARTEL: Well, I sort of felt that these should be my concluding remarks, the
[pauses] appreciation to friends and loved ones who have been...been helpful
to... not only to me, but to the whole family, and to my husband, when he was
still living. And, then too, special interest for the Chinese, because we have
ever so many in Chicago, and California, and right here in the [United] States,
and sometimes, seems to me that they are more or less left alone. Of course,
I’ve been so helpless in going to Chicago, that I’ve not been able
to..to do anything in that line. I’ve met a few Chinese girls, and we’ve
had fellowship together, but all in all, seems to me very little is done in
the States for the Chinese that are here. It’s good to go to the foreign
field, but it’s so important to...to do what we can right here.
BARTEL: Now, Lenora did mention, is this a kind of...is this all going to be
CLARK: Okay, did you want to speak on these...we...let me explain. Mrs. Bartel
has gone over the previous three interviews, and has, with her daughter, discovered
some corrections that they would like to put on the record. And so, would you
like to speak these corrections, some of the ideas?
BARTEL: Well, on the second record [Collection 57, tape T3], when I referred
to the Communists coming to take over, I did not mention that they were very
friendly to us. They were very friendly to us because there was not the language
barrier, like there was with the Japanese.
BARTEL: And the...the Communists did not call us the “Foreign Devils,”
it was the Japanese that called us “Foreign Devils.”
BARTEL: Because the Chinese, when they took over, they called my husband “Uncle,”
they called me “Aunt,” and they called the girls “Younger
Sister.” And they were very understanding, they were very friendly, when...when
they first came. So, that was my mistake.
BARTEL: And then, another thing about Loyal’s imprisonment, when he was
imprisoned, I thought it was just the land that he had purchased, you know,
to take care of the family, but my daughter says it was [pauses]...it was here,
what did she say it was.... [pauses] Turn it off a little bit if you can, yeah?
[feedback, recorder turned of and on again]
BARTEL: The accusation that they had against my husband was, first, that his
mother was American, and second that he married a woman with American citizenship,
that was me. Then he was educated in America.
BARTEL: And the fourth was that he was a spy, he must be a spy for the U.S.A.
CLARK: And these were the Communists?
BARTEL: Those were the accusa...yes... no, these were the Japanese.
CLARK: The Japanese, right. When they imprisoned your husband.
BARTEL: When they imprisoned him and he...he was treated very roughly, so we
thought it would be good to....
CLARK: To clarify that.
BARTEL: To clarify that.
CLARK: Okay. Were there any other things that you wanted to make sure were
understandable about...that you found?
BARTEL: Oh, well, about the children’s schooling. That was on the third
tape [Collection 57, tape T3].
BARTEL: They were detained from their regular cla...schooling for two years.
We did have the Calvert course, at home.
BARTEL: Yes, it’s a home study course. And Jonathan, the one that you
saw in that picture there, their little brother, well, he was in his teens by
now, and he was teaching the girls some at home, and sister Agnes, the one you
also saw, too, did teach them some at home, before they did go to Shanghai,
and they were one year at Shanghai, and they were one year at [unclear]. So
the girls wanted to have that clarified.
CLARK: As far as their education, right.
CLARK: Okay, were there...was there anything else that you wanted to share,
BARTEL: No, I think we close it up. [chuckles].
CLARK: Okay. I just want to tell you, at least, on the record, I want to express
my appreciation for this interview, and I’m sure people that are going
to make use, we have no idea who will be able to make...and all the different
types of people that will be able to use this information, perhaps, as we see
now, in China, opening up, to understand what missions work has been like in
the past, just through the eyes of a...an observer that was going through the
daily life as a missionary in China. And we certainly appreciate this interview.
BARTEL: You’re very welcome.
END OF TAPE
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