Billy Graham Center

Collection 57- Susan Schultz Bartel. T4 Transcript

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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 sentence.

( ) 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 make?

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...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: 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....

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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?] Stone’s house...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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 distance...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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.

CLARK: Right.

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.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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 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 helpful.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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.”

CLARK: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: That often would come to my mind, and I’d memorized a portion of that.

CLARK: Who what....How can I ask this? 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 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 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 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 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, 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...

CLARK: Right.

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: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: So....

CLARK: That’s a staggering statement.

BARTEL: Yes. 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 years.

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...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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...

CLARK: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: ...Christians, and that way it would not put them above the Chinese, and the Chinese would be free, more free work, like in Bible schools, colleges, churches. That’s of course, if the leaders were Christians on the other end.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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’’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.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: And if they could be reached, it could be 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.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

BARTEL: Now, Paul would be 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’ 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 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 remarks?

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 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 do what we can right here.

CLARK: Right.

BARTEL: Now, Lenora did mention, is this a kind this all going to be on record?

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.

CLARK: Ohhh.

BARTEL: And the...the Communists did not call us the “Foreign Devils,” it was the Japanese that called us “Foreign Devils.”

CLARK: Right.

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.

CLARK: Right.

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] 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]

CLARK: Okay.

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.

CLARK: Uh-huh.

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].

CLARK: Okay.

BARTEL: They were detained from their regular cla...schooling for two years. We did have the Calvert course, at home.

CLARK: Calvert?

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.

BARTEL: So....

CLARK: Okay, were there...was there anything else that you wanted to share, Mrs. Bartel?

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 observer that was going through the daily life as a missionary in China. And we certainly appreciate this interview.

BARTEL: You’re very welcome.


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