to listen to an audio file of this interview (39 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. W. Glyn Evans (CN 74, T53) 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 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 speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. 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. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.
... 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 transcription was made by Bob Shuster and Paul Bartow was completed in June 2013.
Collection 74, T53. Interview of Rev. W. Glyn Evans by Robert Shuster on April 21, 2010.
SHUSTER: ...Of Reverend W. Glyn Evans by Bob Shuster of the Billy Graham Center Archives. It took place over the telephone on April 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM. Reverend Evans, we are recording now over the telephone, so that’s the purpose of this interview. If we can...are you there Reverend Evans?
SHUSTER: Yes. [Laughs] If we can start with just some questions about how you came to be at Wheaton. What years were you at Wheaton?
EVANS: I was there from 41 to 45.
SHUSTER: And where were you born?
EVANS: I was born in Wales, South Wales and came to this country with my family, my father, mother, brothers and sisters in 1928. And the rest of the family came...the rest of the family was born in this country. We had a total of eleven children, nine girls and two boys
SHUSTER: My! And where did your family settle in the US?
EVANS: When we came to this country, we settled in Gary, Indiana. There was a steel industry there, and my dad was a steel worker, so...he was given the opportunity of becoming one of the workers there at the steel mills in Gary, Indiana. So we all moved and found our places then in school after we moved here according to our age and so we’ve been here ever since.
SHUSTER: And what year were you born?
EVANS: I was born in 1918.
SHUSTER: 1918. Same year as Billy Graham.
EVANS: The same year as Billy Graham. I was born in May, and Billy Graham was born in November. So I’m a little older than he.
SHUSTER: A few months, yeah. How did you come to Wheaton?
EVANS: I came to Wheaton through our church basically. We had a very fine Baptist church in Gary. And we had a number of contacts with Wheaton via choirs that came to sing and various pulpit fill ins that we got from Wheaton. And the two schools that we drew from at that time as a church was...were Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. They were the two outstanding institutions in our minds at that time.
SHUSTER: And what was your church?
EVANS: That was Central Baptist Church of Gary, Indiana.
SHUSTER: And so when you came to Wheaton as a student, do you recall the first time that you met Billy Graham?
EVANS: Yes, that was the first time I met Billy Graham. Came to Wheaton in...the year 1941 and did not know Billy right off the bat. But after we moved in...after I moved into Wheaton and stayed in the [Dutton?] House, other fellow students there were talking about this Billy Graham. How great a preacher he was, how wonderful he was. So I was anxious of course to hear him. And he was at the Tabernacle at that time, pastor of the Tabernacle. And that was the time when, as I told in my correspondence with you, that we took one of our fellow students from the house who had not professed Christ yet as savior. And he was willing to go and it was a Sunday evening. And Billy preached a message and this student, a freshman, was just broken up inside and he had never made a commitment to Christ, and that night he went forward with tears rolling down his cheeks to make a commitment. And I was amazed at the simplicity of the message that Billy preached. It was a very simple Gospel message.
SHUSTER: Do you recall what he preached about?
EVANS: I recall the verse 1John 1:7 I believe it is...talking about the forgiveness of sins. And I don’t remember the title, but it was just a matter of the Gospel being open, free, and everyone was welcome. And that we did have a problem with our sins, we were born to sin, we committed sins, and therefore we need to make some kind of a...an adjustment between our sins and God’s holiness. And he made the point that the only way to do that was through Christ, who died for us on the cross, made atonement for us, and therefore, welcomes us to be covered by his atoning power and atoning work. And that was the gist of the message. So when he gave the invitation, the student who went forth, he was sitting, standing right next to me, when we stood to sing the final hymn, he said he was going forward. And I was shocked because [chuckles] we had tried to witness to him before and had not moved him an inch. But that sermon by Billy just touched his heart.
SHUSTER: And um...you had been to the Tabernacle before that?
EVANS: I don’t remember going before then, I think that was my first time. That was early in my freshman year.
SHUSTER: What did it look like?
EVANS: What did...?
SHUSTER: What did the Tabernacle look like? I mean I know it was in the Masonic Building
EVANS: Yes, it was in the Masonic building, I don’t remember any other features about it except it was in the Masonic building.
SHUSTER: Was it, did you sit on folding chairs or were there...?
EVANS: Um...my remembrance is that yes, they had folding chairs. And I...I would suggest that the attendance that night was somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe 75 to 100.
SHUSTER: Were these mostly people from the college or the town?
EVANS: A lot of them were from the college, some from the faculty, others were from the town...a number of students attended. I think a good, pretty good portion of students attended that night. Billy was quite favored among the students and so when he was preaching anywhere, they made a haste to try to get to the meeting and hear his message.
SHUSTER: Your friend went forward, did other people go forward, do you recall?
EVANS: Yes, as I remember. He was not the only one. I think there were probably five to ten that went forward that night. And...I’m not sure of course of the exact number, but there were others that went forward.
SHUSTER: Um...how would....So this sounds like the first time or pretty close to the first time you had actually seen Billy Graham.
EVANS: How did I...?
SHUSTER: I was going to say, this sounds like it was pretty close to the first time you saw Billy Graham, what was his physical appearance? What did he look like?
EVANS: What did he look like? Well, he was tall and thin and he was southern with a southern accent. And he...he was not a person to entertain. He didn’t use many jokes in his sermons, he wasn’t there to be “buddy-buddy.” He was there, it struck me as being, there as a messenger of God with one message in mind. He wanted to get that message out and do business with people concerning that message. Very sincere, very commanding, very dedicated, not much humor, not much human interest or human...illustration, just a straightforward, simple presentation of the Gospel. But it was very effective.
SHUSTER: Did he use hand gestures much or walk about very much?
EVANS: As I remember no. He pretty well stood in once place as I remember that service. And when he began preaching, he was business like right from the very first word. And...as if he had a job to do and he was going to do it. And I don’t remember that he walked around very much, he stood pretty much in the same place. I don’t remember if he had a microphone, because I...I...it was not a large room. It would not hold more than what was in there, maybe roughly 100. And he didn’t need a microphone. And he stood at sort of a pulpit (I don’t remember too much about that) and he did have his notes in front of him. And...he was...he was just very much a man committed to preaching the Gospel. Very sincere, very earnest...and with a clear voice. And the message came through very clearly.
SHUSTER: And your friend, as you say, went forward. Do you know if there was some sort of follow up to Tabernacle? Counseling of any kind?
EVANS: I don’t know, I don’t know of any follow up there. We did encourage him of course in the house to keep going to church.
EVANS: I don’t remember whether or not the Tabernacle had any kind of a follow up ministry at that time, they may have. I don’t know.
SHUSTER: And did you go to other services at the Tabernacle in future years as you were at Wheaton?
EVANS: Let’s see, I don’t remember going anymore to any services at the Tabernacle, because at that time I was pastoring a church myself.
EVANS: And I was pastor of the La Grange Bible Church on a part time basis when I went to Wheaton. And so later on, when we got to know each other, Billy and I would talk about our respective ministries and I was in La Grange and he was at the Tabernacle at that time. Later on he became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Western Springs. That was I think in his senior year, or post senior year.
SHUSTER: Just after he graduated, yeah.
EVANS: Yeah, after he graduated.
SHUSTER: Were there...So you were also a student pastor, or a pastor who was also a student. Were there...do you know were there other people in the same situation on campus who were studying and also pastoring local churches?
EVANS: I don’t know of any others. There must have been a number of students who were pastoring or filling the pulpits for churches in the area. I don’t remember how many and I’m not sure I remember who they were, being a newcomer myself that year.
SHUSTER: Sure. And anything else you wanted to say about the Tabernacle?
EVANS: The Tabernacle flourished of course under Billy, and then the calls began to come in from outside the city and outside the area. And I don’t know what he did about trying to fill the pulpit in other churches, but I...as I remember, he stayed pretty faithful to the Tabernacle, for what was it a couple years that he was there.
SHUSTER: You also mentioned in your e-mail about...you had been in a geology class with Reverend Graham.
SHUSTER: Who was the teacher of that class?
EVANS: Well, let’s see. What was his name? I’m trying to think of it now and I can’t bring it to memory. Doctor...he was the...he was one of the professors in the Science Department, I can’t remember his name, sorry. [Paul Wright]
SHUSTER: That’s okay. And was there anything memorable about that geology class?
EVANS: No, that was....My interest was Billy’s interest. And that was in preaching, so we did our work up at the Dells. That was about it, and then we came back.
SHUSTER: But you did mention that you had a field trip to the Dells.
EVANS: Yes, we did...I did mention that.
SHUSTER: Can you talk a little bit about that?
EVANS: Well, when Billy and I were both in this geology class. It was the rules in at Wheaton were everybody had to take a year of science. So being preachers, we weren’t interested in science, so what course do we take? So we said, “well, take geology, that’s the least kind of requirement of...all the sciences”
SHUSTER: Did you talk about...?
EVANS: We even....
SHUSTER: Did you talk about it ahead of time about what class you should take?
EVANS: Yeah, we talked about it actually. And we...we...I decided for me that that would be the easiest one. I guess Billy decided for him that would be the easiest one for him. And then of course, we met in the classroom itself. And it was interesting on a Monday morning our topic of conversation between the two of us was “where were you yesterday and what did you do?” And we weren’t too interested in Geology, but we were awfully, greatly interested in Theology. So....
SHUSTER: And of course, you say it was Monday. So the day before, you probably would have been preaching somewhere, probably.
EVANS: Yes, he had been preaching somewhere. He was always out preaching on Sunday. If not in the Tabernacle, he was out somewhere else. And I was preaching in the church I was pastoring at the time, out at the Bible Church of La Grange, Illinois.
SHUSTER: And why don’t you talk a little bit about the field trip that you took?
EVANS: Well, I don’t remember too much about it to tell you the truth. The Dells were beautiful and we were given some lectures on the stone formation of the Dells. I don’t remember a lot of detail about what was said. Bill drove the car up with me and one or two other students that were going up there for the trip.
SHUSTER: So at this time he had his own car?
EVANS: Yes, he had his own car. Yeah. And he did not only the driving but also the speaking. And all the way up there, we got wonderful interpretations of various parts of Scripture. Because Billy was preaching while he was driving. And I think he drove most of the way. I mean he drove most of the way, and I think he preached most of the way. But we had a lot of fun talking to him and asking him questions and so forth.
SHUSTER: Why, how did he...why was he preaching as he drove?
EVANS: Well, I don’t know. I...
SHUSTER: Was he practicing a sermon or...?
EVANS: No, I think what happened was, it fell into the...our conversation drifted in towards spiritual, Biblical, religious things. And then Billy picked up on that and began to give his interpretation of the Lord’s return and so forth. And he said something like “I’ll be driving my car and all of the sudden I’ll be gone.” And things of that kind...
SHUSTER: Referring to the...Rapture.
EVANS: The rapture, yes. And he talked about other aspects of the faith. And of course we talked too, and we asked questions of him and he asked questions of us. And we gave our interpretations and he gave his. But it was a continual discussion of spiritual things out of the Scripture. I think it was about a two hour drive up to the Dells, something like that. And the topic of the conversation never varied from the Bible from the moment we started to the moment that we got there. And I said to myself as I was listening to Billy talk, “This man is a born preacher!”
SHUSTER: [Pauses]. And when you got up there, you mentioned in your e-mail that the next morning you got up and you...when you had gotten up you found...Reverend Graham sitting with his head in his hands?
EVANS: Yes, he was sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. And it was about 5:00 in the morning. And I saw him sitting there and I said “Billy, are you sick? Are you alright?” He said, “well,” he said “I haven’t slept all night long.” And he was in his final year of college. That was in 1943. And he was to graduate very soon...from the college and...as a result he was trying...trying to catch up on everything. And at Wheaton of course, we had comprehensives in our fourth year. I don’t know if they still have them or not, but we had comprehensives. And you had to be tested in your major field in all the aspects of the major field that you had received in college. The comprehensive was a pulling together test of all of the material that you had taken in the four years in college. My...my...my major was Bible so I had my comprehensive in Bible and he, I think was the same thing. He was a Bible major and he was having...he was expecting his comprehensive in Bible within a matter of just a few weeks, just a couple of weeks. And so he was...he was stretched almost to the limit. He had been preaching out in various places. He was also in the office of the Student Christian Movement, Student Service, Christian Service, and he was also engaged to marry Ruth and that was looming on the horizon.
EVANS: And so he had a number of big aspects of his life just whirling around in his head. And so it was difficult for him at night to sleep apparently. So he said he didn’t sleep all night.
SHUSTER: Yeah, under a lot of stress I guess.
SHUSTER: Um...anything else that you remember from that trip?
EVANS: Not too much more except...
SHUSTER: Was there exposition on the way...drive back home too?
EVANS: Yes, yes we came back. And after we came back, I remember seeing Ruth on campus maybe a week after we came back. And she said to me that she’s been trying to get Billy to slow down and not take these outside preaching engagements until he had graduated. Her...she was afraid that he might head for a...burnout or...
EVANS: ...something like that. And so she wasn’t getting very far with him. He was still preaching. He loved to preach, and he wouldn’t pass up an opportunity. So she saw me on the campus and she came over. She talked to me, and she said, “I wish you would talk to Billy and tell him to give up some of his work until he finishes his college career.” And I...didn’t know what to say really. I didn’t want to interfere with Billy’s life and work. On the other hand, I understood what Ruth was trying to say. And so I said something like this to her, I said “Ruth, you and I know Billy. We know him real well. But...and the truth is, that you’re not going to get Billy to stop preaching for anything in the world.” I said “not even for a college degree.” So I said, “I don’t think it would pay me or be effective for me to try to talk to him and talk him out of going to these various churches and preaching.” And so...what came of it of course I don’t know, but he did finally get his degree and he did finally graduate. And the next thing I knew about Billy, was that he was becoming the pastor of a Baptist church in Western Springs. Which is not too far from Wheaton.
EVANS: And that was the next step for him.
SHUSTER: Did you ever go to Western Springs to hear him preach?
EVANS: Yes I did. I went to Western Springs one Sunday morning to hear him preach. And he saw me coming in the door. And so he said “Glyn, come over and let’s have prayer in the pastor’s study.” And a friend of mine went with me, so the three of us went into the study to have prayer before the service. And...so...we bowed our heads in prayer and...then I looked around. I seemed to feel that something had changed in the room. I looked around, and there was Billy. He was stretched out, fully stretched out on the floor. His feet to his head all completely stretched out on the floor. And as he was stretched out on the floor and he pray...his time came to pray, he prayed on the floor. And he prayed one of the most earnest prayers I think I’ve ever heard in my life. He was just pleading with God to bless him and the ministry that was to follow and give him an anointing of power and enable him to get the message across and things of that kind. Just the most touching, moving prayer. And in such a position, I was just overwhelmed by it. Well we went into the service. There was not a big crowd there, I would say probably seventy five to one hundred. And, he preached...
SHUSTER: About the same size as the Tabernacle.
EVANS: That’s Western Springs Baptist Church.
SHUSTER: But I’m saying it was about the same size as the crowd at the Tabernacle.
EVANS: It was the same size? Yeah, just about the same size. Well alright, so...then he preached. But the way he preached, he preached like he was preaching to 10,000. He raised his voice, he entered into it with great spirit. He had great unction, clear voice, and a message (very simple message by the way, it was not the deeply theological, it was surface evangelical). It was an evangelistic service that would appeal to anyone maybe who was looking for the way. Looking for the way...for the way of salvation.
SHUSTER: Did he give an invitation at the end?
EVANS: He did give an invitation but nobody went forward as I remember. I don’t remember anyone going forward.
SHUSTER: Had you noticed any...change in development in his preaching style from when you’d seen him preach at the Tabernacle?
EVANS: No. It was the same basic message. An evangelistic message. And it was an appeal to the lost. More than it was anything for the saved. He was not preaching what a pastor would normally preach to a church audience. Most pastors preach sermons that are uplifting and growth taking and exposition of Scripture. And designed to enable the Christians to grow deeper in their Christian faith. But when Billy preached, it was as if he was preaching to a group of sinners that didn’t know the way that were looking for the way. And he was there to tell them the way. It was a very simple, very Biblically centered message. But very, very fervently given with all of his heart.
SHUSTER: You had mentioned too, that of course Reverend Graham was...during his senior year...president of the Christian Council on campus.
SHUSTER: Had you...were you also in involved with the Christian Council?
EVANS: No, I had nothing to do with Christian Service Council. I...I had too much on my plate to expand myself anymore. Billy took it and became the director of it, or the student director of it. There was...I think another person, a staff member who actually directed it. But Billy took it because he thought he could help people. And...at that time of course, new students were coming on and it was war time and we had a contingent of service men on the campus. And he thought that might be a good opportunity to reach out and get these service men on the campus.
SHUSTER: Uh huh.
EVANS: So, as director of Student...of Christian Service, he was responsible for means of access, means of entrance to these soldiers that were on campus. I think he saw that as an evangelist opportunity and he took it for that reason.
SHUSTER: When you say means of entrance, you mean setting up events where they would attend or outreach to the...?
EVANS: I don’t know that he did really, to tell you the truth. I don’t know what his program was...they did have opportunities as I remember for the service men to partake of Christian services. I don’t know what Billy’s function was or what he did. So I can’t say...I can’t give you much information on that.
SHUSTER: I know that when he was on campus for a time, he also was working with John Streator. They had something called the Wheaton College Student Trucking service. Were you aware of that at all or had...?
EVANS: I didn’t know anything about that.
SHUSTER: Also, he and Ruth for a time were in charge of something called the Mooseheart Sunday School.
EVANS: No, I don’t know anything about that either.
SHUSTER: Okay. Anything else that you want to add about...your acquaintanceship with Billy Graham...? Oh! I wanted to ask you, you were both pastors while you were students there.
SHUSTER: Did you ever spend time talking about common problems or things you were learning?
EVANS: Oh yes. We would meet...some of the ministers of that area, Billy and I would meet with them and we talked about common problems. I was pastoring the Bible Church in La Grange while Billy was pastoring the Western Springs Baptist Church as I mentioned.
SHUSTER: As well the Tabernacle while you were a student.
EVANS: It was not the Tabernacle, no.
SHUSTER: But I mean he was pastoring the Tabernacle while he was a student of campus.
EVANS: I don’t remember any context with him other than that one time that I visited on Sunday night.
SHUSTER: But...so did you share...did you ever share common problems or discussions about...your work...ministry as pastors?
EVANS: I think when we got together, that we talked mostly about the Bible, mostly of where we were preaching, mostly about how to preach, mostly about the general trend in the country, lack of Gospel preaching, and the need for reaching the lost and so forth. I don’t remember many conversations that went beyond those borders.
SHUSTER: Anything else you wanted to add about your acquaintance with Reverend Graham? While he was a student?
EVANS: Well, do we have any time? I mean...
SHUSTER: Sure! As much time as you want.
EVANS: [Laughs] that’s great. Well, let me add a couple of items here.
EVANS: Billy...as I said was in Western Springs. I was in La Grange. And we had a man in our church at La Grange who was a jeweler. And he said to me one day if I...if I was engaged (I was single at the time), if I was engaged. I said “no.” He said “Well,” he said “if you ever meet the right girl and you want to be engaged,” he said “I will be glad to give you a diamond ring for her at cost. At my cost.” And I said “Well, that’s very generous of you. I appreciate it very much.” And when the time came that I needed a diamond ring for my now wife, he was the one who provided it. And he gave it to me at his cost. What’s interesting about that is that...Billy and Ruth at that time had been married for a few months (maybe a year, I’m not quite sure), and so this jeweler said that he would like very much to have my...me and my wife-to-be and Billy and his wife (or wife-to-be as the case may be) to be for dinner some night. In his home in La Grange. So the four of us went over and I think Billy and Ruth were married and of course Henriette and I were not married yet at that time. And so...we had this lovely dinner in this gentleman’s home with his wife and then he brought out his tray of diamonds. And he wanted me to select the one that I would like to have for my wife-to-be. And I think at that time Billy and Ruth had been married and he had a wedding ring and so forth, so he didn’t need a ring that night. So he brought out the tray and he began to lift out the diamonds one by one. And he handed me one diamond to look at. And what do you know, I dropped the diamond on the floor!
SHUSTER: Oh! [laughs]
EVANS: [Laughs] Well I was embarrassed to death and didn’t know what to do. So he said, “well, we’ll all have to get on our knees and rub our hands over the carpet until we hit that diamond.”
SHUSTER: At least you know it didn’t break!
EVANS: And there we were the six of us, all on our knees, Billy and Ruth and this gentleman and his wife and Henriette and myself all on our knees moving around with our hands. [Both laugh]. Looking for that diamond, or feeling for that diamond. And praise the Lord, we found the diamond. [Both laugh]. And we all had a big laugh over that, that was one of the most entertaining evenings that we’d had for a long time. I thought that might be interesting...
SHUSTER: Oh yes! Did that diamond go into your wife’s wedding ring?
EVANS: Billy Graham on his knees for something other than the Gospel.
SHUSTER: Indeed! Did that diamond go into your wife’s wedding ring?
EVANS: Yes, it went into her wedding ring. She has it on now.
SHUSTER: And was there anything else related to your acquaintance with...
EVANS: Okay, alright, maybe now let’s see...one more. One or two more items here.
EVANS: Here...I went on into the ministry. Billy went on into evangelism. Once in a while we would cross paths. And I was preaching in Detroit for a series of meetings and Billy came for a Youth For Christ rally one weekend while I was there. So we were able to make....He heard that I was there. I heard that he was coming there. He called me on the phone and I didn’t see him in person that night, but I did visit with him by phone and he with me. We talked about where we were, what we were doing, how long we had been there and so forth. Where he was going next, where I was going next after I finished my meetings there in Detroit. And we had just a wonderful time of fellowship. By that time, Billy was beginning to draw big crowds. And he was beginning to become known as an evangelist. By the way, I might go back to the Western Springs Church for a moment and bring you up to date on something that was interesting there. While Billy was there, the...man that ran the Songs in the Night program for Moody Bible Institute was Bev[erly] Shea. Was having to give up, would have to give up that program because it was...
SHUSTER: Yes, that was Torrey Johnson.
EVANS: Torrey Johnson. He would have to give up that program because it was too much for him. And he asked Billy to take it over. And then...I became aware that as Billy took it over, I realized he was extending himself and wondered if it would be too much for him, but he did a fine job of it. And all of the sudden, overnight Billy became a well known...Billy Graham became a well known name and he became well known all over the Midwest because of that program. It was reaching out I think all over the country. And while it had been on the air for a couple of months, maybe two or three years, I think when Billy took over, something happened to that program and it became one of the most popular programs (Christian programs) in the area. And I think that was one of the starting points of his world wide ministry.
SHUSTER: Uh huh.
EVANS: There was something about his presentation of the Gospel that gripped people. And they couldn’t wait for that Sunday night Songs of the Night program to come on. And that’s where he made contact with Beverly Shea and later on used him in his campaigns. But that was the beginning (in my opinion) of his world wide ministry as an evangelist.
SHUSTER: Now you had mentioned of course that he came to Detroit when you were a minister there for a YFC meeting.
SHUSTER: Did you hear him preach during that time?
EVANS: I didn’t hear him preach then because I was busy doing that myself. I don’t know how long he was there for. I know that it was for a Youth for Christ rally, and what else he had to do there, I do not remember. But we talked on the phone, had good fellowship and we had prayer together. And it was good just to catch up with him once again. Now, as time goes on, I...I was in the pastorate for a number of years and finally wound up in a church in Providence...in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. And of course, had fellowship with other pastors and decided to bring Billy Graham to Providence, Rhode Island for a meeting and had to go on the schedule. And the schedule finally came, Billy came. I was part of the committee that brought him in. And then he wanted to meet with all the members of the committee. So we lined up in one of the side rooms there in the auditorium where he was preaching. And he greeted each one of us. And he came to me, he looked at me and he said “Glyn, I have wondered many times where you were and what you were doing.” And I said...now he said “I’ve finally found you.” I said (my wife was next to me) and we both said “well Billy, it hasn’t been hard for us to follow you.” [Shuster laughs]. “We have followed, we have prayed for you faithfully, that God would continue to bless you.” And he said “Don’t stop now. I need your prayers now more than ever before. Please keep on praying.” So that was my incident with Billy in Providence and that was in the early 1980s. Okay? Now I think I’ve run out of material here...
SHUSTER: Okay [laughs]. Well, if I could ask you just a few, non-Billy related questions about Wheaton. You came in the fall of 1941 as a freshman, correct?
SHUSTER: So were you on campus at the time of Pearl Harbor?
EVANS: Let’s see now, I lost you. I had to switch my ears there.
SHUSTER: Sure. You came in the fall of 1941. Were you on Wheaton College campus during the time of the Pearl Harbor attack?
EVANS: Yes, right.
SHUSTER: Do you recall how the campus reacted to that?
EVANS: The campus reacted under Dr. Edman’s guidance with...first of all an emphasis upon prayer. We needed to pray for the future that was facing our country. Because we knew that this would involve war. And I remember Dr. Edman in the pulpit of the chapel when this happened. [He] said to all of us gathered there that one of his constant prayers was this would never happen again. We had World War Number I. Now we were going to go into World War Number II. And he had prayed, he said many, many times, that World War II would never come. And he said “now it’s happened.” And he said “My heart...goes out to all of you young men. You will be registered, many of you will see battle, and how many of you will come home, we do not know.” But he said “We want you to know that we are committing you into the hands of the Lord. And that we are praying that God will guide each individual life from this time on. We don’t know how long the war will last. But we will be in prayer for you as long as it does last.” And if I remember, I think Billy made a brief speech that morning or a brief statement urging each one of us to pray for the future and we were torn now between patriotic duties and spiritual duties. And that we had to be lead and guided by the Holy Spirit as to where we would go, what we would do in the days to come.
SHUSTER: Does anything stand out in your mind about how the campus was affected in the next few years by the war effort? You mentioned of course that there were students...that there were soldiers on campus.
EVANS: I...I remember on campus that we had a contingent of soldiers all through the war. I don’t remember their exact relationship to the school. They took...they took studies at the school, especially in sciences and things like that. And then they were in camp nearby. How much action they were...doing actually I don’t know. I only know they were there. I only know that we were to be aware of them. But I remember distinctly that Billy...I remember one morning when Billy spoke in the chapel. He said “Now, we’ve got to refrain from...ramming the Gospel down their throats.” He said “they’re coming here, many of them don’t know Christ. Many of them would be bewildered by the Gospel. And so we don’t know what will happen. But we can’t ram the Gospel down their throats. We have to show them the Gospel as well as tell them the Gospel.” And he made the emphasis very clear that we had to live Christ as well as preach Christ to these soldiers coming aboard.
SHUSTER: Does else about the impact of the war come to mind?
EVANS: About the war?
SHUSTER: The effect of the war on Wheaton, yeah.
EVANS: Well of course the attendance was pretty well...pretty well rendered...more or less immobile. We didn’t know how this college would face the future or how the future would face the college. The theme that we heard, what we got through the airwaves (and what we heard from our teachers and from the principal and so forth, the college president) was that we are to be loyal to the Lord first. That was our first loyalty. Number two, loyal to our country. That was our second loyalty. And we had to decide by going to the Lord directly whether we should enlist or wait until sometime that we were drafted, or put the matter in God’s hands and just leave it with him.
SHUSTER: And that was Dr. Edman?
EVANS: That was Dr. Edman that did that, yeah.
SHUSTER: Um...well anything else that you’d like to add or...?
EVANS: Well, I’ve talked myself....What time is it now?
SHUSTER: It’s about...2:05.
EVANS: Oh, I’ve talked here for about thirty-five minutes. The length of one sermon.
SHUSTER: Well I’m very grateful for your willing to...spend the time and give this interview to us. So thank you. I’m going to turn off the recorder now.
EVANS: Well, I hope this will be helpful to you in what you’re trying to do.
END OF TAPE