This is a complete and accurate transcript of the second oral history interview of Earl Austin Winsor (CN 93, #T3) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded are omitted. In a some cases, the transcribers could not understand what was said, in which case they put "[unclear]" in the place of the missing word or phrase. If the transcriber was not absolutely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted. Also, grunts, verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers of this transcript should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and even rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Word in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcription was made in March 1991 by Robert Shuster and Kerry Cox
Collection 93, Tape #T3. Interview of Earl Austin Winsor by Mary Ann Buffington, January 7, 1980.
BUFFINGTON: This is an interview of Mr. Earl Winsor by Mary Ann Buffington for the Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place at three thirty-nine East Jefferson Avenue, Wheaton, Illinois on January seven, 1980, at 3:10 p.m. Okay. [Tape recorder turned off and then turned on again] This afternoon I thought we might talk about a few other things rather than what we've been talking about the last few times, when we talked about your experiences in Africa and your experiences of Wheaton. So I wanted to ask you some questions about your ideas, the things that you had gathered from having lived in Africa all the years that you were there and working there and your opinions on the future and some ideas about where missions are going in Africa, where they've been [laughs]. And maybe the first thing, we could talk about some of the cultural issues that you have seen that tend to divide or unite both (would be kind of synonymous) the missionary from the Third World church, just the missionary, Christianity from the Third World church that appeared there.
WINSOR: One hears a great deal these days about.... Well, one hears a...a great deal, yes, about the mistakes of the early missionaries and the way they did not take into account the cultural differences and such things (let "cultural" be a broad term there to include religion and all the other phases of life). And to one who had a...an introduction into contacts not at the very beginning but at a relatively early stage of our particular part of Congo, a lot of the present day criticism seems to be...to come out of the wisdom that folks have acquired who didn't have to go through the days of beginning to make the contacts...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh, uh huh.
WINSOR: ...and the beginning...begin to make the effort to help folk who were primitives (and I don't think it's wrong to use such terms)...primitives in the sense of being illiterate, of having had no...practically no contact with others than those in their immediate neighborhood and so on. It seems as though they...there is a...a forgetting of some of the problems that were involved there. I don't want to be critical of those who having now had opportunity to learn a lot and who have the opportunity to apply the things that have been learned by them and others, have the opportunity to attack problems in a different way and from different viewpoints and with different resources, because we should build upon what has gone.... But I have seen, for instance, folk who have had the privilege of such training as the linguistic training, which is now available by...developed by Wycliffe Translators and others who have come to attack the problems of language with scient...scientifically and with...with materials that weren't available in the early days [laughs]. I feel that they should use those and I'm glad that the resources they have enable them to get on with some jobs so much more rapidly than...than the early folks were able to do. I hear (I don't know anything about it personal...from personal knowledge) but I hear about how computer science is being used to analyze language information that is...that is put in and with the use of that, they can get over the ground very much more quickly than it had to be done when you had to build up card files of everything and so on and analyze those manually instead of with the quickness that is now available. But back at the beginning one.... The beginners, the...the...the pioneers didn't have that and...they had to.... They didn't have a tape recorder, for instance. I don't know if tape recorders were available so that language could be heard and one could sit down and analyze it at leisure. And all of these present helps were missing, so that the folk who persevered through years and years and years of language acquisition and analysis and so on, to my mind, are much to be admir...admired and much to be...to be valued because of the work they did, the beginnings of...the work they did. And at the same time that they were working with language, they were working with efforts to understand what ideas in the matter of, shall I say religion, I suppose that's the thing to...the overall term that can be used, to find out what [pauses]...what objects of worship were venerated and methods that were used and the fears that go in life, the taboos that existed. These all had to be attacked from the very beginning and then gradually we discovered that there were barriers to that because a lot of people were hesitant to reveal these things to strangers who came in and were inquisitive about it.
BUFFINGTON: What were some of the taboos and fears that they had?
WINSOR: Now you're getting into an area where I don't know too much, actually.
WINSOR: My...my work was in school work, has been, and I...I have not had personal...much personal...
WINSOR: ...contact...contact with that sort of thing. You'd be better to ask such questions for others who've had....
BUFFINGTON: That's fine...
WINSOR: I just.... What I would say would be more hearsay than personal knowledge...a few little ideas about amulets and about things that...to protect you about this, that, and the other thing but the...I don't have a consistent story to tell there. But I do know that one of the things that is emerging now is a tendency on the part of Africans in a number of nations, at least, where because of an aroused consciousness of nationality, of their being a group with a background of their own and so on, there's a loathness to accept the fact...to accept the...(I say "fact," but let me say instead the "thought") that things in their worship and so on were not valid. If we approach this from a Christian viewpoint, it's not right to permit the inclusion of the worship of old deities, old spirits and so on, and say, "These are valid, too, and can be h...can be carried on and...and observed and so on along with the worship of the one true God." And, consequently, where that thing is being undertaken, is one thing that those who are faithful to the Gospel and to the Lord must stand up and oppose even though it opposes what many nationalists [chuckles] feel they want to see. That's the thing that has come...has come to be a problem in relatively recent years, since this day of independence and the arousing of a national consciousness. There's...there are leaders who are not strong Christian leaders, and, unfortunately, [chuckles] a lot of the countries do have such. When we say that there is a strong advance of Christianity in Africa, it doesn't mean that a hundred percent have be...become Christian by any matter of means, even though we've heard the predictions of Africa's becoming more Christian than Europe or America in a few years at the rate of conversions and so on. But that is a problem and that is a thing that.... It is good to see African nationals who have gone on stro...far enough in their understanding and consciousness of Christian truth that they appreciate the error in attempting to do that. I've been trying to fish around in my mind all for the last several minutes for a particular word that I want to use. It's not.... It means the inclusion of two together but I can't get it just yet. But.... Synch...syncretism. But that is a problem, but there are now some African leaders who sense the error in that and are ready to stand up and...and stand strongly for the uniqueness of Christianity...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...and the need for the church to insist on that and not permit...not agree to the...the inclusion of worship of false deities and that sort of thing. That...that's a...a recent development. I suppose it's natural that it should have been recent because in the early days, the...the preaching of the Gospel was something entirely new and there was a..an acceptance of it by many, although I suppose it's true that...that we weren't aware of the fact that a lot of people were calling themselves Christian, were believing as far as they went, but who carried on with...with the old, and in times of stress, would revert to old things that they knew about rather than depending upon new things. I speak in con...here in connection with disease and so on that they had grown up with and had known. And the...one of the things that is now being a...a burden to folks is the fact that they're finding that in certain places, I hear, that those who have called themselves Christians or have been in the church, as churches have become independent of missions (and that is increasingly true, of course, where the church has been turned over to the Africans and they...and they lead it, they...they govern it, they carry it on, sometimes with counsel willingly included, but not always) to find that they're going back, and even leaders are, in times of stress, reverting to witch doctors and so on and it's a real disappointment and a grief, and a cause for concern. I remember in my first term in Africa when I was going around to the different stations and getting into different tribes, I.... And when I had classes in the evangelist school, made up of boys fro...or young men, from...from different tribes, it was interesting to find how they, having come to know something of God, known in the languages that we were using as...by a common term, they had in their own tribal languages a name which they said was for someone who was the equivalent of the God that they now know had come to know about, particularly the Creator-God. And it was interesting to me to discover that many of them...I remember particularly asking a class that had six or eight different tribes represented in it what their people in their villages, what the rank and file of the people would have known of...of God the Creator and especially the Go...the author...the...the reason for everything. And they said, "Oh, yes. Our people all knew of such a one," and each gave me their name...the name...their tribal name for Him. But it was...it was a revelation to have them say almost generally, "We knew Him, He was a god, He was the Creator, He was responsible, but, having done that, He went away and forgot about us. And in any case, He was a good spirit, He was benevolent, we didn't need to worry about Him, He wouldn't hurt us. So, since there were other spirits that were the opposite, it was them...it was they that we concerned ourselves with. And didn't bother with Him very much. We tried to propitiate those who caused disease or troubles or any sort of thing that was to be feared." And that seemed to be such a confirmation of the first chapter of Romans, "When they knew God, they glorified Him not, neither were they thankful," [Romans 1:21] that it has always been a thing of great interest to me to...that I found that out early and could know that this was the way they thought. It speaks of the fact that there is natural revelation from nature and then since we also would find amongst them from time to time stories that were related to Bible stories. I remember reading a research...the result of research by one man that went much wider than Africa concerning the widespread occurrence of a story like the Flood story [Genesis 6:1 through 9:17]. And we had one that came from a local tribe right there that paralleled, with African touches, the story of the Tower of Babel [Genesis 11:1-8] that explained why people had different lang...different languages. Instead of God's intervening, the termites ate up the foundation poles of the tower they were making out of poles and caused the tower to fall. The people who were at different heights in the tower were thrown different distances and became diff...people of different languages. You see, they were attempting to explain the occurrence of different languages.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: And this is...it came out as a tower...
WINSOR: ...in it, which is interesting.
BUFFINGTON: Right and...that is very interesting.
WINSOR: So there were...there are things of that sort that we came [?].... And one could correlate those and explain that the...the Bible record, what is given there.... You made a note a minute ago. Did you think it had suggested something else?
BUFFINGTON: Oh, it...when you...I was making that note about...you had mentioned taboos and stuff and that's why I was go...writing it down, 'cause if I don't write it down when you say it, I won't remember to ask you about it later on.
WINSOR: Uh huh.
BUFFINGTON: You had answered that question.
WINSOR: Well, I remember one time we had a...a village evangelist who came in to see me and I noticed that he had around his ankle...a little piece of bone on a string tied around his ankle. And I knew those could be...such things could be connected with [pauses] different ideas and I asked him about it and he said, "Oh, that isn't anything bad. That's just a piece of bone from an ant...an ant bear's...from an ant bear. They don't tire easy and if I wear that on my ankle, I can walk a long distance without getting tired." See, that was...is a sort of a charm and I'm sure there were other sorts of things. We had...had one station where I was [?] living...we had a time when those who had become believers brought in their fetish...fetishes, their charms and so on to be destroyed, because they had given them up. And I used to have a picture of a bunch of them. One person had a stone...a little...a little stone (oh, about that big) of a type of stone not found locally and inquiry brought out the fact that was a magic stone that if you had it in your basket of seed while you were planting your garden, the seed would sprout well. It was helpful for that sort of thing. There were...there were a half dozen little pieces of leather, looked like the lifts off of the shoe, off a heel.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: And it was explained that those were used...you threw them down...the way they fell were a means of fortune telling, so on. Such things as that. Other paraphernalia for various things. I remember a time, however, when I was in a class with...with boys from a number of tribes, too, and one of them said, "I...I was sick one time and my mother called a woman who was a witch doctor and I saw her come in with a basket of her equipment and I saw what it was (odds and ends of things) and she came in and put her hand into the basket and took something out of the basket and then she rubbed my stomach, which was hurting, and then she revealed the stone that had been in my stomach that she had just taken out of my stomach," and he denounced her, saying, "Oh, you took that out of your basket. I saw that." Which...there was one skeptic in the class. [laughs]
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh. [laughs]
WINSOR: But that sort of thing.... And others...in another tribe, I remember them talking about these millipedes, we call them.... Do you know what I mean by that?
WINSOR: A long black (with us black) wor...worm, I suppose you'd call it.
WINSOR: Hard shelled. Those were...would be handled in the same way by slight of hand, you'd draw...be drawn out of a sick stomach, but... [laughs]
WINSOR: ...so there were things like that. I remember another time coming through a village and we saw a woman sitting on the end of a log with a cow's horn sticking out of her temple here. We discovered what...inquired what was wrong. Well, she had a headache and the practitioner had made some little cuts here with a...a razor blade and...that drew blood, and then she had taken the cow's horn, which had had the tip cut off so that she could suck on it. She applied it here and then sucked to set up suck so that it would hold it on then sealed that off and was waiting for the evil spirit to be drawn out. You see, all that...all sorts of devices for getting...
WINSOR: ...rid, many times, presumably of evil spirits, that's behind the...the troubles.
BUFFINGTON: ...the illness or whatever.
WINSOR: Yeah. And equally appealing to them for when misfortune of one kind or another come over [?] and when they wanted good fortune, if they were going out to the hunt, often times they'd have a prolonged dance to appeal to the spirit to prosper the hunting, that sort of thing. We've lain through the night while that was going on [laughs] different times.
BUFFINGTON: [laughs] Many times when....
BUFFINGTON: Many times when that occurred.
WINSOR: Yes, you could hear it often, really. And sometimes it was just...the dancing was just for enjoyment, but many times it was for things of that sort. It might be...I remember my sister had told about going out with a senior missionary to a village where there had been a death of an old woman and instead of solemnity and quietness, as would be with us, they made all the racket they could of every sort. The idea, they discovered, was that the spirit, they hoped, would be scared so far away from the village that it'd lose the way back. It wouldn't come back to possibly cause trouble and interfere with what was going on. Heard of...in Brazil these days the government is restricting missionary effort because of its tending to change the lives of primitives and the anthropologists want to study those primitives. Well, they say that they have their ways, that's all right, it's good for them, but they don't admit apparently (or they don't know) that primitive life is connected with an awful lot of fear. I remember one time when one of my workmen appeared at...at roll call one morning and complained that an evil spirit had been trying to get into his house all night, scratching at the thatch of his roof trying to get in. Later someone observed his roof and noticed that the limb of a tree touched the roof and as the wind blew it, it would scratch the roof. But that would be a materialistic explanation, of course, and who knows what the spirits do.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: But there's that fear all night...
BUFFINGTON: Laying in terror.[?]
WINSOR: ...of knowing...not knowing how soon the spirit might be at them. Now you'd better start me off again.
WINSOR: I don't know how...
WINSOR: ...far I've come with any....
BUFFINGTON: Well, it sounds good, just keep talking. But I...we...we did mention the fact that the rise of the Third World church...well, there were...I'm sure that as the church progressed and took on its own national character, that there were probably ideas that the church accepted and then there were others that the missionaries would have to give or take a little bit on as far as maybe the organization of the church structurally as having...well, of the government of the church, for example, just take that as an example.
WINSOR: In the areas that I know a little about, take Congo for instance, we have been fortunate. Congo is a very big country, as you kno...perhaps know...you realize.
WINSOR: Big as all of the U.S. from the Mississippi east and it has been said to have seventy or more different tribes in it, each with its own different background and culture and beliefs and so on and fortunately, when the missions came in, early a policy was adopted of one mission settling down in one area and another mission settling in another area and not overlapping.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: There is plenty of ground for all to work and until...save for some of the large centers. The capital, for instance, naturally had more than one.
BUFFINGTON: Right, right.
WINSOR: The headquarters of missions were naturally located there, the ones in that part of the country, especially. But we were fortunate in that missions representing denominational missions observed that comity (as we called it) of each sticking to its own area and not having a problem as was had in...in Kenya of having different denominational ideas and organization set up in the same tribe and intermingled really. I know of an area in...along the main railroad line in Kenya where there was a Church of England [mission] station, a Scottish Presbyterian station, an interdenominational station, and then perhaps a repetition of the [unclear] nation. Well, that has...in history there have been times when...since each more or less introduced its own order of things... [telephone rings and after it is answered there is a low murmur of conversation in the background for several minutes] (I'll...she'll get it. [?])
WINSOR: ...order of things, that led to some real problems, especially when there were problems involving the national church and things which...which...about which there were difference of opinions that caused real friction and real troubles. But in Congo the areas were large enough and the differences weren't so great in church order so that there hasn't been a great deal of friction along that line, to my knowledge, in...in Afr...in...or Congo (Zaire now, of course) but in that country. And as a result of a rather early setting up, first of an inter-mission organization, a time for mutual consultation and a time for developing the possibility of working as a unit in relations with the government when...before the government changed its attitude toward Protestant missions, but in the early days it very much favored the Catholics and we had...we had problems locally and nationally with the...with the Catholics. They were favored, they got a chance to do recognized school work twenty-five years before the Protestants did. Consequently, because the government chose to...to use its funds for education through the missions, the Catholics being the national missions whom...whom they said, "We'll support...we'll allow to do the work," they got ahead and they were able to develop a...a system of schools long before the Protestants did. But in order to have a united voice in approaching government, there was an inter-mission organization set up. Not a...not an organism, not a...anything that controlled the various missions. It wasn't a supermission at all. It was just consultative. And...but it served to give intercommunication between the missions and was very valuable. Consequently while there are differences in missi...in church organization, they haven't been the barrier that they could have been. We have...for instance, in amongst the Protestants we have Methodists with an episcopal organization, but we have Presbyterians and we have...we have several (I think there may be more) interdenominational missions...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...than there are denominational missions. And those tend to be...to have a minimum of...of organization. They...perforce in order to have anything operate orderly, they have to have some, but...but it has been at a minimum, really, and it has been interesting that a lot of them have developed in...in sort of parallel lines anyway. But as now the nativ...the national churches have taken the national...its wrong to say national churches because...but the church that developed under one mission, many of those have become independent, autonomous, with...in...in case it'll...I suppose in a majority of cases, missionaries having a share in the councils but in the...the nationals in the majority in the official places, so they're carrying on. We're not...haven't yet seen radical departures from the organizations the missions led in setting. [Telephone conversation in background ceases] In other words, most places you have...you have a parish or a local church or something and then a group of...a small group of these, maybe of those around the mission station fellowship together and then a group of stations maybe using one lingua franca [trade languages] have a...work together or in a...in a convenient area. So that they can get together. The matter of transport is significant, so on. Then finally a top..a top body [chuckles]...
BUFFINGTON: [laughs] Right.
WINSOR: ...and that top body needs somebody to preside. But in a few cases that's been...there has been people who have been given a bishop-like, episcopal leadership place and responsibility and authority. Other cases have been men who have been more presidents, more a presiding officer and a leader rather than...than a director. And those things seem to be going on fairly...fairly well in the areas that I know...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...about. The...we have the six fields in Africa. Three of them are relatively large, three of them are relatively small. And the smaller...of the smaller ones, one is just a part of the country of Uganda which has had the Church of Uganda, which is a part of the Church of England and is episcopal. But the present archbishop of Uganda, who was elected after...after [President Idi] Amin murdered or had murdered (I really don't know...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...I haven't the thoughts[?]) the..his predecessor, the present archbishop is from this particular AIM [Africa Inland Mission] section...
WINSOR: ...and had his early training in AIM schools. So that...and it's he who is asking the mission to provide teachers for the theological schools and so on. So there is there that sort of leadership. Uganda is a small country, smaller country than either Kenya or Zaire or Tanzania, but we do have functioning churches and with increasing numbers (they're not large yet in any of the fields) of men who have been able to...to go on to seminary...to higher Bible schools and then on to seminary, sometimes in Africa, more often, up to the present, abroad. There are men with...with more background from which to lead the people, lead the churches in relation not only to national matters but international matters...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...too. And that...that development of course is your ultimate goal, [Low murmur of conversation in the background] to see the church carry on as a whole. There...I was reading something just a few days ago along this line, mentioning the need of the expatriates...(You know what I mean by that term?)
WINSOR: ...the expatriate folk that work in the country of preparing themselves to accept the fact that under national leadership there may be somewhat different ways of organization, somewhat different ways of proceeding, which coming out of national experience and coming out of a national background we should be prepared to accept if they're not unbiblical. And that's the thing that [pauses] the older generation of missionaries may need to remind themselves of. [laughs] I know that it's...it's significant that...it...it should be significant for us, especially the older ones, who have passed through the stage when they were the leaders. They had to be. There was no one else to lead.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: They had to lead. They have to pass through the stage of gradually accepting the fact that they have to step down and...and be available as servants to help and offer what they can give, but to accept the fact that in a country you want national leadership to develop. And that's fine and in some cases...in many cases it's so far been a happy thing.
BUFFINGTON: It's been...the relationship between the foundling [?] church to the missionary or to the mission, how do they...? It's been a good experience, you say, so far, seemingly, so far.
WINSOR: In many cases, yes.
BUFFINGTON: Most of the time, and...but....
WINSOR: But it's...it's not correct to say there have been none...
WINSOR: ...no frictions. And in...in Tanzania, for instance, there was a rather severe case...severe period when the church had its leadership set up and (I wasn't there so I have had to get my impressions by one way or another)...
WINSOR: ...but apparently missionaries lacked confidence in that national leadership and national leadership weren't ready, I would guess, to continue to use missionary help. And as a result, that field saw...lost a lot of missionaries. It's back now to a place where they are working together. The...the...there is a bishop there. That's in a British...ex-British colony and he...but he is...has a working basis now with the missionary field secretary who is the leader for the missionaries and they seem to be getting on. But it has to be on a new basis, new...with new relationships. And they seem to be working that out. In Kenya, that is...just last month consummated the complete transition and unfortunately (or maybe not unfortunately), the man who had been the national leader died very suddenly [Bishop Wellington Mulwa] and they're going to have a problem now in finding a successor. His...his associate...his assistant [Ezekiel Bierech] is carrying on, but the church is going to have to decide just how...how to carry on. I have hear...heard missionary reports of their judgement of what the Africans are thinking, which is that instead of having one, they would like to have a committee at the helm [?], because I think this one has been a little arbitrary and they (a lot of them) don't like it. And there is a possibility of a tribal friction coming in too. So you have heard of the governmental change in Kenya, with [President Jomo] Kenyatta's dying...
WINSOR: ...and contrary to the expectations of many, many people, nationals and otherwise, the transition has been made without any conflict, as yet at least. [Low murmur of conversation in the background] And folks seem to be increasingly happy with the successor, [President Daniel Arap Moi, who became president August 22, 1978] who is a member of a minority tribe, not from one of the two or three tribes. Kenyatta was of the Kikuyu, the dominant tribe, the biggest tribe and the most aggressive and powerful tribe. But there are two, at least, other tribes of size...of size...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...and from which leaders have come, particularly the Luo up by Lake Victoria, from which the first vice president came. And folks thought that there might easily come conflict from that source, but it hasn't come and that's because...and that in part must be because this man being a minority leader and not throwing the weight of his tribe around, as Kenyatta did, is more acceptable. There's another thing about it. He's...he is a Christian and has been more open in declaring his Christianity since he's been president than he was even before, and has in his early...one of his early addresses (I'm not sure whether it was the inaugural [address] or not) he said, "I am now president and you are responsible to me, but I am responsible to God," which suggest his attitude. And he's been busy trying to get rid of folks in high places who were dishonest...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...and not...not functioning as they should and has done...eliminated all of those, we're told. Well, that isn't exactly a parallel case to the church situation but the...the fact that they're thinking that they don't want an arbitrary...an arbitrary leader (who incidentally was not a Kikuyu, but from one of these other two tribes, big tribes, influential tribes), may...may be an encouraging thing and get rid of the criticism of arbitrary decisions that this man was guilty of. In our Congo field...Zaire field (Congo to me still) we turned things over to the church earlier than Kenya did. I'm not sure about Tanzania. I think just a little after Tanzania. But so far there seems to be good fellowship and a good measure of...of harmony and working together. I'm glad for that.
BUFFINGTON: [pauses] Let's see. Moving to another...
BUFFINGTON: ...sort of aspect of the...we all...we're...everything is sort...so interrelated here but.... As a missionary and seeing how others were working in the area and working with the natives as they (or the "nationals" I think is a better term) ...worsh...working with....
WINSOR: "Natives" they don't like. And the....
BUFFINGTON: Working with the nationals as you were...
BUFFINGTON: ...to establish their church, because you couldn't impose just certain standards, how...how...what sort of a...[pauses] an indigenous cultural religion do you think the missionary would need to...how much did they need...did the missionary need to relate and to work and to persevere and make a valuable contribution in his work?
WINSOR: "An indigenous cultural religion." That's what they had, though, isn't it?
BUFFINGTON: Well, they had to. But how...I mean, do you think it was a...how do you think they used that religion? Did they...
BUFFINGTON: ...have to have strong motivations and distinct decisions about how everything should be or were they flexible or was this...?
WINSOR: Well, I...I would say in our area, the...I don't know of anything...any effort to set up an indigenous cultural thing. They didn't have any. They...they had their ideas, they had their...their spirits that they worshipped, they had their thoughts of...their fears of them. They had their ideas as to how they should approach them or appease them and seek to prevent their doing them harm. But there was no love for them. There was no...so far as I know, there wasn't any thought that they were like God as we know Him. Well, if you don't...if you don't have anything like that, what you have to...what you have available to give them is something outside anything in their experience, pretty much. As I...as I said to you about their...told you about their having known a benevolent spirit...
WINSOR: ...but he...he's not interested. He's forgotten about you and isn't concerned with you. Well, you can say, "Alright, there is this benevolent spirit, and He's ready to be with you and to help you and to bless you, to guide you and so on." But that's all something new to them . It has to be introduced. [pauses]
MRS. ADA WINSOR: Could I interrupt you for a cup of tea? Would you be interested?
BUFFINGTON: I wouldn't care for any though, thank you. But would you like some. [?]
WINSOR: No, no. Thank you but...don't need it. We do have it at times but it would be an int...interruption. [laughs]
MRS. ADA WINSOR : Oh. [laughs]
BUFFINGTON: It would be quite [?] an interruption.
WINSOR: [pauses] The beginning of things as far as church order is concerned would be as missionaries went into an area and preached and taught and lived and folks believed and were taught more and were helped, then there came the need for some way of their living together, carrying on a life together. Well, I suppose the only organization that they had aside from family organization would be the tribal organization in which you had a hierarchy of subchiefs and...or of headmen and subchiefs and a chief over a...a number of people. There may be tribes where there was a chief over the whole tribe, but in our area that wasn't true. There were chiefs of equal standing...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...several chiefs, main chiefs in the...in the same tribe even though the tribe.... I'm thinking of one particular tribe which had...oh, I think thirty, forty thousand people in it. But I can think of Drumba [?] and Matafa [?] and Surigi [?] and Maraca [?] and one or two others who were of equal standing as...as chiefs. They had subchiefs and they had headmen and there was headmen and so on. But...[static noises on tape as Winsor apparently moves the microphone]...I guess that...when I move that that makes it....
BUFFINGTON: That's okay.
WINSOR: But we weren't accustomed to thinking of headmen or chiefs in the church, you know. But there were need for some to serve as leaders. So the only biblical leaders that we knew about were deacons and elders. And in our area we would introduce the idea of having some deacons and elders chosen. And incidentally, when Congo got its independence and wanted to have elections for representatives to assemblies in the different parts of the country, the only people in the country that I knew of that had ever had elections were the Protestant church people. The Catholics didn't have elections and I didn't know...in the tribal organizations they didn't have elections so that that was something new. And the fact that folks didn't know led to some interesting stories which I won't go into now. So you would try to introduce the idea to some lead...some leaders to serve as a...in the congregation. And then after there were...there came to be enough of these local groups with their leadership to be brought...to try to bring them together...tried to bring them together and have someone to conduct a meeting. [laughs]
WINSOR: That...that came considerably later, and I remember discussing with...traveling along to a meeting of the field council with one of my colleagues and we were discussing a proposed organization which must...which did come from the missionaries. [chuckles] The Africans didn't know about it. And we were suggesting this and this and this, local, and then the various steps that I spoke of a little while ago. Now that's...that's the thing that they carry on with. There is a president of the...of the...(I don't know just what they call it now, they...they've changed the name) [Evangelical Community of Central Africa, ECCA] but a central council which leads the church, makes decisions of...general decisions of importance and assumes some responsibilities for church discipline on the...on a large scale, local discipline by the local groups mainly of...locally of elders and deacons. But then, there's a local congregation with that set-up. Then maybe certain...an indefinite number of those who make up what we call a section, which is the area tributary to a [mission] station, and then there is a district which is made up of a number of station sections, and then these districts send representatives to the central...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...council. But they seem to have...be carrying on with that. I don't know of any tendency to...to alter it except in the proportion of representation. The original council was the missionary field council for an area...for a field. And then we had an...the...(I don't remember...what did we call it) but the council which included missionary representatives and African representatives, more or less equal numbers.
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: Now it's two Africans and one...one missionary. But the chairman of the...or president is an African and other officers are African unless they choose to.... I think that at times they have chosen a missionary to be secretary and keep the minutes. He...he's more apt to have access to a mimeograph, something to duplicate, [chuckles]...
WINSOR: ...send them out and so on. So they have done that. But it's...it's democratically done...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...not arbitrarily done.
BUFFINGTON: You mentioned the discipline that could be taken by the local church and.... How...what...how did they go about that? Was there a committee that the local church appointed? You said it was taken care of...
WINSOR: Well, they....
BUFFINGTON: ...by the elders.
WINSOR: The local church would be by elders...the elders. That has to do, for instance, with matters of...of adultery or.... [pauses] While...while stealing and such things might go to the...to the government, some of those things also are brought up if...if somebody is.... For instance, if a...if one of the church officers happens to be the one in charge of the church [treasury] chest, the funds [chuckles] and misuses them, that has to be dealt with and so on. And various sorts of moral or failure to work as they should may be...may be brought before them and there are various sorts of...various kinds of ways of disciplining, most oft...many times, if it's a matter of church matters, removal from the Lord's table [not admitted to communion] and from fellowship is a principal one. The...I don't...I don't remember fines or things of that sort being imposed. Although if...if it were a matter of where there had been trouble, and there is so much trouble over dowry matters in the...in the native courts, the local chiefs' courts. Those occupy a large...large amount of attention...require a lot of attention. But I don't remember that the church has imposed fines. Although they may...they may. One way of...of discipline is...is requiring turning over so many goats or [laughs] so many sheep or what have you.
BUFFINGTON: Were there means of appeal or did you go just...mostly you go to your local church for that sort of thing and then if...?
WINSOR: Well, I suppose they might have been up...up a step, but I don't...I don't think that went very often. That wasn't very often. Unless in...in matters involving [pauses] failure to act properly of a pastor...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...or an elder, something of that sort. Then that might run up to the central...
BUFFINGTON: To the center of the....
WINSOR: ...church council. And then they...on occasion they'd be put out of function [?] and so on. And even out of...told they were not in fellowship. In fact, I had...I was a part of a delegation representing the central church council that was sent to one station where the whole...almost the whole church was in revolt against their missionaries and against the overall leadership. And after hours and hours and hours of seeking to deal with them, this group that had come as a delegation representing the central church council had...simply had to say, "This church is dis...is...is now not an established church, not a recognized church. The pastors are no longer to function and the church is out of fellowship. We...we have to do that." The...it's now...that particular church is now...oh fifteen, twenty years later, now is reckoned by one of the African leaders out there as being the strongest church in the field. But it has come back and it's a wonderful thing to have that so. Then it was a sorry mess. The local missionary and his wife and [?] one older man and his wife, I guess, and a couple women were the only ones that were there in the interim. [?] They had to go and draw their own water and cut their own wood and so it was a very bad situation.
BUFFINGTON: Very difficult for the missionary?
WINSOR: It was very, very difficult for the missionary. But he...he went on it. The Lord took care of them and they...station north has now only a short term nurse there. It's carrying on apparently very well spiritually. [pauses] So, you asked about our effort to set up a church organization and so on. I don't think it was ever taken...no one ever sat down at the beginning and said, "Now this is what we're gonna see." It was a gradual development over years because the church was developing. The church was expand...expanding and so.... Now you...I suppose, with all the new anthropology and so on, there would be more of an effort to think through what you want to do from the start. I think the folks said, "We want to see a church." [laughs]
BUFFINGTON: [laughs] Well, it was an easy way to start.
BUFFINGTON: You didn't have a lot of built-in problems.
WINSOR: We didn't. [?]
BUFFINGTON: Well, let's talk about...how do you see the future of the mission in...or of missions in Africa? What...do you perceive them as they having a significant role or a role of a forefront or do you see them as moving toward the background in their...?
WINSOR: Well, there's no question but what in...in the established areas they not only are going to have to but they have had to move in the background...move into the background in the sense of handing over leadership, handing over the responsibilities along those lines [?] to national leaders. But what are you going to do when those leaders say, "We still need you. And we want you. We don't want you as bosses. We want you to be co-workers, available as helpers." And that's...that's the attitude that we all ought to have had...have had from the beginning. And I won't say we haven't had from the beginning, in spite of the charge that has been made so often about the colonial-minded missionary. I haven't heard that term exactly, but the idea the missionary has been one who set out to be the boss and so on. To me, much of that has come out of the nature of things. They came, they went, they came, introducing something new. The...the ones to whom they came and who accepted it didn't know anything about how to go. They had to make suggestions. It was natural that they should, when those suggestions were accepted...
BUFFINGTON: Uh huh.
WINSOR: ...exert certain leadership. But it's...it's also natural that they shouldn't maintain authority when the national church is...is able to take the authority and take the leadership and run its own affairs. But it's difficult to see why missionaries shouldn't continue to offer their help and their stren...what they have available when...especially when the national leaders say, "We still need that, and we want it." It is true that perhaps a new generation of missionaries brought up to the idea that this is...this is the proper relationship will find it easier to...to enter into that relationship than some of the older ones who've had...who have to pass from one to the other. And habit, after all, is a...
BUFFINGTON: Hard thing.
WINSOR: ...is a difficult thing to change, even though you may try to change it with the best of intentions. But it seems to me that there is a place for...there's bound to be a place for missionary ministry, but perhaps a decreasing place as the church develops. [pauses] I...I guess I've told you before that I work at...with Greater Europe Mission mornings, and their ministry's in Europe, Western Europe. Well, that, of course, is where you have people who have just as much oppo...have opportunity for just as much training, just as much sophistication as...as the missionaries who come to them. And I...it seems to me that, aside from the fact that Europe, in many of the countries, doesn't have a...a resource of Christian...trained Christians to do the jobs, they ought to, when they do, they ought...could well say, "We don't need Americans or British to come to us to do it. We can do it as Frenchmen or as German or what have you." But from all one hears from, especially countries like Greece and Italy and the...the Catholic countries, there's still need. And even a country like England. We were asked...Greater Europe Mission was asked a few years ago to come over and adopt an existing Bible school which had gotten into trouble and they said, "You're...you're operating effectively a number of Bible schools. Will you come and share your know-how with us?" And that's been done for ten years or so and now they are saying, "We...we...we can carry on." Well, that's progress. [chuckles]
WINSOR: But in the...in countries where the level...general level of education, for instance...a lot of opportunity for education is so much lower than we have available, we still should be able to offer to those countries people from whom they could...should be able to profit, seems to me. That, I would say, is something that could go on for some little time. I know that David Howard...(you know who I mean)
BUFFINGTON: right, right.
WINSOR: ...would...would insist that the Lord's [Great] Commission [to preach the Gospel throughout the world, Matthew 28:18-20] applies still. It hasn't been abrogated and it says "going into all the world," and that still is the word for us. It doesn't say just [unclear] individual where, or to those of any particular country, to one other country, but there's the need. And as I...I hear the reports from...from Europe, it seems to me that the rate at which Europeans are evangelizing Europe...they're going to need a lot of extras, too, to help them, because they're not getting on very fast it seems to me. It's what I hear. Do you recognize that? That's GEM's motto. Training Amer...training Europeans to evangelize Europe. I don't know if you were conscious of that or not.
BUFFINGTON: No, I did not...was not aware of that.
WINSOR: Yeah. But they're branching out and doing church planting as well.
BUFFINGTON: We were...(going back to something you said earlier) in your relationship to the education field...the education aspect, that's what you know the most about...what sort of reception did you find as far as the national reception to Protestant education as opposed to the Catholic-pushed/backed governmental education that had been around for...
BUFFINGTON: ...probably, some time?
WINSOR: ...by the time we were able to embark on government recognized education, we had a considerable body of Protestant constituents and they didn't want their children to go to Catholic schools because in those days in particular, if a...if a Protestant child went to a Catholic school, if he had...if he expected much chance of making any progress, he had to convert. He was pressured into conversion and the Catholic...Protestant parents didn't want that, of course. So they were very eager and were very, very happy when finally the Belgian government changed their policy and offered recognition and subsidization to Protestant schools. The Protestant taxpayers had said, "We're paying taxes, but we don't get anything back from it in schoo...for schools for our children." So that as far as that's concerned, there was very ready acceptance in the earliest days. There was something magic when the national could see a paper come to his missionary from another station brought by an African. But to them, there was some black marks on them but they didn't mean anything, and yet this missionary could tell what that man over there was thinking. And that was attractive. It awoke in some a desire. And then when they saw books and you could read them and get thoughts out of them and so on, that attracted them. Of course, not all of the nationals saw that that would be very much help to the women to have that and so there were...there was resistance to women in some places and for some time. But in our...in our Zaire field, it was very early that the girls homes were started, and girls were brought in, and came in numbers. I had sisters who operated them and they had hundreds...could have had hundreds at times and I guess they did have at times, so that there were times when we were embarrassed for the number of those who wanted schools, more than we could care...provided for. It hasn't been...there hasn't been a great resistance in our area to...to getting it, rather an increasing desire for it. And as a matter of fact, in the days of independence, just before and after, when the government had limited funds that they could give to subsidize schools, and would say when we...when we presented schools for subsidization, they'd say, "We don't have funds to do that." Well then...then I faced problems with the African teachers who, in schools...before we had schools at all our stations when not all were subsidized, and I had troubles with teachers at stations who wanted to be subsidized, but couldn't be because they were get...the subsidized teachers got salaries that looked very attractive to the others. I was faced with some very, very trying sessions with these teachers. I was called a liar too many times to count, that I wasn't telling the truth about what could be done with government and so on, and there was...there was...there were times when it was awkward.
BUFFINGTON: I just wondered if...I guess the way had been pretty much cleared by the...the other schools had been open then they were.... So by the time, like you said, that the Protestants came along, they were very anxious for you to [unclear].
WINSOR: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, it was a...and of course, from the very beginning, before this happened...let's see, the first missionaries got in in 1912 and this happened in 1948, that we got subsidized...
BUFFINGTON: So [unclear]...
WINSOR: ...and so you see.... But from the very beginning, people would try to teach reading so that Scripture could be read just as soon as it was available, and so there were primitive schools everywhere, even before the subsidizing came, but they were unrecognized and they were, for lack of funds for buildings and for equipment and so on, they were simple schools that didn't go very far. When I got to the field in '26 (that's fourteen years after it had been going on) the top grade was through third grade, so that folks weren't very far along. And when I started teaching in the Bible training school...evangelist school, we had no printed textbooks except an abbreviated selections from the New Testament and from the Old Testament, too. But we had to dictate almost everything or...not dictate but put on the board for them to copy...
WINSOR: ...and for folks who...most of them were second graders, that didn't go very fast. And your possibility of getting very much in their notebooks in one class session was...was small.
BUFFINGTON: Very small.
WINSOR: So it was...it was limited, what you could accomplish, but that was the beginning and it went on. Finally, after...after subsidizing, after the accrediting, I was responsible for starting a teacher training school [possibly the Ecole de Moniteurs in Blukwa, Belgian Congo] which we would call something like some of the pedagogy courses that were taught in rural high schools in this country more than fifty years ago and earlier. When we did that, we got a group of teachers out of them and later on that school was updated and then when they were teaching the full secondary course and first were examined, that particular school got the highest marks of the whole country [chuckles]...
WINSOR: ...and became quite widely...
BUFFINGTON: The name? [?]
WINSOR: ...known and then the director began to get applications from all over the country...
WINSOR: ...whereas there was no chance, of course. We could get plenty of students from right locally.
WINSOR: The...the...with the coming of accreditation, acceptance, the...we were given a national curriculum. Not in detail, but subject by subject the ground to be covered year by year, all for the primary schools and then later for upper grades. And one interesting thing about it was, in every year's work, the first subject listed was religion and nothing detailed other than to say, "This is to be determined by the religious authority." The schools were all in the missions' hands, Catholic and Protestant, and we were left perfectly free to put into that whatever content we wanted, which was as great liberty as you could ask for.
BUFFINGTON: Yes. Giving you a chance to be creative...
WINSOR: Yeah, yeah.
BUFFINGTON: ...that's for sure.
WINSOR: The only requirement that the inspector (the government inspector as he came around to inspect the schools) had in respect to that was to see that it was on the hour plan and was...the time was assigned for that. But he didn't interfere with what was being taught at all. So that we...we were very fortunate in being free that way.
WINSOR: Yeah. And that...you may not know that about five years ago I guess it was now the government decided that they were going to end this regime of subsidized schools and take all the schools under their own control, which they did. The schools were left where they were on the mission station and so on, because they didn't have any establishments elsewhere. But they took over and ran into...into problems immediately. The...they couldn't rely...lacking mission oversight, they couldn't rely on the moral standards of the directors that they put in, nor on the quality of the work that was done.
BUFFINGTON: Right. [?]
WINSOR: So it all fell down and after two or three years of that regime, they came back to the missions and begged us to take over. Which was...and in that time when they were...they were in charge themselves, they had eliminated...religion part of the curriculum. [continual noise of someone pulling or banging on the microphone] The missions, Catholic and Protestant combined, said, "We'll...we'll..." Or by now, it was mostly the Church that was doing it, said "We'll take over, but we've got conditions." And they were strategically placed so that they could enforce their conditions. First was, "Put us back." Second, "Let us discipline...discipline the personnel." And that has been accepted. I hope it's going better.
BUFFINGTON: It's kind of like tried and true. You've proven it.
WINSOR: It...it's a disappointment that there were not honest, reliable school workers, but there weren't honest reliable government people either, so we're[?] in the same boat
BUFFINGTON: Well, I tell you, it looks like we're drawing near to the end of the tape...
WINSOR: Oh, you've got a...
BUFFINGTON: ...by the watch and the....
WINSOR: ...half an inch there.
BUFFINGTON: It's a...okay.
WINSOR: Have you got something final that you want to ask about?
BUFFINGTON: Yeah, just...we were kind of wrapping it up.
WINSOR: Uh huh.
BUFFINGTON: That was what I...you know, when we had talked about your...the ideas of future work in Africa and the missions there. You had been talking about your...the analysis of missions in Africa in the past. We had...that's...
BUFFINGTON: ...pretty much what we've been talking the whole afternoon about. That was...like I said when I started, we weren't talking about particular things at Wheaton and Africa, but more your opinions of how...that you arrived at and with and by after your experiences through all your mission work.
WINSOR: One would sort of have to sum up by one thing after all. The effectiveness of any of this depends upon the quality of man you've got. The...whether they're genuine and can...are out to do a job, not...well, not to be ministered unto but to minister. I tell folks that that should be the basic principle, the basic goal of any of the Lord's servants that they send. [?] And that doesn't leave any room for self-seeking, which unfortunately we're all so prone to. [laughs]
BUFFINGTON: True. [pauses]
WINSOR: I didn't know whether you were going to go this direction or back to the College again.
END OF TAPE