to listen to an audio file of this interview (54 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. Bruce Hunt (CN 104, T5) in Rev. Hunt's home in Abingdon, PA. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Robert Shuster, Susan Sauer and Ruth Estelle and was completed in September 2002.
Collection 104, T4. Interview of Rev. Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster, October 16, 1982.
SHUSTER: ...words to make sure that we are.... If you would like to say a few words just to make sure we pick up okay. Just say anything.
HUNT: Oh. Glad to see you again. [laughs] Hope we can have a good, worthwhile conversation.
SHUSTER: Okay, that's.... [Tape recorder turned off and on again] This is an interview with Rev. Bruce Hunt for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College. This interview took place on October 16th at 10:00 A.M. in Rev. Hunt's home in Abington, Pennsylvania. Rev. Hunt, we had just last time reached a point when you returned to...to the Far East again and were going to be working in Harbin, Manchuria. Were you going...were you working again with...among Koreans?
HUNT: Yes. We had gone out to work with the Koreans, but it was after the war [World War II]. We didn't know what the situation was in Korea; what the situation was in Manchuria. You see, we had left the war...I had been a prisoner, and in fact my wife was a, an exchanged prisoner, the family.
SHUSTER: I don't think we had quite reached that point in our interview. This was when you had returned in '35 to Harbin.
HUNT: Well, let me see. Oh, you're right there. [laughs] Now when we... let me, yes, that's right.
SHUSTER: I think '36....
HUNT: Yes, when we went to Manchuria, it was after we had left the [Presbyterian] U.S.A. Board, that's right. I thought we'd gone further in our conversation, and we met with the missionaries in Korea. (I'm not sure I had mentioned that. I don't think I did last time). We had met with the missionaries in Korea who had been sent out by the Independent Board to China. And Mr. Coray...Mr. and Mrs. Coray, and Mr. [Heber] McIlwaine, who was born in Japan had been sent out to work in China. And we met in Korea at the resort, Sorai, S-O-R-A-I, but they just call it Sorai. It's interesting that that resort was established later as a beach resort, but very near to the little village where the very first Korean congregation was started, before missionaries ever arrived in Korea. Some Koreans had heard the gospel up in Manchuria and it was...western religion was outlawed in Korea but they (you might say) smuggled it in to this little fishing village and started the church there. And when Dr. [Horace Grant] Underwood, the first ordained missionary to Korea landed, he heard of a little group of Christians up there (he was in Seoul, the capitol) but he took the overland trip to visit this group of Christians and baptize those who had become Christians but had not been baptized. And that was the very first missionary group... first Christian [emphasizes "Christian"] group in Korea...Protestant Christian group, before missionaries even landed in Korea. I have a picture of that resort and that little village upstairs, [coughs] painted by Arch Kamel[?], a missionary that was in Korea for many years.
SHUSTER: Is that church still ongoing? The church that was...
HUNT: Well, it's North Korea, so who knows?
HUNT: Yes, that's the problem.
SHUSTER: The purpose of this conference was to decide where to send you?
HUNT: Yes, I started that. We got back to Japan and there was a telegram waiting for us at the ship, "Hurry up and come across." These missionaries from China were spending their vacation there in Sorai at this resort,
SHUSTER: This was the Corays?
HUNT: The Corays and....by the way, he's a Wheaton graduate too, the brother of Ed Coray, [coughs] the coach for quite a few years, and interested in alumni. But they urged us to come to decide where we were going to work. We didn't know where. We didn't want to go into a place where the mission [Presbyterian Board of Missions in the USA] that our folks had been working with and where we had worked with before in a competitive kind of a way.
HUNT: So we were wondering where we should go. And at that conference with these other missionaries, they had been looking over fields in China. Japan had recently claimed Manchuria or they took over Manchuria even against the advice of the League of Nations. They decided to leave the League of Nations so they could take Manchuria. But they were...Japanese were moving into Manchuria already, of course. There were many Chinese and Russians there, and the Japanese were urging Koreans to go up there to help occupy the land, you might say, to start farming, and to go into Manchuria. And so, these missionaries who had already gone out already to China, the Corays and Heber Mclwaine had thought of Manchuria perhaps as being more of an open field. There were missionaries already there, the Scotch Mission, the Irish Mission, the Danish Mission and so on, but they thought this would be an open field for our work, it's a big field, and so that was the decision made. They decided to call it a trilingual mission. Mr. Mclwaine was born in Japan, knew Japanese, the Corays had been studying Chinese, and the Byrams, Dr. and Mrs. [Roy and Bertha] Byram, who left the U.S.A. board the same time we did, (their daughter, by the way, graduated from Wheaton) and ourselves, had left the USA. Board and were at this meeting, and we would work amongst the Koreans.
SHUSTER: Were there other mission groups working among the Koreans at that time in Manchuria?
HUNT: There were two couples, but those couples, under the UPUSA Church that we had worked under before, (Northern Presbyterian, as it was called then), they had decided to leave, because when the Japanese came in, they began to crack down on any political activities, and the Koreans, many of them, earlier had gone to Manchuria as an escape from the Japanese and there were independence movements there and things like that. And so, where you had a Korean church, you were likely to have Koreans interested in independence, and the Japanese began to make it very difficult for the missionaries to work. They...
SHUSTER: Did they...?
HUNT: ...even passed a law. They passed some laws, government laws about control of the church. And so these two missionaries, two couples, who had been .working there for several years, decided that they just made trouble for the Koreans almost, by being there. If the Koreans came to see them, the Japanese suspicioned [sic] them. If they went to see the Koreans, then the Japanese would question the Koreans, and so on. And they made the work so difficult that they just...though they had homes and a Bible institute there, they decided to give up Manchuria as a field, the very year that we decided to go in.
SHUSTER: And so, the Japanese had come to associate missionary activity with anti-government...
HUNT: They often suspicioned [sic] that. From the very beginning when the Japanese came into Korea, I think I told you last time about the...what they called...the Hundred and Five Conspiracy Case missionaries used to call it, the Koreans called it the Hundred and Five Case. But where they imprisoned these Koreans, in the days when the Japanese first came in, and then they decided at that time, they decided that they weren't guilty, but from the very beginning they felt a little question about mission work, a little...would you call it jealousy, maybe, or something else, and there was always a little bit of tension between the mission work and the government.
SHUSTER: Did you...do you think there was some basis for their suspicion or was it just an unreasonable...
HUNT: ...naturally, missionaries going to work with Koreans, they would have a sympathy with the Korean people, and, the Koreans, they wanted independence. Now, also they wanted to...they were trying to advance, there were people in Korea who were trying to modernize the country from the Korean angle, and the Japanese had come in, and there were different things that were working amongst the Korean people. And the missionaries were naturally sympathetic with the Korean's problems, and they were trying to help them both spiritually and educationally, medically, and in every way trying to improve things. They felt that was part of our Christian duty to be sympathetic and helpful. And the Japanese, of course, they were trying to make the Koreans a hundred percent Japanese. They wanted them to be just very loyal to the Japanese, and the Koreans didn't want to be under the Japanese. And so it made it a difficult problem for the missionaries, though if you read...I think I gave you Dr. [William Newton] Blair's book on the Korean church...the Korean Pentecost. And he said, "One of the things at that time that the, was causing the missionaries that perhaps brought them to that "fever of prayer," shall we call it, but they were in...praying very feverishly, because in 1907 the first graduates of the seminary would be coming out, and the missionaries from the very beginning had tried to make an indigenous church. Financially, they had taught them to be self-supporting. Now they'd have their own ministers, and the missionaries who'd want to turn things over more to the Korean ministers to make it a purely indigenous church. But non-Christians at that time, were very much interested in politics. And Koreans coming to America and coming back were trying to stir up the people against Japan and things like that, and they felt that the church was perhaps the one unifying...if there was a unifying element in society, the church ought to help them in their political activities. And the missionaries didn't want the church to become too involved in politics. I mean, they weren't against their being citizens, but they didn't want the church to be a tool of politics. Now, today, what is it they call it, the new tendency, where the church is supposed to take kind of a lead in politics, in South America and China and everywhere,
SHUSTER: Liberation Theology,
HUNT: Liberation Theology. But the missionaries in those days, they didn't want the missionaries to become involved in that. They wanted them to preach the gospel, be free of...of that kind of involvement. And that was a difficult task, and that's what they were praying that the church wouldn't become a tool. Dr. Blair points out that he feels that the Christianity makes a man a true citizen, but he didn't want the church to become a tool of politics, the missionary didn't want it. And that was a great burden that they had on their hearts at that time, that the church wouldn't become, as a church, too involved in the political struggle.
SHUSTER: Were the...many of the independence leaders, the Korean independence leaders Christians?
HUNT: Yes, quite a few. Yes.
SHUSTER: How did you...when you left the conference, you traveled up to Harbin?
SHUSTER: How...how did you go about establishing yourself in that city and beginning the work?
HUNT: [laughs] That's very interesting, and that's another thing that I think these days some people say that we've got to go to countries, well, they feel that we must go to countries where we're accepted or wanted or something like that, and also they're talking a great deal about...what is it?
HUNT: Tent-making. Pardon me?
HUNT: Contextualization and tent-making. And one of the reasons for tent-making...there are
two reasons for tent making. One thing is...they say is, "We can't afford missionaries, so let's have the missionaries earn their own way. Go out as businessmen, or something else. Each, as educators or something and get salaries out there." That's one reason for tent making. The other reason for tent making is that people can get in to countries to do tent making where they can't get in as missionaries. Now, I have a question about that reason myself. Is it ethical? If people don't want us as missionaries, should we.... I think a tent maker could go all right, and if he's a Christian he should certainly be a witness. But should we as a policy of missions use tent making to say we're going to try to get into Russia by people going out as tent makers to preach the gospel? I have a question about it, if a country won't accept a missionary as a missionary, should he...should that country be allowed to hear the gospel, in a way, I mean the Lord wants us to go, but it's a punishment, in a way for them not to hear the gospel if they refuse one that comes in the name of the Lord. And I just have that question in my mind. I'm not sure.
SHUSTER: And you feel it might be somewhat deceptive for a person to...
SHUSTER: ...go as an engineer, say when he...
HUNT: Yes. Well, anyway at that time when we went from Korea to Manchuria, two families that had brick homes, and had a Bible Institute, came out and they told us they didn't think we could work in Manchuria. Well, the....
SHUSTER: Because of the hostility of the government?
HUNT: Because of the hostility of the government. But our little group had voted to go. And so we packed up, and the...even our cook, we got him to agree to go along with us, a man who had worked with us for several years. And he packed up his family and...but we put it on our passports that we were missionaries, and when we got to the border, I didn't know whether that day, at the border, because we had it on our passports that we were missionaries, that we would be turned back or not. But, we got through [chuckles] and we praise the Lord that we were allowed into the country. Well, now, later, we did...several missionaries, Jack Voss [?] Dr. Voss [?] at Geneva College, who's retired now, but he and others, we drew up a statement for the government, telling them that we believed their law was wrong. Now, I'm not sure at that time...I think when the missionaries went out they hadn't yet formed the law. When we were there, they were forming the law on the control of religions, and we wrote a statement declaring that we believed that law was wrong, and we couldn't submit to it, but they didn't put us out of the country. We tried to make a clear stand on our position.
SHUSTER: What were the provisions of this law?
HUNT: Well, one of them was that we couldn't meet without permission of the government. We couldn't preach without permission of the government. We couldn't hold communion and other things without permission of the government. And we had to meet in certain formal places, and we said, "Jesus has told us to go and preach. We have that authority. We don't believe that we should ask a government, 'May we preach, may we meet?'"
HUNT: And just recently, I ran across it in some of my father's papers. I don't know that I could lay my finger on it right away, I think possibly I could, but we made this protest to the government. And we didn't know whether we'd be put out of the country at that time but we weren't.
SHUSTER: They just ignored it, or....
HUNT: They...we went ahead with our work.
SHUSTER: Now, of course, you later were in prison, but that....
SHUSTER: ...was not in relation to this. That was....
HUNT: Not exactly, though they did bring that up and also of course, we, later...well, in fact it was, definitely. That was part of it. We had said that we could not keep that law and also we would refused to, we were speaking against worshiping the emperor [of Japan] as a god. And these, in fact, I suppose, in my own thinking, it was that law, was my biggest opposition to the government, or just as big as the other, but that was a big thing, the government control of the church.
SHUSTER: Did the...did the law, the law you're talking about, the law for the control of religion, mention emperor worship, or was that something that became an issue?
HUNT: I don't know that it was mentioned there, but it was interesting, in the Korean General Assembly, for years they had faced this kind of thing in Korea and they had refused to do it, refused to do it. But it was at the General Assembly, where they voted that it was alright to go to the shrine [honoring the emperor], that there they also agreed to submit to this law. And the...one of my reasons for starting new groups in Manchuria later, I forget whether I mentioned that, but, was because the presbytery insisted that I should come under the law. And I said I couldn't keep that law, and I'd have to get my church recognized by the government, and I said I didn't...I didn't feel I could do that. So, some of the members of the church wanted to, so I said, "Alright, I'll leave the church" that I'd started, right in our home, but I'd leave that church, and I didn't try to start a kind of a movement, but I told the Christians from now on, I'd be not meeting with them in the church, anyone who wanted to come to our home were welcome to come, and that grew till we had about twenty-five groups who didn't yield to the law, and at the same time...you see in Korea at the General Assembly (and the work in Manchuria was related to the General Assembly in Korea) after they submitted unto the shrine, then they submitted to this law. Well, we were against the shrine, and that law, and so, we then drew up a covenant, saying that we couldn't submit to these things. So we had about twenty-five groups and the government felt that we were doing some kind of anti-government...they called it a "death pact" against the government, and it was partly over that that I was imprisoned, Dr. and Mrs. Byram and I. But they said that we were stirring up opposition to the government. What we were doing was just insisting on trying to be Christians.
SHUSTER: And you say that the Independent Presbytery had wanted you to submit to the law?
HUNT: To what?
SHUSTER: The Independent Presbytery had wanted you to submit to the law, so you had....
HUNT: Well, not.... what do you mean by Independent Presbyterian?
SHUSTER: Well, what presbytery were you under in Manchuria?
HUNT: Well, we were under...back here with us...one thing, what we're under here and what we're working with out there. You see, we continued to try to make it indigenous. And when we went to Manchuria, we first tied up with the Mukden Presbytery. We were in Harbin, but that was quite a distance away, but we tied up with the Mukden Presbytery, which was a Presbytery of the Korean General Assembly, the Korean Presbyterian General Assembly.
SHUSTER: I see.
HUNT: And it was that presbytery, that after the General Assembly took that stand that insisted that I should...(I was a pastor there), that I should get our church recognized by the government, and I told the Presbytery I couldn't do that. And so, after I told them that, I just asked to have my name removed from the roll of the presbytery.
HUNT: But there were Christians who agreed with me.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh, and the Mukden Presbytery then, was part of the...
HUNT: Larger Korean Presbyterian Church.
SHUSTER: ...Korean Presbyterian Church.
HUNT: That had...you see, at the General Assembly they later recognized, after the war, that they did wrong, but some men went to prison rather than go along with that, and....
SHUSTER: Well, what was the relationship between the Korean General Assembly with the United Presbyterian Church?
HUNT: Well, the United Presbyterian Church, from the very beginning.... Of course, in those days, it was called the Northern Presbyterian Church. And the Southern Presbyterian and the Northern Presbyterian and the Australian Presbyterian, and Canadian Presbyterian, these four Presbyterian denominations entered Korea about the same time in 18...between 1884 when [Horace Grant] Underwood arrived and about 1900. And when they arrived, they said, "Let's instead of each one making a different Presbyterian Church, let's make one Korean Presbyterian Church." And, they worked towards that. Now each one of these had kind of their own field, geographical field of work, and often they'd have either one or two presbyteries, and there are the Southern Presbyterians and the Northern Presbyterians and Australian Presbyterians, each had a kind of field where they'd work, and they'd have presbyteries of their own, but they're all presbyteries of the one Korean General Assembly and...but it was their church. And you see, that's what was...Dr. Blair points out in his Korean Pentecost, it was a great concern of the missionaries. Now when we we've tried to train some ministers...the first seven ministers, we'll ordain them, we got permission from the church back here to baptize and ordain and things like that (I mean with that authority), but we ordained them, and then, these men, they were expecting they would be the church, not the missionaries, but them, .the Koreans. And so the relation was that we just had (what would it be), sister relations [between the American and Korean churches] or something like that, fraternal relations, but they [the missionaries] had no control. Theoretically, the missionaries tried to insist that we had no control. Now the Korean...at first, where there were no Korean pastors, the missionaries would go and preach and ord...and baptize, but they didn't ordain. Once the Korean church was established, then the Korean Church...and would do it. But the missionaries would then be asked by the Korean church to supervise many little small churches that were growing into organized churches, and they would make the missionary.... They now used the term "organizing pastor." I don't like that term myself, because I believe the missionary is a missionary and a pastor is a pastor. But they did do...as missionaries they did baptize, and they did get the church informally organized, but once it was formally, then the presbytery would formally organize.
HUNT: And then it was the Korean church. It was fraternal relations.
SHUSTER: So, the fact that United Presbyterian Missionary, Independent Presbyterian Mission [Board] was denied....
HUNT: We could all work in the same Korean Church, in fact, when we left the U.S.A. church here (we split from them over here [in the United States]), but we went out and worked in the same Korean Presbyterian Church/ But we split from the Korean Presbyterian Church over the shrine issue.
HUNT: That wasn't over the problems in America.
SHUSTER: Harbin has something of a reputation for being a center of political intrigue, I guess, because of the Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese conflict.
SHUSTER: Did you find that to be true in your experience?
HUNT: Well, we didn't have any, I mean, relation to it. We were preaching. We weren't interested in what the Russians were doing in that way, or what the Koreans were doing in that way. I often am, shall I say, almost deaf and blind when it comes to politics. I mean there are things that come into my ears, but I don't try to pump the Koreans on their political views or the Russians on their political views, but I knew that it was certainly where that kind of thing could take place. There was a couple of Jewish synagogues there. There were big Russian churches there and they were just like living in Russia...some of, I mean, well, it looked to us like that! But of course, I'm sure they didn't feel that. But the big population of Russians, the Germans, and so on....
SHUSTER: Did those large European populations have any effect on your ministry? Was there more contact with Europeans? Did Europeans come to your services? Or was it solely...?
HUNT: No, because our work was primarily with the Koreans. We did have a kind of a ministerial organization where we met with some of the Russian Protestant ministers, it was a Molicov [?] do they call them? A kind of independent Russian, not the old Greek Orthodox Church, but we did have some Russian ministers that came to that. We met together with them occasionally. But as churches, we didn't have much contact. We had our...Koreans had their own church, and so on.
SHUSTER: How did you go about beginning your work in Harbin?
HUNT: Well, there again, I'll try to get in a little pitch for my missionary ideas [chuckles], I believe in going into a country but I'm not so sure of...of the tent making thing that's very popular these days for those two reasons. I feel we ought to pay for what we do; not make the missionary pay his own way, and the other is, there may be a little unethical question in it. I'm not absolutely....but I don't like that it's one of the popular things these days, the...to talk about tent making. And the...then the very first day we landed in Harbin, there was a Baptist missionary, and I liked him, he's a good man, and I believe he loves the Lord. But the first thing he said to me was, "I know a place down in the Chinese area where a lot of Koreans live, and right on the corner there's an excellent building that you could probably get." Well, that's not my beginning, that you start with a building and a place to meet. You see, there, finances. There you begin to hold up something before them besides Christ. Now I don't mean to criticize him for that, but most people think, "Well, I've got to have some money first." Jesus sent the disciples without money, and they all...all they had was the gospel, the power. And I feel that too often these day people think they have to have a building, they have to have money, they have to have this, that, or the other thing. And I believe in missionaries should be sent, but I feel we can carry on missions without having money. The people that have to go for other reasons, if they would preach. And I believe that's the fundamental way about the church spreading, but I do believe in churches sending people, paying for them, too. Paul was helped, and so on. And I'm not against tent making. We had missionaries that did...I mean, all kinds of work. But as a policy of missions, I'm not too strong for it. But, anyway, that was my first...somebody suggested that the very first day I arrived. Well, that didn't appeal to me. And so, first day, as soon as we got the family settled, I just began going door-to-door down in the area where the Koreans lived, and looking them up and preaching the gospel, asking them if they're Christians and so on. There was a little Methodist church there...there was a Methodist missionary there. [Asking the Koreans ] If they go to his church and so on...asked if they were going to church. If they said they were Christians, if they were going to church. If not, why I invited them to our home...to....there I was provided something, you might say, but I didn't intend to do it as a permanent thing at all. And so we began to have meetings in our home on Sundays. But, for one thing, the Koreans found it a little awkward to come that distance to our house. They lived down in another area and the other thing was that they were embarrassed. We used our bedroom for a classroom, a Sunday school classroom, and our kitchen for a classroom, and I think our parlor for a classroom. And we'd all get together for a church service. But we just had maybe twenty at the most, and it grew up in our home that way. Well, that's an embarrassment to them. Even they felt it was an embarrassment to impose on us and the distance they had to come. So they began to look around for a place in their own area where they could meet. But I began in our home, but then I knew that when I went as missionary I didn't go just to Harbin or just to Man...to that city. I went to Manchuria. And so then I told the Christians that were coming to our home that I was now planning to go out in the country and do some country work in the country towns and so on, where I had heard of some interest. And, "Oh, if you go, our church can't carry on." And, "I'm sorry, I didn't come to be a pastor. I came to be a missionary." And so it ended up, I.... getting my cook who...I don't think he was a deacon or any church officer or anything, but he....I said, "Well, how about you leading the services?" So for a while he led the services, but that didn't thrill them too much. But anyway, eventually they themselves were able to call an evangelist, not a pastor. The pastors, generally, the training they get, they want more of a salary and so on. They called a layman who could give his full time to the work. And they found a second floor hall that they could rent down in the area where they were. And that's how it went, and my work was primarily just going door-to-door, house-to-house, to find people who didn't know Jesus and to proclaim the gospel to them and invite them to come to the services. And then to go to the country, go to the country places.
SHUSTER: And to help start new churches?
HUNT: Yeah. And there again, you say, "Start new churches," which I believe should be the goal, but to preach the gospel. And when a person believes, he needs to get with other believers and that makes a church. It's...to preach the gospel is our main work. And...but I believe that...I do believe we need to look towards the idea that Jesus came to found his church, and we must build for churches. But I like to say this. Otherwise, too often when you say, "Start churches," people..they immediately think of buildings and a crowd and the minister and the....
SHUSTER: The organization.
HUNT: They think of the organization. That's why I picked up that statement, not because I think it's wrong.
SHUSTER: Did you use the same method when you were going in the country...when you were traveling in the country, go into a town and just start knocking on doors?
HUNT: Well, usually I began thinking and praying for where I'd go. In Korea. For instance, when I'd be going to some place that had invited me, or where I'd arranged there would be meetings, on the bus I might meet somebody, or walking, or even in meeting people. "Where do you come from?" Oh, they came from a certain place. "Is there any church there?" No. "Are there any Christians there?" No, and..."But there's one family," maybe they'd say, "that used to be Christians, but they're not now." Well, I know often people have gone to church, if there's no church there they get away [fall away from their faith]. And so, well, there's somebody to write down. Or, if it's a big area and the nearest church, is, say.... The Koreans walked so much that once you get about ten miles away, to me, a good area for a church...the little villages all around the place, ten miles away...if there's some central place, so.... I would look for places unchurched or think of places unchurched places, or where there might be some contact or person interested or something like that. And I used to keep a little list in my, my notebook, of places that might be worth trying to go to. And I kind of developed this, I guess. After a while I....when I first went in Korea under the old [Presbyterian] USA church, they assigned a certain area to me. The assigned certain churches where they didn't yet have a pastor, where I was to go and make calls twice a year and baptize and hold communion and maybe hold special Bible conferences if the church wanted it, and so on. But I was given an area to work. But then I began to feel, "Well, this isn't what I came for, just to take care of so many little churches, I came out also to preach the gospel." And so I began to develop this. In my notebook I'd keep these things. And then, "Well, now, this fall, when I make my visit of churches, where is some unchurched place that I ought go?" And then I'd set apart a whole week to go to that place. And at first I started with just two, fall and spring, when I was making my regular trips to go to some unreached place. And then I began to make it four, and I found it very satisfying work too. Whether they...the church was started or not (and I saw some, started a few), but it was doing the work, getting the gospel out was what I considered the most important.
SHUSTER: When you were praying for guidance as to where to go, did you ever get a, you know, strong feeling that there was some particular place you should go to, or was it...?
HUNT: No, I didn't look for that. [laughs] I just kind of went the ordinary.... Is it a central place? Is there a contact? Is there somebody who wants me there? And "is there no church there?" and so on. We're told to go to the whole world, and so as far as I was concerned, the whole world is just as far as the most immediate [pauses] place where it seemed sensible to go. I guess I worked it more that way.
SHUSTER: Did you ever do any kind of mass evangelism work? You mentioned that you went from door-to-door. Was there ever a time when you were speaking to large crowds of non-Christians?
HUNT: Well, I...in fact, that's one of the pictures I kind of love. [laughs] The (what's his name, a young fellow out in California) John Cortenhoven [?] came out, and I guess this is the one here...here's the street preaching. [shows Shuster a photo from a book] But I....
SHUSTER: Oh, yeah, this is a photograph from your book, For A Testimony [published by the Banner of Truth Trust in 1966].
SHUSTER: ...of you preaching.
HUNT: Yeah. I have a slide that I like better than that even, that he made. But I was preaching, and I didn't know that he was taking the picture. And I was preaching. One thing about Korea, it's...I don't know about it's mass [evangelism] especially, but they have what they call market towns, chang [sp?]. Changs [sp?], that's the word...chang [sp?] means market. And they're a little larger than other towns throughout the country, and all around these farmers live in little villages, maybe twenty, thirty houses in a village. But every five days they come into these market towns to sell what they have, to buy what they need. They don't have...they didn't used to have stores in Korea hardly. The market town was the place, and you did that only five days and then other people brought things so you could buy. During the week there was hardly anything to buy, no stores there. And so they did all the shopping generally or their buying. Well then, people come in from all the surrounding country on that day. You see the line of people coming along the little paths to this market town. And it's an ideal place to preach. Of course, they're all busy marketing...
HUNT: ...but you preach the gospel there. And sometimes I just...and I usually didn't try to get a crowd, I'd just start talking to somebody. But then, there they don't mind eavesdropping and listening. If two people are conversing publically, well, it's up to them. And so they come and listen, and before you know it you'll have, with your long nose and yellow hair, and so on, why, it kind of helps them to....they look first. But in this particular picture that I like so much I got...if it's not in this one I have a slide of it. But it's something like that one. But...I developed one idea. So often a crowd....I try to start with an individual if I can and then the crowd will grow. And then I kind of take the crowd into my talking, and often a man in the crowd will say, "Well, you talk about God, but how do you know there's a God?" And "You can't see him." And I say, "Do you have any sense?" And the man will look at me and so I say, "Do you have any sense?" And so I'll hold out my hand and I'll say, "Let me see your sense." And he'll say, "Oh, you can't see sense." "Well, yet you say because you can't see God there is no God." Well, generally there's a little bit of titter through the crowd, and in this particular the two girls...the two young women...that kind of tickled them. But wait, in the background is a lady with a big load on her head, and she's standing...she went by first. "What's this yellow-haired fellow doing, with a long nose and so on, and he's talking in our language. What's he talking in our language about? What's he got to say?" And then you can see the expression on their faces as they begin to hear what you're saying and think about it and you see that it's not just curiosity. And this one I love, too, this one's another one John Cortenhoven [?] took. This picture here [referring to a photo in the book, For a Testimony], see I was just going door-to-door. And also, here are some fishermen and I was talking to them. But here are some kids. Look at the backs of their shoes, [laughs] running to hear what I'm saying. They see that I'm talking to somebody. "Here's a stranger and he's talking to this fishermsn, and he thinks he has something to say. Well, what's he saying?" and these little kids here, they look like they're almost....am I punishing them, am I scolding them, or what? But they're doing some serious thinking. And I'm talking to the fishermen, see, I'm not talking to them [the children], but they're...they're really listening there. And the other little boys, they're running to see. But that's kind of the....when you're out preaching, it goes from the individual to the crowd, often that way, that you reach the crowds. But with me, you don't necessarily get decisions. I mean, the Holy Spirit does that, I believe, if I present the gospel correctly, that that will happen. Now, when you have churches, then they will ask you to come and speak. And I....the Koreans....in the early days the missionaries had what they called "Search the Scripture" meetings. I think last time I mentioned that, Sa Yung Weh [Search the Scriptures]. And I talked about that a lot to the Koreans, even now, because they like the word "revival." I think they've learned that from the Methodist and from maybe the Holiness and some of the charismatic groups and so on. They like the idea of revival. And it began about the time, just a little before I went to Korea. There was a man who had been a drunkard who became a Christian, and he was something like Billy Graham. And he drew crowds.
SHUSTER: What was his name?
HUNT: Kim Ik-du. [?] And he used to do...he was in Dad's territory. But he would draw crowds. He even got into healing, but churches liked to get him because he did draw crowds and did have healing and a connection with it. But I used to like to hear him as a boy just because he...an old drunkard, he could...once he became a Christian, he had good stories. He was like Billy Graham.
SHUSTER: Mel Trotter?
HUNT: No, like...pardon me?
SHUSTER: Like Mel Trotter.
HUNT: Yes, or the...
SHUSTER: Billy Sunday.
HUNT: ...football...baseball player Billy Sunday. It's something like that. But that became the more popular thing. And about the time I went to Korea, the Sa Yung Weh, the Search the Scriptures meetings, which they would divide them up and do...whether they were new Christians or what or what or what, and then teach them according to their spiritual growth needs. They began to want, "Well, we just want to all be together and hear this one guest speaker," and I feel it was going backwards in the Korean church when they did that. They use the term now, "revival." I've tried to revive the word, Sa Yung Weh. But it hasn't revived the practice so much. That is they divide them up into their needs, which I think is a better way, like they did in the early church. But there I am often invited as a special speaker. And then the night you'll have a good crowd or sometimes during the day. But when I go to a Sa Yung Weh, I generally have tried to make it more of a...teach the scripture. You take the book of Romans, or Ephesians, or maybe Genesis, or the Ten Commandments, or maybe just the, the Tabernacle or something like that and during the whole week (I'd like to do it for a week) and teach.
SHUSTER: Now this was in Manchuria too? Something in Manchuria?
HUNT: And Korea, both places.
SHUSTER: When you were...when you were in Manchuria, of course, like you say, it was after the Japanese occupied it and it was a rather unsettled condition, I imagine. Was it easy to travel in the country, to visit churches?
HUNT: I had no difficulty.
SHUSTER: How did...?
HUNT: They used to... Oh, when I left home, there was a little police box at the end of our street. Had to go in and report that I was going. And when I got down to the railroad station (I think I have that book around somewhere, that I had to carry with me, yeah, I think I could put my finger on it.) But, when I went to the railroad station (great big railroad station, big city) there was the...what they call the railroad guards. They were dressed like...in uniforms, like soldiers kind of, and had to carry a gun. And we'd have to go into the guard room and report that we were leaving. And so he'd stamp in our book that we were leaving. I'd go to the police station first, the local police, and they would...I think they would put a stamp in too or at least they'd note it. At then at the railroad guard station I'd go in there and he'd stamp it. And then on the train the...I'd notice the guard often sitting in the same car with me. And he'd take this little book out and read in it (I don't know what he had in there, where I'd been, what I'd said or so on). But I'd see him sitting in the corner reading this thing. And then when I get off the train, he'd pass this little book to a policeman on the platform where of the place where I was...to the guard on the platform to the place where I was coming. And then I'd have to go into the police station there and report that I'd arrived. And they would put a stamp in the book. And then that night, there was always sure to be a detective at the service, to hear what I was saying, but...but it didn't bother me. I mean, I just expected it, and that's what I...it didn't bother me.
SHUSTER: How about the actual physical traveling? Most of your travel was by train?
HUNT: Well...by train, and bus, and a little...in Manchuria they use horses and little carts a lot and a little tiny thing - the two-wheeled carts. And I did a lot of walking. I think one week up in Manchuria, I did one hundred miles in a week visiting two or three churches, walking entirely. I mean, I went out so far by train and then walked amongst the churches.
SHUSTER: So, was most of your years spent in traveling, then, or did you stay in one spot for weeks or month at a time?
HUNT: I lived in one place at long period...I mean, thirty years, in Pusan. But I traveled....
SHUSTER: No, I meant when you were in Manchuria.
HUNT: Yeah, well, in Manchuria we lived in Harbin all the time, but I would just go out for a week or something like that and travel. If there were several churches in the area I would visit those churches, or else I'd go to a church for a week of meetings. And then to another church. I'd have a schedule, you see my little notebook. I'd schedule for the fall, for the spring, and so on. I was...as Campbell says, "I think the average Korean missionary..." (It wasn't unusual with me.) "The average Korean missionary..." Campbell, by the way, had a son that went to Wheaton, but..and...his brother had some children who went to Wheaton...Ed Campbell. But on an average, I think he said that (I wish that I could find that figure but...and it's in one of his books) he said, "130 days or so in the country," he said, "the average Korean missionary...itinerating away from home." That was the average of the evangelistic missionary itinerary.
SHUSTER: Were most of the Koreans in Manchuria farmers?
HUNT: Well, they were...quite a few of them were opium peddlers, in the city especially. The Japanese encouraged it almost. At first when they went in there they rounded them up and they were kind of having a war with the Chinese and they had them in concentration camps, then they let them out....
SHUSTER: They had the opium dealers in the concentration camps?
HUNT: I was told they were given a little supply of opium. And if you had a supply of opium, and began to give shots and then you'd have customers. So in the cities I found that quite a few of the Koreans were peddling opium, or they had little tiny...they call it hotel, where they take one Russian [?] room and cut it up into a lot of little...little rooms for people to sleep. Of course, in Korea, it doesn't take much room. You don't have to have a bed or anything, you just sleep on the floor, as long as you have a little, warm enough room. And so they'd either take a Russian house and make it into a hotel, or they would have little restaurants, or they had some stores. But...there were a few doctors, opium addicts, but the farmers...out in the country, most of them were farmers. I mean, away from Harbin.
SHUSTER: Were they prosperous in Manchuria, or were they...
HUNT: No. I always think of....I guess it's hard for me to really judge those things. The...when I was a boy growing up I didn't know the Koreans were poor, but as I look at them now, they were awfully poor and still are, the common people. But they lived. They did their farming and they lived on it. And that was about it. But....
SHUSTER: Why had they gone to Manchuria?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: What caused the large Korean population in Manchuria?
HUNT: Well, first it was because they wanted to get away from the Japanese. That was one reason. They were interested in independence. That was one reason for many of them going up. And then in Korea, the crowded conditions. Manchuria is a very big country and the Chinese didn't do much rice farming up there, it's so cold. And rice, generally you think of, even here down in Carolinas or when you think of China, down in south China. You don't think of north China so much. And they...the Koreans had learned, because Korea has both cold and warm (that is, it's not hot; it's not tropical, but it's warmer in the south) but they've learned to grow rice in very cold country. And so they could go into Manchuria and take what the Chinese weren't using much, the lowland, or the swamplands, or the wetlands. They'd turn their pigs or their goats or their cows in there to just pasture. But they weren't farming it. They were mostly dry land crops. And the Koreans knew how to farm them for rice, and the Chinese like rice. And so the Koreans farmed this...what the Manchurians and Chinese weren't using, they'd farm that. And they knew how to do it. They didn't get rich off of it necessarily, but they did make a living. And in Korea. Oh, the land often is...the land owners, they'd piece it out, piece it out, piece it out, and it was hard to get land to farm.
SHUSTER: Did...was there tension between the Chinese and Koreans with all these Koreans coming to Manchuria?
HUNT: Well, before there didn't seem to be, as far as I can make out. Now I didn't live there until the Japanese time, but when I...I got the impression that the Koreans interested in the....