This is a complete and accurate transcript of the first oral history interview of Roger Walkwitz (CN 166, #T1) in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded is omitted. In a very few cases, the transcribers could not understand what was said, in which case "[unclear]' was inserted. Also, grunts and 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 July-September 1986 by Frances Brocker and Robert Shuster.
Collection 166, #T1. Interview of Roger Walkwitz by Glen Spitler, November 18, 1980.
SPITLER: This is Roger Walkwitz, and it's November 18, 1980. And the purpose of this interview basically it to [pause] have some idea of what you've been doing in the Philippines, and also what your life was like here at Wheaton, and [pause] basically it's part of the oral history archives the Billy Graham Center is trying to develop. And so we're here on the fourth floor of the Billy Graham Center [laughs]. And I think the first thing I'd like to have you do is give a short biographical sketch of yourself.
WALKWITZ: Alright. I'm Roger Walkwitz. `Pologize for my scratchy voice today, but I have a really rough one. But I was born in Michigan, and traveled all over the U.S. in various places, my Dad being a civil engineer. We moved to Wheaton, Illinois, just one week before Pearl Harbor in 1941. The following year or two, one by one the members of our family came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior through the ministries at College Church here in Wheaton. And so I went through Wheaton public school system, and then came here to Wheaton College, graduating in 1951 with a B.S. in chemistry degree. Now that brings it up to that point.
SPITLER: Uh-huh, can you just get a short history of what you've done since, since then?
WALKWITZ: When I finished Wheaton in 1951, the Korean War was on at the time. I was a member of the Illinois National Guard, but I did not really know what to do, just waiting on the Lord for His guidance. At that time Dr. Frank Green of the chemistry department brought Dean Ryther(?) from Bryan College over to meet me in July of 1951, and as a result I accepted a chemistry teaching position at Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee. I was there for one year teaching chemistry, mathematics, and coaching track and cross-country, since I had run here at Wheaton under Gil Dodds. And then I was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years. During my second year in the Army, the Lord seemed to redirect me to tribal work in the Philippines. But I did go back to teach one more year at Bryan College in the same area of chemistry and coaching. And then after that I took one year of graduate study at Columbia Bible College to sharpen up my Bible knowledge. Also I took two summers of Summer Institute of Linguistics at University of North Dakota. Then in September of 1956 Naomi and I were married. She was a student at Bryan College. Then we went to Missionary Internship in Detroit, and December of 1957 we were on our way to the Philippines. So for the last 23 years then we've been working in the Philippines except for our furlough years.
SPITLER: OK now let's go back to your life at Wheaton. And I guess I'd like to talk a little bit about what some of the physical features of campus life were, like, what were the buildings like, what was the landscape like, and how is it different now than it was then.
WALKWITZ: Alright. I watched the campus grow quite a bit [clears throat]...(Excuse me)...the current alumni headquarters gym was just put up about the time we moved to Wheaton. And then during my student days, the Memorial Student Center went up (we had a big fund-raising campaign for that), the North Hall and Evans Hall went up in those years just previous. So we saw quite a few buildings going up, but then since that time, of course, there've been many more. The facilities were adequate at the time. We did not really feel we were being crowded, but the facilities were utilized very fully in order to accommodate the student body. But the addition of the chemistry building, Breyer chemistry building and so on, came after my time, so that we that were in chemistry were on the west end of Blanchard, on the first floor and down in the basement. Physics department was on the second floor. So those of us in the science end were somewhat called the "west end people", and those in the humanities and so on, they were the east end of Blanchard.
WALKWITZ: So we sort of had a little dichotomy there between the emphasis in our undergraduate studies.
SPITLER: Were there any special fashions or fads that students...that you can remember?
WALKWITZ: Not, not really very much as far as dress, any particular fads or fashions that I can remember particularly, no.
SPITLER: Were there any real hang-outs or real places where students met often?
WALKWITZ: Well, the student center [clears throat] at the up...upper years, of course, was quite popular. But students didn't have any particular place where they met. They used to go out to North Side Park and have a, some sprees and special activities. You know, class rivalries and things like that, but not any particular place that I remember.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. Can you remember anything about the social life, or like such as dating, or dorm life, or friendships that you developed, dining hall, etc.
WALKWITZ: Well, I was a little different because I lived at home the full time that I was in college. A number of students did live at home or lived in private homes in the area because the College was very short in dormitory space. Now I believe most of the students can be accommodated in College housing. So that I rarely ever ate in the dining hall, or some of those activities. But my friendships were mainly developed through fellow chemistry majors, or those who were on the track or in cross-country squads...
WALKWITZ: ...and other sports too that we would meet in the locker room, and have different activities...
WALKWITZ: ...and fellowship together.
SPITLER: Can you say anything more about the sports you were in, involved in?
WALKWITZ: Well, I ran cross-country in the fall, and then spring track, indoor, in track in the wintertime for most of the time I was here. My senior year I was actually too busy with my major, plus being a leader in Christian Service Brigade at College Church, which is my home church in town. So something had to give [chuckles]or I wouldn't graduate. So I had to give up sports my senior year. But I did enjoy very very much the fellowship with the guys, and especially the keen interest of Gil Dodds in each one of his runners, the fellowship we would have when we went away on meets, so that I considered the sport part of my college life very important. And it also ended up as a very important part of my college teaching career too. Of being able to work with guys in something other than the classroom.
SPITLER: Yeah. what were students like basically. Was there a lot of competition for grades? Or, what were...what were their values? Um.
WALKWITZ: Well, at that time, I thought it was a very tremendous era as far as foreign missions was concerned. We had a lot of guys on campus that had been in World War II who were a little bit older, maybe more mature, really knowing the Lord in a deep way, and life, what it was all about. So that even though we had some horsing around on campus and different activities, it seemed to me that there was a real stable factor there of down to business. As far as grades' competition, I did not really feel any, or notice any extreme competition. I understand today the competition is really intense and it causes some problems. But at that time it seemed that everybody was doing their best in buckling down in their studies, and helping each other at times, but I was not aware of any extreme competitive feeling in the area of grades.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. What...did you have any special memories of teachers or of like the president of the College. Was Edman then...
WALKWITZ: ...Dr. Edman was president of the College at the time. I did not of course have him for any classes. I knew him in a sense, but maybe not as close as some who were very active in maybe student leadership positions. Of course the ones on the chemistry faculty I knew. Dr. Martin from the physics department I knew personally because of his son being a companion to my brother, being in the same church. So that some of the faculty were also friends from earlier life in College Church activities.
SPITLER: did your view about life change as you went to college? Or did you notice any real changes from when you were a freshman to when you were a senior?
WALKWITZ: As far as my life you mean?
SPITLER: Yeah, and how did you grow?
WALKWITZ: Uh-huh. I think a significant [clears throat] happening was during my freshman year when Stephen Olford was here as the speaker for the Spiritual Emphasis week. I'd gone through the Wheaton public school system, which is typical, and then coming to a Christian college with chapel every day was something I looked forward to, and I believe I got a lot out of it. I have occasionally visited campus on furloughs, and it seems to me that many kids don't really value their chapel services, or pay too much attention to it. But of course we were all in Pierce Chapel at the time, assigned seats. But as I remember, everyone seemed to be quite attentive and concerned about what was being offered to us there in chapel. And that was a significant time in my life, and through my college years I was open to the Lord's leading to the foreign field if He would call me. But I never felt any particular call, and felt confident in going on in a chemistry major which I enjoyed very much. So that it was a maturing process, but I believe like every student, about every quarter, or every semester of course at the time, and every year you know...well, change your major from one back to another, and over to another, and hem and haw and finally you['ve] got to make a commitment [laughs] to what you're going to major in.
WALKWITZ: And that growth and development in trusting the Lord to guide me I think was very important.
SPITLER: do you feel that teachers were pretty much open to students as far as talking with them and becoming their friends?
WALKWITZ: Yes, I didn't find any teacher too busy if I needed help or wanted to talk about things. I probably did not take advantage of it, or bother any of them very much, because my usual nature is that I work things out myself more or less as an individual trusting the Lord, and more self-reliant that way. But there were a few times when I needed to talk with a teacher and I found them very open and helpful.
SPITLER: now I'm going to talk a little about the spiritual life in a little bit more detail. the chapel you said, as you said, was held in Pierce. What was the faculty attitude toward chapel? Did most of the faculty come to chapel? Did they appreciate it generally or did they...?
WALKWITZ: As I remember most all the faculty were there and many of them sat on the platform. The speakers would sit in the middle and then the whole platform was filled with chairs. And then the faculty would sit up there on the platform, filling it, and then others would sit in the first row or so of Pierce Chapel. So that most all the time that I can remember you would always see your faculty member there in chapel, every day, and we had chapel every day.
SPITLER: Was there any kind of revival in the period, or special chapels that specially impacted you or...?
WALKWITZ: Well, there was one of the big revivals in 1950 that went on for several days, day and night. And I believe that was very significant in the life of some students. For me personally, I had already committed my life to the Lord. previous to that time and whatever the Lord wanted, it was up to Him just to give me the guidance at the time when He wanted it. So that that particular revival was no special benefit to me, but an encouragement that others were having their needs met.
SPITLER: What kind of revival was it, like, what did it grow out of?
WALKWITZ: Well, it was at the time of special meetings scheduled for a week. And one night I believe Dr. Edman opened it for some testimonies...that was before the speaker started. And the testimonies just kept going, and people were standing up and it just went on through the night, through the next day. And I'm not sure if it's through the following night. But it went on for a good 24 hours, or something like that, with kids testifying or confessing different things that they felt they had to get right...others going to see persons privately, or faculty members privately, getting things straightened out between them and the Lord.
SPITLER: That was through, went on through the night?
SPITLER: That was in 1950?
SPITLER: In the spring, or...
WALKWITZ: I believe in the spring of 1950.
SPITLER: what was the College outreach to the community like? And what was the community relation to the College?
WALKWITZ: Well, Wheaton was a very small town then [laughs].
WALKWITZ: I forget the exact population during my college years, but when we moved here it was only seven thousand. But it was probably up to about ten or eleven thousand about that time. The relationship with the community was okay. There was a dichotomy, I'm sure of that, that the community, some of them, of course, had a certain attitude toward the College. And maybe the College sort of felt itself secure within itself. But there was no barrier, and there was cooperation back and forth. But then of course the College was busy about their business and the town businesses were busy with their things. One aspect of town that I remember though, all the stores, or nearly all the stores, closed on Wednesday afternoon at that time, and sometimes would be open Friday evening. And I thought that was very unusual. In some cases it might have been frustrating if you wanted to buy something Wednesday afternoon. But maybe another reason, it gave people time to attend prayer meetings on Wednesday evening when they had a whole afternoon off. I thought there was a good healthy relationship between Wheaton and the College ever since we moved here when I was still in seventh grade.
SPITLER: Were there bible study activities on the campus? Did most people [sic] involved in a Bible study of some sort?
WALKWITZ: You mean the students?
WALKWITZ: Well, of course, we were all required to take a bible course. I don't know if was every semester, but we had to have 16 semester hours of Bible, which meant you had to take a 2-hour class every semester you were here to fulfill your Bible requirement, which was a real minor.
SPITLER: Do you feel that most students attended church regularly?
WALKWITZ: Most of them did. I know some slept in. You'd hear some things here and there. But for the most part,I think kids did attend different ones of the churches in the area. Of course at that time we didn't have as many churches as we have today. There was the College Church and Bible Church basically, the Tabernacle downtown, and maybe just a couple of others nearby. But you have plenty of churches to choose from today where I would consider the gospel being preached. Now we had other churches in town, but at that time, we all felt that there was no gospel in them. In fact, when our family first moved here before any of us really knew the Lord, we attended a couple, and even though we didn't know the Lord, we just felt that there was really nothing there. And then we did get into College Church and through the ministries there, we all realized what salvation was all about.
SPITLER: Was there any special political involvement of students? Like, that time was a pretty heated time, the aftermath of World War II and everything.
WALKWITZ: They were involved in the political campaigns, but I don't remember any issues in between particularly that they were disturbed about. We had a war, World War II, that was over and many of the GIs were back on the campus as students, and then of course when I graduated the Korean War was on. And we really didn't understand a whole lot of what was behind that. There was a very strong anti-Communist feeling throughout the U.S., and I believe all the students felt that we were doing our part. Korea was attacked, we had a commitment to defend them and to help them. And so we all felt everything was being done right, and everything was justified in what we were doing. Of course, we had some very significant leaders at the time in General MacArthur, who I believe most of us respected very highly, and Dwight Eisenhower became President in '52 then. So that we weren't really opposing the government or anything else, but we were more or less actively with them, in general that is.
SPITLER: What were your basic positive reactions...I mean when you look back on your four years here? What were your most positive feelings toward the College?
WALKWITZ: Well, my most positive feelings were that I got a good education in my field. I got a little bit in other fields that goes with the liberal arts education. So that when I graduated I felt that I had a good foundation in the bible, as well as my profession of chemistry. I had made a number of good friends. In other words, I felt satisfied that I had a good four-year experience here at the College and when I graduated I was ready to go on and take my place in life.
SPITLER: Any negative reactions?
WALKWITZ: No. At the time I didn't really have any negative reactions toward the College. I felt a very positive feeling toward it in every way. Maybe since that time you hear about a little thing here and there, and you have some questions. But at the time I graduated I was quite confident that it was the best college in the nation [laughs] as far as Christian colleges went. Now I went down to teach at Bryan which was very small compared to Wheaton, but I found there a very healthy atmosphere, and again, a very good Christian college.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. Were there any real crisis events while you here in...on campus?
WALKWITZ: No, I don't really remember any crisis events. Financially they, of course, had times when they were a little bit pressed. Nowadays, I think they've also had a time or two when they've had to really evaluate and rebudget things in order to meet expenses. But I don't remember any particular crisis that we were faced with and were shared with us as students.
SPITLER: Was student government active? Did they what kind of things did they do?
WALKWITZ: They were active. well, they had their political campaigns, you know, for election and all of that. What they actually accomplished on campus in projects and so on like that, I'm not too aware of at this stage [laughs] That's a long time ago.
SPITLER: Were they involved in any kind of social action?
WALKWITZ: Not so much as student government. As Student Service Council was engaged very heavily because of the strong missions emphasis or concern that was on campus at the time, especially through the GIs who had been overseas and had seen needs and were active here on campus. So I would say the Christian Service Council was more obviously active maybe than the student government. They'd go reaching into Chicago into ghetto areas, and all kind of things. And I know the Foreign Missions Fellowship at that time was very strong, and a very popular place that kids attended regularly, their prayer meetings and so on.
SPITLER: why did you decide to come to Wheaton now, just wondering [laughs].
WALKWITZ: OK. Primarily, I suppose, because I lived here in town. I recognized it as a good college where I could get my education. And I could really afford it if... as long as I could live at home. It would be the cheapest in the long run for me. So all factors considered there were no negatives, really.
SPITLER: Did your father finance your education?
WALKWITZ: My father helped me some with my tuition, but once I was out of high school, I took care of all my clothing and other personal expenses myself. But with tuition, he felt that was part of his responsibility. Now I paid some, but most of it he paid.
SPITLER: Okay, now we're going to leave college. What did you do immediately after you got out of college?
WALKWITZ: Well, as soon as I got out, I rushed home from graduation, packed up and took off to be assistant director of our summer camp of College Church. That was only about a week long, and then the rest of the summer I painted houses with my two buddies like we did every summer to earn our expenses.
SPITLER: Did you...did you have any long range plans at that time?
WALKWITZ: No, at that time I didn't know what to do because of the Korean War and being single and a graduate. Already I just assumed that I would be called up, either through the Illinois National Guard, or if I left the state and had to resign, I be drafted in some way.
SPITLER: And you were then, weren't you?
WALKWITZ: Yeah, I was [laughs].
SPITLER: So what did you do in Korea? How did that affect your life?
WALKWITZ: Well, I was in the Korean War, but I didn't actually go to Korea. Since I had finished my college in chemistry already, after the four months' basic training nearly all of our unit went to Korea, but just a couple of us were held back. And then later, after about a week, we got our orders, and so I went to petroleum laboratory tech school and worked in a quartermaster laboratory, petroleum testing laboratory, the rest of my Army career...stateside.
SPITLER: And then you married Naomi, is that right?
WALKWITZ: Well, after teaching another year at Bryan, yes.
SPITLER: And then how did you meet her?
WALKWITZ: Well, when I went to Bryan to teach, she came there as a freshman, and being a working student, she and a friend were assigned to clean the chemistry lab as part of their janitor work. And then she was in a group of five students that I took out weekly on Christian service assignment teaching Bible in the schools down in Tennessee. But we did not become interested in each other until later on during her senior year when I came back during her senior year when I came back after the Army.
SPITLER: So you knew her before you went into the Army?
SPITLER: Okay, I see. Then after that, is that when you started getting involved in mission?
WALKWITZ: My second year in the Army, when I was in the Los Angeles area, I learned of the push or the real need of tribal work in the Philippines. Now growing up in Wheaton I knew plenty about missions all around the world. I had many missionary kids as my friends. But it just didn't seem very personal to me as to a particular place. But at that time the Lord had convinced me personally that the Great Commission involved me personally, and that I should head overseas and the direction was tribal work in the Philippines. So when I left the Army, I did come back to teach one more year just to get adjusted to civilian life with the understanding that that would be the last.
SPITLER: So then how did you prepare for the mission field?
WALKWITZ: Well, as soon as I got out of the Army, I immediately went to North Dakota in June and took one year of linguistics under Wycliffe. Then I went to Bryan to teach, and then Columbia Bible College to get a Masters in Biblical Education with a major in Missions to prepare myself for what I was getting into. And this was all my own idea. I did not consult any mission board on it. And then took a summer, a second summer, of linguistics. By that time I felt that I was adequately prepared to jump into the work, and if I needed anything more, I would catch it on furlough.
SPITLER: So you just decided to go to the mission field because you felt the Lord was calling you and....were there any other reasons besides, you know, any spiritual reasons?
WALKWITZ: No, I just felt that the Great Commission was there and that I should not wait for a special call, but that I should start going. And if the Lord closed the door, then I could stay home and teach college again.
WALKWITZ: But I felt uneasy staying home until the Lord had shut the door.
SPITLER: Was it something you thought would be more fulfilling you also?
WALKWITZ: No, I really didn't want to go [laughs].
SPITLER: You didn't want to go?
WALKWITZ: I really didn't want to go. I admired missionaries to a point, but I just didn't feel that I wanted it for my own life. So I was not desiring it at all, and hoping that the Lord would shut the door and then I could stay home and say,`well, alright, I did my part.' But as time went on the doors never shut, and then I'd get more excited about it. And the Lord just took away my desire for college teaching and coaching, and gave me a real desire for the tribal work. And so I really enjoyed it for the last 23 years and wouldn't trade it. But I wasn't really gung-ho for it in the beginning. I was sort of a reluctant volunteer until the Lord really changed my interests.
SPITLER: Then how did you decide to go to the Philippines?
WALKWITZ: Well, the tribal work in the Philippines was presented in some churches while I was in the Los Angeles. And it just sort of struck a responsive tone within me that this was a real challenging work, a rugged work possibly. And here I was an athlete with a strong body. And the Lord just kind of put it in my heart, `Look, go out there, and as long as your health holds up you stay out there. If your health breaks or something, you can always come home and teach school.' So it sort of...I got shamed into it, I suppose. Why should I let somebody else go out there and do a tough work when I could handle it physically. The Lord gave me a good, strong body. So that was part of the motivation I believe the Lord used to get me to go over there. I couldn't just stay on the sidelines and say that I was doing the Lord's will...,
WALKWITZ: ...or doing my part.
SPITLER: You were involved with the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade.
SPITLER: How did you choose that mission board, or did they choose you, or...?
WALKWITZ: No, I knew about Far Eastern Gospel Crusade about from its beginnings because it was started by GIs after World War II. And their first missionary went out in 1947. And I believe they even had a office in the upstairs of our church house at College Church way back in the early days. And several Wheaton people like Jack Frizen were involved in the beginnings of it. So I knew about it, but I didn't really choose it until later on. One of my friends went with it, and I consulted some other missionaries about different boards and it sort...sort of narrowed down to whether I would go with FEGC or Wycliffe. So I asked my missionary board of College Church for some advice. And Ken Taylor at the time was chairman of the committee, and I told him kind of what I had in mind doing, and my gifts. And they knew me, of course, and my gifts because I'd been active in the church, and in Brigade work, and they knew my interests. And so they suggested that I would go with FEGC. So I felt at peace about that, and been very happy that I did make that choice that the Lord led in it, because I wanted to be involved with people in discipling and church planting, not just translation. But I wanted to be able to do translation if it was necessary to do so, and we did do some in our early days.
SPITLER: when you got there finally, what's the strategy of the board, the mission board for reaching the people?
WALKWITZ: Okay. The primary thrust of FEGC was the establishment of a bible school, which was the request of the Christian Filipinos that the GIs met after World War II. They had a GI gospel hour, like Youth for Christ "Saturday Night", and Christian Filipinos urged them to come back and help to train them. But then after the school got started and students were graduated, went home to their provincial areas, why, they wanted the missionaries to come and help them with their church planting efforts. So gradually we got into church planting. Also some of the GIs wanted to work with other GIs that were out there. So the Overseas Christian Servicemen's Center missions was originally a part of FEGC. So we did a whole lot of things in the beginning. And being greenhorns, you might say, nobody having any previous experience, we did a lot of things that may have been a little far out, or we were spreading ourselves too thin. So little by little we spun out other organizations, and then we began to concentrate on the training of Filipinos in institutions, plus church planting in various areas. The tribal church planting is only one part. Most of our church planters are in the lowland areas of the more usual Filipino type.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. how large was the FEGC in the Philippines? Was it, like, a lot of people? How many people?
WALKWITZ: We have about 85 missionaries in the Philippines. We have about over 300 in the whole mission.
SPITLER: Is that all over, in the Far East, Japan?
WALKWITZ: Yes, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan. And then 10 years ago we absorbed Central Alaska Missions, so that now is a division of FEGC.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. how many stations are there in the Philippines? Do you have any idea?
WALKWITZ: Well, we don't really go by the word "stations." We have missionaries stationed around in various areas...
SPITLER: I see.
WALKWITZ: ...but I would say that we have, let's see, we have one, two, three, maybe about 10 locations that people are living in for church planting efforts, plus a number of missionaries in the Manila area involved with our Asian Theological Seminary, which is a graduate school, plus our Febias College of Bible which is undergraduate.
SPITLER: So basically what you've been doing is teaching in bible schools to help the people and....
WALKWITZ: Some of our missionaries have been doing that, but I've been in church planting...
SPITLER: Church planting.
WALKWITZ: ...tribal church planting in the northern part of Luzon of the Philippines for most of the time we've been there.
SPITLER: Okay, So you have done some teaching though?
WALKWITZ: Well, we have our own grass roots bible school with the tribal people, and then I did teach three years at Faith Academy...,
SPITLER: Faith Academy.
WALKWITZ: ...our cooperative missionary kids school. Because I'd been a college teacher, it was just assumed that I would, go there to teach full-time in the high school. But I did reluctantly three different times, but that was not really my calling of the Lord. So that now I've been in tribal church planting continuously for the last 10 years.
SPITLER: Okay. Okay, and now we'll go into a little more detail about how you got there and what you have been doing.
SPITLER: how did you first get there in 1957?
WALKWITZ: Well, we flew to Japan, where my, one of my best buddies was already there with FEGC, Jack Fitzwilliam, who was a graduate of the class of '51 as well, and he was also a missionary kid from China. We stayed in Japan for three weeks getting acquainted with our FEGC work there. Then we went on to Hong Kong for a week and became acquainted with the OMF[Overseas Missionary Fellowship] and C&MA[Christian and Missionary Alliance] work in Hong Kong. We figured there was no big rush getting to the Philippines, but as long as we could make these stops I wanted to see what other missions were, what other mission work was like because I actually got to the Philippines. So we flew out [and] made these stops on the way, and then arrived there in January of '58.
SPITLER: What were your first impressions? Were you apprehensive, or did you have any culture shock?
WALKWITZ: No, we were all very excited to get there. My wife confesses that for the first two years she was quite homesick for the U.S., not particularly her family, because she was more or less an orphan. But after two years, then she was fully at home there. But I...I didn't remember any culture shock. We had heard about Manila being the "pearl of the Orient". But to us it was a very dirty city. It didn't look like the pearl that we thought of. But I was so excited by that time. The Lord had just taken away my desire for the States and everything else. So that I was just eagerly anticipating what He had in mind. So everything was a fresh, new adventure, and I don't remember any culture shock of any kind. I was very willing and eager to jump in and just to absorb what I needed to do there.
SPITLER: What kind of work have you been doing over the past 20 years?
WALKWITZ: Alright. Three separate years I taught at Faith Academy, but the rest of the time we have been in tribal church planting. Now that was split into two sections. For eight years we actually lived in the tribal area of Banaue, of Ifagao province, Philippines, where the eighth wonder of the world, the beautiful Banaue rice terraces are. And there we lived among the people, learning their language, their customs, personal evangelism, discipling, teaching and training, and established our own little bible school there that we ran for a couple of years. We also did bible translation, the Gospel of John with one of the local believers who was bilingual, and very eager to see some scriptures in his own language. So we did a number of things our first two terms in the tribal area. But then in 1970 we were transferred to Baguio City, which is the gateway to the mountain area. And after a year of working with our Ifagao tribal people in Baguio City (they had come there to go to college) we began to realize the potential of an expanded ministry. One day the Lord just led me in my reading to the fascinating verses in Acts 19, verses 8 to 10, where the school of Tyrannus is mentioned, and the result of Paul's ministry there seemed to Paul had changed his method of working when he came to Ephesus because of the potential of the situation. And our situation in Baguio was very comparable to it. And so we shifted over our method to using the school of Tyrannus method in 1971. And by using that, a strong evangelism in the city, of those who have come in from the province, and discipling and training and teaching them, and then working with them, seeing them establish daughter churches back in their home areas has been very, very exciting and thrilling to see the Lord work through that method.
SPITLER: So basically there are quite a few opportunities for evangelism up in the tribal...
WALKWITZ: Oh, yes. There are many parts up in the tribal area that have no gospel churches at all, places the students tell me where a missionary has never gone, they've never even heard anything about it. So there's lots of work to do yet.
SPITLER: What are the people like. Are they...?
WALKWITZ: Well, they are simple living. Their houses are up on posts usually, some are grass roofs, some are galvanized iron. Many of them still offer pigs and chickens as blood sacrifices to the spirits of their ancestors. So in general their life revolves around their animistic pagan religion which permeates every part of their life. There are about half a million tribal people in the northern part of the Philippines. There are others in other parts as well. They speak seven languages in our particular mountain area, and even these languages have dialects, so that linguistically it's really a, a confused mess. But they're very interesting people, and civilized in what I would call real civilization. Sometimes our big cities act less civilized than the tribal people do in their tribal area, even though they were headhunters just a generation ago.
SPITLER: Uh-uh, so they, they've come away from being headhunters obviously. Probably...have they been westernized or have they just been more civilized [laughs] or what?
WALKWITZ: Well, they're being westernized and they want to be westernized in many ways, I guess, the students especially. Some of them still wear their native G-string loin cloth. But many of them are wearing western-style dress, not coat and tie, of course, but shorts and long pants and shirts. Those that go to school learn through the medium of English, and when they go to the city, of course, they can see western movies and their books are all in English, so that they are being westernized, not deliberately I guess, but they all want to adopt western ways. In fact many Filipinos feel they would rather be Americans than Filipinos, and feel that they were cheated when independence was granted to the Philippines in 1946. They say they never had a chance to vote on it, there was no plebiscite. It was just a deal made with their politicians that they would gain their independence. But if the people had been allowed to vote, they might have voted to stay with us and would apply for statehood just like Hawaii and Alaska got some years back.
SPITLER: Did they learn English because it's a more common language [unclear]...
WALKWITZ: No, the Spanish that dominated the Philippines for 400 years up to 1888 set up a school system only for the elite. The common people had no educational opportunities. So immediately when the U.S. took over in 1898 they organized a, a school system. And I guess the first boatload of teachers that came out were called the Thomasites, maybe that was their leader coming about 1900. And so they began the educational system, and English was the language in which it was going to be taught. So it was really forced upon the people, but they did not seem to mind in many areas, although kids will tell me that they were fined if they were caught speaking anything other than English on the school grounds. It's amazing the mountain people speak very good English compared to people from lowland provinces. And probably that is because they had American teachers more recently than the lowlands that had Filipino teachers trained quicker in earlier years and then have reverted back to a Filipino-English type of speech.
SPITLER: So you really haven't encountered any real language difficulties.
WALKWITZ: No, we work in English now because we're working with seven different language groups.
WALKWITZ: Now when we lived in Banaue we learned the local language to a point, but then after coming back from a furlough and consulting with the church leaders, their request was that I not spend more time learning their language and translating, but that I should concentrate on teaching them through the medium of English, and then they would be responsible for teaching the people, realizing that this was a very much faster method. Now of course there's drawbacks to anything, but this seemed to be the Lord's pattern. So we have reverted back an English ministry at their request, and now for practical reasons in Baguio we could never learn all their languages, and we could not use one and show favoritism to one group either, so English is the natural language.
SPITLER: Do many people speak English? Do most of the people of tribal areas speak English, or...?
WALKWITZ: No, most of them do not because they didn't go to school, or they didn't go far enough. But a significant minority does speak English well enough so that we have a natural bridge to work with them, and as the Spirit moves into their hearts we just trust the Lord that they in turn will share with those who can not speak English.
SPITLER: So you work among those who do speak English and expect them to carry it to those who don't?
SPITLER: has...is there a great deal of illiteracy in the country, and has that affected your, the presentation of the gospel?
WALKWITZ: Yes, illiteracy is quite high, not as high as some areas of the world. But those who do know how to read and write know how to read and write in the English language. And so the literacy problem is tremendous in getting people to learn to read their own language. And as we do bible translation, and Wycliffe is very active now throughout the Philippines in producing translations, then we have the tremendous job of teaching the illiterate to read their own language. Those who already know, know English well enough so they, they sort of disdain their own. But those who don't know English and learn to read their own language as the only one they can read, why, they begin to appreciate it. But it's a long road before they can learn, at least a significant number can learn.
SPITLER: do you find any cultural barriers to the presentation of the gospel, or do you find that culture accepts the gospel?
WALKWITZ: Well, no culture is really going to accept the gospel because the gospel is going to cut across parts of it. But there are parts of the culture that are neutral, and we try to be very careful to understand, to learn their culture, their religion, to know the culture well enough to know what is anti-biblical and what is neutral. And we try to be very careful not to transplant American culture to replace their own. But make sure that anything that is changed is because of biblical reasons. So their religion and worship to the spirits of course is contrary to scripture. That has to be changed. But some of their customs, their native dancing, for instance, some of their gatherings, there's no problem with any of these, so we encourage them to continue on with them.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. ....was going to ask. Then do you feel that do you think that, there are more barriers in America in your experience to the gospel than there are in the Philippines? Or do you think...?
WALKWITZ: Well, they're different kinds of barriers, but I would say that there's probably an equal number of barriers, no matter what. The stubbornness of the human heart, I guess, is our basic barrier...the pride of refusing to admit that we're sinners and need a Savior. The Filipino tribal person that we're working with who is basically a pagan, who may have a Roman Catholic veneer upon him, may not want to admit that he's a sinner. As far as heaven and hell, those are a little bit foreign concept in their religion, so that there are many, many things they have to learn. But I think that there are a number of barriers no matter where you go.
SPITLER: so you present the gospel to mostly those English-speaking.
SPITLER: How do you present it?
WALKWITZ: Well, I do mostly individual presentation with them. Now public presentations are generally done by those that I work with, so that they do more of the public ministry, and I do more of the personal, or behind the scenes, training. Now in early days of course we did participate in the public ministry a little bit more than we do now. But since we've trained many people in music and evangelistic methods, and so on, why, there's no reason why we should do it. If they're trained they should do it and gain more experience. And we've always a motivation since we went there each term to see to it that a nucleus of men were trained and discipled that could carry on if anything happened and we could not return. So that each term we have tried to take the pattern of Jesus, as well as the Apostle Paul, and train a group of disciples who would stay on. And part of their training of course is to be carrying on a public ministry as well as private. They do a lot of private evangelism and discipling as well.
SPITLER: What are some of the typical reactions to the gospel?
WALKWITZ: Well, [clears throat] I can mention like Joseph, who was a civil engineering student. And the first time he heard it, why the Lord really convicted him and he has turned out to be a tremendous disciple, and is an elder in the church. He came to the meeting specifically to debate with me, because guys had told him about it, but he never said a word because the Holy Spirit had convicted his heart. And then it ranges all the way down to people that take a long time before they finally make a commitment to others who will make a commitment and then fade away, and then some that will somewhat actively oppose you. So you get the whole broad scope of reactions like you would any place, I guess. Different cultures of course will allow expression of opposition in different ways. But sometimes there they will get a little bit drunk, and then they will come up and really debate with you publicly or challenge you or something like that, so you get used to that type of thing, which is not too frequent really.
SPITLER: What's a typical church service like when you work with the tribal peoples?
WALKWITZ: Alright. A typical service is very informal. Their buildings are simple, built by themselves. We may have a dog or some chickens run through, and people may go in and out, they just sit on a bench. But they love to sing. We're trying to get them to make more gospel hymns in their own native tunes, but many of them yet are translated from western tunes. But they like to sing, and they have scripture reading and prayer, so it isn't a whole lot different in the content than what we would have here in the U.S., but much less formal, although it is solemn to the point where it is the time where they learn from the word of God and do worship the Lord. Of course we don't have organs. We don't have choirs very often unless we have a special meeting. We may have some special numbers, maybe we'll have a solo or duet or trio or something like that but similar to here, but less formal, I would say, and with good content.
SPITLER: Can you give me an idea of like how you've seen the Holy Spirit work since you've been there?
WALKWITZ: Yes, the Lord has really done some very wonderful things in saving certain people, to see how He's worked in their lives to bring them to Himself, and also in supplying facilities and working out problems. Sometimes we've gone out on a gospel team trip, and faced a real difficult situation where it could have boomeranged against us. But we've seen the Lord work in hearts where its been turned around to be a tremendous blessing and opening. The Lord provided facilities for us just a year and a half ago by giving us the use of rather large building free of charge, on a month-by-month basis, by just persuading the president of the company to let us use it. So it, that's part of the thrill of being a missionary, is just going along with the Lord. And I learned years ago that He didn't send me out there to do His work, but He just asked me to go along with Him while He does His work. And I'm just more or less just the body in which He lives. So at times I've had ideas or inspirations or visions of things to be done that I know have been of the Lord, many of times even at the last minute, and I've changed things on the spur of the moment, just feeling that inner hunch that this is what the Lord wanted to be done, and then seeing Him work out very wonderfully through that. So I can sit back and say, well, I didn't plan this, I didn't take credit for it. But it's amazing to see what God did.
SPITLER: have you seen any racial or ethnic problems you've had to deal with?
WALKWITZ: Well there are racial problems in the Philippines because of the different groupings that are there. We have tribal people that are looked down on by the lowland Filipino that is the majority. We have Muslims tribal groups in the south that are another different group. And even within the tribal groupings there will be somewhat of a prejudice against a neighboring tribe or another tribe, looking down on them. I suppose this is just the result of human nature thinking that of course you are the best and anyone else that's a little different is beneath you. The Chinese also are viewed with suspicion, because they somewhat control the economy, and so there's mistrust and hatred against the Chinese as well in the Philippines.
SPITLER: Do you feel that you've been in any way absorbed into the society, or become part of it in a way, more than you are an American?
WALKWITZ: Well, before I went of course I was fully American in every way. But having been there these many years we feel very much at home there. And as far as we can detect the people have accepted us as one of them, probably as much as could be done unless we had gone out single and maybe married into the tribe. But they know we're different. We adjust as much as we can, and we make a few mistakes and they help us out, but we're really part of them in many, many ways.
SPITLER: What do you think your role in the community is seen as from the people, or what do you see your role?
WALKWITZ: Well, my role is as...is not a community leader or involved with their political process because we steer clear of any of that. In fact the government has made it clear recently that we're to keep our nose out of it because some Catholic priests of the Jesuit order have been involved in the underground movement, and have been deported. And as a result the government has cut all missionary visas down to one year, renewable upon good behavior. Of course, we have no intention of messing around with the political process there. But we are respected in the community as someone who has something to offer. And the gospel that we bring has changed enough lives where people to have respect for what we're doing. Whether they realize all the implications of the Lord and everything, of course, that depends on the person. But like this one Joe who came to know the Lord when he came to know the gospel. Why, he had been quite a rowdy, a real trouble to his parents, a thief, drunkard. After a year his parents accepted the Lord saying that the change in Joe's life was so much they could not help but realize the power of the gospel. And of course that is true with a number in the community, and people do respect the gospel to a point and respect us because of that, but unless they really accept the Lord of course there's always somewhat of a barrier there.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. Since 1972 Marcos has been, has declared martial law. How has that affected your work. Has it opened doors, closed doors?
WALKWITZ: No, this has been a help in a sense. The peace and order situation in the Philippines has been much improved with the advent of martial law. Now the term "martial law," of course, strikes many images in people's minds, and may be practiced differently in different countries. But really the term martial law does not really describe the Filipino situation as it is practiced. It is more or less of a benevolent dictatorship, more efficient. many things are being done for the country that were not being done before. Of course the government is not perfect in any way, there's a lot of graft and corruption yet. But compared with other governments in the world, we as missionaries feel that the government under Marcos is doing a very good job. Now things could change overnight, of course, if someone would be assassinated. The things we read in the American press are very disgusting to us because they're blown out of proportion and deliberately distorted to try to bring discredit on the country which disturbs us very much. And I know this is the case with missionaries in many other countries who know the situation and feel that the American press is very unfair. But we have freedom to come and go. The people have all the freedom they want. The only freedom they do not have is to deliberately undermine and foment rebellion against the government, which I don't believe is going to be tolerated in any country in the world.
SPITLER: What's the government position to mission work.
WALKWITZ: Very, very favorable. When Billy Graham was there a couple of years ago with the big campaign in Manila, the president and his wife entertained him and his team with an official state dinner given to a head of state, which is very unusual. Now maybe they were doing it somewhat for political reasons, but I don't know of any other person who has come there to the Philippines treated as warmly and as genuinely as Billy Graham was. Now we know President Marcos and his wife are not believers, but they've been very favorable to mission work, and we have really no complaints against their policies that affect us.
SPITLER: What about their relationship to the Catholic Church?
WALKWITZ: Well, the Catholic Church is the most antagonistic toward us, at least until Vatican Council. Before that time the Roman Catholic priests who were from Belgium who were in the tribal area even tried to get us kicked out of the country. And they got some public school teachers to make false charges against us. But when it came up in court, it found out that the Roman priests were doing what they accused us of doing, and the two of them were shipped out, and we stayed on. But since Vatican II they have tried to put a better front forward. But our main opposition is from the Roman Catholic church, not from the pagan religious society.
SPITLER: Do you see any anti-westernism or "foreignerism"?
WALKWITZ: The only anti-western or anti-Americanism is usually centered in the University of the Philippines in Manila by their liberal professors and student radical groups. But away from Manila and a few of the politicians there, the vast majority of the people, I would say 90% plus, is very pro-American and pro-western and wants to be with us, and they are very disgusted with anything otherwise.
SPITLER: Are the people looking for democracy?
WALKWITZ: They like democracy to a point, but I don't believe the country can handle democracy like we want to practice it here. And that's a fallacy of many Americans. We think our system of government is the best for everybody in the world. But unless you have that base, foundation of morality and honesty, and an educated populace that knows what's going on, why, you can buy votes, you can intimidate people and democracy does not work. And that's what was happening in the Philippines. They were going downhill because of this type of thing, vote-buying, and intimidation, and so on. So that really the present government system is better for the country and the people will even tell me that themselves.
SPITLER: Has Marxism had any influence in any university or...?
WALKWITZ: Yes, the Maoist variety is the basis of the underground movement against the government, and I believe it's fomented a lot by university professors at the University of the Philippines and a few other schools, but it is not really catching on in the country. Now there are bands of underground guerrillas around the country in different areas. They're called the NPA, the New Peoples' Army, but they like to parade themselves to the people as the nice people, not the New Peoples Army necessarily. And they try to deceive the people by helping them in certain ways. But Filipino people are not really dumb. They've endured the Japanese and other things, and they're very resilient. So that they'll tolerate a lot of things, but they can see through a lot of it. So that the Communists of course would never be accepted by the Philippines voluntarily. And I don't think any other country has either.
SPITLER: What's the health situation in the Philippines?
WALKWITZ: away from the big city there are very few medical facilities. Now the government has some government hospitals here and there, and rural health clinics, staffed sometimes by a doctor, and sometimes by nurses only, but general sanitation and balanced diet and so on has a way to go. In other words it needs a lot of improvement. Now we have a mission hospital in an area where it is very needy, so that there's a lot of health needs in the Philippines. The trouble is half of their medical graduates go overseas, many of them to the U.S., primarily because of financial reasons. But there are plenty of doctors in Manila and the big cities. But a lot of people can't afford them either.
SPITLER: Yeah. Are there medical supplies?
WALKWITZ: Oh, yeah. There are many pharmaceutical companies there that produce medicines, and many, many drug stores around where you can buy medicines. It's all available if you have the money and if you find a competent doctor to handle your case.
SPITLER: What's the educational system like?
WALKWITZ: Similar to the U.S. We go from grade 1 to 6 which is free government-sponsored education, or paid for. Then they go directly to high school. Before the war they had a 7th grade but they dropped that. Then they have 4 years of high school after 6 years elementary. And most of the high school is private. There are some government high schools where you still pay a small amount of tuition there. And then the colleges is another four years. Most of them are private. And many of the colleges are money-making institutions. We think of them here as non-profit, but a few of them are going to non-profit status, but some are actually business and they earn money through the college.
SPITLER: Is the economy improving gradually?
WALKWITZ: Yes, the economy is growing. There are many buildings put up, many industries is growing. And this has markedly increased since martial law with a bit of stability. Now the stability of the peso has been fairly steady now for about 5 years. Of course the dollar has gone down, and the peso is pegged to the dollar, so it has gone down too. And with the oil crunch of course that has hindered them a lot, but even with that they're making some progress. It it hadn't been for the oil squeeze of course, they would be making much more progress.
SPITLER: Now, you mentioned earlier about the antagonism of the Catholic Church. What is the relationship of the various boards in the country that are involved?
WALKWITZ: Most of the mission boards function very well with each other. They have pretty well, from years ago, spread themselves over the country with different areas for which they would be responsible. Of course big cities, there is a lot of overlap, and there is cooperation in certain things among most of them. Of course, a few of them are very separatist and don't want to cooperate with anybody on anything. But in general there is a healthy attitude toward each other and working together.
SPITLER: Are there any great theological differences between the mission boards?
WALKWITZ: That question I'd probably have to say that there's a division in two. The evangelical boards of course are basic to the fundamentals of the gospel, the Bible, and then the main-line denominations from the liberal boards would be promoting liberation theology and some of these other things that are coming along. They have their seminaries, the evangelicals have theirs. So we do have a dichotomy there between the two.
SPITLER: Do you feel you both...that that they're hindering your work in any way?
WALKWITZ: No. They're not entering our work because they're not doing much. Most of them are pretty well fading out of the country. They have pretty well nationalized everything. The national church leaders in the main line denominations are quite liberal themselves, they're not growing, and their churches are dying out. So they're really no threat to us. We don't consider that at all.
SPITLER: could you.... We're going to wind up now,and you just tell me a little bit about your departure, and what you've been doing since you've been on furlough.
WALKWITZ: My wife came back in the middle of May with my youngest son, who graduated from high school. And I stayed on a few weeks to finish up our work, and then went to Alaska to have orientation for a group of summer workers with our Central Alaska Missions. And since coming back in June, we have been traveling and speaking at various churches and conferences around the country, and will continue to do so until about the end of April. Then for the month of May we hope to get packed up and have a little time with our boys before we go back to the Philippines in June. So it's a very busy furlough year.
SPITLER: do you have any expectations for the future, what might happen, how long you might stay there, if you ever would retire to come back here or live there?
SPITLER: Well, until the Lord changes directions, I'm committed to stay out there until I die, or until the Lord returns. But you never know what the Lord may ask you to do next. However I do anticipate some real serious crises within the world in the term of my next term, which will go from 1981 to 1985. And even really political analyses and conferences and so on, I believe the NATO powers even expect a tremendous war, possibly in the Middle East by 1984. I believe Kissinger and others have been quoted as saying these kind of things. Well, this of course is going to affect us over there. So I think we're going into a very unstable, but very exciting period of world history. And in that light, we're looking for greater openness for the gospel, even though it may be danger to our lives and lives of other missionaries, we should not retreat from the challenge, but realize that when the crisis is on, people's hearts and minds are more open, and it may be a time of significant reaping and harvest time.
SPITLER: Sounds exciting [laughs].
SPITLER: are there any areas you think I've neglected. Anything you'd like to add, any additional comments?
WALKWITZ: [Laughs] I don't know. You've covered a very, tremendous area here. I haven't thought of anything along the way. Probably only my one thing that I would like to add is I would wish, and am hoping and praying, that missionary interest on the campus of Wheaton College like it did in the late forties after World War II and early fifties where people had an awareness of the world and its needs spiritually. I detect that there's an awareness of the world today in a sense, but it seems to be an awareness of a physical need more so than a spiritual need. Now there's always a physical need. The Lord says you always have the poor with you. But unless we keep our priorities correct, I think we're fooling ourselves as doing the Lord's will if we concentrate too much on the physical and social. And I would hope that the Foreign Mission Fellowship and the other groups here will have tremendously increased the attendance and involvement, and many more would go out, and the few years that we have remaining until the Lord's return, at least that's my feeling, that people would find a significant involvement fulfillment in their own life in obeying the Great Commission.
SPITLER: Uh-huh. Now you just recently took a 10 year lease on the [unclear] Center, is that right?
WALKWITZ: [unclear]. Yeah, we have a property in Baguio City. We have 9 years to go now on the lease. We were able to put up our own chapel building, which is 30' by 60', so that we have nine more years now to utilize this property, paying a monthly rental which goes up every year. But it's very near town, and this is tremendous place for ministry. And the ministry is growing to the point where we're looking for some more people to help us with the training aspect. Evangelism has done very well by the tribal people themselves, but we need more to help us with training and establishing the daughter churches.
SPITLER: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Walkwitz. Hope you have a good time when you go back to the Philippines. Lord bless you.
WALKWITZ: Thank you very much again.
END OF TAPE