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This is a complete and accurate transcript of an oral history interview of Doris Embery (Collection 208, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded were omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. 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. The narrator in this interview speaks slowly and pauses frequently. Only unusually long pauses have been noted.
... 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.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Janyce H. Nasgowitz and W. Gregory Thompson and was completed in June 1994.
Collection 208, T1. Interview of Doris Embery by Robert Shuster on April 20, 1982.
SHUSTER: One, two, three. This is an interview with Miss Doris Embery...
SHUSTER: ...Embrey by Robert Shuster for the Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place at the Billy Graham Center on April 20, 1982, at 8:30. Miss Embery, you were born in England, that...is that correct?
SHUSTER: But grew up in China?
EMBERY: That's right. I was born during my parents first furlough [1912-1913]
EMBERY: My father's old home in the West Country, in Devon.
SHUSTER: And what were your parents names?
EMBERY: My father was William James Embery, and my mother was Ethel Anne-Marie Potter from Australia. They met on the mission field.
SHUSTER: And they were...
EMBERY: Married...they were married in...in Yunnan [Province or Yunan, Guangdong Province, China]. Officially they had to go out into Burma to the nearest British consul for their official marriage and they were married in Bhamo, in Burma.
SHUSTER: Bhamo...How is that spelled?
SHUSTER: And what...what mission station...what missionary...what mission were they with?
EMBERY: They were with the China Inland Mission, and at that time they working in a city called Tengyueh [Tengchong, Yunnan Province?][see CN 215-1-12, p. 22 of January 1914 directory].
SHUSTER: Tengyueh. And that was near the Burma border?
EMBERY: Well, it was over on the west side of the Yunnan Province, yes. They worked there, and they also worked in Dali [Yunnan Province, China] where later we had a hospital. And my brothers...my brother and two sisters were all born in China, in Yunnan.
SHUSTER: So there were four children [unclear as Embery begins to speak].
EMBERY: There were four of us.
SHUSTER: What were your parents assignments? What were their duties?
EMBERY: Well, they were doing evangelistic work. My mother was a nurse and she did have a...she did open a small clinic, which brought her in touch, of course, with a lot of the women. And my sister, my older sister was the first white baby born in that area and she later went back as a missionary in the CIM and went bach to work in the place where she was born. And it was interesting that word got around that the white baby had come back, and so she really made contact with some people who had been influenced by my mother years before. But in those days it took three months to travel from Shanghai up to Yunnan, up the Yangtse and then over...over land.
SHUSTER: How did...how did you travel? [unclear].
EMBERY: Well, I think they traveled probably partly by boat up the gorges...through the gorges and up to Chungking and then overland, I suppose by mule cart in those days. I can remember as youngsters, we used to travel in these little...what we used to call senjas [?] that were sort of a...a stretcher carried between two men with a little over...
SHUSTER: Like an awning or....
EMBERY: ...over [a] sort of roof...[unclear] sort of roof, and we used to sit in that. Sometimes it was between two mules, and sometimes, in some other places, were it was steeper, it was between two men. But otherwise, I know Mother and Dad walked a lot and we were carried. J. O. Fraser, a well-known missionary, came to my mother and father as a junior missionary. And, in fact, he's mentioned in Beyond the Ranges: [Fraser of Lisuland, Southwest China], a book by Mrs. Howard Taylor. And he used to go trekking with us, with my father and in the very early days, when it was only just one, he used to carry...he had often carried my older sister on his back when they were trekking. But my memory of those days really is only very, very slight, just one or two memories. One I do remember about, listening to J. O. Fraser on my little baby organ. He could make it sound like a pipe organ. He was a brilliant mus...musician.
SHUSTER: Were your parents the only CIM missionaries in that area, or was there a...?
EMBERY: Well, they...for a while, they were the only people in that city, and....
SHUSTER: So, they were pioneers there, they were open....
EMBERY: They were...they...they were...they were...they...they were some of the earliest ones in that area, yes. I don't know that they were the first in the city, but they certainly were one of the very earliest. My father went out in 1901, he should have gone out in 1900, but was held back because of the Boxers' riots. So, they were there together from 1904 on. So they were pretty well up in the early ones for that area.
SHUSTER: Were...do you know what caused your father to become a missionary? Was it the tradition of his family, or was he the first one?
EMBERY: No. My father came from a Christian family. So did my mother. Dad was...[unclear] local preacher in the west country. I...I...I...I can't honestly say that I know just why Dad went out to the mission field. [Pauses.] He was always a very good Bible teacher, and people today often, who remember him, say to me they haven't forgotten Daddy's messages. He must have been a good teacher of some sort. He was a...a legal man by profession.
SHUSTER: A lawyer?
EMBERY: Well I don't know that he finished it. I think he was called to the mission field before he really finished.
SHUSTER: And do you recall, or have you heard by the members of your family, his method of evangelizing in China?
EMBERY: He was just...I know he was always a very keen preacher out...out...he would go out.
SHUSTER: So he would just....
EMBERY: I think their method in those days...I mean, really, they didn't have a...they had to start a church, really. It was real pioneer work.
SHUSTER: So he would...
EMBERY: Teaching, preaching and teaching.
SHUSTER: Did he stay in one city, did he stay in one spot, or...?
EMBERY: Well, he...as far as I remember, they were mainly in those two cities, Dali and Tengyueh.
SHUSTER: And began church [unclear]?
EMBERY: But they were, they were only there until about 1916...1916, 1917, maybe it was...maybe it was at the end of the war, or during the latter part of the second [first] World War. They came down to the coast, mainly to bring my sis...elder sister and my brother to school. And they went to school up in North China and [Shuster says something unclear] Mother and Dad went up to Shansi [Yuwuchen, Shansi; see CN 215-1-12, January 1919 directory] for a very short time and then Tienchen [?] and then Dad was asked to go to Shanghai [see CN 215-1-2, July 1919 directory] to administration. And for the rest of his missionary career, he was treasurer of the mission. Well, at first he was assistant treasurer to Mr. Broomhall [A. H.], and then he finally took over in Shanghai. He was treasurer there for many years, right up until 1940. And I went to school just before I turned six, up to Chefoo.
SHUSTER: So, from about 1920 'til 1940, your father was in Shanghai?
EMBERY: Yeah, I think he was probably there before 1920, just...jus[t] a little bit before that. He was there 'til 1940 and he came home on furlough then. And then he didn't get back because he was home to be home director in Australia for a while. So he didn't get back to Shanghai again.
SHUSTER: You...what...you mentioned you have only a few memories from those early days on the Burma-Chinese border. What do you recall as a young child?
EMBERY: Very little really, just one or two things, home life and that, you know.
SHUSTER: Who were your playmates?
EMBERY: Beg pardon?
SHUSTER: Who were your playmates?
EMBERY: Just our own family, or the army [?] children or, you know, just little children perhaps of the local Christians. We didn't...I can't really remember that much at all. I...I...I remember very, very little. I can remember...I can vaguely remember one of the homes, one or two things about it, one or two things, because as I said, I was only...I was probably only five, not quite five, when I left. And the last...that six months or so before I went to school was up North, and I hardly remember anything about that, except that Daddy used to go out on a...on these tours, evangelizing on a horse, 'cause I can remember him coming back on a horse, or a mule, donkey...whatever they call them. And we used to like to go out and we'd ride with him from the gate in up to the house. I...I...I don't really remember anything very much of that at all.
SHUSTER: You don't remember seeing your father preaching or hearing him preaching to crowds?
EMBERY: Oh, well, no, no, no. I've got...I've got pictures and that but I don't really...I don't...I mean I haven't got any...any memory of that.
SHUSTER: Of course, your father came out in 1901 and you yourself were in China from 19...just before the war....
EMBERY: Fourteen, 1914, just before the war, we got back to Burma, or to Yunnan.
SHUSTER: Do you recall seeing any traces of the kind of anti-western feeling that was from the Boxer Rebellion? [Pauses.] Do you recall having Chinese friends, or....?
EMBERY: Not in those days, no. I remember...I remember the Ah...the ahma we had...
SHUSTER: The what? Oh,...
EMBERY: ...the ahma we used to look after us, that helped look after us. I can remember her.
SHUSTER: What was she like?
EMBERY: Typical friendly Chinese woman. We loved her dearly and she loved us. [Unclear.] She was...she was a dear.
SHUSTER: And her responsibilities were basically that of a nanny?
EMBERY: Yes, I think she stayed up in the house, too.
SHUSTER: And, so when you were six, you went away to boarding school?
SHUSTER: And you basically stayed in boarding school until eighteen, nineteen?
EMBERY: Yeah. We used to go home for Christmas holidays. We used to go home every year for January and February, or for December and January, two months over Christmas. We used to travel down by boat from Chefoo to Shanghai. I was one of the fortunate ones, of course. People who were near the coast got home every year. And...and then some summers, Mother would come up even if Daddy didn't come up, would come up to Chefoo where we had a...a sanitarium sort of place, sort of a guest house for missionaries on our...on our mission compound, where parents used to stay. So, we had a whole month of August in the summer holidays when they came up. But [clears throat], by and large were, most of the year was at boarding school. The others...the other holidays we stayed at school.
SHUSTER: What was the reason for sending children to boarding school?
EMBERY: There wasn't anywhere else to have school if we didn't have mission school, founded for our...for our mission, and it was, I would say, seventy to eighty percent our mission children. And if there was room, there were children of other missions. And if there was room after that, sometimes we'd have just a very few children of business people: Tientsin [New spelling, Tianjin ?], Habin [?], Shanghai.
SHUSTER: Was it difficult being separated from your parents at that age?
EMBERY: Well, I guess it was in a sense, but I don't remember.... I mean, at the end of holidays, well, we used to say we didn't want to go back, you know. But I remember my mother saying to me once something that I've never forgotten was, "Well, if you don't go back, you can't come home again," and...a lot of truth in that [laughs].
SHUSTER: [Says something unclear as Embery laughs].
EMBERY: Yes. Well, I think perhaps as I got older, well, we had such a good time at school really. I mean there were...there were things I didn't like about it, and there were always people you didn't like, and that sort of thing. But as I've grown older, the things that I didn't like about school have grown sort of...have faded, or lost importance. I've learned to appreciate through the years more and more, just what that school did for me. I feel I owe an...a tremendous a lot for it. I think.... True, it...it's not the ideal in a way, but then it's not the ideal for parents to leave their home country and go to the mission field. And this is one of the costs that I think the Lord asks of us. And I don't think he only asks it of the...of the parents. I think he asks it of the children, too. I mean that promise about leaving mother or father also says.... I don't think it only applies to missionaries going to the mission field. I think a lot depends on how the parents face it with the children. And we always felt that it was because Mother and Dad were doing something for the Lord, and that the Lord would honor them in it and would honor us. I can remember...one instance I can remember very, very clearly. One time during the Christmas holidays, I think it was (it must have been getting towards the end of it) and I didn't want to go back to school. I think it's only natural. You're having a wonderful holiday at home, and suddenly you've got to go back to school again. And, well, I mean, there are plenty of children at home who don't want to go back to school, even when they're living at home. And I can remember my mother taking me by myself into the living room, and she sat me down, and she opened her Bible, and she turned to that verse about...this one we just referred to, no man had kept mother or father, and so on, and she underlined three words "in this life." You remember, it says that God promises a blessing in this life. And I can remember my mother saying to me, "You know, it isn't always going to be the wrong side of the coin, as it were. It is hard for you to go back, but the Lord is not going to be your debtor. He's promised to give you blessings in this life, not necessarily in the days...in the years to come or hereafter." And I've never forgotten that, and...and the truth of that has come home to me, because I believe that I owe so much of my present standing, my present training, my present [pauses] just being me to my days at boarding school. I...
SHUSTER: How do you mean?
EMBERY: ...don't.... Well, you learn to...you learn to live with other people. You learn to live with different kinds of people. We're all different. You learn not to be an individualist. You learn to work with others. I think the discipline is good. I do things today automatically. I don't think about the way I do them, and I don't think about why I do them except when...on occasions like this. But I know that I learned to do that...coming automatic to me because of my training.
SHUSTER: What kind of things do you have...?
EMBERY: Well, even...even being organized, and organizing your time. You know, being punctual, lots of little things. Tidiness and learning to understand, to give and to take, and I think we need to be disciplined. I think if you learn to be disciplined in your physical wor...things, then you learn to be disciplined in your spiritual things, too. We were disciplined.... I...I will say this, too, there was discipline in having quiet time. Now, I...I...I know for years, probably, it probably didn't mean anything or it probably on the surface was more than what was underneath. We used to have to have quiet time. There was no talking, nothing. Well, you were expected to read your Bible, or to pray, or to do something like that for a quarter of an hour in the morning, quarter of an hour in the evening, up in your bedrooms, everybody, in your dormitory. Everybody did it. You weren't allowed to do anything else, or you weren't supposed to do anything else. Now, in some ways, the reaction of that might be , well, to the opposite extreme. And I know that when I left school, I went through a period when I did get right away from these sort of things, but the training was there, and it comes back, you know. Another thing, we used to have to write...we had to write home every week. Now Mother and Dad always wrote to us every week. Now, that is a something that we've kept on all through life. I...we kept it up until both Mother and Dad went on. You know, I don't kn...it was something that we just did out of habit. There are lots of things like that. I...I won't say that everybody took advantage of them, but I know that in my experience, I feel that I am the better for the training that I got there.
SHUSTER: For the personal discipline and....
EMBERY: Personal discipline, and discipline of...of living, using your time. Well, I mean there were times when we had to forfeit pleasure time, or sport time, if we hadn't fulfilled our scholastic time. You had to stay in and do it. It had to be done. Well, and it wasn't going to be forfeited, you had to forfeit something that perhaps you liked better. It's...It's all...I think it all ties up. True, there were things that were rules, but then, it's...it's hard, maybe, for young people today to understand some of the things that we weren't allowed to do, say, or we were...had to do. Because times today are different anyway. So you can't really compare them. But if you compare them with other schools of that time, it compared very favorably. And another thing was that all our teachers were primarily first missionaries. None of them came out to be teachers, but they were all fully trained teachers, and highly trained. And I know that some of them came to Chefoo first very unwillingly. They wanted to go and do missionary work. They didn't want to teach missionary kids. But, the Lord led them into that, and...and we benefitted. We had the best of teachers. We had an education that I'm sure my parents couldn't have afforded if we'd been home at that time, and had to pay for it. And...and extra subjects such as music and...and things like that were all thrown in. Now, I...I admit to it, there probably were things.... It wasn't a perfect school by any means. No, it wasn't, nobody is perfect. There were deficiencies, and as you look back now, you probably would've changed some things. But, by and large, I admit publicly [that] I owe an awful lot to Chefoo. And I wouldn't be what I am, or where I am, today if it wasn't for the training I had there.
SHUSTER: Let me ask you before I go on to describe Chefoo, in general, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being an MK [missionary kid]?
EMBERY: [Long pause.] I would very...I would find it very hard to use the term "advantage and disadvantage" because to my mind you could say what are the disadvantages and advantages of being anything. Why pick out an MK? This is something that I feel very strongly about. When I hear people making sweeping statements about, and I'm...I mean sweeping statements.... I don't mean [clears throat] individual cases, because I think there are individual...everyone is on an individual basis, and I'm not making a sweeping statement either, but I...I do find it hard to take when people make sweeping statements, Oh, you know, "There...there's sorrow for MK's who have to separated for then...from their parents," and all these sort of things. And my mind immediately goes, "Well, what about the kids at home? How many of them turn out any better living with their parents all the time than some of us who've been separated from our parents." And I guarantee that, in a lot of cases, you'll find that MK's have made much more good than kids at home. Some of our well-known notables have been through Chefoo. And I could name one or two, like Thornton Wilder and Henry Luce of Life, and Bishop Evans of Toronto, and people like that who've gone right to the top in your sphere and others over in our part of the world, too. Oh, many of our Chefooites have...have...have really gone to the top in their professions. There's a fellow down in Australia who went right to the top in...in...in the bank which is THE bank, top bank. He was right at the top. I...I don't feel that you can put it into the category of advantage and disadvantage, because I don't think you can make a sweeping statement. I think every case is an individual case, and I think a lot depends on the relationship between the parents and the children, what attitude the parents take towards the children at a very early age. No good leaving it until afterwards. I think the...the...the ties between...can be very strong, between parents and children. And I don't say that because ours were the strongest because I feel there were times when I really resented my parents attitude towards me, not because...but as a child, I was really resenting discipline. I wasn't really resenting. I didn't really appreciate the...the meaning of missionary, and that, in the sense as an adult does. A child doesn't. A child, I think, resents more to...reacts more to a person. You react to...to your parents, you react to...to your teachers at school, and I think that is the sort of thing...and I think it depends a lot on the person. I mean some of our happiest moments at school, obviously, were when we were with people that we loved, especially with teachers that we loved. I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? And I think it's the same at home. And to make...to pick out an MK and say, "Well, alright, you're an MK, you're someone up there." It's like people praising a missionary, "you're somewhere up there." You're not. You're just the same as everybody else. It's where you find yourself in your circumstance, and in where the Lord calls you. He may not call you to be a missionary, he may not call you to be an MK. He...I mean, He may not cause you to be born into an MK family. I find it very hard to answer that question of advantages and disadvantages because I...I don't see it that way.
SHUSTER: So you don't....
EMBERY: I know what you mean, but I...I find it very hard to...to...to answer that because I...I feel that it's only just.... It's no different from any other profession in a way. You know, I mean, I think we...I think we make this distinction of missionaries and missionary kids. And I don't see why we should. Why should...why shouldn't we pick out doctors and doctors' kids?
SHUSTER: Well, people do.
EMBERY: Why don't we pick out....
SHUSTER: You mentioned a little earlier about some of the MKs who had really made outstanding impacts in their field, and I've heard that before, but I take it you're saying that's not because they're MK's...
EMBERY: No. No. No.
SHUSTER: ...it's just totally their own individual [unclear as Embery begins to speak]
EMBERY: That's what I mean. But that...no, that's counteracting the attitude, in a way.
SHUSTER: Well, what I was interested mainly in finding out is if you feel that the experience of being...growing up as a missionary's child in a foreign country had had any affect on you as such.
EMBERY: Well, it has. It's had its' disadvantages, and its' had its advantages, in a sense, in the same way, but I don't think any different from any other category. That's what I'm saying. Therefore, I find it hard to say because a disadvantage and advantage is a comparison. And I find it very hard to compare. Because I think the whole crux of the whole matter is, as far as we're concerned, and as far as anybody's information is concerned in this Center is...is...is the Christian aspect of it. And I think the same applies. It...it...it boils down to not the advantage and disadvantage of being an MK, but the advantage or disadvantage of being in a Christian home, or Christian environment, or a Christian school. Everything was set in the Christian...all the teachers were Christian.
SHUSTER: Well, I wasn't just thinking of the school as such, but just your whole experience in China. But going on to what you brought up, what do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of being in a Christian school?
EMBERY: [Pauses.] Well, I suppose you could say, if you call it a disadvantage, would be that you grow up in a sheltered atmosphere, and you don't know how the other half lives. Or...we certainly didn't, because we didn't come in contact...perhaps I did more than some of the others because in Shanghai, I mixed with a lot of families who were [there] in the holidays. Our playmates and our...we grew up with people...children of people in business there. My father had a Bible class on Sunday afternoons which was consisted only of men outside the mission, bankers, police, municipal councilors. Some of my best friends today are scattered around the world, and some I've been visiting right now. I visited one in Seattle. It was a girl I knew in Shanghai. And a lot of them say they owe their conv...were converted under my father. Because he certainly was a good Bible teacher. And he used to have anything up to twenty to thirty men in our home on a Sunday afternoon for Bible class while we were at Sunday school. We'd come home and they'd all be having afternoon tea, and we'd mix with them. Well, naturally we got invited to their homes as children, and we grew up with their children, and so, in a sense, I did see perha...perhaps more of how other people live and how other people think than some of the ones who just went home to the mission stations. So perhaps for that reason, I find it perhaps harder to find that disadvantage, if you might call it such. But I think the advantages, obviously, because the Old Book says, "Train up a child in the way that he shall go," and my training.... There is the advantage, obviously, from a Christian standpoint of view, that is the advantage of being...having Christian parents who cared for you, even though they were away from you, wrote every week, got your letters every week, saw them...we were fortunate enough. We saw them every Christmas. Except one. I remember staying at school one year when it was a pity to break into the school term when parent...my parents went home on furlough. We stayed at school, but we had a marvelous winter holiday. There were only a few of us there, and we really had holidays. I mean it wasn't...we didn't have the same sort of restrictions or rules, but, I mean, it's chaos if you don't have rules or restrictions of some kind. I think any child growing up resents it at the time, but I think any thinking person later on realizes the advantages and disadvantages. I think a lot of kids today wish they did have a little bit of discipline.
SHUSTER: How many people were at Chefoo?
EMBERY: Well, we...I suppose about...average about 250 to 300 at a time. There'd be about...be anything up to 80 to 100 in the boys, 80 to 100 in the girls, and I suppose 50 to 60 perhaps in the prep where they were mixed. We had [unclear]....
SHUSTER: And how many teachers or administrators?
EMBERY: Oh, I don't know now. I'd have to stop and think. Probably about twelve or thirteen in each place. Perhaps even more.
EMBERY: Oh, more than that, yes. I...I forget now.
SHUSTER: How was it laid out physically? Was it all in one building. Was it a large campus?
EMBERY: [as Shuster is still speaking] Oh, no, no, no, no, no. It was big compound. The boys had a big school with a big playing field, and that. We had our school and a big playing field. The prep had a school and a small playing field. And then we had...the...the guest house for the parents was on the same...it was a...it was on a hillside, really. I...we used to go down.... Oh, I don't know. I would say it would cover an area...I don't really know how big Wheaton is but.... I mean, you could walk around the campus here the way you could walk around there. You could take...it...it would take you five minutes or so to walk from the girls' school down to the boys' school. And then there would be staff housing in between, one or two staff...that's where...the single people lived in them...teachers who lived in the school, and then there was a married quarters that had cottages, and then there was a memorial hall, where we had our services and assemblies. There was a little prayer hall, there was a,,,a sort of...a business department shop sort of place. There was hospital, a small hospital, and there was a doctor's house...
SHUSTER: Was that hospital just for the school or was that for....?
EMBERY: Just for the school. No, just for the school. And...and the doctor's house next door. Then there were other staff houses, and then there was the isolation unit which was up the hillside a bit, was just off the campus. But, it quite...and there was a gully running down in between so, I mean, it was quite a large complex. In fact, it's all being used in the military ins...institution now.
SHUSTER: So I've heard.
EMBERY: You can't get inside. Some of our people went back just this last year on tour, and I suggest that, if you haven't got it in your archives, that you get the centennial booklet that came out last year called Pigtails, Petticoats, and the Old School Tie.
SHUSTER: [Laughs] That was put out by OMF [Overseas Missionary Fellowship]?
EMBERY: Yes, by Sheila Mi...written by Sheila Miller. She had sent questionnaires all around the world to anybody, any address [she could get?], I suppose hundreds of hundreds of them. She had to cull from...from people way back right to after the new young...new Chefoo [?]. Of course, the new Chefoo school is now in each of the...well, there are three of them. One in the Cayman Islands in Malaysia, one in Japan, and one in the Philippines. Well, the one in the Philippines now has coordinated with Faith Academy, and we provide one or two of the teachers. They only take them up 'til ten years now, then they go home...to home countries or they have the option of going to other schools in the area near where their parents are, if there parents are in a capital city.
SHUSTER: Chefoo is fairly near the coast, isn't it?
SHUSTER: It's fairly near the coast...
EMBERY: What? Chefoo?...
EMBERY: Oh, it was right on the coast. That's why it was chosen. It was a health resort. It was a wonderful place to live.
SHUSTER: Did you have a pier, or any kind of a [unclear as Embery begins to speak]....
EMBERY: Oh, we had boat houses, we used to have rowing, we had race...races the same as with Oxford and Cambridge. We had the same...we called them here "leanders" [?].
EMBERY: We had tennis tournaments. We had cricket. They used to play a game...the settlement...what they called the settlement. There were Europeans in the settlement from the British consul. There was a British consulate there, and there were...there were quite a lot of expats [expatriates], business people in Chefoo in those days and they used to make up a cricket team and perhaps play against the boys. Or we used to have sports days, combined sports days. We used to have picnics regularly up on the...go out hiking over the hill, into the first and second beach, and things like that. It was a wonderful spot from a health point of view. Very cold in the winter, had to have double windows and we used to have frozen foam eight feet high from the sea. In the summer, there was swimming, beautiful swimming.
SHUSTER: Did...what were the big events of the school year? I know here at Wheaton, for example, we have....
EMBERY: Well, commence...what we call commencement or exhibition day at the end of the year, graduation day...
SHUSTER: [as Embery is speaking] And that's when you graduate...
EMBERY: Yeah, graduation day. Foundation day, the day...we always kept foundation day, which was the day the schools were founded. That was a great day.
SHUSTER: [as Embery is speaking] What would you do on that day?
EMBERY: Oh, we had...we had sort of...I think we had a service in the morning, and then a sort of general get together, and in the afternoon there'd be tennis, mixed tennis...
SHUSTER: You'd have tournaments?
EMBERY: ...tournaments, and boys, and a boy and a girl playing a boy and a girl and that sort of thing you know. We used to combine for that, and, afternoon tea under the trees, and...and then a concert at night. It was a big day, foundation day. And graduation day, of course, every....the boys had theirs' one time...it was all in the same week. And a lot of parents used to come up to the coast for...for that time. The preps had their graduation one day, and the boys had theirs another day, and the girls had theirs another day, all in the same week. And then we used to do our examinations, our...our education...our exams were from Oxford University. They used to send the papers out, and they were not opened until, except in the examination room by the teacher in control. We wrote our papers, they were sealed up in the examination room and posted back to England. We had to wait three months for our results, and they sent them out by cable. And....
SHUSTER: Must have been hard on your nerves.
EMBERY: Oh, no, it wasn't. We forgot all about them. We were well into the second...the next term by then. The results used to come out by cable, and if they...if the cable arrived before ten o'clock, we had a holiday for the rest of the day, and if it came after ten, we had a holiday the next day. It was called our Oxford holiday, but it was always in October. And the bell would ring, it wouldn't matter if it was in the middle of the class, you always knew it was the result, because it was...you would suddenly hear a bell in the middle of the class or something, and everybody would tear down to the assembly room and we'd get our results read out. Of course, mind you, for the Senior results we weren't there. I was up at Wai Yang [?] when my Senior results came through [unclear] from Oxford, and, and I got the telegram from the school.
SHUSTER: What...so but the major events that you say were Graduation Day and the Foundation Day?
EMBERY: Beg your pardon?
SHUSTER: The major events of the school year then were Graduation day and Foundation day.
EMBERY: [As Shuster is still speaking] Were those two. Oh, well, I suppose they were the two big days. We used to have an Oxford...we used to have a register holiday once a month which meant no school Saturday morning. Normally we...we worked Saturday morning but we had Wednesday afternoon and Saturday afternoon free. But once a month we had all day Saturday and we'd go for an all day picnic.
SHUSTER: The whole school?
EMBERY: Yep, the whole girls' school would go on a picnic while the boys would [unclear] on their own. I don't know wheth...whether we had the same Saturdays even. But....
SHUSTER: Did you ever have, say, dances for the girls and boys school or any kind of joint social events besides the tournament?
EMBERY: Oh yes. Brothers and sisters used to meet Saturday afternoons or...and if...going to church, we'd walk to church together as family. There was a union church there that we used to go to in the morning; there also an Anglican church where some of them went, too. And then in the evening, we had our own school service in this, in the memorial hall. But....
SHUSTER: Now, most of the students...were most of the students from CIM mission?
EMBERY: I would say the majority of them were. I would say a good eighty percent were. But then there were others. You see there were people from the Presbyterian Mission Temple Hill Hospital. We had our own school hospital, but whenever there was an operation or anything needed, we used to go up to the American Presbyterian Hospital Temple Hill founded by Dr. Dilley. Now...and that Hospital's still standing. And the chil...the Dilley youngsters, and the Dunlops, both of the American doctors there, their...their children came down. They boarded...a lot of the...the local...I say a lot, there were quite a few local missionaries of other denominations, well, up...mainly at the hospital up there who came as day pupils. They were the only ones. There were very few day pupils, but I know in my own particular year, and I know it happened in a couple of other years, too, where the girls, when they got to their Senior year, actually came in to board because they reckoned they missed too much. They came in to board for their final year.
EMBERY: Yeah, they missed a lot of the activities and they...they reckoned they'd miss a lot of the fun. And I think that's all good, that speaks well for it. Because I know in our case, there were two who did it. They'd go home on the weekend, but they...they came in and lived in during the week.
SHUSTER: What were the spiritual activities on campus? You mentioned the chapels...
EMBERY: Oh, well, we had...we had morning and evening prayers in the assembly hall every day. And we had...we had...and I don't...I...I can't speak for the other schools, but I know that in the girls school, on a Wednesday, we used to have what we called "band," which was optional, for two quarters of an hour; a quarter to eight to half past eight on Wednesday night. And it was a sort of...well, I suppose mission interest because I know that at that we used to...we supported all through those years, or gave our little offerings, we divided them between Dohnavur, Amy Carmichaels' work [Shuster says something unclear], and then the Nile Mission Press, which is now a part of MECO [Middle East Christian Outreach], the Arabian...the Arabic Literature Mission it became, and is now under the offices of the Middle East Christian Outreach which is where I was in [unclear], so it was very interesting. But though our contact...was sort of a missionary...missionary band, I suppose you would've called it.
SHUSTER: [As Embery is speaking] You got together and prayed for missions?
EMBERY: And we took...we took part ourselves. There were no teachers there, unless they were there by invitation.
SHUSTER: You say you got together to pray for missions or to talk about...?
EMBERY: Well, might have a...a discussion or a...a Bible study. But there was that missionary interest there, too. Some form teachers sometimes had...I mean you could...you could have access to your form teacher any time you wanted, really, or you...I mean, you'd make an appointment, and you could go and have a talk. A lot of the...a lot of the teachers had personal talks with girls or...if you felt you wanted to go and have a talk, you could. You could ask for one.
SHUSTER: Your forum teacher was your advisor, your...?
EMBERY: Well, your for...ev...ev, every form had a form teacher. For...for the term.
SHUSTER: [As Embery is still speaking] And a form was the people of this...or of girls the same age?
EMBERY: The form, yes, yes. The class, in other words. Yes, they were mainly of the same age. And our classes weren't big. I think this is another advantage. Our classes obviously were not very big. And you'd get seven...I suppose fif...fourteen or fifteen might have been about as big a class as anybody would've had at any time. The classes were only as big as your age group, or your level, you see, and very often, at the higher you got, those classes got smaller because there were people whose parents went home, say, when they were fourteen, fifteen, and they wouldn't come back, they'd finish at home. Or there'd be business people who'd moved off and gone home, and sent the children home earlier, you see. So that, normally speaking, the classes got smaller, and sometimes you'd finish up with only six or seven in the top form, and you really got...really got personal tuition, or...well, as near as personal tuition as you could want.
SHUSTER: So you were somewhat unusual in going through the whole [unclear as Embery begins to speak]....
EMBERY: Yes, I went right through, right through. Went right through to matriculation with Oxford [?]. We did...two lev...two lev...junior and senior, I suppose they call them A's and O's, O's...O level and A level now. At least...I don't know what you call them in America.
SHUSTER: Our junior high, senior high, yeah.
EMBERY: University. Yes, yes. And, well, you get exam...matriculation exams which takes you in to any University, which we did from Oxford. The schools in Shanghai used to do it from Cambridge, used to...but.... So that there's such a...the standard was...was high.
SHUSTER: What were the programs at the daily chapels like? What happened during the daily chapels?
EMBERY: Oh, it was just different teachers took it in turn.
SHUSTER: And they gave a talk, and....
EMBERY: Oh, very short, it was only a quarter of an hour. Sometimes, in the morning, there'd be a visitor, if there was ever anybody around that's visiting in Chefoo, we'd have them, and sometimes it was someone from outside who'd come. We had one father of one of the teachers who lived with them for a while, and he was a very good Bible teacher. I'll never forget him because he always spoke on proverbs. He never got to the end of it. He'd always take one couplet. He was very, very good. He used to come every Wednesday, or every other Wednesday.
SHUSTER: Now, what was his name, do you know?
SHUSTER: Do you recall what his name was?
EMBERY: Andrew, or Mr. Andrew, yes. [Pauses.} He was a dear man and we had then.... Of course, in the summer we had summer programs. We had CSSM, Children's Special Service Mission, which of course.... We had Godfrey Webb-Peploe there before he went to Dohnavur [mission in India]. He was a staff worker before he came out from England and run the Summer program on the beach, beach mission.
SHUSTER: What was that, exactly?
EMBERY: No, you don't have it in America. It's very prevalent in Australia and in England. Beach missions.... They're...well, they're down where the people are holidaying, and run a mission on the beach every day for a week or ten days, and have all sorts of activities and [unclear word] classes and things.
SHUSTER: Evangelistic programs? [Embery affirms] Yeah, we have something like that with Inter-Varsity. They...during the Easter holidays, they go to Daytona beach and other places, and....
EMBERY: Yeah, well I think that just started fairly recently here, hasn't it?
SHUSTER: In the sixties.
EMBERY: Yes, and I think it's sort of been...well, this has been...this is.... The beginning of Scripture Union was Children's Special Service Mission.
EMBERY: It's not...it's called...it's...those aren't...the name is Scripture Union now. It dropped the other one. But they do it now not only in miss...in beaches, they do it in parks and any places where children play during the holidays. It's...in a...in a sense it's like DVBS [daily vacation Bible school], only it's not inside. It's always outside. You know, competitions are on the sand and you...you have your...your barbecues on the sand, and you...you have your lantern processions, and you have your parents' nights, and...when they invite them, and it's all very informal. I mean your beach miss...your services on the beach are...the kids are just sitting...they make their own seats in the sand, and they sit in their bathing togs. And then, of course, you get the kids who get up and go in for a swim, and then coming out again. I mean, it's just so informal. And...but it's wonderful, really. I mean, I...it was a wonderful training goun...ground for young people on the team, too.
SHUSTER: Mmm-hmm. Did you serve on such a...?
EMBERY: I served on teams in Australia afterwards, and in England. But....
SHUSTER: When you were at Chefoo, did you know any of the Liddell [?] children?
EMBERY: On...Well, I didn't know them at school. But I know...I've met and known Jennie Liddell, the sister in England. No. Eric, of course, died in camp when I had...I had left school then. But he...he was.... Jennie used to come, or she has been to two or three of the reunions. You see, we have school reunions. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, if you come across a Chefooite, you're a friend. It doesn't...the tie, the friendship.... I...just on this trip, now, I met a girl in Los Angeles. I just rang her up...at least, I wrote to her before I left, and said I was coming through Los Angeles, so she said, "Oh, do contact me" when I did, so I did. And I hadn't seen her since I'd left school, so that was over fifty years, but we just were like that. I mean we were...just clicked right away, we had so much.... You've got the same background and you grow up out East. I feel as if I belong out east. I don't...I never...even now, I'm finding it very hard to settle in the West.
SHUSTER: Even Australia?
EMBERY: Oh, yes. Even in England. It does...it...it's...in a way, you've got to learn to live a different kind of life again. You...you...you live differently out in the East. Your whole...your whole outlook is different. I remember going back for my first furlough, was it? And I went back, and I was sort of saying I...I.... At the end of my first furlough, I just felt that the average person was just living in a world of their own and didn't know how the other half lived, the other side of the world.
SHUSTER: In the west.
EMBERY: Yes. Living in a fools' paradise. And I still feel that.
SHUSTER: How do you mean?
EMBERY: Well, [pauses] there [unclear] in a way [?].... I...I suppose you...you...it's what you...you're used to. I...I feel the average person.... I think it's coming more now. I think the ordinary, more simple lifestyle...
EMBERY: I think we, even unconsciously...I think we set too much store on material things.
SHUSTER: Which is....
EMBERY: And I say that kindly.
SHUSTER: Yeah...yeah, but that's not as true in the East.
EMBERY: And I.... Oh, no. Well, not...well, I haven't been able to, but I mean, I think you learn to.... Well, maybe that's my upbringing, too, and that's something else that I'm very grateful for. [Pauses.] You...you learn the values, where your values really lie. You learn even the value of money. I'm...I'm appalled, really, at...sometimes at what people spend money on. I know it's their own. If they've got it then they can spend it the way they like, but I think we lose a lot of the sense of pleasure out of small things. We look for enjoyment, and I think this is...I don't know..... My feeling is that that's why there is so much dissatisfaction. They're trying to find their pleasure they think that...in the things that they think are going to give them to them. When I...when I see the pleasure that some eastern people, especially in China and that sort of thing, the pleasure...I noticed it in Hong Kong...the pleasure the kids get out of playing with the simplest things, and they're happy, and they love it, and they enjoy it, and...and they are happy and contented. And I look at the things that sometimes some of our children have, more than they know...they...they get so disgruntled, and the more they have, the more they want. Now, I...I....
SHUSTER: Do you think that's because of a particular outlook in the east, or because of poverty?
EMBERY: No, no. I think that...I think that is culture, but this is what I mean: it's almost a culture shock when you've lived out [pauses] in a third world (shall I use that term now?) to come home and try and live here. It's [pauses]...it's very hard. I don't know how to explain it, but you fin...you find yourself almost compelled to live a certain way, although you don't want to. I don't know whether I make myself plain in that...
SHUSTER: No, very clear.
EMBERY: But I think that's...you find yourself almost compelled, and you could easily be swayed, but it takes discipline not to let yourself get carried away. Well, I say that because I don't want to be. If I did want to, I would find it very easy. But there...here again, I'd...I...I go back to that old thing, I...I...I owe a lot to past discipline.
SHUSTER: Were there particular teachers at the school who had a great influence on you?
EMBERY: I beg your pardon?
SHUSTER: Particular teachers at the school who had a great influence on you?
EMBERY: No, I don't know that I could use that expression. There were some that I liked better than others, but I...I don't know. I find it very hard to find...I find it very hard to [pauses] say what influenced me. I think the whole...the whole setup influenced me. I guess there were teachers whom...with whom I would say possibly I had more to do with and perhaps listened to more. Maybe in that sense, indirectly, they had more influence on me. Well, those...we had in my time there...there'd be more later, but in my time there, there were three teachers who were MK's themselves, and I think we always thought they understood us better. Because that's the old maxim, you sat where they sat, and you understand them better. And maybe...maybe having been an MK myself, this is why I feel like I do about being an MK. Maybe I...I...because I feel the benefits so, and I...but, mind you, I didn't always; there was a time when I first came home when I really went...I sort of rebelled, because I felt like a fish out of water. In those days, to come home at eighteen and nineteen and settle into life at home...
SHUSTER: [As Embery is still speaking] By home you mean to England?
EMBERY: ...without parents. I was living with relatives....
SHUSTER: You mean to England?
EMBERY: My parents had still gone back.
SHUSTER: When you say come home, you mean to England?
EMBERY: Yes. I...well, actually I went to Australia then...
SHUSTER: Australia, yeah.
EMBERY: ...for a few years and I was living with some of my mother's relatives. And I had to find...I think this is something that MK's do have to face up to: they have to face up to the reality of whether they are only believing what their parents believed, or whether they are believing it for it's own sake, personally. And I think you have to find that. And I had to find it. And I fought against it for a while, because it didn't...I was finding myself trying to live in two worlds. This was a new world to me, and my friends...and they didn't...they hadn't grown up out east. You come from different backgrounds. There was that cross-culture, if I might use that term. There is a cross-culture when you've grown up in one, even...although it's been in an English sort of environment, if you know what I mean when I say that. To come home and live in a different sort of thing, you're...you're mixing between two and they...they'd all [pauses]...the invitation of the new world. It's all new to you, you want to explore it, you want to ex...experience it and everything, and yet there's that anchor that sort of...you're pulling on. And this is where I think there's an advantage. It's there. It holds you. It...it...there's a sort of a semi-restriction and you get that sort of...I was going to say almost guilty feeling. And I got to the stage...after about four or five years of this, where I got to the stage where I just didn't know where I was. I was...I was feeling that I was making out, that I was one thing, and yet deep down I really knew that it wasn't really, really me. It was only what I knew in my mind. And I did know in my heart [unclear words] I had accepted the Lord. I believed I was a Christian, but there was this very great conflict and I can remember a girl saying to me in Australia one day...I...we were sitting together talking, and she said, "Oh, what are you doing these holidays?" And I said, "Oh, I don't know yet." She said, "Why don't you come...." All this week, it was a holiday weekend, and she said, "Why don't you come to the weekend conference?" And I said, "Oh, I...." I was sort of beginning to get cheesed off. She said, "Well, why don't you come?" And I said, "No, I don't think so." Anyway, we let it go and a few days later she said to me, "Are you coming this weekend?" And I said...she said, "Oh, come on, come." And she persuaded me to come, so I said, "yes." And I remember [hits microphone] going home [unclear as microphone apparently falls] virtually saying to the Lord, "If I go to this weekend and I don't come back any different, I'm throwing it all away." I can remember virtually saying that, [pauses] because I was so dissatisfied with everything. I needed...I didn't know where I was. I was being pulled both ways, and I just couldn't find my anchor, and it depended on who I was with, what I was like, or what I was professing to be like. And I really said to the Lord, "If I don't come back from this conference a different person, I'm just going to give it all away-it's no good. It's just a lot of hearsay." And that weekend was a turning point in my life, it really was. [Pauses.] I did come back a different person.
SHUSTER: What do you sink...think resolved the conflict?
EMBERY: Well, I'll tell you. [Pauses] The main speaker of that weekend was giving a talk this particular night, it was Saturday night, and I never read the portion but I don't take myself back and I can still see him standing with his back to the fireplace, talking about this and saying...talking about the feeding of the five thousand, and he said...and he used his hands, and he said...he said, "You know, the Lord,"...he based his...he based his things on the...on the five actions of the Lord in that story: He took, He looked, He blessed, and He break, and He gave. And he went on to say how the Lord takes each one of us, and He looks on us, and He asks, he says, and He...He says to the Father, holding out His hands, He says, "Look, Father what I've got. What could we do with him or her?" And the next thing, He breaks, and he went on to say, "Until you're broken, the Lord can't use you." And I...that changed my whole life. And from then on, I got involved, and I later went to work for Scripture Union. And then I went to London, worked there for them, and then I went to Hong Kong with [unclear]. But I had...I had...I think it's hard.... This is one of the disadvantages. I think it's probably harder for an MK coming home to break back into western culture. And I use that term "break back," because I think it is a breaking back. It may not be quite so much now, but it certainly was in those days.
SHUSTER: Well, did you feel [unclear as Embery begins to speak]....?
EMBERY: Because in those days it was only one country. Today it's...it's East Asia.
EMBERY: But toda...that...in those days it was just China.
SHUSTER: Well, did you feel that you were part of Chinese culture, or did you were between the two?
EMBERY: Well, no, I wouldn't say a part of Chinese culture. It's...it's...I use that term culture guardedly. I think it's in your way of life, your own way of life and upbringing in an Eastern context, in a missionary context, in a boarding school context; take...call it what you like. It was a combination of the lot. I wouldn't say it was Chinese culture.
SHUSTER: Mmm-hmm. But it was a different world than the one you'd grown to.
EMBERY: Well, it's a different world. We didn't have the things that people at home, we didn't the distractions, if I might use that word. Or the attraction of the outside world. They were closed to us. We didn't go to movies. There weren't movies to go to. We didn't go to dances, we didn't do this, we didn't do that other. When I got home, it was a different world.
SHUSTER: Well, speaking of distractions of the outside....
EMBERY: But that doesn't apply so much now.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Speaking of distractions of the outside world, how aware were you of the various upheavals that were going on in China? Of course, the Chinese Republic had begun, 1911, and there was Chiang Kai-shek's...
EMBERY: Oh, well, we didn't have any of that...
SHUSTER: ...northward march in 1927....
EMBERY: ...in school, I mean we didn't...we didn't...we...I mean we had nothing. I don't suppose we did anything political in those days.
SHUSTER: But were you aware of what was going on in China? Was it....?
EMBERY: Well, in...in...in my days in China, there wasn't very much going on apart from a bit of banditry and bigotry. I mean, I was there the years in between.
EMBERY: I was there between the two world wars.
SHUSTER: Right. I was thinking of something like Chiang Kai-shek's northward march or the war against....
EMBERY: Well, that wasn't...was that after? That was after I was....
SHUSTER: That was 1927.
EMBERY: Yes, well, I left in 1930. It was just [pauses].... There...there...there was.... We weren't really conscious very much of that. We were restricted at one time when the...when there was a bit of the warlord business in the north there. But I mean I've forgotten now. We probably did know...I mean, we did know a bit of the Wu Pei Fu and those, and we were restricted, and we had our teachers patrolling, and the...the men...the men teachers patrolled the compound in the night time, and things like that. And we had an American warship out in the bay. But...
SHUSTER: That wasn't continually, that was just this one time?
EMBERY: Oh, just one time, and it was really over a short period and.... But I mean there weren't any...as far as I know, there weren't any big upheavals in China in the period that I was there. So, I mean, as far as you're speaking about my time at school, there wasn't so much that. Even that time when the...when the kids got taken by the pirates was after my time.
SHUSTER: Oh, when was that?
EMBERY: Well, that was a little bit later. If you want some of this information, you ought to get that book in your library, and it will give you all the information you want. The centenary book of the school.
SHUSTER: When you graduated from the school, you say you worked for a year as a tutor?
EMBERY: Yeah, I did. I was asked. The...they were needing somebody for these two families in Wai Yang [?]...were needing somebody and I was available. Well, I was going to be around for a year, waiting for mother and dad's furlough, to go home with them. I was going to stay in Shanghai and I was invited to go up there for a year, and so I did. I taught six children in five different grades. [Shuster chuckles.] Several of them went back into...back to the mission field. They're second generation, the Montgomeries [James and Aurie] and the Yates [?] families, and then there were the two families up in Tsingkiangpu [Kiangsu Province?]. They had a tutor up there....
SHUSTER: What families were they?
EMBERY: We used to get together. Beg your pardon?
SHUSTER: What families were they? What were the two families up in Tsin....
EMBERY: The Bells [Dr. L. Nelson and Virginia] and the Talbots [?]. Dr. Bell, Dr. Nelson Bell and his wife. They had the...Rosa and Ruth, Billy Graham's wife. And the two Talbot boys, and couplets [?], we saw a bit of them. But that was a time...there was a bit of trouble up the river then. But...and they...those four came down to be with us for a couple of days. When there was a bit of a bandit scare, they sent their kids down to us. A bit of a scare at Jin Yan Fu. But they were very happy. That was a very happy year.
SHUSTER: But you weren't then teaching up at Tsingkiangpu? You were teaching at...?
EMBERY: No, I was teaching at Hwaiyin [Jiangsu Province ?]. No, I was teaching at Hwaiyin.
SHUSTER: And...you were mentioning earlier before I began the tape about rereading Nelson Bells biography.
SHUSTER: What impression did he make on you when you met him?
EMBERY: Well, I don't know that I...I met them only when I was...went up there or when...when they came down. I didn't really know them. But I...I...I knew the two families that I was with more, and there...there was another lady there, a single lady. I've always had a great admiration for...for all that group. They were a very fine group in the Presbyterian Church there.
SHUSTER: Were the Giesers [Dr. Paul K. and M. Catherine Kirk; see CN 88] there when you were...?
SHUSTER: The Giesers?
EMBERY: I don't think so, no. Womeldorfs [Ray and Mary] were. The Bells and the Talbots. [Pauses.] But it was mainly confined...you see, I wasn't there during the holidays, because during the holidays I went back to Shanghai for Christmas and then I went back again. I was only there just a year.
SHUSTER: What...what do you think of when you think of Shanghai?
EMBERY: What do I think of when I think of Shanghai? Oh, I don't know. Very, very happy years. I love Shanghai. But I think I'd be disappointed if I went back now. I would rather remember it as I knew it.
SHUSTER: You lived within the international compound?
EMBERY: I lived within our own mission compound, but then they used to visit, oh, families all over the city, many friends, and a lot...I've still got a lot of Shanghai friends. I've been reliving Shanghai for ten days just recently down in Texas with a lady who used to work with my father. I hadn't seen her for many years.
SHUSTER: Was it a crowded city?
EMBERY: Beg pardon?
SHUSTER: Was it a crowded city?
EMBERY: Oh, yes, very crowded city. In fact, we got to know it...we used to bike...we used to do a lot of biking around in the early.... One of the girls' fathers, a gentleman who used to work for my father, we used to go out in the mornings early, six o'clock, get up and have a [unclear word] and then this girl and myself and her father, we used to bike for about an hour, and then they'd stop and have Chinese breakfast somewhere; hot myin [?] or something, and then we'd bike back in time to get back to the compound by nine o'clock. Then he had to be at the office. And we, you know, we used to go all thr...all different ways. I really got to know Shanghai. I used to say I could know it like the back of my hand, but I don't...couldn't now. But the Shanghai waterfront, it hasn't changed. You see photos of it today and the waterfront hasn't changed much at all. But I guess a lot of the...a lot else has changed.
SHUSTER: Was there much contact between the Chinese and the westerners in Shanghai?
EMBERY: Oh, well, yes. My father...my father did a lot of work for the Door of Hope. They...they used to have a refuge for the girls rescued from the temple and...but Daddy used to go down every Friday night, down to Fu Chow [?] Road preaching hall and preach. He had a lot of...he had good Mandarin. My father had good Chinese. My sisters had, too, very good. Oh, now, Dad never...Dad never gave up his other work. He liked that more, but he...he had...he did the administrative work, and he was a good administrator, but his first pre-eminent was preaching. Right up until he retired, and even after he retired, he was still in demand for preaching, [pauses] teaching.
SHUSTER: Were you there at all when the trouble with Japan began in Shanghai?
EMBERY: No, no, no. No, that was just after.
SHUSTER: How many people were there at CIM headquarters? At least, how many staff...?
EMBERY: What, in the old days?
EMBERY: [Pauses.] I would not say, there were a lot because it was the center, it was the headquarters, it was the world headquarters. CIM have always has their world headquarters on the field. It's one of the things that has distinguished them, I think. They still have their headquarters on the field...
SHUSTER: Singapore, yeah.
EMBERY: ...in Singapore. And I think that this is one of the reasons why, I think, it has continued so well. Because the people who administer are the people who are on the field and on the spot, and are in touch with the people. And I think that has been a tremendous advantage. I think it's what makes it tick. I mean, each home center has their headquarters, too, but the headquarters are on the field.
SHUSTER: And the advantage then is that they're more aware of the needs of the people?
EMBERY: Oh, I'm sure they are. Because they're traveling amongst them, and they've got immediate access, and the personnel on the field know that they've got access, immediate access, to people on the field. They're not having to refer home all the time. I think that's a tremendous advantage.
SHUSTER: [Pauses.] Was there a problem in your day because of communication? But, of course, some missionaries were very...took months, as you say, to communicate with headquarters.
EMBERY: No, but then, you see, they have their own area headquarters as well. [Pauses.] There's a...I mean, it's a...it's a...there...there are area directors to whom mission personnel can immediately contact. But they can also have access to headquarters if they wanted. But the area headquarters...the area headquarters are in touch with the main headquarters, you see. But each of the area directors is on the...is on the controlling council. And they meet regularly.
SHUSTER: Now, you left China in 1930?
SHUSTER: To go to school in England?
EMBERY: I beg your pardon?
SHUSTER: To go to school in...England or Australia?
EMBERY: No, I went down to Australia for a while. My mother's home was down there. My father's home is in England. So, I...I'm a [chuckles]...a citizen of many parts. In fact, I do carry a dual passport.
SHUSTER: And how long were you in Australia?
EMBERY: Oh, I did...I did my...I did my other cross-training first. Then I did business training, accountancy, and I worked in accountancy for a while, and then I was with Scripture Union for ten years...
SHUSTER: As an accountant?
SHUSTER: As an accountant?
EMBERY: Well, I was a bit of everything. That's something else I think I learned from being at Chefoo. To be adaptable to anything, and not to feel you have to do one thing and that's it, just your job. You do whatever needs to be done. And I think that [unclear phrase]...that's a tremendous asset to have, to be able to turn your hand to what needs to be done, whether it's big or small. And I think that's something I learned at school. And I think that part [?] I had to do in the mission office. I mean, you go...you go, in accountancy particularly, you go out in the field, you've got...you need [unclear] to do this job and the other. You don't have to do it, and you're not expected to do it. And it...in a way, it's beneath you to do it. You get into mission administration, and you can't afford to be that kind of person. You have to be prepared to do anything, and I am. I don't care whether I lick stamps, or whether I'm doing a...preparing a balance sheet. It doesn't make any difference to me. It's all part, a parcel of the thing, and I think that is something that you need to be. And this is where you get what you learn when you learn to live with other people, you learn to understand other people, you learn to...people...people with different gifts and temperament, and.... I can remember feeling badly one day...at least I...I didn't really feel badly, but on my first furlough, and I was at a place staying with a hostess and I had been giving a.... I think that I'd been asked to give the talk to the kiddies as well, and I had said something about what I had been doing. And, of course, I can never talk about what most people talk about, about church work and evangelism and all this sort of thing, and I have to say, [unclear word]...say, "Well, I'm one of the...the back room boys," you know, "one of the helps." And the little boy said to his mother...was overheard to say to his mother a little bit later; "But I thought you were a real missionary." And I've often used that as an illustration because we're all missionaries, after all. What is a missionary? It's a...it's a...a somebody with a mission. What's your mission? To do...to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He asks you to serve. I'm not competent to be a teacher or a preacher or anything else, but I am competent to be a help. And that's one of the things...I'm awfully glad of that word in 1 Corinthians [laughs], because that's what I feel I've.... I've been able to back up through the years.
SHUSTER: What...what does Scripture Union do in Australia? You mentioned, of course, the beach ministry....
EMBERY: Scripture Union is worldwide. Scripture Union is a worldwide ministry [?].
SHUSTER: Yes, but you were in Australia.
EMBERY: Well, it doesn't matter where you are. I've been in Scripture Union in England, I've been in Scripture Union in Hong Kong. Scripture Union is the systematic Bible reading. That's what it initially is. But it has its outreach now. It...it covers what IVCF [InterVarsity Christian Fellowship] covers here. It covers schoolwork, it covers missions, it covers DVBS's, it covers camps, it covers a tremendous spectrum. Work among young people, frontier work....
SHUSTER: Now IVCF, of course, is aimed primarily at College-age students. Is that also true of Scripture Union?
EMBERY: At where?
SHUSTER: At college age.
EMBERY: Yes, but it...taking it down on a younger level, I have what we call Inter-School Christian Fellowship. See, that comes under it, or Crusader movements, in England, Crusaders. It's secondary school, but even primary school. Scripture Union works among primary schools.
EMBERY: And staff members that work among different age groups. They go out and have these school groups, out either on campus or off campus. If they're not allowed to have it on campus, they have it off campus after school, or lunch hour, or something like that.
SHUSTER: And it cooperates with all denominations?
EMBERY: Oh yes, yes. Interdenominational. I am afraid.... I...I...I was saying to Paige [?] this morning, I...I...if you ask me honestly what the difference between today's denominations is, I could not tell you. And I don't care, really. They're too many other important things. I've never been brought up to think in terms of denominations. And I think this is perhaps another advantage. We'd been talking about advantages, and I said I didn't...couldn't do it, but...
EMBERY: ...I think there is a realm in which I...I could...I feel free to worship in any church that...that...that really honors the Lord. The outward symbols, the outward symbols...
SHUSTER: [As Embery is speaking] And you think that's partly because of your background?
EMBERY: ...and the outward things don't...don't mean very much, really.
SHUSTER: And you think that's partly because of your background?
EMBERY: I think so. But I...I...I don't regret it. I...I...I consider it's an advantage, because I feel I can worship anywhere, and I feel I can mix with people [unclear word]. I...I...I think unless it's something fundamental, I mean I...I don't...I don't like to cast myself into a category like that. Whatever I might feel, I...I...I...I might feel I am more of one persuasion than another, but unless I have to specifically denote it, I don't really bother to denote it. Because I don't know who I'm talking to. I don't want to make a division where there needn't be one.
SHUSTER: How did you come to be...come back to OMF again, from Scripture Union?
EMBERY: Oh, that's a long story. [Laughs] Well, I just heard of a need, and I [unclear]...it started with a casual remark walking home from church one day. I'd been to Westminster Chapel in London. I was walking along the Strand with an older CIM couple who had retired, and we were all walking along and.... I'd gone to England primarily to visit my father's people, and to see England again. And I had promised myself at least a year back in secular work, because I felt that I had...after I left the business and went into Scripture Union in Australia, and then I got very involved in camps and school meetings, and all this sort of thing, and IBF [?], and EU [?]. And I just felt I was sort of living...I didn't know how the outside was...beginning to get where I didn't understand. I had a group of Crusader girls every Sunday evening, and I was beginning to get to the stage where I felt I could not put myself in their position. I could not understand altogether some of their problems. And I had this ground sort of feeling that I really didn't...couldn't help them to the full extent, because I didn't really understand their home situations. And partly for that reason, and partly because I wanted to update myself, because I was doing bits of everything, I wasn't only doing accountancy, I went to London with the purpose of [phone rings outside of room], at least for one year, getting back into the secular business world, which I did. [phone rings again]
SHUSTER: What...what year did you go to London?
EMBERY: Fifty-five. And so, for a year, and over a year, I worked in an accountants office in the Strand, and then Scripture Union approached me and so I when...and I said, "Well, I won't do anything before a year is up. I promised myself a year back in the profession." So I...then I went to Scripture Union and while I was there, this happened. We were just...we were walking home from church, walking down to get the underground home, and walking along the Strand, just casually (I forget now what we were actually talking about), the lady said to me...turned to me, she was an old friend of mine, she knew my parents very well, and she said, "Have you ever thought of going back to the mission field?" And I remember turning to her and saying, "What, at my age?" I was then...I had turned forty, and [pauses to calculate out loud], that's right, I had turned forty, and I knew too much about some of the requirements for missionary service, and I said, "What? At my age? No." And we didn't...we just laughed it off, and I didn't say any more. But you know, that question rankled me, and I thought...every time it sort of came up in my mind, I'd say to myself, "Don't be stupid. If you wanted to go, you should've gone long ago," you see. There was one thing I'd vowed I'd never be. And so, I was in the habit of a Wednesday night, calling in at OMF, for their weekly prayer meeting on my way home from the office. And I was always late in getting there because they started at six, and I could never quite get there by six. But they went on from six to half past seven, and I came in this night and the speaker was in the middle of reading some news from Singapore, and saying how they had had a very good orientation course with the new candidates and that, and they going to their various...they'd been allocated to their various fields. And he said that, when they were doing the allocation, they'd been able to allocate someone to every field but one. And that field was Hong Kong. That was all I can remember about that. I can't remember anything more about that meeting. But I can remember that I went home and just sort of...this phrase came back to me, "Every column but Hong Kong." And I put it out of my mind because I went to work the next day, and do you know I couldn't settle to work. I couldn't get...I couldn't concentrate. I kept on getting this thing back to my mind, and I thought to myself, "Now, why is this happening?" And then I realized that for, well, several weeks I had really been praying to the Lord. See, my year had been up, and I was in to my second year and I had promised myself two years in England, at least. And...and I was really praying that the Lord would show me what he wanted me to do: whether He wanted me to go back to Scripture Union in Australia, which I didn't have to do, because I had resigned not knowing that I was not...I hadn't asked for leave of absence, or to stay in England to do something, or what He wanted me to do. And I'd been praying for an open door, and then this kept coming back to me and I thought, "Well,..." I can't...I came to lunch time and I still wasn't...I just couldn't settle, couldn't get this out of my mind. So, at the afternoon tea break I rang the home director, and I said, "Could I see you on my way home tonight?" And he said, "Well, I'm...." Or I said, "Can I see you sometime?" and he said, "Well I'm off to Singapore tomorrow." And I said, "Well, can I call in on my way home tonight?" I thought to myself, "Well, I must get this...I...I won't have any peace 'til I get this off of my mind. I just want someone to assure me that it's absolutely crazy for me to think about it." So I had a talk to...to make a long story short, I went to see him, and I said to him, I said, "You probably think I'm crazy. I...I think myself I'm crazy, but I can't get any peace of mind until I get this off of my chest." I said, "You mentioned last night about something. a calling in Hong Kong, that wasn't filled..." I...he said, "I don't know what the gap is, or what they want there." And I said, "I think I'm crazy even to ask. You know my age, you know that I know what the mission requires. I haven't got any language, I haven't had any Bible school training, but something compels me to say to you, "Well, are you prepared to tell me that it's crazy for me to ask if there's anything I can do in Hong Kong?" And again, to make a long story short, he said, "No, I'm not prepared to say that." He said, "I'm going to Hong Kong, [then] into Singapore tomorrow, have a talk to Mr. Sanders about it if you like, unofficially, just by word of mouth." And I...I said, "Well, Mr. Sanders knows me probably about as well as anybody." He'd taken over my father in Australia, and I had run a Crusader girls group in their home every Thurs...Sat...Saturday night, so he knew my current situation. He knew me as a...knew my family, he knew my background. And I said...I said, "Well, I'm perfectly happy for you to talk it over with him, but I don't want it anything official, I'm only making a tentative enquiry." And I went off on holidays, and didn't see him for another couple of weeks, and I didn't go back to OMF for another couple of weeks, I mean. But I went back a little bit later, and in the course of...I came in late as usual...and in the course of the evening, I heard someone praying for Mr. Scott, asking the Lord would heal him. And I thought to myself.... So after the meeting, I saw Mrs. Scott, and I said to her, "I'm sorry to hear your husbands not well. I hope you've got good news of him." "Oh", she said, "he didn't go to Singapore, he wasn't able to go." So I thought to myself, "That's fine. Nothing's happened, you see." Because I had said, you know, just only by word of mouth. Anyway, she said, "Would you like to come up and see him, after the meet...meeting? Come up and see him for a few minutes." So I went up to him and I said to him.... He said, "Well, as a matter of fact, I felt so strongly about it, that I'm afraid I did write to Singapore. I wrote to Mr. Sanders." So I thought...my heart fell in my boots, and I thought, "Oh, well, never mind [unclear phrase]. So, a letter came back saying that if I was prepared to go, they were prepared to have me. I still didn't know what to do...they wanted me for. And so I said to Mrs. Scott, "Well, what's...what can I answer?" I've tried the door, in other words, thinking that it would close, and here it is opening. What more can I do to say than I'd be willing to go? And when I said was willing to go, and I wrote back, they wrote back and told me what they wanted me to do, and it was to do the accounts. It was up my alley. That's how I got to serve in OMF. I went for two years, on a two-year basis on both sides, because I was going to a specific job. Oh, I didn't have language, didn't have Bible school, I wasn't going on the ordinary things. As some people say, "You came in the back door," but that's not right. So I went on a two-year basis that either of us could say "yea" or "nay" at the end of it. Well, at the end of it, I...I stayed for, well, it was over twenty by the time I finished.
SHUSTER: [Laughs] So it must have...
EMBERY: [As Shuster is speaking] I stayed in Hong Kong for....
SHUSTER: ...It must have worked out well, then. [Slight laugh].
EMBERY: Well, yes. Well, you asked me how I went into OMF. That was how...that was how I felt my missionary call.
SHUSTER: I think on that note we can...we'll have to stop. We're almost out of tape for now.
END OF TAPE