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Collection 248 - William John Barnett. T8 Transcript


Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (58 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of William Barnett (CN 248, T8) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.

Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.

   ...        Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

   ....       Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

  ( )       Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

  [ ]        Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.

This transcript was made by Paul Ericksen, Hannah Parish and Susanne Osborne, and was completed in September 2011.


Collection 248, T8. Interview of William John Barnett by Robert Shuster, April 24, 1998.

BARNETT: [overlap from T7] And in fact, not long ago our son Jim was back out there for a period of a couple of weeks, carrying on some clinics and so on out there. And he went to one of these government hospitals which was way down near to Dar Es Salaam. And he ran into (I think, it was two or three) of our nurses that were trained at Kolo Ndoto. And the head man of the hospital said, “If we possibly can, we want the Kolo Ndoto nurses because they’re the best trained and the best nurses that we can get.”

SHUSTER: And what was the name of that woman who organized or headed up that program?

BARNETT: I’m trying [laughs]...trying to think of her now. Laura would...Laura would remember it. I can’t think of her name right at the moment.

SHUSTER: But she was an AIM missionary?

BARNETT: She was AIM, and she came from the Kenya field originally. And then following her came Josephine Downey, who...she and her sister, (her sister’s not a nurse, Jo is the nurse), but Jo became the head of the nurses training program. She had to go take special courses recognized by the British system and so on to fit in as a sister tutor for the training program. And she was a missionary kid.

SHUSTER: Back then?

BARNETT: Yeah, her father and mother were among the pioneers that first went to Tanganyika.

SHUSTER: Was that Kenneth Downing?

BARNETT: Hmm?

SHUSTER: Was that Kenneth Downing? [more loudly] Was that Kenneth Downing her father?

BARNETT: No, this was Downey...

SHUSTER: Oh.

BARNETT: ...not Downing, but Downey. D-O-W-N-E-Y. The Downeys were...were pioneer missionaries of the AIM in...in Tanganika. And she was born...she and her sister were born in...in Tanganyika at the time. And they served out there, Jo just...they both are retired now. But just this last year Jo went back out there again just to help out with the training program that’s going on that’s still functioning there.

SHUSTER: What kind of church was developing? You mentioned that there was a congregation. How would you describe it in terms of depth of faith, or biblical knowledge...?

BARNETT: The church itself has become probably one of the strongest of the churches that has grown out of the AIM work. They are the first church of the AIM fields that became independent of the AIM.

SHUSTER: And about when did that happen?

BARNETT: That occurred while we were there. That would have been ‘59, ‘60, something like that, that they became...the AIM gave them their independence. There had been...I sat in...I was a member of the field council at the time. And I sat in on [laughs] many, many, many lengthy mission meetings [Shuster laughs] in which these discussions were going on as to whether they...they were really ready for it and they were agitating for it. And so it was a learning time for both the mission and the church.

SHUSTER: [unclear]

BARNETT: But it has meant that the church has gone ahead and they’ve had good leaders. They’ve had some excellent ones in it. They’re the only ones I think of the...of the African Inland Church that developed...that took on the formalities of the...some of the other missions and so on, churches. In other words, they went the way of establishing bishops and so on, and they have bishops in the church there. And their first ones were very fine men, and....

SHUSTER: Who were some of their first bishops that you remember...?

BARNETT: They’re now...the last one that was in was Bishop Nyagwasa [Methusela]. And he was trained initially out there but then he came home to the States here and did his...his training here in California at [snaps fingers]...at Fuller [Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California], I guess it was. And he went back and served effectively. I mean, very humble to begin with. But I think their biggest problem was the power factor that comes in and...and the ability for the missionaries that are there to work along with the church leadership and so on has been a real training time, has been a difficult time for some from what I understand.

SHUSTER: What do you mean “power factor”?

BARNETT: Well, you know, they’re taking over and they...it used to be the white man that was calling all the strikes. Now it’s the black man who’s doing the leadership, and the white man is now taking the orders from him.

SHUSTER: And some have difficulty adjusting to that?

BARNETT: It’s taken a lot of readjusting, on both sides. And so finding the ones within the church who...who are motivated solely by their love for the Lord has not always been the easiest thing from what we hear. But some of the leaders have been excellent. [Ezekiel] Birech up there in Kenya who became the bishop up there while we were there at Kijabe was just a humble, loving man of God. Just a gracious, gracious man that was simply a pleasure to be working along with him. Now the...the trend in...in Tanz...Tanzania, they have just, I think, in the last two years ordained, not just a single bishop, but because of the trend of this one man Nyagwasa to take off an awful lot of power into his hands and not quite know how to handle it all. They have gone ahead to, I think, ordain some six or seven other bishops.

SHUSTER: So there’s no head bishop?

BARNETT: And...so there’s no real head one over the whole thing. Now this one man who was headquartered at Mwanza, I understand has been shifted down to Dar Es Salaam instead. And they have divided things up that way. And I understand it’s doing better and getting along well.

SHUSTER: You mentioned that you were on the committees or the councils that oversaw the transfer of control from the mission to the church, and that it was a real learning experience. What were some of the things you learned?

BARNETT: I think that one of the important things that we all had to learn was that the African was indeed growing up, that he was becoming educated, and that spiritually they had developed into real men and women of God. They loved the Lord, and their desire was to go ahead. But there was no question that they...they wanted to do things on their own. They didn’t want to be continuously under the white man. And they felt that they were capable of doing so. I don’t think that the missionaries generally saw anything wrong with that. But what it did take a long time for the missionaries to become convinced that they were capable of taking over the organizational setup together with the financial setup. So much of the financial care of the church work had been coming through the missionaries themselves. And to get them to the point where they felt that they were responsible enough to support their own pastors, their own Bible schools and the school system and so on.

SHUSTER: Were they wealthy enough to support them?

BARNETT: Well, they...they...they were all agriculturalists, you know. That’s what they basically were. They had farms and so on, and some of them were quite wealthy, had good farms going and good crops. A lot of it depended on the season too and whether the rains failed or not, and...but you had to be ready for that sort of a thing. But they were becoming more and more educated, and capable of understanding and holding things. And..and it was...I can...I can remember it was a great deal of faith and trust because we decided to take that step and let them...let them have it. Is the boat going to sink or not, you know? Well, if this is truly the Lord’s work, and he’s been working, and that he is behind it, oh, then we must simply trust, and be ready there to take...assume the position of being helpers instead of guiders all the time, but to help them to see them through it. Well, it...at that time a number of the missionaries did leave the field, because they felt that their work was over with. And...and some of them had been fairly vociferous in the feeling that this wasn’t the time for it and so on.

SHUSTER: When you say a number, about how many?

BARNETT: Oh, the...the mission...the Tanzania missionary group dwindled from around a hundred, as I understand, I remember down to around between twenty and thirty missionaries.

SHUSTER: So most...most of them s...?

BARNETT: So they...[chair creaks] many of them either transferred to other fields or [chair creaks] actually went home. The Hesses [Charles and Laura], among the oldest...I think you probably know the Hesses.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

BARNETT: Missionary grad...I mean, Wheaton grad, honored by Wheaton and so on. Great missionaries. He was the one that translated the whole Bible into the Sukuma language. And yet he felt at the end there, that the African church had turned on him. And he was deeply hurt, deeply hurt. And he felt that they just had turned on him and had not appreciated the work that he had done. And he took it far more personally than he should have done.

SHUSTER: Turned on him because of...they no longer wanted him to have authority over them?

BARNETT: That’s right, that’s right. And so on. And others, like the Dilworths [Richard and Florence] left. Huge, very effective missionary out there. The Beverlys...Paul [and Esther] Beverly that was the last field director that we had in Tanzania. And he actually officiated at the turnover to get the work turned over. And I think that he felt that his...it would be better for him to be out of the field, away from the field, than there to make it easier for the Africans to start functioning on their own. He transferred then to Kenya and worked in Kenya for several years and then finally retired to the States, and took over a job as the director of the [United] Indian Mission here [in the western part of the United States] in Arizona [chair creaks]. And he worked there up with them, and he’s still working with them, not a director, but he teaches in the Bible school there now. And so there...the different ones went to different fields. But now [chair creaks] as they have been learning to work together better, the missionary staff of Tanganyika [Tanzania] has been steadily growing, growing, growing, growing up until I understand that they are way up to almost to what they used to be, now fairly close to the eighty...or in there. Heading up teams with the Africans, reaching out to the unreached people groups and helping with the Bible schools and things of that sort. But hospitals that are there were nationalized sometime after we had been asked to go to Kenya. Kolo Ndoto was nationalized taken over by the church.

SHUSTER: Taken over by the church?

BARNETT: By the....

SHUSTER: Oh, by the church.

BARNETT: By the church. The AIC, the African [Inland] Church. And they’re still functioning under the African Inland Church. The ...there have been ups and downs there. They have put in some African doctors there. One of them that was in as the head doctor, it was very questionable whether he was a Christian. But the other two that were in were outstanding Christians that were there. And they’ve had their ups and downs. The question of [clears throat] being able to evangelize in the hospital under the government system and so on was really curtailed. The Arabs in the country began to make their voice known and....

SHUSTER: You say under the government system. Was the government in control?

BARNETT: Well, the government, you see...the government has been providing quite a bit of money...

SHUSTER: I see.

BARNETT: ...for running of the hospitals. And even from the time that we were there, the whole system there was very different from in Kenya. But the government was contributing under the British a fair amount of money to grants each year for mission hospitals, because they recognized that mission hospitals were doing much of the work that the government should be doing, but didn’t have the staff or ability to do it, or the hospitals. So under the nurses training program that we established in the agreement that we had with them, they would...the government would...would support so many beds for each nurse that you’re training.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

BARNETT: They would support so many beds. So there that has gone on. And, of course, with that connection then the...the Muslims have put their word in there that they don’t want to sit and have the...the Christian faith preached to them while they’re sitting in there waiting for treatment and so on. But it has not stopped our church evangelists from doing bed-to-bed visitations through the hospital. And I don’t think that they are doing any preaching in the outpatient services. But they are making Christian literature available. And there is a strong witness going on in the hospital with what there...and the nurses training program still continues and is under strong Christian leadership.

SHUSTER: Now you and your wife left Tanganyika in 1961. Is that correct?

BARNETT: 1961 we went on our furlough. We’d been there eleven years.

SHUSTER: Was that still...were you still the only doctor at the hospital at that time?

BARNETT: No, no. At that time, in fact, I worked under the principle that [chuckles]...that it was not good to have a mission hospital with just one doctor in it. Some of the mission hospitals ran that way, because their...their doctors were so strong personalities that nobody else could get along with them. And they had to be the big voice all the time.

SHUSTER: I would think that....

BARNETT: But I disliked that. I...I said, “There’s too much work, and we need to diversify it, and we need to help each other to get it done.” And so I worked on that basis to get in other doctors to come. Well interestingly [laughs], the next doctor that came along was Dr. [Jeanie] Shaw, who was a lady doctor. And I was simply delighted that we were getting another doctor to come in and help us.

SHUSTER: Now where did she come...?

BARNETT: She comes from the Philadelphia area.

SHUSTER: Oh!

BARNETT: And it turned out that she was a...a...an osteopath.

SHUSTER: About when did...what year...about approximately what year did she come?

BARNETT: Oh, that would have been about in nineteen-fifty...’55, ‘56, something like that that she came. [chuckles] Osteopath. Well, you know, that’s a bad word [Shuster laughs] in...in our medical practice, osteopath. And it’s not quite as bad as a chiropractor. But osteopaths are an offshoot of chiropractory. And....

SHUSTER: So she had not had traditional...traditional medical training?

BARNETT: Well, the whole point is that...osteopathy has, of course, developed more to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised as time goes by it will simply be integrated into the allopaths [the practice of conventional medicine] as we are called, because they go through a full four- year nurses train....or medical school training program too, with a certain amount of emphasis on...on their manipulation and things of that sort. But they accept everything that we do and go through their postgraduate training too in surgery. So, the point is that here they were coming to what was at that time a British territory and under the British system and so on. And an osteopath was something that they just didn’t know anything about.

SHUSTER: The British didn’t?

BARNETT: Yeah. And so there was no way of getting her license. So I had to get all the data on osteopathy, and find out all about it. And then I don’t know how many trips I made down [chuckles] to Dar Es Salaam to see the...the officials down there to persuade her...them that she was a doctor, and that it would be...that she was licensed back in the States to practice, and that she was worthy of being able to be licensed there. Well....

SHUSTER: Didn’t she know when they sent her out that there would be any kind of problem?

BARNETT: Well, she hadn’t arrived yet, you see. This was all...I was having to do all of this to make sure that she was going to be acceptable. And then she did finally come out, and I...before being licensed so she couldn’t work officially. But they...they finally agreed that if she would take the New York State Medical Board examination and pass that, that they would license her. So....

SHUSTER: This was during....

BARNETT: She...she...the...New York State accepts the osteopath on the basis of the examinations that they have taken on their boards and so on. So I told them this. Alright, if she will go and take that New York State medical examination [chuckles], they would license her. So she agreed she would do it. So she went home, back home to the States, and for a year she studied all that...what she would be examined on and so on in this board examination. And she went and took it and passed it. Came back, they licensed her. And we worked together there at Kolo Ndoto for several years.

SHUSTER: How many doctors were there at the hospital when you left altogether, not including you?

BARNETT: Well, we had one other doctor, who was another lady doctor. And this one was a tough one, a very difficult one. I’m not sure how much you should say about it, because she was a well-trained doctor and she was a cardiologist, a doctor of cardiology. And the main problem that turned out, they...our pastor in Schenectady at First Presbyterian Church was doing all he could do to try and get help out to us, ‘cause he knew that we were tre...overworked, needed all they help we could. And this doctor’s family attended the church there in Schenectady and so he got to know her a certain extent. But the main thing was that she was a well-trained doctor and he didn’t look enough into her...what her personality was and so on. And at that time, the mission itself had not developed, as many of the missions had not developed a...a sufficient examination of candidates for the mission, particularly in the psychological realm and so on.

SHUSTER: You mean ability to get along with others?

BARNETT: That’s right. And so this is something that is...the missions have all come out with now is that department of it, examining their candidates. And she arrived out there and it turned out that she had some very severe psychological, almost psychiatric, problems. And she....

[tape stopped and restarted]

SHUSTER: You were mentioning that the second doctor arrived and had some problems?

BARNETT: Yet medically she was tops [chair creaks]. She...she was...knew her subjects very well, and she was a big help in the hospital. And this I appreciated very much. But increasingly she began to show these problems. And then it turned out that she was into drugs and she was helping herself to narcotics from our stock in the hospital. And I finally discovered that. And then she attempted suicide and we just managed to save her from that. She’d already taken a lot of drugs from attempted suicide. And then we sent her home under...with an accompanying nurse who went along with her. And she was going to take some additional training back there. And she went to Cook County in Chicago to take this additional upgrading in cardiology. And she didn’t turn up to...for several days. So they began to inquire what had happened to her. And finally broke down the door to her room and found her dead on the...on the bed in her room. She had overdosed of barbiturates, which was a sad, sad thing for us to have heard about. But it taught the mission a big lesson, and the need to be more careful in...in watching, making sure the candidates are the right ones for the field.

SHUSTER: You mentioned she was a cardiac specialist. Had you requested a cardiac doctor?

BARNETT: I had not requested it. But, of course, I mean, to begin to get somebody that is a specialist in a field like this other than surgery is most unusual and...

SHUSTER: I was just wondering if you....

BARNETT: ....you don’t turn them down, I’ll tell you.

SHUSTER: I was just wondering if there’s a particular pro...heart problem that was particularly prevalent at that....

BARNETT: No, I mean you have your heart problems, but it depends on where you are. Among the Africans, heart problems are...are...are relatively scarce. In particular, among certain tribes that...the Masai are the ones that you rarely see a heart problem, or hypertension, or anything among them. This stimulated an international study among them as to why, to try and get some of the ideas why so.... But....

SHUSTER: So when you did leave in ‘61, you mentioned that Miss Shaw had come out, this other doctor had come on back. So was there more than one doctor?

BARNETT: Yeah, okay. Then we’d been praying for it. Then...hu...hang on just a second, I’ve gotta get this name for you because it’s important. Let me ask Laura.

[tape is stopped and restarted]

SHUSTER: We...we stopped for a second so you could ask your wife about the name of the doctor from Canada?

BARNETT: We got acquainted with Dr. Cliff Nelson from Canada, who was not a missionary doctor at the time. He....

SHUSTER: How did you meet him?

BARNETT: He was serving in Uganda in a government hospital up there as a...as a doctor. And he was a very fine Christian, an outstanding Christian. And he was working along with Dr. [Denis Parsons] Burkitt. You may have heard of Burkitt’s tumor. Dr. Burkitt, who was also connected with the government, an outstanding Christian, and he was...in his area in Uganda, and extending all the way down into...into Tanzania where we were, there was this special lymphoma tumor, which came to be known as Burkitt’s tumor. He did the research on it. It was occurring primarily in children, young people, and it developed as a tumor mass in the jaws and the mouth. It would grow up almost overnight and just...the young people would be dead from it in a very short time. And...

SHUSTER: And how did they...?

BARNETT: ...it...it involved large lymphatic tissues, and you’d see...what you would see initially, what they would come in with would be this great big old growth throughout and on the side of their face and their jaws and so on.

SHUSTER: And how did Dr. Nelson come to the hospital?

BARNETT: Well, the...what came of it...Burkitt was doing studies on this. And they thought at the time, because of where it occurred, that there may be an insect vector, just like the tsetse fly...

SHUSTER: Some kind of [unclear]....

BARNETT: ...or sleeping sickness that was biting these people. And so Cliff went along with him, invited by Burkitt to go with him, and they were following the line of where they were seeing these tumors. And it brought them down into Tanganyika...Tanzania, right to Kolo Ndoto. We met Dr. Burkitt and Cliff Nelson. And this was our contact with him. And later on, when the study was more or less completed.... Remarkably, that study on Burkitt’s tumor resulted in big names in medicine coming out to this part of Africa because of this thought that it might be an insect vector, which would be a tremendous breakthrough in cancer research and so on. [blowing noise in background] And they set up their research labs and so on in Nairobi and...and Kampala and places like that for studying Burkitt’s tumor. But anyway, the result of this was that eventually, Cliff was leaving the government services and he wanted to get into...into the mission work. He came down and joined us at Kolo Ndoto. And he was there for approximately a year or so before we left in 1961. And he took my place and took over the...the...as head of the hospital at Kolo Ndoto. And I...we had worked together long enough to be able to help him and get him started on what were our primary diseases and problems down there at Kolo Ndoto.

SHUSTER: Did the fact that Dr. Shaw was an osteopath keep her from being head of the hospital?

BARNETT: No, I must tell you another thing that Dr. Shaw was basically...she did most of the...of the medical side of the work. And I was by then doing most of the surgery. And she was in charge of the leprosarium as well. And [pauses] let me get the...another name for you.

SHUSTER: Okay.

[tape stopped and restarted]

SHUSTER: Okay.

BARNETT: Dr. [Robert] Cochrane...Dr. Cochrane was a very famous English doctor in India, who did much of the pioneer studies and work in leprosy. He was knighted by the Queen of England for his work in leprosy. Dr. Cochrane came to East Africa from India and Kenya. He was an outstanding Christian man and surveyed much of the leprosy work that was being done, including Kolo Ndoto. And in his contact, he met Dr. Shaw, fell in love with her, the two of them became married. They stayed on at Kolo Ndoto. He was considerably older than she was, and they had not been married very long before he began to develop Alzheimer’s, and went on eventually to the point where he was invalided, and she was devoting most of her life to taking care of him. They retired from Kolo Ndoto to Philadelphia where, by the way, her father was an osteopath too, in fact, in practice in Philadelphia. And she went back to the old homestead and practice of her father.

SHUSTER: This was after you had gone.

BARNETT: This was after our trip.

SHUSTER: So there were the two doctors there when you had....

BARNETT: So they were...they were still working together...

SHUSTER: ...after you had left.

BARNETT: ...after we had left, and Cliff Nelson, and so on. Cliff was very strong on the idea of nationalization of the mission work. So he was the main, strong voice on getting the Kolo Ndoto hospital turned over to the...to the church and to the African doctors to run it. So he was there for several years after we had gone to...had been asked to go to Kijabe in Kenya. And we were very grateful that he was there. We had actually expected to return to Kolo Ndoto from our furlough. It was in many ways a big disappointment to us that we didn’t get back there. But Kijabe was left without a doctor. And so we went back...I....if it hadn’t been for Cliff who was down there, we would have had to go back to Kolo Ndoto. But Cliff carried on for several years until the nationalization program came in, and then it was turned over to the African doctors.

SHUSTER: I just have a couple more questions that I wanted to ask you before we finish up today. First one, based on looking at 1961 when you’d left Tanganyika, at that time what do you think were the strengths and weaknesses of the church there, the AIC, that had developed?

BARNETT: Well, [pauses] spiritually I believe that the church was going forward well. Their bishop was a strong man.

SHUSTER: Was that...?

BARNETT: That was not Nyagwasa. This was the first bishop, and I cannot remember his name right now [the first bishop of the AIC Tanzania was Yeremia Mahalu Kisula]. I knew him well. I listened to him preach many times. He had an unusual gift of preaching the Word. And he held that position for quite a number of years before he died. But the church was going forward spiritually. Organizationally, it obviously was a struggle. And they were having to really [chuckles] learn what it was to...to run an organization.

SHUSTER: What were some of the signs that it was a struggle?

BARNETT: Well, I think that one of the big signs was the...the...the drop-off in the missionaries that went on, things that the early...they had become very tense between them. And it came to the point where the missionaries themselves, some of them, I guess, were asked to leave by the church. Others, that they’d simply became discouraged and felt that it was better to get out of the way.

SHUSTER: What were some of the issues between missionaries and the church? What were some of the things they disagreed about?

BARNETT: Well, I think one of them was the tendency of the leadership to draw in just about anyone to assume responsibility and leadership in positions, without regard to their spiritual status. The result of that, they felt (the missionaries felt) that it was watering down the spiritual growth of the church and of the people, and that the people themselves wouldn’t understand and grow themselves if they kept drawing that sort of help and leadership in to them. And then the question of finances. The church leadership, this is the missionaries, were...were supporting a great deal of their own personal work in that they eked by out of their own pockets, from their own personal support. The church was beginning to make demands that the missionaries continue to just turn over what they had to the church. And this was something that the missionaries just couldn’t do, that’s all.

SHUSTER: When you say turn over what they had, you mean turn over their salaries?

BARNETT: That’s right. And what then they...expecting that the missionary was going to do what the church wanted to do and their own projects, and so on, whether the missionary agreed with them or not, you know. And of course, [chuckles] it was just a very poor financial basis with which to carry on the work, and they were going to have to learn to do...to support their own church work, and support their own pastors, and so on. Many of their pastors were out in the bush and getting virtually nothing in the way of salary to function. I remember going out to one of these little out-churches. And one Sunday morning, Laura and I just went out to visit it and to see how it was going. The pastor was a man that we knew. Why he was getting virtually... virtually nothing! They...he gave us a Sunday meal, you know, at noon, to...a little bit of bread, busika or millet, and a few little minnows that he’d caught out of a pool of water there, somewhere. And that was the meal that they had. And it was unbelievable, what or how they lived. But these were the...some conflicts that were going on that made it very difficult for...to get along. But they have been growing, you know, and they’re learning, and they’re...they’re pretty well supporting their own work and they aren’t making that same sort of demands on the missionaries anymore. That’s why the work is steadily growing, and their...their leadership is recognizing that...that they cannot be looking to the missionaries for the support of their work and the growth of the work. They have to do it on their own basis and so on. And the missionaries are there to help, to stimulate, and to teach and so on where they need that kind of work.

SHUSTER: Well, I have one last question and that’s looking back on your own experience and some of the things that you’ve been talking about, some of the stresses that missionaries are involved in, the kind of different kinds of tasks. What kind of personality, what kind of strengths do you think a person needs to be a missionary?

BARNETT: [pauses] Well, you...number one, you...not even talking about the spiritual side of it. I mean, to...as far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason for anybody to go out there unless they’re going out there to serve the Lord.

SHUSTER: Unless they’re called.

BARNETT: Yeah, called unto our Lord to it. And you’ve got to know what your aim is in being there. But your aim has got to be preaching the gospel and getting the Word of God out, and stimulating, helping to strengthen the organized church that is there already and the Christians that are there, to lend support to them and build them up. The...personality-wise, the person that goes out there still feeling that they’re the big person just doesn’t belong on the mission field anymore. The strong-leader type that doesn’t have enough humility to hold himself back and to know how to develop leadership within the Africans has...has no place out there in the field. They just will not last, they will not last. So it’s...it’s the person that is able to be diminutive without losing his own personality. And you’ve got to be one that loves the Lord and loves his fellow man. It has to be that. And not pushing himself...

SHUSTER: Uh-hmm.

BARNETT: ...not pushing himself. Practical training in many fields is important today, because these people are all learning and they need to learn to...to do things to...whether it’s teaching trades or....trades with their hands, or agriculture or medicine, or anything else, those are all important today. When I was a kid growing up, there was only one thing that was important. That was teaching the Bible...teaching the Bible. Of course, with my dad was a very practical man. He knew how to work with his hands. He was....

SHUSTER: And didn’t you say too, your mother was a Swiss masseuse?

BARNETT: My mother was a Swedish...Swedish masseuse.

SHUSTER: Swedish....

BARNETT: She was very practical too. But they loved the people, and people understand that language very well. Mom has got on her grave stone there in Kijabe, “Mama Barnett - Loved By All.” And they all loved her, because she loved them. Day and night people would come to the house. It didn’t make any difference to her whether she was dragged out of bed at two o’ clock in the morning. I did quite a bit of grumbling getting out at two o’clock, three o’ clock in the morning [laughing] when I was trying to get some sleep.

SHUSTER: Like it says in I John, “This is what love is, not that we have loved God, but God has loved us.” [I John 4:10]

BARNETT: Yes, yes.

SHUSTER: Is there anything else you’d like to add that haven’t touched on?

BARNETT: I was...there was just one subject that you asked me before for clarification on that...it was about the revival at Wheaton...

SHUSTER: Oh, yes!

BARNETT: ...when we were there and I began to have some real doubt that I couldn’t find this. So I ran into Pete Stam not too long ago, and I asked Pete...Pete was a classmate of mine, we were classmates there in the class of ‘39. And, “Oh, yes!” he said, “I remember that distinctly.” He said, “It was wrapped up around McQuilkin.” McQuilkin had come up the year before as the Easter sunrise speaker at Soldiers Field in Chicago. And it had been a tremendous meeting. That would have been, I suppose, in 1930...’35 or ‘36, something like that. ‘36, I think it was. And he had been invited back apparently [chair creaks]. I’m not sure whether it was to the Easter sunrise service. But he definitely had been invited to come for the special meetings that the Wheaton College had each year for its.... And this is where I have...not quite sure what the dates were, whether....

SHUSTER: Around ‘36 or so?

BARNETT: Well, I went there in ‘37, you see. That was my first year, was ‘37. And I cannot remember whether it was the fall of ‘37, shortly after we had arrived there, or whether the special services came a little bit later on, earlier in the year of ‘38, the school year was ‘37 to ‘38. But McQuilkin was supposed to be the speaker, but he became ill. He was sick, and he couldn’t speak, couldn’t appear. And that was announced. And almost right away these...I can remember the special music and the singing that started in, and the student leaders of the song services. And then this...just an amazing work of the Spirit of God among the student body, and the students, just one after the other, getting up and speaking and testifying, confessing sin, and making things right. And it was quite amazing.

SHUSTER: How did it effect you personally?

BARNETT: It...it woke me up. I was...I felt it was an answer to prayer really, though I had come from Columbia Bible College and I had had four years of Columbia Bible College, and I was a transfer student really up there to Wheaton. That’s why it was only two years before I graduated. But McQuilkin, of course, was our president. And we knew that McQuilkin had had a tremendous Easter service. He’d come back and given his report. And he’d given his report, I think he had spoken of the chapel service at Wheaton when he was there. And he spoke of his time there at Wheaton. I can remember him giving that report. And I was the president of the student body in that final year at Columbia Bible College. And so we had had a great deal of interest in Wheaton. The Student Foreign Missions Fellowship was organized by us at Columbia Bible College in that final year, in 1937...’36, ‘37. And there was a group of us from Columbia that met during the...the Christmas break from the Bible College, drove to several colleges to try to introduce the Student Foreign Missions Fellowship to them.

SHUSTER: Yeah, I think we talked about that in our previous....

BARNETT: And we went to Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Uh-hm.

BARNETT: And that was the beginning of the Student Foreign Missions Fellowship at Wheaton College when we were there. And then it was the next year that we went [chuckles]...I went to Wheaton College. But Wheaton had been very much in our prayers at Columbia. We had been praying for Wheaton for a work of God there. So I think that, as I recall, I mean, it was amazing. I had never seen a revival like this take place anywhere. So seeing this sort of thing happen was a great eye-opener to me. But I saw it, I’m sure, as...as an answer to prayer that the Lord was doing this work even though McQuilkin could not be there, could not speak. The Lord was doing his work and showing that it wasn’t dependent on a person. We had a great deal of admiration for Dr. McQuilkin. He was a great man of God, a great teacher. We all loved him. But it proved to us that true revival is not dependent on any man but on...on the Lord’s work.

SHUSTER: Well, I want to thank you again for being willing to sit and to share some of these memories and things that you’ve learned, and stories of people like Dr. Maynard, and other things that we’re very happy that...proud to have them for the Archives and be able to share them too that way. So thank you once again.

BARNETT: Thanks for allowing me, I appreciate it.  

[END OF TAPE]



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