This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history
interview with Robert Carlton Savage (CN 250, T1) 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
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, made by Bob Shuster and Kirk Haywood, was completed in November 2005.
NOTE: A second interview with Savage was also conducted by Robert Shuster earlier, on June 1, 1983. Due to inaudibility from excessive distortion, this tape has been discarded.
Collection 250, T1. Interview of Robert Carlton Savage by Bob Shuster, June 3, 1983.
SHUSTER: This is an interview of Reverend Robert Savage by Robert Shuster for the archives at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. This interview took place at 3:30 in the archives of the Billy Graham Center on June 3, 1983. Dr. Savage, how did.... After you left Wheaton and you had mentioned you were a pastor for sometime in Washington [D.C.], how did you then come into missionary service?
SAVAGE: Okay, Bob. We were in Washington, D.C. for two years, and then I was assistant pastor there in Metropolitan Baptist Church, a very, very fine church, and a big church, about 2,000 members on Capitol Hill there. And then after two years there I felt I wanted a pastorate of my own, and accepted an invitation from a church in the suburbs of Detroit, in Romeo, Michigan. And it was there at that time that I felt the call and my wife felt the call. In fact, as I mentioned in the other tape there, my wife really was used of the Lord in a great way to get me to pray about my personal relationship to the mission challenge. I remember in that church in Romeo, we had a missionary conference. A missionary from Africa, M. D. Christianson [?] was the speaker that particular night, and at the close of the message, he said "Now I want all of you to bow your heads in prayer, and I want each one of you to pray this way: 'Lord, what do you want me personally to do about the missionary challenge?'" And so we bowed our heads and as pastor I started praying for Mary and Art and Bob and John, "Oh, Lord lay it upon their hearts, lay the missionary challenge upon their hearts, test them, and call some of these fine young people that I'm pastoring here into missionary service." And then M.D. Christianson [?] says "Wait a minute, wait a minute, I believe some of you are not praying in the way I suggested. I believe some of you are praying for others, and I wanted you to pray for yourselves." Well, that's exactly what I had been doing. So I started praying for myself: "Lord, is there something you want me to do about the missionary challenge?" I...I really didn't think in those terms at all. I had my long-range instructions from the Lord, pastoring churches here in the homeland. Well, that and an experience my wife had (I'm blending them together) forced us to our knees. "Lord, perchance, do you have something for us in the mission field?" And the Lord said "Yes I do." And about that time my wife wrote a song that really summarized our...our feelings. It is entitled "Oh, send Me." I'll just quote a little bit of it: "Oh, send me, oh send me forth I pray, the need is great, thy call I will obey. Thy love compels me, I must go. I am willing, ready, longing to go." Those three words, willing, ready and longing, are key words as far as our mission call was concerned. I had been willing to go for a long time. I certainly went on record with the Lord, "I...I'm not going to buck your will, Lord. I'm willing to go to any part of the world you want me to, but I'm certainly not anxious to." And then through this time of prayer while I was pastoring Romeo Baptist Church, the Lord gave me not only the willingness, but a readiness and a...a longing to go. I said "Now Lord, let me be a missionary, permit me. I would feel honored." And the Lord through giving us peace in our hearts and through other circumstances, said, "Yes, I will permit you to be a missionary." And we quickly applied. It wasn't too long before we applied to the mission board and by October of that same year, 1944, we were on a ship...a Chilean ship out of New Orleans, called the Copioco [?] headed for Panama, and then Panama by BC-3 over Barranquilla, Colombia, and then interior into Colombia to Pamplona. [The Savages really sailed in 1942.]
SHUSTER: Was your congregation surprised when you...
SAVAGE: [Chuckles] Yes, they were very much surprised, uh-huh. But they were a missionary-minded church, and they quickly rejoiced with us and picked up a substantial amount of our support. And the churches in Washington, D.C. were our main contributors for support all through our missionary...missionary career.
SHUSTER: What kind of reactions did you get from friends and colleagues when you told them you'd become a missionary?
SAVAGE: Well, I'll tell you Bob, I [chuckles] I...I...I all of a sudden became almost a missionary fanatic. I mean, I...I had been cool toward the call of missions and Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. And once I decided to become a missionary, I thought everybody should be missionaries! Really, I thought anybody with good health and consecration and under thirty years of age should apply to a mission board. I was...I was very extreme. And I'd give an invitation at the close of my messages "How many are willing to go on record with the Lord, 'Lord I want to go to the mission field.'" And I just felt everybody under thirty with good health and consecrated should come forward. Well, [chuckles] I...I...I'm not too apologetic for that feeling, but I...I now feel that a...a missionary is not so much a matter of geographical location as it is a condition of the heart. And some of my close friends, they said "Well, hold on Bob, you're getting a little extreme here, you know?" But mainly they were...they were very encouraging, and helpful, and...
SHUSTER: Rejoiced with you?
SHUSTER: Now of course, in 1944, the United States was at war. Did that in any way affect your recruitment, or your travel, or preparation?
SAVAGE: We were the last boat to sail on the Carribean Sea without being blacked-out. It was a Chilean boat, and theoretically, it shouldn't have been in danger from any German submarines, but after that trip even the Chilean line was blacked-out to avoid submarine detection. Yeah, it was in the years of the war. In fact [pauses] I confess that before we volunteered for missionary service, I had felt some strong tugs to apply as a...for a chaplaincy in...in the military forces, but then, when we got this call of the Lord to South America, that...that just took the priority, and so I guess that's about the only comment I would have as far as the relationship to...the war was concerned. But we had to follow the...the progress of the war from Colombia and...and South America.
SHUSTER: Was there any problem getting visas or priority to travel?
SAVAGE: No, except we were first of all denied entrance into Venezuela. And that wasn't related to the war, it was just that they...they didn't want any...any missionaries there. Once we got to Colombia, the fact that war was going on was reflected in any travel plans we had. Any foreigner traveling in Colombia was constantly questioned, maybe every fifteen, twenty miles. They'd have what we called El Palo. That would be a huge stick that would be lowered across the...the highway, and whether you were in a bus or a private car, you'd have to stop there and the...the police, "Any foreigners on this bus?" And so if...you had to go in and they'd copy down all the information about us. And so there was a constant checking, and it was...it was very, very bothersome, I mean all the passengers on the bus that were Colombian. They would get a little bit upset because this foreigner had to delay their trip, you know? But there was that constant checkup, and every time we would travel, even a few miles, we would have to get a...a permit for traveling. So that did take some...
SHUSTER: Why was there such close scrutiny of foreigners? What were they looking for?
SAVAGE: I don't recall. I don't think that it was significant, just that it seemed like everybody was uptight during the war, and if you were in a foreign.... any country, the authorities was checking up on you pretty close. I can't...I can't explain it any better than that.
SHUSTER: You mentioned your wife's call, would you say it was equally strong?
SAVAGE: Yes, it certainly was, and that's...that's a tremendous thing, you know? The Lord just calls someone [chuckles] one person of a...of a husband-and-wife team, why, that's the.... No, I'd have to say that my wife was equally strong, maybe even stronger, Bob, and that was very unusual for both of us, because it was quite a surprise. Now my sister, Helen, she had felt a call to the foreign field when she was an eight or nine year old girl. And so she shaped her whole Wheaton College...subjects and everything along that line, but.... And my brother, he felt a call to the mission field, I think it maybe was when he was still in high school. But with me it wasn't until after I'd been out of college and in...in the ministry for three and a half years, before I felt any call that way.
SHUSTER: Now, as you decided to go to the mission field, how did you decide what mission board to apply to, or where to go?
SAVAGE: I think we talked about that some on the other tape there, that [pauses] through my brother Jim being in Venezuela and his...his letters back to us, and then meeting Harvey and Georgina Hammond of South American Mission, and Ernie Fowler, and some other missionaries from South America. They exerted a ...a tremendous influence on our lives. By the way, both Harvey Hammond and Ernie Fowler died in...in Colombia, Harvey through sickness all...way up in the mountains, and Ernie through martyrdom. Surprising, the number of close missionary colleague [sound of microphone being bumped] that we've had who have suffered martyred...martyred deaths. And in those days, also Cecil Dye and that gang with the New Tribes Mission, were very close friends, and seven of them became martyrs. [They were killed by the Ayor people of Bolivia in 1943.] and then...and later on in...in Ecuador, five of my closest friends became those five missionary martyrs of the Auca Indians, so it comes pretty close to home. [On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian were killed by the Huaorani Indians (referred to at the time as the Auca Indians) in Ecuador.]
SHUSTER: When did Ernie Fowler die? [He died in 1966 while trying to began a ministry among the Yukpa people of Colombia.]
SAVAGE: It was during the years of violence in Colombia, and just...
SHUSTER: When was that?
SAVAGE: Oh, roughly speaking that decade of violence...roughly speaking, give or take a few years, one way or the other, be 1945 to 1955, and if I remember right, it was in the early 1950's that Ernie was in the backwoods area and just through the caprice and whim of some local authority, it.... It didn't build up. It just seemed like some local authority just all of a sudden wanted to take vengeance out on this Protestant missionary, and put him to death. Very, very ugly. That...that year of violence in Colombia was...that decade of violence was...was so ugly, and so filled with killing and imprisonment. I...I got back into Colombia a few times.... Well, let me see, let me back up a little bit. We...we left...we were in Colombia only two years, 1942 to 1944, and then we went to Ecuador, but several times I'd go back to Colombia for...
SHUSTER: From '42 to '44?
SAVAGE: Yes... '42.... Am I remembering right? '42 to '44 in Colombia.
SHUSTER: Well, you said you'd sailed down to South America in '44.
SAVAGE: Well, that was a mistake. We sailed in October '42. I'm glad you checked on me on that one. We left New Orleans at October '42, and we were in Colombia for two years, and we shifted to Ecuador in '44, stayed in Ecuador for twenty-five years, until 1969. But back in Colombia during that decade of violence, I was frequently back there for youth...youth rallies, retreats, and like that, and I would meet many who had gone through a lot of persecution. I could give you dozens of stories about persecution, I remember...let me just give you one. There was a trip...most of this persecution would be back away from the cities, not very much persecution or violence was actually in the bigger cities or bigger towns.
SHUSTER: Well, why was that?
SAVAGE: [Sighs] Well, I don't know. I guess there was better police protection in the towns, back there in the sticks. But anyhow, this Campo Hermosa [?] area, we'd heard that the church had been burned down three different times. Well, I think went to Armenia Colonia [?] and we were having a youth conference, a retreat, and some of these folks from Campo Hermosa [?] came down, got acquainted with them. And I said, "Well, down in Ecuador, we've been hearing about some of the persecution difficulty you folks have had up there." "Oh," he said "You must be mistaken, no we haven't gone through much" "Well," I said "Wasn't your church burned down three times and you had to flee for your lives?" "Oh, yes, uh-huh, but una cosa de menor." "It was just a minor thing that happened," he said. And, it just seemed over and over again, people who really suffer for the Lord, people who have gone through deep persecution, they don't feel anything to have any self pity about, They feel "Fine, just standard procedure for a soldier of Jesus Christ. Amen. Let's go."
SHUSTER: What was the source of this violence?
SAVAGE: Well it was between.... It was really a political...a political line-up between conservatives and liberals. Now [chuckles] conservatives and liberals in South America, at least in those days, meant something far different than it means here in the United States. "Conservative" meant you are under the thumb of the Catholic clergy. The Catholic clergy called all the shots, politically, socially, educationally, economically, religiously, everything -conservative. Liberals began to say "We are not going to be bossed by the clergy" And so, although it was a political antagonism, really it has...has religious...religious relationships there. And some towns would be called "liberal," other towns would be called "conservative," and some places, you almost could draw a line, that if a conservative would step over that line, he'd be in liberal country, and they'd kill him, or vice versa. If a liberal would step over that line he'd be in conservative country, kill him. So most...most Evangelical Protestant believers would be called "liberal" down there, because they're not under the thumb of the priest. So if a Protestant, or a liberal, or a missionary gets into a conservative climate, "Kill him." It's almost that simple, you know. It was...it was nasty. It was nasty. But of course, that has changed [chuckles] beautifully, in...in recent years. The relationships between Protestants and Catholics is...is far different.
SHUSTER: When you were first going down to South America, what did you see your ministry as being? What did you expect to be doing when you left New York?
SAVAGE: I had some very naive concepts. But, [speaks at a faster pace] "We're on our way to South America. When we find a place that didn't had the Gospels, we'll give 'em the gospel, they'll receive it with open arms. We'll get 'em saved, get 'em instructed, found a church. And about a year later, we'll go to another place and get people saved there, get 'em instructed, found a church." [returned to normal pattern of speech] Very, very naive. I'm embarrassed, and we found people with...with their arms outstretched, but oftentimes with stones in 'em, [laughs] fling 'em at us, and it was...it was tough sledding. And I'll confess to you that year number two on the mission field, we almost became missionary dropouts. That was a critical year with us, and I think it's a critical year with many missionaries. I still find many missionaries going through a traumatic, critical time in their second year on the mission field. The first year, everything's new and almost the romance of a new culture, and you can almost just thrive and thrill in...in the newness of things. And then the second year is the key year. It was with us, and I think it is with many. And we became so discouraged. My sanguine nature became very, very distressed, and I was down in the dumps, and got down on my knees and said, "Lord, this is a mistake, things aren't happening, I guess we'd better go back home." And it was...we came so close to becoming missionary dropouts that second year. Well, praise the Lord we didn't, and we finished twenty-seven years of missionary service instead of being missionary dropouts in the second year, but it was such tough, tough....so...the fanaticism.... We were called heretics, agents of Hell, servants of the Devil.
SHUSTER: You were called by who?
SAVAGE: Well, mainly by the Catholic clergy. And they would constantly foment opposition to us. I am a little hesitant to recall some of these things, because in all fairness, to the Catholic church, things are far different now. But I mean, we'd have pots of urine just dumped in our...in our doorway to show their antipathy toward us. We had lots of tracts written against us and distributed throughout the town. Sometimes when we'd go into a new town to try to just evangelize for the first time, the priests would get the men together and say "If you guys aren't a bunch of sissies, if you wear pants and not dresses, get these agents of Hell out of this town." And they would usually get us out, through rather violent means.
SHUSTER: Before you left the United States, had you gotten any kind of preparation, training, orientation from TEAM [The Evangelical Alliance Mission]?
SAVAGE: No...no. Oh maybe a couple of hours, you know.
SAVAGE: Just...nothing in an organized seminar or candidate instruction course. No, it... maybe a couple hours with Brother Swanson, a couple hours with Brother Bartlett [?] It was a different ball game in those days.
SHUSTER: And when you first arrived, did you arrive in Colombia, or did you land someplace else?
SAVAGE: No, we arrived in Barranquilla, Colombia, and in those days, you know, you just were on your own. Nobody met us, and we didn't know any English...and...I mean, we didn't know any Spanish, excuse me, and we just had to...
SHUSTER: So what...what were your first days like? What did you...?
SAVAGE: Oh, [laughs] we were so enthused, you know. We didn't get discouraged about anything. This was new, and we were so filled with love for the Lord, and wanted to see things happen, and so, trying to get our stuff through customs and everything, when we'd bump into difficulty, why, we'd just grin, be content, and.... But.... Things today, they so well organized to receive a new missionary on the field, you know, and get him under somebody's wing, and...and carry 'em through on the legal documents, and orientation and like that. But.... Then we did arrive then at our...our final destination, which was in Pamplona, and there, there were missionaries to receive us, two lady missionaries, were the ones who gave us our orientation to begin with, very fine missionaries, both.
SHUSTER: What were their names?
SAVAGE: Cora Soderquist and Minnie Waage. Waage's spelled W-A-A-G-E. And two splendid women missionaries in Pamplona, Norte de Santandor in Colombia, and Cora Soderquist, excellent in Spanish, she would give us some of our Spanish lessons, but then we would get Spanish lessons from everybody I could line up in town, [unclear] or teachers or businessmen who wanted to exchange Spanish and English. And then, other missionaries on the field at that time, Elaph and Isabel Anderson. They...they helped us out a great deal. Isabel Anderson has been the author of several books, I think Moody Press has...has published her books, and Elaph Anderson, just a marvelous church planter. And then our secretary [?] on the field, Wilt Watson, was the one who cooperated with us the most, and I owe a great deal to Cora Soderquist, Minnie Waage, Elaph and Isabel Anderson, Wilt Watson. They...they...they were a tremendous help to us.
SHUSTER: How did they help you?
SAVAGE: Well, [pauses] giving us opportunities, for one thing, [pauses] Even though we were just in our beginning stages with Spanish, Cora Soderquist would say, "All right, Bob and Wilda, we want you to give a short talk in the kid's meeting, in the kid's meeting next week." And so we would labor on a childrens talk of three or four minutes, in Spanish, and have Cora correct our Spanish that we'd written out, then almost memorized it, a three minute talk, and...but it was a start, and I remember my first praying in a prayer meeting, I'll confess I wrote out a prayer, and I...I just had it all written out, and when I knelt, people didn't know what I was doing, but I...I opened my eyes, and I prayed with my eyes open, because I was reading my prayer. Well, okay, I'm sure the Lord understands that, and it was a way to get started. And then Wilt Watson gave me my first chances to preach, back in those little towns, and I appreciate it so much. And Wilt Watson taught me how to saddle a horse, and bridle a horse, and take care of a horse, and so forth and so on, and some of that was really back woods tough for the first two years.
SHUSTER: What...what was your work? What would a typical activity you had during the week have been?
SAVAGE: Well, frankly, it was...that first year, it was almost entirely just Spanish, Spanish, Spanish. We learned Spanish. Although we did, from the very beginning, I...I tried to focus in on high school fellows, and one or two nights a week, these high school fellows would come to our home, and I would give them some instruction in English, and I'd try to instruct them in...in some Bible Study and...whatever simple Spanish I knew at that time. And some of those young fellows really made good decisions for Christ, even though my Spanish was just in its elementary stages. And one of those fellows became one of the outstanding pastors of ... of Columbia, even though his first introduction to the gospels was from a fellow who didn't know Spanish very well.
SHUSTER: How did they...how did you attract high school students? Did you go to a high school or...?
SAVAGE: No, it was mainly just meeting them in the neighborhood there, maybe...maybe the next door neighbor, or bumping into them.... I played ping-pong with quite a few of them [chuckles], found out that some of them liked ping-pong, and so I played ping-pong with them. Or.... But the bait was "Hey, you want to learn a little English? Well, then come on down to our house next Wednesday night at seven o'clock. And there are a few fellow there, and we got a little English class, and then we talk about a...a miracle book, the Word of God, too. So come...come on down and see if you like it." That was about it.
SHUSTER: What other activities?
SAVAGE: Well, then that second year, we shifted to another town called Chinacota and Wilt Watson told me: "All right, Bob, you're in charge of that little rural group." Wasn't in any town, just a bunch of...of farmers, mainly raising sugarcane, and maybe having a cow or two, and some pigs and chickens. And I have to get on my horse, and come out of Chinacota, maybe Chinacota had oh, four or five thousand people, and I'd have to go on horseback about an hour to get to this spot, El Canae [?] it was called. No way to get there except through miserable trails and so forth. But surprisingly, that little settlement out there was at least fifty percent Evangelical. And with a Coleman lantern we'd have meetings every Wednesday night, and they had to listen to my Bible studies in rather elementary Spanish, as I was just gradually developing. But they were very faithful, and they...they would come from their little straw thatched huts, and then they'd be there, and then they'd have to walk in the darkness back. Well, then we also had Sunday school on Sunday mornings. So probably my main job at number...year number two was that rural section that I'd reach on horseback.
SHUSTER: Did you...? Besides the preaching and the Sunday school, were there...was there visitation or other...?
SAVAGE: Well, yes, but the town we lived in, I suppose we went almost to every door in town, giving out an invitation to come to our services, and inviting them to.... And I'd prepare a weekly W-E-E-K-L-Y weekly mimeographed page "What do the Evangelicals Believe?" And I'd...I'd write up a new page every week, and distribute that throughout the town. And that aroused the priest's ire and wrath tremendously, but I think that was a very helpful thing, to prepare that one page of mimeographed material every week, because the people had no idea what we Evangelicals believed, except what the priest would tell them, from his prejudiced, fanatical ways.
SHUSTER: What kind of things did you have in this weekly?
SAVAGE: Well, what we believe about the Bible was the main thing, what we believe on how to be saved, what we believe on.... We'd give them the polemics of what we believe about the Virgin Mary. And really I would try to take a positive point of view on that, and say we would try to eulogize the Virgin Mary as much as possible, but then, bring out the fact that we felt that she is not...the Immaculate Conception idea, that she needed a Savior, just as much as anyone. And we would oftentimes say "Look, something interesting about the Virgin Mary: she left the religion of her parents, to embrace a new faith." And because Catholics.... "Oh, my parents are Catholics, my grandparents are Catholics, my great-grandparents were Catholics, I've got to be Catholic no matter what." "Oh, but don't you want to follow the example of the Virgin Mary?" "Sure." "Ah, the Virgin Mary left the religion of the Jews, the...the...Judaism, and she became a Christian. So if you want to follow her example, you should be ready to change." Well, these are some of the....
SHUSTER: How effective was that? Were there some movement to you [unclear]?
SAVAGE: [pauses] That second year was not, not a "fruit bearing" year, in quantities. Once again, there were a few...there were two...two men who were. . . we were ministering to that second year who became pastors, so we...we did have...have fruit that later on appeared. But it was very discouraging, Bob. I mean, here I've been preaching to one of the biggest churches in the metropolitan...in Washington, D.C., crowds of a thousand or more, and now I go down there, and I couldn't get a dozen people for a meeting, and I got...I got really down in the dumps. But then we shifted to Quito, Ecuador, and there we had such a beautiful combination of ministries: radio ministry, then church ministries, and church planting, and then in subsequent years, of course, Youth For Christ, and then, by, oh, let's see, 1942, 194-.... About 1949, was one of the greatest years I've ever had in my life. I mean, now the whole picture was different. And we...we had big crowds, subsequently, I'm...I'm...am I skipping over a period....
SHUSTER: Well, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about Colombia.
SAVAGE: All right.
SHUSTER: What...? The church there, the Protestant church, I think was very small, where you were.
SAVAGE: Very small. I mean, Protestants in those days, in both Colombia and Ecuador, if we had one percent of the population, that would be rather favorable reporting.
SHUSTER: What...what kind of people usually became Protestant, what...?
SAVAGE: In those early days, frankly, it was mainly the uneducated people, the servant class. We...we didn't.... When we first went there, as I said, I was trying to focus in on the high school students, which would not be the uneducated class, and had some success there, but by and large, the people who would attend Gospel services in those days were those who economically and educationally would be on the lower echelon.
SHUSTER: Why do you think that was?
SAVAGE: [pauses] Okay, I think it's because the people on the higher echelons were much more afraid of social ostracism, which would take place if.... In those days, so oftentimes, if a person was to become a Protestant, he was in danger of losing his job, danger of losing his social position, and maybe in danger of not even being given a place to bury his dead, that their cemeteries would be closed to Protestants, in some cases. Now that's a pretty big price to pay, and usually those who were on the lower level, economically and educationally, why, they would be more willing to pay the price than those in the other echelons, I guess.
SHUSTER: Why was the antagonism so strong?
SAVAGE: Because of the...of the attitude of the Catholic priests...the Catholic priests in those days. It was just, you know, the history of Catholicism versus Protestantism, and it's been.... Well, look what it is in Ireland today. Why is the antagonism so strong in Ireland today? Well, it's.... There's nothing meaner, more ugly than religious fanaticism, and we...we've seen it.
SHUSTER: Tell me, in your own case as a missionary down there, do you think there's any element of antagonism towards a Yankee or towards the United States mixed in with or did that matter?
SAVAGE: In some cases. Frankly, we haven't felt that we'd.... The antagonism that we've felt was because we were Protestants, not because we were Yankees. No, I...I'll have to say that...that despite some of this opposition, despite some of this ugliness, it usually came from a small minority in the town where we lived...we lived in. The majority would be Catholics, but it would be only a small minority that would really get ugly that way. So many people would say "Well, I'm a Catholic, but I...." I've had many of them say "I'm a Catholic, but I want to be your friend." Some of them said "I'm a Catholic, but I recognize that you...you Protestants have the most noble and the most pure religion." That was interesting to get that type of a reaction, and....
SHUSTER: What do you think that they meant by it?
SAVAGE: I think they meant that Protestants became well known for their honesty. Protestants became well known for their...their morality, their sexual morality, that a Protestant man would have one wife, and he'd be true to that one woman, instead of having a wife plus several others. They'd call them en la casa chita," "in the small house down the line." He'd have this other woman, or a woman, maybe two or three or four. So they would say...by saying that "We feel that you Protestants have the most noble and the most pure religion," meant "Hey the average Protestant is honest, he's morally exemplary, you can trust him. But we've got to continue being Catholics because our parents and grandparents and so forth were."
SHUSTER: Did you find, when you were preaching, evangelizing Colombia, a need to adopt the gospel or adapt the gospel? In other words, to preach somewhat differently than you would to an audience in Michigan? What things did you.... what was your approach to presenting the gospel? How did you....
SAVAGE: Uh-huh. Well, I think.... Let me see if I can answer that intelligently. We would basically [pauses] try to present the Bible. In those days, for Catholic...Catholicism, the Bible was a prohibited book. And so we'd come and say, "Look, buy a New Testament. It'll only cost you ten cents. And...and read it a little bit. See if you agree that it's a...a prohibited book. We believe that this is the Word of God. We believe that this is the means that God communicates with us. Let...let...get acquainted with the Bible. What the Bible says is true. If you can find it in the Bible, we Protestants will accept it. Show it to us in God's Word, and that's fine." And so I believe, over and over again, that would be our...our initial contact, but having said that, we would use all kinds of gimmicks, really. We'd use music, we'd use gospel films...
SHUSTER: How effective were they?
SAVAGE: Oh, very much so. I mean.... Well, going ahead a little bit, if I can leave Colombia. Once I got that gospel tent I menti...I mentioned in the previous tape from Congressman [A. Leonard] Allen from Louisiana, and we'd go into a town and...and put up the tent, we had no trouble getting a crowd then. Because they...they thought some circus has come to town or something like that, and then if we'd show a gospel film.... We used the Moody films quite a bit. [Films from the Moody Science series.] The God of Creation, that was a film that we used a great deal. And I remember one of the first Billy Graham films, Mr. Texas, Redd...Redd Harper
SHUSTER: Redd Harper
SAVAGE: I've shown that film...I still love that film, I still think that's one of the best films
that ever has come out. I...I've just shown it dozens of times, and...and The God of Creation. Those are the two films I've used mainly, and...and but then, we would also.... we would say "Hey, tomorrow night, we're just going to show pictures of Ecuador, and we'll take you all around your own republic." And we would show slides that had been taken. And...and...and they loved that, you see, it would get a crowd. And then to...to get converts, we'd have just a short gospel message. And then we wouldn't give an invitation right at the close of the message. We'd say "Alright now, this is the conclusion of the first part of our service tonight. We are going to have another service, but it's going to be for only those who are especially interested in how to be saved. And if you happen to be interested in how to be saved, how to get to heaven, the way we Evangelicals teach and the way we feel the Bible teaches, then we invite you to stay another twenty minutes." And that method was fantastically successful.
SHUSTER: Why do you think it was?
SAVAGE: Well, I don't know, they just.... the newness of it, and the, I don't know just what the psychology, but we would almost always have forty, fifty, sixty people stay for that second service. And then we would explain the plan of salvation the way the Bible teaches it. "Now, are you ready to make this decision?" Well, usually a majority of those who stayed would be ready to make the decision, and they would make a decision. We would then try to organize instruction classes. I...I've specialized a great deal in instruction for new Christians. And way back in those days, I...I prepared lessons for new Christians, and published them in a little book, and that...that little book is still being printed, almost forty years later. It's gone to....
SHUSTER: So they were catechisms, then?
SAVAGE: Well, I...I called it Estudios Elementales, Elementary Studies of Great Importance for the New Christian. And so, right from the very first.... I have taught lessons for new Christians I believe almost every week of my life in the last forty years. Well, that's exaggerated, maybe, but I...I believe it's been eighty percent of the weeks, I've had a lesson for new Christians, whether in Ecuador, Colombia or Michigan, or more recently in the Virgin Islands. Always teaching new Christians, always teaching new Christians, always teaching new Christians. Now, let me see.... So using the tent, using music, using gospel films were the gimmicks to get our crowds. And then our methods were short gospel message, and then the invitation: "We're going to have a second service." There was one other gimmick perhaps had used. If we were going to have a...a meeting in a big theater or something, we would print tickets, and we'd say "Admission by ticket only." But then we'd give the tickets out free, you see. Well, it was just a gimmick. And....
SHUSTER: All this was in Ecuador, I take it?
SAVAGE: Yes, mainly, uh-huh. Well, I remember the...the big breakthrough that we had in Quito. We finally got permission to use the National Theater, controlled by the government, and for weeks we used every leverage we possibly could to get them to give us permission to hold a Youth For Christ rally. We called it Avance Juventud a different name, "Forward Youth." We didn't use the term "Youth For Christ," we used the term "Forward Youth." Now, I don't think we were being deceitful, we weren't camouflaging, but a little different approach, you see, and we said "All right, nobody can come into the National Theater without a ticket." So we would print many tickets and give them out free. I remember, in some cases, some of these kids would be little rascals, they'd get these free tickets, then they'd run down the street and sell them for...for a sucre or two, you know? [Laughs] But we.... some of these gimmicks got us the crowds, and it provided the breakthrough, but so oftentimes, Bob, in those days of tent meetings, theater meetings, ninety percent of the people, maybe sometimes more than ninety percent that would be there, were...were hearing the gospel as we Protestant Evangelicals present it for the first time.
SHUSTER: When you were...? As far as the actual content of your preaching of the message, did you find it necessary to have a different emphasis or a different approach than you might have in the U.S.? Were there...? Did the people in South America have different questions [unclear]?
SAVAGE: Well, they...they would love, they loved a polemic approach, I mean really, anyone who belonged to the Liberal political party, if you'd lambast the Catholics, they'd just eat it up. And if you were in a town that was a Liberal town, you could stand on the street corner, and talk about the Pope and the Bishop, and "That's right, that's right," you know. I...I.... Frankly, I...I don't like that method. I.... But I...I know some missionaries, they...they use the polemic approach a...a great deal, and...and very successfully. First thing is "Hey, did you hear what the priest was doing last week?" You know. I don't like that. But, Latins, if...if they belong to the liberal gang, they...they...they...they like that. Now, [pauses] let me see if I can answer that question any better. The content of sermons...the content of sermons. Well, I would try to pick up attractive subjects for a sermon, 'Cuatro cosas que el Dios no puede hacer." ("Four things that God cannot do."), "Millonarios celestiales." ("Heavenly Millionaires,") titles that I think would be attractive, you know. And I...I've always, both in Latin America and the homeland, I've avoided theological terminology in my messages. I still do. I don't use the terms of.... Unless I define them, I don't use terms like "justification," "propitiation," "righteousness," [pauses] "sanctification." [pauses] I...sometimes I will if I define them, but I...I'm very...I'm very definite about that. I think we must keep terminology simple.
SHUSTER: Well, for example, one missionary I interviewed who had worked both in Tibet and in China...
SHUSTER: ...he said "Now in Tibet, everyone including common herdsmen or the lamas, Buddhist lamas in monasteries...
SHUSTER: ...were very interested in theological questions, so you could begin just by talking theology, origins of sin, the relation of God to man. And of course not to go to them presenting the Gospel. In China, on the other hand, people were very interested, were very pragmatic, practical, and they were not at all interested in the theological approach, but in questions like "How...how can I overcome my guilt?" or "How...how can I relate at work, to others in my family, in society?" So two different approaches for the two different cultures.
SAVAGE: Yeah. Uh-huh. Well, I repeat, I think that in Latin America, they loved polemics, and they liked to get in that controversy between Catholics and Protestants. And...and I personally don't like it. I like to stay away from polemics. I...I would stress a great deal of messages concerning the home, and focus in on.... You know, so oftentimes in Latin America and perhaps now in the United States, if a man is going to be muy macho, he's got to have several women down the line, you know. And...and I would...I would go to work on that strong, and say [pounds table with fist as speaking] "Look, these are the responsibilities of a man, these are the responsibilities of a husband and a father, and...an example to your children, faithfulness to your wife, giving your wife the proper attention and loyalty" And so forth. And those...those messages were very, very effective.
SHUSTER: You mentioned before we started taping, that when you first came down, as you've described, relations between Catholics and Protestants were very tense...
SHUSTER: ...and bad, and that it mellowed over time. What did you mean by that?
SAVAGE: Well, I mean that when Pope John [XXIII] came in, about...I think he was pope about 1950, early 50's [1958-1963], I can't pinpoint the years there, but he definitely exerted an influence that gradually sifted down to the grassroots levels, to the small towns and so forth. Not only to the archbishops and the bishops, but finally down to the local priest, in which he said "Now wait a minute, these Protestants...." I think he called us...didn't he call us the "departed brethren"?
SHUSTER: Separated brethren.
SAVAGE: "The separated brethren, and we must...we must love them, and show them friendliness rather than stones and...and violence." And...and he started encouraging Bible reading on the part of the Catholics, and we...we would see the effects of that in...in the towns and cities. And now, if I go to see a priest, I....often ti....I've made it a policy, even if I've heard that the priest was writing diatribes against me, and if he was.... My...my method oftentimes, would go knock on his door, [knocks on table with knuckles] say "Hey, I want to get acquainted with you." And he'd kind of blink a little bit and...and I just felt that that was the best way to...to counteract his...his antipathy, and...and it...and it worked, even in the days of violence. And...and then later on, why, even when there wasn't violence, I...I've knocked on lots of doors of priests just to get acquainted with them. And I...I remember one...one Jesuit priest that I had breakfast with in the 1960's, in fact, not too long before we came back to the States. He...he was a Jesuit, and historically, the Jesuits have been the...the most vicious in their attacks against Protestants. I said "You're a Jesuite, eh?" "Yeah, uh-huh." "Well, tell me about yourself, what have you been doing the last couple years?" "Well," he says, "I've been over in Vatican City." "Ah, hey, that's good. What were you doing over in Vatican City?" "Well, I was engaged in studying the Bible." "Oh. Hey, that's good. Now you're back here in Quito, Ecuador, eh?" "Yeah." "What are you going to do back here in Quito now?" [brief static on tape] "I'm gonna organize Bible classes." [brief static from moving microphone] "You're gonna organize Bible classes, huh? Just as...." I said "Man alive, that kinda sounds like what we been doing, and...and I like that." Some other things, we found that the priests were starting to use flannel board....flannel board lessons for teaching boys and girls, copying the Child Evangelism course. I published many song books of gospel choruses, and...and some of the students would...would come back, say "Hey, the priest is teaching me some of the choruses that...that you've been using in your church." Well, this.... so.... And then the sale of Bibles, and the sale of, especially, New Testaments, started just zooming, and Evangelical bookstores started selling more New Testaments and Bibles to Catholics than they were to Protestants. But this was all so contrasting, 180 degree turnaround from those...that latter part of the 1940's and early part of the 1950's
SHUSTER: Well, what about when you were in Colombia, in the rural areas, or in the urban areas for that matter, did you see evidences of survivals of pre-Christian religions of the Indian?
SAVAGE: No. No, I really didn't. Not in Colombia. In...in Ecuador, I remember one night deep in the Ecuadorian jungle, in the headwaters of the Amazon, talking with a...a Christian Indian there, the Quichua tribe, and he told me, he said: "You know, when I was a boy, my parents and my uncles told me about a great flood that had covered this area." And the story of the flood, in its...in its peculiar adaptation....but it seems though....I'm sure you've read that most tribes, even prehistoric civilizations, have some stories that are counterparts of the Flood. Recently, I've been reading the history of Mexico, and the Aztecs, and the Montezuma [II, ruler of the Aztecs in 1518], and even those before Montezuma, and once again, there are analogies to the flood, and analogies to sacrifices, and like that. I'm not sure that answers your question, but....
SHUSTER: You didn't...you didn't see any evidences?
SAVAGE: In Colombia, no, I didn't.
SHUSTER: Were the people you were working among Indians or of Spanish descent, or mixed blood or....?
SAVAGE: Almost all mixed blood. In Colombia, even though we were in back...backwards sections, we very seldom would see a thoroughbred Indian. Indians in Colombia do not live in the mountainous section. In Colombia, you'll find the Indians down in the Ilanos (that means the plains) it's getting down there in the Amazon Valley of Colombia. Now, in Ecuador, there are a lot of mountain Indians. And in Ecuador, there's a...a far greater percentage of the thoroughbred Indian, but, [pauses] racial discrimination, I have found much more intense in Ecuador than in anything that has ever been described to me currently about whites and blacks in the United States. The...the thoroughbred Indian, at least up until recent years, has been discriminated against atrociously in Ecuador. The...the mixed breed, Mestizos, or whatever you want to call them, they feel that if they have anything of Spanish blood in them, or...or Negro blood, that that immediately exalts them into a much higher category than the thoroughbred. And...and it's just distressed me terribly, the discrimination against the thoroughbred Indian, the descendants of the Incas and Atahualpa, that great Indian chief that the Spanish conquerors came in contact with [in 1532], I think he was far smarter, far more civilized, far more cultured, far more capable than any of his Spanish conquerors, but he didn't have any gunfire, and so [hits table] he was defeated by them. So in Ecuador there's a...a lot of the Indian carryover. Now, praise the Lord, in the last ten, fifteen years, there's been a tremendous moving of the spirit of God among the thoroughbred Indians, mountain Indians, of Ecuador. Let me give you one example: down near the highest mountain peak in...in Ecuador, Chimborazo, well over 20,000 feet, is the city of Rio Bamba, and then about an hour away from Rio Bamba is Lake Colta, and Lake Colta, just surrounded by villages of mountain Indians. For seventy five years, missionary work was conducted by...among those Indians, first by the Seventh Day Adventists, maybe for about twenty-five years, they didn't get more than ten or twelve followers. Second, the Christian and Missionary Alliance came in, and I first got acquainted with this group when the Alliance was there. The Alliance did a good work, but they didn't see a moving of the Spirit. Then the Gospel Missionary Union came in, and Dr. [Donald R.] Dilworth built a hospital there, he gave them their own radio station, and ever....and nothing happened, nothing happened. But then about fifteen years ago, something just....it was a work of the Spirit, and now there are well over 10,000 baptized believers just around that lake.
SAVAGE: Amazing thing. How did we get on this subject? I forget.
SHUSTER: Well, we had talked about Indians and...and Spanish descent....
SHUSTER: And mestizos. Tell me, does this...this racial discrimination effect the church in any way, or is the...is there some reas...is there some effect of discriminational evangelism?
SAVAGE: Alright, we've had to...we've had to preach strongly against discrimination in our churches, because, I've even heard a pastor, I'm ashamed to say this, but I've even heard an Ecuadorian pastor say "Ah, Indians, [pretends to spit] they don't even have a soul."
SAVAGE: "Well," I said, "Now, wait a minute, now let's talk this over." And, but, I mean, this is an answer to your question. Now, and...and the...the attitude toward...toward the Indians. It's been very, very difficult to blend into the same congregation, the thoroughbred Indian with the Mestizo. Because the...the mixed breed, he feels he is so superior intellectually, culturally, than the thoroughbred Indian, he didn't want to sit in the same pew with him. Now, I think this is breaking down now, but we've had to fight against this, and even among your...your mixed breed, I remember a...a rather proud woman in Waio Quito [?] came to me one day, and her husband was fairly wealthy, she said, "Señor Savage, do you know what we need in Waio Quito [?]?" I said " Well, tell me." "We need a Protestant church especially for the upper class." I said "What's that?"
SAVAGE: "We need a Protestant church for the upper class." Well, this upset me tremendously. "Upper class? Who categorizes people as upper class or middle class or lower class? Does God categorize...classify people that way?" And I forget just...I forget just what I said to her, but she realized I was totally unsympathetic. So...but, we could go into more stories about the way the thoroughbred Indian is discriminated against, but I...I believe...some of the reports I've gotten just in recent years, recent months even, that there is a blending of...of the thoroughbred Indian who's been despised, with...with the others, and they're worshiping God together, and...and serving God together, especially in a church right across the street from HCJB, a...a booming church, it's just thriving, and there the...the thoroughbred Indians will come in from the outlying sections of Quito, and they'll blend in with these other believers, and they say that it's just been beautiful.
SHUSTER: In Colombia, was the...were the churches self-supporting?
SAVAGE: Ah, not in those early days. They are now often, Bob, but those early days, they were so small, so terribly small in those early days. But, surprisingly, it was during this violence, when there was so much persecution against gospel believers, that things boomed, and well, you...you.... The church was made to flourish in hostile soil. The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. [Parapharse of a quote from Tertullian, a Chrisitan writer from the second century AD.] This has been proved beautifully in Colombia, and as the persecution intensified, the growth of churches is just...was amazing. In...in that area where we were, when...when we were in the area called de Norte de Santandor the North of Santandor, I think there were seven gospel churches. The violence came along, if I remember right, four of those seven were...were destroyed. Either confiscated for army use or burned or something, leaving two or three. And within that decade of violence, even though the number of churches had been reduced from seven to three. All of a sudden, there were eighty seven. And they...they just came into existence, really, through persecution. People would see how Christians would react to persecution. They would see how...how they would react to martyrdom, they would see how they would react to imprisonment, they'd see how they'd react to their little farms being confiscated. They'd see that...the holy glow on their faces, and...and it just had this effect. And...and churches back there in the hills, far away from any road where cars could go, they...they'd get organized. The story of...of a fellow by the name of Gomez, is...is tremendous. He probably established more churches than any...than any missionary ever did.
SHUSTER: Gomez? What was his last name?
SAVAGE: I forget his first name, now wait, da-dat, da-dat, aw, shucks. Uh, he had been the janitor of a rather flourishing gospel church in Cúcuta. He went to Elaph Anderson, he said, "I...I feel God's calling me to be a preacher." And Elaph said: "Now wait a minute, not you, you're doing a good job faithfully serving the Lord as janitor here, God is giving you this gift to be a good janitor, now you just be satisfied to continue serving the Lord." Well, unbeknown to Elaph, he took a trip over to the Bible Institute, where my brother [James Savage] was the director. And he told my brother "I...I want to enroll here as a student." "Oh, uh-huh, well, fine." And then Jim said "Well, do you have a way that you're going to finance your...?" He says "Oh, yes, my father will take care of that." Jim thought that his father was a coffee plantation owner [laughs] back in Columbia, so he accepted him.
SAVAGE: He found out later that he was referring to his Heavenly Father would take care of his bills. Well, that fellow, he had to spend six years in Bible institute, instead of four years, but then he went back into the hills, and, on horseback, and one after another, he'd get churches organized. One of the.... A fantastic story.
SHUSTER: How much of the leadership in the Protestant churches was missionary, and how much was Colombian?
SAVAGE: I remember, you did ask me the question "Were the churches self-supporting?" Before the...that decade of violence, very fe.... Some of the churches in the bigger cities. So the field where we were, I think only one of the churches was self supporting, that was in Cúcuta the...the capitol of the province in which we lived. All the other churches either had missionary pastors or subsidized pastors. Of course, in the big cities like Bogota, Barranquilla, Medellín, Cali, there would be self supporting churches. But now in Colombia, I'd say nearly all the churches are self supported, yeah.
SHUSTER: And by "self supporting," you mean?
SAVAGE: Financially self supporting, self propagating, self governing. Uh-huh, yeah, that's...that's come along beautifully.
SHUSTER: And how did these...this change come about?
SAVAGE: Well, mainly through numerical growth. In those early days, the...the little congregations were twelve, fifteen, twenty, and no way to support a...a pastor. But.... And then...then as they become more numerous, fine, but I will say this, that we shouldn't discount the...Paul the tent maker. And many pastors in Latin America are men who are...have secular jobs, but are serving the churches also. I was amazed in...in Brazil, I haven't been in Brazil in recent years, but I was amazed when I was there on various occasions to meet the pastors of some of the big Presbyterian churches of Sao Paolo, churches - six, seven, eight hundred members - and...and the pastor would be a medical doctor. And yet he would combine.... So combine that with pastoring the church. So I...I've seen so many men who are called of God to be pastors, who have to support themselves through a secular...secular job, which is alright. It's not ideal, but it works.
SHUSTER: How did you come to go from Colombia to Ecuador?
SAVAGE: Oh, restlessness. I'd like to put it in a high spiritual level, Bob, I'm sure God was in it, but we were so discouraged, and so down in the dumps, and so ready to throw in the towel, when we found out that there would be an open door for us at HCJB, it didn't take any leverage or arm twisting. We just...just went. And I...I think God was in it, but I...I wish I could tell you that it was on a high spiritual level, I wish I could say that. I think.... I know that God was in it, I know God was in it, but it was dissatisfaction with the status quo.
SHUSTER: Did you leave TEAM at that time, or did you remain?
SAVAGE: Yes, we...we resigned from TEAM and joined HCJB.
SHUSTER: How did you hear about the opening at HCJB?
SAVAGE: Well, I'd known Clarence Jones and Reuben Larson, the co-founders of HCJB, gotten acquainted with them at the Maranatha Bible Conference. They'd come as speakers. In fact, I'd gotten acquainted with Clarence Jones when I was a seventeen year old boy and a Junior in high school. And at that time, he was just talking about the dream he had to found HCJB. And he asked for pledges, for people to help finance this dream. And I remember, I took the pledge card home, and I prayed about it, and finally I put down "Bob Savage, ten cents a month." And I think I paid that pledge about two months, and then forgot about it. That was my beginning with HCJB, little realizing that I would spend twenty five years with HCJB and become Vice President, and field director and so forth. I...I just have to be honest with you, it was dissatisfaction with the..the fact that nothing was booming in...in Colombia. It boomed later, especially under this fellow Gomez that I mentioned, and...and many other ways. But it was so...so tough slugging, and when we..we got in touch with Reuben Larson, and he put down certain requirements, qualifications, and, "If so, come along," and we went.
SHUSTER: Looking back, at, did you say twenty seven years, as a missionary, do you think your first two years in Colombia had integral effect on you, or influenced you in a certain direction, or...?
SAVAGE: Oh, my, yes, tremendously. First of all, we did learn Spanish, in a beautiful way. It was the type of setup you just had to learn Spanish, and, you know, going out to that little section there on horseback, I'd have to just prepare messages, prepare messages, prepare messages, and try to perfect our pronunciation, learn our grammar, and so it was perfect as far as getting Spanish is concerned. But then it gave me appreciation for the missionaries in the sticks [in the remote areas], in the self sacrificing areas, and gave us a taste of...of opposition that made me think of Paul saying.... How...how'd he say it? "There are many adversaries, but I will tarry." [Seems to be a paraphrase of I Corinthians 16:9] Well, no, skip that part. It...it gave us an appreciation of...of the small towns, the rural sections, the opposition, and gave us a beautiful use of Spanish aloud. Frankly, we did pick up Spanish in a very good way.
SHUSTER: When you went to HCJB, what was your position? What were you going to be doing?
SAVAGE: Well, shortly after I was there, I was made program director. And from then on, I occupied many different positions, and there, I climbed the ladder rather quickly there, program director, then a member of the Board of Directors, and it wasn't long before I was made field director and vice president of the mission, and for many years, I had a couple hundred missionaries under my adminis.... Well, wait, no. I think it was about a hundred missionaries in those days, and about 200 national workers, and we would have around the clock broadcasting in fifteen different languages. We'd have...we'd have a Department of Evangelism, we'd have two hospitals, one in Quito, one down in the jungle, at Shell Mera, we'd have a Bible institute of the air, we'd have a printing department, and so, all of this was a...a tremendous responsibility, as you....
SHUSTER: Could you describe what HCJB was like when you first arrived? What was the extent of its program, and how large was the staff? What was it doing?
SAVAGE: Well, let me go back a little bit further, than that.
SHUSTER: Okay, go back.
SAVAGE: Before we arrived, Reuben Larson, Clarence Jones, had this vision of the first radio missionary station that would exist in all the world. There are hundreds of them now, you know, but this was the granddaddy of them all, and....
SHUSTER: What do they mean, a radio mission station?
SAVAGE: Well, a radio station on a foreign mission field, for the purpose of doing missionary work. Well, anyhow, they finally got permission from the government, amazingly, miraculously, because a totally Catholic government and....
SHUSTER: Government of Ecuador?
SAVAGE: Yeah, uh-huh. This was in Quito. And so....
SHUSTER: Why did they.... Excuse me, why did they choose Ecuador?
SAVAGE: Because they couldn't get into any other country. They tried to get into Venezuela, tried to get into Colombia, turned down, turned down. But Reuben Larson had an in with the...with the government of Ecuador, because he had done so much for the jungle Indians, in giving them some schools, in.... Well, the government just.... He built some...some roads there. Not for...not roads for cars, but roads for horses, with drainage on each side so that the horses didn't have to wade up to their bellies in mud. And...and he'd done so much, and...and the government, when he came and said "Now I want to apply for a radio station here." Well, they felt indebted to him, and so they gave him a permission. But here was a radio station, had a transmitter that was only 200 watts of power, and they got a...a sheep shed that they whitewashed and remodeled into a studio. And then they made a survey to see how many people in Ecuador would have radio sets. They found out that the total number of families in Ecuador had radio sets was six. [train whistle in background] So here you had a potential audience of six families, a transmitter of 200 watts, and a studio, transmitter building - a sheep shed. Do you know what they called this? They selected this complicated, sophisticated name, The World Radio Missionary Fellowship, Incorporated. [laughed] 200 watts of power, a sheep shed, and a potential audience of six, and that's what they tacked onto it. Excuse me.
SHUSTER: I take it there weren't any other radio stations in Ecuador at that time?
SAVAGE: No, no, no, no. And, but now, oh.... Well, when we came, it had increased to having their own studio building, 10,000 watts of power, this was in year twelve.
SHUSTER: Twelve years after, in 1944.
SAVAGE: Twelve years after founding. And during the war years. And NBC was using HCJB as one of its outlets, and giving it some substantial subsidy. And with that subsidy, we were able to buy a 10,000 watt transmitter, build a studio building, and it was...it was booming. And now, let's see, how many watts of power do they have? They have one 500,000 watt transmitter, I think there's a total...total wattage of almost a million watts now, and getting [chuckles] mail from 150 countries all the way around the world, a missionary staff now of 200 with I think about 300 Ecuadorian employees, broadcasting in fifteen different languages. It really has become the World Radio Missionary Fellowship, Incorporated.
SHUSTER: And it's.... Is it short wave?
SAVAGE: Short wave, medium wave, FM, long wave, and several different wavelengths. I mean, you go down to Quito now, and you go out about forty minutes from Quito to the transmitter site, forty acres there, of an antennae field, and antennas all over the place for different outreach.... You can beam your...your programs to Australia at a certain time of the day, you can beam them to England another time of the day, bring it to Aus.... Russia, bring it...beam them to Japan, beam them to the two Americas, and oftentimes three programs going on simultaneously. The...the program at HCJB is well, it's...it's between forty eight and seventy two hours a day.
SAVAGE: You say how do you get that? Well, you get two or three programs simultaneously, all day long, you see, in different languages, on different wavelengths, HCJB is in competition with The Voice of America, with Radio Moscow, with the British broadcasting system, and it's.... Here in the United States, short wave isn't that important, very few people listen to short wave, percentage-wise, but it's in these other countries, short wave is very, very popular, and so that's...that's where you get your outreach.
SHUSTER: Now you said that very shortly after you came, you became director of programming.
SAVAGE: Yes, uh-huh.
SHUSTER: Well, what did that involve?
SAVAGE: Well, deciding what program to put at what hour, we put personnel connected with that...with that program, and then liaison with your technicians, decide what language should be used at what hour with what power, and what wavelength, at what time of the day, and then making sure that people were instructed and challenged, and if someone's sick, get some substitutes, "Hey, pianist is sick." "Alright, you gotta get someone to take her place, or his place." And in those days, early days, you see, we didn't have recordings. When we first got down there, everything had to be live. And, I remember one program I had was Midnight Meditations, 11:45 at night. Want me to make a confession to you?
SHUSTER: Go ahead.
SAVAGE: One night I was having Midnight Meditations, I was so sleepy, and I was so tired, I was so fatigued, and I was trying to preach a message at 11:45 at night, about halfway through the message, I went to sleep on my own sermon. [both laugh] I...the gang there never, never let me forget that. "Bob, if you go to sleep on your own sermons, what about those who are listening?" But, then of course, tape recordings came into...into existence, and that...that solved a lot of problems. We could be on the air all night long, without much personnel involved, but great days, great days.
SHUSTER: When you first became program director, I take it (or maybe I'm wrong, and tell me if I am) that you were mainly aiming at the Ecuadorian audience, you weren't thinking about a broader area.
SAVAGE: Personally, my twenty five years at Quito, I felt that everything else was secondary to a Spanish ministry. But I had to watch that, because we had some wonderful people there dedicated to Russian programs, others to German programs, others to Portuguese programs or Swedish programs, and so they were all important, but my own feeling of priority was the..the Spanish programming. And...and even in that I thought that reaching Ecuador, I felt should have a greater priority than trying to reach Argentina, or...or Panama or Costa Rica, or Cuba, but we...we reached them all.
SHUSTER: Well, how was it decided what programs to put on? Or what...when to make changes, or how to fill out your schedule?
SAVAGE: Well, your mail response affects that. If you're getting good mail response, obviously you....
SHUSTER: What's good mail response?
SAVAGE: Well, [laughs] compared with what Billy Graham would get with...for his television programs or some of the...Back to the Bible broadcast in the...of course wouldn't be that much. My wife and I had a daily program in Spanish called Hymnos de la Vida Christiana, Hymns of the Christian Life, and every morning, every morning, seven days a week, year after year after year, we were over in the studios by...by seven o'clock for a forty five minute rehearsal, and then start at seven fifty for a twenty five minute broadcast. And that program became the most popular program, as far as mail response, of...of anything on HCJB, English, or Spanish, or other language, in those days. And I think it was largely because we were inviting them to send in their requests, or who they wanted to greet, and so oftentimes it would be "Well, we're going to sing 'Onward Christian Soldiers,' dedicating this to the mother of Jose Lopez, down in Waikia, [?] Ecuador, on the day of her birthday." You know? And people just went crazy about that. We would just get...we...well, we'd get ten thousand letters a year or more, and every one of them having at least one or two requests, and so.... And Mother's Day, the Lord help us, [sighs] seemed like we greeted every mother in seven countries.
SAVAGE: We'd have to augment...we'd have to put on a Mother's Day program of several hours, just greeting...singing songs and greeting mothers, singing songs and greeting mothers, singing songs and, but, it did give us a...a family feeling, a Christian family feeling. I'd start out [goes into a radio voice] "Good morning, how you all doing? Hope you slept good last night, and you kids, are you obeying mommy and daddy alright? And are you ready for school? Well, come on now, wash your face and get out....get ready, get off to school, and study good today now, behave yourselves in school now, come back home, and...and learn something while you're at school, and...and you...you mothers, have you cooked a good breakfast for the kids?" [returns to normal voice] You know, and I'd make it a family...and they'd ask us to announce revival meetings, and evangelistic meetings, and we'd do almost anything they'd ask us to do. Well, we built up a family spirit there that every morning, we'd have a...a wonderful gang of listeners in...mainly in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, but also Central America, and Cuba, and Venezuela. That...that was about it.
SHUSTER: Was.... Then the mail response was the main way you had of evaluating everything?
SAVAGE: Oh, yes. That's what I was trying to answer. Yeah. But some staff member comes, "Hey, Bob, I got a good touch of creative originality here, here's a program idea I have, what do you think of it?" "Hey, it sounds good. Let's try it." So I...I think it would depend upon your personnel. Of course I would delegate authority, whoever was in charge of the Russian programs, fine, any way they wanted to run it, was...was okay. Japanese programs, the same, German programs, that.... I didn't get involved in the contents of their programs. Usually I...I would have full confidence in their ability to run their own language division, but in Spanish, frankly Bob, we...we would.... we didn't...we didn't follow the WMBI [Christian radio station in the United States] plan of solid Gospel all the way around the clock, no, no. We would use, oh, we would use about a fourth or a third of the time for Gospel. The rest would be what we called "bait." It would be news, typical music of Ecuador, which would be very, very popular. Those.... That folk music of Ecuador, tremendously popular, and...and perfectly in harmony with our Christian convictions. We would use drama, we would use.... Our station would become the outlet for the leading men of government. The President of the republic would frequently come out to HCJB, to present a discourse to the whole nation. The Minister of Government, the Minister of Treasury, the Minister of Education, ambassadors. Really I...I got acquainted with various presidents, got acquainted with lots of ambassadors, and...and different members of the cabinet, just through.... Our doors were wide open for them to use our facilities for government discourses, and we were the most powerful station in...in the country, and...and it was to their advantage to...to use us, so I'm not sure that I'm really answering your question, I'm a little bit off the track but....
SHUSTER: Well, I wanted...what I just wanted to find out was how you decided what programs to put on, and I think that you answered that to some extent...
SAVAGE: Yeah. But we...we....
SHUSTER: ...more or less an instinctual thing. And then you were guided by the kind of mail response you got. How were...?
SAVAGE: Yeah. But we felt we had to have "bait." After all, you're in a context where there's maybe three percent Evangelical Protestant believers, of the whole nation, the rest of them are either Catholics or what-have-you. How are you gonna get them to tune to you? How you gonna get them to tune to a Protestant, Evangelical missionary station? You've got to use a lot of strategy on that, you see? Incidentally, you know, in South America, you have lots of revolutions, and our contract with the government was, "We must always cooperate 100 percent with the government in power." And in times of emergency, they...they could just use our station as much as they wanted to, but several times, I didn't know who was in power. I mean, whether the revolutionary forces had really seized the government or not. It was.... They would come out and say "Hey, we've just taken over the government, we want to use your radio station."
SHUSTER: What do you do in a case like that?
SAVAGE: Boy. What do you do? What do you do?
SHUSTER: What did you do?
SAVAGE: If...if you goof by letting some revolutionary guys use your microphones, and...and the...the government, the status quo government is still in power, what do...? You are in a fix.
SHUSTER: So how did you....?
SAVAGE: You prayed. "Lord please give me intelligence, give me wisdom. Help me to discern here, what's...." And the Lord just did help, that's all.
SHUSTER: You never had a situation where you'd given aid to a....
SAVAGE: Fortunately...there were various situations where there were demands, but wisdom from above helped us you see.
SHUSTER: Do you recall one of those situations?
SAVAGE: Well, yeah, but it was just that way. Here these uniformed guys, "We've just taken over the government." Well, I...I wouldn't deny 'em, I. I just stalled. "Uh-huh. Well, that's fine." Yeah. And I'd find some way to stall until I could make some...some checks and double-checks, and find out.... And the Lord helped us all.
SHUSTER: Did you ever have a situation where there was some group trying to take direct physical control of the station, or occupying...or occupying the transmitter, or the broad cast station?
SAVAGE: [Pauses] I don't think we did. We...we were always cognizant of that potential, and various times, during revolutionary times, our...our station compound would be surrounded by...by police, giving us protection against any rebel forces suddenly coming down. And, frankly, our engineers had a plan in which they would be able to set off the station in such a way that it would take anybody unacquainted with the station months to know [scraping noise] how to get it back on. We never had to do it. We had contingency plans that we were instructed in, so we...but we didn't have to use any.
SHUSTER: How was the station governed? What was the authority at the station?
SAVAGE: Well, it's like any...any missionary society, it's called the World Missionary Fellowship, Incorporated. And it was a bit different from most missionary societies, in which the missionaries themselves had all the voting power, and still do.
SHUSTER: How can you say that? Like with the CIM [China Inland Mission] mission, when the....
SAVAGE: Oh, is it that way with the CIM? Okay, yeah. Anyhow, instead of a board of directors meeting in Chicago, and deciding what should be done, the missionaries would elect their board of directors, and then the board of directors would make decisions. Usually our meetings would be held in Ecuador, rather than in the United States. And...but the missionaries are the...the voting power. They elect the board of directors, and the contributing churches, contributing organizations do not have that voting power of the World Radio Missionary Fellowship. It's the missionaries themselves who are really the ultimate authority.
SHUSTER: And who is the executive head of the mission?
SAVAGE: Well, in the early days, it was Clarence Jones, Reuben Larson and then Abe Van Der Puy for something like twenty five years. But Abe resigned as President of the WRMF two years ago, and Ron Cline is the president right now. And the Lord has given us very, very good leadership. I was vice president for eleven years, some of those years under Clarence Jones, and some of those years under Abe Van Der Puy.
SHUSTER: What was the relationship of the World Missionary Radio Fellowship with International Christian Broadcasters?
SAVAGE: Well, I think we were the.... We almost fomented the...the original organization that was.... Now wait a minute, wait a minute, what group did you say again?
SHUSTER: International Christian Broadcasters.
SAVAGE: Now, there's a National...
SHUSTER: National Religious Broadcasters.
SAVAGE: Uh-huh. The International Christian Broadcasters, that's the missionary stations around the world. Clarence Jones was really the catalyst, I think to get that started. And....
SHUSTER: But it was a separate organization.
SAVAGE: Yeah, but over and over again, a group wanting to start a missionary station would send a couple of their men down to spend a few weeks or even months with us, to get some of the know-how that had been picked up by HCJB, and it's been beautiful the way the...the world is almost blanketed now with missionary radio stations.
SHUSTER: Would you like to describe a little bit your work relationship with Clarence Jones, and observations about that while we're here?
SAVAGE: Sure. Clarence Jones, a man of tremendous drive, tremendous vision, and tremendous capacity. You know, in most organizations, the younger men would chafe because the older leaders don't have enough initiative. Whether it be in a college, whether it be General Motors, the Republican political party. The...the younger men "Hey, the older fellas, they just aren't.... They're.... They've closed the door to new ideas." And like that. But, with HCJB, Clarence Jones I think was the opposite way around. I think he would sometimes get disgusted, because we younger fellas weren't ready to swallow hook, line and sinker, all of his vision and his initiative. A tremendous man of ideas and initiative. Frankly, I...I think some of them were idealistic, and not feasible. But he...he would...he would spend over half his time in the United States, maybe he'd spend about a third of his time in Ecuador. And we knew when he came down, he was just gonna be ideas here ideas there, "What's the matter with you guys, only broadcasting 'til twelve o'clock at night? Come on now, augment that schedule. Broadcast 'til three in the morning." "Yeah, but we get tired, Doctor Jones." "We're all worn out by twelve." "Get going!" And he would have more initiative, and ideas, and...and one time he came down, "It's time we went into television." "Television, Doctor Jones?" "Yep." "Well there's no television station in...in Ecuador." "That's right, we want to be the first missionary television." "Man alive, this costs money though." "Don't care. We're going to television." Well, and his...his vision [bumps microphone] was realized. Now frankly, we never did get into colored tele...television, we were the first television station, and what the television transmitter we got was put together almost.... Gif Hartwell, up in Schenectady, he would get parts that had been really rejected from General Electric, and then his basement of his house, he'd start putting these parts together, and he finally had a television transmitter would work. And got it shipped down to Ecuador, and...and it did work. We had a lot of problems, technical problems, programming problems, but.... And finally when television advanced, we just couldn't keep up with it financially, because according to the government of Ecuador, our contract at HCJB prohibited us from using anything...any commercial programs. We...we couldn't put on any commercial programs to have an income. All of our financing had to come through gifts.
SHUSTER: So you had no commercials, then?
SAVAGE: Yeah. So with..with that stipulation, we...we just couldn't keep competitive financially, and upgrading our equipment, and so finally we had to dispose of...of the television. But the original dream was..was Clarence Jones. Vision, dreams, drive, vigor.
SHUSTER: What were some of his other ideas that proved effective over the years?
SAVAGE: Well, of course, increasing.... I think the hydro-electric project. [imitating Jones] "Alright, we've got to...we've got to get more power." We were buying electricity from the city of Quito, and it'd be on sometimes, be off sometimes. "Gotta get our own power, gotta have a Hydro-electric project." "Hydro-electric project? Where we gonna get the turbines? Where...where we gonna...." Well, we found some used equipment in the United States. I think it was out in the Seattle, Washington area, and got it down there, then built that pen stock [a gate or sluice used to control water flow] that.... Had to do our own welding of...of that pen stock to..to bring water down. First you had to build a...a big dam and a reservoir to build up a...a reservoir of water, all in the headwaters of the Amazon [river], then that pen stock to go down to your hydro-electric plant. And...and then carry all of that electricity from that spot way back to your transmitters.
SAVAGE: I mean this is a tremendously big undertaking. But Jones never felt that anything was...was preposterous. Tremendous man of vision.
SHUSTER: What kind of administrator was he?
SAVAGE: Well, he knew how to get people to work, and yet he had to delegate administrative responsibilities to some of us who were right there on the field, year after year, you see. He'd come in with his ideas, and suggestions, but as far as carrying them out, some of us had to do that. He was mainly "Mr. Inspiration."
SHUSTER: When did HCJB begin broadcasting in languages other than Spanish?
SAVAGE: Oh, almost at the beginning. First it was Spanish, the first song that came on the air was "Great is Thy Faithfulness," and that became the theme song, down through the years, but quite quickly, as quickly as a short wave transmitter was acquired, I'm not just sure, I think it was maybe within the first five years. English programs were put on, and then, I think the third language put on was Swedish. Reuben Larson....
SAVAGE: Yeah. Reuben Larson was fluent in Swedish, and then a...a woman came into the picture, her name was Ellen Campana, and she had come from Sweden, and had married an Ecuadorian who was an Ecuadorian councilman in Chicago, and moved back to Ec...Quito Ecuador, and that woman, she had such fantastic success with Swedish programs beamed toward Sweden, that at one time, the King of Sweden himself ordered that she be decorated in the name of the government of Sweden for her contribution to Swedish life from Quito, Ecuador. "Auntie Ellen," we would call her. And she...she would do everything wrong. She would rattle papers in front of the microphone, she would cough, she would go from Spanish to English to Swedish to Spanish to English to Swedish, mix 'em all up. And the people just loved her.
SHUSTER: What was her full name?
SAVAGE: Ellen Campana was her.... I don't know what her maiden name was. I suppose Johnson or Gustafson or something.
SHUSTER: Would you like to say a little bit about Reuben Larson and his contribution to this...?
SAVAGE: Reuben Larson was the key to getting the government of Ecuador to grant a permit to HCJB, and he was a tremendous man of...of relationship with the Ecuadorian government. He knew Ecuador, he knew its government, he knew its people, much better than Clarence Jones did. And his Spanish was excellent. His Swedish was excellent, and so Reuben Larson was on the field a much greater percentage of the time than Clarence Jones was. And he was more of an administrator.
SHUSTER: He was mainly your contact with the Ecuadorians?
SAVAGE: Yeah. And it was Reuben Larson that I first worked under when I went to Ecuador, [train whistle in background] and I learned to appreciate him and love him. Reuben Larson had a marvelous wife, Grace Larson, one of...one of.... Her name was Grace, and she was one of the most gracious women I've ever known. [train whistle in background] She was totally at home with the despised thoroughbred Indian, and totally at home with the president of the republic. And she would have both groups into her home to give hospitality. Tremendous talent in...in Grace Larson. Yeah, two great founders.
SHUSTER: you mentioned that Larson was much more administrational [sic]. What kind of administer....administrator was he? What was his style?
SAVAGE: Well, just staying on top of things. Oh, I remember, he would...he would bring me into his office, and have regular consultations. [Pauses] He...he was a builder in many ways. I can still picture him dealing with Ecuadorian masons and carpenters, getting new buildings put up, and the...the staff was quite small in those days,
SHUSTER: How small?
SAVAGE: Well, I think when we first arrived there, ten or twelve missionaries. And so he didn't have too much of personnel management. By...by the time I was field director, 100 missionaries, and now there's 200 missionaries down there. I don't think I can give much more analysis of his administrative ability there.
SHUSTER: [pauses] We have a....we have a little bit of the tape left, I wonder if you'd like to say a little bit about how you became involved in Youth For Christ activities in Ecuador?
SAVAGE: Sure. Youth For Christ was, of course, was in its early days, Torrey Johnson was president, Billy Graham was vice president....
SHUSTER: This was about '44 or '45?
SAVAGE: Yeah. I...I'm not...I don't have my exact chronology there, but I think Youth For Christ really got into high gear about 1944. Well, about 1946, Torrey Johnson wrote me a letter, "Bob, we decided we want you as vice president for South America." "Fine, swell, good."
SHUSTER: How did you know Torrey Johnson?
SAVAGE: Well, let's see. I...I'd gotten acquainted with him back in Wheaton and Moody days. And I'd gotten acquainted with Billy Graham here in Wheaton, Billy was I think a Senior or a Junior in Wheaton when I first got acquainted with him. His wife, Ruth, lived at 702 Howard Street, that was the home that my in-laws had, so Ruth lived with Pops and Ma Johnson most of her time, and when Billy wanted to do any courting, he had to go around to the Johnson's home there. And...and so when Billy and Ruth knew that Pop and Ma Johnson's daughter and son-in-law were going to the mission field, would be back in Wheaton, why, we got acquainted, he said "Bob, come on down to the Wheaton Tabernacle I'm pastoring, bring the message next Sunday." "Fine, swell." So we got acquainted in those days, but then that...that acquaintance was...was furthered in Youth For Christ days then. I'd come back from.... Well, at first, what...what did I do as vice president of Youth For Christ for South America? I already had quite a responsibility at radio station HC...HCJB to begin with. Well, we'll...we'll have some youth rallies in the two big cities of Ecuador, that's the way we'll start. Down in Guayaquil, the port city, and up in Quito, the capitol." We started, really, in Guayaquil, and we just said "Alright, we're going to have a big youth rally, Avance Juventud , Forward Youth." And I...I forget just what kind of a program we had , but we filled the biggest church we could get, a little Christian Missionary Alliance church in...in Guayaquil. But then....
SHUSTER: You say...you say "we." Who else was involved with you?
SAVAGE: Oh, anybody I could get to cooperate with me. But, I...I'd get as many musicians as I could. Maybe I can illustrate that by coming back to Quito. I...I did say that we got the National Theater, and this was the key thing that happened in the first two or three years of my being Youth For Christ for South America, was getting that National Theater, and filling that theater. It has a lot of prestige, symphony orchestras, [Oscar] Rubinstein, when he would come to present piano concerts, I mean we...and we...we would fill that thing, and.... But in those days, Bob, our gimmick was "Hey, we're going to have a...an instrumental trio. We're gonna have an electric Hammond organ on the platform, we're gonna have a Vibra-Harp, and a...and a piano." Well, they had a piano there, but HCJB owned a Hammond organ. HCJB owned a Vibra-Harp." Those two instruments were totally new in Ecuador. "We're gonna have all three instruments, and then we got the...the Spanish preacher, Manuel Garrido Aldama, an ex-priest who had been converted. He was really an orator. Marvelous orator.
SHUSTER: Can you spell his name?
SAVAGE: [chuckles] Alright, sure. .
SHUSTER: I mean, just write it out when the interview is over.
SAVAGE: Alright, fine. A tremendous orator, and everyone knew "The ex-priest from Spain is going to be the speaker," and, I'll tell you, he could sway crowds, and so here.... That's.... And I remember that...that first night, "I wonder whether anybody will come or not." And I'll never forget peeking through the curtains before, "Will there be anybody out in front there?" When we pull the curtains out? And it was plumb full. We couldn't give an invitation there....
SHUSTER: Why? Because it was National Theater?
SAVAGE: Yeah, and...and there was just no way to do it, so we...we didn't have results of...of souls saved in those...in that first three nights, but that opened the door. And then subsequent...shortly after that, I came to the States, I got that Gospel tent from Congressman Allen, and went back, and under the Youth For Christ banner, we had tent meetings just where we could pitch the tent. And...and those were days of great...great fruit bearing, soul winning. I remember, one month we had 900 decisions in one month. Well, I mean, this was more than we're getting saved in...in two or three countries in a year, in those days, you know. It just blossomed.
SHUSTER: We're almost out of tape, but I wonder if you could say a few words about your relationship with Leonard Allen and his support.
SAVAGE: [Laughs] Congressman A. Leonard Allen. A great [chuckles] encouragement to us. We got acquainted with Washington D.C. when one night I sat at a banquet with him, and I was going to be the speaker, and he turned to me and he says: "Bob, you know, I envy you." I said, "Now, wait a minute, you're a congressman, making laws, and I'm just a young preacher. What do you mean, you envy me?" He says "I'll tell ya. When I was your age, the Lord called [thumps microphone] me to be a preacher, but I didn't accept his best plan for me." Said: "I went into education, and then into law." And he says "According to the world, I've ascended the ladder highly." But he said " I must admit that I'm not where God wanted me to be. God wanted me to preach the gospel [thumps microphone], and I settled for His second best. I envy you." Well, and a friendship was formed, and when we'd come back on furlough, I'd always drop around to his office there, in the House of Representatives building [in Washington, DC, USA], and see him and his wife and...and his son, and then one furlough, I think by this time he had terminated his time in Congress, and invited us to his home in Louisiana, had a beautiful time there, in his home, and then, he went to be with the Lord, but every month he would send me his pledge for our...for our financial support
SHUSTER: And you say he...he brought the tent for you that you used?
SAVAGE: Yep. He sure did. He...it was a surplus army tent, and through his contacts as a congressman, he was able to get that, and I...I don't know whether he had to pay for it, but all I paid was transportation from United States down to Quito. And, my, how that tent was used. I don't think a piece of equipment has ever been used more thoroughly than that tent was.
SHUSTER: I.... we're just about at the end of the tape now, so....
SHUSTER: Really, it's been fascinating. It's only a glimpse I know, of all your years, but a fascinating glimpse, and I want to thank you for your willingness to share all this with the Archives and those researchers who will be listening to this tape
SAVAGE: Bob, I appreciate it. I would have felt much more comfortable if I had been interviewing you. I like to do what you're doing, I like to ask people questions, and I...I but I've appreciated being at this. In my radio work, television work, I've usually been the one who's asked the questions in....
SHUSTER: Maybe this will give you some insights in....
SAVAGE: [laughs] Alright. Thanks a million. The Lord's richest blessings upon you.