This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Martha Henrietta Philips (Collection 314, T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded is omitted. In a very few cases, the transcribers could not understand what was said, in which case "[unclear]" was inserted. Also, grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers of this transcript should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and even rule than written English. Place-names in non-Western alphabets are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, Peking is used instead of Beijing, because that is how the interviewee pronounced it.
. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the
sentence of the speaker.
. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete
( ) Word in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcript was completed by Wayne D. Weber and Paul Ericksen in April 1999.
Collection 314, T2. Interview of Martha Henrietta Philips by Paul Ericksen, September 26, 1985.
ERICKSEN: Well, we were talking about disciplining the children. How did the children handle being away from their...their parents for the most part?
PHILIPS: Often the first day...oh, they...they did very well. They...of course, they were all together facing the same things and sometimes they had some homesick experience, but not very much. They...they could talk with one another and it...it was boost to one another. You asked a minute abo...ago about corporal punishment and I remember one thing. [laughs] In the prep school they did have. If things went wrong they were caned and they had a little bamboo cane. One of the boys who went through the prep school and through grade school and when I got home he was in the university in the medical school and set up a clinic in the...out west...Christian clinic. But he was talking with me one day. He said, "Guess who dist...disposed of the cane?" And he and one of the others boys had been caned and the cane disappeared. They said they broke it up and flushed it down the toilet. But the...that didn't happen very often and [laughs] it...that just cropped up into my mind as you asked about that. So they did have caning if necessary, but it wasn't severe. But it was...it was enough to know that it was meant. I never saw it being done. I heard them speak about it.
ERICKSEN: So for the most part the...the children were able to adjust to being away from their families.
PHILIPS: Yes, they were. It wasn't easy and yet there was...well, it was understanding on the part of the staff that was dealing with them and the children could talk with one another. Once in awhile they would cry but who doesn't. And they...they really adjusted very well. But it wasn't...it wasn't easy and when they'd just came from home but if they all met on a boat to come back to school they didn't spend a lot of crying. They were talking about what happened at...at home. And they...they made very good adjustment.
ERICKSEN: Were there ever instances where families had to go home because their children couldn't adjust or the children had to live with their parents?
PHILIPS: [pauses] I can't remember any. They...if there was...if discipline was being used the story, the whole situation would be written by the staff to the parents so they would know what and why. Of course, the child was perfectly free to write too. But it helped the parents to understand and there was an understanding between parents and children. And yet one of the interesting things that's just cropped up to my mind now: when a work is going well, you know, Satan always interferes, tries to. And one other thing he would do if the parents were doing a great work there and were needed, he might attack a child and make that child get absolutely rebellious and unresponsive to discipline. And I'm thinking of this one particular mother. She felt, "I just must go to him. If I could just talk to him for two or three minutes he'd be all right." She'd have to travel for two or three weeks to get there. That would be three week off duty. And she finally recognized that as a Satanic attack and they stood against that and the boy, whose name I almost mentioned but I won't, straightened right up. But it's...it's...if he...if Satan can get the parents upset because the children are having difficulty or get them to leave their tribe, their work is left while they're trying to deal with their children, sure, and they...the children need them but they're needed there and Satan interferes. We can't...we can't deny him. We can't say there is none. We know he's there. But we need to know when it is Satanic and when it is just shear obstinacy.
ERICKSEN: How did the children handle news of developments out in the fields when there was trouble or difficulty?
PHILIPS: Sometimes it was very very hard. For instance the death of a parent was very difficult to take, but isn't it with us. And the children [pauses] did as well I think as anybody. They would sometimes go to say goodnight to one of the teachers and talk it over with them and pray about it and weep about it and the teacher with them, because it is hard to go through those things. But it was...it was great to see the children adjust and they did well. I think that's....
ERICKSEN: How did the children get along with the Chine...did they have any contact with the Chinese?
PHILIPS: They were kept separate. There was very little contact [pauses] and they were not even allowed to...to talk much with the Chinese servants. One thing, [pauses] many of the staff did not understand Chinese, had ne...no language school. See, I had just two or three weeks.
PHILIPS: And I needed to get more so looking way ahead now I was scheduled to go and get a year of Chinese study when Pearl Harbor came. [December 7, 1941] So that was the end of that. So I don't talk Chinese even today. I had learned enough that I could get by with helping the servants out, something needed to get done or something like that unless is was too complicated. If it was then I had to call on somebody else. But the...so many things...there was so much that we did not want our children getting into. We needed to keep them as clean as we could and as clean-minded as we could. And, of course, if they get out and you couldn't hear what's going on. You know what happens out around the corner with kids even today. But they were a little bit separate from that and all this dirty talk and so on that may get started, we tried to avoid that and that was one of the means of doing it. It's different in the schools now in the various countries but we won't go into that at the present moment.
ERICKSEN: Were there any behaviors of the Chinese children in addition to bad language that they didn't want the kids involved in?
PHILIPS: I didn't see them. I don't know. The...the children did not come onto the compound. Now following that same thought and yet clear off, the Lord led us into a Russian work with Russian mothers and Chinese fathers. They couldn't come to us in the school. We went to them on the outside. And they needed medical help and we had a doctor there, but he was forbidden to go to them. He might bring back some germs to the school. He gave us medicine which we administered and so on. But they...they wanted to keep out all the various diseases that they could. And then another thing that was kept out. One year before I got there the kids were out playing and a mad dog came in, a rabid dog, and the teacher grabbed him to keep him from biting the children. But he was bitten and died of rabies. Well, there was rule against they couldn't have any dogs on the compound and all of that. Well, very naturally we had to...to look after those things. That was a part of China and the Chinese didn't want those dogs either and if they were bitten they'd died just as much. But we were trying to look after the children...
PHILIPS: ...for their parents as the parents would. And, of course, keep them from anything like that.
ERICKSEN: Do you recall the day at the school when the Japanese took control of it?
PHILIPS: Do you mean after Pearl Harbor or when they...? See we were captured by the Japanese in February of '38. Well, the Japanese might burst into any classroom at any time. You didn't know when they were coming. They were just all over the place in...in uniform and making it very evident that they were in control. And yet we were British and American. We were neutral. They couldn't do anything to us at that time. But they were all over the place. Yes, I recall many of those things and...and bursting into the classroom and so on. And then later they started...they'd bring their little sea planes up onto the beach and load them with bombs and fly over and bomb our friends. Our property went clear on to low tide level so actually they were loading it on our property, though we didn't fight back on it. But we saw those things. We were aware of it and it wasn't easy teaching with all that going on but the kids behaved very well.
ERICKSEN: What did the kids think of it?
PHILIPS: What did they think of it? Just like we did. They...they resented it and they really resented the Japanese. But you know it's only fair as we mention this, maybe it will come up later, but to say there were Christians among those Japanese. But you know there were Christians among our GI's but they had to do their duty. And we found out something about some of the Christians, perhaps it will come up later, but there were Christians among the Japanese and those with whom we could have real fellowship. But war is war...
PHILIPS: ...and it ...it does terrible things. Now we....
ERICKSEN: So during the period from '38 to '41...
PHILIPS: We were under the...
ERICKSEN:...the Japanese were there....
PHILIPS: ...we were under their protection. Some protection you're comfortable without. And we would have been very comfortable without it. But after Pearl Harbor it was a much closer protection.
ERICKSEN: So when did the house arrest begin?
PHILIPS: Right after...the day of Pearl Harbor.
PHILIPS: And we were to be a prisoner in your own rooms with your own possessions around you. It's very different than being in the other places you go after that.
ERICKSEN: So did the Japanese come into the camp or into the school that day and set up their administration?
PHILIPS: I'm not sure that they did that day. Some of those details are not too clear. We couldn't go off the compound. We weren't locked into our own rooms. The school...the school carried on, more or less normally. But the compound, you couldn't go out onto the streets and so on. And that was right after Pearl Harbor. The day of Pearl Harbor they said, "We'll be very generous with u...with you." They would lend us our property till they could find somewhere else to put us. We thought it would take quite a space. We found it didn't take quite as much as we thought. Nothing we could do but pray anyway, which was the best thing. And often I've heard one or another pray, "Lord, confuse their counsel." Good Scriptural prayer. But it's exactly what He did. The army wanted it, the navy wanted it. They argued back and forth about who would get it for eleven months while we were under house arrest on our own property. And neither...never could they agree to let the other have it. And when they finally took it, they built a brick wall right down the center. The army took the one side and the navy took the other. That brick wall went right beside my bedroom window.
ERICKSEN: Which side were you on? Army or navy?
PHILIPS: I don't know [laughs]. We were put out so soon after that.
PHILIPS: And they...they took us over to the Temple Hill property, and that's when we began to be concentrated.
ERICKSEN: Before I forget, how did the American children and British children get along?
PHILIPS: Very well. They were all one. Of course, when Thanksgiving came, the American children got a holiday to go down to Thanksgiving service. And if there were classes on, the British kids had to stay in classes. But it was just at the end of the term and sometimes they were all free, so the American kids got to go, but not the....
ERICKSEN: Where did they go down to?
PHILIPS: There was a church about a mile from there, the Union Church. And that's where on Sunday mornings we would all together go. Well, there was the Union Church, (the British and the Americans might go), but there was also an Anglican church here that many of the British went to.
ERICKSEN: Alright, going back to your departure from Chefoo. How much notice did you have that you were going to be transferred to Temple Hill?
PHILIPS: Well, when we were...with the beginning, they had come to us after eleven months and said you must close the school. "We want this building and this one," our two new fireproof buildings. And we knew that something was going to happen. We didn't know what. It was nearing the end of that. And so we...well, we started a week of meetings. We crowded into smaller space, of course. We started a week of meetings for the kids as well as a week for ourselves. Now, I didn't mention earlier that on the...the week before Pearl Harbor we had started a week of meetings our British friends called a house party. We would call it a prayer and Bible conference. And so when we were not on duty with the kids we were there at that center. Now when we started a week of meetings for the kids we started another week for ourselves of the same sort. We were not a bunch of back-slidden missionaries, but I'm sure that you know it's easy to be so busy doing even in serving the Lord that we fail to be in the Lord's presence. And so we...we felt hungry for revival, a fresh touch in our own hearts from the Lord. And so the burden of our prayer had been revival way back there when the war started. Now it's the burden of our prayer is revival and that's cut off in the middle of the week with an order, "Concentration camp." And that was a...a rush. We couldn't take our mattresses...our beds. We'd take our mattress and put them on the floor. And we were told what we could take. The children's boxes were packed according to what they were told they could take. They lined up at the front gate of the compound and marched across the Chinese city singing choruses. One of them they loved to sing was "God is still on the throne, And He'll remember His own. His promise is true, He'll not forget you," and others like that. It was more like a triumphal procession. It wasn't like a bunch of prisoners going into camp. They got over there....
ERICKSEN: Now where was Temple Hill?
PHILIPS: Well, it was just...it was about little over a mile from us, clear away from the beach. You see, they're on the beach. We could see what they were doing, and we were too close for their interest, but this was our property. We were taken over there and we were where we couldn't see it. We had just to imagine what was going on. But we were crowded into smaller space. I was put in a room...well, I was asked to go with this group. There was a lady past eighty, there were several in their sixties and seventies who had retired out there on the field. I thought they were old folks then. There were two mothers with very young children, nobody able to do very much work. They looked around for a perf...perfectly husky able-bodied person, and asked me to go and cook for a family of forty-eight in an eight-roomed house. They had two teams of us cooking, so we cooked every other day. But forty-eight in an eight-roomed house. One was the kitchen, one was the dining room. That meant we were distributed into six rooms. So we were in...there were four of us lying on the floor here with our mattresses and then there was a space over here. Perhaps I should tell you, we were told we couldn't take our beds, but everything was pushed over on hand-pushed carts. And I said, "Well, they take off what they want. I'll put my bed on." And I did. So I got over there with my bedstead as well as the mattress. But there was a fifty year-old lady in our room. I couldn't sleep on that and let her sleep on the floor, so I slept on the floor like the other young things and she slept on the bed. And she'd wake up in the morning, she'd snore till the shingles rattled, and then she'd wake up and she'd say, "I didn't sleep a wink all night." [Ericksen laughs] And we thought if she made that much noise and was awake, we wished she'd try sleeping. Well, anyway, that room was like that. Now our...our first breakfast I'll never forget. Perhaps a third of the group were seated. There weren't chairs enough for any more. The rest were standing or leaning eating in silence, silence so loud you could almost hear it. I think if we'd ask everybody what they were thinking we'd got the same question, "Why? Why? For eleven months the Lord had kept us over there with everything going our way and now He'd let us be stuck over here with everything dead against us." And suddenly out there in the street, across the stone wall and the barbed wire entanglement we heard a band playing that hymn, "Standing on the Promises of God." Can you think what that meant to us at the time? His promises were just as sure when everything seemed dead against us as they had been when everything seemed to be going our way. Day after day they went up and down the street playing that one tune and nothing else.
ERICKSEN: Who was it that was playing?
PHILIPS: That's what we wondered. We finally found it was a band from a Chinese school that had been taken. It had been under a mission board. It had now been taken by the Japanese, was being used by the Japanese to train Chinese boys to fight in the Japanese army. To them just a good marching tune. Oh, but to the Christians, whether Japanese, Chinese, or whatever, what a message. Well, they finally learned one other tune, one...and we thought there was a motive back of that. One line of one verse was, "Masses in the cold, cold ground." We were quite sure there was a motive back of that.
ERICKSEN: What about missionaries from other missions? Were there any...
ERICKSEN: ...any others?
PHILIPS: Yes, there were. This was Presbyterian mission property. They had been taken from there at the day of Pearl Harbor and put under arrest over here...
ERICKSEN: The Presbyterians?
PHILIPS: Yes. So that their houses had been vacant all that time, so we had a clean-up job after eleven months. There were Southern Baptists. There was quite a Southern Baptist work going in that area. And there were some other smaller groups. But we had all been under house arrest in various sections at that time and then when we were put into camp in Chefoo...Temple Hill, here was the [pauses] camp...compound where we were. Over here was the girls' school group and over here chiefly businessmen and missionaries but other folks than ours. So we...we were in the three compounds. Most of what I'll say would be with this compound that had our...our group in it. The girl's school were over here.
ERICKSEN: And these were in three different...?
PHILIPS: About a quarter of a mile apart.
ERICKSEN: And was there any intermingling between the three?
PHILIPS: At first, no. And finally requests were made over and over and they finally said, "If you make a written application not more than once in...," I think it was three weeks, "and so on, "you may get permission to go over and visit your brothers or sisters in the other camp." And so a conducted group would go. In fact, one time we had been over here at the girl's school, conducted, and the Japanese guards were marching in front of us. They didn't drive us, they went in from of us. And we met some Manchurian soldiers coming along who politely sal...saluted the Japanese and when they got with their backs to them they saluted them this way [motions, Ericksen laughs] as though they would like to remove their heads, which of course, we knew [laughs] was the case but you...there were so many things to laugh about along the way.
ERICKSEN: How did...how did those on the staff communicate between the three...the three camps?
PHILIPS: Only as they could be escorted over there.
ERICKSEN: No...no mail?
PHILIPS: No...no. And I should have told you in an earlier section when we were under house arrest, the Lord so definitely answered prayer in so many ways. And when money had come in, (and that's another story)...money had come in to supply the needs of the children we told them and that night we had a praise service thanking God for sending it in. I went through...through the hall after it was over. A little eleven year old girl came bounding up so excited, "Isn't it wonderful. God's answered two prayers and He's going to answer the third." Of course, I asked her what they were. Well, I'll tell you the first one. He had reloosed our...released our school headmaster and a group of others that were held as government agents, which they were not. Held for forth-three days and then released. I think everyone of them I've heard say that it was answered prayer. Well, of course it was. They just don't release prisoners of war unless there is an exchange or something, but they'd been released. The second one, the money had come in. But I said, "What's the third?" "Oh," she said. "He's going to let us get letters from our mommies and daddies." That doesn't happen in war time but it did. They were allowed about one letter a month. Can you think what it meant to the parents away up country or to the children here in school? It was a tremendous answer to prayer. That's enough, I guess.
ERICKSEN: How did the Japanese treat you?
PHILIPS: Two answers to that. First of all, I think the time was about two or three weeks. We were under the military, not the most comfortable place to be.
ERICKSEN: In...now this would be at Temple Hill?
PHILIPS: No, this was clear over on...in Chefoo at the school. And after that two or three weeks, we were transferred to the civil authorities, the consular police. And the...the commandant there was one who had his early training in a mission school. He was not a Christian but he thought enough of his Bible that he had carried his Bible to China in his limited war time luggage. And when our doctor wanted to borrow a Bible he asked him, "Have you any idea where I can get a Japanese Bible?" He said, "I have one if you may use if you like to." And so it tempered our treatment in many...many ways. Now the Japanese were very fond of children and they...they did enjoy youngsters. They're fond of children but not too many of them at once. One thing: while we were still over at Chefoo [laughs] they decided they wanted to become mounted police, so they took all the kid's bicycles. And you can imagine the sorrow of the youngsters losing their bicycles. Well, you just had to give up whatever they wanted. Another case of them liking the children. After they got over here (now this is over at the girl's school I told you this...this one building where they were).... They're fond of children. They came in. The girl's school had the...the attic of a story-and-a-half bungalow. But down here there was a Chinese Belgian family living. This guard came in. Nothing wrong with him but he had swollen jaws, but nothing wrong with him. But he picked up the little Belgian-Chinese child and talked with her, played with her a bit, and let her finish his cigarette. Nothing wrong with him but in three weeks she had the mumps. And here this whole crowd had been exposed to mumps. Well, you put something like eighty girls on the floor of this attic and when somebody got the mumps you couldn't possibly isolate them. They would try to move the mattress over by the window to get as much air as they could. But every three weeks a fresh crop of mumps, a fresh crop of mumps. And finally almost a year later when they started to move us out to the Weihsien camp they said so many had to go. Now the boys hadn't been exposed to mumps. That had all been over here. And the...the visitation they tried to keep them separated too. But that night before we were to start one of the girls came down with the mumps. We tried...and...and one of the other girls that was to go with us had never had it. We tried to persuade the Japanese to let them wait and come with the next contingent. "No." They had to go with us. So we had to put those nose gauze masks on them and take those girls with us. Well, as a youngster I always had everything and developed antibodies, recovered and was perfectly healthy. So when somebody had something contagious I was able to take care of them. So I had charge of those two youngsters and a youngster having hepatitis so I had a miniature hospital. But what I was getting at is there attention to the children. Of course, nothing wrong with him but mumps got started and they went on month after month after month.
ERICKSEN: Was there any...every any problem that the women had with the Japanese men?
PHILIPS: Not in our territory. We heard of it elsewhere. But...now there was one...this one thing quite different from the question asked. The winter would get very very cold and one evening, a very cold night, one of our men was going around (we could walk around inside the compound) and the guard was sitting out there at the gate house. And this night it was cold and he said to Mr. X...he said, "Very cold tonight." "Yes," he said, "it is cold." "It's very cold tonight." "Yes, it's very cold." "Well if you would lock the gates and then let me in again in the morning I'll go home and sleep where it's warm." So he locked the gates and we guarded ourselves that night. [Ericksen laughs] And he came back the next morning having had a good comfortable night's sleep. As I said there were many things that we could laugh at along the way. It pays to have a good sense of humor and I think the Lord has one. And I think that [laughs] He enjoys many things, too, perhaps we don't see through yet. That's the end.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned [pauses] some of...that you discovered that some of the Japanese solders were Christians. How did you find that out?
PHILIPS: Now that was [pauses]...well I almost need to go back to our Russian work, but I won't give you the background for that. But we now a Russian woman and her German husband living in an apartment down here. And we studied with them every once in a while in the Word. She had been saved and I don't know if he really was but he could follow on. And this night we went down to see them and sitting at the table with them was the Japanese in his silken kimono and all and Bible open in front of him. And this German woman...this Russian woman's husband said, "Come on in. We're getting good thing here." We went in there and this was a Japanese pastor who had come to China and in his Japanesey way, very broken English he said, "I hear God call me: 'Come Chefoo. Preach my own people. They not know Jesus Christ.'" Well, we had a good time with him. He was...he had just come over...in Japan he had met a...a boy, Japanese, who had...whose parents lived in Chefoo. And he...they had told him that when he came he must meet Hudson Taylor's [founder of China Inland Mission] son who was there and he must meet this Russian couple, the Russian woman and her husband. And so the first thing Mr. Taylor, Hudson Taylor's eldest son who was past eighty, had dropped down to see these folks and they had had a visit. Now he'd come over to this house and he had his Bible open in front of them. We went in. The one I was with was an Australian girl and I was American and he was Japanese, the man was German, and the woman was Russian. And there we were. We sat with our Bibles and we had the best fellowship. Look up a reference. Well, you can...even though you can't read the other languages there's a similarity in sound and they know what it's talking about. And we had a rich time in the Word that night. But we finally took to going down to see this woman and her husband. They had a house not far from this. And this afternoon we went down to see them and there house was full of Japanese. And they were praying. And they moved in a bench, the folks went on praying. No disturbance. Nothing at all. They moved in a bench for us to sit on and we sat there and when they finished praying he turned to us and said in English, "Now you pray." [Ericksen laughs] Well, it turned out (of course, we prayed in English)...but it turned out that he in his witnessing had made a quote fatal mistake. He apparently had witnessed to some of the Japanese military who didn't appreciate it and now they were being ordered back to Japan. But all of these that were in there were Japanese Christians who were praying for them with regard to their having to go back to Japan. So we really met some Japanese Christians. They left. We don't know if they ever got back or if they were liquidated. We don't know what. But that was the...having witnessed to some of the military who were antagonistic had finished their time there.
ERICKSEN: Now where were those events in relation to the Japanese...
PHILIPS: Military? Well, some of them....
ERICKSEN: ...dealing [?] with China and then house arrest and what not?
PHILIPS: That was a delicate thing in every case. But the Japanese Christians were residents there in Chefoo. Perhaps they'd been there on business. We didn't know them at all, but now the Christians had got together. And of course, war is war which stimulates hatred. And the Chinese hate the Japanese and the Japanese hate the Chinese but I didn't see any of the Chinese Christians expressing it. I don't know whether they even knew of these people. And there were those who wanted to criticize us for going in to be with them. But these were one in the things of the Lord and we had rich fellowship with them. But, you know, there were...there were Christians among our GI's and I don't know whether any of these people would know about the GI Gospel Hour that started right after the war. They...our...our Christian GI's were on the streets of Tokyo and elsewhere. There were two missionary ladies, two sisters: Miss Frances and Mrs. Dievendorf, who for some reason had not been deported during the war. They were interned. And they were walking along the street, definitely Americans and these GI's came there and stopped and said, "Do you folks talk Japanese?" And they did. "Come with us." And they took them in the jeep and went right to the hospital. They were visiting Japanese soldiers, casualties during the war. They were visiting them and a rich friendship there even between them but they needed these missionary ladies to talk for them. Those were our Christian GI's who'd been fighting the Japanese like anybody else. In war time you do your duty even though it's rough. We felt the Japanese did their duty in handling us. Sometimes they did it with a vengeance but they did their duty and we don't know how many of them are Christians. This commandant who'd had his training in a mission school didn't profess himself as a Christian but he showed sympathetic understanding which meant a lot. That's the end of it. That's the end.
ERICKSEN: So when...when...when was this large prayer meeting with all the Japanese that you sat in on?
PHILIPS: That was before we were sent to Temple Hill.
ERICKSEN: Okay. So you were still at Weihs...or at Chefoo?
PHILIPS: Yes, we were still at...at the Chefoo school and we were able to go outside the compound that far.
ERICKSEN: And how long were you sta...were you kept at Temple Hill?
PHILIPS: Just about a year. We were moved over [pauses]...whether it was in October or November, moved to Temple Hill, and I think it might have been September, so it probably is ten or eleven months. When we came out we couldn't bring anything of paper, so my diaries suffered. They were kept up to date on the other things, and then when I left, I left the diaries that I had with friends who were still there, that if it came a time that they should burn them rather than let them be taken, do it but if not to get them back to me. I have them. But some of these places were left vacant.
ERICKSEN: So when you were transferred then from Temp...Temple Hill to Weihsien, did you know you were being repatriated or...?
PHILIPS: No, not until after we got there. We were there at Weihsien. I think it had been rumored to us, but I...we didn't know anything. They...we got there to Weihsien and were there about three weeks, I think. See, when we went to Weihsien, there were already over seventeen hundred British and Americans there, literally a cross-section of humanity. Some of these young fellows had left home years before to get rid of that miserable religious influence. They'd got rid of it. If you met them on the street in Peking or Tientsin they'd have crossed the street rather than meet a Christian. But now, how they'd have go...far they'd have gone to avoid a missionary, who knows. But now they were all in distress and difficulty, behind stone walls and barbed wire entanglements, and they were beginning to find that the Christians had not something but someone who made a difference, and we know of a number who found the Lord at that time. How many more, we don't know. Well, we were there, I would say probably two or three weeks. And by the way, it was during that time that I met Eric Liddell, who was the one pictured in this film Chariots of Fire. Amazing that he should have such a testimony after all these years. But anyway, we met...met all of these others and then they posted a list of names. And if you were on that list of names, you were to come home on the exchange. No possibility of appeal. You couldn't get off, you couldn't let anybody else go. I'm afraid some of us would have felt there were those who needed to come home worse than we did. But as usual the Lord knew what He was doing, even when He guided the Japanese in that. The trip home was the hardest part of all. If those in frail health had tried to make it, they probably wouldn't have survived. So...but the list...we didn't know who was coming until that list was posted. That's it.
ERICKSEN: Where was Weihsien in relationship to Temple Hill?
PHILIPS: We had to leave Temple Hill go down to the Chefoo harbor, go by boat down to Tsingtao [Qingdao] and then go by train up to Weihsien. So it was a...it was a very interesting journey and a rugged one. We had to go on...but there was a typhoon coming and we urged them to let us spend one more night in the camp. "No, get down to the boat." So we got down to the boat and spent about twenty-four hours in the boat before they pulled out. Now this was just going to the Weihsien camp. But they pulled out into the jaws of a young typhoon. Well, we had taken...we had baked some cookies and taken along to su...supply the kids something to eat after they had the salt fish and salt vegetables and so on, raw fish. And when we stayed there those things were disappearing in a hurry. Of course, the kids were hungry and we weren't feeling the effects of the storm. But finally they pulled us right out into the young typhoon and the sh...ship was just rolling. And the first thing I knew I looked over there our kids were lined along the [laughs, Ericksen laughs] rail. I have generally said I could look after the first forty-five sea sick youngsters before it would bother me. But this day it began to get me. And finally one of the boys who had been so terribly seasick came along said, "Miss Philips, may I have some peanut bread and butter." I said, "You know where it is. Go and get it." I was too busy at the rail. [Ericksen laughs] After this seasickness was over and he came by I said, "Joe, what did you want with that peanut butter?" "Oh." He said, "I lost everything I had. I wanted something more to loose." [laughs] It was really a time of seasickness and then the sea calmed down and we went on into Tsingtao without any difficulty, and then took the train trip up there and had...I don't know if we walked a half of a mile or a mile or what from there to the compound where we were to be. But it was quite a...quite a little journey.
ERICKSEN: How did the conditions va...vary at...at Weihsien...
ERICKSEN: ...from what you'd been use to?
PHILIPS: Yeah. Weihsien had been a Chinese school and there was a [pauses]...I only remember one foreign home. There may have been more than one American home. But there was a big hospital that had been well equipped and then there was the school and all the little separate...well, just one room houses that had been student housing. And we were all put into those little houses just...just one room and it was...it was rather chilly but this was still the end of summer when we got there. But later because cold weather was coming on and they had coal that just, ground up almost to powder, and one of the jobs of the women was to mix up that clay mud and mix it with coal and make coal balls to burn. Kind of a dirty job but that was their fuel for the winter. And so they had that to do. I didn't get in on any of that but the others had to make the coal balls. So it was...every step we went was a step down. I didn't tell you that when we'd been praying for revival we had it, but God's way up is down. Every time we prayed for revival He'd shut us up a little tighter and a little tighter. And when we couldn't do anything ourselves He was right there to meet the needs. But as long as we can look after ourselves He let's us. But our conditions were...were much poorer there. We were assigned to eat in a kitchen where there were seven hundred people eating. There were three of those kitchens. And Chefoo and Weihsien were both in fruit section. Early Americans...missionaries took out the seeds of all our common fruits: apples, peaches, pears, cherries, everything of that sort. And so in Chefoo we had lots of fruit. Well, after the war started we didn't have much but we had some. Neither the quantity or quality we'd had, but out here at Weihsien they'd had none. And after we got there they got their our first shipment of apples. One...one box of apples for seven hundred people. Well, you looked at those few apples and you thought what on earth would we'd do to get everybody a taste. The ladies in charge of the kitchen said, "Would the ladies from Chefoo please make us apple pies? We think the apples will go further that way." So we made apple pies. They had flour so we made...we baked pies on the tins of lids, in pans, in anything. And everybody had a sample of apple and pie. But the Americans, I mean the...the...the Chefoo people had brought a little bit of sugar and so we had enough that we could sweeten those enough to make them palatable. And the people in the other two kitchens...I don't know...each one had a box of apples...I don't know what the others did but they were envious of us having had pie. But conditions were worse, food was worse, everything was worse down the line. That's enough.
ERICKSEN: Before we finish to break for lunch can you recall anything about Eric Liddell?
PHILIPS: I met him that was all. We...I've read concerning him and I also knew from various ones who were there. He had quite an influence with the young people. And there...first of all they were kind of fighting back and forth among themselves, not happy at all. And he got them started....
ERICKSEN: The young people?
ERICKSEN: The young people were?
PHILIPS: Yes. Now you see, there were a few missionaries and many business people and government officials and so on. But you know kids will fight for anything or nothing. And they were fighting and he got them started, organized, I think it was playing baseball. I'm not sure. He got them playing something together and they worked together beautifully. And when it came Sunday he said, "No." And they were unhappy with that and they had trouble. And you know after that he even helped them on Sunday to keep the peace and the quiet in the place. But he had...he still had his scruples against using Sunday in the wrong way. But his influence with those youngsters was tremendous. Well, any books that you read about or anyone that you hear about, he did have a great influence. And as I think I said before amazing, that a man of that caliber should have such an influence after all these years, having been dead forty years at least. But that film gave a tremendous picture of him. And then to read the books that have been written about him. You know it does pay to take a stand, even though it was unpopular when he took it. And he got headlines everywhere that he wouldn't run the Olympics on Sunday, but the Lord really blessed the man. It pays to take a stand where you are. But you have all these kids now. I didn't mention this. In our school with a vacation time with Pearl Harbor we had two hundred youngsters. There were only twenty-five of them that were included in this American exchange when we came out. They had to plant their feet on American soil so couldn't bring any of the others. There was no choice in it at all. But all our full Americans came. The ones that were...had one American parent but something else, if the father was from another country they couldn't come. So they...they...they took twenty-five of our two hundred. That left a hundred seventy-five mainly British. There was a plan underfoot for a British exchange to take place the next year, but it never did. And I didn't know until a little over a year ago (I was up in Canada)...I didn't know why it hadn't taken place. But the Japanese thought to take advantage of British sentimentalism. "You've got a hundred and seventy-five children there? Oh, we'll take five British for one Japanese." Can you imagine that nobody would do that? The Japanese would not...I mean the...the British wouldn't think of saying, "Huh, the Japanese are worth five of us." And the exchange never took place. So the rest of our youngsters were there the whole time. Now somebody asked one time, "Well, did you loose any of the children?" The answer is only one and that because he was a teenager. I can think of nothing else. Chinese shoes...Chinese feet are small, Americans' are not. They couldn't buy shoes to replace them before the war. They could but now they couldn't. So they were saving their shoes for winter time. We had to line up for roll call morning and evening. This (and the kids were going barefoot)...this was a...a morning, heavy dew on the ground, they went out for roll call. There was a wire hanging down and somebody said, "Bet you can't catch that." He jumped and caught it and it was a live wire and he was electrocuted. Well, what teenager wouldn't jump to catch a wire? The mother was right there. It was with difficulty they restrained her from trying to grab him and she too would have been electrocuted. But that was the only one that we lost. There were a few....
ERICKSEN: And that happened at Weihsien?
PHILIPS: No, that hap...yeah, at Weihsien. There were a few that have had physical difficulties but not many. Most of them came through on top. I read an article recently by Alice Hayes Taylor. Now she was the granddaughter-in-law of Hudson Taylor. And the reason...she's American but her husband was British and so they couldn't come home. They had four children in the concentration camp. Those children were away from their home five years. Well, it was interesting to me: she commented thinking back on her girlhood in Pennsylvania. She was talking one day with a pastor and he paraphrased that verse, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." [Matthew 6:33] His paraphrase was, "If you take care of the things that are precious to God, He'll take care of those that are precious to you." And she said, "Well, now I came to China to take care of the Chinese who are precious to Him. He'll take care of my children who are precious to me." And that was the promise on which she stood the whole five years while her children were interned. And when they came out they were perfectly normal children. Her eldest son [James Hudson Taylor III] is now the home director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship [formerly China Inland Mission]. You probably know him. [whispers] I think that's enough.
ERICKSEN: Okay. Well, let's...let's break and we can pick it up this afternoon.
PHILIPS: [rubs microphone] All right.
END OF TAPE