This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Peter Deyneka, Jr. (CN 381, 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. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Jeffrey Dennison and Christian Sawyer and was completed in February 2003.
Collection 381, T1. Interview of Peter Deyneka, Jr. by Doug Buchanan, December 13, 1987.
BUCHANAN: Okay, this is an interview of Peter Deyneka, Jr. by Doug Buchanan for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center [tape interference] at Wheaton College. This interview took place at 3:00 on the twel...the thirteenth of December at Mr. Deyneka's home in Wheaton, Illinois. Okey-dokey. Now the first question, this has to do with your family background, Mr. Deyneka. What was it like growing up with your father [Peter Deyneka, Sr., founder of the Slavic Gospel Association] being the well-known evangelist and preacher that he was?
DEYNEKA: There were a lot of advantages because we got to travel, we got to meet people. We used to go with him in meetings all over the United States, particularly, I'd say, through high school. In the summer times we would load the car up and take off, and as a family (I had two sisters) we often traveled in the summers to different parts of the United States having meetings. In my senior year, after I graduated from high school and before I entered Wheaton, I went with him to Alaska for some meetings because Slavic Gospel Association had missionary work in Alaska at that time. And later I spent two years in Alaska in mission work. And then, while I was at Wheaton, I went with my dad to Europe for one summer in meetings. So this was a great heritage, a great opportunity, meeting hundreds of other Christian leaders. These were the days of Youth for Christ and my father was involved in Youth for Christ movement. Youth for Christ was a very dynamic movement in the late '40s and all through the '50s, and this resulted in meeting a lot of outstanding Christian leaders. For example, every summer from, I'd say, at least all through my high school days and early college, my dad used to be in charge of prayer meetings at Winona Lake, Indiana where Youth for Christ had their international conventions every year. And I, again, met many outstanding Christian leaders, men who later started other organizations such as Bob Pierce, who started World Vision, Ted Engstrom, who has been the more recent president of World Vision and who was later the president of Youth for Christ, and just a host of people of this type. So I feel that as far as preparation for Christian work, for missionary work, for international work, it was a...an...an tremendous advantage to me in gaining cross-cultural knowledge and understanding of...of how people operate in different parts of the world. And...and then of course, myself becoming involved as sort of a...almost as a secretary to my dad and assisting him. This was a great education to me. Just one simple illustration: he would always have me do his phone calls in getting in touch with people across the United States. I didn't enjoy doing that, but later on, now, of course, using the telephone is an art in communicating with people and we do an enormous amount of it and it was extremely valuable. Spiritually, there was a great benefit as I was constantly challenged in my own spiritual life, not only by my father, but by the people I met. This was a great stimulation to me, a great education. The Youth for Christ movement, which my father was a part, was a great benefit to me in those years. When I was in high school, I played in a Youth for Christ band in Chicago. The band became quite well-known. We played at Winona Lake. Then we traveled different parts of the United States. And this really, again, was a part of the influence of my father and I...I...I greatly appreciate it. I owe so much to him for the background, the heritage, the training, the contacts, the networking which came as a result of this. So...so there...there was just a great deal of benefit.
BUCHANAN: Okay. By networking, do you mean that you were...?
DEYNEKA: Networking by means of the people I met in those years who have been very useful to me now, years later. People who were younger than my father, but were also in the Youth for Christ movement, one of these people being our present chairman of the board of Slavic Gospel Association. He was in Youth for Christ. He was an administrative assistant to Ted Engstrom who was an outstanding administrator and leader. And Evon Hedley, now, has been a...an enormous help to us as a result of his contacts and his networking that came about as a result of his years first in Youth for Christ and then in World Vision and also Christian Businessmen's Committee. So it is essential if a person is going to get into some kind of a work that is affecting the world that he meet many people who are also involved in other aspects of this. And all of these people have ideas, have observations, have something to offer and something to teach. It...it provides a great breadth of information. And it minimizes the possibility of being narrow-minded and of lacking flexibility. So this is the kind of background I've had as a result of my father's life and ministry.
BUCHANAN: Now your parents were both immigrants from Russia, yes?
DEYNEKA: Both of my parents were born in Russia; and my father came to the United States when he was fifteen or sixteen; and he became a Christian in Chicago at the old Moody Church. He received his training in turn, after his conversion, under a very creative and progressive preacher/evangelist by the name of Paul Rader who was then the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. And there is information on Paul Rader in the Billy Graham [Center] Museum. He is one of the figures outlined there in the museum because he was a man way ahead of his time in creativity. And my father tutored really under him and then I learned from my father, so my heritage goes back to Paul Rader. In fact, my father worked with Paul Rader several years, and when I was a baby, Paul Rader committed me to the Lord, I am told, on the shores of Lake Michigan up at Muskegon at the Bible conference that Paul Rader started which is today known as Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon, Michigan. My father worked there two or three summers with Paul Rader. And so Paul Rader's prayer at that time when I was a baby was that the Lord would help me to evangelize Russian people. Of course, I wasn't aware of this, but this is part of the heritage that I've come out of that I'm so grateful for: the influences in my past, the prayers of people even before I ha...had a knowledge of understanding which I believe have influenced my life to the present day.
BUCHANAN: Okay. Now as far as your parents being Russian immigrants and so forth, now, did that have a different affect on your upbringing? Were you brought up as far as...versus a normal Western tradition? Was that very different for you or...?
DEYNEKA: Yes it was. Very different. I was brought up in Chicago, not only in a Russian home, but in a Russian community and that community being my church. It was a Russian church. All of my friends were Russians. And my culture was Russian. I grew up speaking the language. I grew...in fact, I spoke Russian before I spoke English. We grew up having Russian visitors, friends in and out of our house constantly. I grew up hearing about Russia: the problems, the heartaches of the...particularly the 1930s, the 1940s. I entered Wheaton in the fall of 1949 and these were yet very difficult years. Stalin was the ruler of the...in the Soviet Union until 1953. So I grew up in this background hearing a great deal from firsthand sources, and I...I don't feel in any way that my upbringing was...had any negative consequences. As I grew older I also made friends, of course, in high school, American friends, and I became then a part of the American culture as well as the Russian culture. But the advantage was that for the future my Russian heritage would prove extremely valuable. I think, from my parents perspective, their upbringing was passed on to me, and that was one of a life where work was considered normal and our...the possessions were minimal at home. We had everything we needed, but we didn't have a...any abundance. And I think this a...a good background for young people to have because the tendency usually is the other way and young people grow up demanding everything and having everything. And this is a...this is...this is a...a negative influence, I think. And so I was fortunate to be brought up really in more of a European atmosphere in Chicago. And I think I learned to appreciate what I had and to appreciate the problems of people much more to...this caused me to sympathize more with people who didn't have an abundance. And again I think of a person's growing in a Christian work. There's great benefit in learning to sacrifice and in learning to share with others and learning to sympathize with the physical as well as the spiritual needs of other people. This was the kind of background that I had. [pauses]
BUCHANAN: Very good. Okay. Mr. Deyneka, what...? Now, you were raised in Chicago. Your father was closely associated in the Moody...Moody Church.
BUCHANAN: What made you decide to come out to Wheaton College?
DEYNEKA: [Sighs] My father's background was Christian and Missionary Alliance by virtue of the fact that he attended their Bible school in St. Paul. This was the background of Paul Rader for a period of time, and it was Paul Rader's suggestion to my father that he attend this Bible school. And as my father was becoming involved in Christian work he met Dr. V. Raymond Edman [later the fourth president of Wheaton College] (who wasn't a doctor at the time). Mr. Edman was a missionary in Ecuador and was a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance movement. And so they became quite good friends over the years. And my father spoke at Wheaton College in the 1930s and '40s and so got to know Dr. Edman (knew Dr. Buswell [Dr. J. Oliver Buswell II, third president of Wheaton College] before Dr. Edman). And I don't know all the details, but my father discussed the possibility of my coming to Wheaton with Dr. Edman at some point when I was in high school. And so that was, I think, the greatest single factor [telephone rings in background] in...in my coming here. [pauses] So I think it was a...probably a...a direct result of my father's meeting with Dr. Edman. I...I was interested in...in going on to...to college and there were a couple other schools I had some preliminary interest in, but I ended up in coming to Wheaton in...for which I was very grateful. And let me just say that Dr. Edman was the president while I was at Wheaton, and my father would come out to campus of...occasionally and, of course, meet with Dr. Edman and take me along. And it was quite embarrassing, of course, being a student and a father who...having a friend with the president and the father in my presence and with...with the president would always ask how I was doing. Well, what else could the president say except he was doing well, and this was always a big challenge to me. But these were...these were interesting times, interesting days and interesting associations as a result of my father knowing the president and some of the other faculty members.
BUCHANAN: Now.... Okay, looking back, at least from now and days, a lot of people see 1949 as a year of a lot of revival, renewed spirituality at Wheaton - Jim Elliot and all those graduating. Now, you know, you came in in the fall of '49. Did your class see that as being true or...?
DEYNEKA: Yeah. I never met the people you mentioned - Jim Elliot or Ed McCully, some of those fellows. They graduated actually in June of '49. I came in the fall of '49. But in the spring of 1950 in the special meetings on the campus there was a very unusual moving of the Lord which lasted for several days. It was a time of a lot of confession, students getting right with the Lord, getting right with each other. And it was all very spontaneous, it wasn't planned in any way. It was just a...we were going to have a...just another series of meetings. But God did move in...in very unusual ways, and that was...that was unique and that was very profitable. Out of this, for example, came a lot of renewed interest in spiritual things on the campus and small groups of students would form for fellowship meetings, for prayer times, Bible studies. And I know personally I became involved with ten or twelve fellows on campus, fellow students. And we started meeting, daily, actually, for prayer and fellowship time. We used to meet in what is now the woman's gym. We met upstairs in one of the rooms. We also met downstairs in one of the classrooms in that gym. And we would just meet everyday about, oh, I'd say around 4:30 for about an hour. Then we'd go to supper together. And whoever could make it that day would come. And this went on for two or three years, actually. Some of the people who used to attend those meetings were Leighton Ford, who is now...has been with the Billy Graham Association (he has...he now has his own ministry); John White, who...John Wesley White, who is also now with the Billy Graham Association; Frank Nelson, who is now a professor up at Marquette University or the University of Wisconsin (he's had several children here at the campus, a couple of boys on the football teams); Don Boardman, who is now a missionary in South America; Norm Rohrer who is a freelance writer in California, lives at Lake Hume, California, has written many books including one recently on the story of World Vision (and he's written about twenty books); Bob Schindler, who is now the president of Christian Medical Society; and, oh, let's see, there were...Ted Seelye, who is a well-known radio figure in the Christian world, lives in Wheaton now. These were some of the fellows that...we used to meet together and that was as influential as anything else in my...in my time at Wheaton concerning my own spiritual life and challenge for ministry. Out of that little group also developed a...a Gospel team. Leighton Ford, Norm Rohrer and I, in our sophomore year, represented the college, and we traveled all over the Midwest for one year, almost every weekend. And then the next year, my junior year, we added Bob Schindler to the Gospel team and we traveled a great deal. So this was a valuable experience to me again in understanding something of the ins and outs of Christian work. Going to scores of different churches, again; starting to meet scores of pastors and Christian leaders. We spoke at youth rallies, Youth for Christ rallies, church rallies, church meetings, Sunday School rallies all across the Midwest. We went down as far as Florida, up into Canada. I remember once we were the featured group at the Detroit youth rally. It was called the Voice of Christian Youth, I believe, in Detroit. It was a large youth rally that had a weekly Saturday night rally with a few thousand young people gathering. So this was a very valuable time also, and this formed a network on the campus of a lot of students who met at this daily prayer time who eventually went into Christian work and many became influential leaders in...in Christian work. Another one of the people, for example, who used to come was Clayton Bell, the brother-in-law to Leighton Ford, the brother-in-law to Billy Graham. And Clayton is now pastor of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church, a very prestigious Presbyterian church in Dallas, Texas. So I felt that this was a privilege, in retrospect, as I look back now, to have had this kind of influence and the encouragement of other students on the campus who were concerned about doing the Lord's will in their lives.
BUCHANAN: Wow, that's interesting. So, obviously you've been sort of talking about how Wheaton really influenced you, but now did Wheaton really influence you career-goal-wise or were you pretty much set by the time you even entered or...?
DEYNEKA: It.... No, it definitely...Yes, it definitely had an influence because I wasn't certain as to what I ought to be doing, so...and it was a gradual influence. I went on to seminary after Wheaton and that was also a factor. But I think I...I really formulated my desires and interests and background and experience here at Wheaton. So the college, the faculty, the program of the college, the influence of the college was all a factor I feel in influencing me into going into Christian work.
BUCHANAN: And as far as going specifically into the Slavic Gospel Association, when did you really decide that?
DEYNEKA: Well, that was sort of a natural outcome of my background. My interests had grew out of my background, my interests into going into Christian work. And I figure that if I'm going to go into Christian work (I just felt I...I should, I felt called to the Lord) that the logical place I ought to be going is where I knew the most and had the most experience. So, it was a gradual type of influence.
BUCHANAN: Okay. Now [pauses] in comparison today (and I don't know how, you know, how close you are to the...to the Wheaton College community at this point), but would you say Wheaton was very missions-oriented at that time? I know today there's, you know, WCF [World Christian Fellowship] which is very....
DEYNEKA: Yeah, Wheaton...Wheaton was very missions-orientated when I was on the campus. But I've kept in touch with the campus over the years and things have gone in...in stages and trends. And I think it's that way at every school, particularly where the missions program is student-orientated rather than faculty-orientated. If you look at schools such as Moody Bible Institute or Columbia Bible College, the missions program there differs in that it is faculty-orientated and faculty direct it, in that they work with the students, but they take the initiative. In Wheaton it's always been student-orientated and what happens, there are some years where you simply don't have students with the same kind of an interest and so interest dies. And there was a period of time in Wheaton when this kind of interest waned considerably. But I would suggest that the present missionary interest on the campus at Wheaton is very comparable to the interest there was when I was a student here on the campus. But in between there have been long periods of time, or some periods of time, when interest was definitely not as...as keen as it is now because there is obviously good interest again on the campus in...in missions. And it's...it's very similar with the spontaneous interest and the young people meeting and gathering and planning for summer ministries and things of that nature which was true when I was on the campus.
BUCHANAN: A lot of times people tend to criticize Wheaton saying it's sort of a shell, sort of unaware of outside influences. What...this may be a tough question, but can you think of some of the major external influences on...on Wheaton College, the community at large at that time?
DEYNEKA: At any Chr...this is true of every Christian school, that is this...this criticism. It's...it's natural, obviously. We're...we're inbred. When you have only Christian professors and the majority of students are Christians, what else can it be? But there are some definite positive factors that come out of this kind of a situation, some that I've already described. The...the influences that are present on a Christian campus which you can't find on a secular campus. So that...that's sort of a moot question. It's...it's not one you're going to solve easily, except for this. It is very important then that a Christian campus have a great deal of contact with the secular world in various ways. Bringing secular people in for dialogue and having students going out into ministry in...in the city as is true today. I know on the campus hundreds of students are going into...into the city and ministries, and this was also true when I was on the campus - just great numbers went into Chicago. And then again there were periods of time when this slacked off. But I feel that this is a tremendous balance and this is very important because there is a danger, if we are interbred only with Christian experience from the evangelical perspective, that we not know how to realistically relate to the secular world. This is a great danger. And there are students who don't relate to the secular world while they're on campus, and when they leave they...they have problems because they don't know how to act or react or they're overwhelmed by the secular world. And so we need to be prepared for this and the...the program of the college needs to prepare students for the real world that we live in.
BUCHANAN: Now, when...when you went into the Slavic Gospel Association, how many...how many...how many people were involved in...in the full-time ministry?
DEYNEKA: After Wheaton, I went on to Northern Baptist Seminary and I studied for one year, and then I decided I wanted to drop out for a year and get some practical experience. And this is a common experience or program in many seminaries where you do a year of practical ministry. So I went up to Alaska because Slavic Gospel did have ministry up there at the time, and it was English language and I could use the language immediately and there was ministry that I could get into immediately. I was in village work around Kodiak Island and down the Alaska peninsula out toward the Aleutian Islands. This was a great experience. I was in three...four places in particular: Kodiak, and in the villages of Afognak, Chignik, and King Cove. And this was extremely valuable. In effect, what I was a mission...a pastor, a village pastor, an evangelist, and I was working with Russian Aleut Indians, fishermen. And I was able to organize programs, utilize what I had learned in college and seminary, and really I was on my own, that is, we did not have seniors over us. We...we...we did what had to be done and we organized what had to be done and this was good. At that time Slavic Gospel's main ministry was in Alaska and in South America with Russian nationals. We didn't have too many Americans there, but we had a training program in South America, a Bible...a three-year Bible Institute course in which we trained nationals. And we were doing some work in Europe with refugees. They were called displaced persons in those days rather than refugees, DPs. And these were people who had been pulled out of Eastern Europe by the Germans during the second war [World War II], pulled back into Germany and Austria, and then after the war, these people remained right there and lived in former German army camps (barracks) until they were resettled over a period, I would say, of ten years. You were talking about several million displaced persons. So it took ten years to ultimately resettle all of them. Well, Slavic Gospel had a ministry to these people, a large ministry. Also, our radio ministry to Russia was just beginning (the late '40s and early '50s) and this was to develop later on. Also, our book publication ministry was only beginning, so we were not strong in those areas. The mission was smaller. The budget...I think we could determine it by the budget rather than the number of people. In those years the budget was under $500,000 a year. Our budget this year is $6.6 million, so the ministry has grown considerably.
BUCHANAN: Okay. Now, you personally, if I understand it correctly, spent time in Argentina, Brazil, Alaska, and Korea.
DEYNEKA: That's right. What happened was, after that year in Alaska, I returned to seminary and finished and received my Master of Divinity degree from Northern Baptist, which was located in Chicago just before their move to Lombard [in the 1960s]. And after seminary, I went back for another year of ministry to Alaska. And then I returned. I decided by that time I should start using my Russian language and culture more. So I returned and went next to Argentina where our Russian Bible school was located. In those years we had a Russian-language Bible institute. And it was a three-year course, everything was taught in Russian. So I went down there and taught there for two years, and then I went for one year up to Ecuador and got involved in the Russian radio work. And while I was in Ecuador, I received a call from our office that help was needed in South Korea to take the place of some missionaries who had to come home, Russian radio missionaries from South Korea come home on...on extended furlough. So I went...I came back to the United States briefly, and then went on to South Korea and was there for about two years and had a...a varied ministry while I was in South Korea. My time in...in South America was spent in Argentina primarily in the south, but then also having meetings on Slavic colonies in Uruguay and in Paraguay and in southern Brazil and also trips to different parts of Argentina where there were Slavic communities. The people in...in the southern half of South America lived in colonies. There were Slavic colonies, there were German colonies, there were Japanese colonies, and other colonies as well. For example, Buenos Aires, a city of about eight million, is primarily a European city. There are very few native Indians left in Argentina and it has a population of over twenty million and ninety-eight percent of these would be European. People who immigrated from the turn of the century, Spanish, Italian, Germans, Jewish, and Slavic, and these would be some of the larger ethnic groups that came to...to Buenos Aires. So we...our purpose was to train indigenous leaders among the Slavic people. And we did that because, at the present time, we only have one North American missionary in our work in South America. The work is now carried on entirely by young people who have come to the school, graduated, and they've gone on to ministry and they are now the leaders in the work. And they have gone on to start about fifty churches among Slavic people and form a...a union of Slavic churches in these countries. And the school is in the center of it, and the work is well-developed and moving ahead.
BUCHANAN: Was there ever a time in your life when you weren't working with Russians or...or with Slavic Gospel?
DEYNEKA: No. No. Except when I was in Korea. Well, no, and then, I was there primarily for the Russian radio work, but I also was a...a military chaplain, a civilian chaplain on the weekends on U.S. army bases when I was in Korea.
BUCHANAN: All right. I guess from here on out we will be talking about your time in Korea. We'll just...some different aspects. First of all, now, you said...you know, you just explained to me you got a...you got a call when you were down in South America, but how much...you know, how much time or what really did you do to prepare for going to Korea?
DEYNEKA: Well, I'd been preparing for about five years previous to that both in school and in different ministries, so there wasn't any more preparation specifically as such. I had been orientated by my experiences. So I came back to the [United] States and...for, I suppose, about six months, and then went on to Korea and received specific training from the radio missionaries who were there. We lived together, I think, maybe for a month and they orientated me as to what had to be done. I had already spent a year in Ecuador in radio work so I understood the operations of a recording radio ministry in the Russian language. So after the month together with the missionaries I got into the ministry, and the ministry consisted of being in charge of a block of radio time for the...for Siberia. The programs we received were produced in different parts of the world, I suppose from fifteen different...twenty different sources. And then I also produced one there. And it was my job to put together a good radio block and make sure that this went out. It went out twice a day, two hours, two different times. It was a standard band station, 50,000 watts, which was beamed into Siberia and central Asia. And one of the two hour blocks went out late at night when China was shut down. And at this time in history (this was the...the middle 1960s), China was isolated. China, in fact, was cut off from the outside world. The United States had no diplomatic relations at all with China. China was going through its own problems, its own revolution...industrial revolution, and they did not have too much radio on the air, so there wasn't much interference in...in the air. And consequently the programs that were beamed from South Korea were able to go all across China (these Russian programs)...across China and into Siberia and central Asia quite effectively at night especially on the night wave. And then also another beam went straight north into Siberia across North Korea. The southernmost part of Russia was close to South Korea, only about three hundred miles away, the area of Vladivostok, and that peninsula on which Vladivostok was also heard the broadcast. So that was the prime target area of this radio station, HLKX. Now when I was there, the station belonged to a TEAM [The Evangelical Alliance Mission] mission, and TEAM was developing an overall ministry in Korea. Since that time, the radio work has been transferred to the Far East Broadcasting Company, and they have also started a second radio station in South Korea. So they have two stations broadcasting into Russian Siberia as well as into North Korea and all across South Korea. While I was in Korea then, I also became acquainted with Korean young people and I got very involved in that whole ministry. And I needed...that is the U.S. Army had about 50,000 troops stationed in Korea (and they still do), and they were short of military chaplains. So they asked me if I would be a...a civilian military chaplain on contract. So every weekend I used to speak in two different army bases, in two army chapels. So between speaking in the mornings in the army bases and in the evening.... Every Sunday evening I usually...usually...usually spoke at a different Korean church as a result of my contacts with Korean young people. And then I had Bible...two Bible studies during the week with Korean young people, but these were held in English for young people who were studying English and wanted to learn English. And so we would use contemporary version of the Bible, New Testament, for English language courses, and we combined Bible study with English language. And this was excellent. Many young people came to know the Lord through this ministry. So it was a very happy time in Korea. Korea at that time was not developed economically. They were still at a state of...not war, but they had not signed any kind of an agreement with Japan, an economic agreement. They were...this was aftermath yet of the Korean War, and there was...there was a great deal of [pauses] confusion yet between Asian countries. They were sort of...they were sorting out the relationships to each other after the Korean War. And Japan was not assisting these other countries, Asian countries, as they are now at that time. So Korea was very underdeveloped. The average yearly income of the average Korean was very low. Korean...Korea was not industrialized at that time. It was not receiving assistance to develop an industry, but...and they were still rebuilding in the aftermath of the Korean War. So it was...it was a...it was a really a poverty situation. The...the villages were very poor. The construction of the houses often consisted of building materials they were able to scrounge and pick up and throw together, boxes and...and build...building material that had been thrown away by the U.S. military. It really was not a very pretty picture. There were a great many orphans as a result of the Korean War and as a result of all the disruption economically. Korea today is just in total contrast to what it was in the middle 60's. There's just no comparison. Korea today is...is a miracle country economically and spiritually. Economically primarily because of Japan and the influence of Japan initially in...in giving them know-how and personnel to start industries, and then the Korean people picking it up themselves and now running with it on their own. Spiritually, when I was there, there was enormous interest in the Gospel, just enormous interest, but it had not exploded in any way to what is taking place today. However, the foundation for all of this was being laid at that time. For example, one of the...one of the young men that I became acquainted with, a Korean young man, was Billy Kim. Billy had come to the United States and studied at a Christian school here and had gone back and he had just returned a couple of...two or three years when I came to Korea. And Billy was a gifted evangelist and now spoke perfect English as well as Korean, and on the basis of ideas and methodology that he had learned in the United States and at the Christian school he attended, he started applying this in Korean ministry. We would often go out on weekends, starting Saturday and Sunday, and speak in villages with Korean young people. We would take teams of young people. We would go into a church, a small Korean church, and we'd go out into the marketplaces and invite people in to the church meetings. We would have outdoor rallies. We would have rallies in the...in the church...church buildings. And what he was doing was, he was training Korean young people by involving them. Well, this ministry of Billy Kim's has grown just enormously to the place where he started a hospital, he started a huge church, a huge youth work, and a nursing home for Korean elders, adults. Billy Kim also now is the president of Far East Broadcasting Company in Korea. Billy Kim has enlisted the financial assistance of many Korean businessmen as Korean Christian men have got involved in business, to the point where they are having just large-scale influence, Christian influence on the country of Korea. And this, of course, is multiplying itself with the economic boom which is feeding or funding a great deal of Christian work, indigenous work, that's growing up in Korea. So this was an exciting time to be in on the foundational period of the...the explosion, it's not just growth, it was the explosion of Christianity. Even at that time when I was in Korea, as I mentioned, during the two years I was there I spoke at a Korean church on an average of once a week, and I don't think there was more than...there were more than one or two meetings in the entire time that I was in Korea where I spoke that people didn't come to the Lord. And that meant ninety-nine percent of the time there were...there was something happening spiritually. There were a great many youth rallies taking place across South Korea. And again, it wasn't an economically successful country at that time, but that was not a factor. There was a great deal of spiritual growth developing. But for me, again, it was an exciting time because spiritually Korea was a very, very interesting place to be, to be involved. There was a lot of spiritual interest. There was a vacuum spiritually because...two...two reasons. One being that the Japanese had occupied Korea from the early 1900's until the second war [World War II]. During that time they broke the back of a great deal of pagan worship. They...the Japanese were intending to remove all pagan worship in favor of Shintoism, and they wanted really to make Korea a state of Japan and to extend the influence of Japan culturally, religiously to Korea. Well, in the process of removing pagan religions, of course, they removed a lot of ancient superstition, religious superstition. And then the second war [World War II] came along and the Korean War and this continued the process, and by the time the Korean War finished you had millions of people who were totally neutral toward religion now. They were not anti-anything. Their hearts were open and hungry, and war is devastating and it caused people to think seriously. So you had people who were ready for a change...ready....
[pause - blank spot on tape that lasts 35seconds. Audio cuts back in, but at a slow speed for another 30 seconds.]
DEYNEKA: [tape at slow speed] Another influence, I believe, [unclear] in support of the Gospel was the influence of the American...Americans in Korea. There were many Christians in...among the military [tape resumes normal speed], chaplains and soldiers who would go out into the villages and help the Koreans. The Americans were very well liked, and as the Americans helped the Koreans in their physical needs they would also be involved in the spread of the Gospel. And this was a...a real factor. So out of this...and then plus the fourth factor was (I...I've mentioned three factors here previously)...the fourth factor would have been the fact that Americans came as missionaries and established several large and effective seminaries, training institutes training the Korean lead...future Korean leaders. Some very large schools. And out of these factors then and a combination of them, they meshed together to cause the Gospel to spread. Also, a fifth factor would have been the prayer ministry and the prayer interest of Korean churches. And as a result of all of these factors the Gospel began to spread very rapidly across Korea and the spiritual vacuum started to be filled through the preaching of the Gospel. Thousands of churches were opened...were started and opened. And then the Koreans themselves began to influence their own people and utilizing some indigenous methods, house...house churches, for example, house meetings. A great deal of this. Feeding their members into church...churches themselves through the house meetings. This has been a very important factor in Korea. And the Gospel simply just exploded in that country, and as a result, now, there are Korean missionary agencies beginning. The country is very stable economically. They have the potential to send out missionaries. And so they are becoming, in turn now, a sending agency or a sending country where as before they were just a receiving. They are the largest...they have the largest Christian population of any country in the Far East at the present time. And so the Korean people are very intelligent. They have the contemporary methodology. Many present Korean Christian leaders are coming to the United States to study in seminaries here and are going back to teach there. And so this cross...cross-pollenization of ideas is proving very effective as the Korean church is developing a very strong missionary emphasis. One of the goals of Korean Christians, for example, is to evangelize Japan. Japan, in contrast to Korea, is extremely different spiritually. The people have never been open. They've had a well-organized pagan system of religion which has captivated their thinking and their interest. And breaking through all of this ancient pagan heritage has been extremely difficult, but the Korean Christians are taking this on as a challenge and there are quite a few Koreans in Japan, exchange of preachers and ideas, missionaries going to Japan from Korea, and multiple efforts in assisting the church in Japan to evangelize itself. And this is the way it has to be. The Asians can do it far better than the Americans. I feel that the potential for Korea to be a sending country for missions is...is just enormous, just enormous. There are potential for tens of thousands of missionaries to go out from Korea to different parts of the world. And they would be far more accepted in the Far East, in many of the countries where Americans are thinking of going. Places such as Indonesia and the Philippine Islands where there is also a great growth of Christianity. So the...the future is developing as far as the...the great potential in Korea for mission work as a result of...of what has taken place. It was a privilege for me, therefore, to be a part of this early growth, a foundational time in Korea, to...to actually minister with Korean young people, to see their interest, to see them learning English which also gave them accessibility to the Christian books that we have in the English language of which we have so many. This is a factor for Christian growth also. In the seminaries, for example, many or all of the students would know English so that they would also have access to this...to the thousands and thousands of Christian books that we have in the English language, and this is definitely a factor. There is an interest...there should be many studies done on influences and factors that have caused the growth of the Korean church. And I think the most practical way to do these studies would always be in contrasting with another country. Let's say contrasting Korea with Japan or Korea with Pakistan or Korea with India. I think there's room for some very valuable studies in going at it from that perspective because by contrast we learn far more pragmatically than simply analyzing one country. The contrasts are as important as the analysis of a single country. So there have been important factors in...in the church growth of Korea and now in the mission interest and mission growth of Korea.
BUCHANAN: Okay. I'd like to touch on a couple of those things in a little while, but, if you don't mind, let me jump back to your radio work, and ask you what was sort of a typical show? It was two hours long, the same show went out twice a day, right?
DEYNEKA: It...the one program was not two hours in length. The total block (we...we called them blocks of time)...there were two hour blocks which would consist of probably six or seven different programs. And at that time as I was learning the radio work, for me it was a learning process, learning by observation and listening to what others were doing. I mentioned earlier that I had about fifteen sources of...for the tapes from different parts of the world, and what I discovered was that most of the materials were church-related or church-type programs. Now, not having had academic training in radio, or professional training in radio (it was all very practical and functional), but I quickly learned out of this experience in Korea that this kind of programming is limited. You cannot reach the whole spectrum of society with church programs simply because so many people in society are not interested in church, they're not interested in sermons and songs and...and prayers. So this was a training ground for me in future preparation of radio programs for the Soviet Union which we are now doing here in Wheaton at our recording studios in which we are producing a variety of very creative programs, non-church type. And by church type I mean a song, a prayer, a song, a poem, a song, and a sermon, and that would be your...your typical church type programs of which you have so many even on Christian radio in the United States. And even though preachers who are producing these are very well-intentioned, yet their problem is they have had no training in communications, so they are doing what they know best which is to produce another church service. The only problem is radio is not the vehicle for church services. Church services require a person being in attendance where he can use his eye-gate [term from John Bunyan's Holy War meaning sensory perception through the eye] in order to have some kind of an interest. Otherwise, a church service is very boring if you're not in the church. And consequently, you're not going to influence many non-believers through your average church service. And even though the sermon might be directed to non-believers, by the time the sermon has come on, ninety-five or ninety-nine percent of the non-believers have tuned out and they're looking for something with much more human interest. So I came to this conclusion as I was listening to all these programs for Russia in the Russian language. And out of this we have developed many ideas for programs, for Marxists (totally non-Christian, not interested in Christianity in the Soviet Union), and we have developed many different formats in attempting to interest the people of the Communist world in the Gospel. And we, I think, have been effective because we have many non-believers in Russia listening to our programs. So my time in Korea was as much a training as it was a service.
BUCHANAN: Were you in Inchon the whole time?
DEYNEKA: The radio station was in Inchon at that time. They have since moved it to Seoul, Korea, the capitol. But I used to come into Seoul, I suppose, once a week. It wasn't that far, and I had many friends in...in Seoul as well.
BUCHANAN: But you...you lived in Inchon?
DEYNEKA: I lived in Inchon.
BUCHANAN: Okay. Now was that in a...in a...right in the Korean community or in a...?
DEYNEKA: No. The TEAM mission radio station had its own compound where.... You almost of necessity had to. When you're dealing with radio, they were operating the entire system of the station. In other words, the building of it, the maintenance of it, developing new equipment, producing new programs; we had to deal then with housing and.... We had to develop a community because you're dealing in a team effort. If you're working at it alone in church planting, you should work and live among the people. If you're involved in a...a complex team project, such as a radio station, you have to be close to each other. If something goes wrong, you have to be there immediately to solve the problem. So it was a comp...it was a missionary compound.
BUCHANAN: And you don't think that really hurt? That was more necessary because...?
DEYNEKA: Yeah. The type of ministry required that. However, as I said earlier, I did have my Bible studies off the compound. I used to go into the city and into Seoul and into Inchon where I had weekly Bible studies, and so that was done among the Korean young people.
BUCHANAN: You said that the economic level of the Koreans was...was very poor.
DEYNEKA: Extremely poor. There was very little industry when I was in Korea. It was just beginning. Well, the country had just finished a few years before (just a few years, literally) with the Korean War, and so it was devastated. And this is normal, you know, and particularly in a country that was not industrial to begin with or previously. So the people were just feeling their way. There were many poor people. We all, as missionaries, helped these people in many ways, physically and financially assisting them with food needs and housing and things like that, mater...boar...building materials. The country didn't start developing economically for another five years after I left, but then once it started it...it literally exploded. Even as Christianity exploded, the...the industrial complexes of...of Korea exploded by the late 1960's and early 1970's.
BUCHANAN: Okay. You...you said you did preaching pretty much on a weekly basis.
BUCHANAN: And that was through an interpreter?
BUCHANAN: And...now how...how well were you, you know,...were you accepted by the Koreans as a preacher?
DEYNEKA: Americans were accepted everywhere because we saved Korea from the North Koreans. So that was again an unusual factor. There was a strong pro-America interest, and so I was very accepted, very...made many good, close friends among Korean people. It was a very happy experience; and I was privileged to be there even though the country was destitute. But again, it goes back to what I said earlier of...as we learn of how the masses live, rather than how the few live only, and as we become a part of the needs and solutions for the masses, it...it is a real joy. After all, Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God with all of our heart and [to love] our neighbor as ourself, and in loving our neighbor we find the real meaning of life. So I felt it was a privilege for me to be there in Korea at this point in history.
BUCHANAN: And it's interesting that you said that the Americans were really well accepted there because it seemed.... Well, I read a historian who said that...[pauses] that all of Korean history has pretty much been filled with hardships brought on by foreign oppressors.
DEYNEKA: That's true. Yeah. Very much so. Well, the Japanese for many years, the Chinese before that. The Japanese were very cruel to the Koreans, but.... And then the North Koreans coming down with the help of the Chinese in the Korean War and with the help of the Russians. So these were oppressors. But then the Americans did come literally to save their lives and, as a result, the Koreans have appreciated what the Americans have done, very much so.
BUCHANAN: Would you be able to...to, I don't know, explain.... Well, do you think that it's still that way? Do you think that...?
DEYNEKA: I can't comment on the present because what is happening [is] a whole new era is developing in Korea, the era of democracy. And wherever you have...whenever you have that situation you go through turmoil. Democracy, even as in our own country, never...never develops without a struggle. We had our own revolution, and that's precisely what is happening in Korea. So I can't tell you. I'm not experienced with what is happening today in Korea except to know that they're going through the struggle of the development of democracy. And there...there's going to be some bloodshed and a lot of confusion, but I believe if things continue as they are that they will develop it because they're intelligent people; they've seen the model in other countries; they want it and I think they'll have it.
BUCHANAN: How did the...how did the Koreans respond to your sermons? That you said that you usually got a pretty positive responses, usually had commitments to Christ at almost every time.
DEYNEKA: Yeah, there was great interest. There was a natural interest also because I spoke English interestingly. I'd never been anywhere in the world (and I'd been already all over South America and Europe by that time)...I had (previously, and Alaska)...I had never been anywhere where foreigners wanted to study English with such a passion. So, as a matter of fact, while I was in Korea, it was not only not a detriment to speak through a translator, it was actually a benefit because the people listened very carefully to my English because they wanted to learn English, and then, of course, they would listen carefully to the translator because they wanted to learn English by means of the translation. So they listened carefully twice, and they got twice as much out of what I had to say which is very unique. I haven't been anywhere else in the world for long periods of time where I encountered a similar situation, and maybe there aren't too many situations like that. But it was definitely not a hindrance to preach in English in those years in Korea.
BUCHANAN: What...how did a typical service, church service, differ from what we may be used to here?
DEYNEKA: Services were not any different, no.
BUCHANAN: Pretty much the same.
DEYNEKA: There was a lot of singing, and.... The one difference would be this in the wintertimes...at all times, you come into the church and leave your shoes at the back of the building. This is typical all over Korea. You enter a house or a church and you take your shoes off immediately. But in the wintertime, there would be very little heat and your...your toes would just freeze. You would sit...you'd sit on a floor, also, not on benches, and...and we just froze, and this was normal living for the people of Korea. They didn't have central heating in...neither in their houses or in the churches at that time. They may now. But, again, it was a privilege to share in these experiences with the Korean people, and they...they endured it and I endured it. And it was a lot of fun to be with them and eat their food. Their food was totally different, and that was interesting. You know, it was...it was a definite experience. They had a lot of pickled vegetables. Most of the people did not own refrigerators, so what they would do is they would pickle their vegetables. They'd grow them in the summer, put 'em in big jars with some compound and they would ferment, and...but that's how they would keep, also. Over the winter they'd put them in holes in the ground and eat that...eat those vegetables all winter. They were powerful, had a powerful smell, but they were hot and sort of like Mexican food but delicious. And I.... First, it was repulsive. Later, it was...got to the point where I couldn't live without it [laughs]. It was very habit forming. So, all in all, I must say that my experience in Korea was a very positive one, very blessed, just a great time, great time of ministry.
BUCHANAN: Did...did the government ever place any restrictions on you?
DEYNEKA: No. The government was very fearful of the North Koreans who were being helped by the Chinese and Russians. And so that was their biggest concerns - national security. And since the Americans were the force and factor that assisted them in their national security, they were very open to Americans and to our ministries, the radio station, for example. They were very beneficial, very helpful, so we had nothing, but positive relationships with the Korean government.
BUCHANAN: Now I looked up some statistics, and according to them there were way over 100,000 Korean Christians just within the major Protestant denominations. This was around 1961. And of course, the church now, as you said, is just exploding and you named off all the factors. [pauses]
DEYNEKA: There are millions now, of Christians, and I don't know...I don't remember the latest figure, but it's something like twenty-five percent of the population. So whatever the population is we can figure that out.
BUCHANAN: Was it growing...? It...so now we can...
BUCHANAN: ...we can say it's been growing by leaps and [unclear]....
DEYNEKA: Yes. No. It wasn't...it was growing slowly, but steadily and there was a foundation being laid when I was there all across Korea.
BUCHANAN: I see. Now, the students in Korea, they're nowadays...they've been a force in the past, you know, there were...there were some other things throughout history in which they had a pretty large role. This all sort of shows that the students were really...they're sort of a concerned and thinking group in Korea. Did you notice any unrest at all during your stay there or were the Koreans...were they...were the students a real political force or...?
DEYNEKA: No, the situation was just totally different. You had a developing situation where the country was fighting for its survival, and in situations like that the people are pulling for each other. That was really what characterized Korea when I was there. The present circumstances have really developed only the last few years as a result of the stability, economic growth, which has allowed people to start thinking about other factors in life such as true democracy. When people are occupied with survival, there not c...as concerned for this. And so th...the circumstances were totally different and this is why I cannot comment on what's happening today. I simply don't have that background. My...the time I was there was totally different.
BUCHANAN: Of course, just coming out of the war, that would explain why [unclear].
DEYNEKA: Yes. That's right.
BUCHANAN: Okay. Now, what about the school system? What was it like there then?
DEYNEKA: It was definitely developed, but it was very primitive. The country was poor in every area and every aspect. I know army bases would try to help schools, whatever schools were close to the army...U.S. army bases. Leftover materials and food and things like this would be passed on to schools and to children. Mission agencies were assisting. World Vision was assisting in a major way in Korea in those years, and Compassion [Compassion International] was also assisting in a major way. Many...scores of thousands of children, maybe hundreds of thousands, were in mission orphanage schools. This was, I believe, a...a great help at that time to fill in some of the gaps that existed in the school system. The country was organized; the country was not in disarray. It was just that it had meager potential, meager resources, meager funds. But the people are very intelligent and so they were well-organized, and there was definitely moving ahead as a country. The country was not shattered.
BUCHANAN: The...so, there was a pretty high literacy rate and everything [unclear]?
DEYNEKA: Yes. Yes there was.
BUCHANAN: Now, you said that the Koreans were really pretty much looking up to Americans at that time.
BUCHANAN: Were they...were they very aware of any...anything happening in the United States at that time, affected by anything much outside [unclear]?
DEYNEKA: No. No they weren't. No. What they knew about the United States was at...it was a desirable place to go, and so many of them wanted to come to the United States, but, of course, that was not possible and wouldn't...wouldn't have been the best for them.
BUCHANAN: So really what were some of the more major concerns of, let's say, typical Korean Christian?
DEYNEKA: The Korean people?
BUCHANAN: Or Kor...especially Korean Christians?
DEYNEKA: Well, the major concerns of all the people, including the Christians, was making a living. That was the biggest concern. With no industry, people were scraping. Definitely. Starting small little businesses, but.... Raising pigs, hauling things. Kore...the Korean people were doing the kind of menial work that our...
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