This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Paul Frederick Hurlburt, Jr. (CN 438, T1). 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 completed by Evan Kuehn and Christian Sawyer in January 2005.
Collection 438, T1. Interview of Paul Frederick Hurlburt, Jr. by Bob Shuster on November 8, 1990.
SHUSTER: ...Just like to say a few words, make sure the microphone’s picking up okay.
HURLBURT: Okay. Testing. Testing. How’s that? Picking it up?
SHUSTER: Yeah, seems to be.
SHUSTER: Okay, this is an interview with Paul Fredrick Hurlburt by Bob Shuster for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. This interview took place on November the s...8th at 1:50 pm in the offices of the Graham Center at Wheaton College. Reverend Hurlburt, why don’t we start with a little bit of your family background. Your grandfather, of course, was Charles E. Hurlburt of...one of the...not the founder of AIM [Africa Inland Mission], [but] certainly one of the men who shaped it and gave it direction.
HURLBURT: Right. I’d never personally met my grandfather. I guess, he recog...he knew me ‘cause I was born in the [United] States, but my parents took me back to Africa when I was six months old and while we were still out there my grandfather passed on. So I only know of him from letters and from what my folks have told me about him and from pictures and things like that. But it’s always been very interesting to me the...his background and what happened and how he got started in mission work way back.
SHUSTER: Well, what is his background, how did...?
HURLBURT: Well, from what I know (there may be more you have in your archives here), he was secretary of the YMCA in Philadelphia. He worked with them. He was...(I don’t know whether you call him secretary or president), but he was connected also with the Philadelphia School of the Bible and he worked with that. And then he became con...in...connected with the Africa Inland Mission. I think they...he was probably connected with their board, again I’m speaking only from hearsay, there may be more information on it. And then when Peter Cameron Scott died, out in...in...in African Kenya (I think it was 1896 or 7 was it? [December 1896]), the mission asked if he’d go out and see what’s happening. And so he went out (I believe it was in 1898 , you’ll have to give a day...a year or two according to the records. You’ll find it more officially). And he went out there and evaluated the situation. Peter Cameron Scott had died. Some other missionaries had come home. A couple of others had died from malaria. They were in a very malarial prone area. And I think one or two of the missionaries had more or less left the mission, were living in the area, just working in the area. And he evaluated, saw what it was, and came back and organized with the mission (I think they put him in as general director). And in 1902 , I believe (again, give or take a year), he went back as a...as a gen...as general director of the African Inland Mission. So even though it was originally started by Peter Cameron Scott, as far as actually its formation and its development, it was really started by my grandfather then. And he went back with the family of the..the children who included my dad [Paul F. E. Hurlburt]. And they returned...they went there...they fr...I think it was in Kangundo...was where they went from there. And then eventually they went up to Kijabe and started the station of Kijabe, and that’s where they lived in the highlands not too far from Nairobi. And that’s were my grand...my father grew up. And then my...the...my father and the rest of the family came back to the [United] States for their training. And then in 19...I believe it was 1917, my father returned as a missionary. My...also his brothers and sisters went back as missionaries. That was Agnes and Alta and Harry and Charles. There were five of them I believe. And a...but in 1917 he returned as a missionary, but he went to...he went to what was then known as the Belgian Congo [as of 2004 this former Belgian colony is known as the Democratic Republic of Congo]. It had just opened up, I guess, through the intermediary...or work of Teddy Roosevelt [former president of the United States], who had...had contacted King Leopold [king of Belgium] to get permission for Protestant missions to come in. And so he [Paul F. E. Hurlburt] went...went over there along with my grandfather (he and Charles E. Hurlburt) to work in...in the Belgian Congo. And they worked there many...several years, while my grandfather was still supervising the whole area, I guess, Kenya, Tanganyika [in 2004 this area comprises most of Tanzania], parts of Uganda, and also the Belgian Congo. But he sort of moved his headquarters up to Aba [in northeastern Belgian Congo], from where he operated. And then from there my grandfa...my grandfather, I believe returned to the [United] States around 1924; and my father did too with the family. And I guess it was sort of a dif...a bit difficult time. There was some conflict between my...my grandfather and especially the American missionaries who didn’t appreciate some of his policies of...of supporting everybody together from a same kitty and so on. But anyway, evidently my grandfather resigned and went to...and worked with...with BIOLA [Bible Institute of Los Angeles] school, the school of BIOLA. He became general...a missio...general superintendent of that school for several years. And then in 1927, I guess it was, a sum of money was given to start a new mission. I think it was a sum of around $20,000 as I recall, from what they’ve told me, and....
SHUSTER: Given by who?
HURLBURT: By a man in...in California. I’m not sure what his name was. I...I have that in my records, but I haven’t looked at them recently. We interviewed my father, by the way, and we got a lot of this information from him a few years back. We have a recording of what he...he gave us a background. And so my...my grandfather organized this mission; and my father along with some other missionaries came out in 1928....
SHUSTER: What was the name of the mission?
HURLBURT: ...to.... Under a mission called the Unevangelized Africa Mission. His money was given to start a work where...where there had been no evangelism before, in an unevangelized area. So it was named Unevangelized Africa Mission. And so in 1928 my father, along with my uncle and aunt Bells [James W. and Agnes Hurlburt Bell] and some other missionaries (I believe there was the McIntosh’s [Allan Grant and Marjorie Roberta (Phair) McIntosh] and others, the McIntosh’s and then the Bigelow’s [Howard Bigelow and wife], and Williams’ [Bennet and Esther Williams].) some of who had been with the Africa Inland Mission, came out to start a work just south of the Africa Inland Mission. The Africa Inland Mission at that time came down fairly close to Bunia [in the Belgian Congo], I guess. Originally, they’d had the station of Nyakunde [in the Belgian Congo], but...but again...(which was started by my uncle by the way, Charles E. Hurlburt) but this was eventually turned over to the Plymouth Brethren under Bill Deans [Archives Collection 586] and so on at that time. But anyway, they came down south of that area. And they came in coming in from Dar-Es-Salaam from Tanganyika, at that time. They came across over by train to Lake Tanganyika and came up from there up to a place called Bukavu [in the Belgian Congo] on Lake Kivu and came up across the lake there. And from there were no roads at that time, and so they went up through the hills and mountains around a big area that was...was full of animals, which people didn’t travel through. And they ended up in the area between...just north of the equator and coming south of the equator down through Gomwe Bukavu [?], and that’s where the work was started. My...when...when I went out, I mentioned, I was taken out (me and my twin brother, who were six months old as we left) along with my older brother Charles and my two older sisters Dorothy and Helen. And they came out, and that’s how that particular area was opened up and launched at the time. My...as my father came he came to the town called Costermansville, now known as Bukavu. And they were looking for an area to...where to work. And they weren’t sure. And then somebody told them, they said ‘Well, up in those mountains, is a tribe called the Banande that have never been reached. Maybe that’s where you should go.” It seemed that God just opened the way. They had originally thought they might even go to Rwanda, neighboring Rwanda, a little bit to the east and.... But they saw that this opened up and so they came up and they traveled through the.... I think the Swedish Pentecostals had started some work near Bukava and up in that direction. And my father evangelized a certain area along the way as he came and then he went up to this area where the Banande tribe was, a tribe of (at that time) around 500,000 people. And so that’s how they entered into the area. And they worked with the...as...under the Unevangelized Africa Mission for many years until around 1946, I believe, in which...at which time after the war (World War II) the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society had been formed and they were looking for m...for various mission areas in the world to work. And my father was a Baptist. And...this small...this small mission, Unevangelized Africa Mission, had gone through different...some trials here and there, and then with the Great Depression during the late ‘20s and early ‘30s, and it was World War II; it hadn’t had too much support; and it didn’t have a real financial backing from too many churches; and it had been just sort of struggling along. And so the...my dad, who was the director of the mission, agreed, and invited the Conservative Baptists to come in and work there. And so the mission, Conservative Baptists, came in and the mission became known eventually as Missio Baptist u Kivu [in French], The Baptist Mission of Kivu. And so that’s the work developed from there. Personally, I wasn’t there for several years. I came back after the war in 1946 with my older brother Charles. And we came back in the spring to Wheaton here, having applied to Wheaton College...
SHUSTER: Before...before we get into that, if we can back up for a moment. Going back to your grandfather, are there, do you recall perhaps family stories or anecdotes that help show what kind of man he was? [Hurlburt sighs] What kinds of things did your father tell you about him?
HURLBURT: My father didn’t communicate too much about my grandfather ‘cause he tol...held him in very high esteem. But he didn’t communicate too much about him. We learned of him from other sources, a little bit here, a little bit there. My da...my grandfather’s a person who loved books; he had a big library. And I remember the books that he left up in the northern area of Africa Inland Mission were brought down from Aba and came down and we still have many of those books. So he was a man who did a lot of reading, and who...who worked in that kind of a situation. Then....
SHUSTER: What kind of books were they? What were some of the titles...?
HURLBURT: Mostly theological books, various subjects. [Henry] Ironsides [sic] and [G.] Campbell Morgan and a lot of early books on missions and so on. He did a lot of reading. He had a lot...wide perspective on that situation. But as I said, I think, my grandfather passed on in 1934 or ‘35. I was quite young. And...but he was working with...working as superintendent of BIOLA, and then we heard the word that he had passed on. I don’t know whether it was from a heart attack or high blood pressure, I just don’t know. So we know a little bit about him here and there from...and then from stories and anecdotes and told to us by other missionaries that worked with him like the [John and Florence] Stauffachers and the Downings and others who had very close contact with...with him through the years.
SHUSTER: What are some of the things that they told you?
HURLBURT: Well, they told how he was...I guess you might say his enthusiasm and how he traveled everywhere and worked with them under difficult circumstances. They told how they were plagued so much by malaria during that period of time. And people had to take mala...take malarial medicine, quinine, all the time. And also we got a little bit of the background of h...some difficult times that my father had gone through because he’d been married to a doctor who’d gone out who was a very good friend of my grandfather, Dr. Elizabeth Morse. And....
SHUSTER: Your father was married?
HURLBURT: My father had been married. When he went out...he went out single, and also this Elizabeth Morse went out single and they met I think on the boat and they were married. But
after then they had two children, Charles and my oldest sister Becca. But like so many oth...so many missionaries, she came down with black water fever which is usually happens when a person gets malaria and with the use of quinine. There’s various theories as to why it breaks down that way. But most missionaries who died of malaria really died of black water fever due to big doses of quinine in connection with a thing which caused dissolving of your...your bl...red blood corpuscles which would block the kidneys so they called it black water fever because your urine would black, because of the...the kidneys would be blocked and they’d be trying to eliminate the broken down cells. And so a lot of miss...several missionaries died of that, my aunt as well as my stepmother. And so there’d been some difficult times, and we’d heard a little bit about that from my dad and my mother [Helen Lundgren Hurlburt]. And...and then, of course, from there, also we heard about how after Elizabeth Morse Hurlburt had died, a year or two later my mother came out as a single missionary to the area north around Aba and how...how their romance and how they got married and then how they worked there several years until 1924 before they went back to the [United] States.
SHUSTER: Was there...you mentioned about your grandfather’s resignation over policies, his policies in the mission. Was that something also that others have told you about or talked to you about?
HURLBURT: Again, I got some of that from my dad, other just from history, and hearing a little bit here and there and trying to put things together, and, I guess, probably the...the person who’s written it up most effective is an Englishman, who not too long ago wrote a master’s thesis on the subject, of the development of the African Inland Mission, and he went into very, very thorough research on it. I understand John Gration [former missionary with Africa Inland mission and former professor of Missions at Wheaton College] here at the Center has written something on the history of it, but this man has done a...probably a much more thorough and complete job with all the mat...he had a lot more materials and everything else and was able to evaluate it and who.... By the way, he’s writing a Ph.D. thesis on the...on the...a Ph.D. thesis on the subject. I can’t recall his name, do you remember?
SHUSTER: No, no, but I think we have that thesis in the library. But I was more interested in what you had heard, in what people had said to you.
HURLBURT: Uh-huh, yeah. And all I’d heard basically was that he’d worked there and then a...
SHUSTER: Your grandfather had.
HURLBURT: ...while he was in...in...Za...in...in the Belgian Congo, and he’d come back, and there’d been sort of a conflict. And what was involved, [I] don’t have the whole picture, but it was a [sic] area that sort of disturbed me as a young person as I heard about it. It upset my dad very much. He didn’t like to talk about the whole subject. But there was evidently a Dr. Elwood Davis or somebody in the Africa Inland Mission, who tried to accuse my father of being a dr...my grandfather of being drug...addicted to drugs because he had headaches infrequently and this kind of approach and so on which is very unfortunate. You find (and it’s...it’s one of those phenomenons that you really.... It’s unfortunate in Christian circles.), but when...when problems come up between people, instead of just working them out on the basis of...of philosophy of the work and, well, we don’t disagree. I mean, they disagreed probably on the philosophy of how the funds should be handled, an American group. But we’re not...we’re not very happy that they had to split their resources with the...with the British part of AIM and so on. And so they...they just sort of refused to cooperate in that particular area. But anyway, rather than just say, “Well, okay..., well, we disagree on this and maybe our time we need to change or something.” This man personally attacked my grandfather, accusing him of being off mentally and being a drug person or this kind of a thing. And this was...this was very unfortunate. I mean, I still find it even happens today, when you.... There’s a conflict, people who will either...either accuse people of being immoral, or being financially unconsiderate [sic], or being...being mentally unimbalanced [sic], or something like drug addicts and so on. Which is for me is a very...I mean, that’s sort of a strike below the belt. The problem is...is the policies you agree on, or does it work out, or maybe it’s our time to disagree, and maybe it’s our time to change our particular organization or program and work it out on a peaceful level, which is the Christian way to do it. But anyway, the...so this was a little bit of the background of the situation. And because the way it happened this way, very little was written about it, and it was probably sort of an area that some of the American missionaries at AIM were sort of ashamed of and so they sort of covered it up and it’s never been talked about too much. But it’s an area that, maybe, it’s best not even to talk about too much. But anyway probably my grandfather’s work had been done. He’d been there twenty, twenty-five years. He’d established the work everywhere. And it was becoming broader and it needed to have, maybe, a broader base. And also it was the time when the...when the mission was getting more of its roots and in America rather than in England because they had branches, you know, in New Zealand and in England as well as the [United] States and these others had quite an influence on it. And the American one [branch of Africa Inland Mission] from the financial perspective and maybe from more missionaries was becoming bigger and maybe it was the time for a change to occur. So I think my grandfather accepted it as this way and he came back and while he was sort of president of the board on the Unevangelized Africa Mission board, he came in and he was super...superintendent of BIOLA and had his full ministry until the time the Lord called him home. So I think that’s the best way to look at it and say just the time had come. But unfortunately there were certain aspects of things that came in like that which...which haven’t been talked about too much and maybe it’s the best thing not to talk too much about because it’s certainly not the Christian perspective we’d like to see. But this...this f...this sort of upset my father quite a bit. And as I look back on it I think it’s very unfortunate. I mean, if we’re out there working for God, one of the very principles of Christian life is you, “By this shall all men know that you’re my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:35] And where you understand one another and you evaluate things, but you do things in a Christian and gentlemanly way and say this which is going to bring glory to God. And if there have to be disagreements there’s disagreements in that particular way and it’s dealt with on that basis, but not on a personal attack type of basis. So that’s...that’s sort of one of the unfortunate aspects of it. And I...growing up as a boy and since, I’ve just said, “What about this history? He developed this whole work. All this was opened up by him, Tanganyika and all the others. He was connected with...with Teddy Roosevelt and...and f...Teddy Roosevelt was a friend of his, he used his influence to open up the Belgian Congo and so on. How come we don’t see any history of this thing?” [pauses] And it’s only in the last few years that actually this has been researched and you begin to see histories. And I think this man like this...this fellow I mentioned to you, this Englishman, probably came in at a more objective perspective than some people. And...and also were ver...very thor...thorough and analytic and has written quite a...quite a book on it. I have a copy of the book. My brother Win has one too, his thesis. And I think he’s working on a more enlarged one. But he’s done a very, very thorough work and presenting actually more from an objective and balanced perspective what happened and how it developed so on throughout the work. And so I think you’ll find probably in his work the most thorough and...and you might say level, balanced perspective of...of the early ministry there. He’s done a just exceptional job as far as research and so on it that area.
SHUSTER: You mentioned a couple of times about Teddy Roosevelt. Did...is there family tradition, how they met, how your father met Teddy Roosevelt or how they became friends?
HURLBURT: [sighs] I’ve heard it and yet again it was from second hand and third hand [accounts] along the way that I don’t know the details, except that somehow he was invited to visit President Roosevelt....
SHUSTER: In Washington?
HURLBURT: In Washington, I believe. And then later on when Presid...when...when Teddy Roosevelt wanted to come out [to Africa as] a big game hunter, after he was no longer president, he was ex-president by then, my fa...my grandfather invited him to come and he came and visited there and did hunting from there and vis....
SHUSTER: Visited where?
HURLBURT: Around Kijabe and Nairobi in Kenya. And, I think, he was there for the dedication of the cornerstone of the big school building that’s in Kijabe. And through contacts with him here and there, my grandfather came home to the [United] States every few years to help raise support and get more interest and more missionaries to come back. He made several trips like this coming, getting new missionaries and bringing them in and opening up various areas of the work. But he had contact with letters and so on with...with Teddy Roosevelt through many years and many different circumstances.
SHUSTER: [Of] course, as you mentioned, you came to Africa very early, went with your parents to Katawa? Katawa station?
SHUSTER: Katwa. What are your earliest memories of growing up in Africa?
HURLBURT: Well, my early memories are seeing the...the force of the...of the gospel and how it changed people’s lives, finding people who were...became Christians, who became enthusiastic to work for God, of a people’s movement that began to spread through the whole area, how my dad trained them and would bring them in every two or three months for a...a half a week or a week or two or....
SHUSTER: Seminar on every two or three months?
HURLBURT: I’m sorry. I’m moving too fast. He would bring in African evangelists and teachers. Bring them in; he’d train them; he taught them to read and write; he taught them a certain amount of...of Bible teachings and doctrine and then he would encourage them to go back into various villages and start chapels here and there.
SHUSTER: How did he select these men that he...?
HURLBURT: Well, they would be on...they would be on the main central station like Katwa, over a period of two or three, four months, learning to read and write, studying the doctrine, their lives would examine how they were living for God and their prayer life, their enthusiasm, their evangelism. And then they would...the group would suggest that these people are ready to go out and start their own chapels and so on. And so he would send them out, but they would come back every two or three months for more inspiration time and teaching for several days. And then they would go back out to their areas again. And more of...the people that they were winning to Christ would come back in for...to learn to read and write and to learn the doctrine there, so you just had circled, people coming in and then everybody would get together in that area for these few days of inspiration three or four times a year, and they would go back. And seeing this happening, and seeing how changes came along and how...how the gospel got out, it wo...really impressed me. So much so, that, when I came back to the [United] States at the age of eighteen, I just saw what the power of the gospel could do to change people’s lives. And I’d become a Christian and I was convinced that God wanted me to be a missionary. So I came back with the idea of training in the [United] States and going back to serve God. I didn’t know it’d be Africa. It might be somewhere else. But going back to serve God to reach people who didn’t know Christ.
SHUSTER: What was your home like at Katwa?
HURLBURT: Well, we were...there were eight of us kids. And it was sort of...you know you have sort of a big fa...sort of a big happy family. We did a lot of things together. And Dad would sometimes be traveling on evangelism. but he’d come back. And we were poor (poor as Job’s mice, you might say). We had very little backing because Dad hadn’t come to the [United] States for many, many years. And...but we got along. And Dad finally had to.... He’d learned dentistry from his grandfather. Evidently, my grandfather was also a dentist, carried on some dental work, and he learned from him so he became a dentist to help support the family, especially during the [Great] Depression and into World War II. And then, when we had a small school for us kids (eight kids plus any other missionary kids who would be there),.... And there was a s...a lady called Catherine White who came out to teach the school and to teach us kids in grade school. And so we had our own grade school in...in our home. And we worked together and we’d do out bicycling and we’d...(my dad built a small lake there) we’d go fishing and swimming and bicycling in the area and working with him. And as I got a little older I learned to play horn, trumpet and a trombone and a bunch of us would use these at evangelistic meetings. We usually went out once or twice a week in evangelism of the areas around. And so I got involved in God’s work in this kind of a situation.
SHUSTER: How would you describe your father? [Hurlburt sighs] What words come to mind when you think of him?
HURLBURT: Well, I think I...I think of my father as a person who was...probably, well, I would...I’ll take the words that Bill Rice [evangelist and author, 1912-1978] described him, from what he...his description he heard from him, from other missionaries, the African Inland Mission, other [unclear]: probably the greatest missionary that lived here, anywhere, and probably one of the most hardest [sic] to get along with.
HURLBURT: [laughs] So he described him! As far as us as children we didn’t think him hard to get along with, but he didn’t communicate a tremendous amount of history in situations with us. But he was a man who had a mastery of the...the language. He’s...of all the early missionaries, he’s the only one I know of that basically learned a tribal language effectively. And in his later years he worked in the translation of the Bible. And eventually along the way I joined him in this work. In fact, and right now I’m finishing up the revision. I (I shouldn’t say I)...I and our Zairean teams...we’re finishing up the first basic revision of the whole Bible in the tribal language.
SHUSTER: Which is...?
HURLBURT: Kinandi. A tribe that probably...the tribe has increased to be a...around two..two million people in the tribe now. So my dad was a man of a lot of energy, a lot of purpose who...who’s known through the whole area, having traveled through all the villages, learned the language fluently, started translating even in those days some of the Epistles and Gospels material, who preached in the language of the people, who was accepted that way, who...who really formed the whole organization and who really opened up that whole area for Christ. I think of him...him as a man even in his older years, when he left Zaire he went over to...over to Uganda, basically to help...to complete some of the translation of the Bible, the Old Testament at that time. And what did he do? He started mis...mission work over there. And he started churches in Kampala and everything else and our mission took them over eventually. And then when he had a hard time getting workers to work with him, translators, he came across to Rwanda, the southern tip of...(well, I’d say the eastern, but south-eastern part of our work) near Goma. And here he was across the border, near independence time [Republic of the Congo gained its independence on June 30, 1960], and he found some few Christians in Zaire and he started the whole mission work in Rwanda. And I helped and joined with him in those early first few months. And it just...so he was a man, wherever he went he witnessed, wherever he went he started churches. He was a master at that. And he knew peoples’ language; he knew how to communicate with them and they had loyalty in him. And that was his field, evangelism, church-planting, helping churches grow and, eventually, working in to translation [of the Bible]. So I think he was a tremendous man, but a man who didn’t always communicate his thinking completely.
SHUSTER: How do you mean that?
HURLBURT: Well, in the sense that we learned by observing him and he was always kind to us and he worked with us, but he didn’t give us a lot of historical background, or, you might say, teaching on certain subjects. I mean, we had devotions together always as a family and so on, but he wasn’t a...he wasn’t a man who really talked with his kids and...about many, many things. He...he was a man of action more than words often in that respect.
SHUSTER: You say...You said that he was perhaps the only missionary you know who really learned the language effectively....
HURLBURT: The tribal language.
SHUSTER: How did you mean that?
HURLBURT: Okay. Most of the missionaries learned the trade language, Swahili. In a...in a, of course, East Africa it was called Swahili, in Zaire it was called for a long time Kingwana, which you might say was a pidgin Swahili, and then it was upgraded to Swahili became Zaire Swahili, Belgian Swahili, Za...Congo Swahili and then it became Zaire Swahili. And once they learned that, that’s basically how they communicated. And that’s all they ever learned. And they learned a few words of a language here and a little bit there and.... I...I shouldn’t say the only one [missionary] because there were some who...who worked in the northern part (the Africa Inland Mission) who worked into these other languages. But as I evaluate them (and again it’s a superficial evaluation), they probably learned to communicate in the languages, but they probably never learned it the way that my dad did. He...I mean there’s a...there’s a [sic] area of tonal aspects to most of these languages that’s very hard for Americans to learn. And my dad had a tr...had a tremendous gift for language. But also having grown up in Kenya, he’d learned...he’d learned Kikuyu and Kikamba, and those languages so he knew the whole system. And when he came over to Zaire, I mean he just picked up languages like this [snaps]. And it’s very interesting to me that the...the whole tonal aspect and...and...[pauses] (what did he call it?).... [pauses] Well, the basic....
HURLBURT: Not exactly vocabulary, but....
HURLBURT: Well, somewhat. But the tonal aspect of Kikuyu is very, very similar to Kinandi. But because he grew up with that as his background, when he came across, he just picked up these languages and the tonal aspect just came and he just learned those languages and he comm...he talked like the...like the Zaireans did. And I guess we, as his children, had the same advantage because my brother, Win, and my brother, Byron, and Charles and Hugh, we all learned Kinandi and Swahili. And so when we’ve gone back as missionaries and so on, it’s been easy for us to pick those up. In fact, I work...when I work out there, I work with the tribal language; I preach in Kinandi; I use the trade language; I use French; and I use English. And I just switch between the four along the way. And the thankful...the re...main reason is cause I grew up with these languages. And certainly I improved and worked on them when I went back as a missionary, but I had that background that helped me do so. So my father had that...(you, you might say almost) a unique advantage in the fact that he’d grown up in the area and was exposed to these kinds of languages so that when he came across there he was able to learn the languages. But I was speaking more from the area of our field. And looking back over the history of our field to the south of the Africa Inland Mission, as well as some of the Africa Inland Missionaries and so on, I’d see that all was used basically was Swahili. And they never learned to communicate and re...preach, and really reach effectively into...into the tribal languages. But my grandfather, as I say, from my perspective was the great exception. There were some missionaries to the north amongst the Pazande and others up there, who have learned the tr...the tribal language. And I don’t know how to evaluate how effective they were or not. I have a feeling they spoke that language fluently, but with a very bad accent; I don’t know. But at the same time I’m...I’m not trying to...I don’t know how to evaluate it. But this area (from that area south, the southern part of Africa Inland Mission working there down south) he’s the only one I know that’s really effectively (apart from his children) have learned to communicate effectively in one of the tribal languages.
SHUSTER: How would you describe your mother?
HURLBURT: [sighs] Well, my mother I’d describe as a gentle and more quiet person who had a big influence on us as far as gentleness and goodness and warmth and made our home when our dad was away on trips. And actually we...she was the mother who took care of us at home. And she had a rar...very quiet and strong influence on our lives in many ways. And she wor...she was not as strong a personality as my father, but it worked very well. There was sort of a family balance there. She’s...I look back at my parents with a real appreciation for both of them for what they taught me and often taught not only by words, but by their lives and their conduct that this is wha...this is for me what I...almost I see ideal. My mother didn’t really learn the tribal language. She learned some of it, but she learned the trade language. But again it’s...it’s one of those problems (well, she learned more tribal language, I guess, to the north in the Africa Inland Mission when she was there). But it’s one of those things that for Americans, especially, who grew up in a monolingual society, (and I know Spanish is coming in now more, but...), for...to effectively learn other languages (especially, if you learned a trade language) just doesn’t go usually. And so it’s brought people to the philosophy today, that if you go...when you go out to a field, you shouldn’t learn the trade language first; you should work on the tribal language first. And once you learn the tribal language, then, well, learn the trade language and use it. But if you learn the trade language first it will be a crutch. You’ll never effectively learn the trib...tribal language which in practice this is what’s happened for most missionaries.
SHUSTER: How would you describe your home there at Katawa [sic, Katwa]?
HURLBURT: Well, as a place, as I said, which was a sort of a real steady basis for us, a home where we kids grew up together and scrapped together and prayed together and worked together, it was one of...one of those happy places that I [unclear]...the whole picture I see as a happy time. It also developed more, during the war, when my folks developed a school for European kids including us. There were little Dutch people, Belgium, French, Greek, others that didn’t have any place to send their children during the war and we had to have training and so we formed this school, that had, I think it’s height around 35, 45 children, you know, [unclear] men, boys and girls. And we worked in that school. Some of us helped. Even I taught some courses. My older brother and sister taught some courses. And...and my dad was sort of supervisor of the school and we worked in there. It was one of those situations that worked well during the war and helped support the family. It also helped us to come...grow up in an environment with other kids and so on. And it was just one of those...you look back, I look back, at it with very few regrets. I look back that it was time that was real...of growth and happiness and very little conflict. One that I’d say this is the kind of happy family I’d like to see.
SHUSTER: Did you have playmates besides your brothers and sisters?
HURLBURT: Yes, we had those. As I mentioned, these other...other children of planters and government people and so on. Then we had some African playmates that we used to go out, hunting birds together and doing various activities and so on. So we had a combination of playmates in our school, which was in English, and therefore we sort of tried to do that, but also African playmates and certain games and then with our...working with our young people and our...with some of the evangelists going out in meetings in the villages around it. We’ve had sort of a relationship with the two different groups.
SHUSTER: What were some of the games that you played with your African playmates?
HURLBURT: Well, I recall about three different games. One was a game which...(I haven’t seen much of it since) in which you had teams of people; you had a...had a....a looped string coming through a loop like this that...that was made to catch a bunch of grass put together, tied together with a...a long strip like this. And you throw it towards the other group and you put up your loop and you’d catch it in this ring and as you put it in it would tighten up. And it would...and you’d catch it. And if you caught it, it was two...and sometimes you’d have two, three loops that catch at the same time, this would advance you so far. And then you’d throw it to the other team and they’d do the same and they’d come back to you. So it was sort of a back and forth and that kind of a game which was very interesting. That was one game we played as a boy with them. And later....
SHUSTER: Were there a lot of team games?
HURLBURT: Yeah, there...another would be playing soccer with them. Not too much because that came in a little later. It was unknown in the early times with them. And...but more things were going out hunting birds together, hiking and different things like that. And hunting...hunting rats, field mice, that’s what a lot of young fellows did. You could go out and they’d take...take care of their goats and sheep and then they would set up for hunting field mice. I mean, that was one of their sources of protein. And you’d find one of the little runs where the field mice would go along and you’d get ready all...you’d put three or four people along where each of those runs were. Then you’d get a bunch of fellows who would go around behind and they’d make a lot of noise and shouting and beating the bush and drive all the rats. And as they’d come up you’d clamp down as they came by and you’d kill...kill the field mice. [laughs] And they’d eat them. And also, the birds, they...they trapped them. They have special traps that you’d set up, with a little food on it, and you put...you’d set your trap and you’d come back and you’d find the birds in your trap and you’d kill them and eat them. So there was quite a bit of those kind of activities and so on. I’m trying to think of other games. There’s other games that developed, but some of them were more games that were introduced by Europeans. I mean, there was hopscotch became a common game amongst them, and...well, that’s about all that I can think of at the moment.
SHUSTER: The.... Were there other missionaries with you at this station or was it just your parents, the only missionaries there?
HURLBURT: Yes, there were. There were a couple of other missionary single ladies that lived there.
SHUSTER: What were their names?
HURLBURT: Pauline Frost was one and then there was another one called Amelia Buchanan. You see, there were several stations and my dad supervised several stations, but at the time at Katwa as I remember was...Pauline Frost was there. And then, of course, this...there were the three ladies there for quite a while, Amelia Buchanan, Pauline Frost, and White (I’m trying to remember her first name). She...White was our teacher and Amelia Buchanan worked with other groups and Pauline Frost worked somewhat in the teaching area. And therefore, she...later on she got someone [sic, somewhat] into translation work. There were other stations where you had some other missionaries. They had the Otterdemmings [?]. And in the early days, there were...it was David Dirksen and others who came in. And then we op...opened stations to the south of there where you had fellows like Howard Bigelow and Frank Manning and others came because there were a series of stations that were opened up. But we worked mostly in the northern area of the tribal language, the Kinandi, to the south was Ba...Ban...Banyarwanda [?] and other tribes down there. [pauses] Also, there was a time when there was a little bit of a conflict at the beginning of the mission as to who would be more or less director of this work. And there were two or three missionaries who were not too happy with this kind of supervision and returned to the Africa Inland Mission. And one was my uncle Jim Bell and then there was also Mr. Williams. And so my dad said, “Okay, fine, there’s always room for...area. You take the northern area which is north of Katwa, stations like Oicha, and then they opened up Ruwenzori. Ideally, as you look back, it should have all been one mission because it was one tribal group. But anyway, the African Inland Mission came in to that point and they developed the station Oicha, and Ru...Ruwenzori, called Mwenda. And then my gra...my...my uncle had been very interested always in reaching the Pygmies. He started a...a place way b...back in the...in the bush there. I’m trying to re....
SHUSTER: Which uncle was this? Bell?
HURLBURT: Uncle Jim...Uncle Jim Bell. Biasiko was the name of the place. And so he worked between the...between Oicha and also Biasiko where he reached out amongst...worked for many years amongst the Pygmies.
SHUSTER: Now, these were people who left AIM to join your mission..?
HURLBURT: Right, at that time...
SHUSTER: ...or left your mission to join AIM?
HURLBURT: ...and then they went back and rejoined AIM...
SHUSTER: I see.
HURLBURT: ...at that time.
SHUSTER: And you said because of supervision?
HURLBURT: Well, yes, in relationship and there was financial hard times too, I think. But I think part of it was the fact that some didn’t really care f...for my father being the director of the mission. Some of them felt that they were a little bit older, they should be director. And I don’t know, I don’t know too much about it, I was just a young kid, but I know...I know there was good relationship. We used to go visit my uncle Jim. We went out to where his Pygmy work was and the others. So it was a relationship that was worked out in harmony. It was not one of those.... It was done as...I’d say as gentlemen should in many ways. It wasn’t trying...the creation of hard feelings. They just wanted to agree to disagree and work somewhere else, like Paul and Barnabas went to different areas.
SHUSTER: What was the spiritual condition of your family like? What were your...did you have things like daily altar or....
HURLBURT: We had usually, yes, we usually had a time of devotions every day, after the meal. And, of course, we always had prayer with our food. And often when we went to bed I remember as a little boy my mother and my dad would come and pray with us as kids before we went to...went to sleep, which was always a...for me, a real sense of comfort and encouragement. So there was this relationship always. And, of course, Sunday we all went to church together. So it was...it was a good...it was a good, positive spiritual background I can see in that. And I remember I was one of those bookworms; I read so many books. And I started reading my... these books my grandfather and my dad had. And I just sort of absorbed, devoured all these different books and views here and there and I’d ask my dad here and there what he thought of this. And I was disturbed a little bit. I still remember.... It’s one of those things that... you start reading and you wonder what’s happening to people. We were reading about Harry Ironsides [sic]. And Ironsides wrote a lot. And I...I mean I think he had a tremendous ministry, but I remember reading one of his books in which he was talking about the Lord’s Prayer. And evidently he’d...it was this time of the height of the power of dispensationalism. They were really pushing the fact that part of the...even part of the New Testament really didn’t...didn’t apply today, and the Old Testament didn’t apply today, it was for different generations and so on. Anyway, Ironsides, in his...in his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer was pointing at that this didn’t apply to us because it applied to a different dispensation. That really upset me. And I could.... How was this possible, how can you divide the Bible that way? Been one of my questions through the years is how can just divide up the Bible and it applies to some people and people were saved in different ways and that kind of a situation. So I asked my dad, and he says, “Well,”he says, “Ironside was a great man,” he says, “in many ways,” he says, “but he’s wrong on this.” He says, “This is not the way the Bible puts it.” And that was a big help to me. And I point this out too, because this was a time in which you had this whole picture of dispensationalism, this little conflict, I guess, in the United States and other places. And you had a group of people that we...they called hyperdispensationalists [usually referred to as ultradispensationalists], which [was] represented by [John C.] O’Hair, a man called O’Hair, with a church near Chicago [North Shore Church], which is now called the Church of Grace, in many parts of America. And it affected us out there because, unfortunately, in the early part of our time, the...our mission board here was not very careful in their choice of people and they sent out two or three men who were hyperdispensational and who came out and tried to reform the mission, who say that they don’t believe in...in actual baptism, they just believed in spiritual baptism, so you don’t baptize people and big parts of the Bible don’t apply and so on. And there was a tremendous time of conflict and how are you going to face this kind of situation with the nationals, which they were saying, no longer should we even baptize people because of the dispensational [sic]. And there was a problem, Dad had a big conflict with them, and finally just...he just came to the issue, “Look, if this is your teaching then you’re going to have to go somewhere else and teach it somewhere else.” And so you had men, like Holland and Pickett, who went to the south and who started another work and out of that with these, again, these...this...it’s really Bult...Bultmannism [sic]. It was started by Bultmann [it was actually started by Ethelbert W. Bullinger], from England. But it was, in a sense, a logical result; if you carry dispensationalism to its logical conclusion, it ends up in a hyperdispensational approach like this. And naturally, Darby and Ironside, they all never went to that far; they stayed more moderate type of a position. But anyway, so this brought a problem and even today we have the Church of Grace out to there to the southern part of the work, but that’s out in...in a new area, they have their own area, and so there’s been no conflict on it. But this was one of the factors that I remember as a boy in trying my evaluation of theology and what it means, how does the Old Testament fit in and how does the whole picture of the Bible fit together. So this was one of the aspects that I saw in the conflict, really amongst missionaries more than nationals, at that time which created somewhat of a problem in that field.
SHUSTER: Do you remember as a boy thinking about God or about the nature of...of salvation? What were...what were your thoughts about God growing up?
HURLBURT: Well, as I said, growing up I heard how Christ could change peoples’ lives, as a little boy, how you became a Christian, how you could know Christ in your life, how God changed your life, how you serve God. Yeah, I went through a period of time in my own thinking because I went through a period of time when I didn’t know whether I was a Christian or not. And I was fearful.... I mean I knew that God loved me; I...I...I wanted him, but I wasn’t sure if I was a Christian. And so there was a period of time, and I’ve heard of many people since who have had the experience, you wonder whether if Christ came you’d stay behind because you hadn’t become His child. And...so as I weighed these things one night, it just really was heavy on my heart and I woke up, I guess, at about ten o’clock, eleven o’clock at night, and I couldn’t sleep so I (It’s pitch dark out there, you don’t have lights of any kind.)...so I sort of groped my way towards my dad’s room, and he said, “What’s the matter, Paul?” He says, “Any problem?” And I just told him, “Well, look, I don’t know if I’m a Christian or not. I just don’t know if I really belong to God.”
SHUSTER: And about how old were you at that time?
HURLBURT: I would say I was about twelve years old. And it was a real question for me, the agony of whether I really was a Christian or not. I said...I said “I don’t know.” And my dad says, “Well, do you know that Christ died for you and do you love Him?” “Yes, but I don’t know...I don’t feel...I don’t know how am I a Christian or not?” And my dad, I mean for me, he’s just...evangelists...one of the greatest evangelists in the world, and he says, “Well,” he says, “let me read you a verse.” And he took me to John 5:24, where Jesus says, “Verily, verily I say unto you, he that hears my word and believeth in Him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life.” And so he says, “Have you believed in Christ?” and so on. And I said, “Yes,” I said, “but I don’t know. I still don’t feel that way.” And he says, “Well what does it say? It says he has everlasting life. And he does not come into condemnation, but he has passed from death into life. It’s not how you feel. It’s based on what God said in His word. In other words, you have everlasting life. You’ve accepted Christ, you’ve invited him into your life, you have everlasting life, you’ve passed from death into life. And that’s based on Christ’s promise, not on how you’re going to feel or anything else along the way.” And for me that was a great turning point. I accepted the fact that I was a Christian, not because of how I felt, but because this is what God said. And, I mean, those doubts left me and from there on there’s been no problem for me. I just know that I’m a Christian; I know I belong to Jesus Christ, and I know he directs and guides my life. And so that was the real turning point in my spiritual life. And from there on my desire was to serve God. As I said, we learned to play horns. I was baptized out there. We were baptized in a pool out near Katwa station, along with a whole bunch of Za...nationals at the time, and so on. And so I started playing horns; I started doing evangelism with our people everywhere; and, finally, when I came home to the States at the age of eighteen, I came home convinced that God wanted me to be a missionary. And so we came. My brother and I were there. It was after the war and we didn’t have much finances, but my dad advanced us a little money for our trip. And we came and we had applied to Wheaton College. And when we got here, we found we’d been accepted on trial. We never had...I never had an official high school diploma, but be...between my brother and I and my dad teaching me literature and other things, we’d studied all the...most of the high school courses. And they said, “We’ll try you out. If you do it, fine.” This was when some people were coming back from the war who hadn’t quite finished high school too, who were taking...taking...took exams and if they seemed capable, they just took them in. And we succeeded so we went on from there. But I’m saying this, when I came, I came convinced that God wanted me to train and prepare to go back for service. And that was my goal, as I went through college and then on to seminary and Wheaton Grad School, that God would prepare me for His service wherever He wanted me. And so that’s where it went from there.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that your family went every week to the... to Sunday service. What was the typical Sunday service like, at the station?
SHUSTER: How many people (to start off with) would be there?
HURLBURT: Well, you could have anywhere from three hundred to three thousand people. It was big groups. Especially when big conferences came, you might have several thousand. More commonly, at the church service would be three to five hundred people.
SHUSTER: Would this be indoor or outdoor?
HURLBURT: This would be indoor. My dad helped with the people to build a bigge...big enough church that would probably hold about seven hundred people. And...and it was a typical service. You had people came [sic], you had time of singing, a time of praying, a time of preaching, and this kind of a thing. So it was just a sort of a typical type of...of a worship service. And most of it so...most of it was carried on in the tribal language. So it spoke to people’s heart language. And so it went and ordinarily the praying was, you’d ask different people to pray, different people would pray. There’d be a lot of singing and then preaching. It was...it was sort of a typical service that...like in...somewhat like in the States. But with more...a little more spontaneity than some of our church services here.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. You mentioned singing, was this to African music or to Western music?
HURLBURT: It basically was...was Western songs, but they’d been translated into the tribal language. And, again, my dad had done most of this and it was...it was translated in such a way that it just fit into their thinking and culture. I mean, I was amazed. I know there’s the old story where we...we enforce our language and our songs and our rhythms and everything else, but basically the people didn’t have that much music to start with. They had a few sort of mournful dirges type of a thing and a few songs like that. And much of it was connected with their old way of life. And so this was a new idea; you could actually sing and...and praise God. And so it was something that was...it was taken up by people, and saying, “Hey, this comes with Christianity. This is great.” And so it was accepted that way and because the music...the way those songs were written just...just carried out the ideas and thoughts of the Banande, it just took. I mean, since then and since independence, I’d say since 19...1955...1950-55, there’s been a lot more moving towards African music and so on which is true, and the rhythms and all this, and they’re writing their own...and singing their own songs in every way, which is good. But in the early days there wasn’t too much of that. There was more just the fact there was...it was...it was songs introduced by missionaries. And the idea of horns was (using instruments like that)...was something that came from the African Inland Mission. I think you probably studied some of it and how Austin Paul [missionary with Africa Inland Mission] used a lot of horns up to the north [in northwest Belgian Congo at that time]. We still use a lot of them in our area and our people really have taken to them. And it’s almost become a part of their culture. Because, I mean, within one generation, you choose what you want. And people are going towards guitars; people are going towards horns; people are going towards choirs. And the choirs.... At every church you’ll have half a dozen choirs, young people, married, young married, older married, boys choirs, everything. And so there’s a lot of music that’s come in spontaneous and become their part. But a lot of it you can’t look back and say, “Hey, this came from their cultural background,” because their culture has changed along the way. And for me, it’s interesting. I look at horns. I’ve taken a lot of horns out there and I’ve used them, and the people just go for them, for evangelism especially. The young people say this is tremendous and they accept it just like a lot of them are going into choir, guitar groups which again wasn’t African either. But it was something people had taken to. And we find in our area now that they’ve begun to pick up on harp choirs. But these harps were not indigenous to our tribe, they were from the tribes up on the northern Africa Inland area, where they had these great big bass harps and then these little harps. And so they’re bringing them in and they’re coming in and people are going for them, but not any more than they are for horns, and not any more than they are for guitars. It’s just a new way of music, new way of expressing yourself, and it’s more indigenous in the sense that it came from a another part of Africa, but it didn’t come from that tribe so it doesn’t mean much more to them just because it’s African any more than the other parts. And so I say this by way of balance, that sometimes we try to say, “Well, this comes out of their culture, their tribe.” But you find most of these things, a lot of these things, come from other tribes, and other cultures. But they’re absorbed because they like them and they take them. So I look at horns and people are saying, “Well, that’s sort of a European innovation.” Well, when it first came in, it was, but it was just received enthusiastically like a lot of new things, like when guitars came later. And now you’d say, “Well, with all the changes and with the authentic type of music and everything else you have today, they won’t want it.” But they’re wild about it. Especially a lot of young people and they learn those hor...those songs and they learn them by heart and they go all around the area evangelizing and I think this is tremendous. And it just opens up the areas and people love it. So a lot of these areas can be instruments of culture, which are not necessarily one tribe or another tribe, or...or African or American or anything else, it’s a kind of...some types of music are taken from anywhere, just like the guitars, the guitars weren’t originally there. They had little stringed instruments. And the harps you might say were more indigenous, but they were never used until recently in our tribe and even there you’re finding some harp choirs and they’re going. But the people are going more towards the guitars and other choirs and trumpets just as much. They just use the different kinds of music they like and just go to it spontaneously.
SHUSTER: When...in the early days, when you were just a child, what kind of accompaniment was there in church? Was it...was it accompanied at all? Or....
HURLBURT: It was accompanied...Well, first of all it wasn’t accompanied at all, it was just singing. And they learned sort of parts and this kind of a thing.
SHUSTER: A capella.
HURLBURT: And then with the horns introduced by Austin Paul and others, they went more and more to the use of horns. Today in our churches, and everywhere, there’s drums are being introduced and used a lot more. And drums are universal. But that is just a beat, that’s just more for the beat along the way, but it doesn’t...it doesn’t give you rhythm and all the other things. And they’ve gone more to the areas of what they used to do long ago where one person starts off and the choir comes in behind him, one person will sing a line and the others will sing it after him. And spontaneous...that kind of antiphonal type of singing and this kind of thing. [door shuts]
SHUSTER: That one person is the song leader or...?
HURLBURT: No, not necessarily or just the...the one who leads off the...the th...theme in the...the group. And it doesn’t always have to be the same person.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that your father could translate hymns...Western hymns into the tribal language in such a way that made it very alive and understandable to the people. Can you think of an example of that?
HURLBURT: Well, there are lots of songs. For instance, there’s one I even remember as a boy. I mean, I learned the songs just like most of the second generation over there because I heard them from the time I went to church. For instance, [sings “Bringing in the Sheaves” in a foreign language]. What’s the En...English equivalent of that?
SHUSTER: [hums tune] “Bringing in the Sheaves”.
HURLBURT: “Bringing in the Sheaves,” yeah. Okay. And the way...the way those...those words go, they just fl...flow into each other. So I know...he just translated into fluid language that fit their thinking and fit their...their...their language in a way that just...was just accepted as part of their culture. And he did that....
SHUSTER: So what would that be translated?
SHUSTER: What would that be translated, that song?
HURLBURT: What do you mean by that?
SHUSTER: Well, did he translate it exactly as it is in English, or does...?
HURLBURT: No, it depended. He would get the [Shuster speaks unclearly in background] main ideas, but it’s more the type of a dynamic type of translation.
HURLBURT: ‘Cause you can’t go literally from one to one.
HURLBURT: But it’s more a dynamic type of translation.
HURLBURT: But also, on the other hand....
SHUSTER: For example, the...the few...the few lines you just were singing, how would that translate into English?
HURLBURT: Okay. [sings “Bringing in the Sheaves” in a foreign language again] “We are the children of the Great King here.” And so on, just, “We are the children of the Great King. We belong to God,” and so on and, “We have found salvation through Him,” and so on. So it...it fit into their thinking. But there was another aspect that you have to recognize in the whole area of eastern Zaire is the fact that many areas they...they carried on their work in Swahili, called Kingwana, the trade language.
SHUSTER: You say, “they”, you mean the missionaries or the...?
HURLBURT: The churches and the missionaries. And in our area it wasn’t...in the south it wasn’t too much, but this is especially true of the African Inland Mission. Even today, almost all their services in many...many areas are all in Swahili. And so the result is you may get a little more of...of tying all the groups together, but it’s not near...been near as much actually a part of the people because it’s been kept in Swahili. And they use the Swahili Bibles...mainly was their translation work and so on. So I would say that was probably a basic weakness in the group which is causing some groups now to rebel and say, “Hey, just a minute, how come we can’t use our own languages in this group?” and there’s been that aspect. But in the...in the tribe where I grew up it was all in their own language so there was just a...and so it became much more indigenous. And a lot of the teaching was in Swahili and then they went into a lot of Swahili hymns too, but there was a.... My dad prepared a whole book...song book in the Kinandi language and this is where it went. And later on, as other missionaries came and others who didn’t know the tribal language, they went more to Swahili, especially as you began to hit other tribes and so on. But that’s what made it a... made...made it amongst the Banande a tremendous peoples’ movement because it was in their own language and in their own thinking.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that the services there at Katawa....
SHUSTER: Katwa were pretty similar to chur...to a service here in the [United] States except that they might be more spontaneous, or there might be more spontaneity. How...how...what do you mean by that?
HURLBURT: In this sense, that sometimes the people would chose their own songs. And you didn’t have just the whole idea of a preacher get up and do all the praying and scripture. You’d have other people reading the scripture and, then through the service, you usually had five or six different people who were asked, either name by name to pray or would a woman pray or would somebody who would be led by the Spirit of God they should go ahead and pray. So in other words, there was much more participation in this concept.
SHUSTER: Who usually preached?
HURLBUT: Lots of different people. They usually...I mean, the idea of having just one pastor who preached every Sunday, uhnt-huh [no], even today they don’t have that. They’ll have a pastor where the pastor may preach once a month and they’ll have the elders of the chur...some elder in the church or even a missionary or some other speaker come in and do a lot of the preaching. But another area...aspect of the work that made it really developed was that there was a lot of training and teaching through morning prayer. In other words, before people went off to work or went off to school, you had a half hour of a time of devotions, where you’d sing two or three songs, where there’d be a brief ten minute message, where there’d be some time for praying and singing and then everybody would go. In other words, you started the day with God, you learned something from the scripture, you sang together, you prayed together and you went off to work. And then usually every Wednesday night and Saturday night you had the same type of a thing. And then you had th...the majority of the people would go out once a week (I’ve forgotten whether it was Friday night or Saturday night) to go out in the villages in the area evangelizing. So it was a feeling that people...many more people participated. It’d be the work was for everybody. There wasn’t the idea of a clergy and laity concept so much.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. What would a typical sermon be like?
HURLBURT: Well, [pauses] that’s a question that... I would say two or three characteristics. One was brought in by the fact that a lot of missionaries grew up in the area Bible school and so on, where it would be a string of verses people would pick up and just talk on this verse, another verse, another verse, another verse. There was quite a bit of that, but that was introduced more by missionaries, I think. But the idea was this is the Bible, you’d read a verse or two and you’d explain what it said; then you’d go to another verse and explain what it said, more of the idea of expositional, too much, in that. But there...so there was that angle which had both its good and bad aspects. In other words, you were exposed to many, many verses and a lot of key verses that you learned to memorize because you heard them enough that it became part of your...even though you couldn’t read or write, you knew this much of scripture. But also they’ll be weak because a lot of verses out of context, you weren’t seeing the whole thrust of scripture. But also, you found a lot of the...the story type, which for me is probably one of the greatest ways of preaching is telling one of the Bible stories. A lot of those Bible stories were told, Daniel in the Lion’s Den and all these others. And people would...and even up to today, people would make songs up and tell the whole st...Bible story in a song. And this kind of a thing so you’d have that. But then the thing that was really geared to Africans was to take African illustrations and tell an African story, about a monkey would did this or about an elephant who didn’t forget or about something like something. They would always want to bring in some African illustration to get across their point. And a sermon wasn’t effective, at least wasn’t complete, until you had one good African story in it.
SHUSTER: Do you recall one or two good African stories that stuck in your mind?
HURLBURT: Well, one...one story (I mean, I could probably tell you many), but one story was about...about a rabbit. And it was eating grass there, and he heard a voice saying “Hey, what are you doing here, rabbit?” And he got scared to death and just took off and ran along this and [unclear] and stopped. “Well,” he said, “I got away from that”. And so he started eating again and out of the ground the voice came again, “What are you doing here, Peter Rabbit?” And he ran again this long distance. And he said, “Well, now I’ve gotten away from that thing” And here it was again. And he went on, the [unclear] went on with that illustration and he finally pointed out you never get away from God. Wherever you are God’s, there, too, and he knows just what you’re doing and what you’re thinking and so on so you can’t escape God in your life. You might as well face it. That was one example.
SHUSTER: Did...did your father sometimes preach at these...?
HURLBURT: Yes, he used a lot of illustrations, too, the same way.
SHUSTER: How would you describe him as a preacher? What kind of speaker was he?
HURLBURT: [Sighs] He was a man...he wasn’t what you would say one of these [pauses] gifted orators. He wasn’t an orator as such. But he was a man who...who preached and very convincingly and take scripture and tell them what it was and give illustrations. And he got his points across. And much of their basic teaching and so on came from what my dad taught them through sermons and so on. So he was very effective in that area.
SHUSTER: You mentioned, too, (we talked a little bit about it earlier) about how he would bring in evangelists and pastors or elders from other pa...other parts of the country to be taught. Was that from all over Belgium Congo or where were they coming from?
HURLBURT: No, because this was long distance. Basically, it was a fellow like Austin Paul whose team...with his team of horn players who came down for evangelism. And I’m trying...that’s what I basically recall, they may have invited a couple of....
SHUSTER: But I meant you were saying that he would bring in Africans periodically to be trained [unclear]....
HURLBURT: Oh, I see. His philosophy of training and preparing people.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. What was that?
HURLBURT: He would bring them into a central mission station and have them a period of teaching, of teaching them doctrine, teaching them practical life, observing their lives, how they lived, and what you should do as a Christian, what you shouldn’t do as a Christian, and trained them and prepared them. And then he said, “Okay, now you’re ready. You know what the Christian life is all about. Now you go back and start a chapel in your area.” That was the idea. In other words, you bring people in for a period of several months’ training and then send them out to start chapels everywhere. Those were people who would work there and they would get.... Many people became Christians and then they would send them in from their chapels to...for this training too. They would go back to work with their people and also to start new ones. It was sort of a spontaneous type of expansion everywhere.
SHUSTER: I need to switch tapes here so...
END OF TAPE