Billy Graham Center

Collection 468 - Elizabeth Carolyn (Quackenbush) Stough . T6 Transcript

Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (23 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Elizabeth Quackenbush Stough (CN 468, T4) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.

Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
 ...        Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
 ....       Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
 ( )       Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
This transcript was made by Robert Shuster and Nelson Summers and was completed in August 2012.

Collection 468, T6. This is a continuation (from tape T5) of the interview of Elizabeth Quackenbush Stough by Robert Shuster on January 20, 1993.  

SHUSTER: This is a continuation of the interview with Mrs. Elizabeth Stough. And you were talking about some of the missionaries returning after the Simba uprising to the Congo.

STOUGH: Yes, I think the first place that really was open was Nyankunde, which was the Brethren station where I had mentioned the press was before. They also had a hospital there and because of the destruction down at Oicha and the danger still of being that far away, Dr. [Carl] Becker came to Nyankunde and they decided to set up all of the medical work centrally there and work out from Nyankunde by plane. That’s where the MAF [Mission Aviation Fellowship] came in. Then, as other missionaries came and were able to fix up their houses again and get a few things together and build an airstrip and got their radios working, then they could go back to those stations. And so, one by one, the stations were opened and the work went on.

SHUSTER: Did you and Paul consider going back?

STOUGH: We didn’t really, because at that point we were pretty much settled into the work in Kenya. As Paul laughingly said once, “Well, we’re good Americans. Three strikes and you’re out.” [baseball reference] And we had fled three times, we were at that point (well, let’s see, this would be ‘65 at least or ‘66)...Paul was sixty-four years old and I was in my fifties. He said, “We’re just getting too old for this kind of thing.” He was happy in the work he was in. I was too. So, we just never felt that the Lord was leading us to go back. But, our son Bill did. He took his family back and we told him to take anything he needed of our supplies, our furniture or any of our things from our place. He was welcome to it, take them onto his station so that he could get started again.

SHUSTER: How did life in Kenya compare with life in Congo?

STOUGH: Oh, life in Kenya was like being [pauses] on furlough. [chuckles] We were in the big city of Nairobi and very pleasant with a hub of things. It was a big city. All kinds of shops, you could buy anything you wanted. We enjoyed all the contacts with the missionaries coming and going. It was very fine. My work of course was almost twenty-four hours a day in the guest house – taking care of people, making reservations, overseeing the beds, the rooms, seeing that they got changed, taken care of, planning the meals, doing the shopping for the food, go down to the native market or wherever and get the food and supervise the preparation and the serving of the food.

SHUSTER: How many people worked in the house?

STOUGH: We could...we could take care of around thirty people at a time.

SHUSTER: And how many people worked there, cooking or taking care?

STOUGH: We had, I should think, maybe seven or eight.


STOUGH: A cook and a helper and a laundry boy and a couple in the bedrooms and so on. They were fellows that had been trained on mission stations, had done some housework for missionaries here and there, so, they...they were good. I enjoyed working with them. I had to upgrade my Swahili. They used to laugh at some of the things I said because I murdered proper Swahili. But, that was alright, we got along fine. I took on other job. It was possible under the British to have a religious education, teaching Bible in the public schools. And for a year or two, I did that. I went over to another part of town on the...I don’t know whether it was more than once a week (at least that, maybe twice) and could teach the Bible. I had a wonderful experience with that because this was African and Asian girls (it was a girls school).

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

STOUGH: And I thoroughly enjoyed those contacts. Some of those girls who were Hindu or Muslim were very responsive to my stories about Jesus and teaching the books of the Bible, New Testament to them. I liked that very much. 

SHUSTER: Did some of these children then come to church?

STOUGH: No. No, no. They were...they were over in their own areas of the city.

SHUSTER: Who was some of...? Looking at your whole time in African from when you first came over until you left in the ‘70's, besides Paul, who were some of the outstanding leaders in the AIM [Africa Inland Mission]?

STOUGH: Well, Erik Barnett in Kenya was a fine leader. I appreciated him very much.

SHUSTER: What was it that you appreciated about him?

STOUGH: His leadership abilities. Both with missionaries and government and with the African church. He was very good.

SHUSTER: What are some examples of that leadership ability?

STOUGH: I remember him especially because he and Paul were working together at the time at the church in Kenya was demanding more independence, shall we say, more responsibility, and he...he seemed to handle that very well. He had been born and grew up in Kenya. So, he could understand the African mind very well, and he handled it very diplomatically, realizing what they asking for and why. He had very good rapport with the government. Daniel Arap Moi who’s the present president, was just a kid in school when Erik was a missionary, and he saw him grow up, and he had very, very good friendship with Moi.

SHUSTER: Moi went to an AIM school?

STOUGH: Yes, and he was a teacher in the AIM schools before he got into politics.

SHUSTER: Were there other people who stick out in your mind as particularly important leaders?

STOUGH: In the Congo, of course, I’ve mentioned Dr. Becker was a great man. That book, Another Hand on Mine, was written about him. It’s very good. Dr. [Ralph Edwin] Klienschmidt up at Aba we liked very much, a fine doctor, very humble man, very good. Pete Stam and Eddie Schuit in the Bible schools were good leaders.

SHUSTER: What were they like?

STOUGH: Well, just [pauses] good, good teachers in preparing leadership through the Bible schools.

SHUSTER: When you think about Ed Schuit, what kind of words come to mind as far as describing his personality?

STOUGH: I knew Ed back Moody. We were students together there. And so, it was just a renewal of friendship there when I went out. He was at that time busy and what we called out-school work. Then he gradually, along with Harry Stam, began teaching in the Bible school up at Aba. I think Harry had a great influence in shaping him into a good Bible school teacher.

SHUSTER: How would you describe him?

STOUGH: Eddie?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

STOUGH: [pauses] Those are hard for me. I guess I don’t think on those lines too much.

SHUSTER: How about Peter Stam? How would you describe him? What kind of leader was he?

STOUGH: He was a more aggressive leader, I think I would say about him. He was a Dutchman and very opinionated but very efficient. He did a good job with the...with the Bible school, and he took leadership responsibilities in the field council and things.

SHUSTER: Would you say that over the years, from the ‘40s on, the place of women in the mission changed? Or the work that they could do or the work that they did do?

STOUGH: No, I don’t think there was a lot of change. We always had our place. We were [pauses] were members of the committees and a lot of the committees were women. This language committee that I worked with was all women. And practically all of the educational work was done by women, the schools. Although, later as the schools were upgraded to...well they had French terms for them, but the equivalent of junior high school and high school, then we had some men, qualified men come out who did good. But, education through the years was...was run by the women. Of course, the girl’s boarding homes always were. Most of the teachers in the school for missionary children were women. We had...Harry Miller was the principal while I was there, but the rest of us were women. I don’t think even, I’m sure, that even up to now there would ever be a woman on the...what we used to call the field council. Now they have a different word for it, title, which is mostly Africans with some missionary representatives. But, there wouldn’t be any women there.

SHUSTER: Why would that be?

STOUGH: In the African culture, women aren’t supposed to be leaders. It was very difficult in some situations for the Africans to accept leadership of a woman missionary. But, as you know, there wouldn’t be any missionary work if it weren’t for women, because the great majority of missionaries in any field are women. And sometimes those women had to be put in charge of some departments of the work, and this is hard for an African man.

SHUSTER: Because of their view of the sexes and...?

STOUGH: That’s right. It just isn’t in their thinking. It’s anti-culture. And still they accepted us very...very well.

SHUSTER: How did you come to return to the U.S. in ‘76.

STOUGH: Well, we just got tired. We had had our regular furloughs, but got up to, I suppose, the end of ‘75 or early ‘76. I was, I suppose, just so tired that I was down sick a lot of the time with no dread disease, but just not functioning well, succumbed to anything like flu or anything like that. And Paul was getting tired too. We just gradually got that conviction in our own hearts, individually and then comparing notes, that we thought the time had come when we ought to step aside. I know that...that as far my thinking was going, we saw these younger missionaries come out and things were changing from the old days that we had functioned in and their methods that they came out with, their new ideas, which weren’t bad but they’re just different. And their own attitudes were quite different from the missionaries. They came out...well, at the time that we were at the guest house, we often said, “It just ain’t this way. [Shuster chuckles] It wasn’t this way before.” They would come out with good outfits, their household things, their own personal belongings and a lot of electronic things that we had never dreamed of. Things that we had waited many years to have: a simple little refrigerator, which was so marvelous for us after many years. They would come out with their big refrigerators. Now, this isn’t bad. I’m not criticizing them. It’s just a change in the way things were done. When they got word that mother was sick in the hospital, they got on the plane, go home to find out what they could do. Our parents all died while we were in the field and we got word about it weeks later, nothing to do about it. We couldn’t have gone anyway because there wasn’t that kind of transportation. Those things were changing as far as the mission was going, and the way that they were doing things, the set up of things seemed to be changing and we didn’t feel that we were fitting in very well. And the attitude of Africans was changing. Paul had gone through this crisis and the resolving of the demands of the Kenya church for more independence. And [pauses] those things were all different. And then, to make it worse, the Africans were getting bolder in burglary and thieving. We had to put bars on the windows of the guest house and set up a night watchman with a gate out in front. We’d never had this. We used to go...when we were in Congo, we would go away for a month’s vacation and not even lock the front door. Everything was so different. I began hearing stories of...of thieves breaking into houses and I began to get a little scared. Then, they said the shopping center that I often went to for day-by-day things, that there were Africans up who that would wait for you to get out of your car and then demand your keys and drive off with the car. These things were beginning to get to me because I was tired and we thought it was time to come. The Lord had seemed to indicate that we should come home. We told the field council this, asked for a replacement. It took them a long time to finally find somebody who would take over the guest house. So, we finally left at the beginning of March of 1976, said goodbye to Africa.

SHUSTER: When did you start working for the [Wheaton] College?

STOUGH: We got to Wheaton in April of ‘76 and probably May or June I came over to talk to Miss [Ruth A.] Turek, who....

SHUSTER: Who used to be the personnel director of the College.

STOUGH: That’s right, up in Blanchard Hall. I said, “If there’s anything I could do here for part-time employment at least, it would help.” In July, they phoned me, said, “There’s a job we think you can do part time.” They took me to the...what they called at that time the Development Department. Dave Roberts was the head of it. And there were some work writing out some forms and information and stuff that they were doing and I did that and been there ever since, same department.

SHUSTER: Was there anything else that you’d like to say as far as summary as far as your time in Africa or the work of AIM there?

STOUGH: Well, it was a great thrill for us having gone out in the very early days when the people were very primitive, practically no clothes, and no education, couldn’t read, anything, just start from scratch, and to end up seeing a church with ordained pastors carrying on, large numbers of people who were Christians taking responsibility for the church. I think one of the most thrilling days Paul ever had was when the first two pastors were ordained at Blukwa. He went and sat down with the elders and the pastors took over and served communion. So, this is what we were aiming at from the very beginning, and we saw the provision of that. That was a great thrill. I think the AIM is a great mission. They had...they had goals that were good: the evangelization of people, teaching them to read so that they could read the Scriptures, emphasis on translation of the Scriptures, development of leadership, and gradually turning it over to those leaders as they were able, taking good care of their missionaries, providing education for the children. All of this was very good. As far as I personally look back on many years, (I went out in 1940, came home in ‘76, thirty-six years out there], it was a wonderful life. Well, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life.” The NIV [New International Version of the Bible] says, “...have it to the full.” I think that describes it. He gave me life in Christ through faith in Christ and then He just filled my life full of these wonderful experiences. Not one good thing of all that He had...not one thing had failed of all the good things that He promised, I can certainly say [possibly paraphrasing Psalm 84:11]. He helped us through those crises that I have spoken about in our own personal lives and in the...these evacuations and all of this He has given us the wisdom, the strength, all that we needed. That song that I was singing to myself when I first arrived in Africa and was singing on the train all by myself, “All the way my Savior leads me, what have I to ask beside?” That’s the story.

SHUSTER: And a great story it is. Thank you.

STOUGH: The glory is all His.

SHUSTER: Thank you.


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Last Revised: 08/3/12
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© 2016 Wheaton College. All rights reserved. This transcript may be reused with the following publication credit: Used by permission of the Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.2012