This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Stanley Roy Kline (CN 477, T3) 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.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Ruth Estell and Wayne D. Weber and was completed in March 2003.
Collection 477, T3. Interview of Stanley Roy Kline by Paul A. Ericksen, January 18, 1993.
KLINE: ...and so then I found out we had to make our own blackboards and we bought blackboard paint and painted them. And then most...at that time people sat on the floor. So then finally I decided that we needed to something more than sit on the floor. So then I would ask an African about cutting trees down with a "Y". And put "Y"s in the floor and then a log across the floor so they cold sit. And they thought that was a grand idea. And then I had all one class and then I finally decided to divide them because some of them were already reading and some of them were not more advanced than others because the school had been started. And so I divided it at least into first, second, and third grade. No higher we went. First grade, second grade, and third grade. And my wife she had girls of course she had already started the girls' work there. And so that's what I did in the boys' school. And then I found where they were sleeping, that they all slept in...they had four rooms but they all slept in one room. And they slept four or five on one mud space. And then at the end...when they came in they use to bring a goat in to eat or chickens in. They kept them all in the end room. So I said, "Well, now you have to have a second building for the animals. You can't have the animals staying in the same place where you sleep." And so then we made that. So I changed things around. And of course in the days we came they never had much clothing, they never had blankets, they never had anything like that. And so to get them started on things like that when I got the chickens and the goats out of the end room then I had four rooms for sleeping. I divided them up in four rooms. And then I would give them a...a contest of how good they did in school, how good they cleaned around their place, of which one would clean first, the place. Whoever got the first room cleaned first would get a blanket. That's the way I used it to get blankets. We had blankets that came that were made in the Congo but I think originally the Belgians had probably had taught them how to make blankets. But they were cheap blankets and you could buy them. And so I did that to kind of spur them on. And then where I was there if they wore clothes they wore a piece of material about that big just around their waist and down and up back. And so then I found a...a person who could make shorts, cockey, or we had a material called, [pauses] kind of a blue material, I don't remember what they called it now. And so then as they progressed and whatever they did well then I'd award it not give them all at one, you know. So the school went my way and, of course, whatever we did in school work, Carmel did with the girls, I did for the boys. We can kind of work it together in our school material for readers, simple math (of course we used the metric system in...in Congo) and...and Bible. They were the most...three big subjects...was writing. And when we didn't have...we never had copy books we used slates in the beginning. And so we had slates and slate pencils and then we'd go outside and use the dirt on the.... We use to have...Africans had home made brooms and sweep out so that there was no grass on it. And you could that to kind of make letters or numbers. We use to use that method. And so they were the beginning of the school day that we had before things were really printed. We had a printing press that had started earlier at Aba but that was in the beginning stage and everything was run...the presses were run...there was no electric at this time, anything...no motors. And they had Africans on bicycles. Herb Cook had organized bicycles that were hoisted up and a rider would get on a bicycle and peddle which would take the...the wheels of the press could move it while the other person was feeding in the press. So there was three people would be working to get things printed. And then later of course he started with motors and things like that. But in the beginning everything was done by hand or by foot peddling. And so gradually we had readers come off at Bangala and then probably other to languages followed that. And so the school started growing that way. But we had at Aungba all the time we were there I mostly did that. And then I started to go to the first schools that were near by and churches that were organized because Austin Ford already [clears throat] in his earlier days has started Aungba station. He was from Aru he came down to start...which was an outstation, now it was growing. And so I started going there among the people there at that place.
ERICKSEN: I'm curious, how did...how did the people react to, you know, to the changes that you were bringing. Change of clothing...
KLINE: The changes that I would say...we never did fast. We never...we never pushed anything on them. Like, for instance, their customs are different in many ways than ours. But I remember the girls who were raw girls from the bush when they first came to Carmel and even in my day that they were always...when they...when they come they would always come to talk to you with their back towards you, not their eyes or face towards you. And we never told them you have to turn around because that was their custom. Also we noticed in their clothing they also mostly carried on...the first clothing girls had was leaf dresses. We never changed that. And then later they said, they said, the girls at Aru, (which was the near station to us) that they had skirts." And so Carmel would say, "What are they like?" Although we...she knew what they were like but she wanted to see what they would say. And so they said, "Well, what is it made of?" And they told them it was...we call it unbleached muslin sort of thing. And you could buy like a bolt of it or something. And those girls would not get rid of their grass skirts but they put the [clears throat] they put this piece of cloth over it, which they didn't...the ends of these [clears throat] grass skirts that they had most of were made from manioc bushes. They would stick out, you know, all over the back and the front. And she would try to explain to them it was kind of hard to do that. So then she finally said, "If you can make them, smaller then that's better." And so in the men and boys they...they never wore shirts hardly ever. They'd wear old pieces of cloth or...some people could get bark cloth but in our area they didn't have much of bark cloth. They didn't use much bark cloth. It would be some old dirty rags that they could find somewhere and get from someplace to wear, that's about all. And so when I started with the boys' work they didn't wear very much at all. And so then I would say to them about shorts because they saw the older men wearing shorts and they saw that they could get them made. They use to have these hand sewing machines and we use to call them the ducas. The shops would start making things like that. And so then I would do the same thing and starting if they wanted a pair of shorts [unclear]. And, of course, we always had work done. We never felt, at least I always felt, we...we never gave them something to think they were getting it just for nothing, you know, that it was worth something. That they had to work for it or they had to do something for it. And so they would do different jobs like that. Clean up around some place or help the road that we used to out or make gardens for their food and...and how well. And mostly done by work or awards in one way or another and in that way they started. And then as far as shirts go, the first would be more like our undershirts sort of style. Not a T-shirt but an undershirt style. And then T-shirt style and so forth before it came to regular shirts. And so I think most people like that...to school like that. And nobody ever wore shoes, nobody, nobody. I remember a well known pastor who's been here in the States visiting, I remember him blatantly say when shoes came out in some of African places, "I'll never wear shoes." And yet he wore shoes later. But, they were almost like you were maybe following the white person or trying to be like a white person. I don't know what there thinking was on that. But then they started wearing, then they would start...somebody taught how to make sandals out of tires and do things like that. And so everything kind of grew in those years that we were there in...in the 30s. And so my wife continued there in the girls' work and I continued there doing the boys' work and the village work and as I made the village I made my first chart of where these places were. And use to keep records of them because I had the background of business. And I made...I made my first prayer list of all the teachers and how many pupils and...and...and in, and in the work no place could be organized as a church unless they had twelve people who had come to know the Lord. And then you could have an organized church. After that you had a visiting pastor or anybody that came to your group. And the pastor may have been taught maybe only first grade, 'cause that was the idea when Austin Ford started a place you started with them and they came to school to learn how to read. And as soon as they knew how to read and write then they had to go out and teach somebody else. Then we'd bring them back for second grade with somebody else could take them from first grade. And that's the way the work grew as far as schools go. And then later they would...we would have conferences that we would divide the area into districts. And then we'd have a district meeting. And we'd...they'd decide which ones could come in for the school, which ones should replace somebody else. So in that way the evangelists [unclear] in those days the evangelist would be the evangelist or pastor and a teacher all at once. And so and then they would go up first grade, second grade, and third grade. And they always thought they were really something when they knew the...they finished third grade. That was a big deal. [laughs] And then most of the young men coming along found now they could get Christian wives. That wasn't true in the beginning days, most men had heathen wives because there were no Christian girls that they could marry. So Carmel was really training girls and they were always asked for very quickly, to be married. And so then it was established, and from then on you had the Christian families. Of course there were some women who accepted the Lord, but most women of a man never knew how to read or write. So that was the value of having women's school, and girl's school, and boy's school. Of course boy's school had men. And then gradually the men, as they...as the...education grew along, there were no men's school, there were just for boys. And then boys and girls. Then women would have their own meetings, things like that.
ERICKSEN: And how many grades were there? I mean, you mentioned having first the first grade, and then adding grades.
KLINE: How many?
ERICKSEN: What was the...the extent of the education, grade-wise?
KLINE: You mean through the whole period we were on the field?
ERICKSEN: Well, yeah.
KLINE: Well, for a long time we had three grades. When we...when we were moved to Maitulu, after Aba, they had heard that they were going to have fourth and fifth grade. And so then later the school went on to a full...what we call elementary school. And then before they went into a high school program, they started a teacher's training school, where teachers were taught at least the first seven or eight years of school. And then they became quali...qualified teachers. And after we had our first term, we were no longer teachers after that, because all teachers, European were...had to be qualified teachers. The government brought that in, then. If you taught school, you had to be a qualified teacher. So Carmel and myself, we were kind of out, as far as school systems were concerned, in teaching school after that. But the schools went forward, and for the present time, all the schools...I would say all the schools in...in Zaire are manned by Africans now. There are very few...it may be in the teacher's training school maybe that there might be a couple. But not many. So we've seen progress, as far as education goes. In fact, some of them were educated far better than I was ever educated.
ERICKSEN: Now what was...what was the development of the church where you were stationed, at that point?
KLINE: The development of the church....when I came to the field, they...they had a pastor. There had already been a Bible school. And Harry Stam had the Bible school at Aba. We had one Bible school. And everybody that came from any station had to know Bangala. Harry Stam also knew French, but French was never used very much. But the Bible school was open and was preparing pastors. Now they would take anybody that finished third grade, in those days. And they were trained in Bible. That was a Bible school. And then when they came back, many times the missionary who was the pastor of the church, would ask the people that this man has been trained to be a pastor. And they would become pastors of the church. Nobody in those days were ordained. They just became pastors of a church. If they had...if it was a growing work...and when the church when I was there, they already had a pastor. They already had people who we called elders and deacons. That's the system they used, was elders and deacons. The deacons were to take care of all the affairs of...of anything with the families or the money, the building, and things of that sort. But the elders had to take care of the spiritual matters of the church. So there was always a pastor, and elders, and deacons in the church. And I found that organized when I came there already. And they may have been few, they may not have understood everything that they were to take care of, but they did very well, I thought. And when I arrived in Aungba, they were just finishing the new church that they had there. With a grass roof, burned brick. I learned all those things. I was an office person, but I learned how to [pauses] to cut timber down and cut planks. I learned how to make bricks, I knew how to build a kiln, and I got into knowing all those things. And most churches, they were mud churches, gradually became brick churches. And Austin Paul had finished....when I arrived there, that was one of my assignments, because that was the first building. It was to have....the window frames were just put in when I arrived. And he had bought a great big box of glass, already cut, and I was to put the glass in the windows of the church. And I found out that the glass was not cut right. It didn't always fit in there, the frames were not always the right size. And so that made it a little difficult, a problem in the beginning. It was also the first church where they had brick seats and covered...we always used to use cow manure. We would....Aungba, Aru, were in cattle area, and we used to use cow manure. And it was stirred up, and that was the covering for over the bricks and over the floors. And the women always did that work, no matter where it was done in a home. And so it almost practically looked like cement. When you looked at it it was neatly raised. And Austin Paul did a very good job on his...on his building program. He's...his home, and this church were the first two brick buildings that were on the place. And so the church was really organized there.
ERICKSEN: How....what was the size of the congregation?
KLINE: What was the size of the congregation?
ERICKSEN: The size, yes.
KLINE: Well, I would say the congregation would come, [pauses] I would say about 250.
ERICKSEN: Adults, or including kids?
KLINE: That might be a few children, but not many because we always tried to get the children to have Sunday school. But some of them would come to church, but not many. The older ones may have.
ERICKSEN: And all of the elders and deacons were Africans?
KLINE: All the elders and deacons were Africans.
KLINE: Austin Paul was the pastor. The director of the church, this man was under him, he'd be at all of the meetings. When I came, I was invited to the meetings that they had.
ERICKSEN: Where did the....now as pastor, was Austin...
KLINE: I'm getting a kink in my neck. I guess its way I'm sitting.
ERICKSEN: As...as pastor of the church, was Austin Paul like the ruling elder or...
KLINE: Well, I think the missionary was everything, especially at the beginning. They look to the missionary.
ERICKSEN: Was that something that you saw change over time?
KLINE: I...yeah, change [unclear]
ERICKSEN: Especially with the influence of the independence movement, I'm sure that changed some, too.
KLINE: You mean the independence of the country?
KLINE: Yeah, I think it moved....I think...I think the missions was ahead of the government when it came to independence because I don't think...there were very few missionaries who became heads of anything. I mean, I believed (and I still believe) that when you prepared people, you prepared people. That you would...an old phrase, you work yourself out of a job. Somebody replaces you in time. If you think you're going to be there forever, forget it. Or if you think you're going to be the boss or a head...now there may be some, and I have found there's some missionaries who think they have to be, you know. But everyone learns that in time. And I think, as far as the AIM Congo, I think we did everything in such a way, that we did it gracefully. Other countries may have been forced or asked to do it, but we were a step ahead, sort of, in things. I don't believe there was any church, any group in the Congo that could say that they forced the missionaries out, or they had to tell the missionaries to get out, or they had to tell the missionaries they can't do it any more, that we're going to take charge. Because I think we always....we were ahead in preparing our people to take over. That we found that very true when we came to the place where we had to leave, or evacuate, and we had to leave the church. The church was already cared for. And we always had a policy that we never used European money or American money to pay salaries, or build our buildings, or things like that. And so they were being prepared to take over any ministry that may have been there when we had to leave. And they did excellent work when they had to take over.
ERICKSEN: When decisions had to be made...made, whether in the church or one of the other bodies, did the...did the Africans look to the missionaries for advice, or did you missionaries sort of ask them to decide, how did that work?
KLINE: I would say that the missionary, of an individual missionaries of a station, would always be responsible to a missionary council. Now every missionary council would be represented by missionaries from the various areas because we were miles and miles apart. And I belonged to the area...when I was in Aungba, I belonged to the area that was called the Aru area, which took in Aru, Adja, Adi, and Aungba. And so then one missionary was appointed a council member of the mission committee, was appointed to be an overseer. He was responsible to see how the work was going on those four stations. And you had visits from them. And then they would be...that man would be chosen by the missionary staff of all those stations. Whoever they thought would be the most responsible person to do it. And then if you were on the station, they would also have the church council started, so that you had the pastor from your station church and then you had the pastors or the teachers that were in charge at...of all the other churches that were in your area of Aungba. So that we'd all be together, and there was a church council, then. If they had any questions, they would ask the missionary. And if the missionary had any plans of anything, he would always tell the church what he thought something could be done. And that would take in anything, as far as the school if you had a school in the station, if you had a dispensary on the station, church matters, anything would come up in a council like that. If it had to be a big decision, that would....like the church saying we'd like to have another missionary, or we'd like to have something this or that, then he would take it to his council, for questions that were put before them, and the missionary council would decide where a missionary was involved. Later, then, there was...like we had our district council of Aru, Aungba, Adi and Adja, then the church councils also started it you'd have representatives from those churches together to form a church council. Then we'd have a central council, of an appeal council, with all our areas together, and the church came developed that way, too. So that every tribe, every group of people from Aba all the way to Ruwenzori, to each...to any of those churches, would have their central church council. So that things were carried on that way through the years, and they grew that way.
ERICKSEN: And how did it...did it work smoothly, were their rough spots?
KLINE: I would say...I would say, comparing to what I know, that everything moved very smoothly. I...I've heard of Tanzania, I've heard of Kenya, and I think that we were always, like I said, a step ahead. And that our people understood what was coming and knew that there might be a day when they'd have to take over responsibility. And I think that proves the fact that we had to evacuate, when we were...they were ready to take over. And you see, as I grew in the work from Aungba, my first term in Aungba, my tutor in Aba, I used my own methods of bookkeeping. I taught all church leaders what to do. Their offerings, how they did it, whatever they used them for, I...I taught them simple bookkeeping. As I was able, I made my own forms. And Eddie Sheuit, when he was new, he made the first church membership card, where a church member could be organized, have a card to show who he was, and when he was baptized, and all that. And then there was a section where they could check when he came to the communion service, and also on the back where he could put down his offerings or tithe, whatever he wanted to put down. And so then I followed that up with a teaching of that, 'cause most cards were empty. Most cards were never filled in, most cards were...you know, they were learning. And so then when I was moved from Bangala area to Swahili area, then I learned my second language. And I, after a while when I was there on the field, I was able to go, and I did, all the circuit of churches in both areas because I knew both languages. And held conferences for church leaders to help them...
ERICKSEN: Teaching bookkeeping.
KLINE: Bookkeeping, taking care of things....are you uncomfortable?
ERICKSEN: Umm...I think
KLINE: You're getting tired.
ERICKSEN: I'm getting tired.
KLINE: And I am, too.
ERICKSEN: And I...it's lunch time.
ERICKSEN: So why don't we stop.
ERICKSEN: And we'll come back together when the time [unclear] appointed.
END OF TAPE