to listen to an audio file of this interview
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Mona Miller Joyce (CN 535, T2) 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.
Chinese place names are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, "Peking" is used instead of "Beijing," if that is how the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which would be understood were spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify the accepted transliteration form to which it corresponds.
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, made by Matt Thompson and Paul Ericksen, was completed in November 2004.
Collection 535, T2. Interview of Mona Miller Joyce by Paul Ericksen, August 15, 1996.
JOYCE: So I just....
ERICKSEN: ...we were talking about your treatment by the Communists.
JOYCE: We were not badly treated, but they could...you could become frustrated. Like if...we had two cows, thinking always of milk when the kids would come home from school. And we wanted to sell them. Then you had to get the stamp of every member of the.... (I don't know what, the municipality? I don't know what they called them exactly. The Chinese had their own thing. The...the city would divided up into sections, four usually. And you had to have the chopped [makes stamping motion with hand] paper [paper certified with an official stamp with Chinese characters called a chop] as...of...on the...on the pass their chop to...of each one. If one did not do it then that aborted the others [laughs]. And these things are very frustrating [pauses] for people who had been free and did all the things, you know. Well, we as foreigners could...could expect come restrictions, but they did shut us in. And then, my husband said one day...Raymond said, "You know, I think our door is being watched." He said, "I...I see a plaincl...a plainclothes policeman at the top of the street." He said, "I've met him before at the...in the headquarters." And so he said, "We'd better advise our friends not to come." Because...and we found out later that, you see, they were interested. They knew [pats with hand] how...they knew us and they knew how many of us there were. But they did not know who would visit us and when. So, of course, they...they had their eyes open to see who would come and go. So we thought we'd better warn, Christians especially, and others who had visited us. So that was...these were restrictions that were rather difficult to take, and they added to the stress. Some...some people get really mad at them for that, you know. But why get mad? I mean, that...that's what they were there for. They were there for...to oust us really in the end. They didn't say so but.... And then Raymond was called up. They called us...the...the head [clears throat] group called the foreigners. Well, Ray had the best Chinese. He went and another missionary with him. And they questioned him and questioned him about Chinese and their church, and various things. And Raymond said, "I don't know." And I think they just couldn't believe this. He said all the business is kept in Chinese. "Well, how many people are in the church?" "I don't know. The records are kept in Chinese, and by...by the Chinese." Well, then they got so mad. They said, "Well, why is...why is he here?" Well, they'd sent for him. So that...couldn't say very much to that. They said, "Well, where...where is the leader?" My husband had to say his name. So then poor Elder Duan had to go and deal with some of the things. I don't know how he answered. He would...he would tell them, I guess, certain things. But Raymond, it was just...it was wonderful because we had never...we don't believe in the foreigner [laughs] dabbling in...in everything. "Go with them and understand them and...and sort of...just as though they were your own people." But not every missionary feels like that. There were missionaries who still felt that their words should carry weight and therefore.... And one of the older missionaries, older than we were at that time, would say to Raymond (had known Raymond for many years)...he said, "Well, you tell...go tell Elder Duan thus and so, thus and so." And Ray said, "Yes, but the next meeting is not for three weeks yet. I'll tell them at the meeting." You see, and he would never...he'd never go to that man individually and pass on anything. It was done through the church group. And Ray was...he was not a member of that. He was a byst...an observer, but he didn't mind that. Ant they waited six months before they accepted him. They did accept him onto their kind of board. But he had...they kept him waiting just to see whether...how he was going to go...turn out. And they just walked very humbly with him all the time, you know, and discussed things and put forward these opinions. They returned to him a year later as their thoughts.... So he said, "Here comes what I said a year ago." [laughs] But he didn't say anything. He just left it. And they felt it was their deal. It...it's wonderful, though, to see the Chinese take responsibility. I mean, anybody. And it...I don't see why it shouldn't be. I mean, who are we? Now there was the day in China, I would imagine, when...or in any country for that matter, when people are not able, are not qualified to do things. It's all so stra...everything's strange until you get things established. And that...that may have been different. And I think methods were different and very much criticized by the present day. But I...I can't...I think God used that and many staunch believers are...are from these days. But it...it was hard for some people. Now, what was the original question? [pauses] That was the...about...
ERICKSEN: Well, we were talking...
JOYCE: ...about...about Communists.
ERICKSEN: ...about Communism in the area.
JOYCE: Yes. And so we didn't suffer physically. But that kind of suffering was uncertain, you know. And it was the same when we applied for application to leave. You see, they...they don't throw you out. [laughs] You see, they wanted [laughs]...they could keep you waiting, their time on everything and anything. And so we had to wait and wait and wait and wait, you see, to get to our passes. And then finally Raymond talked with another at the capitol, the city Kunming. And so he...they said to Raymond at one point, I think it was, that when Dr. [Jessie] McDonald [see BGC Archives Collection 246], who is the head of the hospital, hands over this hospital, "Then you'll get your passes." Well, she hung on for a long time. [laughs] But then, I think, she began to see that this...this was a final word, that he just would stick to that.
ERICKSEN: Now was that the first that the group of your missionaries had heard that they wanted the hospital?
JOYCE: Well, it was in the air, you know. The...we had [clears throat]...we had hoped we could hand to the hospital over. I mean, it was all Chinese run anyway, I mean, except the foreign doctors. But that maybe the church could carry it. But when we suggested that, that was turned down. They weren't going to let it go to the church. And so they had...they were going to take it as government. Huhhh! They were something else. We had to count every pill in every bottle. I mean, even although it said, "Five thousand in this bottle," [laughs] to count out the five thousand with a man and his bayonet [laughs], I mean. So stupid when I think of it, you know. But "Ah, here they come again." And...what was next and what was next? So that kind of problem. And...but otherwise.... And I think that they appreciated it if you just spoke openly to them, and.... They...the...the gover....
ERICKSEN: The Communists did?
JOYCE: Yeah, the Communists. The man [watch alarm beeps] in...in Kunming, the capitol, he was very blunt with them, very...he gave them [laughs] more or less what they gave him, you know, and would blame them if he thought they were wrong. And this went over. And they liked him.
ERICKSEN: What was his name?
JOYCE: Not...Matthews comes into my head. He was from Australia. [H.R.L.?] Bailey. He was from Australia, a strong Australian [laughs]. He...he would get worked up, but he held his ground and he did amazingly in the...that center, getting us out. And that was...it was through him that we knew that the hospital had to go, if...if we wanted to move. [laughs] And so there were many problems like that that created tension. You were asking earlier, you know, what the reactions were and that created tension and some people get...were very tense through it. And it's...it's very hard to...you sit day after day after day, you know, and...and nothing happens and...and things are tightening in around you. And you just...I think that...that was more the.... And then you saw how they treated some people. And then after they were in there were no more beggars. And you said, "Well, where are the beggars?" [makes clapping sound] If they couldn't work, then what good were they? So, of course, they just don't have that. [laughs] And so these...these were the initial things. Maybe (I haven't lived in China since Communism)...I mean, it probably has adapted, or Chinese have adapted or absorbed it in some way, that.... But they still are very strict. They reckoned (now this is crazy) to know where everybody was, every day of the year. A country of nearly at...at that time of nearly a billion people? That was...that was their aim. And that was why we had cordoned off areas often. I was going to church one Sunday evening. He said, "Stand!" [followed by phrase in Chinese] I stood, and a voice from the darkness [laughs] around me said, "Well, you can't go up there." "Oh," I said, "Why not?" "Well, you can't go up there." And I realized that they'd cut us off. And so they came down house by house, and...before they let us go up. And I was just too late to get up there. If we'd been up in the church we'd have had to stay there, you see, until they'd finished. And at that particular time they came in and they asked all around who...who we were and how many there were, and so on and so on. And half an hour later another batch came in. In the meantime, guests who had been staying with us, her...the husband was in the hospital sick and so his wife and family were...were staying with us, and she had not been seen by this first group. Anyway, when the second group came in she was in the dining room. And they said, "Who's that?" And so we explained. "You didn't report her." And Raymond said, "I did not see any sign on the walls to say that we had to report any strangers." Of course, he had them, because that's where they put all their posters and things you see. So they couldn't say anymore. They said, "Well, tomorrow morning at nine o'clock you bring her and report her." Ray said, "Very well. I'll be along then tomorrow morning at nine to report her." But he caught them on that one, because.... That was pretty smart, actually. I don't think I [laughs].... Of course, he knew more Chinese than I did. But these things were a heavy strain. Now, she was very disturbed afterwards because, you know, would they give her a pass to get back home, and her husband's sick, and you know. These things are very hard. So that kind of enmity was maybe the hardest in many ways. They'd shut down mail going out, and that kind of thing. And we had to be careful. And...but the man at the post-office was...oh, I'd given them, you see. [laughs] So he said, "Well, you bring it along. Bring it along." He said, "The headman's coming tomorrow. He'll look at everything." He says, "Anyway, he's gone." He says, "You bring it along. I'll...I'll go." [laughs] But it meant that we had to burn a lot of stuff, because we couldn't...we didn't dare carry it out on our person.
ERICKSEN: Letters, you mean?
JOYCE: Letters and information you see. So really, a lot of information that...my letters...Raymond's letters to me and mine to him. Well, mine to him weren't so important, but I mean, some things that he had written down [unclear], we just...they had to all go. That's why I do have this bundle of his letters to his parents. And I cannot...cannot think why I don't know where they are. [laughs] I'm kind of muddied. I don't know where I put the thing, and it...it's just eluding me. And I don't...I must have another look. But I could mail these probably. I have not read them through. It's...it's a pile like this, you know. I don't know how many letters, maybe twenty, thirty. I guess when you're left alone work is twice as hard [laughs]. And I guess I've just failed at times. I just...just can't do it. But anyway I'm glad that we brought this stuff and I hope some of it will be of use. There should be a...a report of our trip across Asia. We did that at the tail end. We left Beirut...maybe Raymond said that. We left Beirut and I...I had thought [bumps lapel microphone] it would be a fun trip if we could [laughs] go...if we could go back by a...the Far East where we had started. And Ray was all for it, you see. I mean, "Oh." Raymond said, "Oh, we'll just find out how many people [laughs] are working amongst Muslims." [laughs] I thought, "Eee, you would do that. You'd make a business trip of it." [laughs] Anyway, no it was very good. I mean, we had all friendly times with everybody. But he didn't...he kept the back of his mind that was there a group there or...could you have a committee formed that would see to it that they weren't bypassed and so on and so on, where there was a mixture. And...but it was good trip, except made it the hottest time of the year across the hottest part of the world [laughs]. It was hot. But we went over and we got to Jakarta, and visited most of the countries across. So it was marvelous, you know, if you could.... Oh, you know, trying to remember all the different things.
ERICKSEN: Well, maybe we can talk a little bit more about that tomorrow, if we can talk tomorrow?
JOYCE: Well, I hope...
ERICKSEN: Can we talk some more?
JOYCE: ...I've been coherent enough. I mean...
ERICKSEN: Oh, very.
JOYCE: ...not...not too jumbly.
ERICKSEN: Well, so far we've only talked about China. And...
JOYCE: Well, that...that's true.
ERICKSEN: ...we'd like...we'd like to talk about your...your later years, too, working in the Middle East. So, why don't we stop for now.
JOYCE: Uh-huh. As you....
ERICKSEN: Pick up...
JOYCE: What do you reckon?
ERICKSEN: Get you some rest.
JOYCE: I meant to...I have a verse that I...we had a verse that was ours that we, you know, used. I mean, we stood on it. Because I said, where young people are concerned I feel that you should. And the Lord was wonderful. I mean, He fulfilled it and....
ERICKSEN: What...you want...what verse was that?
JOYCE: The one that we had together was: "This God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even unto death." [Psalm 48:14] And oh, many times that was fulfilled. I mean, we just knew. Oh, you'd make journeys and.... And also the ones in...in..."You will...I will bring you again into this land until I have completed that which I have spoken to thee of." [Jeremiah 29:14?] And that was Muslim work down in Yunnan and we did go back, you see, until...until we were left. The last stage of our time there when they began to shut us in, Ray said, "Okay." I said, "What are we going to do with all this literature?" Because he had stacks of literature. And then he said, "Oh, we'll mail it out." So, you see, [laughs] they couldn't...that was why the mailman was...the...the postmaster was...was great that way. So he made up, oh, about two hundred packages of stuff. Tore it, you know, pulled them up and tied them up. And in each one Raymond had made...had sent a letter to the head man. We sent all these packages to head men in the different provinces where there were Muslims, or to a Muslim village where there...where we knew there was someone, and sent a message of salvation in it and...and just...then another letter saying what it was, that we're sending these to him as a...as gift. And when we got to Yunna...to Kunming, they said there...they said, "Well, you know, one man had written in and he said, "I've seen some of the material you've sent to our head men." And he said, "I would like some if they...." He said, "I would like a Bible if you have one left." We had one left, one whole Bible. And Ray said, "It must be for this man." Of course, we didn't know him at all. But it...it was wonderful how the Lord overruled in all these things. We'd got all that stuff out. We sent out all that material [laughs] that we...we had stuck there, would have been stuck there. It would just have been.... So that was our last go. [laughs] Have we been talking about an hour?
ERICKSEN: We've been talking for more than an hour.
JOYCE: Have we? Oh well....
ERICKSEN: Let's stop for now.
ERICKSEN: Thank you.
JOYCE: It is very interesting, I mean, when somebody's interested to listen [laughs]. Not...not that that matters. But it's good for me to try and re...remember some. I mean, some things are very vivid and then others not so.
ERICKSEN: Okay, thanks.
JOYCE: You're very....
END OF TAPE