Billy Graham Center

Interview with Dorothy Jane Mainhood - Collection 392

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Dorothy Jane Mainhood

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Brief Description.

Two interviews in which Mainhood describes her childhood, conversion, spiritual growth, education at Wheaton College, call to be a missionary, medical, orientation, and language work in Thailand for Overseas Missionary Fellowship, the Thai people and culture, regional differences in Thailand, Buddhism and Muslims, superstitions, church-state relationships, syncretism, types of churches in Thailand, diseases, and interpersonal relationships. Interviews recorded on 5/12/88 and 5/13/88.

Collection 392 [February 18. 2010]
Mainhood, Dorothy Jane; 1931-
Interviews; 1988

Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name: Dorothy Jane Mainhood
Birth date: April 15, 1931
Birth place:
Coleman, Michigan
Parents: William W. and Adda Rae Wheeler Mainhood
Conversion: 1949
Marital Status: Single
Hurley Hospital School of Medicine, 1952
BS, Wheaton College (Nursing), 1956
MA, Hartford Seminary Foundation (Linguistics), 1968
MA, Wheaton College Graduate School (Missions/Intercultural), 1988
Missionary internship (church work): Detroit, MI, 1956-1957
Missionary nurse for Overseas Missionary Fellowship in Manorom, Central Thailand, 1957-1966
OMF language supervisor, Bangkok, Thailand, 1968-1987
Lopburi Learning Center, Lopburi, Thailand, 1988-

Scope and Content

Dorothy Jane Mainhood was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on May 12 and 13, 1988, at the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1931 to 1988. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 (64 minutes, click to link to the audio of this tape)
Introduction to interview; Childhood, family, school and church attended; father's conflict with members of church and his memory of meeting Billy Sunday, family reaction to her desire to be a missionary; Going forward a number of times as a young person, turning away from God, conversion and assurance of salvation at eighteen; Removal of appendix gave vision for being a nurse, guilt for not sharing Christ with friends, decision to go to the mission field, educational background; Interest in Wheaton College, finishing nursing school, friend who heard Ed McCully and Jim Elliot speak encouraged Dorothy to apply to Wheaton; Awe-struck initially by Wheaton experience, felt "out-classed"; memory of V. Raymond Edman speaking on Psalm 50. Abduction in Wheaton by a man and rescued by police; favorite courses were Bible and English courses, Greek with Gerald F. Hawthorne, limited non-academic involvement due to need to work, prayer groups; spiritual climate of Wheaton, memories of Dr. Edman praying for her and as loving authority figure; differences between Wheaton then and now, diversity of students ethnically greater now; Career decision made after experience at Pioneer Girls' camp during summer following graduation; reluctance to consider missions as a career, decision to go to mission field and choosing Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), single missionary woman who influenced her decision, applying to OMF; Acceptance for and duties of church internship in Michigan, discipling, candidate school, assignment, interviews in Singapore; candidates school in Pennsylvania; first months in Singapore in 1957, language study, assignment to Thailand, learning the language; encountering Thai culture; First woman to give evangelistic messages at hospital in outpatient department; Ruby Lundgren, mentor and "spiritual mother," lived with her the first year; restrictions for a single woman; Thai people outwardly friendly and affirming, causing her to become outgoing; Thai people's perception of what a Christian was; cultural mistakes, value of friendship over material things

T2 (39 minutes, click to link to the audio of this tape)
American misconceptions of Thailand and Thai culture; discipleship opportunities in Bangkok; failure of experiment of having several Thai women live with her for more in-depth discipleship; lessons learned from experiment; head nurse's warning about being "buddy-buddy" with Thai nurses; decision to offer Bible study to all nurse aids and its success; Regional differences in Thailand; rural areas versus the cities; Laotian border people, hill people, and others looked down upon; northern Thai people were formerly self-ruled and maintain distinct ethnicity; central and southern people are basically lower class, poverty-stricken; southerners are rubber tree workers; eighty percent Muslims in south; Buddhism's impact on Thailand as a whole, mixture of Buddhism and other family religions; most social events, marriages, funerals, births, etc., revolve around temple; Situation of Christians in Thailand, their need to renounce past spirit guidance when they accept Christ; difficulty of missionaries in "reading" people's true feelings; Thai college student who "tried out the Christians"

T3 (73 minutes, click to link to the audio of this tape)
Introduction to interview; Negative reactions of family to person becoming Christian; conflict between girl and her mother; converts mostly young people; Superstitions and folk beliefs of Thai people; won't write a person's name in red because it means they are dead; Thai Christians' dealing with death and hell; less concern with death than Westerners; fortune tellers are common; Three varieties of Thai church services: formal, Presbyterian-type service, very elegant, called "Church of Christ in Thailand"; Evangelical churches started by OMF (called "New Life" churches), casual, led by Thai people; and a Charismatic church of eight hundred; issues of Charismatic church; Evangelical and Charismatic churches work together somewhat, but not Church of Christ in Thailand, Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand; Government's relations to churches, beginning of one of the New Life churches, organizing Sunday school classes; Friendships made in Thailand, new church that already had Thai leadership; churches pack much into Sunday because travel during the week is so difficult, ministering in small groups or one-on-one; lack of support from families makes mutual support necessary; choruses popular instead of using hymns; distinctive type of music unique to Thailand; OMF tried to start churches in the home of a Thai person; description of various church buildings and house churches; Syncretism in the Thai churches, especially in the Catholic churches; New Life church hierarchy; one decision-maker for the church; Impact on church and pastor of need to save face, no conference or presbytery to hold church accountable or to guide church, number of OMF workers in Thailand; Need to emphasize personal security to Thai women; results of differences in discipline of children between here and Thailand, children taught that deceit is normal, leads to personal insecurity and superficial friendships; Medical work's place in missions to Thailand, success of hospital in wining people to Christ; clinics and work with lepers, government's concern that hospitals were too influential, nationals have replaced missionaries; Work as ward supervisor, growth of hospital, move to operating room supervisor, her language studies increase; technological upgrading of hospital

T4 (38 minutes, click to link to the audio of this tape)
Trying to get blood donors in early days of the hospital, nurses became frequent donors, most common diseases and sicknesses, accidents, people prefer Christian hospitals over state-run hospitals; religious beliefs sometimes keep people from getting well, foods which Thai people would eat or avoid to cure themselves; belief in wind, fire, earth, and water as health factors; Language work forces cutbacks in medical work, improving language work included translators' seminars with experts Dr. [Eugene] Nida and Dr. [William A.] Smalley, God's call to take over the linguistics part of the mission, OMF board gives permission, language lab established, differences between written and spoken language; Orientation and language problems for new missionaries, Thai guests to the language school; new workers at first mostly singles, now couples are more common; influence of "lifestyle evangelism"; Geography of Thailand which causes work of OMF to be divided into tribal, urban, and Muslim fields; city work began in 1975; rapport between missionaries built during candidate and language schools; occasional clashes with international co-workers; Intensity of work during first few years, interpersonal relations; conflict with roommate and ultimate friendship, being a single missionary on the field, but few hard times; praying for a husband; God has given her joy in her singleness; best part of missionary work were people met and the challenge of the tasks


The material in this collection was given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Dorothy Mainhood in May 1988.

Accession 88-47, 88-53
May 16, 1995
Janyce H. Nasgowitz
K. Cox

Accession 88-47, 88-53
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, 64 minutes. Oral history interview of Dorothy Jane Mainhood by Paul A. Ericksen, May 12, 1988. Topics discussed include her childhood, family, schooling, conversion, nurses training, Wheaton College, decision to be a missionary, acceptance by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, assignment to nursing work in Thailand, language study, and Thai people and culture.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, 39 minutes. Topics include American misconceptions of Thailand, an in-depth discipleship experiment, Bible study group for Thai nurses' aids, regional differences in Thailand, Buddhism in Thailand, cultural differences.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, 73 minutes. Oral history interview of Dorothy Jane Mainhood by Paul A. Ericksen, May 13, 1988. Topics include Thai family reaction to member becoming Christian, superstitions, fortune tellers; syncretism, types of churches in Thailand and their characteristics, church-state relationships, small group and one-on-one ministries, description of home churches.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, one side only, 38 minutes. Continuation of interview of May 13, 1988. Topics include diseases, medical care, beliefs that stand in the way of health care, linguistics work, geography of Thailand, interpersonal relationships, singleness on the mission field, joy in her work.

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Last Revised: 9/10/02
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