Billy Graham Center

Click here to return to the "The Zamzam has been a long time in sinking!"

[Note: Following are the transcripts of several postcards that Walter John Guilding sent to his pastor during his long incarceration in Germany and France. Notes from the transcriber are in brackets. Notes on the cards not by Guilding are not included. The original postcards are in Collection 330, Box 35, Folder 6]

From Collection 330, Box 35, Folder 6 From Collection 330, Box 35, Folder 6

17th September 1941

Dear Dr. Ironside: [H.A. Ironside, pastor of Moody Memorial Church of Chicago, of which Guilding was a member. The church helped to support the Guildings' missionary work.] Letters and cards can only be sent to relatives, but I understand by special permission cards can be sent to one's church, so I am writing this. Greetings to all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am well and happy in the Lord. We have daily prayer-meetings and also Bible studies on certain days; two services on the Lord's Day and a mid-week praise meeting. I have very much to praise the Lord for and find His grace sufficient in this time of need. The Lord is teaching me lessons I need to learn. Mrs. Guilding is in another camp a long way from here. I appreciate the prayers on our behalf and ask you to continue to pray for us. I have all and abound having received from a friend a Bible. This camp is pleasantly situated. It is nice to look out on the green fields and trees and other beauties of nature, but, of course, better far to see them through the eye of faith. Walter J. Guilding

13th February 1942

Dear Dr. Ironside. I was so pleased to receive your letter of October 30th the early part of this month. I had previously heard of your dear son being called home to be with the Lord. May Mrs. Ironside, yourself, and all other loved be sustained and comforted by our God, who is the God of all comfort. My dear wife is still in Berlin and we can only pray the Lord’s will be done in regard to her release as in all other matters. She is well. A few ladies there have a weekly Bible class at which Mrs. Guilding takes her turn. She was privileged to speak three times at a Baptist Convention last month. I have just received a letter from Mr. Camp. Glad to read that the debt on the Church is being reduced rapidly. I am keeping well and quite busy, having recently been chosen as Non-conformist Chaplain to the camp. Sorry to say the hundreds of men here seem quite indifferent to the Gospel, about 150 turn out to service on the Lord’s Day. We believe some souls have been saved, but we long to see a greater and more blessed work done for Christ. Love to all the members. Pray for us. Yours, W. J. Guilding

* * * * *
29th May 1942

Dear Dr. Ironside. I am sorry it is not possible to write you often, but I can write occasionally. Let me first thank all the praying friends. You can tell them that their prayers are being answered in that our loving Father is graciously caring for us and supplying our needs. We both keep well. My dear wife visited me a month ago. We expected then that she would have been on her way to Canada o’er this, but there has been a delay. She with 6 other ladies are now living on the outskirts of Berlin in a bungalow lent them rent free by a servant of the Lord. It is a wonderful provision. We still pray and trust they may soon be repatriated. I have not received any news from the States for a long time now, but heard through my sisters in England that the members of our family are well. I sometimes think of Livingstone [David Livingstone, English missionary to Africa and explorer of the last 19th century] who went two years without hearing from loved ones. What a blessing it is to know the Lord is always with us. We, the pastors, have a daily prayer-meeting and there is a Lord’s Day Service and mid-week song service for the camp. The weather is glorious. I trust Mrs. Ironside and yourself are well and being blessed of the Lords. Greetings to all at Moody Church. Yours, W. J. Guilding.

* * * * *
10th July 1942

Dear Dr. Ironside. Quite naturally my mind is quite taken up with my wife’s release. A cable was received six days ago. I heard of her safe arrival in New York. We can only say “To God be the glory.” I want to thank you and the members of the Church for your prayers. They have been answered and now my dear wife is in your midst. It all seems so marvelous, for only a month ago she was in Berlin. I trust she will be blessed and made a blessing whenever she attends the Moody Church. Now we must continue to pray that the Lord will open the door for her to get back to Africa. We both long to be there. It may be that she will precede me. Our times are in His hands. We continue our Lord’s Day and mid-week meetings. The hall is fairly well filled, but the great majority of men in the camp have no desire for spiritual things. Some have professed conversion. A few of us pastors have a daily prayer meeting, which is a great blessing. We are enjoying lovely summer weather these days. I am thankful to say I keep very well. There is so much to praise the Lord for. Mr. Mundy joins me in sending Christian greetings to you one and all. [William Mundy was also a missionary to Africa and a fellow passenger on the Zamzam.] Yours in Christ, W. J. Guilding

* * * * *
7th January 1943

Dear Dr. Ironside. I am glad to let you know that the Lord is blessing us. I am in very good health and am able to keep quite busy. Yesterday we concluded a series of Bible teachings. The subject was “The Translation of the Church.” The men paid good attention for an hour, which of course was all too short to speak on “the blessed hope.” We believe the Lord has blessed his own word to some of the men. Our Lord’s Day Services continue to be fairly well attended. There has been an increase in numbers of late, but what we want to see is a mightier work of the Holy Spirit bringing about definite conversions, and perhaps I should have said “a deeper work in your own hearts” first. We have a nice little room for 4 pastors and have good times together: a daily prayer meeting to which some of the other pastors come. I took up the study of Greek, believing it to be helpful. Sometimes I find myself too busy to get down to the study of it. I trust you are experiencing blessing in the church: souls being saved and saints edified. I am able to remember you in prayer. I believe my dear wife is well, although I have not heard from her for some time. It was quite mild until a couple of weeks ago; now we have several inches of snow. We have so much to be thankful for. The Lord is good and gracious. Christian Greetings to Moody friends. Trust Mrs. Ironside, yourself and family are well. W. J. Guilding

* * * * *
29th April 1943.

Dear Dr. Ironside. I find it is over 3 months since I last wrote you. Time goes very quickly, even in an internment camp. The days fly by, also the weeks and months, and now I can say years, for 2 years has passed since that eventful day in the South Atlantic. I am sure you have been hearing about me through my wife. The Lord is very good to me. He gives grace sufficient and his mercies are manifold. I keep very well. I have a good appetite and also sleep well: two great blessings. We have just completed a series of meetings. We thank God for the manifest interest on the part of the men as the glorious Gospel was proclaimed. We are sure that God’s Word does not return unto Him void. We are holding a Bible Class weekly; some 2 dozen men attend. Mr. Mundy is teaching the present series. I have been pleased to receive a little news from Africa, and to know that in spite of difficulties, the Lord is graciously blessing. In the Machakos area I hear the Lord is especially blessing amongst the children. I think of you and the members of the Moody Church, and you are in my prayers. I know I am in yours, and am indeed grateful. My wife informs me of so many who are praying for me. Prayer is a work which we can carry on at any time and in any place, Well, thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. Christian greetings to the brethren. Trust you and yours are well. Yours in our Coming Lord, W. J. Guilding.

* * * * *
11th December 1943.

Dear Dr. Ironside. I note it is more than 3 months since my last card to you. No doubt you have heard about me through my dear wife. Time slips by so quickly: almost another year gone. Many hope for peace next year, that would be blessed, but still more blessed is the ‘blessed hope’ of our Lord’s return. We are now in another camp, far away from Tost. This camp is at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, therefore the scenery is beautiful. We are reminded of Psalm 121:1. Remembering, of course, verse two. Our number of pastors are diminished, some having gone to another camp. The spiritual work is an uphill task. The Roman Catholics are strong in these parts, as you will know, and the breath of them is strong in the camp. When we are a little more settled I trust we shall be able to re-commence our Bible Classes. We are glad to meet each evening for prayer: just a small company of us. We do long to see a greater work done for our Lord, and how much more does He long to see it. May we be more usable! I trust there is much blessing at the Church. Some people here have been glad to read some of your books. We have a small lending library. Mr. Mundy did that work at Tost, having some 50 books in the hands of the men, I continue to keep very fit. I trust all your family are well. Christian greetings to all at the Church. Yours in Him, W. J. Guilding.

* * * * *
27th December, 1943

Dear Dr. Ironside. One of the looked-forward-to joys of internment is to receive letters. It was a joy to receive your letter of Aug. 31st, written at Buffalo. It is very evident that some letters from U.S.A. do not get through. I know this, as some of my wife’s letters do not reach me. I am sure the Lord blessed at the annual meeting of the A.I.M [Africa Inland Mission]. I am glad Mrs. Mundy and my wife were able to take part. Mr. Mundy and I are now far from each other, as he was not sent to another camp. Several months ago, Col. Estill had the great pleasure of being re-united with his wife, and they are at a camp not far from here. I am sorry I cannot correspond with him. The present season seems to bring out more than ever what is in human nature: it is very manifest amongst the men in the camp. Glad to say a fair number attended services, when once again the Gospel was given forth. A few of us have good times of fellowship together, and are able to praise God and keep smiling. ‘The joy of the Lord is our strength!’ I am grateful to the many who remember me in prayer. It helps tremendously. Trust the Lord is continuing to bless at the Church. May it be that a blessed Revival takes place. Christian Greetings to all friends. Yours as ever in Christ, W. J. Guilding

* * * * *
27th January 1944

Dear Dr. Ironside. I wrote you a month ago in reply to your letter of Aug. 31st, and now I have your letter of Aug. 17th. Nothing is regular as far as the mail is concerned. Thank you for your helpful words. It is such an encouragement to know that so many of God’s children are praying for me. The Lord gives me wonderfully good health. I have a marvelous appetite! We have lots of food: there is a large number of Red Cross parcels stored in the camp. Many weeks went by without any letter getting through from my wife. (That is one of the hardest trials) but recently I was cheered with messages from her. (We have been able to start Bible Classes again. They are weekly: we have just had a class this evening: not many present, but good interest.) The Lord’s Word will not return unto him void. So glad some of our missionaries have been able to get back to the field. We hope the time will not be far distant when we, too, will be back at Machakos. We know that will take place in the Lord’s good time. We can trust Him. Much wet weather here, but not cold. (We have very helpful prayer-meetings daily in our little room: just a few of us. Nothing can shut out prayer, except sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” but +c [this symbol perhaps means “but for the cross of Christ.”]. Christian greetings to the saints at the Church. The Lord bless you and yours. Yours as ever in Christ, W. J. Guilding

* * * * *
7th July 1944

Dear Dr. Ironside. These are days in which we have to patiently wait and murmur not as far as letters are concerned. There are scarcely any coming through, either from England or the States. I have been blessed, in that I have received word from my dear wife. It gave me quite a thrill when I opened a letter and found it was from Lisbon. I did not know she had sailed. My last word from her was dated May 29th from Madeira. The Lord has answered prayer in sending her back, + I know I know how many are praying for her safe arrival. My last letter from our daughter Grace, who is in Florida, greatly cheered me: she spoke of many praying for me at their mid-week prayer meeting. She attends Dr. Watson’s church. He is a graduate of the T. Sem. In Dallas. [Dallas Theological Seminary] Do you know him? There is talk about repatriation, and of course we hope it will soon take place. I am naturally keener than ever to get back to Africa and join my wife. The Lord gives wonderful grace and patience. Many men are so ‘fed up’ with long internment. They do not know the Lord, so cannot experience His peace and rest. We have been encouraged by seeing a growing congregation on the Lord’s Day. We meet around the Lord’s Table monthly. There has been an increase of both Bible Class and Song Service, which are held on Wednesdays. I trust there is continued blessing at the Moody Church. It is good to read of your son assisting in the work. We are having very hot weather just now, but it is very changeable here. I keep very fit. Christian greetings to you + the fellow believers. Yours in Christ, W. J. Guilding.

* * * * *
18th August 1944

Dear Dr. Ironside. Since my last card to you, I have received no less than 3 letters from you, dated March 25+28, and the last one April 14th, written at Dallas. Thank you much. Letters are such a blessing. Sorry it is not possibly to always answer promptly. I received a letter from E. Africa, in which it stated the passing away of an old friend, Mr. Farnsworth. I shall miss him when I get back to Machakos. I like to think of my dear wife being there now, although I am not absolutely sure of that. I think Mr. Mundy must be in England. A number were repatriated from his camp, and he was on the sick list. But again, I am not sure. We were a little excited about repatriation a month or so ago, but that has died down now. There is a longing that the war might be over: men are getting so tired of internment. There are some real nice men whose nerves are getting the better of them. It is a strain, and only the grace of God is sufficient. Some of us Christian men are so favoured, because we are upheld by the prayers of 1000's of friends. Ralph Davis wrote me a little while ago, + said, he thought that Mr. Mundy + I were remembered in prayer more than anybody else. Trust you are well. The Lord continue to bless you. Greetings to the fellow believers at the Church. The weather is grand. We have many blessings. Your brother in Christ, W. J. Guilding.

Return to BGC Archives Home Page

Last Revised: 5/1/07
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2007