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"One Thousand Tribes Untouched":
Elvira Malmstrom Townsend
and the Founding of Wycliffe Bible Translators


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1305 No. Louise, Glendale, Cal.
Feb. 24 - 1942.

Dear Dr. Ironside:

On arriving here at the home of our mutual friends, Mr. and Mrs. Nyman, it was a sore disappointment to Cameron and me to find that you had left only 2 days before our arrival - We had supposed that you were to continue the meetings through Sunday Feb. 1st. There were a number of things that we had liked to talk over with you in regard to the work in Mexico to say nothing of just seeing you and having fellowship together with you once more.

About the middle of December, we mailed you a copy of our little book Latin American Courtesy to the church address. We also wrote you a letter asking if you would kindly make some comment on the book with a view in mind of putting before mission boards such statements as you and a few others might make, for of course, the main objective of the book is to be of service to missionaries working in Latin American lands - Since we have not heard from you we think perhaps the book might have been lost in the mails, especially since it was mailed near the time of the Christmas week - Therefore, I am sending you today another copy under separate cover - I know you are up to your ears “in work all the time but I’m wondering if you could take time to look over the booklet and of course any comment you might wish to make in regard to it would be appreciated, I assure you.

(In the envelope I am also sending you the catalogue of our next summer’s session of Camp Wycliffe to be held at the University of Okla.)

Another little matter - on January 10th we had our first contact with Rev. and Mrs. Clarence Erickson and Mr. And Mrs. Merrill Dunlop of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, in Mexico where they were spending a two week’s vacation - we were with them on a number of occasions and they visited us in our little home in the Indian Village Tetelcingo, where we live, in fact Mr. Erickson brought the evening message to our Aztec congregation on Sunday, January 18th thru our interpreter. The Ericksons and Dunlops became deeply stirred and also very deeply interested not only in the local work of Tetelcingo among the Aztecs but also as regards the entire group of Bible translations, working among 20 different tribes throughout the land of Mexico - of course all our Christian friends who have ever visited us in Mexico and who have seen in part, at least what we are endeavoring to do in giving the Word to those who have it not in their languages - go away - back to the states not only interested but touched at heart - however, we believe Mr. Erickson became more deeply interested & with a desire to actually help.

Now then, I had already left Chicago for the mission field in Guatemala (having gone in July of 1917) before that serious break came between the Moody Church and Paul Rader so that I only knew of conditions as friends in the homeland wrote me and I am wondering if the matter has been healed even through the years - also, I am wondering if they are perfectly sound doctrinally - in other words are we as two local churches united in spirit?

Mr. Erickson, on knowing that we were coming to Calif. was very anxious for both of us to go to Chicago to put before his people the challenge of Mexico’s spiritual need - several times he mentioned to both Cameron and me that he would take care of all expenses in connection with travel from Calif. to Chicago as well as furnish entertainment while we were in Chicago, which of course is not necessary since my people live in Chicago - just a few days ago we received a letter from him and again he says “Remember my offer to pay all expenses for you and your wife from California if you will pay us a visit. Let us know as soon as you can. We would like to have our missionary rally the latter part of April on the first of May... We will be awaiting word from you.” (Signed Clarence Erickson)

Cameron and I had not thought of going to Chicago this year since we are expected by our group in Mexico to take time for real rest and relaxation - a thing which we hadn’t done for a good many years - so we are doing very little speaking even here in Calif. as yet and oh! How we are enjoying our vacation! You can appreciate what it means to be pretty free for a while from the heavy responsibilities in connection with such a work as that of the Wycliffe Bible Translation group in Mexico - naturally, if we were to go to Chicago, we would give first consideration in every respect to our dear Moody Church - however, we would like to know how you feel personally about our taking any part in the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle and would welcome any suggestion from you in this matter.

I should also add that aside from their desire of having Cameron and me to speak at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, they wish to send out a number of their young people to do Bible translation work in Mexico - giving them their full support - to go out with our group. This means of course that these young people will attend our classes this coming summer at the University of Okla. Where Camp Wycliffe will be held from June 10 to Aug. 18th.

With reference again, to my little book, Latin American Courtesy, I am enclosing herewith a letter that I received from Mrs. Lockett who is the wife of our commercial attaché of the U.S. to Mexico. Kindly return to me at your convenience.

Cameron joins me in loving greetings and answering you of our continued prayers for you and for His work there.

Sincerely yours in Christ
Elvira Townsend


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