Billy Graham Center

Papers of Eliza Espineli Chinn - Collection 217

[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 Elisa Espineli Chinn

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

List Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Record)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description
Interview in which Chinn describes growing up in the Philippines, attending Wheaton College Graduate School; working with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines; Filipino Catholicism; and implications of Filipino cultural distinctives for North American missionaries. Also includes written documents: biographical information sheets; versions of THINK HOME, manuals for workshop leaders and self-study to assist international students in their readjustment to their home culture; manuscript, CROSS CULTURAL AWARENESS: OFFENDING THE FILIPINO WITHOUT EVEN TRYING, c, 1972; and prayer letters written between 1979 and 1989. Also includes unprocessed interview recorded in 9/91, in which Chinn describes her work experience in the US since 1979 with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, International Students Inc., and Interaction; her work among university students, international students, the relationship between ministry and family life and organizational culture and politics.

Collection 217 [January 28, 2003]
Chinn, Elisa Espineli; 1948-
Papers; 1972-1993


Copyright to published materials are retained by the donor. There are no other restrictions on the use of this collection.


Elisa Espineli Chinn (usually called Lisa) was born in Quezon City, Philippines on January 19, 1948, to Eusebio and Anastacia Espineli; she had 2 brothers and 4 sisters. While a child, her parents became evangelical Protestants and she was therefore raised in an evangelical home. She herself was converted in 1962. She attended high school at the University of the Philippines High School, participating in the Inter-School Christian Fellowship (IVCF's program for high school students). She completed her B.S. degree in Foreign Service at the University of the Philippines, during that time participating in the campus IVCF chapter. Following her graduation in 1967, she joined the staff of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines, working with students on university campuses and editing the organizational newsletter, Campus Impact. In 1970, she took a leave of absence to continue her education, which she did at the Wheaton College Graduate School, receiving her MA in Communications in 1972. Following her graduation, Chinn worked for the summer with Youth With a Mission in an outreach to western hippies in Afghanistan. She returned to the US in the fall, and served with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (USA) among international students in the Philadelphia area. This ministry among Christian and non-Christian foreign students consisted of evangelistic outreach, building friendships, counseling, linking students with American churches, and providing for their routine needs. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1973, she was temporarily reassigned to campus work, and was then appointed to develop the Literature Department for IVCF. In that capacity she launched Linker, a magazine for university students, and a multi-media program to evangelize students. She concluded her work with IVCF in 1977. She worked as an administrator of a health club in Metro-Manila during 1978 and 1979. In 1979 she moved to the Washington, DC area, where her parents resided. She joined the staff of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the US and resumed her worked among international students. In 1981, she married Leiton Chinn, a member of the staff of International Students, Inc. She continued to work with international students for ISI through a loan agreement from IVCF. In 1982, she resigned from Inter-Varsity to join ISI. While on staff with ISI, Chinn conducted workshops among students and congregations, emphasizing ministry to international students, with particular emphasis on orientation for those newly arrived and re-entry preparation for those returning to their home countries. In 1984 she wrote the workbook Think Home, a "tool for Christian Internationals as they consider and prepare to return home"; the manual was revised in 1987. In 1986 Chinn was secunded, along with her husband, from ISI to INTERACTION INC., which also emphasized ministry to international students; they returned to their work with ISI in 1988. They were secunded in 1989 to the Association of Christian Ministries to Internationals. In 1990 the Chinns resigned from ISI to join INTERACTION.

The Chinns had three children, Lani (b. 1982), Eric (b. 1984) and Lea (b. 1988).

Scope and Content

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "Folder 2-5" means Box 2, Folder 5.]

The collection consists of an oral history interview with Chinn; her graduate school creative project, "Cross Cultural Awareness: Offending the Filipino Without Even Trying," which is intended to inform western missionaries coming to the Philippines (Folder 1-2); two versions of Think Home, one a manual for leading workshops and the other a self-study manual, both intended to assist international students who have studied in the United States, in readjusting the their home cultures (Folder 1-3); Chinn's prayer letters from 1979 to 1993, describing her ministry among international students in the United States (Folder 1-4); and a resume and brief autobiography of her Christian journey (Folder 1-1).

Lisa Espineli Chinn was interviewed by Galen Wilson on June 3, 1982, at the Archives office at Wheaton College. The time period covered by the interview from 1950's to 1982. 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.

Tape T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:45 Introduction to interview on June 3, 1982.
01:30 Family, growing up in the urban Philippines, use of Filipino and English languages, Catholic family background, family's conversion through influence of Filipino pastor.
05:15 Protestant evangelism in predominantly Catholic Philippines: home evangelistic Bible study; Catholic ostracism of Protestants in the 1950's; comparison with present-day situation; evangelizing those who already think they are Christians; Filipino response to Catholic beliefs; Catholic ideas in Filipino culture, emotional role of Mary, Catholic overlay on animism (syncretism), need for a mediator.
21:45 Wheaton College: reasons for attending, adjusting to American culture, Filipinos desire to avoid standing out in the crowd, problems with English pronunciation and idioms, personal development, influential faculty (Chaplain Evan Welsh, Charles Horne, Marv Mayers), her bi-cultural project (see Folder 1-2), observations about differences between Americans and Filipinos. Her education in the Philippines.
44:00 End of side 1.

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 1.
00:15 Activities after graduation. Process of being "Americanized," reasons for going to America, readjusting to Filipino culture, expectations of her as a returning Filipina, recollections of first few days back in the Philippines, dichotomy of feelings toward America and its culture; necessity of servant attitude to minister to Filipinos.
20:15 Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines: campus duties, directing the literature department, birth and demise of magazine, Linker; started multi-media production. Financial support of IVCF-Philippines. Link with the American IVCF. Filipino character of IVCF-Philippines (sense of family). Administration of IVCF-Philippines.
34:45 Qualities of "a good missionary" in the Philippines. Advice for missionaries coming to the Philippines.
43:45 End of side 2.

Tape T1 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 2: Continuation of advice for missionaries. Appeal for missionaries to the Philippines.
04:30 End of interview.


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in June 1982 and May 1990. Subsequent prayer letters were received and added to the collection, 1990-1993.

Acc.: 82-81, 84-113, 84-117, 90-52
May 16, 1990
Paul A. Ericksen
K. Elwell

January 20, 1994
Sara Henning
P. Ericksen
M. Larson

Accession : 82-81
Type of material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the Audio Tape File.

T1 -Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 90 minutes, one side only. Interview with Elisa Espineli Chinn by Galen Wilson. Discussion of childhood, family religious environment, education at Wheaton College Graduate School, ministry with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines, Catholicism in the Philippines, and cultural differences between Filipinos and Americans and missiological implications of those differences. Recorded June 3, 1982.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Biographical information; 1979, 1988
1 2 Manuscript: Cross Cultural Awareness: Offending the Filipino Without Even Trying; 1972
1 3 Manuscripts: Think Home; 1984
1 4 Prayer letters; 1979-1993

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Last Revised: 1/28/03
Expiration: indefinite