Sunday, December 22, 2013

January 25, 1939 - Aba

In which Coralee discusses how to put on a grass roof, and anticipates the upcoming Field Council for Africa Inland Mission. 

Dr. & Mrs. R.E. Kleinschmidt
Africa Inland Mission
Aba, Belgian Congo, via Egypt

January 25, 1939
Dear folks,

Yesterday Ralph took our girls back to Rethi for their new term of school. It has been terrible; they have left such a gap. I've stayed behind because there is so much to be done.

We are in the midst of repairing and also redoing grass roofs. This hot dry season is a good time as there is seldom any rain. Managing these things along with the daily routine is very hard. At the moment it is entirely up to us. I have been doing a lot of it so that Ralph will be free to see to the medical cases where he is so much needed. We wish we were rich and could afford corrugated iron roofs which are simple and fire proof.

This is what it takes to put on a grass roof. Gather long roofing grass in large bundles. When a large amount (tons & tons) is in hand it has to be tied in small bundles. The natives do all this but there must be lots of supervision for they aren't naturally fond of work. Then they get bark from trees for string. The grass is tied in rows onto the framework of the house top. I've nearly cooked today standing in the boiling sun seeing that they did the tying on properly. For if done poorly the roof will always leak. Missionary work is not just preaching from the platform. There are endless jobs that must be done to make the preaching and teaching possible!

Ralph expects to be back in a few days for he will see serious medical cases at a number of the mission dispensaries. Shortly after his return the Field Council which directs the mission work here in Congo will meet here. The field is divided into districts and each district has a representative on the Field Council.

Conference at Aba, date uncertain but probably in the 1930's.
Ralph is in the top row on the far right.
This will be a busy time for Ralph as he is our district representative. They usually meet from 9am – 12:30pm, 2-6pm, and 7:30 – 12 midnight. They meet day after day until all business in hand is settled. Often there are knotty problems and all is very serious business affecting the lives of missionaries and the whole work as a whole.  There are 17 mission stations here in Congo and 82 missionaries. Our field covers a distance of over a thousand miles.

We hope you are all well and that there is lots of joy tucked into each day for you each and every one. We truly had a good time with our girls and now that there is no music or jolly voices, or no one to come and meet me when I come home I feel like my world has changed. Now would we be willing to make this great sacrifice if it were not for the Lord’s work? 

Sometimes when things are difficult - and they often are - we would like to come home and have our own home and live as you do. But we know this is not God’s will for us and we really are happy in Him. He makes the storm clouds separate and He abundantly meets our needs. Although our spiritual needs are great, for Satan is truly our arch enemy here where he has been superior for so long. Material needs are great but we can truly say that God has supplied our needs. Not always perhaps just as we would like, but we have not lacked any good thing. Praise His Name! Our God is living and a loving Heavenly Father and I know that you have found Him the same.

Forgive a rambling letter, I only meant to say a few lines to come along with Esther’s letter. We love you and pray for you. Write us as often as you can. Last mail came and no letter from home after 2 weeks wait. Ralph was keenly disappointed.

Now goodnight with love,


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