Luebo, Belgian Congo, March 27, 1921
Dear Mother and Daddy:
This is Sunday afternoon, and we are generally at Sunday School but are staying home today. Sunday is usually our busiest day. We go to a service in the morning, 9:30 till nearly 11:00, then Sunday School in the afternoon till almost 5:00, then at 5:00 we have our English service for missionaries.
The Lapsley came in Wednesday afternoon, with two new missionaries for us. You no doubt remember us telling about Mr. Gilliam in Brussels; he stayed there after we left to study French; he and a Mr. Shive, also from Texas, came on the Lapsley. Then a very important event to our household in the coming of the Lapsley was the fact that our Montgomery
Ward order came on it, too, and we had a big time opening it yesterday morning and afternoon. There were 10 boxes in all, so you see we had quite a lot to unpack. We had 20 boxes ordered, but so far only 19 have come; however, we are not bothering about this one as it contained a spring and mattress and these we do not need as we have some. But it may show up later, in which case we shall no doubt turn it over to the Station. Practically everything came in good shape, one tin of milk out of two cases, spoiled, three tins of canned fruit out of three or four dozen, no jars broken and there were four or five dozen bottles. Now our store room looks good, and we wish you could come in and have a look, then you wouldn't mind stopping in to dine with us. We have another order coming from England that will no doubt be here in a few months. I suppose a good deal of this we shall dispose of to others-there is no trouble in selling standard articles out here.
We have just recently begun to have company in our home, and while our supply of silver, and other ornaments, isn't so large, still it makes a nice looking table. And we think our set of dishes, tho not elegant, are neat a gold band border. As our curtains are all up and things in general in fairly good order we feel a little more at home.
Your nice letter, dated Dec. 31, came on the Lapsley, too. We enjoyed reading about your trip to Camden, and your gathering out there with Hickman, Nettie and James. We are glad you liked the pictures; we wanted to have some taken before we came out here, so we could compare "before and after" on our furlough. No, it will not take a few years long to slip away; when you get this letter, it will have been pretty close to a year since we left. The weeks certainly slip by out here, and the days--they seem almost too short. We have both been well; Dot has had but very few and very slight touches of her nettle rash. This is hard to understand; ever since leaving New York, it has almost disappeared.
(The following is not for the public, but personal. We have to be careful about what we write as our letters and articles are very often misinterpreted, so when you let others read what we write you, please remember this, not that we don't want other people to know, but often statements without explanations are misunderstood.)
There is a law at this time forbidding steamers to bring gunpowder up to the Kasai District--which is what Luebo district is called--and the crew on the Lapsley on this trip decided to smuggle quite a bit of powder. About half-way up several of the crew were gathered around and arguing about a little sack of powder, about 1/4 lb., and in some way
(it was at night) the powder caught fire, or blew up, and burned several of the men, three of them were very badly burned, one had more than 2/3 of his entire skin burned off and he died later; the other two were very badly burned, but are doing fairly well now. Of course, as the powder was in open sack it was merely the fire and not an explosion, but the serious part is that it might have set fire to the steamer. The men seem to realize the seriousness of what this breaking of the law meant, and it will no doubt serve as a warning to them along this and other lines in the future. Our steamer means so much to us now that its loss could not be estimated in dollars, for it would be difficult to replace it at all in any reasonable length of time. We were certainly glad that we came up on it rather than on one of the trading or state steamers. The Sunday School children who contributed their nickels (and I was one of them) toward giving this steamer gave a great and useful gift. [Ed – see story of the building of both (there were two) Lapsley steamers – you may need to scroll down]
(Dorothy also wrote you about this. Please do not let others read same.)
April 1st --Your nice letter of the 6th of January has just reached us this afternoon, and we enjoyed it -as usual. Dorothy was taking a nap and I woke her up when the mail came. Usually she doesn't wake up with a start, but when I held your letter up to her she didn't take long to wake up.
We certainly are grieved to hear that Dr. Taylor is to have another operation. From what I know of the case, it looks rather serious, but trust he will recover as well as he did the last time he had an operation.
As mail closes at 4:30 we must get some other mail written. Trusting this finds you both enjoying your usual health plus, and with lots of love.