An interview with Dr. Russell
Shedd, Missionary Statesman.
Dr. Russell Shedd has been a missionary in Brazil for many years.
He has made very significant contributions in the fields of Bible Translation
and Christian literature publishing in Brazil and throughout the Portuguese
speaking world. He has a unique background, growing up in remote missionary
outposts in South America in the 1930's. He is a key figure in Missionary history.
Dr. Russell Shedd is a member of First Baptist Church of Bloomfield, New Jersey.
The following is a transcript of
an interview with Dr. Shedd that was conducted
and recorded by the Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College in 1982.
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the oral history interview of Russell Philip Shedd (CN 201, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, or obliterated by simultaneous speaking, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations, such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Foreign terms or phrases which are not commonly understood appear in italics. Readers should remember that this is a transcription of spoken English, which, of course, follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Paul Ericksen and Sara Henning, and completed in July 1994.
Collection 201, T1. Interview of Russell Shedd by Galen Wilson on February 10, 1982.
WILSON: This is the Billy Graham Center Archives. It is Wednesday morning, February 10, 1982. We are here with Dr. Russell Shedd, who is a missionary with the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Board [sic, Society] in Brazil. Now, the first thing that I would like to talk about is your experiences growing up as a missionary kid in Bolivia. I didn't realize that about you 'til I was doing a little research on you. You were born in...?
SHEDD: Aiquile, Bolivia.
WILSON: And your parents were...?
SHEDD: Missionaries under the, at that time, Bolivian Indian Mission. It changed its name to the Andes Evangelical [Mission], and now is part of the SIM, just very recently.
WILSON: Sudan Interior? Huh?!
SHEDD: No longer called Sudan Interior.
WILSON: Oh, it...it...its just called SIM, period.
SHEDD: SIM. It has another meaning, yeah.
WILSON: What does it mean?
SHEDD: I'm not certain. I've forgotten [laughs]. But it [pauses]...services or something. S-.... But it's no longer Sudan, because they have branched out to other parts of the world.
WILSON: And your father's name was...?
SHEDD: My father's name was Leslie Martin Shedd and my mother's was Della Johnston and they met at Moody [Bible Institute of Chicago], and served in this country in a home mission project for awhile in Arkansas before going to Bolivia in the...about 1921, I believe, was the year they arrived.
WILSON: Now, do you remember what [pauses]...I don't want to say what caused them to go to the mission field [laughs], but what...what inspired them to try this [?]?
SHEDD: I don't know the details. I...I know that they originally intended to go to India, but something blocked the way for them there and they heard of the wide open field amongst the Bolivian Indians. And my father and mother were attracted to this. Their colleagues, the Winterstiens [?], were also concerned to go. The work was just really getting started there amongst the Quechua Indians of Bolivia. And so they applied and were accepted. But [laughs] what really moved them to make that change, they'd always intended to go once they'd sensed this call at Moody to the field. They had originally wanted to go to India.
WILSON: Was that something that...something they had not felt before they went to Moody?
SHEDD: I don't really know just where this occurred. I know my father was interested in languages and so that indicates that he must have been interested in foreign countries even before he went to Moody. He went to Middlebury College, which is...
SHEDD: That is in New Hampshire. No Vermont, Middlebury, Vermont. And that's where he began his study of language and he became almost an expert in Bolivia on language. He wrote the first grammar of the Quechua language, Quechua-English, and helped in the translation of the New Testament to the Quechua language, way back in the twenties [laughs]. And he was always considered by our mission to be something of an expert in the...in the language, because even after he retired, [he was] invited back to...to the head up the Quechua Institute teaching missionaries how to speak the language.
WILSON: And now, what...is the Quechua language something that's unique?
SHEDD: No. It's...it's [pauses] the language of the ancient Incas. The descendants of the Incas speak Quechua all the way from Ecuador down to northern Argentina, something like a variation....
WILSON: Was it different from Spanish?
SHEDD: Oh, totally, totally. It is like an American Indian language: very difficult, very complex grammatical structure.
WILSON: Had it ever been cataloged before? I mean, if you grow up in a...in a language you can kind of intuit the grammar. But...but it had never been hammered out in a systematic way?
SHEDD: Well, I...I really don't know that...what had been done before my father worked on it and...and wrote this [unclear word]. I know this was an English grammar of Quechua.
WILSON: Oh, okay.
SHEDD: So they'd been done in Spanish, and so forth. There must have been a great deal of work done, because it's spoken by millions of people. It's almost...the majority of the people in Bolivia would be [pauses] Quechua descendents, as well as Peru, Ecuador. You have the...the two classes of people: the mestizos, who are Quechua-Spanish background, and, of course, the pure Quechua Indians who lived in the more remote highland villages.
WILSON: The...Spanish is the official language, is it not?
SHEDD: Yes, yes.
WILSON: Now...but a lot of the natives cannot speak the official language. Is that the idea?
SHEDD: Yes, that would be the case. In fact, my father in 1945 opened up the Quechua Bible Institute where he worked with great satisfaction for years, based on this idea, because there were Spanish-speaking institutes, but there hadn't been one for Indians [sound of passing train] that spoke only Quechua and they didn't know Spanish.
WILSON: Now, your parents did not stay in just one place in Bolivia, did they?
WILSON: What was the reason form moving from here to there or....
SHEDD: They were assigned by the field conference or council to evangelize certain regions or areas based on a...a sort of central town. That's the reason I was born in Aquile, which was a sort of a town of that particular region, rather small region. Then we moved to Totora, then to Arani, and then to Cliza. And then finally Dad started the Institute in Carachi Pampa, which is outside of Cochabamba. So they were moving with idea of evangelizing regions.
WILSON: How successful was that?
SHEDD: Seems to me, as I look back, (and I am not in a good position to evaluate the work), that at that time work was very slow, especially amongst the Indians. Until about 1945...to the end of the Second World War, there as very, very little fruit amongst the Indians. There was much more amongst the mestizos [person of mixed European and American Indian ancestry] and Spanish speaking. But, [clears throat] about that time there was a [pauses] real change in the attitude. Now literally hundreds, I'm sure thousands now have become Christians amongst the Quechuas. And, of course, the Aymaras have had a real people movement in northern Bolivia, where tens of thousands have become Christians. But at that time there was very little and it took a great deal of perseverance to...to maintain the work at all.
WILSON: To what do you attribute this sudden [pauses] turn-over?
SHEDD: I've never heard anyone discuss what...what brought this about.
WILSON: And you yourself were not in Bolivia from that time onward.
SHEDD: No. I had left in '43 to study in this country and I was not there when this change came about. But what has caused it, men like Peter Wagner who lived in Bolivia and were there at the time, might be in a better position to explain. I really don't know.
WILSON: Did your father ever surmise anything about it or...?
SHEDD: No. He just stood in wonder of it [laughs]. And [clears throat] the institute had a...had a part to play in this because the...the Indians lived in the remoter areas and missionaries had a greater deal of difficulty moving in and communicating with them. They didn't learn the language well, generally. But once this movement came about, the Indians came down to study and to go back, and...and the results were really phenomenal. People who'd never heard the gospel before suddenly were hearing it, in a...[clears throat] in a blanketing fashion, which was...it was really fascinating to see back in the fifties, sixties [coughs] on into our own time.
WILSON: And hearing it from fellow natives.
SHEDD: Right, made a big difference. But they were willing to evangelize from village to village, house-to-house kind of thing, which before was really impractical [clears throat].
WILSON: What was your mother's role in all these years?
SHEDD: Besides keeping house and keeping the family together and so forth, she was...she was involved much more in the local scene. We were always involved in the local church. My dad was running or pastoring and seeking to train on a one-to-one basis, kind of a discipling ministry, the...the leaders of these churches. And he would visit the outlying ranchos, as we called them, where there would be a group of Christians as people came to know Christ and accept Him. So Mother tended to work with the people closer to home, because she didn't travel, she didn't usually ride her bicycle or ride the horse. At the earlier stages it was by horse and later on by bicycle. And so the central location where she was more involved, especially with the women...I can still remember as a child going with her to visit these people, who would often be with...reading the Scriptures, explaining the Bible to them, even to the men, though she would naturally feel a special with the women.
WILSON: Was that well received by the natives?
SHEDD: Yes. I didn't sense any...any opposition to this or even despising of the feminine role involved in this missionary service.
WILSON: And even the men would listen to her?
SHEDD: Yes. Yes they would [pauses] if they were home. Oftentimes they would be off working in the fields or something, but this didn't bother Mother.
WILSON: Now your mother was obviously adept at the language then also.
SHEDD: Yes, she...she'd learned it quite well. She never got the Quechua as well, but since we were working with mestizos in...in the towns this was no great disadvantage. She could communicate, but not anything like the...the fluency that Dad had.
WILSON: Now, your parents retired to Florida.
SHEDD: My father did. My mother died in Bolivia back in '59. And my father had retired, having remarried, down in Bolivia, a single missionary from the mission. He retired to Florida in '68 and died two-and-a-half years ago. And now my step-mother has gone back. She's back in Bolivia working with the women's ministry and discipling and working in the office of the mission, and will probably remain, who knows for...until she retires [laughs].
WILSON: She's a relatively young woman?
SHEDD: She's in her sixties now, so she'll be coming up to retirement very soon, but....
WILSON: Much younger than your father.
SHEDD: Quite a bit, yes. I'd say probably fifteen years younger....sixteen years younger.
WILSON: And did...they had all known each other...
SHEDD: Yes, [unclear phrase].
WILSON: ...together in Bolivia.
SHEDD: Yes, she'd been there years before.
WILSON: Now, you were the third...third child...
WILSON: ...in your family. And tell me a little about your brothers and sisters.
SHEDD: My brother, Hudson, came here to Wheaton. It was through him that both my sister, Helen, and I came to Wheaton. He graduated from Faith [Bible Seminary, Elkins Park, an area of Philadelphia] and applied to the Bolivian Indian Mission and he's evangelical, and was there for, I don't recall how many years (before working with the seminary program and Bible Institute program in Cochabamba in the Spanish language), that he felt led to apply to the Soldiers and Sailors Gospel Mission, which he joined and worked in Chile for years and he then transferred in location from Chile about the time of Allende over to Uruguay and spent some years there. He's now been made the director of the mission and is now living in Florida in Ft. Lauderdale and the mission has changed its name. It's no longer the Soldiers and Sailors but now the Gospel Mission of South America with missionaries in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
WILSON: And your sister Helen?
SHEDD: Helen has been in Guatemala for about thirty years. She...I think she went out in '51. She graduated from here went to National Bible Institute Medical Program, married David Eckstrom, who graduated from Columbia Bible College and they applied to the CAM (Central America Mission]. And they have been working in the Chuj have completed the New Testament and...and other things in the Chuk language besides evangelization. They are now working with Aquatec, as well as other languages. They're not the only languages. But [clears throat] she's inherited her dad's affinity for language, as well as her husband [?]. They're both...had a great deal of interest. So they're...now they're working with the Aquatec language, as well as the Mam. She works a word processor system [clears throat] and...with the Bible Society, and they're now in Huehuetenango, so they have been very busy over the years doing this.
WILSON: And your younger sister?
SHEDD: My younger sister is married to a teacher of science and math.
WILSON: Her name is?
SHEDD: She is Phyllis, Phyllis Martin, married to Ray Martin, who is a teacher at the Lexington Christian High.
WILSON: In Lexington...?
WILSON: Okay. You were born, what, 1929 in...in Bolivia and you didn't see the US 'til you were what, almost five?
SHEDD: I came for a furlough just about five. I remember I...my birthday was here in the States in North Carolina where my mother grew up and where we remained for that year as a family. And that was my first contact with the US, yes.
WILSON: When...with most missionaries we like to ask them their first impressions of the foreign field and the culture shock and all. But this is a very interesting case because of...now I want to ask you what...if you can remember, and you were awfully young, but [pauses].... I...I guess I'm looking for the...the fact that you're coming to what is your homeland somewhat as a foreigner. Do you remember anything about what...how America struck you when...when you first saw it? What was different in America from Bolivia?
SHEDD: I remember being extremely eager to see everything. I remember even as a...as a four year old when we landed in New York coming by ship, that I was extremely put out with my mother for letting me sleep as the bus came out. I'd fallen asleep somewhere, been tired, had gotten up very early or something, and had fallen asleep on the Greyhound driving out...coming out of New York. And I was so...
WILSON: You mean from New York to Carolina?
SHEDD: ...so upset, yes, with mother for letting me sleep instead of keeping me awake. She put me off, of course, as any mother would do. [Wilson laughs] And I'd get a chance to see it again sometime. I was very much fascinated by the country and by the progress that even then.... You see, when I was a child automobiles or trucks were very rare items in Bolivia and it was the fascination of seeing one, I still remember, was very great. And here suddenly, we're thrown into a society where they're everywhere. And there was so much to see. I was...I was very impressed [laughs] with the progress of America, impressed with the food. I remember ice cream being a great delight at that age, and cant' believe at my birthday party at...at age five...as I turned five that you could all that you wanted. This was an unknown factor in Bolivia, by the way, as a...as a child. We'd never had ice cream and they were just beginning to make it. And I remember as I...from the next period back in Bolivia they had opened in Cochabamba, which is our main city, an ice cream parlor which was something I'd...I'm sure I got to go to once or twice in all those seven years. It was a special delight. So the culture shock was very favorable [laughs] from my point of view.
WILSON: Now the America that you came to (that was 1934, right?)...the America you came to from Bolivia was not what most Americans remember as being a very happy or very good time in our history. How did it compare with Bolivia?
SHEDD: Oh, it was still far better than...than Bolivia. I remember one thing that...that caused my parents some problem, that I'd...that we were at a church picnic and I'd seen a women there drop a crust of bread somewhere behind a log. And I went and pulled it out and gave it back to her and said, "You dropped this." And she, of course, was very embarrassed by this, because she had really intended to drop it. And I hadn't realized that fully, hadn't reasoned that far ahead, because, of course, we'd never wasted anything. And missions were supported on a shoestring at that time. I don't know how well you are aware. I...I think that our family lived on about a hundred dollars for food, and that would [unclear]...
SHEDD: ...for a year. We were [clears throat]...we were on a system whereby all the funds that came into the mission were pooled. And they paid rent and then, of course, depending on the size of the family, you got so much to live on. But we lived pretty much on potatoes and corn and a few other very reasonable items. Of course, dollars went a lot further there. The exchange was very favorable to us. But it was something like that as I recall. You'd really have to have asked my dad [laughs] if that was really factual, but as I recall that was about 1930s, early 30s.
WILSON: Well, had Bolivia been hit by the depression as well?
SHEDD: It was hit not only by the depression but by war. It was at that time fighting Paraguay and was losing so this caused shortages and also gave the dollar more value because they needed to import things on the dollar. Inflation was favorable to the dollar at the time.
WILSON: Why would Bolivia and Paraguay fight each other?
SHEDD: Well, because Paraguay was invading what Bolivia considered her own land. And it really was undetermined who owned the Chaca region, but Bolivian maps always drew it with Bolivia as owning it, and Paraguay, of course, always drew it as Paraguay. And finally they had to settle the issue and they...it was a disaster for Bolivia. It was too far. They didn't have the means. Paraguay was a lot closer to home and they were able to [laughs]...to manage the war in their favor a lot...did better.
WILSON: Did the war have any effect in the mission work?
SHEDD: Not that I recall, except that, of course, a lot of young men were lost and [pauses]...and its affect on financial situations and shortages and so forth. But other than that, I can't remember anything.
SHEDD: There was no bombing or anything like that. The Paraguayans never got up that far. They just simply took over that particular tail of the bird. Bolivia looks like a bird and it was the tail, is no longer there now. It's been cut off.
WILSON: The...I guess what I was meaning that...was [pauses] that in America, when we wind up in war, we tend to get just a little...shade more religious.
SHEDD: Oh. [laughs] I can't remember that it had any effect. It may have. I really don't know.
WILSON: Now, you mentioned potatoes and corn. Now that's mainly carbohydrates. Did you ever eat meat? [laughs]
SHEDD: Yes, I recall that we had meat, generally, at least in the la...later periods, let's say from '34 to...to '43 [clears throat] that we had meat once a week. That was usually lamb. I remember that was our staple. And it would be one leg for the week, and it would be a Sunday dinner. And [clears throat, pauses]...so we weren't deprived in any sense. We certainly didn't suffer from poor health or anything like that because of it.
WILSON: Was your standard of living generally equal to or above the native standard of living? Did...did...did you as missionaries tend to live a little better than the natives?
SHEDD: Maybe a little better. I...I guess so. It would be hard to compare, because there were some nationals who had probably a better way of life. We lived very, very simply. I do recall that. I remember that our kitchen was a dirt floor [pauses] and our living room/bedroom (we all slept on one bedroom) divided by a curtain with a brick floor which was sort of typical of that time with the mud houses. And I remember that our roofs were always leaking. This was a permanent problem is to somehow to get your roof not to leak. And [clears throat] we'd go up to work on it. You had to mud these tiles. They weren't well made was the real problem, I guess. And the rain would soak through and leak through on you. So you'd have pots here and there trying to collect the...the dripping. I guess we were better off than certainly the poorest and worse off than the better off. We were somewhere in the...in the Bolivian middle class of that town.
WILSON: Was there such a thing as a middle class?
SHEDD: Well, [laughs] your mestizos are kind of middle class. He was...he was certainly better off than the Indians who didn't own anything, were actually serfs on the lands of the landowners. The...the middle class would be ones who had probably learned to read. Of course, we certainly could read, we had books. [laughs]
WILSON: Now how big a city are we talking about?
SHEDD: These towns would be ten thousand people, five thousand, somewhere in that bracket, not very large places at all.
WILSON: And somewhere in there, there was an uppercrust? [unclear]
SHEDD: There would be the landowners. I remember working...my dad started a [pauses]...an apiary right in our yard. We had this typical Spanish house with a...the rooms would feed off into this patio. So he set up these beehives there to raise funds, which was very good. It didn't take any time scarcely [?], except to take the honey out, and the bees did the work. But this fellow got interested in them, the landowner, a very wealthy man. And I remember working for him setting up the modern way of raising bees on the frames and setting up a hive and helping do that when I was about twelve or thirteen.
WILSON: Now, was he a Christian?
SHEDD: No. No. No. He would...he would listen but with a...a distant...you know, it's all right for you kind of thing.
WILSON: What...did he have any kind of a religion?
SHEDD: I imagine he was typ...a typical of your uppercrust, a nominal Catholic. I presume so. Formal religion, but no heart religion.
WILSON: Were most of the mestizos Catholic?
SHEDD: All Catholic. Everybody's Catholic.
WILSON: Even the Indians?
SHEDD: The Indians are all Catholic [pauses] in a way.
WILSON: Yeah, I was going to say. What kind...what kind of a Catholicism is it? Because I'm sure that...that the Vatican is far far far removed from that whole....
SHEDD: Yes. To...to describe the Catholicism of the Bolivia I grew up in would be a religion of processions. Idolatry was very common. It was a major factor in their minds, [clears throat] Magic: these idols were supposed to have power.
WILSON: Now, who was supposed to have power?
SHEDD: These idols.
WILSON: Idols, oh yeah.
SHEDD: Idols of the virgin or the images of certain saints were supposed to have certain power and that was the religion of the people. [clears throat] Somehow they would assimilate to the original Inca religion, which was based on sun worship. And even to this day you will find the Quechuas [pauses] worshipping the sun and...and thinking of the sun as somehow divine, because this has been carried on through their religion. But it's...it's assimilated into these divine beings or the gods of Catholicism, too, you know.
WILSON: In...in your understanding of the concept of Christianity, was...was the Catholicism practiced in Bolivia at all Christian?
SHEDD: Hardly. Really.
WILSON: Did they have any conception of...of Christ as redeemer of souls, and [pauses] the....
SHEDD: They had some ideas, of course, because the procession, one of the [clears throat] main processions of the year would be the [pauses] procession on Good Friday. That was a very solemn occasion, where Christ would be carried around in a coffin, a gold looking coffin or bronze coffin, or something, polished. [clears throat]
WILSON: An...an...an effigy [pauses] or what? The [unclear]?
SHEDD: They had an image inside this...
SHEDD: ...carried it around. And [clears throat] so they'd have some idea that Christ had died. Of course, they had the crucifixes everywhere, which.... So that's the kind of Christ they were considered...considering. They didn't have the idea of a Christ raised, and certainly not one who personally affected your life. That's...that's not part of it. He was probably the great judge, as I think of it, because one of the ideas Bolivians have, the middle-lower classes, (the Indians probably had this idea, too), that between Good Friday afternoon, after this procession when Christ has died and Sunday, which was a very unimportant day, but it did have the idea that Christ was then alive again, you could do anything you wanted to in that period...
WILSON: In...in that....
SHEDD: ...because Christ was really dead. [laughs; Wilson laughs] And so if you wanted to rob somebody or kill somebody, that was a very good time to do it, because it probably wouldn't be registered in the eternal archives of all.
WILSON: No joke.
SHEDD: Very unusual concepts to us, because we're thinking, you know, of a historical fact. They're thinking of something that's being re-enacted yearly, sort of a dying and rising. But...but the risen Christ was very unreal to them, unless it was the idea of a judge. And, of course, you had the purgatory concept that...that certain sins would have to be paid for. Nobody was going to hell, because.... That got across pretty well [pauses], I think, to the majority of the people. But there was very little sanctification in their religion, if you know....
WILSON: Were the priests mainly indigenous, or were they [pauses] imported?
SHEDD: They would be almost entirely at that time, because later on, of course, there was a great deal of...of missionary activity in Bolivia, and Brazil, too, for that matter, especially in the remoter areas, coming from other countries. But at that time I don't recall any affect of foreign educated priests coming. So you had a national kind of priest who was....
WILSON: Did he know what he was doing?
SHEDD: [Laughs] Very little [bumps microphone or table], I'm afraid. There was very little [bumps table] knowledge.
WILSON: What kind of education would a priest have?
SHEDD: It must have been very poor. That's all I [laughs] can...can guess. I know very little about it. But it must have been very poor.
WILSON: Did you ever have an opportunity to...to visit with any of the priests?
SHEDD: I remember meeting an ex-bishop. He'd become...he had been a bishop and had resigned. I don't know for what reasons. Maybe he got married or something. But he seemed to be very well educated. He lived in the town of Punata, which was the next town down on the railroad line from us. But [laughs] I can't really tell you anything about their education or how long they went to school and so forth. But it was mainly a joke, and one of the jokes was, of course, that they'd never learned Latin, consequently weren't able to read the texts, so that they would make up a kind of a spurious Latin out of Spanish. And we used to joke about this, that, even as a child, I can remember this one where he'd be saying mass and the maid would come and ask him what he was...wanted for dinner. And he would...without a break would say, "I want papatatu, which, of course, is the Spanish word for potatoes turned into a Latin word mixed with Kukututium [?] and some of these other things [laughs]. And the maid, of course, could understand this, so nobody would realize that he had just...he was really speaking Spanish mixed with this Latin endings [laughs]. Whether that really happened or not, I do not...I don't know at all, but it was a good joke [Wilson laughs]
WILSON: Boy. Well now, when you went back to Bolivia, then, your...after that first furlough, your brother and sister, Hudson and Helen, stayed in the US or...?
SHEDD: No. No, they went back also.
WILSON: And stayed in the MK school.
WILSON: Okay. Then you and Phyllis and your parents went [pauses] off to...what town was it that you were living in then?
SHEDD: Well, [clears throat] about that time we moved to Arani, [clears throat] where I started my education, first at home. My first year was at home, where I learned to read and learned the elements of adding and subtracting and early [unclear].
WILSON: Taught by your mother?
SHEDD: By my dad and mother, I guess. Dad seemed to have had more of an influence there, as I recall. And then [I] went off to second grade. I...I didn't start in first grade, that was second grade from Arani.
WILSON: So you were at home for a year with just you and...and your younger sister...
WILSON: ...and your parents. What kind of an effect does it have on a family's family life to be fragmented physically this way? I mean, your brother and sister were gone for nine months of the year. Later, you were gone. How do you keep family closeness through all that separation?
SHEDD: Presumably we didn't. I...I can't really answer that very well, because I haven't lived the other kind [laughs] family life. I remember that there were two crises in my life, and one was that...that first day leaving home, going to Cochabamba that night. I remember not being able to sleep and feeling very, very abandoned, very cut-off from something. I wasn't really aware that this was...well, they call it homesickness or something. [I] Quickly got over it. I don't remember ever having that feeling particularly again. Just that one night and then quickly adjusting to the normal routines. This was the way life was. I had that same feeling again very strongly at age thirteen when my parents went back to Bolivia and I remained in this country at the Westervelt Home. But how that...how that affects families, I...that's hard to say. I presume it does.
WILSON: That's a safe assumption [Wilson and Shedd laugh]. Well....
SHEDD: But I don't remember it being in any sense upset by it or angry about it or resentful to God or Christianity for forcing me into this kind of situation. I can't remember that I expected it to be any otherwise. And I don't think that my brother or sister thought it should be otherwise. I think we were all...felt that this was part of the cost of...of being missionaries and it was a good life. We were getting many advantages that Americans didn't have. I certainly felt that. [clears throat]
WILSON: Were...did you go to the school that your brother and sister were already at?
SHEDD: Yes, yes.
WILSON: So what kind of living arrangements did you have at the school? Were you able to live with them?
SHEDD: Yes. We were all in...in a dormitory arrangement. It was a...was a large mill house, probably the largest house in the town, and the boys were in two room and the girls were in two rooms. [bumps table] We had a lot of cots, sort of like a hospital ward [laughs] situation. We ate in a common dining hall. We did some of the work, like the dishes and so forth, helped keep the yard up.
WILSON: How many students were there at the school at that time?
SHEDD: There tended around twenty to twenty-five students at that time. It has since grown. It's no longer that small, but at that time it would be about twenty.
WILSON: So your dormitory room would house, what, four, six [pauses] kids?
SHEDD: Six, seven beds in each room.
WILSON: What did you do for privacy?
SHEDD: I don't remember having any [laughs] or being worried about it.
WILSON: I guess....
SHEDD: If you wanted privacy you walked up the mountain. We were out on the edge of this hill and just climb up the mountain if you wanted to be alone for awhile.
WILSON: Where you able to...to get closer to your brother and sister because of that situation? [laughs] Or do you frankly not recall any desire to be...?
SHEDD: I don't recall any...any special closeness to them because of this. [clears throat] I'm sure we must have gotten together once in a while to talk over things, but we made good friend in our...amongst our colleagues. And I think there was a closer relationship probably, my brother being considerably older, four years older.
WILSON: How much older?
SHEDD: Four years.
WILSON: Oh, four years.
SHEDD: I don't remember having any great fellowship or affinity with him.
SHEDD: I'm sure he was looking out for me, telling me you could do certain things and couldn't do other things and integrating me into the...this new society, but I don't remember it at all.
WILSON: Later, when the three of you were at Wheaton, was there any special affinity between you? I mean, any sense of "We are the Shedds," [laughs] or did you tend to go your own directions?
SHEDD: I think pretty much we went our own way. My first year here, I'm sure my brother [bumps table]...I went to the [Wheaton] Academy [later Wheaton Christian High School] my first year, but I was very much on my own. [bumps table twice] I...I don't think I saw him scarcely at all. I lived in the home of the Ourys. I don't know if you've heard of them. They [bumps table] live out here on Geneva Road. It's now the Korean...I think it's a Korean Church...
WILSON: Oh, okay, yes.
SHEDD: ...in that house. I went to the Academy. I got my own car right away at age fifteen, got my license and [Wilson laughs] drove to school [pauses] back and forth.
WILSON: Boy, those were the days.
SHEDD: [bumps table] Yeah, those days have gone. But [pauses] earned my own way, by working for them on an hourly basis. I remember earning fifty cents an hour, which was good pay. They were very generous, since anything I did for them was...was summed up at the end of the week and I got that pay and I was able to pay my own tuition and pay my own way, room and board and so forth.
WILSON: Did...at that time Wheaton offer any special concession to MK's?
SHEDD: Not that I recall. I remember...I never got any. If they offered it, [Wilson laughs] I never asked for it and they [laughs]...they didn't offer, so...
WILSON: They didn't bring it up [laughs].
SHEDD: ...they didn't bring it up. Considered I was doing better than most [bumps table] probably, because I...I remember earning very well at that time, considering the plight of say, my sister, I'm sure was...was having more difficulties, since jobs were not as...as easy for a girl. But she worked here in the College in...in the mimeograph department and...and I don't know what else. She got some help also from the Carlsons. She worked for them.
WILSON: Oh, [unclear].
SHEDD: House cleaning and so forth. Wes Carlsons. Do you know them at all?
WILSON: Would...well, Carol Carlson. Would that be...?
SHEDD: I don't know who their children are.
WILSON: Well, no. She would be his widow...
SHEDD: Oh, really. No, no.
SHEDD: They're...both are still living.
WILSON: Oh, okay. Then I don't [laughs].
SHEDD: They're part of the foundation that runs these houses that we're living in now. Wes Carlsons. Yes, we've seen them and they're delightful. I don't know their children.
WILSON: Well now, [pauses] you...you ostensibly left home at the age of seven and really haven't been back except for vacations, right?
SHEDD: Pretty much that situation. We spent the better part of a year.... Well, no, really it wasn't either, because I was going to the Westervelt Home when...when we came to the States in '43. I...it's true that my parents were there in North Carolina, and we didn get to see them, but not very much either.
WILSON: Now, where was the Westervelt Home?
SHEDD: That was in South Carolina, Batesburg, South Carolina.
WILSON: And they...you all came home on furlough and they dropped you in this...
SHEDD: That's right. During the...
SHEDD: ...during the school year, [bumps table] I was in South Carolina.
WILSON: And then they were gone, huh?
SHEDD: Well, they were...they were living in...yes, in North Carolina and...
WILSON: What, with your mother's family?
SHEDD: ...traveling to deputational meetings. Pardon?
WILSON: With your mother's family?
SHEDD: Yes, [bumps table] on my mother's side, family on a farm in North Carolina.
WILSON: What part of North Carolina? I'm just curious.
SHEDD: Just outside of Mooresville, north of Charlotte. In fact, very near Billy Graham's home. In fact I understand, he would have to confirm this, but I've heard and this could only be rumor, that he asked the church my mother grew up in for ordination and they turned him down. He must have been about seventeen or...I don't know what age he was. But somewhere along there, I understand [laughs] he came up. It was a Presbyterian church.
WILSON: Your mother grew up in an ARP [Associate Reformed Presbyterian] church, didn't she?
SHEDD: That's right.
WILSON: Well, I think that was the cemetery where Mrs. Graham was buried this summer. She was buried in an ARP cemetery.
SHEDD: Is that so. Of course, my family [unclear]....
WILSON: Steel Creek, something like that.
SHEDD: Well, that would be a different one then. Their...their...Model...Coddle Creek.
WILSON: Coddle Creek.
SHEDD: It's not the same and probably...I think it's a little farther away than they would have. But that is my mother's original church. Now he may have just come and asked them, "What...would you consider doing this?" Well, they thought, "No, you need more education." I know that they didn't accept him. I know that much [laughs], if...if he ever asked.
WILSON: Well, the...what I wanted to ask you with regard to your parents being separated from you for so...you know, from...from the time that you were really a relatively a small child, what effect...? Now as you have pointed out, not having lived any other way, you can't quite compare them, but what effect do you think it had on your relationship with your parents?
SHEDD: Well, I...I guess it was probably somewhat alienating that we weren't as close as we might have been otherwise. I...I was accused by my brother on one occasion, I remember.... Maybe I...I...I saw a letter that...we were sending letters together in the same envelope. And I saw something written about me and I read it, that I was very independent at the time I was here at Wheaton at age fifteen, that I wasn't open to advice. I remember something like that that he had written. So, my guess is that this is the effect that it had, of very much like the street urchins in Brazil, who are quickly thrown out on the...on the world because the parents often leave their children to fend for themselves. The father particularly would at a very early age when the family gets more than he cares to cope with and he wants to use his money otherwise, he just disappears. There must be millions of children like this in Brazil. I know that the...the figures are that there are millions, one, two million children like this, where the children may go home and sleep but they're not really at home, you know. They really have been abandoned. They call them abandoned children. But I don't remember it being a problem to me. I really do want to emphasize that, that it wasn't a problem to me. But I am sure that it would have been a closer relationship if I had stayed with them for many more years. We had a very Puritanical upbringing. I should have mentioned that. My father was from...from New England.
WILSON: I knew it was Massachusetts. [Shedd laughs]
SHEDD: And he believed in keeping the Sabbath and he believed in a lot of things. He believed in a very strict relationship between children and parents. We were not allowed to talk back or anything of that sort.
WILSON: Did he grow up in a Congregational background or...?
SHEDD: My grandparents on my father's side were Pentecostal, but I'm sure they themselves came out of a Congregational background. And when this change came I have no idea. I know that my father was not impressed with Pentecostal [bumps table].... He was a very devout Christian, of course, but...and he was not in any sense liberal or favorable to a Congregational outlook on things, such as they were in Massachusetts back in the early period.
WILSON: Now, your grandparents must have been Pentecostals right at the very beginning...
SHEDD: I believe that's [unclear].
WILSON: ...of the Pentecostal movement.
WILSON: Do you remember them at all? Did you ever meet them?
SHEDD: Only when I was that...that furlough when I was five years old [loud noise of passing train] and it's a very vague memory.
WILSON: What do you remember?
SHEDD: I remember his beard [laughs], long beard. But that's about all. I remember very very faintly the house that we came to visit them at.
WILSON: Do you remember any of their Pentecostalism.
SHEDD: Not basically. Of course, I remember now of...I've gotten to know my uncles and aunts and so forth, who were all Pentecostal, because of this, except for my father [bumps table]. And they have...they have been all really committed Christians. So the effect on them has been very strong. My aunt Florence in New Jersey and my Uncle Marshall and...who is now still living out here at Springfield [Illinois], their son has been very much involved with the...with the Assemblies of God, including editing one of their papers and so forth, my...my cousin. They've been very much involved. Another aunt by marriage, I ran into in Portland, Maine, who is involved in pastoral ministry there in a church, and.... So they were great people. I mean, I certainly have a high respect for them [laughs]. Not a...not a reaction at all. I don't think my father ever spoke about it. I remember when I first arrived in this country, my...I visited my aunt in New Jersey after they'd gone back to Bolivia on one of my summers here at Wheaton. And she took me to a Pentecostal camp meeting, and I remember being very surprised. I had never never heard about, you know, what they did or anything like this in a...in a way strong enough to effect me as to be prepared for it. I was very surprised at what went on [laughs].
WILSON: And what did go on?
SHEDD: Well, it was...it was...it was very...it was very Pentecostal [pauses], you know...
WILSON: Keep going! [Wilson encourages Shedd to expand on his comment]
SHEDD: ...the dancing and clapping and the...all that goes into a Pentecostal camp meeting. In Hornell, New York, I still remember that as...as being a very...surprised me because it was so different from the kind of religion I had been accustomed to, which was much more traditional and staid.
WILSON: Did...do you remember how it all impressed you, other than the surprise? I mean, did you like it? Were you horrified? Or....
SHEDD: No, I don't think I was either way. I just thought, well, this is...this is very different [laughs, Wilson laughs], very different.
WILSON: When [pauses] your father went to Moody, what prompted him to do that? Do you...do you know?
SHEDD: I think it must have been a reaction. I...I don't know. I never asked him these questions. I should have asked him [laughs] what prompted him to go to Moody. But I think [bumps table] it must have been reactionary. I think that he didn't want or he was convinced that there was some...something in it that wasn't real and that [pauses] the [pauses] revivalist movement, of which Moody Bible Institute would be a...an expression impressed him more strongly with the piety of the...of the quiet [laughs] and not the always praising the Lord. I remember my aunt always saying this, you know, praising the Lord all the time. I remember that impressed me very strongly, too.
WILSON: Good or bad?
SHEDD: Well, you know, neither, but wondering all the time whether she was really sincere about it. And this, of course, was not the part of my father's more Puritan type of Christianity.
WILSON: How about your mother? Do you...did you ever ask her why...why she had gone to Moody?
SHEDD: I think somewhere along the line back in her...her childhood was the desire to go to the mission field, because my uncle was also a minister, (I don't know if you found that), with the ARP [Associate Reformed Presbyterian] Church.
SHEDD: Uncle Jess [?, J.P. Johnston].
WILSON: I think he signed your application form to Wheaton as your pastor.
SHEDD: All right [?]. Very good. That's good. I had forgotten that. But he...he himself had wanted to go to the mission field, to China. So somewhere there was something going on. My grandfather, Van Johnston, was a real Christian, I believe. I don't remember my grandmother as being that [unclear]. Of course, the fact that most of my aunts and uncles (we're a very large family on my mother's side) were not that spiritually minded, at least not the kind of Christianity I'm used to and my mother was, shows that Moody must have had a very strong effect on them. And...in terms of the kind of evangelical Christianity we're used to, dispensational Christianity. So, my guess is that she went to Moody? because it was a missionary training institute, and that she'd hoped to go to the field, as did my uncle. And he was stopped somewhere along the line because of health or something. He never made it to China.
WILSON: When your mother passed away in Bolivia, do you...do you think that she would have lived longer had she been in the U.S.? I know that's kind of an odd question, but you see where I am going with it.
SHEDD: I...I...I doubt it. I don't know if she'd die of cancer, breast cancer. She was operated on two, three years before in [unclear].
WILSON: In Bolivia?
SHEDD: I believe it was in Bolivia. As I recall it was, although [?] I can't remember now whether that was on one of their furloughs, but I think that it was in Bolivia. That's funny that I...it didn't impress me that much. But [clears throat] I think she was supposedly okay, but then it re...reoccurred, and then, of course, there was no hope then, because it had passed to the lymph glands and so forth.
SHEDD: Did...do you remember what...what the general medical sanitation whatever facilities were in Bolivia when you were growing up?
WILSON: Poor [laughs], obviously. We...we had no medical facilities the way.... For instance, our births were engineered by inviting the mission nurse to the home of the missionary at about two or three weeks in advance of the date on which you were to be born. That was our...you were born in a home [clears throat]. Times when we were very seriously ill.... On one occasion my brother was and his life was in the balance, so forth. We...we just prayed. [Laughs] You...you didn't have any...either drugs or doctor to...to count on at that time.
SHEDD: Not that I knew of. There were a kind of a drug store, when I...I can remember as a child, but I don't know what they offered in terms of pills. We had quinine. That was one of the basics. Malaria was quite common in those early years, back in the thirties and I remember that we dispensed quinine. I remember trying to put these pills together as a very young child, these little gelatin capsules, putting the powder in them, I...you know, sort of a pill-making machine.
WILSON: I think...isn't Paraguay the world's leading producer of that?
SHEDD: It could be. I don't know where it came from [laughs], but I wouldn't be surprised.
WILSON: Now what was it I wanted to ask you with regard to this? Did...did you ever know that...that there were better facilities elsewhere when you were growing up? I mean, were...were you aware that [laughs]...?
SHEDD: There were doctors?
WILSON: Doctors [?], yes, I'd heard of doctors. [clears throat] But that, too, is part of the price. We didn't...I don't remember being, as I said, resentful about the fact that....
WILSON: That your parents had opted to let you pay the price [laughs]. I...I...I say that tongue in cheek.
WILSON: Obviously with you and your brother and your sister all going into the mission field, you...you must have come out of it with certainly a better...better than soured position or [unclear].
SHEDD: Yeah, I don't recall being at all [clears throat] put out by it.
WILSON: Is there anything that you remembered from your own childhood on the mission field that you tried to either repeat or change in the raising of your own children?
SHEDD: Tried to repeat and to maintain, hmm? [bumps table]
WILSON: Or...or change. I mean, anything that you remember about your own childhood and...and the situation. Is there anything that you either liked so much about it that you made a conscious effort to...to do the same or disliked enough that you made darn sure you didn't [Shedd laughs] do it with your own children.
SHEDD: I...I hadn't thought about that. It's a very good question. I presume the fact that we've been favorable to the missionary school in San Paolo, and we have never really considered seriously sending our children to the...to a national school is a [pauses]...is a good point, because, of course, some other missionaries have felt quite strongly they ought to go to the Brazilian schools. But I've never felt that as being any advantage or...or even particularly commendable as over against our missionary school. That could be that that's a...that's a reflection on the fact that it was a good experience going to that school. We certainly had a good teacher and I never felt that we had been...in any sense been deprived educationally by this one room school with eight...eight grades in the same room. I felt, in fact, it was an advantage probably that you were learning [bumps table]. If you were at all bored with your second or third grade work, you could always follow the fourth and fifth, because they were reciting and reading and all this and you could follow that along, too. And they were doing their work on the board and so forth. [laughs, bumps table] So you were really getting a...a chance to move at an advanced pace if you cared to and probably that was involved. [bumps table]
WILSON: Who...who was the teacher when you were...
SHEDD: Miss Violet Upton. still living, by the way, and in her eighties in Oberlin, Ohio. I have her address so...if you ever write to her or something [laughs] if you care to.
WILSON: Good old Oberlin.
SHEDD: Oh, she was a...she was a...an outstanding person [loud noise of passing train]. As I think back how years and years she alone ran that school for all those children coming up, a number of them back on the mission field and so forth. It was good. I'm sure that today it would be rated very low on the scale of educational institutions [laughs]. But [Wilson laughs] looking back, I don't think it really was a poor institution at all.
WILSON: When...in your childhood what...who...who were the adults that were close to you? I mean, if your parents were...weren't there, they just weren't there, [unclear]...?
SHEDD: We had house parents. They were...they came in and out like a revolving door and usually lasted a year, and then they moved on to someone else. because I think that they regretted this, didn't like the job of being house parents. So I think that's why we get [bumps table] the revolt at [?] "This is your assignment for this year." And I can recall a number of different people being...[laughs] being that to us. So we never really got very close to them...to them. They were there and they kept the rules and some of them instituted some rules that we didn't like.
WILSON: Such as?
SHEDD: So repealed some rules [laughs]. Well, I can recall one rule that never bothered me because we'd had that rule at home, but it certainly was a problem to some children that they had to eat everything that was put on their plates. This was automatic. I remember one boy who today is...is a real dropout from the evangelical community. He's...he's very high up in Rosicrucianism. Very unusual.
WILSON: In what?
WILSON: Which is...?
SHEDD: Well, it's an Oriental religion which has gotten its branches over...and he's...he may be over in India right now, [laughs] as a matter of fact, under....
WILSON: Related to Hari Krishna?
SHEDD: It's very similar. I don't know the details of the religion, but I remember him being at the table there and not being able to get something down. He'd just sit, you know, an hour or two after the meal, trying to get something down which he could not stomach [laughs] or couldn't swallow, was his problem. And I thought, you know, maybe there could have been a relaxing of rules somewhere along the line. But [pauses] it depended on the house parents, whatever they thought was right, it was instituted.
WILSON: In...in your experience, did...did more of the missionary kids come out of that experience with...with a good taste in their mouth or back...did it backfire?
SHEDD: Well, like my...as I look at lives that I am aw...acquainted with, of the people of my particular generation, the reaction and the fact that they are back on the field, many of them [clears throat] must have been good by and large. This is one of the only ones that I know of who was a total dropout. There may be others, you see, that I've lost contact with. I happen to know this case because his sister teaches in the same faculdade that I teach in Sao Paolo, laughs], a Baptist seminary.
WILSON: So the whole family didn't go bad [laughs].
SHEDD: Oh no, hardly. Far from it. In fact, they're a very dedicated family. They just...they don't know how to explain or what happened with Melvin. But this is the one exception that I know of.
WILSON: Now, oh there was...there was one great other thing I wanted to ask you about growing up there, but it's escaped me for a moment. Well, let's go on to your...your high school. You started high school at the age of...
WILSON: ...thirteen in the States here...
SHEDD: That's what they said.
WILSON: ...and then spent, what three years there?
SHEDD: Two years.
WILSON: Two years. And went to the [Wheaton] Academy.
SHEDD: Then came to the Academy and finished in one year, due to knowing Spanish and taking a test that exempted me from all foreign language and getting me the credits. And that also speeded up my course here. I took more than I needed.
WILSON: I was going to...you were nineteen, weren't you, when you got a B.A?
SHEDD: Yes, yeah, I think.
WILSON: How did you do that? [laughs]
SHEDD: Well, by skipping the grades...that one grade in...in high school. So I started Wheaton at sixteen and finishing by studying in summer school. By working on the railroad, there was very little do except to study on this...you know, Chica...Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. So that's the reason.
WILSON: You were a...
SHEDD: Crossing watchman.
WILSON: ...switch watchman or some....
SHEDD: Or crossing watchman.
WILSON: What does a crossing watchman do?
SHEDD: Well, he runs those gates that they used to...were not automatic at that time. They were run by people, but...
WILSON: All the little ding-ding-ding gates?
SHEDD: Yes, on...right down here in Wheaton and also all the way down into to Maywood. We worked as far east as First Avenue, Maywood, and that was the end. Now everything is elevated, I guess, so....
WILSON: Now...and every one of those gates required somebody to stand there and....
SHEDD: Yes. Well, you had a little tower at that time.. They weren't...they worked by air pressure, and...so you'd work these levers and drop these gates. You'd get an automatic ring which let you know the train was coming from whichever direction and whichever track, and so you had to be very cautious that [laughs]...make sure those gates were down. It was...it was a good experience, but sometimes hair-raising when.... Well, I had a person killed on my tracks one time and that...that was...showed how...how things could happen that you didn't want to happen.
WILSON: In a car or a pedestrian?
SHEDD: No, a pedestrian walked right in front of a train. The gates were down, of course. It wasn't my fault, but [unclear]....
WILSON: Did you watch it happen?
SHEDD: Well, I watched until I knew she was going to be killed and then I looked away. I didn't want to see what actually did happen. But it was [unclear].
WILSON: You mean, you knew she was going to be killed.
SHEDD: Well, she walked right in front of it. I could see it happening. Of course, I was banging my bell. You had a bell to try to warn pedestrians, 'cause they'd walk around the gates. I guess that they still do that. And she...her mind was on something else, so she just walked right in front. An older woman [pauses] in Glen Ellyn, First...Main Street in Glen Ellyn. Still remember it. But [pauses] yes, it was these...this speeding up that did it and finishing early.
WILSON: I know now what it was that I wanted to ask you about Bolivia. What are the opportunities for a missionary kid to do evangelism work? Did...did you ever have the opportunity?
SHEDD: Oh, yes, yes. We were considerably involved in this. My recollection is of visiting people, especially artisans, and seeking to witness and win them to the Lord. I was very concerned about that, especially around age twelve, when I had a kind of a new experience with the Lord, and very concerned about reaching people for...for Christ. And I'd go to where their doors would be opened. They'd be the hatmaker for instance or the leather or shoemaker, or any of these different artisans that always lived in these Bolivian towns. I'd spend time with them because they liked to talk and so forth. They always, I guess, were fascinated by a foreigner coming and talking with them. [clear throat] We're also involved with street meetings, involved in going out to towns and villages, and we'd be singing and used sort of the support group team kind of thing.
WILSON: What was the success of the endeavors?
SHEDD: Rather little, as I look back [laughs]. They tended to look at us as, I guess, a foreign religion. I think that's...probably was the key...major thing. And it may have been, too, that Christianity as it was presented was...at that time gave the impression to these people [sound of passing truck] that it was much too demanding. I don't know if you've read The Children of Sanchez, but it's an interesting book in which Manuel tells Oscar Lewis, who's an anthropologist, why he isn't interested in becoming an evangelical Christian, because it's much too hard a religion, much too demanding. Catholicism is, you know, very lax and you could do just about anything you wanted to imagine, so it was preferable. They both offered the same heaven, you know, so why not choose the easier route? [laughs]
WILSON: Well, you know, there's an interesting question. Do you think...it's a wide open question with no answer, but do you think that you would have had better success dealing with pagans than dealing with people who had a veneer of Christianity already?
SHEDD: I have no idea because, of course, you can't deal with anybody unless he has a sense of guilt. And Catholicism had seared their consciences to such an extent that I don't think they sensed guilt.
WILSON: That's interesting, because American Catholicism survives on...on guilt. My roommate in grad school was a Catholic and he told me time and again of...that is the one hold that American Catholicism has over its people, is that sense of guilt, and yet in Bolivia....
SHEDD: Yeah, the impression was just the opposite there. There was very little sense of guilt and [pauses].... [unidentifed intermitant sound] I...I...I don't think they play on guilt. I think they did play on the fact that purgatory was coming. And so that [pauses]...but it must have been unreal to the people, because they didn't seem to be that much afraid of it. And it was typical of Bolivians to get drunk and beat their wives and, of course, the dishonesty and injustice and all was just as rife there as...as it would be in any land of total paganism or even more than many [laughs] lands. Like Asia would be less corrupt than what it would be [with] Bolivian Catholicism. So the fear of God [laughs] was not very strong, I...I'm quite sure.
WILSON: Okay. [laughs] Well, meanwhile, back at Wheaton. When...when you entered Wheaton, were you thinking of the mission field at that time?
SHEDD: Yes, I think I always was. I think I'd always thought that I would probably end up there some day.
WILSON: Where did you want to go?
SHEDD: I was thinking of Latin America. I hadn't any specific place in mind. I hadn't thought very much of Bolivia. [clears throat]
WILSON: Did Bolivia seem more home to you than anywhere else at that point?
SHEDD: No, I don't think so. I think it...if I didn't give Bolivia a great deal of thought, it was because I thought there were probably enough missionaries there. I...I...I think it's...it's an interesting idea. I think that missionary children tend in terms of they're going to a place where there are fewer missionaries. I know my daughter, right now, she's fourteen, she's talking of going to India. And I think she thinks that India has fewer missionaries than Brazil [laughs]. So you are going to be a more important cog in this overall missionary cause, because you're going to a place where...where there are fewer. My guess is that that was in my mind 'cause I never really thought very seriously of going to Bolivia. I think that my impression is Bolivia is pretty well...pretty well settled with missionaries.
WILSON: Have you ever been back?
SHEDD: Yes, we've been back once in '67 to visit and [pauses] it was a very interesting experience to go back and see the place you grew up in, remember all those places you'd forgotten and see them again and remember them again. Really is a reminding experience.
WILSON: Were you able to go back to your mother's funeral?
WILSON: You were, what...lived in Mississippi then?
SHEDD: I was in Portugal at the time.
WILSON: Oh, that...it was...you had already gone to Portugal.
SHEDD: Just arrived and it didn't seem propitious. This is also part of our...I'm sure it's...it would be part of our background, that you just didn't do things like that. When I was growing up, for instance, my parents never would have thought of coming back to the States even if they could have. To go to a parent's funeral or something seemed like a tremendous waste of money and time. Family considerations were definitely secondary. I...I...I still have that as a...as a feeling, you know, that...that I have gained. I think my wife is less aware of this. Of course, one of the things we have to get together on. The family concerns are less important than the work, you know, the work of the Lord and so forth. That comes, I'm sure, from Dad and [unclear].
WILSON: How...how does that work...how does that work itself out in your day to day life?
SHEDD: Well, it...that you tend to accept too many responsibilities. I am very busy in...in Brazil. Not here. I've got a much, much more relaxed schedule here in the States this...this time. But in Brazil, it's...I really do get involved, very, very busy. [clear throat] And it has been a...you know, a question to...to my wife. I don't know that the children have raised any problems with it. But I think I can understand it, where it comes from.
WILSON: Well, back at Wheaton again. [laughs] I'll...I keep digressing.
SHEDD: I'll try....
WILSON: Okay. Do you remember any particular teachers, courses, whatever, that were particularly influential at that time?
SHEDD: Yes, I...I certainly do. I remember Dr. [Merrill] Tenney's [professor of theology] courses as being very, very influential even to this day. I remember philosophy. I remember [pauses] quite a bit [laughs] of studying here. I remember liking Wheaton very much, very much. I...I appreciated my friends here, the first time probably in my life I had really made good friends. So there was a kind of an intimacy and opening up and a development of the mind and thinking and so forth. It was a very, very good experience. I scarcely ever wanted to leave, so....
WILSON: Well, you stuck around for grad school.
SHEDD: Yeah [laughs]. That was part of it I'm sure. But I...I really enjoyed my time here so much, all the way through, beginning at high school which was not that good. But as soon as I got into college, I really felt the excellent friendships with Stan Bristoll and other types like him. He's...he lived here in Wheaton and their parents took me in. They were folks from the [Wheaton] Bible Church. And working with fellows we went out to Cape Cod and we worked with Camp Good News [?]. All of those were good experiences, very good experiences.
WILSON: So you...you got your bachelors [degree] in what?
SHEDD: In Bible.
WILSON: And your masters?
SHEDD: In theology...in theology.
WILSON: And then went immediately to Faith [Bible Seminary in Elkins Park, an area of Philadelphia]?
WILSON: Which is in...?
SHEDD: Well, at that time it was in Wilmington, but it moved in the two years that I was there. It moved to Philadelphia to the [unclear] Estate. So I was one year in Philadelphia.
WILSON: What... who ran Faith Seminary?
SHEDD: At that time Dr. [Alan] McRae was president and it was a good school.
WILSON: Was it denominational?
SHEDD: Bible Presbyterian.
WILSON: Is that Carl McIntire's...?
WILSON: Okay. Now why did you choose Faith?
SHEDD: Again, it was my brother's influence that [bumps table] pushed me out there. He [pauses]...he recommended the school, especially for the Old Testament subjects, which I was...sensed myself deficient in here at Wheaton. I'd...I'd majored in New Testament subjects, and [pauses, clears throat] so I wanted to go out there for that reason. I wanted the...the degree. So Faith was the place to go.
WILSON: Did you ever meet Dr. McIntire?
SHEDD: Oh, yes [laughs].
SHEDD: I must have. I had him for a course.
WILSON: Oh...[laughs]. All right.
SHEDD: [bumps table] Twentieth century....
WILSON: See, in my experience...
SHEDD: ...twentieth century....
WILSON: ...he'd been sitting down in Florida....
WILSON: What...what was he like?
SHEDD: He was definitely on the other side from me. I mean, I was never that much impressed with him or his position. I had taken a...what my regular Baptist friends would call a neo-evangelical position right away at Wheaton, that is a more open view, (I'm sure that stems from one's temperment and personality), an open view, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and so forth. So I reacted rather negatively to Dr. McIntire's [pauses] outlook on life and on...on his enemies and so forth. Even in the class, I can still remember feeling that he didn't have a proper attitude towards his enemies, sort of a gloating over these successes he'd had and embarrassing them in one way or another. And I didn't think that was good. I didn't think it was biblical. So...and I didn't find that most of the teachers at Faith had that attitude, but his class [laughs] didn't impress me for that reason. I still recall that...that attitude.
WILSON: Did you ever talk to him about it?
SHEDD: No, probably should have.
WILSON: Did you ever talk to him at all, I mean one on one?
SHEDD: I don't think so, not one to one.
WILSON: Now, maybe I'm wrong. I had the impression that...that Carl McIntire was...was the head honcho of the Bible Presbyterian [Church].
SHEDD: I guess he was, but at that time his influence was not that great over the teachers, because Faith was an excellent school at that time. I'm sure it must have been one of the top schools.
WILSON: Is it still in existence?
SHEDD: Yes, it's still functioning [pauses] very weakly. I mean, it's professorial staff is very weak indeed today. But at that time it had some very top men. Dr. [Alan] McRae, Dr. Larry Harris, who has taught here at Wheaton Grad[uate School], and John Sanderson. All these men really had a very, very good influence on me, I find...I think. Excellent. I...I've not regretted going there [laughs]. I've regretted the sad demise of the school, and...because of McIntire's politics forced these men to leave in two different phases. Sad, really sad.
WILSON: Now, you mentioned...in the same sentence you mentioned enemies and in the classroom. Did...did you mean to indicate that Dr. McIntire had set up enemies within the classroom?
SHEDD: No, no, no, no. Only on the outside.
SHEDD: He'd come in and tell about his...you know, his trips and his clashes with this and that. And, of course, the Christian Beacon [McIntire's newspaper] was always [laughs] pointing out the flaws [Wilson laughs] and [unclear]...
WILSON: Yeah, we used to get the Christian Beacon [laughs].
SHEDD: And so...well, aware of that. They were enemies.
WILSON: Well, who...who was he railing against at that time?
SHEDD: Well, it was the National Council [of Churches] and it was about that time that the RSV [Revised Standard Version] came out and Bible burnings were the order of the day. And I...I felt [laughs]....
WILSON: They would burn up RSV's?
SHEDD: Yes. I felt that was probably [?] wrong.
WILSON: On campus?
SHEDD: Not at...not at Faith.
SHEDD: This would probably be done at a church gathering or maybe a ministerial meeting or something. I can't remember where, but they didn't last. But it was at that very time that...that I was at Faith.
WILSON: And from Faith you went straight to [University of] Edinburgh?
SHEDD: To Edinburgh, right.
WILSON: On...in your file at Central Files [Wheaton College department], there's a letter that you wrote just before you left, or in your last year at Faith, saying that you intended to go to Harvard.
SHEDD: I don't remember that.
WILSON: Oh [laughs].
SHEDD: I had planned...I had planned to go on and get a doctor's degree, but I hadn't, [clears throat], I guess, a very clear idea where I would go.
WILSON: Why did you pick Edinburgh?
SHEDD: Well, I...I'm sure I was influenced in that decision by Earl Ellis, who was set on going there. And I'm not sure why he thought Edinburgh would be a better place to go. I'm sure it was easier to get into at that time. In fact, there were no restrictions at all. Anybody who wanted to go to Edinburgh could go. And it was very reasonable and I thought the European experience (he must have thought this too) would be good. So, it all ended up in that...in that choice.
WILSON: Now, you...you were at Edinburgh at the time that [Billy] Graham had his...
WILSON: ...All-Britain Crusade [?], weren't you?
SHEDD: I was there.
WILSON: What do you remember?
SHEDD: '54. Well, we had living in our house one of Billy Graham's very good friends, Chet Terpstra. You ever seen his name anywhere?
WILSON: No. How...how do...
SHEDD: I think he was....
WILSON: ...you spell his last name?
SHEDD: T-E-R-P, Terp, S-T-R-A, missionary with the Congregational Church in the South Pacific. And he was working on a doctor's degree there at Edinburgh, so we became good friends. And he worked us into the meeting there, by the way, got tickets for us over at Harringay in '54. That was my first chance to hear Billy Graham on the...on the big circuit. I...I'm sure I must have seen and heard about him. In fact, I know I did, because of his being at the Village [Baptist] Church [in Western Springs] and so forth when I was here at Wheaton, and he'd gone on. But...but I don't remember ever hearing him speak or anything. But I remember being very surprised at the effect of his preaching and I...very surprised.
WILSON: Surprised in what way?
SHEDD: [laughs] Well, at the large crowd for one thing, but the...the reaction afterwards, 'cause he didn't play on peoples' emotions as most evangelists do. He just stood there and waited for these people to come down. I didn't think anyone was coming, because it was quite a wait. Just this huge twelve thousand people arena. And this was a very new thing. I'd never seen anything like it [laughs]. And finally one person started walking down and then that one person became just a [pauses]...a river of people coming out of all these aisles. It was very strange. Of course, today we're very [pauses]...very accustomed to it, but I wasn't at the time at all.
WILSON: Was he...do you remember what he preached about or anything about his delivery or...?
SHEDD: Yeah, I remember it fairly...fairly well. He [pauses] spoke on the rich young ruler [Luke 18:18-30 among other Gospels]. As I recall that was the message. The rich young ruler, [pauses] and the man who...(he sort of tied the two together)...was this man in Luke 12[:16-21] who built the barn and so forth, and then was...
WILSON: Lost his life.
SHEDD: ...lost everything [laughs], yeah. Yeah, "You turn away from Christ" and so forth, he says, "as I look at this man later on" and so forth [?].
WILSON: Well now, were you still at Edinburgh...now, didn't Graham come to Edinburgh in '55?
SHEDD: Yes, I also attended then.
WILSON: Did you...?
SHEDD: I was involved in the counseling there because of his...you know, so many people had come forward. They didn't have nearly enough counselors. So they just invited any...anyone that was qualified [bumps table], and so I thought I could get in on that [laughs], and I could still be [unclear].
WILSON: What did you have to do to prove that you were qualified?
SHEDD: You didn't. You just went forward with the crowd and he just said, "Well, there's too many people coming forward. We don't have enough counselors." So...so I just went forward and helped.
WILSON: Oh, I see.
SHEDD: Involved in the counseling at the time that...which were meeting in Edinburgh, not in Glasgow. I visited Glasgow, but wasn't involved in the counseling there.
WILSON: What kind of thing did you do as a counselor? Nowadays they...they train our counselors very well in exactly what to do.
SHEDD: Yes [laughs].
WILSON: But that's just totally impromptu for you.
SHEDD: Yes. We just talked with the people and asked what their...what their needs were and how...how Christ could fulfill them and so forth. So it didn't seem to be any great problem or any exacting job.
WILSON: What...what were the needs of the people that came forward there in Edinburgh?
SHEDD: [clears throat] Well, I think most of them lacked assurance. They...you know, here's Billy Graham talking about knowing you're saved or...which is not part of the Scottish Presbyterian knowledge. You just don't know those kinds of things [laughs, Wilson laughs]. It must have been very disconcerting to them. I think they really were concerned about this, not so much a rank unbelievers coming into belief, but you, know, "How does what I believe relate to what he's talking about?" I remember when I was preaching (I pastored up in North Scotland one day), a woman came up and said, "Hey, you preach just like Billy Graham." And that's what she was talking about. You make us unsure, you know, that we are really religiously acceptable, you know, to God or something. You don't...you don't confirm us in what we thought we're okay, because everybody's a Christian. In Scotland, there...after all, you're baptized into the church and the church is God's people and so forth. You never are challenged to receive Christ and become a Christian. And so she was, you know, quite upset about this or maybe she liked it. I can't remember now. But, I do remember [Wilson laughs]...I thought, "Well, that's very surprising to hear that," [laughs, Wilson laughs] because you...she didn't mean, I don't think, by this that you have the same gestures and intonation or anything, but rather that you have the same kind of message that he preaches.
WILSON: Now was that in the Presbyterian Church?
SHEDD: Yes, these were Church of Scotland churches that I was privileged to pastor on...three...three different churches...
WILSON: Now were you...?
SHEDD: ...for periods of a month or two months, three months something like this.
WILSON: When you mean pastor, you mean in the full sense of the word, not just...
SHEDD: Yeah, you just take over. They didn't have a pastor.
WILSON: ...not just pulpit supply.
SHEDD: They didn't have a pastor...they didn't have a pastor, so they just...you were invited to come and stay as long as you wanted, because they didn't have enough people to take over these churches.
WILSON: What...what was the state of religious fervor in Scotland at that time? I...I've...I hear the church of Scotland being accused of horrible atrophy as with the Anglican Church. What...what do you remember from...?
SHEDD: Yes, it is. It's sad. It's liberalism in it's denials of key faith doctrines and so forth if...and the preparation of ministers without a real clear vision, message. It's just formal religion is what it is. There's very little reality there. I found it a genuine mission field. I had a bicycle and I would go from house to house, because everybody's one of your members. They're not part of your own particular Church of Scotland. They're part of the Wee Frees who were also without ministers, so you that you can always visit them and they always welcome you.
WILSON: Part of the who?
SHEDD: The Wee Frees. The Free Church of Scotland.
WILSON: Oh, okay. [Shedd clears throat] What...?
SHEDD: They're a breakoff of the church back in the 1800s that didn't...a secessionist church that didn't join back into the Church of Scotland.
WILSON: They're...are they the descendents of the old Seceders, the original secession church?
SHEDD: Yes, yes. They would be the Wee Frees. They...but they...you know, they have...two groups have come out and one going back and so forth. They are not well defined. They tend to be more evangelical, more biblically oriented [laughs] group, and of course, much smaller than the Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland is large. Churches everywhere, but the Wee Frees are....
WILSON: Now what does...what does the We stand for?
SHEDD: I guess because they were a small group.
SHEDD: Wee means small.
WILSON: ...We means W-E. Oh, W-E-E, okay.
SHEDD: Small Frees.
WILSON: [laughs] Well, I [pauses]...do you remember any specific instances of...of opportunities for evangelism in Scotland that...that had any outcropping, you know, effect?
SHEDD: This would be a good question. I don't know for sure. "Let's continue evangelizing." I always thought, "These people really are not Christians. They really don't know what Christianity is." They didn't know the terminology anyway [laughs], and they certainly didn't have assurance and.... So that was my...that was my ministry there, going from house to house and talking to people I didn't know [?].
WILSON: What kind of a reception did you have?
SHEDD: Well, you know, at first real surprise. "What...what...what is this?" [laughs] And as we got into it and able to show people the gospel and so forth, it...it may have had some effect. I really don't know, over the long run how much they were willing to accept it from a foreigner like myself.
WILSON: Were you seen as...as a foreigner in the sense that Bolivia might have seen you as a foreigner?
SHEDD: I guess so. Yeah, you have different accents, you have...you certainly have a different way of looking at things. You are culturally different and so forth, and yet very well received. I...I...
WILSON: You look kind of Scottish actually.
SHEDD: ...I was extremely well impressed with how well we were received instead of having a negative reaction. They...they seemed to really appreciate the zeal, with which in my youth, I...I really tried to pastor that church, tried to get...really get into it. The attendance increased tremendously while I was there and I really felt that it was a mission field that responded very favorably. [clears throat] If we'd stayed longer we might have had more problems, probably would have, created a negative.
WILSON: You didn't stay very long past the honeymoon, eh?
SHEDD: Oh. Yeah, it was about three months from March to July. I mean, June, early July.
WILSON: And where...was that in Edinburgh or...?
SHEDD: No, that was in the far northwest. In fact, the farthest distance from Edinburgh you can get in Scotland on the mainland, the churches over in Kinlochbervie and Scourie. And another month I spent in Ullapool, which is farther down the coast, the west coast. These were craftsmen and fishermen, very staid, removed, isolated people, very isolated.
WILSON: What...what kind of Christianity then are these folks coming from? I mean, I always had the impression that the real far out, geographically, Scotsman had kind of mixture of Presbyterianism, Catholicism, and even a touch of paganism worked into it because they are so isolated. Is that true?
SHEDD: Not really. I think it's...it's pure Church of Scotland. I think that the Reformation movement in Scotland was thorough at the time, of course, very Christian, Puritanical. It...it had a very interesting cultural effect in which the minister was sort of the...the highest respected individual in the whole community, which played very well into my hands. You were always highly respected. They gave you a real welcome. They were so impressed if you came to visit them or anything like this, because, well, sort of like the mayor [laughs] or some lord coming. And I think they must have had the idea (I don't know where they got it), but the minister had a lot to do with one's acceptance or not before God. Sort of a Catholic idea.
SHEDD: The priest is going to recommend you or something. [clears throat]
WILSON: What did they call you? Reverend?
SHEDD: I guess they did. I don't really recall. There, of course, it's the minister, is the word they call it. He is the Minister.
WILSON: Capital M, huh? [laughs]
SHEDD: Yeah, that's right. It was a good experience.
WILSON: How did you wind up at...in these stations?
SHEDD: Well, it was while I was...
WILSON: Was it during vacation? Was that...?
SHEDD: Well, it would be vacation periods. But also the fact that I was...I...I had written my thesis and I was waiting for its approval or revamping. So in that period you were really left with very little to do. So I thought, "Well, here's a chance." I knew that they were looking for pastors and they paid something for it. I could use the funds. So I...I applied and accepted, which was interesting, that they would accept a Baptist in these roles. I didn't make any bones that I'd be out baptizing any of their infants, but [laughs, Wilson laughs] in any case they accepted me.
WILSON: Your dissertation was on...?
SHEDD: Paul's use of the Old Testament, concepts of Jewish...and Jewish concepts of human solidarity.
WILSON: Okay, explain that a little bit to me. [laughs] I....
SHEDD: Well, you....
WILSON: I mean, you...you threw a lot of great terms at me. [laughs]
SHEDD: Well, solidarity or conception of solidarity is the idea of unity that exists between people. [clears throat] But when you get into theological realms you have God treating people as a unity where individuals are not really to blame and they're not...they have no merit individually but they receive a merit from somebody else. So that's solidarity. You gain it through your family or whatever the group relationship so that you are saved as a group. So it was a good Presbyterian topic. In fact, the idea first came to me not here at Wheaton, but at Faith where we were forced to write a paper on this, on the solidarity of...and punishment and blessing in the Bible.
WILSON: Oh, sounds like covenant community.
SHEDD: And I had never even thought about it. Yeah, it's...but it isn't just covenant, because it's people outside are also punished for...for just being related to somebody.
WILSON: Unto the third and fourth generation.
SHEDD: Yeah. And that really...really captured my...my imagination, since I'd always thought that fairness was part of God's nature, you know, to be fair and not punish individuals that weren't responsible. Like babies. [laughs]
WILSON: What did you...?
SHEDD: And so I got into it. I thought it would be a very interesting subject.
WILSON: What did you conclude?
SHEDD: I concluded I didn't know anything about it when I got finished. [Wilson laughs] It was pretty much where I started. I think that it's easy to describe it biblically and show that it's there, but you can't explain it. Of course, the Bible also declares that God isn't unfair and impartial, or partial rather. He is impartial according to James [2:1-9]. But it was a real good experience and it...to me it gave a whole new outlook on theology. In fact, now that I am teaching at Trinity I'll be using this as a prism through which to study Pauline theology. The whole of theology is colored by this view of solidarity, and...all the way from sin to eschatology. The Fall, all the way through, is this idea that you belong to a social group, to a people. And it was a whole new revelation, so I was very happy that I had been challenged to take this subject. Not at Edinburgh. I choose that because they didn't like the subject that I thought I was going to write. It was the one I had written here on the Gospel of John. But Dr. Bailey was very unencouraging on that subject. [laughs]
WILSON: When you were in Edinburgh, where did you attend church? Was there...?
SHEDD: Used to go Charlotte Chapel, when I was free to do so, but I was...I had a number of opportunities to speak and travel and so forth, so....
WILSON: Now, is that a Baptist...?
SHEDD: It's a Baptist, yeah. It's where [William Graham] Scroggie had been pastor and Baxter.
WILSON: This tape is about out here. So, I am going to clunk it off.
END OF TAPE
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