A Missionary Life:
Rev. J. Wesley Day
China, Malaysia, Indonesia

Chapter 3. The War Years

During the summer of 1939 I spent one month in Chautauqua, New York. They had a summer program which I attended. In one, the speaker talked about China. One of the interested people that attended asked if Chiang Kai- shek was a Christian. The speaker said he gets up at 4:00am to study the Bible with his wife.

A blind pianist played in one program. He asked 3 three different people to name notes and he played a beautiful piece from those 3 notes. That impressed me very much. Later in my life I knew a blind organist and I would announce the hymn number and he would start playing.

The second month I stayed with my family in New Hampshire at Lake Dunmore. My brother, Chapin and I climbed Mt. Washington by way of Tuppermans Ravine. A storm came up delaying our arrival at the top where there was a rest house. A man from Nassau County was there by car and took us back down the mountain. The family at first did not believe that we had climbed the mountain.

There were 2 cabins. Ours was right on the lake. One morning I got up early and looked at the porch of the next cabin and there was a coil of garter snakes at play. All the heads would be coming up at the top of the coil and they playfully bit each other. Then they would run away from each other and then come back into a coil again. I told the landlady about this most interesting sight. She told me not to tell anyone or no one would rent her bungalow. Enough said.

All of the family that could be together came with me to Allenwood, New Jersey.

Standing: Wesley, Roby, Chapin, Stockton. Seated: Vivia and Roby Day

Before all that I had seen the president of Westminister Theological Seminary. I wanted to meet the Methodist missionary who wrote about his life and work in India (Mr. Buck) and it impressed me very much. I wanted to study with this man at a Methodist Episcopal Church. I had to go to Westminster first under Dr. Forlines.

I got home just in time to drive my mother & father to the last meeting of the Uniting Commission which made the plan of the union of the Methodist Churches.

I had 2 years of seminary to finish. The first year I went to Westminister Theological Seminary, in Westminister, Maryland, which was the Seminary of the Methodist Protestant Church, under Dr. Charles Forlines, the president of the seminary and my professor .

The second year Dr. Charles Forlines sent me to Drew University, Madison, New Jersey as an exchange student to study with Dr. Buck. I went to the graduation of my class but Drew had not yet had its examinations. I had to go back to Drew for my exams. The professor (Dr. Buck) was not there the second semester.

The big event of the year was that during the second semester I met my future wife, Ruthlydia Slayton. Teaching at Drew Seminary was Professor Ralph Felton. He had been to China and I had heard him at a conference. He had to go to the Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and his shaver would not work because it had direct current. I leant him my shaver which he used in the hospital.

After he was well he invited me to dinner. He said would you like to bring someone with you. He said, "I know several eligible girls." The first person he named was Ruthlydia Slayton who was the director of the Madison Larger Perish. She sounded okay to me. We had a good meal and played chinese checkers. She was very pleasant. I dared to ask her would she go with me to the Feltons early the next morning to do the dishes. We did their dishes together that morning. I received a letter from her later asking me about Chiang Kai-shek, if I had any material. He was the hope of China at that time.

Wedding: June 7, 1941. Left to right: Luella and Albert Harvey Slayton (bride's parents); Wesley and Ruthlydia Day; Virginia Jordan (bride's sister); James R. Day (groom's brother); Vivia and Roby Day (groom's parents)

One time I invited Ruthlydia to a tea for the Bible society at the home of the missionary group, old established missionaries.

Dr. Cartright, missions secretary, contacted me and told me the requirements of a Methodist Missionary's Wife. She must meet the same requirments as the Missionary. If she were not received her husband would lose his statues as a missionary. She already had the necessary qualifications. I had already asked her once to go to China with me. Two or three months later she reminded me that I had not asked her to marry me, only to go to China with me. I kneeled in my father's garden, in his bean patch and asked her to be my wife.

She had applied as a Presbyterian. She told someone when asked that she was a Methodist, as of yesterday. We were married on June 7, 1941. Then we had our honeymoon in French Canada. On returning to the US, Rev. Roby Franklin Day, my father, received my wife into the membership of the Methodist Church in Inwood, Long Island. The next day we met the personnel committee who passed on applicants for those who would become Methodist Missionaries.

Jack at Nine Months
December, 1942. Jack at nine months.

When son Jack was first able to walk, mother made a red suit in which Jack would walk proudly across the Berkeley campus. One day a student soldier eyed him and said "Uncle Sam needs you, young fellow!" It made us think.

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Updated July 21, 2005