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

Chapter 10. Retirement

Since retirement I have made three return trips to China. I did not get back to Kalgan but I did get back to Chengtu, West China, where Daniel Lee (Drew Ph.D '40) had survived much and was still preaching at age 90+. His son, Lee Dong, was then studying at Trinity Theological College, Singapore.

I returned to Indonesia in 1980 for their 75th Anniversary celebration and tried to visit each place where I had served. I accepted Bishop Sitorus' invitation to go back for two years as a special missionary -- the Board paid my way but I lived on my pension. I was to do visiting and some preaching at Medan Wesley Church.

"The congregation is getting too big for the church," sighed Fred Ingold, Pastor. "There is a lot behind the church facing the next Street. A church member owns it, and is planning to build her own house on it. The church should buy it, but has only half the money we need. We could raise half the balance, but no way can we raise it all." Then he left on furlough. One night I couldn't sleep. I had juset enough in available savings to meet the need. A voice within said, "You are giving two years of your life to build up the church. If you really mean business you'll put your money where your heart is." I drew up a letter to the Church Board. If they really meant business and would raise the balance, the money was available. It would be sent through the Board of Missions.

There were two opinions among the members. Some said, "We can't trust the Bishop, we can't trust the Board, we can't raise all that money."

A new church member and member of the Board voiced this view and proposed that we accept this gift from the Board, report that it was spent for this purpose, and spend it on something else.

Somebody whispered something to the new member. He looked at me and smiled sheepishly.

A member of the Board then proposed the church accept the challenge, that the Board members lead the way by each making a pledge then and there. They did so. They raised the money and bought the land.

A few years later I made my next trip back to China. Fred Ingold wrote me proposing that after the China trip I make a side trip from Hongkong to Medan and take part in the dedication of a new social hall for Wesley Church. I was happy to do this.

It was great to be back among friends reading the liturgy which dedicatd the new hall. Noone told me that when they pulled the string uncovering the dedication tablet it would read "Wesley Day Hall". A surprise party followed in the hall.

The dedication tablet has just been unveiled.

Mixed feelings come with such an honor. I feel that this is for saints and I'm not up to it. And I feel that others are far better saints than I am. And I think of how the honor to me might incite jealousy among some who believe they are more worthy than I. Then I think, "Oh, pshaw, let's have a sense of humor. These are good solid people. I love them."

One other event I must write about. Coming back as a "Volunteer in Mission" I stayed in the parsonage.

A male student in a nurses' training college had some bad luck. His widowed father had died, his family in a remote village gathered enough money to pay what they could. On his way back to school he contracted an illness and had to spend some of his fee money on medicine. Arriving at school he was finally registered with insufficient fee money, because the school band in which he played needed him. But by the end of the semester he must pay all. He was too sick to work. (His last job had been as a street sweeper.) He would soon be expelled from his boarding house, and at the end of the term from his school. With many tears he told his friends, including our MYF leader, Sonny Cornelius. Sonny told Fred Ingold.

Fred gave him a little cash in the emergency. Fred came to see me. Would I agree to his living with me in the parsonage if Fred wrote a letter to the church board requesting this? I thought: "A street sweeper--my parsonage mate. "What if he turns out to be hard to live, a crook, or just boring?"

Then I remembered an Indian preacher hospitable Fred had invited to stay in the parsonage for a few days with his wife and baby. They did their own cooking.

I answered: "This is mid-December. He is welcome to live with me till the next Mission Volunteers come in mid-January. Then they must decide."

When the student came I told him: "Breakfast we will eat together. Lunch you get at school. Supper you get yourself. You may use the kitchen and facilities."

First day we had breakfast together. Student was polite and friendly. Then he went to school. That night the cook had to go out for some reason, so she cooked me some soup, with a package of Indomie (instant noodles) to put in at the last minute. The student came at supper time, watched intently as I emptied the noodles into the pot, turned up the heat, then ate the result. I wanted to invite my guest to eat with me, but of course I didn't. Next night he came with a package of noodles. After I finished supper, he put water in the pot, added the Indomie (noodles) and soon made his supper. Next morning during breakfast, a thought struck me, and I asked, "Can you cook?" "I can cook instant noodles," he grinned. "Let's eat together," I said.

In a day or two he asked to join my evening devotions. He poured out his soul in prayer, and there was healing.

His testimony is in the Upper Room for August 18, 1991.

Another Volunteer in Mission, Rev. Dr. George P. Werner, Retired, New York Conference, informally organized a group of people to sponsor "Fasa" in the Medical College of the Methodist University in Medan. He is now doing his internship and wants to bring modern medicine to his own remote area on the island of Nias.

Please pray for Fasa , and all others who pray, "Thy Kingdom come."

I went to visit Indonesia again for two weeks after the World Methodist Conference in Singapore in 1991. In 1980 I had tried to visit all chuches where I had served. Thereafter I returned to Medan Wesley Church.

After retirement in l975 I hoped to live for many years more in the Allenwood home, but that was not to be. A tiny lung cancer put me in the hospital from December l5, l995 for a week, followed by a week (her Christmas vacation) in my daughter's living room, followed by two weeks in which nurses' aides came to see me, and church women brought me their finest cooking. This softened me up for the proposal that if I planned to come eventually to the Francis Asbury Manor Retirement Home in Ocean Grove, why not now? A nice room was waiting and I agreed it was time to move into it---September l8, 1997.

Scrapbook: A Very Special Day. An article about a trip back to Medan, January 1998.

Scrapbook: "Seniors explore world on Web"
Newspaper article from the Asbury Park Press
including a photo of Wesley Day at the computer.

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More on Retirement | 1975 Dunroven in Retirement | 1980 Indonesia, Malaya, China Trip|
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Updated April 17, 2006