Tag Archives: Yarinacocha

Yarinacocha Snoopy Crashes Steve’s Red Baron

red-heinkelIn 1966, while I [Steve] was in Yarinacocha, Peru, and the Kindberg parents were out in the tribal area, I utilized their high-class motor-scooter (with permission) to get back and forth from the Summer Institute of Linguistics base-camp to the nearby town. I was aware that dogs did not like the motorized vehicles passing on the road and would nip at the heels or legs of foreign cyclists. Plus, at the medical clinic, we’d been warned about an increasingly rabid population among the fauna.

On a pleasant afternoon, as I passed the Albert Schweitzer Clinic on this same road, yours truly was approached by what seemed to be an insulted mongrel; he started at my left leg. Kicking him away only enraged the beast, but kicking seemed to be my best defense against the supposed bearer of rabies. He started to win the battle and so I veered right, just as a small bridge loomed to the left, traversing a creek in the jungle.

With great aplomb and no bridge under its wheels, the man/machine unit flew over this waterway. The prized Heinkel-two-wheel-wonder landed just below the brink of the distant shoreline. The bad news was that its front axle and fork bent, squashing the wheels into the rest of the body. The pinky of the driver’s right hand got “broke.” The good news: the canine stood smiling on the proximal side, wagging his tail as he put another victory scratch in the mud beside the takeoff point.

No more rolling or even limping for the German red metal mass until an airplane mechanic at the JAARS hanger worked to give it a new, though dented, life. As Lee and Will got off the float plane coming in from their tribal stay, each Kindberg kid was sworn not to mention the flight of the Red Baron and the resulting modification of its function and appearance.

But . . . wouldn’t you guess, even before Will stepped from the Piper Cub’s pontoon onto the dock, little Dougie proudly broadcast that “Uncle Steve wrecked Daddy’s Heinkel.” Surprised, but gracious, Will received the news flash and waited a week or two until the vehicle resumed its function.

As for the victorious dog, he still walks with his head high, but no foaming at the mouth. Check one for the animal world.

story told by Steve via email on October 11, 2016; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What other Uncle Steve stories can you generate: Virginia? Kathy? Eric? Bruce?
  • Or how about stories from France: Sandy? Debby?
  • DD? Jimmy? Gordy?
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Kathy Breaks Up with Allan at the Wedding

kathy-josh-joe-allan-kim-katrina

Josh, Kathy, Joe, Kim, Allan, Katrina, Loma Linda, Colombia,  ca. 1994

[Kathy]: I’m Kathy. I’m the fourth of the family there, also born at Yarina. All of us were born there except Gail, so we always said she was the odd the one—ha!

[Gail]: She was adopted.

[Kathy]: She’s the adopted one.

[Dawn]: Gail, where were you born?

[Gail]: I was born in Newton, Massachusetts.

[Marcia]: Oh, Newton Wellesley Hospital?

[Gail]: I don’t know if that was the hospital. Is that the only hospital in Newton?

[Steve]: That’s the main one.

[Marcia]: Yeah, that’s the major one.

[Gail]: I guess.

[Kathy]: So what am I supposed to say? Just kind of a little background? Um, so yeah, so almost all the years, all my years were in Peru—school years—except kindergarten, when we were on furlough in New Jersey, and my eighth grade year were on furlough. That’s when. . . .

No my kindergarten year was when you [Eric] had the accident, the car accident. My eighth grade year was when you and Bruce were going to start in college and that’s why our family moved back. So we had very few times in the States before. Then my senior year of high school, we actually moved to Colombia and I thought that was the worst thing ever, to have to leave. But I had a great time in Colombia, too, after I adjusted. Then came to the States for college in Dallas Bible College and then transferred over to Bryan College in Tennessee. That’s where I met my husband Allan.

allan-and-kathy-march-13-1983

Allan and Kathy Courtright, March 13, 1981

So Allan and I met at college. I was playing volleyball and he was like the student volleyball coach. And so we made all of our away trips, away game trips. He was there with us and we got to know each other and got married.

Actually, I have to back that up. He came to Dallas when Eric and Mary Lynn got married—poor guy. Met all the Duncans. What?

[Gail]: You broke up, too, didn’t you.

[Kathy]: I broke up with him, while he was there at the wedding. I mean, there in Dallas for the wedding time, not at the wedding itself, but I guess I just got scared off. Too serious, too fast. It was very, very mean of me to do that, but he met the whole Duncan clan and he still decided to propose later on.

We got back together at school and so, um, after he graduated, that summer, he came down to Colombia, kind of like the Eric and Mary Lynn thing you guys did. But we ended up getting engaged there at Loma Linda in Colombia. Then I finished school and got married the next year [March 13, 1981].

Soon after we got married, we joined Wycliffe and went through all the training and all that.

Doug, the brother between me and Virginia, Virginia and I—he was killed in a motorcycle accident when Kim was just born, so that was thirty years ago, last month. And we were doing our support-raising.

Oh, by the way, I was born in June of 1959. I think you were writing the dates down.

[Dawn]: So you were here when he was killed, in the States?

[Kathy]: We were actually in Waxhaw. We were in Tennessee at my Dad’s parents’ place. We were traveling around doing deputation, raising our support. We found out when we were in Tennessee. The next day, two days later, we were coming here anyway as a planned thing. It was really hard because we were speaking in a church the night we found out he was killed. We were doing a slide show. Allan was doing the speaking and I was clicking the slides. As Allan was speaking, we came across a picture of Doug and I was like aaaaagh. Anyway, I won’t go into that. But we came here [Waxhaw] soon afterward and we were with friends of his and family. Otherwise, we didn’t really know anybody. The others got to go down to Loma Linda, but I didn’t have a passport with me.

Loma Linda was where he was killed on a motorcycle after traveling from Dallas through Central America. The night he got to Loma Linda, just a freak thing that he was killed. He lived to the next morning, but then he died.

[Eric]: The neat thing about all that was when he arrived, on the morning he arrived, I guess, he had lunch with the family and started telling the story of his travels all the way from Texas all the way down to Colombia and so they recorded it all. They got it all on tape.

[Kathy]: Mom turned on the tape recorder.

[Eric]: So the very, almost the last hours of his life, he was telling his experiences, laughing and joking. So we’ve got all of that on tape recording.

[Kathy]: It was actually within a few hours because he didn’t arrive until evening, at late afternoon. They had supper. He was telling his experiences at supper. They went out riding right after that with just kids around the center and that’s when that happened.

Anyway, so we were preparing for mission work when we found out about that. And then Allan and I went through the rest of training. We were in Colombia for, assigned to Colombia for eight years of the fifteen years we were with Wycliffe. And then we were here at JAARS Center part of that time. Allan was in charge of—you saw the tour?—Allan was international computer services. He was the director of international computer services for a couple of years after were from Colombia to here.

[Eric]: He actually helped design the building that the IT center was in, the Languages Services Center.

[Kathy]: Language Services Center. I couldn’t remember the title of that building.

Then we ended up, while we were here, and on that assignment, we started. Our kids were in soccer. We did a lot. We volunteered for a professional, all Christian soccer team, which is under Missionary Athletes International. We ended up switching over to that. The last fifteen years, we’ve been with MAI. That’s kind of our ministry background.

story told by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Gail and Eric (Lee’s kids), Steve and Marcia (Steve’s wife), Dawn (Steve’s daughter) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Kathy, what helped you adjust to Colombia?
  • How did the two schools compare?
  • What did you like to do for fun, both at Yarina and then in Colombia, besides ride motorcycles?
  • Did your folks help you choose a college? How did you come to be at Dallas and then to transfer?
  • I’ve guessed at the first photo date. Do you have a better idea of the year?

Kathy Recommends Jungle Reading

[Kathy]: Ron Snell writes these. You can get them off of Amazon.It's a Jungle Out There!

It’s written from kind of a young boy’s perspective. Very humorous. But Eric and Bruce and Dad [Will Kindberg] are all mentioned in the books and it kind of just gives a taste of what it’s like as a missionary kid living on the. . . . You were commenting on “Really, your parents let your brothers do that!” Well, he kind of makes reference to many things his parents, who were also translators in a related language that we worked in, what his parents let them do as kids. Anyway, very fun.

[Eric]: They’re like kissing cousins [the Machiguenga and the Ashanica Campas]. They’re very closely related, so the stories he tells about his experiences, we could have told some of the same experiences.

[Kathy]: The river, going down the river on the raft, you know, that kind thing. But just living out in the jungle area and living on the Yarinacocha center where we were. so anyway, if you’re ever interested in some light reading, you can look that up on Amazon.

recommendation by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with help from Eric (Lee’s son) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What books would you recommend that capture the experience or place where the Eight worked, lived, grew up, etc.?

Gail Gets Her Sprint Training

High School, Yarinacocha, Peru, courtesy of Kathy Courtright, May 20, 2013

Gail’s High School in Yarinacocha, courtesy of Kathy Courtright

[Gail]: So, I’m the third child [of Lee] and I think my mom had a miscarriage between Eric and I.

[Eric]: That’s right.

[Gail]: Didn’t Mom? Do you know how far along Mom was when she had that miscarriage?

[Kathy]: She was out in the tribe. I don’t think she knew very well.

[Gail]: OK. I was born in 1958. . . .

[Mary Lynn]: What’s the best thing about growing up at Yarinacocha?

[Gail]: I enjoyed the freedom of being out on motorcycles. I mean, I was one of the ones that just enjoyed being out, you know, being out on the motorcycles.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah, going out on motorcycles and then going to the teachers’ houses and raiding their underwear and short-sheeting their beds.

[Gail]: I was this prankster, that’s for sure.

[Kathy]: She got sprint training by—we’d go out in a group to throw mangos on the roofs, the tin roofs and then we’d all go running, so Gail got her sprint training trying to keep up with people.

[Gail]: Yeah. I was a prankster and I was known for it, too. Yeah.

[Mary Lynn]: I didn’t know that about you.

[Gail]: Oh yeah, I was really bad.

[Steve]: We thought you were perfect.

[Gail]: Pardon?

[Steve]: We thought you were perfect.

[Gail]: Oh, gosh.

[Dawn]: She’s telling you she was.

[Gail]: I was.

[Steve]: Oh.

[Mary Lynn]: How about the social part of Yarinacocha?

[Gail]: The social part? I was a social person.

[Eric]: Gail was known as a very social person. All the guys liked Gail. They would hang around her because she was a good friend to them.

[Mary Lynn]: Would you ever like to go back to live?

[Gail]: Um. I would like to go back and visit, but I don’t think, don’t know if I’d want to go back and live there. I think things have changed too much.

story told by Gail (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Kathy and Eric (Lee’s kids), Mary Lynn (Eric’s wife), Steve and Dawn (Steve’s daughters) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Please! We need to hear more prank stories.
  • Anybody else have a Yarinacocha story to share?
  • Anybody else have a mango story to share?

Bruce Does Drugs, Eric’s Brain Leaks

[Mary Lynn]: Bruce was the star athlete of Yarinacocha, too.

[Eric]: Yup.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah, he was!

[Mary Lynn]: Athletics was, like, huge.

[Kathy]: Bruce had a lot of records.

[Mary Lynn]: A lot of what?

[Kathy]: Records.

[Eric]: Fastest runner. Best hurdler. I don’t know about swimming, but almost everything else.

[Bruce]: The Indians set me up with some drugs.

[Gloria]: Performance-enhancing drugs?

[Marcia]: Performance-enhancing, yeah.

[Eric]: OK, so, Mary Lynn and I got married in 1980. We met in graduate school in Dallas. When I left Peru, I came back and went to the King’s College in New York.

[Mary Lynn]: Honey, you’ve got to tell your brain surgery story.

[Eric]: Oh, OK. Back up a little.

[Marcia]: How about when you were born?

[Stephanie]: He doesn’t remember, Mom.

[Eric]: I don’t remember.

[Marcia]: You don’t know what year you were born?

[Eric]: Oh, OK. Yeah. 1954. Bruce was born in 1953 and we were 17 days apart, so we always opt and celebrated our birthdays together.

[Mary Lynn]: Seventeen days and a year.

[Eric]: Pardon me?

[Steve]: A year and 17 days.

[Marcia]: I hope it was a year.

[Eric]: Seventeen days. Plus a year.

[Steve]: I’ve done that, fooling the patients, that distance between the deliveries.

[Eric]: Uncle Steve, you always come up with the best comments. I remember we were at Park Street Church talking in a conference, you know, with a whole congregation of people. This was during a Duncan family reunion there. Well, here I am up on the platform, nervous as anything and I’m telling my story of living in Kokorake [sp?] at 11,500 feet and Uncle Steve yells out from the audience, “Hope you didn’t fall off the roof!”

You’ve got some good ones. Everyone broke up. I’m glad you keep the humor in the family.

[Mary Lynn]: You and Bruce were in the same grade all through school.

[Eric]: We were in the same grade from first grade on.

So, let’s see. Came back to the States, went to the King’s College.

[Mary Lynn]: Tell the story.

Oh, back to the. . . . When I was ten, we were in the States. You know, people always say, “What about all the wild animals down there? What about, you know, the insects and all these evil, bad things that you hear about?” Well, I came to the States and never had had anything happen to me. Well, Bruce and I were racing across the street in Bloomfield, New Jersey, running to the church, and I got bit by a car.

[Stephanie]: Oh-oh.

[Eric]: So I was 9 years old and it hit me in the side of the face and twirled me around and broke, shattered my knee, my femur. So the doctors thought they would have to amputate my leg. Finally were able to piece it back together and I was in a body cast for quite a while until I got chicken pox. They cut off the upper part and let me at least scratch my itches. But yeah. So that was quite an experience.

[Marcia]: Now she said “brain surgery”?

[Mary Lynn]: Yeah.

[Eric]: Following that. Yeah, following that. I had a fracture and they thought it was just a concussion at the time. They didn’t realize I had a hairline fracture. When I was thirteen, I developed spinal meningitis, back in Peru.

[Victoria]: Oh, my goodness!

[Eric]: Three times. The first time was natural. It’s normal to get spinal meningitis once. Maybe not normal, but, you know, you never are supposed to get it a second time. I developed a second case of it and they knew something was wrong. So they sent me to Lima for observation and tested—you know, I had spinal fluid actually leaking through my nostril, so they realized that they needed to perform surgery to close up that fracture that was still there. So I had brain surgery when I was 13 after the third incident.

[Marcia]: In Lima?

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Cabieses

Fernando Cabieses Molina, courtesy of Wikipedia

[Eric]: In Lima. And the neat thing about that is the way that God works. You know, you think of being on a mission field and what kind of medical care can you get there? Here we were, didn’t have the money to send me back to the States or whatever. So here I am in Lima. My doctor was called Dr. Cabieses. Well, he happened to be one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons. Not only that, but there was a conference of the world’s leading neurosurgeons right there in Lima, so he took my case before all of them, so I had the world’s experts in on my case. God is good.

[Kathy]: That’s how he turned out to be so smart.

[Eric]: Right.

[Stephanie]: So what was—you developed a third case of it later?

[Eric]: Third case, while I was in Lima.

[Stephanie]: While you were in Lima.

[Kathy]: I remember, as a kid, when he had that, it was really scary because his fever would go so high, he got very delirious. And I was having a sleepover with some friends. We were going to sleep in the rec-room, which was just separated from the house a little bit, but you could hear him yelling out, counting really fast, up and backward, and just kind of yelling out unusual things because he was delirious. It was just really unsettling to hear your brother. He went on to Lima or had gotten better soon after that.

[Eric]: Yeah, that was, I think, the first incident, or maybe the first or second one. They give you a spinal tap when you have spinal meningitis. They put this long needle. You have to roll up in a ball, so you separate your vertebrae. They put this needle in your back. It is the most—it’s like being in a dentist chair, having that needle, you know, that drill going into your mouth, into your teeth. I hated it. ‘Course I had high fevers at the time when they were doing the surgery, the uh, inserting the needle to get the spinal fluid out to test it.

But, yeah, God is good. I lived through it. Did give me a little touch of something, I’m sure. Did something to my brain.

[Steve, relaying question]: Does he hallucinate anymore?

[Mary Lynn]: Strange dreams. He’s had strange dreams sometimes.

[Eric]: Well, she puts me out of the room. I have to sleep in a separate room because I talk too much in the night. No.

Actually that’s pretty close to the truth. I snore too much at night.

[Mary Lynn]: But that’s why—well, I don’t know if you want to say that—but that also influenced why you ended up going into Bible translation and not aviation.

[Eric]: That’s right.

story told by Eric (Lee’s son) with interjections by Mary Lynn (Eric’s wife), Kathy and Bruce (Lee’s children), Steve, Stephanie (Steve’s daughter), Marcia (Steve’s wife), Gloria (Tad’s daughter), and Victoria (TJ’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • How do you spell Kokorake? Where was it? When did Eric live there?
  • Where did Eric receive the spinal tap that diagnosed the spinal meningitis?
  • Anybody else have chicken pox as kids? Tell us what you remember.

First with the Word

Lee, Will, Kids, Campa Welcoming Committee in Nenquechani, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Lee, Will, Kids, Campa Welcoming Committee in Nenquechani, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Nenquechani:   The Kindberg family marches purposefully past a say, welcoming group of Campas, en route to a new house at Nenquechani, built by Will while awaiting his family’s return from a trip to Yarinacocha. The Campas wear the cushma, a course woven sort of Mother-Hubbard of immense practicality in the insect-ridden jungle.

WBtW, Will and Campas, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will and Campas, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Cushma:   Cushmas are worn by mean, women and children, with vertical necklines for men, horizontal for women. The natural brown cotton cushma may be thrown over one’s shoulder to allow freedom of movement, pulled up to allow crossing of rivers without getting it wet, and camouflages dirt very well.

WBtW, Lee and Doug with Campas Looking On, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Lee and Doug with Campas Looking On, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Privacy:   Silently, these youthful Campa mothers watch Lee tend her youngest child. The Kindberg house has no walls. They learned very early in their relations with the Campas that privacy was impossible, that sharing the intimate daily routine of their household established a warm and respectful bond with the primitive Indians. “We put a ‘tucuyo’ (unbleached muslin) around our bedroom for some semblance of privacy, only to discover that the Indians loved to pick up the edge and peek underneath,” said Will.

WBtW, Will and Lee Study in Kerosene Light, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will and Lee Study in Kerosene Light, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Shared Calling:   Lee is a registered nurse, shares with Will an equal interest in missionary linguistic work in the foreign field. The couple met at Wheaton College in the U.S.A.; six months after their marriage [they] arrived in Peru to begin their life work.

WBtW, Will Consulting with Jose Flores in Quempiri, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will Consulting with Jose Flores in Quempiri, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

José Flores:   In the Ene river village of Quempiri, Will consults with Campa Indian José Flores concerning text for the next day’s sermon, which José will deliver. Will, using his home, Nenquechani, as a base, visits other outposts in the Ene river area of the Peruvian Amazon. To reach the most remote places, he travels by canoe, raft, on foot, and occasionally uses the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service aircraft. One such outpost is Quempiri, 35 minutes by plane from Nenquechani, but seven difficult days away poling upstream in a canoe.

WBtW, Jose Flores Teaches, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Jose Flores Teaches, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

The school at Quempiri was built only last year. Teacher Flores was the first Campa with whom Will had direct contact nine years ago when he first began his language work in Peru. Before he came, many of the inhabitants of Quempiri had never seen a white man. Although Will visits Quempiri regularly, José Flores carries the main responsibility of this missionary effort. Nine years ago José could not read, write or understand Spanish, spoke only his own Campa tongue.

WBtW, Will Watches as Jose Flores Teaches, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will Watches as Jose Flores Teaches, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Teacher José Flores instructs Campa children at Quempiri under supervision of his old friend and mentor Kindberg. José has provided cultural, educational, spiritual, social and economic leadership in the tiny Quempiri community. He is classified by the Peruvian government as a bilingual teacher, receives a yearly salary of 4,500 soles ($174). So eager are the Campa to learn, that official attendance records at his school show 53 persons attending out of a total village population of 100. Among José’s students: his wife, Felícitas.

José, encouraged by Will, learned to read and write, first his own language, then the national language of his own country. Now bilingual, in Campa and Spanish, and trained to teach by the Peruvian government training school for Indians of the jungle conducted at our Yarinacocha base José is an effective direct link between the Campa tribe and Peruvian national life and government.

WBtW, Will Teaches a Campa Child to Write, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will Teaches a Campa Child to Write, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

His desire to share his own personal faith in Christ with others, plus his ability to read and teach the Scriptures already available, have made him a spiritual leader among his Campa people too.

José told his students, “I learned to read and write through working with Mr. Kindberg. If this had not happened none of you would be learning. You would not be able to read the Bible and to be Christians.”

Then Will, adding his word of instruction, said: “Jesus is in heaven, and we accept Christ’s resurrection as proof that there is resurrection and He will raise us up.” After Will spoke, the students sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” in the Campa language.

WBtW, Lee Bandages Campa Child, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Lee Bandages Campa Child, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Nursing:   In the daily routine of life a Nenquechani, Lee Kindberg bandages the punctured foot of a Campa child and introduces a huge forest parrot to young Dougie Kindberg.

WBtW, Lee Shows Eric? a Parrot, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Lee Shows Eric? a Parrot, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Little Kindbergs:   After dinner at the Kindberg home, the family enjoys “reading time,” first for the girls, who perch on their father’s lap and listen breathlessly to “tonight’s story.” The Kindberg boys await their turn to hear their father read from “Paths and Pathfinders,” a basic reader. Afterwards the family joins hands and prays, Daddy and Mommy get “good-night” kisses. There is no fighting to stay up late, for the children are tired after the day’s occupations.

WBtW, Will Reads Bedtime Stories to Gail, Kathy, Eric, and Bruce, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will Reads Bedtime Stories to Gail, Kathy, Eric, and Bruce, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Whole New Testament:   “Before we leave the Campa work, I want to see the whole New Testament and portions of the Old Testament translated for them; to see adequate schooling provided, with basic books, such as reading primers, books on arithmetic, history and health, in their own language and in Spanish. We hope to leave an enduring testimony, practiced and led by the indigenous leaders developed during our years here. We hope to stay here until this is assured, however long it might take.”—Will Kindberg

WBtW, Will Kindberg, 1963or4, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Will Kindberg, 1961, courtesy of Jim Duncan

Mission:   A Wycliffe pioneer from New Jersey brings Christ’s Word to the Campa Indians, one of the 32 Peruvian tribes being served by the Wycliffe translators.

Missionary-linguist Willard R. Kindberg, of Orange, N. J., is opening spiritual frontiers along the Apurimac river of eastern Peru, three hours’ flight time—or one month overland—from Yarinacocha, headquarters of the Peru branch of our Summer Institute of Linguistics. Shooting the rapids of remote Apurimac tributaries, it is Kindberg’s special joy to be on a spiritual frontier—a joy shared by his wife Lee, and five “little Kindbergs.” For all the Kindbergs, the privations and dangers of jungle frontier life is a spiritual adventure, rich in Christian service, and in the privilege of being the first to tell the Indians, in their own language, about Christ.

An athletic, determined man, Will wants to see his Indians progress, pragmatically accepts the fact that, although he may imitate Campa dress and ways, he is accepted by them only as a representative of another way of life. He contends that the Indians will appreciate the Bible more if they pay for it in kind-bows and arrows or sugar cane.

transcription of an article in Cornell Capa, “First with the Word” in Who Brought the Word (n.c.: Wycliffe Bible Translators, n.d.), 46–57. found and contributed by Jim Duncan [Wally’s son], March 2015

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What do you remember of the visitor who took these pictures and recorded these vignettes?
  • Doug was a baby in several of the photos, so they were probably 1961. But the original article says “Dougie” is the child looking at the parrot (and Eric and Virginia confirm it was him), which would mean the article and picture were at least 1962. Can you confirm the date of the article?
  • What else do you remember about Nenquechani? About the “old house” and the “new house”? Why did he have to build a new one?
  • Did they finish the New Testament? Any of the Old Testament as Will desired? How many years were they there?
  • Who else has articles about the Duncan Eight stashed somewhere that you might like to contribute to eightduncans.com? Can you scan them? Would you like to drop them in the mail? I can email you my address if you need it. Let me know in the comments box below.

MKs Don’t Write Home

[Ken]: You [Virginia] were away from home in high school, weren’t you?

[Lee]: No. Yarinacocha [Peru]?

[Polly]: You were in Colombia, weren’t you?

[Bob]: Steve’s kids.

[Lee]: They came to the States.

[Virginia]: I just don’t. . . . I would not be able to do that.

Ben Lippen School[Ken]: I’m talking about high school.

[Bob]: The thing is I often felt badly for [Steve’s] girls. They didn’t have a prom. . . . Heidi had to make her own dress. . . . For all those high school years, the kids were out of the country [Angola].

[Lee]: Well, by the time she [Virginia] got into high school, we were staying a lot more time in the center.

[Virginia]: Yah, I do remember that now. I just don’t know how. . . . I kind of disagree with that, but that’s their life and not mine. I just feel that. . . . I can’t believe it. I just don’t understand it.

[Bob]: Now if you could send your wife away to school, that would be all right.

[Polly]: Here we go again.

[Bob]: I agree. I completely agree. I can see a wistfulness in Marcia’s eyes. . . . the girls. We were closer to them than they were. That’s not true anymore. I think we were closer to the girls during high school years than Marcia and Steve were.

[Polly]: Oh. Oh, ya.

[Bob]: But that’s not true anymore, of course. We were there as their substitute parents.

[Polly]: As Marcia said once—Aunt Marcia—to me, she said, you know it was so hard, she’d get these letters, maybe most especially from Dawn, but from the others too. And they were going through some crisis. We knew a little bit about it, but they didn’t want to burden anybody, but they would burden Mum and Dad by letter. And even the phones were horrible.

[Virginia]: Oh, and they were so far away.

[Polly]: In Angola. You couldn’t even reach them by phone. Those were terrible years. Anyway, the point being, Marcia said, by the time we got this letter—and my mother’s heart is jumping all over the place—the kids have long gone past that. But little by little, as they got older, they weren’t quite as ready to do that, knowing that it was paining their parents and that they couldn’t do anything about it by the time they got a letter. Forget it, you know.

But on the other hand, I feel like I said, a child or a young person needs their parents. They need to share with them. When Aunt Marcia and Uncle Steve came home, especially early on, and then went back and then came home for good, at that point in time it was very hard. They said you hardly know your kids. You know them. You greet each other. You talk about things. But to really know them. And it’s only been since they’ve been home on a permanent basis that they’ve really gotten to know the girls and it’s been wonderful.

[Virginia]: What age did they start the boarding school or whatever it is?

[Bob]: Seventh grade.

[Polly]: High school.

[Lee]: They sent them also to. . . .

[Polly]: They came down to Ben Lippen School and Dawn, well all of them, all of them were freshmen in high school.

[Bob]: Ninth grade.

[Polly]: Ninth graders. Whereas Betty and Harley had—Sandy was with them until tenth grade. Yah, she went through tenth grade.

[Virginia]: Oh, they did the same thing with them?

[Bob]: Yes.

[Polly]: In France. Then they went to Ben Lippen and they came home. But Debby went the whole four years to Ben Lippen.

[Bob]: Now today they would do that differently with Black Forest Academy. They would be there.

[Virginia]: That’s what I’m thinking. I guess that’s why I’m confused.

[Bob]: I don’t know how long that was that Black Forest Academy has been around. I don’t know why they didn’t choose Black Forest Academy.

[Virginia]: I was thinking they were running . . . but is that just with Sandy?

[Bob]: No, Debby.

[Virginia]: Debby.

[Bob]: Debby teaches there.

[Virginia]: Oh, OK. Oh, OK. I was, for some reason, thinking that they were helping to run that or something.

[Bob]: Debby’s a teacher of French and she’s involved in the mime ministry and all that stuff. I don’t know either.

Now with boys it’s different.

[Polly]: I think that they felt that they would come back to the United States because they had family here. If they had gone to Black Forest Academy, there were no family members.

[Bob]: I wasn’t thinking about them. I was thinking about Betty and Harley.

[Polly]: Oh, Betty and Harley sent Debby and Sandy there.

[Bob]: Black Forest?

[Polly]: No. No, no. It was Sandy sent Rebecca and Christopher there.

[Bob]: I don’t know how long it’s been working.

[Polly]: I don’t know how long Black Forest Academy has been in, um. . . .

[Bob]: Operation.

[Polly]: Operation. But quite a number of years. They’ve . . .  it quite a number of years. But that was different for Sandy and Randy—I know I’m jumping around here but—to send because they were only in France. They could visit, eight hours away, but they could visit. And they certainly phoned. So when Rebecca and Christopher were there, when they were on the Continent, and Sandy and Randy were back home on the mission field, in France.

[Virginia]: So they did the same thing with them?

[Bob]: Yes, but there’s no place. . . . You should hear Rebecca talk about French schools and what it did to her.

***

[Bob]: You talk about that book Letters Never Sent. Very, very interesting, from a missionary.

[Virginia]: Is that the one you sent me?

[Lee]: No. No, that’s not the one I sent you, but you have read that one because I got it from somebody else. It was about a missionary. . . .

[Bob]: Kid.

[Lee]: Kid, who wrote this letter to whom?

[Polly]: To her parents.

[Bob]: Well supposedly. She never did. . . .

[Lee]: It never got mailed.

[Bob]: No. They were never mailed. They were just, kind of, entries in her diary. But these are what she would have liked to have written to her parents.

The book was very interesting. Polly has recently read that. But who gave that to me? Oh, yeah, Barbara gave it to me. I think it was somebody she knew that wrote it [Ruth E. Van Reken].

[Lee]: Barbara. That’s where I got mine from, too. Yes, it was somebody she knew.

[Polly]: But Marcia, years ago Aunt Marcia had mentioned it to me. Because I had it written down. Every once in a while, I do this. Somebody will mention a book and I’ll write it down and I’ll tuck it away in my wallet and unless I change my wallet I may never find it again. In this case, when Bob got it, when Uncle Bob brought it home, I thought I know that book. I know that book. I know that book. Where do I know it from? And eventually it surfaced that it was one that Aunt Marcia had recommended years ago, that it was very helpful to her girls.

redacted transcription of a conversation between Bob, Polly (his wife), Virginia (Lee’s daughter), Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What years did Sandy attend Ben Lippen?
  • What years did Debby attend Ben Lippen?
  • Maybe Heidi, Kimberly, and Stephanie should all write their Ben Lippen dates down, too.
  • When was Black Forest Academy established? Was it an option for Sandy and Debby? If so, why did they end up at Ben Lippen?
  • Lee’s kids boarded at the SIL center when their parents were in the tribe. Was this true up through high school? Were they ever cut off from communication with their folks over long periods of time?
  • How does Barbara know Ruth E. Van Reken?
  • What else is lost in Polly’s wallet?