Foreword: Providence
Brent, whose good sense and spiritual sensitivity I honor and value, once counseled me not to apologize for using personal stories to illustrate assertions, when speaking or writing. “The Lord,” said he, “didn’t give you those experiences for your own amusement.”

I treasure the few pages that my Pappy and Mammy, and some of their forebears, left behind so that we’d know them better and profit from their achievements and errors. Mammy was a writer, and so we have rather a lot of the written evidences of her life, what she did, and where, and why. Both my parents were teachers, but the great bulk of the wisdom they dispensed scattered abroad with their hearers.

I’ve been counseled, in company with others who share my faith and other wise people, to preserve journals and such written accounts of the experiences that the Lord has given me — yes, not for my own amusement. My children (and theirs, and theirs, and now, in 2019, with the births of little Zoe Webster and Miriam Millar, theirs) have a right to know what I believed and how I behaved in consequence, that they might eschew my mistakes and aim to emulate any of my doings that might deserve emulation. And in testimony of the Lord’s marvelous workings in my behalf and in behalf of my loved ones, on both sides of the Veil.

Only during my first mission to France have I ever kept a proper journal: we missionaries were strongly counseled to do so. Daily and weekly accounts went into my letters to Valerie, who with her customary grace and sweet diligence copied them into the blank book I’d left in her keeping. Even when I wrote in French, which was not her idiom of choice. That journal appears in full in Section 3.1 of this document.

Apart from that segment from October 1961 through April 1964, I’ve had to piece this account together from correspondence, from fading memory, and from photographic and otherwise recorded and preserved memorabilia.

Throughout, line upon line, I’ve become conscious of the beneficent care of Divine Providence, growing in sweetness and diversity from year to year. Through the intervention, not always subtle, of my Eternal Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ, mediated in this world by many of His children who loved me (and some who didn’t), I’ve led a remarkable life, which I feel constrained to acknowledge with gratitude for the edification of my posterity.

So, here goes with the account. I pray that it will strengthen and encourage my children and theirs.
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