A letter from Edith Drucilla Whitney Whitson about her grandparents to her grandchildren: Jay, Daniel, and David. (Frank was not born yet)
You are our oldest grandchild, so I will write the first letter to you. This story is about my grandfather, Ira Joy Stoddard, who was a missionary to India. Today, Oct. 29, 1951, you Jay Elliott Barrett are 4 years, 6 months, and 29 days old. When you are a few years older you can read these words yourself and I hope you will enjoy reading about my grandfather who is your great, great grandfather.
I told you that he was a missionary. A missionary is a person who carries the Gospel or Good News about Jesus to people who have not had the chance to go to Sunday School and church every Sunday as you and Daniel have. When these people go to some part of the United States with the Good News, we call them "home Missionaries". When missionaries go to other countries to teach and preach and heal the sick and tell people about Jesus, we call them "Foreign .Missionaries". My Grandpa Stoddard was a foreign missionary, because he went. to Assam, India. Assam is a state in the Country of India just as Iowa is a state in the country of the United State
On August 18, 1847, my grandfather Stoddard married Drucilla Allen, and when I was born 45 years later, she was my Grandma Stoddard. Then they set sail for India to be pioneer missionaries. Pioneer means that they were among the first people to go to a certain place. There are very many missionaries now, but long ago there were not so many and in some parts of India and even in some part. of Assam before my grandpa and grandma went there, but in another letter I will tell you how grandpa Stoddard went to a place where no missionary had ever been before. People had to be very brave to go to another country where they did not know anyone and did not even know how to talk the same language that the people there talked. Sometimes the people that they went to tell about Jesus did not like people from another country and did not want to be helped and did not want to hear about Jesus. Some times they made life very hard for the missionaries; so the missionaries had to be patient, but they loved Jesus so much and He had done so much for them that they wanted to tell everyone about Him. So they set sail for India.
It may sound funny to you to have anyone talk about setting sail. Nowdays people travel in a steam ship if they want to cross the ocean. If they have enough money they go in an airplane and get there in a few hours or days. Long ago in 1847 steamships had not been in use very long and while a few of them had crossed the Atlantic ocean from the United States to England, none of them bad gone as far as India. So Grandpa and Grandma went in a sailing ship. Instead of going through the Suez Canal, they bad to go all the way down the west coast of Africa, around the cape of Good Hope. So instead of the trip taking them a few weeks,as it would now, it took them 6 months. The reason they did not go by way or the Suez Canal was that it had not yet been built.
Some other time I will tell you about how my grandfather built himself a house on stilts; how be saved a lot of people for Jesus by singing a song; how he taught a whole village full of people to read so that they could read the bible; and how he killed a tiger.
That is all for this time.
Your loving Grandma,
Edith Drucilla Whitney Whitson