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VJ Mills to Dr. Clarke. Christian Children's Fund

file # CCF-113x.         

Pusan, Korea.
19th March 1951.

Dear Dr. Clarke,

      This is but a hurried note on the eve of my leaving for Seoul.  Tomorrow morning we are to start at seven o-clock in a jeep Dr. Appenzeller, John Underwood, Mr. Phillips and myself.  It is a question as to whether the military will let us past Taegu.  Never the less we are going forth in hope that they will not stop us.  The other members of the party are naturally very anxious to see about their mission property in Seoul while yours truly thinks it will make good publicity material for our organization too, to secure pictures of the ruined homes for which we can base an appeal.

      Already I have some good material for write-ups I have made notes as I have gone along but I have been traveling all the time which has made it impossible for me to do anything about it and I do want to try and express the feelings that I have experienced as I have gone through these camps where the hundreds of orphans are just existing and nothing else.  This is a pretty cold world at least this part of the world for fatherless children.  Hundreds of them are just living in tents and huddling together to keep warm.  If my pictures turn out which I have taken so far, you should have some good ones for publication.

      All transportation-what is left is all taken over by the military and we civies are simply left out of it.  Nevertheless, to date I have been able to get to two of the Islands namely Katuk and Kuji where the Government have some twenty orphanages in all while 24 of Dr. Ohís boys are on Katuk too.  There is a most interesting story about Dr. Ohís home which I am writing up, but unfortunately 108 of the children that were in the home at Anyang were killed in a bombing by mistake, it is very sad.  Practically all the buildings were left in ruins.  Iím getting pictures of it on this trip to Seoul.

      The Salvation Army girls home is now in Taegu and we are driving through there so Iíll get to see them.  Then the Boys home is on Cheju Island also some twenty of the Ethel Underwood girls, too, along with a few of the boys from Chongju Boys Town.  So I have been able to locate them all.  I hope to get a place from Taegu to Cheju as there is no means of transportation from here in Pusan.  To go by boat takes a day and night each way and all they have are small fishing craft which makes the travel not only uncomfortable but dangerous if the weather is a little rough.  Yesterday I took one of these boats and went with Dr. Oh to Katuk Island, it was quite an experience practically everyone on board was sick and I was so close to it, it wasnít even funny.  But I stretched out on some freight on top of the boat, and in this way I was able to navigate.  The seas were so heavy that our ship was an hour late in arriving back to Pusan.  Dr. Oh was quite upset and looked very white when he walked ashore.

      Today I visited another two orphanages in this city and I now have them busy writing up the No. 2 forms.  Before I leave next week I hope to have this material ready.  As per your instructions I have taken on another 500 adoptions here and they certainly need our help.

      You will be happy to know that I have already gathered a number of men together to form the new Christian Childrenís Fund Korean Advisory Committee, of whom Dr. Fitch is also a member.  The Committee is meeting to get things organized just as soon as I return from Seoul which I imagine will be next Tuesday as it will take three days heavy driving each way to make it.  Iím very fortunate indeed that Iím able to get in on this jeep ride otherwise there would be no means of travel.  But it seems as though the Lord always makes a way for us some way or other.

      There will be no difficulty in carrying on here in Korea and if anything we are going to enhance our position very much being in on the ground floor.  Iíll be writing more about this later.  But you can go right ahead and tell folks we are going along as usual in fact we are increasing our work here considerably.  If possible I hope to be able to get a Korean to work as a secretary so that the Committee will not have any excuse about not having Xmas material in on time and etc.

      On this trip Iím making a complete survey of the whole orphanage situation and by the looks of things according to the figures which I have compiled to date there are from 18,000 to 20,000 orphans.  About half of this number are in private institutions but a program can and should be worked out to care for the other 10,000.  I think if we could get some of the larger denominations to realize the plight and need of these fatherless little ones we might be able to undertake the task.  Moreover I think we could secure land from the Government and also secure building materials from the UN just as soon as the trouble ceases Ė if we have a complete plan and personnel that we could put in to supervise the work.  It might be that the UN would give us several years of support for the children too.

      I will do my best to outline my idea in my report on Korea and would appreciate your comments on the matter.  The needs are great and there is a great work to be done.  Although Dr. Appenzeller is here for Church World Service there is little they can do in fact just as soon as the few bails of clothing they have left is given out their work will be finished unless there will be some way of tying in with the UN effort and if this is done then they loose their identity.  The folks here feel very bad that the relief to this nation in distress has been limited to this one source of supply.

      Please excuse this hurried letter as it is already eleven and we have to be up early expecting to be on the road by 7.00 a.m.  With every best wish.

                                          Sincerely yours,
                                                V. J. R. Mills

CCF-113

 

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