We Were Pioneers

We Were Pioneers

By Alta H. Hoyt

  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs, Books
  • Type: ebook
  • Release Date: 2014-05-15
  • File Size: 144.12MB
  • Author: Alta H. Hoyt
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We Were Pioneers Details

The republication of We Were Pioneers forty-three years after its original appearance will hopefully find a wider audience interested in the progress of Christianity in an area of the world previously untouched by it.  The Friends (Quaker) Church takes a holistic approach to missions, building schools, hospitals and industry, as well as churches.  My grandparents, Fred and Alta Hoyt, served the Friends Africa Industrial Mission for thirty-five years in Kaimosi, Kenya, from 1911 to 1946.  W. R. Hotchkiss opened the mission field in 1902. Those thirty-five years saw the introduction of a hydroelectric power, a sawmill, a brick kiln and an Industrial School for woodworking and carpentry. At the same time, Quaker linguists, including my grandmother, produced a Luragoli alphabet for the Luhya people and translated the Bible into their language. The cultural impact of these activities changed everything from housing to marriage, but the biggest impact was the spread of Christian faith.  Today, more Quakers attend yearly meetings in Kenya than in the United States and Great Britain combined. 

The spiritual and cultural impact of Christian missions cut both ways. We Were Pioneers tells the story of simpler times, in some respects, but a time of hardship and sacrifice far greater than most of us would tolerate today.  Here we read of families drawn together by wagon trains in the Oklahoma land run, going to college and finding faith and love as a Latin teacher and a football captain.  Yet once their lives were touched by the call to world missions, they experienced separation from families, long sea voyages, disease, and hardship. Missionaries at this time sent children back to North America at ages 15 to 17 for education.  Families spent years apart, and sometimes death intervened tragically and permanently.  Yet somehow they were bound together by ties stronger than distance, good health or prosperity.  

We Were Pioneers is a simple narrative guided by the truth that spiritual ties based on the good news of life cleansed by repentance and faith in the forgiveness offered by God through Jesus Christ and the invitation to take up his lifestyle of sacrificial love transcends the barriers of culture, time and space.  The story is written in the language of a personal diary kept from the age of 16 until death.  Journaling is an occasional activity without forethought given to how the story will end.  Some may find the pace and style of journal writing less engaging, but others will be struck by the honesty and objectivity of her writing.  Her objectivity is evident in a sense of restraint–no peevish complaints about hardships or gossip about the failures of others.  Some restraint can be attributed to an express intention to honor her husband and write for family and friends, which suggests editorial activity. Nevertheless, quotation marks around most prose narrative paragraphs indicate verbatim transcripts from the original journal.  While those quotes have been removed in this edition for readability, the sense of honest and respectful restraint remains.  It may be that her implied audience included one who knows her thoughts more intimately than she herself.

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