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New Book Recalls Shull's Missionary Work

North Manchester News-Journal of North Manchester, Indiana

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Lois Shull, a resident at Timbercrest Senior Living Community, had a lot of stories to tell. The first started with how she and her husband Ernie, four-year old Linda and eight month-old jimmy arrived in India in 1946 after five months at sea. They would serve as a missionary family for the next 18 years, during a period of extreme unrest in the subcontinent.

When she returned to the United States for good in 1964, she soon started a collection of writings and letters from those years. She worked on it while she taught English, speech and drama at Manchester High School and after she retired in 1982.

"I didn't set out to write a book, but I wanted to put my thoughts and memories down on paper. After a while, I had so much material that it seemed obvious it should be a book," Shull said.

She recently published the book, titled, "Splendor in the Dust." Now age 92, Shull is looking forward to her first book signing this Sunday, November 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Timbercrest in the hub. Excerpts from the book will be shared as well.

The story of the Shull family is interwoven with the story of the Indian people during that time period. "As the British were leaving India in 1946-47, the subcontinent was violently being divided into two nations, India and Pakistan, along religious lines. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, rioting and mayhem were rampant, and nation-building seemed a remote possibility." '

"An American missionary family found themselves attempting to live both private and public lives while bringing Christ's mes-sage to the rural people of the Western Ghats, a large mountain range in western India," says an overview of the book. The villages were 70 miles from the nearest rail line.

When asked what she and her husband did as missionaries, Lois said, "What wasn't my work? Being a missionary is helping people wherever, whenever, and however you can. If there was a need, we tried to help."

The-couple did evangelical, agricultural, medical, and educational work among the people.

"The future of India was the youth of India. The 'splendor' of that time and that place was the transformation of the young people that we saw happen over those years, the beauty of the Christian Indian community," Shull said..

She continued, "Our time in India came to an end when the people took over and carried on the work that we had started."

As for the "dust" of those years, their arrival in India was during a peiiod of chaos. The first night in Calcutta, India, Ernie and Lois witnessed the violence that was brewing between Muslims and Hindus.

"I thought, my goodness, what are we doing here? We started praying that God would lead us to do the right thing, and that we never stopped," Shull said. The young Shull family made many sacrifices to serve as missionaries, the greatest being the many months that Linda, James, and later Dan, would spend in boarding school 1,000 miles from their parents. The family came back the United States three times during the 18 years, each time to North Manchester. All three of the children attended Manchester College.

"Splendor in the Dust" is available fromTrafford Publishing, at Lois has also written three scripts and directed the movies "Shepherd ofIndia,'"ToMeetthe Sun," and The Turn of the Tide." She wrote a radio play, "Valley of the Sun," and the book, "Women in India Who Kept the Faith."

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Original Publication Date: November 11, 2009

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