Eunice Irene Ott was born to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Ott in a rural home near Greene, Iowa, January 21, 1914. She was educated in the rural school, the high school in Greene, and Moody Bible Institute, which she entered in 1938. Upon graduation from Moody, she received hospital training at Booth Memorial Hospital in New York City. Then she served for a time at Bible Witness Mission in South Chicago. In the spring of 1944, the Evangelical Alliance Mission commissioned her to witness as a missionary in Southern Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe) in Africa, and she embarked by military ship for her work there in the midst of World War II.¹
Eunice’s first assignment in Africa was of a pioneer nature. She lived among the natives doing visitation work, serving at times as a nurse, other times as a teacher, and sharing the Gospel all the way along. At the time of her death at the age of 42, Eunice had been assigned to a supervisory position in a teacher training school jointly sponsored by the government and the mission.
The eldest of 13 children, Eunice maintained a close and loving relationship with her parents and siblings, despite the distance, through the letters they would write back and forth. The letters she wrote home have been preserved over the years in a family archive, passed around and shared among the family members. In an effort to honor Eunice’s life and service, and to share these letters more broadly, they have been transcribed here. Though most of her earlier letters have not survived, our journey begins with Eunice in November 1950 as she is on her way back to Southern Rhodesia after a year-long furlough in the States. You are invited to follow along as her letters are published weekly.
1. Diane Powell Hawkins, Ordinary People in God’s Hands (USA: Xulon Press, 2005), p. 31.