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Collection 167 Oral History Interview with Naomi Walkwitz

Identifier: CN 167

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Naomi Hildebrand Waltwitz recorded while she was on furlough, describing childhood experiences, education & marriage to Roger Walkwitz, their careers as missionaries,  tribal peoples of the Philippines under Far East Gospel Crusade between 1958-1980. Topics include Filipino customs, tribal practices of Christian groups, training of singing gospel teams, education in the Christian and national schools, relationship with Roman Catholics & Philippine governmental policies.

Naomi Walkwitz was interviewed by Janice Soderberg on November 18, 1980 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1980

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Missionary; born Naomi Hildebrand, ca. 1934; grew up in foster homes; graduated from William Jennings Bryan College, 1956; married Roger Walkwitz, 1956; served with Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International) in the Philippines, first among the Ifugao tribe in Banaue (1958-1970) and in Bagiuio City among tribal groups (1970- ); had three sons.

Naomi Hildebrand's early life was so unhappy that she ran away from home. The courts later removed her from her mother's home and forbade contact with anyone in her family and she was sent to live with a pastor and his family. She stayed with them until his wife became ill; and then she was sent to live in another foster home. Again this experience proved to be a negative one, and Naomi requested a transfer. A woman in her late sixties, a member of the pastor's church, accepted responsibility for Naomi, though she was then a teenager. Naomi's pastor offered to pledge the church's support to send her to college, which she would not otherwise have been able to attend. She enrolled at William Jennings Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee, where she was inspired to become a missionary after hearing a woman speak who had worked in Africa.

In her freshman year, while working in the chemistry lab to assist in her support, she met Roger Walkwitz, a chemistry teacher. Naomi and Roger began to date in her senior year, and were married in 1956 after her graduation the previous year from Bryan. The following year, both Walkwitzes attended Columbia Bible College and continued with language training at the University of North Dakota in preparation for their mutual career as missionaries to the tribal people of the Philippines. Both were accepted by Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International) and spent one year as interns in a church in the Detroit area as preparation for the mission field and church planting.

The Walkwitzes arrived in Manila in January 1958 and spent their first year in that city on the staff of Faith Academy, a school for missionary children. Roger taught chemistry and Naomi substituted when possible. Their first son, Raymond, was born in Manila in 1958, where their other two sons, Randy, born in 1959, and Ronnie, born in 1962, were also born. The Walkwitzes also spent the first year of their next two terms of service for Gospel Crusade teaching at the Academy. The majority of their work involved translation, teaching, evangelizing, and church planting in Banaue, Ifuago Province.

In 1970 Naomi, Roger, and their family were transferred to Baguio City, which is situated strategically at the entrance to the mountains north of Manila, where they were able to concentrate on work with tribal peoples who came into that city. There they set up a center for students, established a church for tribal Christians, taught, and developed programs for outreach. They came home on furlough in May 1980, and returned to the Philippines in 1981.


1.00 Audio Tapes

55 Minutes

Language of Materials