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Collection 259 Oral History Interviews with Donald A. Cook

Identifier: CN 259

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Donald Arthur Cook (1923-2014) in which he describes his service with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship in Japan between 1956-1972. Topics discussed include upbringing, education at Wheaton College, experiences in the United States Air Force, American response to WWII, decision to join China Inland Mission (later OMF), evangelistic methods in Japan, administrative work, language difficulties, administrative duties in OMF headquarters in Hokkaido and in Tokyo, Japanese attitudes toward missionaries, Japanese customs and education, family life in Japan, Christianity, cultural and religious conflicts, church growth, OMF principles for operation, cooperation with other missions, and adaptation to Japanese needs, discussion of Overseas Missionary Fellowship orientation and training, effective methods of presenting the gospel, church movements in Japan, student uprisings, modernization, relations between mission boards, reasons for leaving the field. Prominant people mentioned include Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Dave Howard, and Billy Graham.The time period covered by the interviews is 1923-1983.

Donald Cook was interviewed by Jennifer Abe on November 15 and 17, 1983 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1983

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Donald Arthur Cook was born May 15, 1923, in Earlham, Iowa, and grew up in a family which included two brothers and one sister. During his childhood, the family left Iowa when their farm failed and moved to Downers Grove, Illinois, where his father took a job in the post office. In his teens, Donald became a member of the Lisle Bible Church and was actively involved in church youth groups, where he met his future wife, Dorothy True. After attending Downers Grove Community High School and graduating in 1941, he enrolled in Wheaton College.

World War II interrupted his education at Wheaton, and Donald spent the years between 1943 and 1946 in the Pacific as an Air Force navigator. He returned to the Wheaton campus in 1947 and graduated in January 1950, with a major in sociology after changing from an earlier concentration in business administration. In his junior year, he made the decision to make full-time ministry his vocation and he enrolled next at Faith Theological Seminary, Wilmington, Delaware. He and Dorothy were married that year, 1950, and by the time of graduation in 1953, they were preparing to leave for the mission field.

His experience in the Pacific during the Air Force years resulted in an urgent interest in the Orient, China in particular. Exposure to the work of China Inland Mission (renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship after the war) at Wheaton led Donald to decide to apply to CIM. The Cooks were sent first to Singapore for language study and orientation and, because work in China was no longer possible, they then chose to train for mission work in Japan. They arrived in Japan from Singapore in January 1957. One of their first assignments was to relieve missionaries leaving on furlough who had been working in a small town, Tomikawa, on the coast of Hokkaido.

In 1959 the Cooks moved to the headquarters in Tokyo, where there was a need of a staff member trained in business administration to assist with the distribution of mission supplies during the post-war disorganization in Japan. Their son, William, was born the next year, 1960, and a daughter joined the family in 1963. Between 1959 and 1969, Dorothy was in charge of the mission home in Tokyo while Donald remained in administrative work for OMF, utilizing his college training in that area.

They moved next to Sapporo, 1969-1971, where his wife was in charge of the mission home and later worked as secretary. Donald continued to work in the business administration of OMF. Between 1971 and 1972, both Cooks served as house parents for the Chefoo School in addition to their other duties. During a furlough the next year, concern for their children and the public nature of institutional living led to the decision not to return to the mission field. Donald re-entered the business world and in 1983 was employed by an insurance company in Wheaton where the Cooks lived. Donald retired in 2002 and died July 7, 2014 in Willmar, Minnesota


2.00 Audio Tapes

166 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in November 1983 from Rev. Cook.

Accession 83-140, 83-142

June 6, 1984

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 259 Oral History Interviews with Donald A. Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US