Skip to main content

Collection 282 Oral History Interview with Bonnie Jo Adolph

Identifier: CN 282

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Bonnie Jo Adelsman Adolph in which she discussses her missionary service in Ethiopia with Sudan Interior Mission from 1966-1974. Topics discussed include Adolph's education at Wheaton College, decision to become a missionary, living in Taiwan during her husband's military service, reasons for choosing Sudan Interior Mission, her husband's medical work in Ethiopia, observations about Sudanese culture, the church in Sudan, and the Adolphs short term mission service in Bangladesh. The time period covered by the interview is 1933 to 1974.

Bonnie Jo Adolph was interviewed by Wheaton College student Britta Koch on October 30, 1984 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1984

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Bonnie Jo Adelsman was born in 1933, the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Adelsman. She grew up in Mason City, Iowa, but during her later adolescence her family lived in Wheaton, Illinois. She attended Wheaton College as a Home Economics major and graduated in 1955. While at Wheaton, she met and became engaged to pre-med student Harold Adolph. Through Adolph's influence, she also decided to become a missionary. They were married August 19, 1955.

They moved several times in the next few years. From 1955 until 1958, they lived in Philadelphia while Harold completed his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. While in Philadelphia, Bonnie Jo taught home economics at a public junior high school. Then they moved to the Canal Zone in Panama, where Harold took his surgical residency at Gorgas Hospital. Their two children were born during this period: David Harold (1959) and Carolyn Joy (1961). In 1962, the family moved to Banner Elk, North Carolina, for Harold's surgical preceptorship. During this time, the Adolphs were accepted by the Sudan Interior Mission for service in Ethiopia. In 1965, it was time for Harold to complete his military service. He became an officer in the navy and was assigned to the HSA Station Hospital in Taiwan. The next year, the family headed for Ethiopia.

Most of the next eight years were spent at SIM's hospital in Soddo. While Harold worked in the hospital, Bonnie Jo was mainly occupied with her duties as wife and mother, but she also became hospital bookkeeper, teaching her children and leading Bible classes for hospital staff. The entire family came back to Wheaton in 1970 for a year on furlough. In 1974, because of growing difficulties with the new national government, the Adolphs left Ethiopia for good and returned to Wheaton, where Harold set up a practice. In 1981, Harold and Bonnie Jo traveled to Bangladesh to serve as short term missionaries for about two months. Harold was surgeon at the Memorial Christian Hospital in Malumghat. They also visited briefly in Hong Kong and Taiwan. From December 1983 to February 1984 they again, along with their daughter, served as short term medical missionaries in the Central African Republic.


2.00 Audio Tapes

113 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in October 1984.

Accession 84-126

February 5, 1986

Robert Shuster

B. Koch

J. Nasgowitz

Revised February 22, 1990

L. Beloz

Collection 282 Oral History Interview with Bonnie Jo Adolph
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US