Skip to main content

Collection 312 Papers of Diane W. Hawkins

Identifier: CN 312

Scope and Contents

Collection 312 consists of letters, oral history interviews, articles, minutes of meetings, reports and other relating to Diane Hawkins' missionary service in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) as well as the tapes of an oral history interview conducted several years later. Among the topics covered are: TEAM's evangelistic, and educational work in Rhodesia; the lifestyle, music, and beliefs of Shona people; the civil war between white government and the black nationalist guerrillas which raged while Hawkins was there; Hawkins summer camp program and other youth work activities; and the life of a white, single, female missionary.


  • Created: 1970-1985

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Diane Wilhemina Powell was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on June 26, 1947, the daughter of C. Robert and Wilhelmina Powell. She was the middle of three children, both her siblings being boys. Her father was a salesman and her mother was a homemaker. While she was still a baby, the family moved to Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, where she spent the early years of her childhood. The family was very much involved in the local Baptist church. In September 1959 her parents divorced and Diane, two brothers and their mother went back to Racine where Mrs. Powell got a job as a secretary. Diane had been born again at the age of six and was involved in a variety of Christian activities in high school and at her church, Calvary Memorial. During the summers she worked at a summer Bible camp in Chetek, Wisconsin. Every summer she acquired more responsibility at the camp, eventually becoming director of the waterfront. Missionary speakers she heard at the camp aroused her interest in the possibility of she herself becoming a missionary.

After graduating from high school in 1965, she enrolled in the medical technology program Taylor University in Indiana. As part of this program she spent a year in the medical internship program at St. Luke's Memorial Hospital in Racine. She graduated from Taylor with a B.A. in Medical Technology in 1969. She then went back to St. Luke to work. After about a year she decided that she should get further training in the Bible and theology in order to enter full-time Christian work, so in the fall of 1970 she enrolled in the graduate school of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Shortly after she had done so, she received a letter from the Gunderson-Horness Mission Hospital in Karanda, Rhodesia, among the Shona people. This institution, which was run by the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), was looking for a medical technologist and the staff there had heard that she was interested in mission work. The letter asked if she would be interested in coming out as a short term missionary. Powell decided to cut short her time at Wheaton and accept the offer. On January 19th, 1971 she left for Africa.

After arriving at the hospital, she spent her time in supervising the laboratory (which was much more primitive than what she had been used to in the United States), helping to train student nurses, teaching Bible classes and doing some evangelistic work. After a year and a half, she decided that she wanted to become a full-time missionary. In the spring of 1972 she returned to the United States for TEAM's orientation program, to raise support and to complete her graduate training at Wheaton. While at Wheaton, she worked at the nearby Central Dupage Hospital. During the summer of 1973 she was a counselor at her church's youth camp in Dunbar, Wisconsin. Also during the summer she was officially commissioned as a full-time TEAM missionary. She graduated with a Master's degree in Christian Ministry in the spring of 1973 and was back in Rhodesia at the beginning of September. She went to the mission station at Chironga in October to learn the Shona language. At about this same time, the civil war in Rhodesia intensified and began to have agreater impact on the lives of the missionaries. While at Chironga, she became convinced of the value of a summer Bible camp for Shona youth, similar to the one in which she had participated in Wisconsin. A local pastor, Jerry Mungadze, also saw merit in the idea and together they started a program. The first camp was held August 19-25 and was attended by thirty children. Hawkins continued to help develop the program when she returned to Karanda in September, 1974. Her duties at Karanda included supervising the lab, training technicians and nurses, teaching Bible classes and Sunday school for the student nurses, coordinating the activities of the African Christian who taught Scripture classes in government schools, and planning the summer camping program. A growing number of children attended the camps each year and Powell turned over most of the responsibility for the program to Mungadze and other African leaders. In October 1976 she returned to Racine on furlough. While in the United States she met and became engaged to Reverend Tom Hawkins, with whom she had corresponded while in Rhodesia. Hawkins was a widower with two girls (Kimberly, 10 and Julie, 9) and pastor of the Prairie Creek Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. They married on July 9, 1977. Diane resigned from TEAM that same month. The family lived in Garland, a town near Dallas, where Diane was interviewed for the Archives in the fall of 1985.


1 Box

9 Audio Tapes

1 Photograph File

Language of Materials


Arrangement and Description of Material

Series 1: Audio Tapes

Topics covered in the oral history interview include: Hawkins’ education at Wheaton College; the language and culture of the Shona people among whom she lived; the evangelistic, educational and medical work of the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM); the summer Bible camp program she developed, and the guerrilla civil war that was going on in the country while she was there. The time period covered by the interviews is 1947 to 1971.

Of particular interest are tapes T5 and T6. These were recordings made by Hawkins for her mother in the United States. They give a somewhat disjointed (since Hawkins would turn the recorder off and on as ideas occurred to her) but very personal description of her day-to-day activities. Particularly emphasized on both tapes is Hawkins' own Christian faith and how it helped her to deal with the frustrations and fears caused by her situation. Tape T6 has a long segment in which she describes to her mother how the missionaries came to the decision to continue their work in the embattled area. Both the folders and tapes also have a great deal of information on the development of the summer Bible camp for Shona young people by Hawkins and the turning over of the camp to the African pastors who helped her start it. Tapes T5, T8 and T9 contain detailed descriptions of the camps in particular years. Lorraine Waite, who was the TEAM staff person who continued Hawkins' camp work, gives her personal reports to Hawkins on these tapes on the continuing development of the program. Especially interesting on T8 is the taping of an actual session where a Bible story was translated from English into Shona. There is a great deal of information on the Shona people throughout the collection. Hawkins observations can be found throughout folder 1-1 and on most of the tapes, especially T5-T7. The end of tape T9 contains greetings to Hawkins from some of her Shona friends. Shona religious songs (along with renditions of Western hymns by Shona singers) are on T4 and T9.

Diane Hawkins was interviewed by Robert Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives on October 26, 1985 in her home in Garland, Texas.

Series 2: Photographs

The collection contains 2 black and white photographs from the mission field, dated 1971 and 1974.

Series 3: Paper Records (Box List)

The collection also contains one folder of paper records, which includes a brief autobiography Hawkins (then Powell) wrote for TEAM; letters she wrote to various missions asking for information about their work; letters she wrote to her supporters back in the United States describing her daily activities, first as a short term missionary, then as a full-time staff member; the brief yearly reports she made summarizing her activities and spiritual growth; articles that appeared in United States newspapers or magazines about Hawkins or about the civil war in Rhodesia. Of especial interest are minutes of meetings which were sent to Hawkins after she left the field. One set of minutes is from TEAM's Rhodesian field council and it gives a good idea of the mission's activities in that country and the conditions under which it worked. The other set of minutes is from a evangelism committee made up of missionaries and black Rhodesian evangelists. This document describes evangelistic work in the Keeps or fortified villages in the area. It contains some information of the civil war, but mainly deals with the evangelistic work, which was carried out by the Africans, largely independently of the missionaries.

A letter to her future husband, Tom Hawkins, in folder 1-1 also contains a summary of her personal faith and her belief in the movement of God in human affairs.

All throughout these materials can be found information on the topics mentioned in the first paragraph, especially her plans for developing a summer Bible camp program for children and the effects on the mission of ongoing civil war.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in October 1985 from Diane Hawkins.

Accession 85-155

May 25, 1992

Robert Shuster

Collection 312 Papers of Diane W. Hawkins
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US