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Collection 217 Papers of Elisa Espineli Chinn

Identifier: CN 217

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of an oral history interview with Lisa Chinn; her graduate school creative project, "Cross Cultural Awareness: Offending the Filipino Without Even Trying," which is intended to inform western missionaries coming to the Philippines (Folder 1-2); two versions of Think Home, one a manual for leading workshops and the other a self-study manual, both intended to assist international students who have studied in the United States, in readjusting the their home cultures (Folder 1-3); Chinn's prayer letters from 1979 to 1993, describing her ministry among international students in the United States (Folder 1-4); and a resume and brief autobiography of her Christian journey (Folder 1-1).


  • Created: 1972-1993

Conditions Governing Access

Copyright to published materials are retained by the donor. There are no other restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Elisa Espineli Chinn (usually called Lisa) was born in Quezon City, Philippines on January 19, 1948, to Eusebio and Anastacia Espineli; she had 2 brothers and 4 sisters. While a child, her parents became evangelical Protestants and she was therefore raised in an evangelical home. She herself was converted in 1962. She attended high school at the University of the Philippines High School, participating in the Inter-School Christian Fellowship (IVCF's program for high school students). She completed her B.S. degree in Foreign Service at the University of the Philippines, during that time participating in the campus IVCF chapter. Following her graduation in 1967, she joined the staff of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines, working with students on university campuses and editing the organizational newsletter, Campus Impact. In 1970, she took a leave of absence to continue her education, which she did at the Wheaton College Graduate School, receiving her MA in Communications in 1972. Following her graduation, Chinn worked for the summer with Youth With a Mission in an outreach to western hippies in Afghanistan. She returned to the US in the fall, and served with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (USA) among international students in the Philadelphia area. This ministry among Christian and non-Christian foreign students consisted of evangelistic outreach, building friendships, counseling, linking students with American churches, and providing for their routine needs. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1973, she was temporarily reassigned to campus work, and was then appointed to develop the Literature Department for IVCF. In that capacity she launched Linker, a magazine for university students, and a multi-media program to evangelize students. She concluded her work with IVCF in 1977. She worked as an administrator of a health club in Metro-Manila during 1978 and 1979. In 1979 she moved to the Washington, DC area, where her parents resided. She joined the staff of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the US and resumed her worked among international students. In 1981, she married Leiton Chinn, a member of the staff of International Students, Inc. She continued to work with international students for ISI through a loan agreement from IVCF. In 1982, she resigned from Inter-Varsity to join ISI. While on staff with ISI, Chinn conducted workshops among students and congregations, emphasizing ministry to international students, with particular emphasis on orientation for those newly arrived and re-entry preparation for those returning to their home countries. In 1984 she wrote the workbook Think Home, a "tool for Christian Internationals as they consider and prepare to return home"; the manual was revised in 1987. In 1986 Chinn was secunded, along with her husband, from ISI to INTERACTION INC., which also emphasized ministry to international students; they returned to their work with ISI in 1988. They were secunded in 1989 to the Association of Christian Ministries to Internationals. In 1990 the Chinns resigned from ISI to join INTERACTION.

The Chinns had three children, Lani (b. 1982), Eric (b. 1984) and Lea (b. 1988).


1.00 Box (DC), Audio Tape

Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "Folder 2-5" means Box 2, Folder 5.]

Series 1: Audio Tapes

Lisa Espineli Chinn was interviewed by Galen Wilson on June 3, 1982, at the Billy Graham Center Archives office at Wheaton College. Topics covered in the interview include Chinn's childhood and family, education at Wheaton College Graduate School, ministry with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines, Catholicism in the Philippines, and the missiological implications of the differences between Americans and Filipinos; the events described in the interview cover the time period ca. 1950-1977.

Series 2: Paper Records (Box List)

The manuscripts include Chinn's graduate school creative project, CROSS CULTURAL AWARENESS: OFFENDING THE FILIPINO WITHOUT EVEN TRYING, and several versions of THINK HOME, which addresses the re-entry and adjustment process of international students who have studied in the U.S.  The prayer letters, written jointly by Chinn and her husband, Leiton, document the period when she worked among international students for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and International Students, Inc.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in June, 1982 and May, 1990. Subsequent prayer letters were received and added to the collection, 1990-1993.

Accession: 82-81, 84-113, 84-117, 90-52

May 16, 1990

Paul A. Ericksen

K. Elwell

January 20, 1994

Sara Henning

P. Ericksen

M. Larson
Collection 217 Papers of Elisa Espineli Chinn
Paul Ericksen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US