John Haywood spent years preparing for a special ministry to lepers in Viet Nam. Though caught between Viet Cong and U. S. Marines, his hospital near Da Nang, the Hylac Vien (Happy Garden) Leprosarium, was completed this year and survived periodic shellings. Symone, a Swiss missionary he married last February, was expecting their first child.

So the future was full of promise on January 8 as the quiet, red-haired 29-year-old missionary set out for Hue to see U. S. officials about getting livestock to feed his patients. Failing to hitch a plane ride with U. S. Marines, he started out with a convoy along the perilous road north.

Three miles out of Da Nang, in a dense jungle area where the road narrows, the Viet Cong guerrillas opened fire, killed three Vietnamese soldiers, and crippled two military vehicles.

As Haywood got out of his Microbus to investigate, a machine-gunner in the ditch cut him down with three bullets to the head and three in the chest. He died instantly. One investigator said Haywood apparently tried to help somebody and just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.

His body (minus papers, watch, wallet) was recovered later that day by Marines, and taken back to Da Nang. On January 10, Haywood was buried in a Christian and Missionary Alliance cemetery at Da Nang as American soldiers looked on.

The day after the funeral, the widow gave birth to a daughter and named her Jacqueline. Mrs. Haywood announced she will remain at her missions post.

John Haywood was the first missionary murdered in Viet Nam since two Wycliffe Bible translators were slain in March, 1963, and the first since military escalation began making it a new war early last year. Ironically, the murder came during a lull in fighting and a halt in U. S. bombing raids on the North.

Another bit of irony: Haywood had been near much greater danger for the better part of three years while setting up the leprosarium eight miles south of Da Nang.

Haywood, a native of Birmingham, England, operating under the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, ran the hospital by remote control, since it was in an unsecured area 200 yards from Viet Conginfested jungles. He stayed at a clinic at the Marble Mountains, as close to the hospital as he could get. The five native staffers who lived at the hospital itself ferried patients and supplies to and from Haywood.

In a December prayer letter, Haywood summarized his feelings: “Things are bad, but not impossible.” After all, the very existence of the hospital was a miracle. The site was granted by the Saigon government after six frustrating years of negotiations. Last August, while the newlywed Haywoods were in Hong Kong getting special training in treating leprosy, the Viet Cong threatened to destroy the hospital because they had seen American officers there presenting a gift. One night hundreds of VCs showed up with tools to level the fourteen-building compound. After hours of pleading, the Reds decided to leave it alone.

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The hospital is in an area Marines hope to take over. During a Marine sweep through the area last March, twenty-nine Viet Cong soldiers escaped capture by hiding in beds at the leprosarium.

The hospital has 200 patients and is the only leprosy treatment center in the northern part of South Viet Nam. Gordon Smith, WEC administrator for Viet Nam now on American furlough, said the future is uncertain. Haywood had been through Bible college in England, learned Vietnamese, and studied the disease. A replacement with these abilities will be hard to find.

“The war has played havoc with our work, but it is going ahead,” he said. “No missionary can go out into the countryside, so nationals do the job, and they are magnificent.”

Churches Hike Viet Nam Relief

Next month American Protestant groups will launch a greatly expanded relief program in Viet Nam, all of it supervised by the Mennonite Central Committee.

So far, some $350,000 has been earmarked for this year’s effort, mainly aimed at helping war refugees. The total compares with only. $32,500 expended in 1965. Church World Service hopes to provide the MCC with $250,000 from its 1966 budget, and Lutheran World Relief seeks to raise $50,000. The rest, it is hoped, will come from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ contributors.

During the next eight months, forty-five new volunteers, including five doctors and six nurses, will go to Viet Nam to join the eleven already there. Seventeen of the forty-five new volunteers will be recruited by the MCC and the rest by CWS. They will expand already existing relief efforts in Saigon, Nhatrang, and Pleiku and begin projects at five more locations.

The MCC continues to be the only Protestant relief agency handling government surplus commodities in Viet Nam. During 1966 it expects to receive 4, 250,000 pounds of dried milk powder, flour, wheat, cornmeal, and vegetables. Drugs are being dispensed also by MCC.

An MCC spokesman says the “danger” of having the organization’s relief and service efforts identified with the U. S. government’s total military and psychological strategy to win the war “continues to pose serious problems.”

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Wanted: Christian Canteens

The National Association of Evangelicals is trying to rally support for the establishment of Christian servicemen’s centers in Viet Nam. There are numerous evangelistic programs in operation for the nearly 200,000 American GI’s there, but not a single church-related canteen or outdoor recreational area. If funds become available, NAE plans to set up such centers, beginning in Saigon, through its Christian Servicemen’s Fellowship.

Pressures On The President

From New York’s big Interchurch Center last month came a new pressure campaign for a negotiated settlement of the Viet Nam war. United States clergymen found themselves in the middle. Leading pastors all over the country were telephoned and asked to rally support for the administration’s peace effort and against pressures on President Johnson to renew bombing of North Viet Nam.

The campaign originated in an office rented by the recently organized inter-religious “National Emergency Committee of Clergy Concerned About Viet Nam.” One of its members was identified as Richard Cardinal Cushing, who later dissociated himself, asserting he “was merely requested to permit the use of my name in support of the peace program of Pope Paul VI and President Johnson.”

Another group of clergymen, spearheaded by the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, announced they were forming an “International Committee of Conscience on Viet Nam.”

Death Follows Kashmir Pact

Leaders of India and Pakistan signed a pact on Kashmir last month that may ease religious tensions (see “Christians Caught in Kashmir Crossfire,” October 8, 1965, issue).

The agreement in Tashkent was regarded as a diplomatic triumph for the Soviet Union, which arranged the meeting, and it was celebrated with drinking and dancing girls. Hours later, India’s teetotaling Prime Minister Shastri awoke from his sleep, crying, “My father! My God!” and shortly after died of a heart attack.

The pact with Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan which climaxed Shastri’s career calls for withdrawal of troops to last summer’s lines by February 25, restored diplomatic relations, and peaceful settlement of future disputes. Christian spokesmen in the West rejoiced, but many Pakistanis were outraged at a thaw with India without settlement of basic Kashmir issues. Opposition politicians blasted the agreement, and two persons died in a Lahore riot. Pakistan insists on a free vote, believing Kashmiris would unite with their Islamic nation rather than with India, which is mainly Hindu.

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