911 has been the telephone number for emergency help from the fire departments of many cities for many years, but in this year of 2001, it took on a new meaning: 9/11 for September 11th, the day the terrorist organization of Al-Queda struck a stunning blow at our country by hijacking four of our cross-country flights and using them as missiles to destroy the World Trade Towers (New York's tallest) and seriously damaging the Pentagon, killing over three thousand civilians in the buildings and in the planes, including the hijackers. The incident has revolutionized our public travel agencies and prompted us to strike back at the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. I mention this here only because it also impacted my activities in the later months of the year.

Our Fifth Family Reunion

Our fifth family reunion (see above) was held at Calloway Gardens in southwest Georgia June 19-21, and was well attended by most of the families in the Mitchell clan. I can't identify all the people in the picture, but with Margery Henney's help we'll get most of them. From left to right (standing): Lynne Shaw, Tom Henney with wife Margery in front of him, Chuck Henney, Margie Henney, with Charles Cook behind her, Paul and Mary Aguilar, with Morgan and Evelyn Huff behind them, Mike and Emily (holding Brynn) Rohde, Tim Fee, Jennifer Fee, Richard Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Caroline Fee, Benjamin Fee, Judy and Will Mitchell with Benjamin Johnson behind them, Mark and Cristina Mitchell, Christopher Balch, Randy Balch (with head down), Cyn Balch, Alan Balch, Alison Balch, Chuck Balch, Glen Balch, Mark Balch, Carol Balch, Lyn and Steve Balch, and Laura and Thomas Sloan; (seated and kneeling) Kerry Hare, Mary Jo Balch, me, Margaret Caruthers holding Anna (Glen and Alison Balch's new baby), and James Balch.

I don't remember much about what went on there but enjoyed it nevertheless. I do remember sharing my room with Charles Cook, Margaret's cousin by marriage, one of the unknown men above.

Here are the last surviving siblings of the second generation of our clan (see left): Me, Margaret and Mary Jo. My two sisters will not make the 2004 reunion.

After the party was over, I accompanied Mary Jo to her home for my annual visit, stopping in Columbus OH for her to see the new Taurus her son Randy had picked out for her. She liked it so much that she took a much lower trade-in for the '98 Taurus than what she expected, so I promptly bought it from the agency at the trade-in price. I still have it and it runs great! Obviously, I couldn't use my return flight ticket from Detroit, which went through several renewals (with penalties) before I finally used it. On the way home, I stopped over at the Mullinax's in Chatanooga (at their standing invitation), where I had considerable difficulty in finding their house. It seems Kyle had left the receiver off the hook, so all I could get was a busy signal. Such is life!

I Visit My California friends

I had two major activities in 2001: a visit with friends in Los Angeles in June which led to a six-week speaking tour of India right after 9/11! Prior to June I have little recollection of activities, but by May was planning another visit to friends in southern California — (left to right) Chuck and Elouise Corwin, Bert and Edna Rowe, Jean and Rick Willans, and Frances McCune.

I had also planned to visit Cora Bowen in Visalia, but she canceled out. This enabled me to extend my visit with the Corwins during which Chuck invited me to attend the spring board meeting of Tyrannus Halls International.

My, how this organization had grown! From one student residential discipling center in Tokyo, they now had 15 in university cities all over southeast Asia and in Central Europe. Each hall is independent and self-supporting, but Chuck tries to visit each one yearly to make sure they are getting along well. Some like Orissa were not!
Chuck invited me to go with him to India in late September, where they have eight “Tyrannus Halls” (the one in Ahmenabd had suuffered an earthquake, and we weren’t allowed to visit it). My part was to share with students some of the new thinking of scientists in trying to explain the complexities of life, called Intelligent Design (see left).

The 9/11 Attack

We were all horrified when what first seemed like an ordinary incident of a plane accidentally striking a building turned out to be the most damaging attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor. Life in our country will never be the same again.

After the disasters of 9/11, Chuck’s family implored him to stay home until assured it was safe to travel to places like India, where the State Department had withdrawn some of its personnel. We were able to reinstate the trip four weeks after the original date, but of course I had to pay premiums for my low-cost tickets to be changed.

Speaking Tour of Tyrannus Halls in India

This tour of India was utterly different from my earlier one in 1960. I was amazed at the relative affluence of the now large middle class. It seemed everyone had cell phones, and computer training was available in even small towns. There was still poverty, of course, but not so obvious as in the earlier visit. We went first to Pune where Chuck was teaching in a seminary, as he had done for 25 years or more. My part, as the picture to the left explains, was to tell the students about the amazing complexity of the universe, the earth and life on earth — so complex that only an omniscient person like God could have brought it into being. That is the unspoken basis of Intelligent Design, a new theory that stresses the fact that many mechanisms in our cells and other structures are irreducibly complex — they could not function until fully formed, thus giving the lie to Darwinism, which maintains that life became more complex through many small changes, each one beneficial to the whole.


Our first hall to visit was located on that seminary campus, but was not in session the day we visited it. I did meet the couple who ran it, and learned that it was slowly growing. I also had an opportunity to speak to the faculty of the evangelical seminary there (see left). I also had the privilege of visiting one of the students in his room (see right).


From Pune, we visited halls in Mysore and Orissa (see left for the one in Mysore) in the south. I do remember speaking to Mysore students and pastors who had gathered for the special lecture on faith and science. (see right).


Orissa was a sad situation. They had an excellent property including a fish pond to provide income. There was little doubt of its financial stability, but the non-Christian villagers were so hostile that the contractor was unable to get the buildings completed for students (see left). Even with an unfinished building to live in, the need for accommo- dations brought a large student body (see right).

Chuck and Elouise published a book in 2004 entitled “From the Hall of Tyrannus All Asia Heard” — a paraphrase from Acts 19:10. I quote from the chapter on the Orissa Hall (which shows a picture of me with the students): “Construction was begun in 1998, but village opposition forced the contractor to quit. That same year a cyclone demolished many homes in the village, but left Tyrannus Hall untouched. Fleeing the storm, villagers ran past the Hall and noticed closed gates had been flung open. Could they find refuger there? Yes. Over one hundred villagers streamed into the Hall. Students made room for them until temporary shelters were built outside. The Hall was inaugurated in 1999. Dr. Mitchell lectured to them in November 2001.”


It was a long way from Orissa in the south to Dimapur in Nagaland, in the northeast. It is the home of one of the “scheduled” tribes, called Naga, largely Christian, but looked down on by most non-Christian Indians. However, they do have representation in the Indian parliament. Here we see the Hall on the left and my lecturing on the right.

The man in charge of the Tyrannus Hall there was a high official in his tribe, which had an annual get-together on a huge field — about 10,000 of them. Chuck and I were invited to sit in the stand of the VIPS, and they actually asked me to bring them greetings from America after their parliament representative gave the main speech, which was almost a sermon.


From Dimapur we visited Shillong just south of Tibet. Chuck had arranged to buy us passes on India Airlines which covered all our flights for $250, but we still had to take the trains twice, and a 4-hour bus ride up to Shillong. The city, over 4,000 feet high, is much cooler in the hot summer and fall months and has long been a favorite vacation resort since the British army started vacationing there when they ran the country.

Chuck's mission has established two halls — one for men (see upper left) and the other for women (see lower left). My main function was to interface with the large student body in the men's Hall. They even had me present awards to students who had academically achieved at their colleges (see upper right).

For years the Shillong Lydia Hall was the only women's dorm established by THI, but now there are several of them. The visit to 35 young women of Lydia Hall nearby was brief but quite interesting (see lower right).


Our last Hall was in Delhi, India’s capital. This was a rented facility, and the landlord had refused to renew the lease. So there was much discussion among the men who ran the hall as to what to do about it. They have since then purchased two large condominiums now under construction and students will occupy them in June 2006.

This completed our tour, and Chuck went back to Pune, while I returned to Mumbai for my flight to London. All the European flights arrive and leave Mumbai in the wee hours of the morning, but local flights cease at about 8pm, so there is a long wait as well as an airport change to get an overseas flight. In London I stayed overnight in a local hotel but got up at 5am London time to start for Gatwick Airport where I had an 11 o’clock departure on Delta. At this close date to 9/11 check-in was horribly slow, and I was in the check-in line for three hours before getting my boarding pass. The flight arrived in Atlanta on time, but there had been a security break four hours earlier and the airport had been closed until shortly after our arrival. The place was jammed with travelers, since no flights had arrived or departed during the black-out. My flight to Fort Myers was postponed four times until finally at 2am it was canceled! I had to get what sleep I could in the airport until 8:30 the next morning along with at least 5,000 others. If Satan can’t prevent you from serving the Lord, he tries to make it so difficult that you won’t try again. I was 36 hours out of bed, but got home in time to take Lynne Shaw to the airport and then look after Margaret. I thank the Lord for this marvelous activity to do something for Him, and for keeping me safe and well through it all.

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