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PNNE PW Heritage Project

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The Heritage Project

Presbyterian Women’s Stories

The Heritage Project arose from a discussion of amazing Presbyterian women that we know or have known.  The goal of the PW PNNE Heritage Project is to capture the memories, wisdom, and experiences of many of the women in our Presbytery and gather these together in some format available to women throughout the Church.

As an example, one of the stories is below.

Josephine White

-Adapted from History of United Presbyterian Church, East Craftsbury VT-

By Carolyn L. Shields

Josephine White deserves a special tribute for her dedicated and courageous life in mission.  A member of the Presbyterian Church in East Craftsbury, she graduated from our denominational college in Sterling, Kansas in 1950.


She served in Pakistan from 1951, as a lab technician in a hospital there.  Later she taught lab and supervised hospital construction.  In 1968 she went to work with the Medical Assistance (MAP) in Afghanistan.  Quoting from a letter sent by the mission office during her home furlough in 1970, “She is Called, Dedicated, Spiritual and Concerned...”


To know how vitally concerned she was, she took a course in auto mechanics the first semester of her furlough.  Have you seen her pictures?  It makes your heart skip a beat to see the overloaded trucks ditched on the side of a bank of a deserted, rocky, horrible road.  One needs the patience of Job to take all one’s medical and personal supplies to go into the hinterland to bring health to the bodies and souls of sick, poverty-stricken men, women and children.


There are no garages, AAA’s, or anyone to call on to help repair a damaged vehicle.  Josephine can and will do the job.  Do you know she earned her way through college as a ‘grease Monkey’ changing tires and everything else needed in a gas station garage?  In the summers, she drove a milk truck.  She’s very practical, very down to earth; very feminine and very fun loving.


You and I can encourage our representative by giving graciously for the Josephine White Medical Unit.  I have $1,961.71 towards a car.  She wants to get a Land-Rover with heavy duty springs, etc. which she will pick up in England.

In fact, she returned to Afghanistan overland from Western Europe in the fall of 1970 with a four-wheel drive Toyota and a Land Rover with medical supplies on a trailer.  On August 9, 1971 she was fatally shot near a lake outside Kabul in an apparent robbery attempt.  According to Dr. Christy Wilson, who was in Kabul a few days following her death, she and a female assistant were motioned to stop at a “checkpoint” by two mujahedeen, one of whom was armed.  Josephine decided to run through their roadblock since they appeared set on commandeering the car.  The armed man shot her through the windshield.  The incident was not at all clear as the two men were never caught.  She was a remarkable woman and a great inspiration to all who knew her.

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