Elizabeth DeCamp: Into the Ivory Palaces

My mother, Elizabeth DeCamp, was born on this day in 1908. She and my father, Otto DeCamp, served together as missionaries to Korea for 37 years. Here are some ways I admire, and am grateful for her:


> She had the benefit of a classical education and had studied Latin for years. She had read countless historical novels, and all of Winston Churchill’s works.
> She knew her Bible. Well.
> Her allusions to literature and Scripture are legendary.


> When her husband of six weeks was taken from her and placed in solitary confinement for five months in a Japanese prison in Korea the winter 1941, she trusted God.
> When she kept her four children for four years in Tokyo while her husband cared for war refugees in Korea during the Korean Conflict, she displayed a core of steel.
> She taught perseverance, one day at a time.


> She taught me the books of the Bible, and how to apply life lessons from cover to cover.
> Our school produced two plays every year––operettas for grade schoolers, and Shakespeare or Rogers and Hammerstein plays in high school. She ensured I knew my lines.
> Her way of answering a question with another question would send me thinking for hours.


> As a nurse, for years she ran the Foreigner’s Clinic of Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea.
> Pouring out her life amidst trial and sacrifice, a calm demeanor revealed her abiding faith in Christ.
> She had always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. When I learned this late in her life (after my father had become ill with Alzheimer’s), I offered to cruise with her. She declined, in order to be by the side of her husband of 60 years.

I remember her singing to herself around the house. She loved this hymn; it was often on her lips:
“Out of the Ivory Palaces”
By Henry Barraclough, 1915

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
and myrrh their texture fills;
its fragrance reached to this heart of mine,
with joy my being thrills.

Out of the ivory palaces,
into a world of woe,
only His great, eternal love
made my Savior go.

His life had also its sorrows sore,
for aloes had a part;
and when I think of the cross He bore,
my eyes with teardrops start. [Refrain]

His garments too were in cassia dipped,
with healing in a touch;
each time my feet in some sin have slipped,
He took me from its clutch. [Refrain]

In garments glorious He will come,
to open wide the door;
and I shall enter my heavenly home,
to dwell forevermore. [Refrain]

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”