The Swordholders


by Joan Degenkolb. It is a biography/autobiography of herself & her husband. The name “Degenkolb” means “Swordholders,” thus the title of the book. Besides the fact that the book is very interesting, added to that is the fact that I know the Degenkolbs (well, I know Bill, Joan’s husband, and I think I must have met Joan when her husband was an evangelist for a series of meetings in our church, in 2002. She died not long after, with a very fast-advancing cancer). Bill Degenkolb has remarried, and is currently our interim pastor while we are looking for a new pastor. One other thing that made the book very interesting to me was Bill’s connection with the West family, some of whom I have known and/or met briefly on several occasions.

Joan has written only 2 other books, both of which I also have. One was a compilation of her “scribblings” which she was getting together just before she died, and her daughter Renee finished it, adding scripture to the various selections to make it into a devotional. Its title is “Peace in the Valley.” I haven’t read it yet. The other one is “Nyon Itoretech - Come and Help Us.” The story is actually by a lady named Edna Boroff, who “couldn’t possibly write a book”, but told her stories on tape, and Joan wrote them up into the book. I’m almost half-way through it now. She was a nurse, and missionary in Kenya, starting in 1947. While there, she delivered nearly 20,000 babies.

Because she delivered so many babies, there were quite a few girls wound up being named Edna, as well as boys being named “Misbora (Miss Boroff)”.


Joan writes at one point in the book about a “wonderful” opportunity to meet someone, who had a great reputation in working with church youth. This was when she was going to school & working in Marion, Indiana. The person who told her about him told her “He said you could meet him if you wanted to.” Joan seemed to think that he sounded rather conceited, and said, “Well, I don’t want to!” She had never heard of him before, which surprised her friend who told her about him. And she was thankful that she listened to her mind and the check of the Holy Spirit, unlike 900 other unfortunate people. His name was Jimmy Jones.