By Stan Friedman
SEATTLE, WA (July 17, 2014) — For the past two years, Greg Asimakoupoulos had been getting his parents’ home ready to sell. He had started in the attic, where many of their papers were stored.
Many of them were interesting, and he learned much about his family’s history.
But it was papers he would find underneath the floor of his parents’ kitchen that stunned him and told of different past event.
They were issues of the Seattle Times and a copy of U.S. News and World Report from November 1964 that reported details of the murder of Covenant martyr Paul Carlson and several others in Stanleyville (now Kisangi), Republic of Congo, by rebels who mistakenly thought he was a spy.
The publications were being used as insulation.
“They were stuffed under the plywood false floor under the sink,” Asimakoupoulos says. “It was surreal seeing them.”
Asimakoupoulos shared the story as the Paul Carlson Partnership is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of tragedy throughout the year.
The house was built in the 1940s, and his grandparents had lived there before it became his parents’ home. It was poorly insulated, however, so his grandparents placed the newspaper around the pipes.
But last year, a rare bitter snap of chilling weather had frozen the pipes beneath the sink, so Asimakoupoulos tore up the floor to fix the plumbing.
Asimakoupoulos, who serves as chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community, was 12 years old when rebels open-fired on Carlson and the others during a rescue attempt by Belgian soldiers ferried by American planes. Media around the world reported on the shocking tragedy, and Carlson’s image appeared on the cover of Time and Life magazines.
Later, when Asimakoupoulos learned of Carlson, the missionary’s story inspired him. The minister began to collect copies of the Time and Life issues, and he wrote a story about Carlson’s son Wayne for Power for Living magazine on the fortieth anniversary of the tragedy. He also wrote an article about Wayne’s son Paul for the Covenant Companion.
The newspapers found under the sink are brittle, and Asimakoupoulos handles them gently. They are now stored in a box.