Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mom's story continued; going to Japan 1951

After they were married, my parents moved to Newton, Ks. for 2 years.  Dad continued to pastor at Hopefield Mennonite Church outside of Moundridge. 


During this time, my brother David was born.

Mom and Dad had both felt the call to be missionaries.  They had thought they would go to Africa.  However, Japan had just opened up following the end of the war and they were asked if they would consider going there.  They both knew this was God’s direction for them.

So they said good-byes to their families and began the drive across America to California to board a ship to Japan.

 Along the way, they had car trouble and Dave ended up getting quite sick, due to the heat.  The cars back then did not have air-conditioning!  But God helped them cross the country to California.

They had scheduled their trip on a freighter. Verney and Belva Unruh had just made the trip to Japan and they wrote that they should not dress up for this ship.  They would need a bucket for their laundry, soap and a clothesline.

However, the freighter ended up with a shipment of ammunition for Korea so instead they were given 1st class tickets aboard the President Wilson.  What an unexpected pleasure! 

 But it was quite embarrassing for the couple when they went down for dinner.  
Everyone was dressed in formal wear and they did not have any dressy clothes.

They would not have had to bring baby food for Dave, nor the laundry bucket.  
Disposable diapers (new back then!) were provided and laundry services as well!

On the way to Japan, they stopped in Hawaii for 2 days!  They slept on the ship at night, but during the day, they were able to go to Waikiki beach.  In those days, Hawaii was not a destination vacation place.  There were not many people there at all.

They arrived in Japan September 15, 1951.  Japan was still digging out from the ruins of war.  The newly arrived missionaries lived in a big renovated house turned into 4 apartments. 

 There was only 1 bathroom to share and there was a very nice ofuro or Japanese bath.  But these Americans did not want to share bath water with each other so they had the ofuro removed and a tiled bath installed.  These Americans did not understand the value of a wonderful ofuro bath!

A van was purchased to take the couples to language school during the day.  For 2 years they studied diligently.  Japanese is a very difficult language to learn.

While the couples were at language school, they hired nannys to care for the children.

Dad and Uncle Verney would teach English to Japanese students.  Two men, Yamada and Yanada started coming to the house for more lessons and to learn about Christ.  These 2 accepted Christ and eventually became pastors.  Yanada’s two daughters would one day grow up and come to Bethel College and marry Americans!  Yanada is now pastoring a Japanese congregation in Madison, Wisconsin.

Life in Japan was very different than in America but my mom learned to love the Japanese culture  and her people.

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