Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20
Sunday, December 13, 2015
My Dad's story - Peter Voran part 3
I was born in
1955. Luckily my mom had each of us right on time because they flew to Kobe for the birth. I was born at the Canadian hospital there.
In 1956, we went to the States for furlough
and during that time, my brother Daniel was born.
All 4 of us had names that started with D's and our middle names went A, B, C. and then D.
We returned to Japan after that year and we lived in Aburatsu until 1971. I have such good memories of growing up there!
How my parents enjoyed the Japanese people and their mission family!
Dad loved sumo wrestling and followed them closely! He knew all the sumo players' names! He also loved yakyu, or baseball.
In 1971 Dad and mom made the decision to leave Japan and come for an extended furlough to the United States. Pretty Prairie First Mennonite Church was looking for a pastor and Dad accepted the call.
I can't speak for my brothers, but I was NOT happy about that decision! America was so foreign to me. It was not home! And to leave my friends? So difficult at the age of 16. But I met my husband-to-be in Pretty Prairie so it worked out good in the end!!
After 7 years, when we had all left the nest, Mom and Dad returned to Japan to serve the Hyuga church from 1978 - 1986. They were involved in preaching, teaching, visitation, English classes, outreach evangelism.
They lived on the 5th floor of this apartment building. They made wonderful friends at this church and loved living here! But Dad began experiencing some health issues and in 1986 they said their good-byes and
returned to the United States to retire from the mission field.
Dad worked with the Commission on Overseas Mission in Newton for a year. They lived close to us and would babysit often!
Then they went to Berne, Indiana and served as interim pastors for almost 2 years.
Next they moved to Turpin, Oklahoma as interim for 18 months. We enjoyed driving to both Berne and Turpin to visit them.
In 1991, they moved to Kidron Retirement Center. Dad says it was the first home they owned and it was his favorite place! They loved it there and although it was a retirement center,… … they did not retire. They did interim pastoring at Buhler for 14 months. Next they went to Freeman, SD for 5 ½ months, then to Hillsboro First Mennonite for 4 months. They could easily fit in and made good friends everywhere they served!
In 1994 they were asked to consider being hosts for the Anabaptist Center and guesthouse in Tokyo for one year while the current COM workers were gone. They joyfully returned to Japan to serve in this capacity. Hospitality was my parents' love. Serving was just a part of them. They leased out their home at Kidron while they were gone.
When they returned to Kidron, they continued to serve in many ways.
enjoyed playing Santa Claus for
He volunteered at Et Cetera thrift shop and at their church in
Dad got an award for being a Kansas
Volunteer at a banquet in Wichita Kansas.
For several years, he gave talks
in many churches about laughter and humor.
He felt that humor accomplished much!
He had an invisible dog named Spot that he often used.
He loved to goof off on the computer until his stroke finally took that ability away.
I was told that one person mentioned to Dad about how sad it was that he was losing his hearing.
"I'm not deaf! I can still hear God!"
It was wonderful having Mom and Dad live so close by. We loved getting together. They were always ready for fun. Here we are playing Sardines (a game of hide and seek where if you find the first person, you hide along with them until the last person finally finds everyone!)
When asked if he had any skeletons in
his closet, he said “well, I’ll just leave them in there.”
Some of Dad’s favorite books
were “The Promise” by Robert Morgan which encouraged him after his stroke. He enjoyed reading about Anabaptist pilgrimages like “Martyr’s Mirror” and “The Lone Tree”.
After a couple of strokes, he was moved into the nursing facility. Mom visited him every day, walking across the street to his room.
Extended family came often too.
And many dear friends. The Rempels came every Tuesday!
Of course, their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren brought much joy and happiness to them. Mom and Dad prayed for all their family every day!
When my Dad would come babysit our children, at bedtime, Dad would say the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 over the children. “The Lord bless you and keep you….” This was his blessing whenever we left them. When visitors would come to see him in the home, sometimes all he could get out was the word "blessings". But we knew what he wanted to say.
This will be my first Christmas without both Mom and Dad. How I miss them! But what a dear thing to know that they are with Christ, which is far better!