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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mom's story; moving to Kyushu Island

Mom and Dad were in language school for 3 years.

During this time, another little baby boy was born.  They named my brother Douglas.  They decided that they would give all their children names beginning with the letter D with the middle names beginning with A, then-B-C-D.  David Avery and then Douglas Brent.

Uncle Verney and Dad went to Kyushu Island to scope it out as a possible place to begin their work.  It was agreed that the gospel was needed in this area. 

 All the families then boarded a ferry to Kyushu.  When there, they decided which city each family would serve. 

My parents decided that they would move to the Aburatsu/Nichinan area. 

Aburatsu is a coastal town and also has a pulp industry.

A home was built for them.  (this was the home I grew up in)

 Their ministry began with a good old-fashioned tent ministry.  They would go throughout the town, making announcement of the time for the meeting.

It wasn’t long before there were enough people to begin a church.  At first they met in the upstairs of our home.

 Eventually a church was built. 

They started a Christian kindergarten for Japanese children.  It was called Kei-Ai Yochiyen or Grace-Love Kindergarten.  From the beginning it was staffed by Christian teachers and was a positive Christian witness in the community.   My Dad was the principal and was called Encho-sensei.  Mom often helped with teaching.  Approximately 200 children attended.   It was built right by our home and the playground became our playground! 

My parents both taught English to Japanese along with a Bible study.  Because of Mom's enjoyment of cooking, she began a women’s group, called fujinkai, where the women learned western ways of cooking and entertainment along with English and Bible.  Most of these women became believers in Christ and I have many fond memories of their love and care for our family.

to be continued...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mom's story; birthday cakes

While my parents were in language school in Kobe, my brother David had his first birthday.  Mom baked an angel food cake.  

She continued to bake him an angel food cake almost every birthday.  
He still asks for it every year.

 (I'm adding more pictures than I had posted for her funeral.  I just found some fun ones!)

 (I had to throw this one in - maybe Dave is jealous that Judy got an angel food cake for her birthday too?)

 Mom has always enjoyed a good party and made every birthday special.  She decorated many birthday cakes over the years.

oh dear

Even in her 80's she made sure we had wonderful birthdays!

These were the last cakes she made as we celebrated 
Dad's and Mindy's August birthdays this past year.

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.