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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last dinner - sukiyaki

Before Mom passed away, we had made plans to have a sukiyaki dinner at the duplex for Christmas.

After the funeral, we knew we just HAD to have it before we cleaned out the duplex.   This would be a final time for the whole family to be together at Mom's place.

I asked my Dad to give the prayer.  Since Dad has had his strokes, his speech is not the best.  Often can't find the words to say.  I debated whether to ask considering his frame of mind/lack of words, but I just had to.  Even if all he could say was "Thank You, Father".

The prayer he gave was incredible!  I nearly burst into tears.  Almost supernatural! God gave him the words to speak such a beautiful blessing on our family and gave the Lord thanks for all He has done.

 Dad had an accident before he was married and has had these 2 false teeth that he likes to pop out of his mouth.  I grew up with him doing it all the time as a joke.  The kids were amazed by it!
 We had Dad open his gifts.  (can you believe I am finally going to be posting about Christmas?)

What a wonderful time we had.  And a little sad, missing Mom.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mom's story; the end (and just the beginning)

In 1971, my parents 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 was so sad to leave Japan.  I begged Mom to let me stay, but she said it was God's will and direction.  I was pretty ticked at God to say the least.....until I met a cute boy at Pretty Prairie who ended up becoming my husband!!  And also, at this church, I surrended my will for God's plan for me!!  (of course, that surrender is an ongoing one too!)

I love this old photo.  It is sad really, that the remodel of this church was on the front.  I love that old church design!!  We called this church the chocolate cake church when we were young.  See the 2 sets of stairs?  My grandparents told me that the young fellas would come out one door after youth group and the young ladies out of the other and they would make google eyes at eachother!


After 7 years, when all of us had left the nest, my parents returned to Japan to serve the Hyuga church from 1978 - 1986.  They were involved in preaching, teaching, visitation, English classes, outreach evangelism, women’s meetings and Sunday school work.

 In 1991 Mom and Dad returned to the United States to retire from the mission field.   They moved to Kidron Retirement Center.

But truly, they did not retire.  They became an interim pastoral couple and pastored 5 different churches; First Mennonite in Berne, Indiana, Turpin Mennonite in Turpin, OK, Hebron Mennonite in Buhler, KS, First Mennonite in Hillsboro,KS,  Salem Mennonite in Freeman, SD.

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 Mom’s middle name!

When they returned to America, they continued to serve in many ways.  On the Kidron campus…

and also at Et Cetera and at their church, Shalom Mennonnite.

Of course, Mom's children and grandchildren and great grandchildren brought much joy and happiness to her and Dad.

 Dad and Mom loved eachother so much.  They were married for 65 years!  They never left eachother without a kiss - or many kisses.
 During Mom's last week, while she grew weaker and weaker, my Mom said "God is so faithful.  He's just so very faithful!"  Yes, Mom, He is.  I miss you so much.  The tears have been coming a lot today, but I rejoice in knowing that this earth is not our home, we're just a-passin' through.  It is just the beginning for you!

Until we meet again!!   Mata ne!  Sayonara, Mom!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mom's story; children

When I was born, a trip to Kobe by plane was made.  They flew up 1 week before the due date.  Both my brother and I were born at the Canadian hospital there.  We had David Avery, Douglas Brent and now they needed a D.C. - Debra Corinne.

 The flight home to Nichinan when I was 1 week old.

 In 1956, our family went on furlough and during that time, another son was born.  The 4th and final “D” – Daniel Dwight.

 We went back to Japan in 1957.  How I enjoyed all our Japanese friends.  (although we look rather sober in this picture)
 Mom enjoyed being a mother.  She was always so creative and made the attic into a playland for us.  I wish I had a picture of the attic rooms (we had 4 - on the slanted eaves of the house).  One attic was turned into a play house and in the 2nd attic, Mom hung up sheets and painted a barber shop, jail and fire station on them.  The other 2 attics were for storage.

But missionary moms have many good-byes to say.  When we were be old enough for school, we were sent to a boarding school, a 3 hour train ride away.  We'd go for the week and come home for weekends.  For high school, we went to Tokyo, which was 1000 miles away and came home only 3 x a year.


 Miyazaki Christian School

The grade school and dormitory was for the English speaking missionaries on the Kyushu Island.  This included Canadians, a South African and American students from different mission agencies.

  Virginia Claassen, from Elbing, KS and Agnes Dueck, from Canada, were the 2 teachers who taught at this school over the years.

 There were several dorm parents over the years and they all took very good care of us.

Mom made weekends extra special for us.  They would take us to the beach often, or to one of the many vacation spots around the area. 

This area of Japan had many places of interest to visit.  Monkey island, cactus gardens, waterfalls, gorges,volcanoes, and kodomonokuni or children’s land.

to be continued.... one more post