Details of the Visit to Retired Missionaries

Kyodan Moderator Yamakita and Group A’s seven other members visited Holland,

Michigan, April 18-22. (Holland is the home place of the Dutch Reformed

Church, the present Reformed Church in America, which sent the first

missionaries to Japan 150 years ago.) The Hesselinks and the Magees guided

them to churches, schools, and social institutions. After a dinner on April

19, the visitors from Japan presented a wall hanging with the words kansha

(gratitude) to each of 20 retired missionaries. Then, Gordon Laman gave a

speech entitled “A sketch of the History of Mission in Japan.” On April 21

the group visited the office of the Reformed Church in America in nearby

Grand Rapids, where they were warmly welcomed by General Secretary Michelson

and other executives who discussed the Kyodan-RCA Partnership-in-Mission

Agreement that will be formalized at the Kyodan General Assembly in October.

Group B’s eight other members and I visited Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, April

17-19. Richard and Martha Lammers arranged for us to stay with host families

for two nights at Uplands Retirement Village, which is surrounded by a

beautiful forest and has a United Church of Christ local church in the

center. On April 18 we hosted a luncheon and time of acknowledgement for

about ten retired missionaries and exchanged information and opinions about

Japan, ourselves, and missionaries. In the evening we were invited to

World-wide Welcome Event where retired missionaries to various parts of the

world gathered in various ethnic costumes to enjoy buffet of ethnic foods,

conversations, speeches and performances. It was impressive that Janet (Jan)

Landis, “our” Japan missionary performed ventriloquism in mompe, a kind of

old Japanese kimono. Fukaya Matsuo, a president of Miyagi Gakuin, delivered

a speech about the Christian schools in Japan, and I gave greetings on

behalf of the Kyodan.

We left Pleasant Hill on April 19 in a chartered van driven by a cousin of

Sarah Oba, currently a missionary in Japan, who kindly arranged for this bus

tour. Without this driver, our visits to two other retirement communities

would have been very difficult. Later that day we arrived at Brooks-Howell

Home in Ashville, North Carolina, a retirement community for retirees of the

Women’s Division and the General Board of Global Ministries of the United

Methodist Church. To our delight, the eight retired missionaries waiting for

us all spoke fluent Japanese, so we interacted with them in Japanese for

over two hours, worshipping and enjoying the reunion as well as thanking

them for their life-long service in Japan. Fusako Krummel was the key

retired missionary who made this visit possible.

Our last visit was to Montreat, North Carolina, April 19-21, about a half

hour ride from Ashville. At a nearby restaurant, we ate dinner with 12

retired Presbyterian Church (USA) missionaries during where I acknowledged

the great work of these missionaries in Japan. That very day, April 19,

Clare Baldwin reached his 88th birthday, and we celebrated by singing ‘Happy

Birthday’. On April 20 we attended worship services at Montreat Presbyterian

Church and Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, during which I expressed

gratitude to these congregations on behalf of the Kyodan. After having a

buffet dinner, courtesy of the missionaries, we were guided by Annie Brady

to Highland Farms Retirement Community where she lives. Afterwards, we were

invited for tea at the home of Lardner and Molly Moore where we were blessed

by their warm Christian fellowship.

We were greatly blessed by this tour, rejoicing at personal reunions with

the missionaries we love and sensing their unexpected welcome, concern, and

joy as well. In addition, we were strengthened in our dedication to

evangelism by these experiences. We thank God and all of them for these

blessings. ?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Ito Mizuo, member

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

Note: Letters have been received from some of the retired missionaries,

expressing appreciation? for the visit of the Kyodan representatives.