The Story of Larry: Home Assignment 3

CALIFORNIA AND CANADA
1974 - 1975

What is a Home Assignment? You who are in school know what an assignment is!

For missionaries, it is a period of time to reconnect with family and friends, visit churches and individuals who have prayed for and supported them while they were serving the Lord in another country.

It is kind of like a "Show and Tell" time.

We’d had three 5-year terms of service in Japan since 1957 and two Home Assignments. Now we’d be having our third.

God promises in His Word:

“Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be given to you.”

This really came true for us. God gave us a new family, hundreds of friends, work that was satisfying, different homes to live in, and He supplied ALL of our needs. We knew we could trust God to supply all of our needs for this Home Assignment. He did that, but in different ways than we expected.

And now for the story about a time of many changes, with the assurance that God was guiding and providing all along the way. Sometimes it seemed to be at the last minute, but He was always ‘on time.’

 

This was a most unusual Home Assignment. We didn’t stay in any one place more than 2 months!

We left Japan on June 12th and arrived at our destination before we had left. WHAT? How can that be? This is because we crossed the International date line. The day we lost when we went to Japan was now given back to us!

Our friends met us in Los Angeles when we arrived and helped us get driver’s licenses and other things we needed. Friends from my home church gave us a special treat. They gave us tickets for our whole family to go to Disneyland!

Canada

Soon after we arrived in America, we went to Canada. The Dodge car we used was formerly Nahnee’s car. We found it served us very well. In Canada we visited churches as usual and played music for them.

In Three Hills, Alberta, Grampie was with friends on a small merry-go-round. He jumped off too soon, falling and breaking his arm again. GGpa took him to the hospital in Red Deer to get it set, because they couldn’t do it in Three Hills. That put limits on what Grampie could do the rest of the summer.

We spent some time at Bible camps. Grampie remembers being at the Riverside Bible Camp where it rained a lot. It was very muddy. They brought in a truck with bathrooms so we could get cleaned up. But the truck got stuck in the mud, and the driver had to crawl in the mud to put chains on the tires in order to move the truck! There was no electricity at the camp, but they had a generator to provide light at night. And there were lots of mosquitos!

Our friends the Dellers were at the camp, and one of the songs we often sang during meals was, “Get your elbows off the table Mr. Deller….”

Meal at a camp table

We visited the Lindstroms’ farm and ate fresh peas as we walked through their garden. Mrs. Lindstrom had some low bush cranberry jelly she had saved for GGpa. It was his favourite!

Other friends we visited had interesting books to read. Marilyn and Lisa would have loved to keep some of them.

California

We were back in California in time for the children to start school. Grampie and Marilyn went to Valley Christian school, the same school they attended on our last assignment. They remembered some of the same friends from their second grade classroom. Mrs. Rood was the principal, and she was very kind to all of us. Marilyn had done a lot crocheting ponchos, and when she showed them to Mrs. Rood, she asked Marilyn to make some for her. I still have one that Marilyn made for me.

Both Grampie and Marilyn were ahead of the class in some subjects; Bible was one of those subjects. Grampie was ahead in Math and in Science.

Lisa was in grade five, also at Valley Christian school but a different campus.

Making friends was not easy because the kids at VCS had very different backgrounds which our kids were unfamiliar with.

First we stayed with Grace and Uncle Oscar Hawkinson. They had three bedrooms, and we used two of those bedrooms. A special room was built in the garage for Grampie's room.

Larry in his garage room

At first we were practicing our instruments at their place, but it got to be too much for Grace and Oscar to take. We decided to ask if we could practice at our church, Willow Glen Baptist church. Every day after school we went to the church to practice. This was a good plan because everyone could practice at the same time. I could practice with one child at a time also.

While GGpa did a lot of traveling during this time with the Dodge, we had the use of my brother’s black Batmobile…at least that’s what we called it!

We attended the church and took part in other activities there. Grampie and Marilyn were baptized there during during the time we were there.

We only stayed at Grace and Oscar’s house for two months. They didn't like asking us to move, but it had to be done. Their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Henry, who were going away for a couple months, needed a house sitter. This was ideal for us. At the Henrys’ house, there was a large cherry tree in the backyard. Grampie and the others climbed up on the roof and sat and ate cherries. They had a dog named Linda; this dog loved to eat carrots and peanuts. Lisa liked the dog a lot and took her for walks, but Marilyn and Grampie did not like cleaning up after the dog in the backyard. They had a room full of plants that needed to be watered; this was my job.

When Mr. and Mrs. Henry returned, we moved to my aunt and uncle George and Ebba’s place. They had an 18 foot trailer parked beside their house where we could stay. GGpa was away most of this time traveling to visit supporters, and when he came home we could use one of the bedrooms in the house.

Grampie and Marilyn had a cooking class at school. They had to make at home some things they made at school. So each of them had to make a batch of bagels (in that trailer). Nobody was bothered by the tight quarters in the trailer. Grampie would turn his back and read a book while the girls put on their PJ’s.

Next we stayed for short times house-sitting for other people. At one house they had a waterbed. This was unique to us. Everyone got a turn to sleep in the waterbed.

Another place was a very nice home. There was a swimming pool and a pool table, and they had a dog which Lisa really enjoyed.

We stayed in some other places too. For the last couple of weeks that we were in California, we stayed with my cousin Bernice and Oliver Severson. While we were there, GGpa made a box for Grampie's cello for our trip to Brazil. We had a lot of other things too. A list of all the things had to be made and translated into Portuguese. There were quite a number of musical instruments that a music store had donated to take to the Pan American Christian Academy in Sao Paulo.

One of the Severson’s sons had a blind friend who lived with them. He was rather amazing. He used sound to guide him. Grampie played horseshoes with him and lost the game. The person the blind man was playing with would tap on the far post and then he would throw the horseshoe in the direction of the sound. Once he even made a double ringer. He had to go and feel it to believe it!

There was a large avocado tree in the backyard. Grampie sat in the branches of the tree and read a book. The rest of us enjoyed eating the avocados.

 

Before we left Japan we had volunteered to go to Brazil to work with Japanese people there. The JEM board had not met yet to approve this, so we had not told people in Japan that we would be going to Brazil. Soon after we got to the US, it was approved.

We quickly sent in our application for visas to go to Brazil. It would usually take about 2 or 3 months to get the visas. A doctor’s exam was one requirement. We went to the Brazilian consulate in San Francisco and also had our doctor’s examination there. Next, we just had to wait. Waiting is not easy!

One day the doorbell rang, and the man at the door had a telegram saying that our visa for Brazil had been granted! Instead of the usual wait to get this approval, ours had come in 6 weeks! Amazing! THANK YOU, LORD! Now we could really prepare for going halfway around the world from Japan to Brazil to minister.

While we were waiting in Los Angeles to get the actual visas stamped into our passport, it was discovered that there was a simple mistake on a doctor’s report, so it had to be sent back to the doctor in San Francisco for him to correct it. MORE WAITING on pins and needles! Up to the day before we were to fly to Brazil, this corrected report still had not come back. There were always 3 mail deliveries each day at the Consulate. On the third mail delivery of the day before our scheduled flight, the doctor’s report was in the mail! As fast as we could, we rushed to the Brazilian Consulate, and the visas were finally stamped into our passports after closing time. PHEW! What a stressful time that was! But God took care of it just in time!

The next day we boarded our flight to Brazil.

2020-11-21 updated 2021-03-25   © 2021 Larry Grove