I was born in the little town of Shelton, WA, Christmas Tree Capitol of the World (or so the sign says). My mother faithfully took us three girls to the Episcopal church, ballet lessons (12 years), and Girl Scouts (she was always the scout leader).
I married my high school sweetheart, moved to Seattle, and we both started at the University of Washington. As Kurt was finishing up and trying to decide what to do with his degree in the Japanese language and East Asian Cultures, he could have joined the CIA or FBI and translated documents, etc. in DC. As a people person, that didn't appeal to him. When he attended the Urbana Missions conference in Urbana, IL after Christmas in 1976,
When he called mid-week to say we were going to be missionaries in Japan instead, I was floored. It was something I had never considered. God decided we really needed training before we went. We started working with International students at our church, one of the biggest churches in Seattle, then became houseparents for a year for the church's International Friendship House. Our oldest daughter was born in April 1980 and almost 5 months later we were in Tokyo.
Talk about culture shock. In 1980, not many signs were in English yet, I spoke little Japanese, had a baby, and those first months were rough. They needed a bookkeeper for the mission so that became my job. our oldest son was born in 1981.
We had signed on for a 2 1/2 year stint in Japan. Somehow that turned into 11 years. Kurt ended up as pastor of a Japanese church and I kept the home fires burning, adding son #2 in 1985 then adopting a Japanese baby girl in 1989.
In 1991, we came home for a year furlough which was to include figured out some major health problems I had. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, something that was pretty unheard of back then. It has been and up and down battle ever since. We were unable to return to Japan. Two years later we joined Mission to Unreached Peoples where Kurt worked with training new missionaries and I worked part-time, processing care of donations. Kurt went back to school part-time to get his Master's in Education.
I began working full-time at MUP and Kurt finished his Master's and began teaching Japanese full-time in a middle school in Seattle. When MUP decided to move it's HQ to Plano, TX, we weren't going to move so during the transition, I worked half-time for MUP and got a half-time job in donations at Discovery Institute in downtown Seattle. When the MUP transfer of duties was complete, I began working 30 hours a week at Discovery, where I still am. With almost an hour commute each way (which ends up 2 hours one way if traffic is really bad), it makes for long days.
A major change we made in about 2011 was to leave the big church in Seattle we had been attending since our marriage in 1975 and move to a small church closer to home. With my health problems, it was hard to get to church in Seattle (30 minutes away) and we weren't able to participate in mid-week meetings. At our new church, Rosehill Presbyterian, where 2 friends from MUP attended, we were able to get involved. I joined the choir, starting singing with the modern worship band when it began, and get involved as time permits. 2015 is a banner year as Kurt was elected an elder and I was elected as a deacon. I am also on the finance committee (wonder of wonders). Kurt has been on the missions committee and another committee, As the church prepares to leave the PCUSA denomination to join the new ECO denomination, which adheres more closely to biblical beliefs, there are many changes occurring so we will see what happens when the dust settles.
Our family has grown. All 4 children are married. As of Dec. 2015 we have 4 1/3 grandchildren, 2 boys, 2 girls and a ???. We almost always have a Japanese student living with us. The current one goes home next month. Through the contacts we made in Japan, which we keep up with, we have the children and grandchildren of people we know who plan to come live with us at some point. Kurt lived in a remote fishing village in Japan the 73-74 school year and the daughter of one of his host sisters was with us before that. Kurt takes students to Japan each summer and stays to travel around and visit pastors, churches, and friends. And of course any family who is there at the time. We now have one son who married a Japanese and they live near Kobe so he always stops there and I go to Japan every other year or so.
The last 10 or more years my mother was alive, she worked with her cousins and their families and compiled 2 books worth of family history. She has very detailed records of the Hollander (my mother's maiden name), Gragg, Coffey, and Webb families out of North Carolina. My parents were second cousins so she has detailed records on that side of the family as well. I got all her records when she died in 1997 but didn't get into them really until fall of 2015, this year. I wish I had done this years sooner as I am finding people who I would have loved to contact and should have contacted that have died within just the last 6 months. I have been thrilled to hook up with some second cousins. In Wiki-Tree it is fun to find that someone else has already put information in on many people and I can just add to it and link to the records I am putting in. Thanks Wiki-Tree and my extended family I am finding here.
I am happy to hear from any of you and add you to my trusted lists. Until I started into this, I had not even realized who my great-grandparents were as they were all gone before I was born, as were my father's parents. But it is really great to put relationship names to the people I heard my mother talk about since I was young. We did get to visit, with her along, relatives in Wisconsin on my dad's side and in North Carolina on her side. I would love to make visits to family in other parts of the US at some point.
God bless you all!
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On 29 Nov 2017 at 06:43 GMT Gillian Thomas wrote:
I’m the new Project Coordinator for the England Project. I am contacting you, as there have been some recent changes to the project which we are keen to bring to your attention. Please look at the England Project page for more information on the changes and the ways members are able to actively contribute moving forward. Once you have considered how you would like to participate, please contact either myself or Susie to let us know. We can then list your involvement, help you join the Google group forum for England, and give you any other help you may need to get going. If we don’t hear back from you we’ll assume you do not wish to be a part of the England Project for the time being. We really hope you will join the team! Gillian
On 24 Jun 2017 at 02:17 GMT Keith Hathaway wrote:
I'd like to invite you to join in the "Weekend Chat" on G2G Today!
Share personal successes, stories about ancestors, tips, projects you are working on, or anything else you wish.
New members stop in and say Hello, introduce yourself, share your story, or ask for help.
Pilots, Mentors, and Leaders of all kinds please add something... your advice is always greatly appreciated.
Hope to see you there!
On 19 Feb 2016 at 15:45 GMT Dan Thompson wrote:
On 10 Feb 2016 at 20:20 GMT Alison Andrus wrote:
On 31 Dec 2015 at 00:19 GMT Cheryl (Stone) Caudill wrote:
re: http://www.WikiTree.com/wiki/Thornton-469, good eye, do not know when or who put marriage dates, but even the husbands had not been born yet. I have take dates out and further research is needed. Thank you, Cheryl
On 29 Dec 2015 at 22:47 GMT S (Hill) Willson wrote:
Thank you for your contributions to WikiTree. I noticed you provided additional bio text for Thomas Mundy Upshaw today. It would be very helpful if you would please list the source of the information you provided, i.e., that his parent's didn't use the Upshaw name. The information you provide may help another person locate further information about him. Thank you, Sharon
On 23 Dec 2015 at 19:12 GMT Guy Constantineau wrote:
We have no project at this time for Belgium. You can add your family on Wikitree and someone or you could start a project later :)
On 11 Dec 2015 at 18:20 GMT Robin Lee wrote:
On 10 Dec 2015 at 21:45 GMT Vicki Norman wrote:
On 5 Dec 2015 at 14:36 GMT Guy Constantineau wrote:
Congratulations, you've been a WikiTree member for a month! We're glad you're here. A few tips to help you dive in even deeper:
Check out Beyond the Basics of WikiTree for a guide on some of our more advanced features such as Projects, Categories, and Merging.
We're very active on our social sites and we have an excellent blog where you'll find our monthly newsletter as well as tips, interviews with our members and guest posts from others in the genealogy community.
As always, I'm here to help if you have any questions!
Guy ~ WikiTree Mentor