Hans Bouwman, Japan - 12 - Memories of a Precious Daughter

Memories of a Precious Daughter

marion dora

Marion Dora

In the same year that we moved from Japan to Holland, our daughter Marion and her husband Alan moved from Canada to Japan. They believed in the Lord’s call, and with a dedicated heart they not only sacrificed all their possessions, but also themselves. While Alan was zealously studying the Japanese language, it was discovered that Marion had terminal cancer. We remember receiving this shocking news, which became the precursor of so many changes. We desired to be with Marion as much as possible to give both her and her family the needed help, and soon we found ourselves together in the Missionary Home at Burnaby in Canada. During Marion’s sickness, not only my wife, but also our daughters have been sacrificial in their help. We felt that being with Marion in those last days was not a burden, but on the contrary a great blessing. In her quiet spirit and loving heart there was always a sense of peace and rest. People who came to see her were encouraged and blessed and so were we, as she was completely surrendered to the will of the Lord and never voiced a complaint. Though we only had her for 29 years with us here on earth, we remain thankful for her life lived for the Lord.
Marion was going to die. She was going to leave behind not only her husband, but also her two little ones, Michelle (5) and Christopher (3). When Gerda carefully asked how she saw the future of her children, Marion answered, “Mum, I have committed them into the hand of my Lord and Saviour. The Lord Jesus will care for them much better than I ever could”. The words of Marion were not empty phrases. They were the expression of her faith. She spoke about Heaven as a reality and was longing to be with the Lord Jesus.

On the evening of November 15, 1938 we were together in her room as a family. Marion had difficulty breathing and since it was easier for her in an upright position, she sat on the side of her bed between Alan and myself. Her Mum was sitting in front of her and held her hands. In this manner Marion quietly and peacefully passed into the presence of the Lord. We did not even notice it. Then her Mum said: “Marion is with the Lord!” We had accompanied her to Heaven’s Gate. She was privileged to enter; we had to stay behind. This was the moment of separation. There were tears, but soon we were able to give thanks unto the Lord for His gracious guidance in bringing one of His blood-bought children safely Home. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor.15:54-57). We put her body to rest on November 19th at ‘Ocean View’ Cemetery in Burnaby, B.C.

Some time before her death Marion wrote down her simple testimony in a notebook, which we found after she went to be with the Lord. It has been used in tracts all over Canada and the USA. It is translated into Dutch and Japanese also and has been used for the blessing of many.

Marion’s Testimony

“I was born in 1959 in Tokyo, Japan. My parents have been missionaries to Japan for over 30 years and all five of their children were born there. My childhood was a happy one. When I was six I went to an English-speaking Christian school. We lived hours away from the ‘Christian Academy in Japan’ (CAJ), where my older sister and I boarded during the week. The next few years were lonely years. I remember being home-sick at night. If my sister would hear me cry she would crawl into bed with me and we would hug each other.

“One Spring day when I was almost eleven, something happened that changed my life. I was walking from the school to the dorm when I noticed a large cumulus cloud in the sky. The cloud looked like a large hand reaching down from Heaven. I thought, ‘What if that were God’s hand? What would He do with me if He reached down and picked me up? Would He put me in Heaven or put me in Hell?’
“Even though I was an obedient, fairly well-behaved child, I knew that I had no right to go to Heaven because I had not trusted Christ as my Saviour. I knew that Jesus died on the cross for people, including the Japanese, but I had never accepted it for myself. With simple faith I believed there and then that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I walked on to the dorm, realizing nothing of the deep meaning and change that had taken place in my life. To me it was so simple. Thank God for a wonderful salvation that a child of ten or a grandmother of ninety can receive.
‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him’ (John 3:36).
“A few days later, I attended a Christian girl scouts’ meeting at school. Somebody spoke about the ninety-nine sheep and the one that was lost. The shepherd looked for and found the lost lamb. Little plastic sheep had been hidden all over the room and we were supposed to see how many we could find. I promptly found a sheep behind the curtain of the window and sat down again. ‘Marion, look for more’, a lady said. ‘No, THIS LAMB is the one Jesus found and that’s enough’, I replied. I remember feeling happy that I was saved, because Jesus found me!
‘But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12).
“When I was in grade six, a girl from the dorm, Kathy, died. While at her funeral I specifically prayed that the Lord would use me for His glory in my life, and even in my death.
“To sum up the next 16 years of my life briefly, I went to Canada in 1977 and continued my studies at the university. After graduating, I married my husband, Alan. In 1983 our daughter Michelle was born and in 1985 our son, Christopher. My husband and I felt that God was directing us to go to Japan as missionaries, so we left Canada in June 1986. In Japan Michelle attended a Japanese kindergarten. It was through her kinder¬garten that I came into contact with many mothers. Often the mothers dropped by our house for a cup of coffee. At times we had 20 Japanese people come to our home a week. Things were going well. Alan, my husband, was just ‘taking off’ in the language.
“On December 5th, Michelle had her kindergarten Christmas program. A Christian doctor told his testimony and of his work telling Japanese children suffering from cancer about the Lord Jesus. For some reason his talk moved me deeply and I thought, ‘Maybe that’s a work I can do—talk to children who have cancer or other diseases in our local hospitals.’
“Three days later I went to a doctor, for what I thought would be a routine check-up. I had been feeling quite fatigued for a while. The doctor discovered a large tumor in the colon and he ordered further tests. The next day Alan and I went to down¬town Tokyo to see a cancer specialist, who was trained in the States. There they did a sono-gram of the liver and found three large tumors. ‘What does this mean?’, my husband asked the doctor. ‘She has between three months and maybe two years to live. I advise you to go back to Canada’, was the answer. Needless to say, we were totally shocked. We made the two-hour train ride back home in total silence. I knew that if I said something I would break down. Once back home we picked up our children from the neighbours and put them to bed. Then we cried, agonized, and prayed.
“The next day was Sunday and we went to the assembly to say goodbye. Monday and Tuesday were hectic days. With the help of friends we packed most of our clothes and they packed the rest to put everything in storage. The telephone rang constantly as the news spread and people were dropping in to say goodbye. Thank God for friends! We could not have done everything without them. On Wednesday we flew back to Canada.

“Since coming to Canada, I have had surgery and several chemo treatments. Physically, the cancer is getting worse. Spiritually, I am happy. I have joy and peace. I have experienced the love of Christians. Christians from all over have prayed for me and have really cared. My family has been so supportive. Even my little children minister to me in their own way. Little three-year-old Christopher saying: ‘I love you, Mummy’ many times a day while giving me a hug. Five-year-old Michelle tells me that while alone at night, she prays ‘lots and lots and lots’, that I would get better. ‘What if I don’t?’, I asked her. ‘But Mum, then you’ll be better in Heaven
“I have lived a happy life. I pray that God would use my death to speak to people. God is love. He never forsakes. He is kind. Live for Him!
‘For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord’ (Romans 8:38-39).”

October 1988

Alan’s Words of Appreciation
Words of appreciation by Alan Essex, written after the loss of his wife Marion:
We are all very thankful to the Lord that Marion’s passing into His presence was quiet and peaceful. She was spared from a lot of the suffering many cancer patients must endure. Peacefully, while sitting in the arms of her family, the Lord took her to be with Himself.
We are thankful that she was able to remain at home rather than having to be put into hospital. This gave the family many opportunities to spend quality time with her over the last number of months. We praise our wonderful Saviour that she is free from suffering and that she is now “Absent from the body and present with the Lord”. It has given all of us a greater realization that very soon “The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout”. What a great and glorious day it will be when we will all be together around the Throne to behold the One who gave His life for our sins and who redeemed us with His own precious blood!
Our sincere prayer is that Marion’s Homecall will continue to bring honour and glory to His blessed Name and that her testimony would be used of the Lord to encourage the saints and further the purposes of the Lord in these last days. Marion was a great example of courage and patience during her time of sickness. Hers is the victory, and she will always be lovingly remembered by her quiet spirit of faith and trust in the sovereignty of the Lord’s will in her life. The Scripture teaches that, “The voice of the Lord is above many waters” and despite the depth of her suffering she proved that the Lord could give the needed grace to suffer patiently and calmly.