Fifty Years Ago
can’t believe it’s been 50 years since our family left the United States for a mission assignment. I was seven years old when Dad announced that we were going to Indonesia as a missionary family. I thought all missionaries wore khaki shorts and helmets, and snakes would be everywhere. Trying to picture my dad dressed like that was hilarious! That never happened, but we did encounter a few snakes over the years. A local news reporter in Des Moines, Iowa, interviewed Arriving in Bandung, Java, was Melvin and Marjorie Lyon and their daughters before their a culture shock, even for a kid. departure to Indonesia. Mary is on the far left. Everyone seemed to be staring at us. What was the big deal? We were just a regular family with ceilings for better air circulation, four daughters. I didn’t realize what but it also made things a little spooky. a curiosity we would be. When Dad played the saw with a viWe moved into a Dutch house olin bow in the evenings, the house with a stone foundation and a tiny echoed with ghostly sounds. cour tyard. The house had high We rode with other missionary
children to a one-room school in an old Jeep. Each morning the teacher would back her Volkswagen out of the garage, and we would drag our desks into place. With the garage door wide open, chickens would sometimes wander into the classroom. We went to our music lessons in a three-wheeled trishaw. Over the next ten years, our family would live in Japan and Singapore before returning to the United States. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Indonesia.
Mary Lyon Hellman lives in Fairview, Oregon.