2 Generations of Missionaries in Japan … 100 Years Apart

September 18 2015

I wanted to share our family’s connection with OMS Japan.

In 1912, my great grandmother's brother Edward C. Oney was a student at God's Bible College in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1913, Uncle Ed felt God calling him to be a missionary to Japan. In 1914, he joined the Oriental Missionary Society or OMS, (today known as One Mission Society) and in July of that year, he arrived in Tokyo.

Uncle Ed and his team walked from house to house in the cities and throughout the countryside, often as much as 20 miles in a day in what was called the Great Village Campaign. Rev. Oney shared that he had actually worn out new shoe soles in a single day, climbing the steep rocky paths to rural villages and houses.

In 1915, exactly 100 years ago, Rev. Oney returned to the United States to raise more money and recruit volunteers for the bands of workers, but most of the time between 1914 and 1917, he was in Japan engaged in the work of literature distribution.

In 1917, Rev. Oney returned home to enlist in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army. Although offers of training for the chaplaincy and an officer's commission were made, he steadfastly refused, believing his greatest usefulness could be enjoyed as an enlisted man. One week after reaching England, they crossed the channel and landed in France, where they moved to the front in the midst of the Battle of the Argonne Forest. Rev. Oney was soon a Sergeant First Class with some 250 men under his command.

While Uncle Ed never returned to Japan and instead traveled throughout the United States as an evangelist, eventually retiring as the superintendent of the West Virginia District of the Church of the Nazarene, I'm sure he carried a burden for the people of Japan and prayed for them often.

Fast forward FOUR generations. Uncle Ed's niece, Grace, had a son named Arney, who had a daughter named Vicki, who had a daughter named Tori.

When Tori was a girl at summer camp, she heard missionaries to Japan speak about their mission work. She came home and told her family that she felt God calling her to be a missionary.

Some time later, missionaries to Japan spoke at our church in Pennsylvania. That day, God put a calling to Japan in her heart.

Tori graduated from high school and enrolled in Cedarville University with a major in International Studies and minors in Bible, Asian studies, and teaching English as a second language. She graduated from college in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Biblical and Theological Studies.

ori then boarded a plane, heading for Tokyo for 10 weeks this past summer, teaching English and working with OMS missionaries in and around Tokyo, following in the footsteps of her great, great Uncle, Rev. Ed Oney, who 100 years ago walked on the same ground, taking the same Gospel message to the same people with the same mission board, OMS, that Uncle Ed served under!

By Vicki Pastrick, friend of OMS

Tags: historical oms, generational missions, japan, great village campaign,