Recently I was able to attend a memorial service for a missionary who had a big impact wherever he went. Chuck and Eloise Corwin served in Japan many years, with their greatest impact coming in the form of Tyrranus Hall, a dormitory and mentor program for Christian college and seminary students in the Tokyo area. Many of the attendees at Chuck’s memorial service were themselves students who had lived at Tyrranus Hall between it’s inception in the ’70’s and today.
My experience with Chuck and Eloise Corwin is much more recent, dating back to 2011, when we met them at Voyager’s Bible Church in Irvine. Maki and I were trying to figure out how to get back on the mission field after a first term followed by a suddenly growing family and career-worst dollar-yen ratio. The Corwin’s invited us to their home for lunch during what was probably the most difficult time in our missionary career as far as wondering whether we would ever be back on the field or not. But Chuck’s encouragement and Eloise’s kindness were reassuring and reaffirming. When we had a missionary presentation at Voyager’s church in Irvine soon after that, Chuck spoke on our behalf, urging the church and individual members to send us back to Japan, because the work isn’t finished. I believe God used Chuck and Eloise’s personal encouragement and public endorsement to get us back on the field for the beginning of what would be our season in Iwate prefecture, serving at Morioka Minami Church, which was a blessed time of ministry in one of Japan’s smallest missionary and church communities. Maki and I still remember Chuck’s passion and Eloise’s gentleness, and their combined confidence in God’s sustaining work in the Japanese church, and the mission to help out, and even when we have discouraging moments these days, we are encouraged by the memories of these precious missionaries who have gone before us.