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Family Newsletter - November/December 1998

Past Issues: June July August September October

From: Fran and Ken

A brief update on our family:

We are doing well, enjoying a fine fall in Hanoi, Vietnam. The days are warm, the evenings cool. We are busy as Vietnam Country Co-representatives for Mennonite Central Committee. We have two sons: Daniel, 5 and Loren, 2. We came to Vietnam almost a year ago and plan to be here four or five years. We will miss very much being home this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas but have found a good community to celebrate with here in Hanoi.

As the Vietnamese would say, Chuc Mung Nam Moi! (Wishing You Happy New Year!) (and, we add, a good Thanksgiving and Christmas)

We attached a picture of our family at a recent outing in Vietnam, and have a website address if people want to see more.


Fran and Ken Martens Friesen

From: Marcia Hiebert Goentzel

(Editor's Note: we received this e-mail message this past week)

Hello - this is Marcia Hiebert Goentzel. My son Jarrod found your home page and I have really enjoyed reading it! I have had a full 2 days of history about India and surrounding countries. I watched several movies, including Gandhi and was shocked to read the train story of seeing him protest by laying on the track - what a memory.

Jarrod, our 30 year old son, and I are going to be in India for 3 weeks in January. He is an invited guest to his tech assistant's Hindu wedding in Hyderabad. We plan to enjoy learning about the country, and also conduct some family research.

I am writing a fiction novel for my kids based on Grandma's life. The first chapter involved their trip to Russia on the way to India. I centered it around a story I once heard, but I am unsure about the validity. Maybe one of you has some idea.

I remember the story was that Grandpa went to Russia to raise money for an independent MB mission. The Russian church had provided missionaries to India and support in the past. As the story was told to me, they raised only a few dollars and were quite disappointed. As I have been reading the MB book about the India mission, I have wondered if this was true. Not mentioned.

Also, any other stories you might know about the Grandparents would be great. I already plan to use the one about catching the boat after the guard refused to let Grandma through.

I have a letter from your parents to Grandma & Grandpa for their 50th anniversary. I really think you should have it. Send the the address to mail it properly (or someone come to Kansas and get it personally)

Reading your memories has been so encouraging to me. I was never close to your parents and this helped me get acquainted. Letting you dangle your legs in the water off the train - Aunt Anna the worry person. Thanks for sharing these with me.


e-mail: mgoentzl@southwind.net

From: Jo

Margy came over for a week this summer and spent long hours scanning in family pictures. We'll be adding some of these to mom's memoirs and others to the web. Thanks, Migs!


Betty, Gwen and Loey have their doll quilt/bed webpage up and running. It looks great! Nikhil helped do the engineering on it and Betty's granddaughter Katie is the featured model. Check it out at:


These are pictures from the time Frank and Jo visited Bets and Carl in fall. Carl, Frank and David went to the Nebraska-University of Washington football game at Lincoln. Nebraska tromped Washington thoroughly that day, and one of the other highlights of the day was devouring huge cheeseburgers and fries at one of David & Carl's favorite eatery haunts. It looks like your alma mater, Kansas State, is going upstage Nebraska this year, Carl. Where do your loyalties lie?

(Note from Steve: My mom is learning to do oval cropping in Photoshop, so watch out!)

From: Elmer

Notes from the Martens summer reunion:

The J. H. and Susie Martens family reunion was held on July 31-Aug. 2 on the farm homesteaded by my great-grandfather in 1904 at Main Centre Saskatchewan. Both my parents are deceased; Mother died in January, 1998. We are 4 brothers; they and all their offspring (except for Ken and Fran Martens Friesen serving in Viet Nam) were present. That made for a total close to 50. Part of the fun was meeting in a large rented tent (20 by 20) which was set up on the farm yard.

Major events: an auction sale of my parents' items with Orlando, brother third in line, as a (professional) auctioneer; an evening of skits and slides by the First Generation (that's me and siblings); a picture taking extravaganza; curry and rice dinner prepared by Phyllis; a church service in the country church where we attended in years past (since the congregation dismissed for a service at the local rodeo, we had it to ourselves); the rendering of my first sermon given at age 15 on the text (still appropriate) I Cor. 15:57-58; an outing on a barge on Lake Diefenbaker with Karen discovering some dinosaur vertebrae (some 5 or more) in the face of a cliff (no kidding!) and birthday celebrations in the immediate family context, e.g., Phyl's 70th.

From: Frank

Last summer as Jo and I were leaving Estes Park, heading south on Route 7 near Long's Peak, we came upon the homestead site of Enos Mills, one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped on a drizzly morning to see the cabin and visited with Mills' daughter, who maintains the historic property. She and I had a pleasant visit about Mills' efforts to establish this national treasure--a bit of living history. The Hiebert clan will be gathering next summer not too far from this location; hope you can make it.

From: Gwen

Dick's mother had surgery so he spent 10 days in Buffalo taking care of her. He just got back when his 96 year old aunt died.

Debbie and Dary will finalize the adoption of Blake into their family in December so she now has five. Blake's sister who is 14 has come to live with them permanently and Charles (7) is also there so they now have seven children in the house. To bad mother isn't around to give her some tips.

Welcome to the family, Blake!

Reunion reminder:

The dates for our family reunion have been set for August 7, 8 & 9, 1999. We plan to get together at a YMCA camp in the Rockies (Snow Mountain Ranch, right, Loey?), where there are all sorts of activities for families. Elmer and Loey will keep you all up-to-date on our plans. If you have any questions, check in with them.

Phyl writes that she, Gwen, Margy and Michael were discussing special things to do for the reunion. Gwen suggested that each of us siblings prepare a 'family tree' page of photos of our children/grandchildren, with photocopies for all families attending. At the reunion we would collate and spiral-bind. Margy andMichael suggested that we send whatever video material we have of Mother and of Grace to a central person to edit into a collection and make copies for each family. Any volunteers to the be "Central Person?"