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A TRIBUTE TO OUR BELOVED MOTHER

Given by Paul Hiebert at Mom's funeral in Boulder, Colorado
on January 19, 1997


Anna Luetta Jungas

How can we capture in words her life as a daughter and young girl? We cannot. We have only memories of Nutkya stories told us as children about her early life which we must now fill out with our imaginations:

Anna Jungas Hiebert

How can we capture in words her life as a woman and a wife? We cannot. We catch only fleeting glimpses from the old photographs that freeze her form for a moment, and our imaginations of her vibrant life.

Mother

How can we capture our mother, our grand-mother, our great-grand-mother in words? We cannot. Each of us has rich memories, and taken together and shared they give us glimpses of who she really was.

Anna: Missionary and Friend

How can we capture in words Anna's life of ministry and friendship? We cannot.

How do we account for our mother's full life?

1) Some will say that she had strength of personality which enabled her to bear the sorrow of losing her husband and daughters, and to raise you children alone,

2) Some will say she had moral fortitude--a sense of moral duty that kept her going when things were black,

3) But whenever I asked her about her strength, she always said her strength came from her faith in Christ Jesus. It was this that made her willing to go to India, to come through sorrow, and to find meaning in life. It was this faith which carried her through the hard experiences of her life.

This faith, for me, was captured in one of our family rituals. Whenever we parted, whether to go off to boarding school, to go on furlough, or off to the United States, Mom and Dad gathered us around and read Psalm 91. These were the last words I heard when I boarded the ship in Bombay at 17 to go to the U.S. to enter college.

I would like us to read this passage today as a family to say goodby to mother. I would also like to read this Psalm as a testimony to the faithfulness of God, and of mother's faith. This is a Messianic psalm, but I will take the liberty to apply it to Mother, for she is a child of God. And I will take the liberty to read it in the past tense because mother has completed her journey and these promises are now fulfilled. And I will note how these promises were fulfilled in her life.

Psalm 91:

"Mother, you lived in the shelter of the Most High, you dwelt in the shadow of the Almighty.
You said of the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.'

"Therefore God delivered you from the deep waters:
-in 1938 when our ship, the Hiye Maru tossed for three days in a typhoon on the North Pacific, and the captain despaired of saving the ship,
-in 1942 when we were evacuated from India on the S.S. Brazil past enemy submarines that torpedoed the ship behind us,
- in 1950 when you, Joanne and Lois escaped from the van that was dumped into the Krishna River.

And from the deadly pestilence:
-of small pox, cholera, typhoid and plague during your many years in India.

He covered you with his pinions, and under his wings you found refuge.
His faithfulness was your shield and sword, and you did not fear the terror of the night.
Because you made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
No evil overtook you.
And now he has commanded his angels concerning you and they have lifted you up to your final home."

Mother:

We your children, grand-children and great-grand-children gather to thank you--
-for being our mother who gave us life, and loved us and stood by us in all our lives
- for making a home for us wherever we were.

We want to say we love you--
- we are not always articulate in expressing that love but it is deep within each one of us.
- we have not always said it enough
- but we do want to say that deep within each of us is a lasting love of you.

We honor you--
- for your years of ministry to so many around the world who also call you mother and friend.

We bless you--
- for sharing with us your faith, and modeling for us Christian faithfulness.

We look forward to joining you--
- we say goodby, but by faith we affirm that this is a temporary parting. Now we say goodby, but the final word will be a great Hello when we join you and dad and Grace and Helen.

Mother, we miss you, but you are written deep in our memories, and those memories none can take from us.