Saturday, April 27, 2013


Every Body Needs a Place to Live

Out of High School, Daddy was 19 when Granny and Papa built a new house.  In the contract, the Carpenter taught Daddy the trade.  Once it was known, there was no end of opportunities to build.  On Grandpa's farm, changes began from the start of our arrival.  He moved the two roomer from the house to be the granary's of the new barn.

The banker in Eldorado, Mr. George Littlefield, hired Daddy to build him a new house.  At the beginning of WWII the government put in a new Air force Base in our County Seat, Altus, Oklahoma.  He was employed there for some months. 

When our Church Congregation moved from worship in the Midway School to a vacated Church building which the congregation hauled in from several miles to the east, Daddy was the lead carpenter to remodel the existing building and add the addition for fellowship and Sunday School rooms.

From the start of our lives on Grandpa's farm, I've always wondered if Daddy didn't have in mind to build a new stone dairy barn.  Whether yes or no, after completing the barn up hill to the east of the windmill, he cleared away the old 40 year old barn whitch was was falling into disrepair.  Soon after, with the front end loader on our little Ferguson tractor, he began to move the dirt around until he had a beautiful semi-shaped bowl carved out of the hillside to the west of the windmill.  He began to bring in pasture stones from the hills about 10 or 12 miles to the north in the Creta area.  By the time the foundations and floors were poured with cement, he stamped "1946" in the thresh hold of the front door.  By 1950 we had it as finished as it ever was.  The east side is where we milked 8 to 12 cows morning and night.

Beginning in 1950 Daddy went out in the night, where he could see the North Star and shot a perfect line, with his transom and laid out the foundation of a new house.  It would replace Grandpa's house were we had lived the past ten years.  We walled up the west side of the dairy barn and made a living quarter for the family there.  Keith was born in February, 1950.  By the time he was six months old we were moved into the barn and were tearing down the house.  The layout of the floor plan was 72 feet long, The garage end on the north was 24 feet wide. The south end, where the bed rooms were, was 48 feet wide.  It was / is a beautiful home.  There were 3 bedrooms and a bath.  The living room had a huge picture window. The floor of the living room was 24 feet long by 16 feet wide.  The flooring throughout the house was oak hardwood..  He made beautiful designs in the way he laid the wood in both the living room and the dining room.  The kitchen was quite large and was divided from the dining room by a large black walnut breakfast bar.  The den was distinguished by the hand built fireplace.  The exterior was faced with the beautiful white stone we quarried ourselves from the Creta hills.  I cut most of the stone to length, Daddy laid up the walls.  Papa, Uncle Lawton, others of the family and a hired man or two all had their part in bringing it to completion.  Our great friend, Brother Rev. J. E. Ray did most of the interior painting.  After winter in the Barn, Mother and Daddy decided to move to a neighboring vacated house about 3/4 of a mile away.  In July of 1951 Ray was born while we lived there.

Early in 1950 he began work on a new house for Aunt Kathryn and Uncle Perry. Daddy led the work of building theirs in another beautiful artistic style.

During all those years his days seemed endless and the nights saw work continuing to the wee hours.  He kept the farm going and worked at the boat factory hand making mahogany wood racing boats to help with the family income.  Then there were the times the car or tractor needed to be overhauled or a new room added to the house because of the growing family.

When the time came to build our new Church House in Eldorado, Daddy was once more the architect and lead builder.  He secured permission to tear down the old Gym at the burned out Midway School.  It had set there used as a community building and a memory of the past.  Daddy arranged to tear it down for the wood and in exchange he built for them a new community building with a nice kitchen and bath rooms.  With the salvaged lumber and more pasture stones the new Church of the Nazarene rose up and was dedicated debt free as an extraordinary witness to the miracles of the Almighty God.

Paul was born in January 1953, Granny's birthday.  What sweet little brothers they were and all born as we were starting and completing the new stone house.  I'd first had two sisters, then we lost a little boy to still birth and after Linda it was six more years before the three little musketeers arrived.  I knew I missed having brothers, but when they began to arrive I cherished the joyful advent of my own kind. They were all born while we still lived on the River Farm.

I gave my life to Jesus at a  Revival Meeting at the Methodist Church in Eldorado when I was eleven years old.   I remember asking Mother when I was seven, "How do you know if you are supposed to be a preacher?"  She said she didn't know, why didn't I ask Uncle Elbert?  He is her next younger brother and he'd started pastoring in 1943.  I let it go and didn't ask.   In November 1951 I clearly understood that God was calling me into the Christian Ministry.  I told my parents that night.  They seemed pleased and encouraging.  The next May 18, 1952, the day our cousin Marsha was born, our Pastor, Rev. Ray Altaffer called me up front and gave me a "local exporters license."  I think the Methodist Church has not given those for a long time.  Almost immediately, Daddy started an internal struggle with what may have been a call to preach at age 15 when his Uncle Abe Tucker preached a revival at the Midway School in about 1930.  By the end of 1953 Daddy became certain that was the new direction that would transform the whole perspective of our family forever.

I'm sorry folks, but this Post has been very difficult to keep on the page.  I'm not very adept  with the computer and often lines of script move into another paragraph or an entire post will vanish into the atmosphere.  That has happened with the draft," Koichi and Nana: Chapter 4."  I had not intended to introduce this information into "Some of the Houses Daddy Built."  Anyway, here it is, for better or worse.

So Paul, you asked a while back what happened to the pheasants?  Eventually we released them all into the wild.  They had made a heroic effort to establish their breed in such a dry climent.  Not real often, but fairly regularly, a cock or pair of hens could be seen having an early morning or late afternoon shower in our lawn sprinklers.  Sometimes we'd hear but not see the sound of an old cock crowing.  Those beautiful birds added a lot of joy to our lives through those years.  It was during the struggling months of that fall, 1953, that Daddy was dealing with God on the decision of continuing on with the farming, shearing, raising cattle, custom bailing hay, growing cotton, wheat and other small grains life style and there was the beautiful orchard full of mature peach, pear, apricot and plum trees of several varieties.  One year after our income from all sources was counted and all taxes were paid, the profit to the whole family larder had gained an increase of $18.00, all because of the orchard and there was the new barn and all those dairy cows.  On the north side of the fireplace chimney that afternoon, he had chiseled a large lower case "e" into the stones.  The lower case "e" was his legal brand mark for all his cattle.  And in my mind at least, that stood for us and the farm.

He finished up that part of the chimney and came down for the remainder of the day.  He left for the back fields.  I don't know if he drove, walked or rode the horse.  But he went to a place where he often prayed between the orchard and the shelter belt of trees.  Those divided the flat farm lands to the north from the rolling sand hills and sagebrush going south toward the river.  As he approached his holy sanctuary, he began to speak to God.  He ask if he could have a sigh.  It had been many months since any of the family had heard of or seen even one of the pheasants.  So he ask God, if you are really, really calling me, with a wife and seven children in the house, into the ministry, would you give me a sign.  If so, I'd like to hear the Old Pheasant Cock crow.  He sat or knelt there meditating, listening is silence for a little while.  Then something caught his attention.  As he looked around, there standing near the edge of the circle under the trees, the Old Pheasant Cock, rose up on the very tips of his toes, stretched out his gorgeous wings to their full spread, extended his neck to its full length, opened his beak wide and crowed the mightiest crow Daddy had ever heard him give!  It was a powerful moment!

It was settled.  He never looked back.  Moving and all that came after that afternoon are part of another story.  We will have to wait.  We did move from the River Farm to a family farm a mile or two from Eldorado.  In that house Esther was born into the family in 1955 and David was born to us in June 1957.  I was about to return to my second year of college.

The Eldorado Church was dedicated in June 1957.  By fall of that year a Church in Louisiana had called to ask Daddy to come preach a trial sermon as a possible pastoral candidate.  Our good friends, the Rev. J. R. Hall and his wife Rachael with their seven children had moved from their more recent pastorate in Altus, Ok. to a pastorate in Natdchitoches, La.  Nearing years end, with me back in college, the rest of the family went with Daddy for his appointment.  Halls had recommended him to Rev. Dan Perryman, District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene for the State of Louisana.  They had the joy of reunion with the Halls for a few days.  Mother went with Daddy on the appointed Sunday morning.  I think they really liked him, but he clearly felt this was not the right place or the right timing for him.  They returned to Eldorado.

Sometime the next spring Rev. Perryman again called and ask him to come.  It seemed the right time and place...Oak Grove, La.  Through the rest of spring, 1958, and early summer the rush was on to prepare and finish a major family move from the state of our births, from the homes of our parents, grand parents and great grand parents to a place that had trees everywhere, humidity that made the sheets feel mildewed, leather shoes molded in the closet unless you left a light bulb burning, the sugar hardened on the table in the sugar bowl unless you put it into the fridge.  With those wonderful, exciting, frightening prospects lumming before us, Granddaddy Shumaker got sick and was hospitalized.  The haul truck came and took all our movable, earthly belongs away.  We waited in the homes of our many relatives, and waited at the hospital.  After several days, he passed from this earthly abode to the eternal home of the Heavenly Father.  We, two parents and 9 children, got into the red station wagon with the family dog safely in his cage on the back bumper.  It must have been a sight to behold.

In time, Mother and Daddy made several more moves.  One brought them to the small midwestern town of Spiro, Oklahoma where they pastored a few years and Rachel, our fifth sister was born there in May 1964.  Eventually they moved to the Ozark Mountains northeast of Alma, Arkansas in 1966.    By that time, we older kids were marrying and beginning our own families.  Just off Old Turner Road in the Turner Community of those mountains they built themselves a new house.  The younger brothers and sisters all grew up in the mountains east of High Way 71, finishing their elementary, middle and high school training in Alma or Mountianburg, all of whom had their parts in the constant building of those many years.  It's important to remember they had to earn their living, meet all kinds of needs, help many people in many ways while being pastor of the Church and Community.  There they built another new Church and dedicated it debt free in 1991.  They both finished their sojourns in the faith.  Mother went to heaven in 1998 and Daddy joined her in 2007.

It has been a glorious ride.  There have been joys and sorrows, but the faith and confidence of the family has continued to hold strong to the awesome arm of the Almighty God in His promised faithfulness to those who wait on Him.  To God be the glory!!!. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013


The War Is Over . . .  Koichi and Nana Are Married

When Koichi and Nana first met or when they were married, I'm not sure.  I am pretty sure their meeting had to do with the School, but she's younger than he.  They felt God leading them to plant a Church in Kyoto.  Kyoto was an ancient capital city of Japan.  It is also the seat of the Shinto religion.

Nana was pregnant with her first child.  They were walking along the street looking for an apartment.  They passed several, but the land lords were reluctant to rent to Christians.  Koichi had some tools along and when he saw a rather rundown property, he stopped to repair the sagging gate and broken hing of an old  fence.  An old woman came from the house to ask what he was doing and why.  He explained he saw the need and wanted to help because he was a Christian.  She had never heard of this kind of behavior.

The lady had been unable to make the repairs due to little income and the long illness of her husband.  He asked to meet her husband.  There he lay on the mat.  His legs stuck out like stiff chop sticks.  The old fellow had lain like that for forty years and now he was almost stone deaf.  Koichi shouted to him the story of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  He believed God for salvation and began rejoicing in the Lord.  When Koichi prayed for his healing, his hearing was restored.  Koichi took him by his hands and lifted him up onto his feet.  The old man's ankles, knees and hips began to work and he started jumping around.  The couple happily rented a room to Nana and Koichi.

When Koichi asked why they were willing to rent to Christians, the old lady said, "We have prayed to our gods for forty years, they never gave help and took all our money."  The Yamamoto's were running out of money and had very little food.  They were singing and praying for God to guide and help.  Nana's labor began and when the little malnourished boy was born, he was in trouble.  Koichi wrapped him in a blanket and ran to the nearest doctor.  Because they were Christians, no doctor would help.  At his last chance doctor the answer was also, "No."  As he turned to return to the little room, the little laddie died.  With a breaking heart and the huge question of WHY? he walked back home.

The old lady said, "You were singing all day, we had no idea you had no food."  Koichi got some pieces of wood, built a little coffin, made a cross  and announced the funeral.  When forty teens showed up for the funeral, Koichi preached and most or all those kids got saved.  The teenagers wanted to carry the coffin and the cross to lead the way, but the cemetery would not allow the burial of a Christian.  I think they were finally able to bury him on a mountain side.

Now it was known that the Christians had come to town.  The challenge took place in the big courtyard of the great Shinto Temple.  Koichi was there with a hundred Shinto Priest.  I don't know how the challenge developed, but Koichi declared that God could light the gable end of the Temple on fire, there one hundred feet above the ground.  While they watched, it began to blaze.  Before the fire department could go into action, the hundreds of years old Temple burned a third to a half to the ground.

Not long after, the Lord's direction was to study at Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma.  They still had very little money and not much food.  When they were ready to take the train out of Kyoto, an old man they had met, gave them a bushel of boiled eggs for the trip.  What a great gift for hungry tummies.   As they rode along they cracked and ate eggs.

When they arrived in Tokyo, they told the missionary of their calling to study in America.  Of course, he wanted to know if they had enough money for the trip.  Koichi -  "No, we don't have any."  Missionary -  "Then, how are you going to get there?"  Koichi - "We'll go to the end of the dock in Yokohama and if we don't have the ticket, we'll just step onto the water and walk across."

They continued on the train with their boiled eggs.  But O they were beginning to smell like sulfur.  They were giving them away every chance they had.   Nearing the coast, they got off the train for the night.  There they saw a Revival Tent and decided to attend the meeting.  When the service ended they started out of the tent.  The Missionary lady came rushing after them.  She wondered who they were and where they might be going.  She rejoiced when they told of their intention to study for the ministry in the United States.  Her friend in the States had sent a letter.  The message told of the young American whose husband had died in the war with Japan.  She had received the widow's insurance payment.  So enclosed was her tithe money from that payment.  She designated it be given to some young Japanese pastor for further studies in the States.

With the miraculous gift they bought tickets for Los Angeles.  Arriving there, they were virtually money free again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


He's Out of High School and On to More Learning

Koichi's next adventure was studies in Korea.  I think I remember he was going there to study Veterinary Science.  Korea, why?  Japan had occupied Korea in 1905 and declared it to be a protectorate.  In 1910 they annexed Korea through an Annexation Treaty.  Korea saw this action as "forced occupation."  Japan's administration of Korea continued for 35 years, until Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945 at the end of World War II.  (see:  Empire of Japan from Wikipedia).

He was riding the train, in Korea, to or from classes.  World War II was beginning and the police were riding all the trains.  Koichi was studying as he rode.  The police noticed he was writing his paper in English.  They immediately thought he was an American spy.  He was arrested on the spot and taken away.  I don't know all the details and conversations that might have ensued.

But he was taken to some kind of prison for torture.  He had many kinds of awful torture every day for eleven months and twenty-three days.  Nana's uncle was also arrested  and tortured as well.  Some forms of torture were:  to be tied on your back to a flat bench, a gag in your mouth and water dripping on the gag into your mouth until your stomach filled up and unless you could make yourself vomit it out, you drown; feet chained to the floor and wrist to the side of a wheel then the wheel is turned to stretch the hip and shoulder joints out of place; head squeezed in a vice until sometimes the skull cracks; made to kneel on a sharply corrugated floor with hundred pound weights placed on the legs; required to stair at a very bright light inside a room painted with a very glossy white paint; some or all of these happened without sleep or breaks from the routine.

I don't remember what happened to Nana's uncle.  Eventually Koichi was released from the prison and put into the army to train for flying a kamikaze bomber.  To do that he had to take some intensive test.  The results showed that he qualified to be an officer.  But they couldn't allow a Christian to be in the Japanese army as a Christian.  They either repeated the same test or gave him another one, and he passed that, too.  After passing the third test, he was made an officer in the Japanese army.

During all this time, General Doolittle of the U. S. Air force with his squadron had made their long flight to drop the first bombs on the mainland of Japan.  After the bombing, they flew on hoping to make it over Japanese occupied China and land in Free China.  But some of the planes ran out of fuel and went down at night in the occupied section.  They were soon picked up and each U.S. Airman was put into solitary confinement.  It was a huge story and several books have been written about this episode.

After a few years, the U.S. Airmen were paraded before a room full of mocking Japanese officers.  One U.S. Airman named Jacob de Shaser had been raised by Christian parents back home in the State of Oregon.  He got saved during his solitary confinement.  Somehow he was able to communicated his faith to the only Christian in the Japanese army.  That was Koichi and all though, I think they didn't speak during that meeting, Koichi was able to convey his own faith.

Years passed,  The war was over.  De Shaser came home to Oregon and attended college, then returned to Japan as a missionary.  During one of his furrows back to the states he spoke at a Sunday evening conference in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Koichi somehow learned that de Shaser would be there.  We arranged with some friends to drive us.  It was a great experience to witness the second meeting of those two great Christian men.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


May I Introduce to You This Most Amazing and Remarkable Couple

It was 1954.  It was a Youth Rally.  I was 16.  There they were!  On the platform in a little Church of the Nazarene in southwest Oklahoma, Koichi and Nana had come in their beautiful kimonos to speak to us about the Unfailing Love and Power of the Great and Living, Almighty God.

They were students at Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma.  They had come from their homeland in Japan at the instruction of the Lord.  The more beautiful thing was the presence of the Lord.  Nana's father was a Free Methodist Pastor, connected with an English speaking school for children and young people.  Koichi was a student attending the school for the sole reason of learning English.

His father, a pharmaceutical maker, had made the arrangements at the insistence of his son's yearning to speak English.  At age twelve Koichi arrived at the school and had no idea he would also be learning about Christianity.  So on that first day, with his family sword in its sheath, he climbed onto the top of the Chapel roof, walked out the ridge to the front of the building.  With his sword in hand chopped the cement cross off and shoved it onto the ground.

Next he went inside the Chapel and carried out all the Bibles and Hymnals, piled them on top of the cross and set them all on fire.  The five American Missionary Instructors of the school went in to emergency session.  This behavior required the immediate and permanent expulsion of the student.  But first they prayed.

          Do you know the story of Peter in prison.  Acts 12:5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison:
          but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."   (KJV) 

Whether or not they thought of this scripture, those five men made a decision, a decisive decision!  Koichi was enrolled to attend five years of classes which would take him through graduation from the high school.
Those five godly missionary men agreed to begin meeting every Saturday to pray.  They would pray for Koichi's salvation through Jesus Christ until he gave his heart to the Lord by the time he graduated at the end of five years or they would then resign their positions at the school and with the mission.  Then they would return to the United States of America and cross the country declaring that God does not answer prayer.

So then, the Saturday Prayer Meetings began.  Every Saturday, fifty-two Saturdays a year they prayed specifically for the salvation of the boy, Koichi Yamamoteo, through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Those five men prayed week after week, month after month, year after year until a month before the fifth year graduation.   Sometime about the start of that last month the now seventeen year old Koichi spoke to a fellow student.

Koichi told me the boy was a kind of  "little milk toast."  He had been an ardent witness for Jesus Christ. 
As Koichi was passing the Christian's desk, he spoke to the boy.  "Do you think this Jesus of yours can protect you?"  "Yes."  "What if you laid your arm on the desk and I draw the blade of my sword across your wrist?"  The boy laid his arm on the desk.  Surprised, Koichi drew his sword from its sheath.  He laid the razor honed edge on the thin skin of the boys wrist.  "Are you ready?"  "Yes."  He closed his eyes.  He opened his eyes and looked at the boy.  "Are you ready?"  "Yes."  He closed his eyes then opened his eyes and looked at the boy.  "Are you sure you're ready?"  "Yes."  He closed his eyes and waited.  Then he drew the sword.  When he opened his eyes, blood was going everywhere.

I asked, "Koichi, what did he do?",  "He forgave me."  He answered.  Then he explained.  The sword had severed all the tendons of his wrist.  The boy could never use the fingers of his hand again.  Koichi had always, for five years sat on the back row in Chapel.  The next day he moved up to the next row.  And then day by day he moved forward one row at a time.  The day he sat in the front row, he gave his heart and his life to Jesus Christ.  In that last week of school, the Lord called him to preach.

The ear of the hearing God answers the unceasing prayers of men who pray in faith.  The blood of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, saves the soul of a seventeen year old boy who seeks the Lord.


Daddy Had a Sheep Shearing Crew

By 1930, or before, Daddy with Papa and Lawton were raising and shearing sheep.  They started with that one old ram.  I don't know how rapidly they increased their interest in the husbandry of sheep or the size of their flock.   A bunch of sheep can also be called: a herd or a mob.  The scientific name of sheep is:  Family ... Bovidae and  Genus ... Ovis.

When the Romans invaded England, they brought sheep.  By 50 AD there was a large wool processing factory in Winchester.  By 1000 AD, both England and Spain were considered twin centers for the production of wool.  The sale of wool was the basis of their wealth.  Spain used this income to send their conquistadors to the new world.  England put wool money into spreading their armys over a worldwide empire.

Daddy was called up by the draft board during World War II.  When they learned he was a sheep shearer they said his work was mandatory for the war effort.  I'm sure he had been shearing all during the 1930's.  Lawton and Uncle Dillon were champion shearers, as well.  They could all shear a sheep in one minute.  I don't know if they could keep that pace up all day long.

I don't know when Daddy started taking his sheep shearing crew on the road.  He had three men who went with him.  Larry Walker was Uncle Eudell's brother.  He was in the crew.  When they left in the spring, they traveled to ranches through the Texas Panhandle, northeast New Mexico, southeast Colorado, southwest Kansas, down across the Oklahoma Panhandle and home.  They were gone four to six weeks every spring for several years.  One old Rancher always had them come to his shearing shed.  He employed five or six other shearing crews in addition to Daddy's crew.  The old fellow had 6,000 sheep to be sheared.

Linda Kay was born August 5, 1944.  One time Daddy got back from a shearing trip about daylight.  He came in the house and woke us all up.  We were in our pajamas and he took us out in the driveway and made a picture.  It always seemed so funny to see these sleepy eyed kids standing out there in their PJ's.  Of course that story or picture had nothing to do with Linda's birthday.  I just wanted to put it in before I forgot about it.  If I find the picture some day, I'll put it in this post.  (But don't hold your breath!)

Daddy took the three of us, Pallie Sue, Donnie and me to see our new baby sister.  We climbed the stairs to Dr. Crow's clinic in Olustee.  There they were!  Mother!  And right on her arm, that new, little baby sister.  And she HAD EARS!  O my, I don't know why I'd never thought of ears before.  I knew we all had them, but those were just so cute.