Helen Bacon

Dr. Ralph Hayward was too late for my birth in Kiating on Feb. 20th 1939??!! The Chinese gifts of squawking hens had already arrived along with me!! Yes—my sister Dorothy and I were born of Mildred and Leonard Bacon in the now called town of Leshen, Sichuan, West China. We were on Mt. Emei when the Japanese bombed the city along with the church and Bible school. Dad helped in giving aid to the people—the Mission Hospital was over whelmed. We returned to Canada via Hong Kong where Dorothy was quarantined with scarlet fever before we finally left on a luxury liner in 1941. Dad joined the Canadian army as a Chaplain and served in Europe for several years while Mum, Dorothy and I lived in Amherst, Nova Scotia—yes—we are Maritimers! Dad planned to come home by Christmas of 1945 but he arrived in Mar/46 finding a de-needled Christmas tree kept just for him!! We returned to China in 1947—I was happy to spend my 8th birthday in Honolulu and not forfeit it at the International Date Line??!!

Yes—Dorothy and I attended The Canadian School at that time—-staying first with Drs. Gladys and Ed Cunningham in Chengtu—that was an experience!!! I have select memories of the school, like listening to Mary Jollife reading “Kim” to us out under the trees, then Aunt Isabelle Stinson teaching us Bible, climbing the trees with my leg cast on, teasing” Hatey” the dog, watching Paul Smith with looooooong noodles at the table!!

Dad had to make the heart breaking decision to leave Kiating and the Christians there as the Communists were on the march. We left Chengtu secretly on a US coffin plane for Shanghai where we flew out on an over crowded Alaskan Airlines, which caught fire over Shema, Aleutian Islands near Alaska. We made a landing on a foam covered air strip with the US Air Force standing by—yes—the fire blew out on landing!!! We spent that 4th of July with the troops who were so glad to have us as “there were as many women and children on the island as trees” and there were no trees!!!

Dad took up pastorates at Tryon, PEI—Port Elgin, NB—Wakefield, PQ–assisted at McLeod-Stewarton United Church in Ottawa and ‘planted’ churches in Kanata and Glencairn in his retirement. The Atlantic Theological Seminary honored him with a doctorate—yes, he deserved it. Mum was his best supporter—!!

I went on to nursing at The Ottawa Civic Hospital—a childhood calling to become a nurse that I had known in China!! It was there that I realized that I could not ride on the faith of my parents—I stood alone before God and who was Jesus to me???!! I came to Jesus on my own reveling in newness of life–. Father God did this through the illness of a friend and the faithful prayers of many. I went to Tyndale Seminary (then Toronto Bible College), McGill University, Missionary Internship, working as a Public Health Nurse on Indian Reserves in the summers. I did apply to go to Asia with the United Church but they deferred me as liberal theology had crept into parts of the church and my evangelical faith in Jesus was “too strong”. My parents supported my decision. I joined the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (CIM/OMF).

In 1965 I went to Thailand as an OR Nurse serving in Saiburi Christian Hospital in the terroristic part of the south. I actually worked as a dentist/Gyne nurse/OPD surgical intern/an anesthetist—you name it!! It was challenging and fulfilling. The whole gamut of reconstructive surgery was opened to me for leprosy patients – I enjoyed plastic surgery. We were known for our work with cleft lip repair and had “Queen’s patients” sent to us. I was privileged to chat with the King of Thailand when the ‘royals’ visited us.

Furloughs were spent in deputation (now called ‘Home Assignment’) and studies, completing my B.ScN. (U of O), ICU studies at Carleton Uni. and Seminary studies. We went through some ‘faith-trying’ times when the hospital was threatened by a shoot-in, an extortion letter and the kidnapping and killing of two missionary leprosy nurses. Yet “GOD IS FAITHFUL”!!

My Mum died in 1985. I was home in Canada with my parents in Beamsville Ontario. Dad remarried—Aunt Gladie passed away and Dad moved back to Amherst—his childhood town and died there in 1995. I was in Thailand at the time.

After the hospital closed in 1987 for valid reasons (not terrorism), I was asked to team up with Ruth Charter and we worked on in the scaled down leprosy hospital and ran a conference center. We then went on to help establish and manage a Mission Home in Bangkok. I retired from there in 2004 but have gone back three times to help out and visit over the last years. I have visited with Dora Ann over the years—keeping contact with her. That has been special.

Now?? Well, Roberta Fryers, Ruth Charter and I share a ‘gift’ home in Listowel Ontario. but that is an on going story.

Note our ‘data’ below and you are welcomed to come and visit!!!



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