If you’ve had the pleasure and privilege of getting to know any one of the Tani sisters, then you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say, I can only imagine what outstanding and amazing people their parents must’ve been.
Their daughters: Carol – ZOE’s beloved Founder (since 2002) and missionary in Thailand for 14 years, Joy – who has been serving as a missionary in Japan for 26 years, Nora – an incredible supporter of ZOE’s work since the very beginning, and Lynne – also a missionary in Thailand for the past 14 years, are some of the most selfless and loving women on this earth! The caliber and love that these four ladies show in the way they live their lives, and how they put other people’s needs ahead of their own, is an inspiration to so many.
The following memoir, written by Lynne Ginoza, highlights the very place where these sisters were impacted and shaped into who they are today – their family. It highlights the love they each share for God, and expresses the great honor and respect they hold for the exceptional parents who raised them.
Our parents, Howard and Aiko Tani, were our living examples of Jesus when all 4 of us were growing up. They were our heroes in our eyes – a big reason of who we are and why we do what we do. They lived their lives by intentionally loving and caring for people around them…taking in a pregnant unwed girl; taking in 4 little Vietnamese sisters for a year during the Vietnam refugee crisis; being youth group advisors; speaking endless words of encouragement, hope, and wisdom into a countless number of lives who needed to hear those words; becoming missionaries to Japan in their retirement years; and seeing them stand up for those who feel they didn’t have a voice. And even after their passing away, it’s amazing that we seem to continue to meet people who have a story to tell of how God used our parents to change and influence their lives. Our one regret is that they never got to see ZOE or hear about the amazing miracles that God has done for ZOE throughout these years. But even though they are in heaven now, we just know, they know.
The Word of God says to honor your father and mother. So we decided as a family to honor our parents by buying and dedicating two banyan trees to plant at ZOE. When fully grown, these trees will be massive. It took awhile, but we finally found a perfect place for the trees. There is a little grassy knoll that overlooks our sports area at the ZOE campus, where a lonely playground set stands – it has never been really used by the ZOE kids because it stands directly in the sun with no shade – so it has always been too hot to play there. But now, with these massive trees planted nearby, we know that this will give the needed relief from the heat. They were strategically planted so that one tree would provide shade from the morning sun and the other one will provide shade from the afternoon sun. If ever you come to visit ZOE, you will see two magnificent trees that will stand in honor of the two amazing people who taught us how to love.