Lea Little, Dale's Dad
08 Feb 2017: FAMILY
Dale’s father, Rev. Lea Little, peacefully went home to be with his Lord Jesus Christ on Mon Feb 6 at the age of 92.
He suffered a stroke a few days earlier and when hospitalized was also found to have pneumonia. Dad spent his final day in the comfort and familiarity of his own room in the Alzheimer’s wing of Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care in White Rock BC Canada.
All four of his children walked closely with him through the last few days of his earthly life, providing 24/7 care as best as possible. Ann and Dale rushed to his side on Sat from Washington state where they cut short a supporting church visit. His daughters Lynne and Lorraine cared for him through some of his most difficult hours all Sun night. His eldest, Phil, visited often and handled all the legal paperwork.
Dale’s father took his last few breaths while Dale was reading Revelation 21 and John 11 to him from his father’s big study Bible. Dad is now not only with Jesus; he is also with his beloved wife and Dale’s mother, Louise Little. In the almost five years since Dale’s mother died, his father has never stopped asking for her.
Dale’s father was from the Dawson Creek area of northern British Columbia (“Mile Zero” Alaska Highway) and his mother from the town of Peace River in northern Alberta. They met while students at Peace River Bible Institute in Alberta. In 1949 dad began his missionary career as part of the “CIM 49ers,” the last group of new missionaries to enter China with the China Inland Mission. Mom had begun her CIM missionary career in 1947. She was the first CIM missionary educated at PRBI. They were married in Hong Kong in 1951 after escaping from house arrest in their respective Chinese cities, an incarceration forced upon missionaries in China by the Communist government.
In 1953 Dale’s parents began their ministry in Japan with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, the newly renamed CIM. After Japanese language study in Karuizawa, Nagano-ken, they led the church planting team at Hachinohe Evangelical Church (八戸福音キリスト教会) in Aomori-ken and then became the house parents of the OMF Chefoo school for missionary children in Sendai, Miyagi-ken. In 1965 they transferred to the Evangelical Free Church mission and moved from the Tohoku region of Japan to the Kansai. They were the founding church planters of Christ Community Church (クライストコミュニティ) in the Kobe city area of Hyogo-ken. During his final four years in Japan Dale’s father served in Kyoto as the field leader for the EFC mission in Japan.
After returning to Canada in 1975 for mom’s health reasons, dad became the first executive director of the EFC of Canada Mission, retiring in 1989. Dad’s life work as a missionary and missionary statesman spanned 40 years. Arvid Olson notes in his book "The Historical Development of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada Missions" that dad was the "Father of Canadian Free Church Missions'' (p. 57). (More about Dale’s parents here.)
Dad’s Celebration of Life, followed by a graveside service, will be held at 1PM on Wed Feb 15 at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre in Surrey BC Canada. Pastors Steve Doerksen of White Rock Community Church and Ken Klassen of Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care will lead the services.