A Rosewood native who spent years as a missionary in Africa recently got her book published.
Publishing the book was a promise her children made to her when she passed away.
Jane Ache’s “One Short Life” describes the years she spent as a missionary in Sierra Leone, Africa, with her husband and 7-month-old daughter, Jewel, in the 1950s. The story also details the struggles of Jewel, who died of leukemia at age 19.
Jane Ache tried to get the book published in the 1960s, her son, Dr. Andy Ache, said.
“It was initially rejected, so she just put it away in a drawer and didn’t think about it,” he said.
The book is based on letters Jane Ache wrote to her parents in Rosewood during her time in Africa, Andy Ache said.
Jane Ache was prompted by family to try to rewrite the book and release it. She finished the book about 12 days before she died, Andy Ache said. Jane Ache died in 2013.
“My wife stayed with her that last month. Between my wife and my sister, they actually transcribed the end of the book and introduction,” he said. “We told her we are going to get this published to honor her efforts.”
The book is self-published and came out in April.
Off to Sierra Leone with a baby
Jane Ache met her husband, Harvey, at Fort Wayne Bible College, and they went to Sierra Leone to do missionary work, giving birth to Jewel before the trip. The Ache family grew while they were missionaries in Africa. Andy and his sister, Joy, were born during the trip. Jewel was raised to be a missionary. Joy Reed is a nursing arts instructor at Indiana Wesleyan University, Jane Ache’s sister-in-law Jane Ford said.
“I don’t recall my time out there. I think I was 9 months old when they came back,” Andy Ache said. “My second sister, Joy, was also born there. She was less than 2 years older than me, and she doesn’t remember much either.”
But both children learned a bit about the missionary trip over the years, and with the completion of the book.
“My parents were the World War II generation. Like a lot of those (in that generation), they didn’t talk about what they did. My sister remembers more than I did, because when their missionary friends would come and visit and talk” she was listening. Andy Ache said he was usually the one playing outside, so he missed out on those talks.
Once he read about the trip, Andy Ache said he wasn’t surprised, but was intrigued by what his parents had done.
“I think the thing that really stood out to me was their commitment to the cause and what they were willing to do,” he said, noting they were a young couple with a baby living in a back-country, rural area of Africa when the government wasn’t allowing missionaries. They had to use a short-wave radio to communicate, and the closest medical care was 40 minutes away down dirt roads. And that medical care was not very advanced.
“It sounds fanatical and crazy, but Mom and Dad were called by the Lord to do that,” he said. “It seems unimaginable to do that now.”
Ache said while he had never felt the call to be a missionary, he thinks his parents’ ideals rubbed off. He is a primary care physician in rural Brown County.
“I don’t consider myself a missionary, but I think where I practice and my choice in medicine was influenced by it,” he said.
Andy Ache said it was important to him and his sister to get this book published.
“She always felt led by the Lord to do the book,” he said of his mother. “I never really understood why it flopped at first. She was told by publishers when she first came to them with it that people don’t want to read missionary stories like that. It disappointed her.”
Jane Ache worked to finish that book as she got older, and Andy Ache said in her last five years of life, she was frail. It was increasingly difficult for her to eat a meal due to arthritis that medications would not ease, so getting the book finished was a trial.
The Ache family is selling the book for $8.98 on Amazon and CreateSpace.com. The cost is 5 cents above the cost to produce it. Jane Ache wanted all proceeds to go to World Missions, but the family wanted to keep the cost low to be affordable to more people. The book’s website (www.oneshortlifebook.com) has links to a couple of missionary programs for those who wish to donate.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.
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