Mia Voreland - Now at Rest
Mia Voreland went home to be with her Lord on early Monday morning of 13 August, 2018.
Mia was born, Anne Marie Kristensen in Kristiansand, Norway on 1 February 1940. During the war the family had to escape to Sweden but later returned to Norway and lived in Ryttergangen.
Mia grew up with three younger brothers. She was shaped by the Bible teaching she had and, as a teenager Mia was shaped as a young girl by the good Christian teaching she received and as a teenager she attended a Bible Class. During this time she met Asbjørn and they discovered they both had a calling to mission work abroad.
Mia and Asbjørn married on 30 June 1960. Mia completed her Teacher Training in 1962 and then worked as a teacher at Vennesla School. Hilde was born February 1963, and by November 1964 the family was ready to travel to Nepal to work with UMN. They travelled overland in a large truck carrying a caravan, engineering equipment and three families. Hilde was the youngest of the six children.
Arriving in Kathmandu
On arrival in Kathmandu Mia Voreland was admitted to hospital with malaria, but she was strong and bright and was soon able to catch up with her language learning. Mia and Asbjørn first worked as teachers in remote villages in Gorkha District and continued this until 1972. Kristin was born in Kathmandu in 1965 and Helen was born in Amp Pipal in 1967. In 1972 the family went on home leave.
In August 1972 Marianne was born, a happy, healthy and beautiful baby. They had return tickets to Nepal for June 1973 so that the older girls could start their education in the Norwegian School in Kathmandu. During the preparation for the journey, Marianne got a fever, and became very ill. She hung between life and death and her heart stopped twice. It was three weeks before she opened her eyes. Sadly, she had suffered severe brain damage and the family had to consider whether this would be the end of overseas mission work for them.
Return to Nepal
After taking advice and much prayer, the family travelled out to Nepal again in August 1973. Marianne was medically cared for by the mission hospital in Kathmandu and the family were supported by Nepali women. Marianne was helping to open doors that could only be opened by her helplessness.
Mia Voreland took her daughter out amongst people in the streets and pathways in a push-chair and everywhere she went people stopped in wonder. It was a great opportunity to share with Nepali people that her illness was not a punishment for wrong-doing. This was a door-opener to reach people with physical and psychological handicap who had been hidden away. It was the beginning of the Centres of Hope for children and young people in Nepal living with disabilities. Mia was at the forefront of efforts to increase understanding in Nepal of the needs and possibilities for such children and young people. Centres for Hope is now run entirely by Nepali people.
In 1979, Mia and Asbjørn returned to Norway for their children’s Secondary education and Mia went back to teaching in Vennesla School and somehow managed to fit in study for a Theology degree. In 1988 they went back to Nepal with Marianne. Mia fulfilled various roles at UMN Headquarters and continued Bible teaching and mentoring Nepali women.
Joining International Nepal Fellowship
In 1997 they moved to Pokhara when Asbjørn became the Executive Director of INF. Mia’s keen interest in mental health and disability was an important factor in the development of INF’s work with people with disability, both at the Green Pastures Hospital and in the community. Mia and Asbjørn served with INF until 2002.
On retirement back in Vennesla in 2004 Mia continued to encourage friends and prayer partners to pray and give financially to the Centres of Hope in Nepal. She spoke at church meetings and wrote articles. Latterly she had been teaching English to asylum seekers, and helping on Alpha courses. She carried on doing this even after she became ill. Mia’s grasp of the Nepali language and culture, and her involvement with the church in each place in which she lived is remembered with much gratitude by many people, especially women.
Mia Voreland was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2018 which then spread to the liver. Despite her illness she was able to join with us at the INF/UK Day Conference in May. She was brave and engaged with people, with a wonderful unshakable peace in the Lord right up to the end. After just one night in hospital she died on 13 August with her family around her.