Elaine D. Mitchell


Elaine Dorothy Mitchell, 91, of Pipestone, MN, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at Good Samaritan Society in Pipestone, MN. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, June 3, 2024 at Rescue Church in Flandreau, SD. Visitation will take place at Rescue Church one hour prior to the funeral service.
Elaine Dorothy (Owings) Mitchell was born July 31, 1932 in Early, Iowa to Cecil and Christine Owings.
She spent early years in the Sioux City area, graduating from Leeds High School. She became a secretary to an attorney in Sioux City. In her late teens she was led to believe in Jesus by a close family friend and became a member of Christian & Missionary Alliance in Sioux City. She sensed the call to Christian service and in preparation for this she enrolled at St. Paul Bible College, from which she received a diploma. She had a distinct interest in Japanese, as her brother’s wife is Japanese. Thus, she began preparations to become a missionary to Japan. At Bible College, a speaker shared about the need for missionaries in the northernmost island of Japan (Hokkaido). She found out that the China Inland Mission had work there, so she chose this mission. Later, the mission changed its name to Overseas Missionary Fellowship.
China Inland Mission had a group of missionaries traveling from England to Singapore (the mission’s international headquarters), so Elaine traveled to London, England to join this group in 1957. There, she met Alan Mitchell, who was also headed for Singapore. Alan’s sister commented that she wouldn’t mind if he married Elaine.
The trip from England to Singapore was on a ship that took approximately one month. This gave Alan and Elaine ample opportunity to get acquainted.
While in Singapore, they were both designated to Japan. They started learning the Japanese language and began spending more time together. The last night before embarking on the journey to Japan, Alan proposed to Elaine and they announced it in a skit.
Alan and Elaine started their missionary service apart, both in language study. Elaine went to Sendai, Japan (scene of the 2007 tsunami) and Alan went to Aomori City. After one year, they were re-designated, and Elaine went to Tsunagawa, where she helped start a church from scratch. Alan went to Sapporo where he continued language study and taught some English Bible classes.
After two long years of an engagement with limited communication via letters, they were married on May 12, 1959 in Sapporo, Japan. Throughout their 40 years of missionary service, they helped in churches in Goshogawara, Kutchan, Hakodate, and Sapporo. They also provided ministry operating a Christian bookstore in Hakodate and heading up the language school in Sapporo. Alan served in administration for many years in several roles, while Elaine continued to assist with church planting and assisting in the missionary office. She supported Alan and often cooked meals and opened her home to new missionaries. Elaine also taught several English Bible classes and Sunday schools. She taught some cooking classes that included outreach. Alan and Elaine always lived in the heart of Japanese communities, making friends with neighbors and reaching out in the community.
Elaine could often be seen riding her teal-colored bicycle throughout the large city of Sapporo, Japan.
In 1997 Alan and Elaine retired and moved to Morrison, Iowa, where they were active in the Evangelical Free Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They moved to Storm Lake in 2003, where they attended and were active at First Baptist Church, which had supported them. In 2016, Alan and Elaine moved to Flandreau, South Dakota to be near family. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018, Elaine moved to the Good Samaritan, in Pipestone, MN, and Alan moved to a property in Pipestone.
Elaine was loved and cherished by all of her children and grandchildren, as well as so many Japanese, too numerous to mention.
Elaine is survived by her loving husband Alan Mitchell, now of Flandreau SD, and five children: Christine Rupert of Lehigh Acres, FL, Alistair (Tara) Mitchell of Elgin, SC, Deborah (Steven) Pulscher of Flandreau, SD, Timothy (Kimberly) Mitchell of Bluefield, WV and Faith (Dave) Grosz of Gainesville, KY. Elaine is also survived by her sister Marge Reznicek of Omaha, NE.
Elaine is preceded in death by her parents; and brothers, George, Elrod, Ray, Albert, Bill, John, and Tom.