Obituary guidelines

To honor past missionaries who have served long-term in Japan and gone to be with the Lord, we request submissions from family members or friends. Please note that we will edit submissions or ask for rewrites as we see fit for online publication.

Please observe the following guidelines. For additional direction regarding writing style, see the submissions guidelines for our print magazine.

Suggested guidelines for an online JEMA missionary obituary

Length: around 400~1000 words

Step one:

Collect materials, memories, do interviews, etc., to get a “feeling, or sense, of the person.” This is how you want your readers to feel after they have read through the obituary, even though you probably won’t want to state that feeling directly.

Step two:

Begin writing, as much as possible using the following general outline to organize your thoughts.

Paragraph 1: Include the facts of death. For example: “Long-term missionary Mari Hicks went home to be with Jesus on March 21, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.”

Paragraph 2: A story, quote, anecdote, etc., that illustrates the essence of the missionary’s life.

Paragraph 3, etc.: Transition from paragraph two to a summary of other important facts.

Closing paragraph: Summarize his or her legacy.

Points to note as you write:

This is not a comprehensive summary of everything the missionary has accomplished. You are trying to communicate the gist of a faithful life of service. The best way to do this is through a well-selected story.

It’s fine to list surviving family members in the obituary, but remember that since a standard “funeral home” obituary is probably available online, that can be linked to this obituary as well. This is an opportunity to celebrate the life of the individual in a way the JEMA community can appreciate. Feel free to add hyperlinks to pertinent online information, but don’t overdo it.

Step three:

Rewrite until you can’t make it any better. Then read it out loud, and edit it again.

Step four:

Send the obituary to the Managing Editor of Japan Harvest.