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How These Long-Lost Pen Pals Found Each Other Again

Nadine Covey and Akiko Toyama say “God took over” in reuniting them, after becoming pen-pals during World War II.

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Akiko: Hi, Guideposts. My name is Akiko Toyama.

Nadine: Hi, I’m Nadine [Covey], and Aki and I have been pen pals for several years, and it’s been a wonderful journey. The whole thing started when my mother saw an article in the Omaha World Herald about a concentration camp being built in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. And she decided that this is not right for people to be separated like that, and so she took it to the church.

She just made an announcement that this was happening. She decided that if they could just even afford just a small gift—razors or combs, toothbrushes, anything small—and then she would put it in a box to Heart Mountain, Wyoming, camp. Her name also was included, because she figured somebody might want to write a thank-you note. And thank God, Aki wrote the note and she wanted a pen pal, so we started pen-palling when we were 10 years old.

Akiko: Wow, I now can have a pen pal, but also glad and thankful that Nadine did leave her name and her address, and she was so consistent. Always responding right away!

Nadine: Unfortunately, we did lose touch for several years. Almost 40 years. After my husband died in 1992, I decided, well, you know, I just felt lonely, and I really missed her. I believe in prayer, because when I was very little, I remember Mother telling me over and over, “God can do anything.” And I thought, you know, if He can do anything, He can find her!

There was an article about people that wanted to reunite from the camps. And if they would just call her, she would connect them with people from different camps, and maybe I could find her that way. So I did. I contacted a gentleman in California, and that’s when her two sisters read the article that I had written to him and he printed out there in their local paper. They contacted Aki, and she called me. And that was the first contact on the phone that we had ever had.

I didn’t know any last name to go by. I had no phone numbers. I had no addresses. And so God just took over. There’s no other way it could have happened. I think it was just God’s will for us to come together. And we had so much fun talking with each other and writing and calling, and we just wanted it to happen. And He made it happen.

Akiko: I couldn’t have done it on my own, because Nadine was, a lot of perseverance on her part. And she just didn’t give up. And with God’s direction and guidance, she made it work. And so here we are today.




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