Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"You Guys Are Good"

Parents out there, how long has it been since you got a compliment from your children? A couple times lately, we've heard the high praise from ours: "You Guys Are Good!"

It came at dinner both times out of a universal human pleasure, satisfaction from a good meal. Now many of you know Renee is a good cook, and getting ingredients here isn't like stopping off at Giant Eagle or Safeway. So why am I still reveling in the praise? I married well. And I can relate. The hunger here is severe, maybe from the high dry air. Whatever the cause, I counted the sentiment as noteworthy and thought I better write about it. Hopefully I'll remember in those later teen years when such tender morsels of affection may not flow so freely.

The other thought is that if a child knows how praise his parents, maybe that's why Jesus advises we be like children. Instead of just passing the potatoes, we should remember to "Pass the praise Please". So I'm passing it on to you. We couldn't be here were it not for the friendship of so many who read this. And Renee couldn't put good things on the table if it weren't for those who love God enough to sacrifice financially so that we can eat, and people here can find their Father, and say to the Triune Heavenly Host: "You Guys Are Good"

Matthew 18:3
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Getting Up To Speed

There's no feeling like success. Even if it's over something simple, like completing a simple sentence and having a Mongolian understand it. Maybe they only appear to understand it, or understand something other than what I said, but the mere appearance that they understand a simple little sentence is something to celebrate! And then I walked out of language class...

Getting up to speed on listening is another matter. I ran into a friend at the store and it seemed like he talked at least 4 times faster than I can currently understand. For a minute you try to keep up and fake a comprehensive look until you finally have to say: "I didn't understand that"

After this encounter I was reminded of an old addage one of our family's pastimes. "You have to slow down to speed up". Sometimes in order to progress toward something, you need to slow down and take one step at a time. Concentrating on quality, you are later surprised to find out how fast the task has passed. Plus if quality is high, you save the heartache and frustration of having to redo something you already did once or twice. So for us, getting up to speed in language takes the determination and discipline to take it slow and entrust the results to the quality Craftsman and Maker of languages, ears and tongues.

Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up....and be surprised later by speed and success.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Builders of God's Coming Kingdom

Young people from all over the country gathered for a three day retreat in another city. We went and spent an afternoon with them. We talked about enduring persecutions with pleasure for the sake of Jesus. Since He bore more agony than we can imagine, and took our pain so we don't have to. After this picture was taken, Renee and I drove back home.

The group travelled home separately. They were soone held up by police, searched, interrogated for 5 hours, and falsely accused of taking lost articles from the retreat facility.

There just an hour before we heard scriptures, one said: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)

And we read another scripture from the gospel of Mark 10:28
Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. "

Our young brothers and sisters were released by police and hour from home at 10pm without a charge and without apology. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Life on the Edge of Town

 Posted by Picasa

New Year's at the Babysitter's House

Otgon is holding Johanna. Renee is holding her neice, Zaya. Lydia is on the lap of a family member I don't know. Maggie is with Orna, the older sister of Otgon, who watched the girls for a few weeks in the Fall.
They live in a house out on the edge of town by the river. They cook on a wood stove and heat the house that way. Posted by Picasa

Return of Friends from America

The girls missed their friends while they gone for three months. Zeke and Zaiah's parents had a three month tour in the States before resuming ministry back here in Mongolia.

This is of one of the kids' many playtimes since their friends got back here in January. Posted by Picasa

That's a Sheep Carcas (Fat Tail - in foreground)

Sound like a party to you? It sits out on the table for all of two days so guests can come visit and carve a piece off of it. On the left is the tratitional holiday bread. Kind of like a wreath that you eat, it's loaded with candy and yogurt products. Then the bread itself isn't too bad. It's called Bov, and in a different shape is a staple all year round. Maggie loves it almost as much as candy. Posted by Picasa

Buddhist Temple

There's a Bhuddhist temple accross the street from our school. Today I saw scores of people outside of it throwing milk to the wind. This is a custom of appeasing the spirits I'm told. It was a visual reminder of people who do not yet know the amazing grace and of Jesus, the security and promise of eternity in Heaven, and increasing tastes of that coming reality along the way.

Drunk Men

Among strangers here, it seems little kids and men who are drunk are most interested in me. Last night on the way home from a friend's house (who is Mongolian and wasn't drunk) I sat down in the taxi and an unusual thing happened. The man next to me thrust his hand toward mand started warmly talking to me. I hesitated to take his hand when I heard his words were heavily slurred and the breath that carried them smelled strong enough to peel paint.

Our converstation was short and loud. My personal particulars were revealed to the driver and other passengers. My discomfort with this faded and I realized that my unique life experiences in college and working in restaurants should help me deal with men like Bat. That was his name. They say 1/3 of Mongolians are Alcoholic. During the day, it doesn't seem so, but when night falls, it's sad to see men in pairs staggering along the road trying to hold each other up. God bless Bat. With his inhibitions dulled his English flowed, and he gave me his warmest handshake, twice. It's a comfort that with inhibitions gone, I don't receive hostility and fists.