Monday, October 30, 2006

Completion of Book Two!!!!!!!

Well, we are two-thirds of the way through our Mongolian language course textbooks--you can see the most recent has-been in the background. I celebrated by drinking the newest treat we have found--an asian variety of instant hot chocolate! Not too bad by the way! I improvised a little on the marshmallows:) Can you guess what that might be? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Horse Hors DeVours

I caught a whiff of the smell of horse in the air today. It's a pretty common smell since we see horse and carts everyday here. It’s pretty common to see people riding around on sidewalks or roads in town. The smell in the air today reminded me of something I ate last week.

I was walking out of our school and our principal was in the break room slicing up some cold cut meat for her lunch. She handed the plate our way and said in Mongolian: "Try some horse meat?" I was in a courageous mood and popped a piece in my mouth and walked out the door.

About half way home the flavor was still with me. It hung in my mouth like the smell of a sweat-lathered horse on a breezeless day. For me the smell is not all that bad, and even carries some good memories, when it remains in smell form.

But its parallel taste is not one I have yet grown to appreciate. I'm sure I'll get many more chances to acclimate to this Mongolian delicacy. Until then, I have no trouble remembering what it tastes like.

Brown Herd on White Lake

About 10 miles north of town the other day, we had to stop to let this herd of camels cross in front of us. They were headed toward White Lake, so named because of the salt flats on its shores. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alliance Women Horse-Cart Ride

Ladies from churches all over America visited Mongolia this week. On Sunday they worshipped in 5 churches within a 150 mile radius. Here they are on Saturday taking a leasurely, if not luxurious, ride on the main road of Darhan. Posted by Picasa

New Words and Animal Noises

Johanna is picking up new words and phrases all the time. She knows "rice, water, eyes, mouth" and has become quite a nose honker, doesn't matter whose nose: "beep, beep".

She learns probably two English words to one Mongolian word. Though she's not above using animal language either. Here she's giving her impression of a baby bird, saying cheev, jeev - which is Mongolian for "cheep, cheep." Posted by Picasa

Our New Teacher

Boya showed up at an Alliance Women Rally on Saturday. She's only been our teacher a couple weeks or less. And she's really appreciated explaining Mongolian scripture to us. Said she'd never read the Bible before, and never even seen one.
Renee shared her faith story with her this week. And we have really come to appreciate her style of teaching. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Romance of Life at Home and Abroad

There are moments when it sinks in that we actually live in Mongolia. This week on my way home I walked through the town square. Located high on a hill, you can see the whole town and surrounding countryside for miles. It occurred to me the privilege we have of living in a far away land, learning an exotic language and living among a people rich in culture, history and hospitality. Did you ever think of living abroad, perhaps imagining yourself the American in Paris, on a cobblestone street, contributing to their society and being the object of their children's attention?

In many ways our life is like this. Americans appear to be some of the most adored foreigners in Mongolia. It's strange to live in a land where strangers don't speak to one another, but speak to us all the time, (many times in our language) smiling at our kids, trying to get their kids to talk to ours. The attention is nice most of the time. It's what I imagine being a celebrity would be like. I was just thinking that not everyone gets to experience this and it's something special.

But this kind of romance wears off eventually. When it does, I have to again remember our purpose here. It is bigger than being a curiosity, or being curious about these people, their country or culture. Our purpose is to bring glory to Christ helping his church to change lives all over this part of the world until He comes again. As lofty as that may sound, there is only one step before us now, one Holy Order to carry out: Learn the Language.

As often as we crave for something more helpful, more meaningful, more glorious to do, the same work order comes back to us: Learn the Language.

How do we do that? By studying, yes. But moreover by living here, working, playing, shopping, cleaning, cooking, talking, complaining, suffering, thinking, Mongolian. When you break it down into these ordinary daily activities, Life abroad doesn't seem so romantic.

Life in Mongolia is still just life. But when we remember why we're living abroad, purpose to all the little things returns and the weariness of studying in this stage of life is relieved.

So what's your purpose? Is it to love and train people for a life of purpose, and life that matters? Maybe it is to shepherd a people - at work, church, or at home to their highest and best potential. Is it your purpose to bring glory to Christ? Maybe your purpose involves a simple but wearying task. It could be as simple as reaching out again in faith to a loved one or friend, or letting one go by that same faith. The Romance of Life is about putting forth your full effort and resting in God's ability. For us the path to our potential passes through our task for the remaining year: Learn this language!

Is there a seemingly insurmountable task in your life you need to face with faith and proceed toward fulfilling your purpose? I think there's a clearer longer look at a Life of Glory and Romance ahead for all of us. Our way may pass through a difficult thicket or bog, but it nevertheless is passable with our faith fixed on Christ and his purpose for us in eternity.

Celebrating the Little Things - Dirty Diaper

Having a child sick with vomit and diarrhea this week, the sight of a solid diaper this weekend brought an unusual surge of thankfulness at something usally not all that pleasant. You may think this a funny thing to celebrate, but you may be grateful this isn't a photo journal entry ;)

It reminded me of the blessing of good health. When I look at Johanna bright and alert, with a good appetite, and gaining her wieght back, I see the power of prayer, and God's care for us.

It also reminds me that God can be praised for the most common and unexciting of things. Thank you for your care and prayers for us and for our health. And remember to be thankful for yours.

Proverbs 15:30
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Countryside Portrait

On a trip to the countryside in August, we visited this family. They treated us to fresh bread and homegrown cucumbers, and took us on a tour of the surrounding area. Johanna didn't make the trip. She had another appointment. Posted by Picasa