Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy Christmas at Home Highlights

We had Miss K and Mongolian neighbors over for Christmas Eve dinner.
 Here's the kids hearing their teacher read the gospel according to Charlie Brown.
 Josiah wearing a cowboy hat in colors of the Mongolian flag.
 Renee wearing a new ring.
 Clara with her new tiara and karaoke presents.
Josiah likes his new sword.
 And his reindeer antlers.  
Renee and Jeremy with our favorite present from the kids.

Christmas Eve Service in English

With our three or four American missionary families in Darhan, we figured we had enough to warrant a service in English.  
 We had songs, scripture, a short sermon, and the all-important Christmas pageant.  
Maggie helped with direction and acting as an angel.  Lydia and Johanna were wise men and shepherds.  Clara starred as Mary, and Josiah was a sheep. :~) He didn't seem to mind the demotion from playing Jesus four years ago.

It was nice to see several Mongolians and a few other foreigners take part and talk after the service.

Cama Christmas Party

This was the first year we ever went out to celebrate Christmas.  Here we are in New Darhan.
In addition we marked 15 years of Cama Services at its present location, and the announcement and anointing of Mongolian Manager, Dawaa to take the helm in 2017.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Darhan CR Feeds the Homeless

Being in a position to feed homeless or whoever makes our being here seem meaningful on days like this in December, close to Christmas.  We couldn't be here without supporters, and they wouldn't support us without Jesus.
The heavy lifting of cooking and serving gets done by our Celebrate Recovery staff of CAMA Services.
We trust God is pleased with small efforts to help in a small way, and it helps folks understand Christ cares for them at Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Bustle

I hope yours is winding down.  We have a Cama Christmas party tomorrow, the first time we're doing it at a local restaurant.  Added to that is a little bit of extra pomp and ceremony that adds pressure.

Then we will offer a Christmas Eve service to the community in English.  Four or five American families will gather to sing, recite, and see the Christmas story enacted.  We have given out invitations to Mongolians and expect some to come.  That's a bit more pressure.

Then we've got people coming to our home for Christmas Eve dinner, and all the preparations for Christmas morning.  Most of the shopping is done, maybe even over-done.  But wrapping and what else is needed on top of baking and dishes is likely to be a late night.

Christmas Day, the kids have duties with their Sunday School class.  So we're in for a big few days of festivities.  Hopefully that will make the release and rest afterward than more meaningful.

Through it all I wish you peace and glimpses of the treasure of the greatest Gift at Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sing Along and Signs of the Season

We got together with faith family to sing Christmas songs yesterday after church.  It was enjoyable to get through six verses of some of these old faithful hymns.

We got to talking about songs we hear in public places.  In years past secular Christmas and New Years songs by International artists like AABA blared over restaurant and shop speakers.

But this year we are noticing more American and traditional Christmas songs with lyrics that announce the birth of the Savior.  What a blessing to be here to witness 'signs of the kingdom'.

We talked about even if the motivation is materialism, the sights and sounds of this season can still act as open doors and opportunities to explain to people the reason for the Christ of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Alliance Church Leaders Meeting

Getting together to talk is the first step to encourage shepherds of small flocks in far-flung corners of Mongolia.  We were able to gather in Darhan in late November.

Even though many could not make the trip, we made a little progress in developing policy and structure of this small part of the worldwide Alliance family.  "The battle belongs to the Lord"

Host Bible Teaching

Renee teaching "Bible Storytelling" at Kingdom Leaders Training Center
"Host" is the acronym of the name of our Bible school in Mongolian.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bible Quizzing

Maggie joined our church's quizzing team and competed for the first time Saturday.
They started the season off by winning this first quiz!

Grateful Thanksgiving

We had a great meal on Thursday afternoon to celebrate with our friends and colleagues, the Currie family and Americans around the world as President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed in 1863:

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens...with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience..."

We thanked God for food and good health, and reviewed the history of this American holiday.

A little further back in the history of the people of God, He said to Israel, who like the rest of humanity was prone to wander away from Him and forget his many benefits:

"if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who Made America Great in the First Place?

Three hundred ninety-five years after the first Thanksgiving, today is a great day to be grateful.

Remember that release of calm on November 8th, when the long national argument was finally over? This Thursday, let’s pause again to give thanks, at the very least, that the election is over.

Along with our peaceful transition of power, one of America’s great gifts is a day dedicated to be grateful for what brings us together.  

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national holiday for “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” for the “gracious gifts of the Most High God”  for “blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies”.  And this he proclaimed during a civil war!

So who made America great in the first place?  

If you consider America’s foundational story of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, my answer is crazy kings, courageous Christians, friendly foreigners, all covered by the great grace of God.

Why did the Pilgrims come to America?  They were facing persecution for refusing to believe as their king demanded, overreaching his political powers into the religious lives of the people. 

Courageous Christians fled to find freedom of worship. In 1620, the Mayflower carried 102 people across the Atlantic Ocean. Over two months later near present day Cape Cod, 100 passengers arrives alive.

Many died that first winter.  But American native people helped many pilgrims survive and find enough food to plant their own crops in spring of 1621.  That fall they celebrated the harvest in what is now known as our first Thanksgiving Feast in thanks to God and good friends.

Samoset and Massasoit are American names that should be remembered alongside ones like William Bradford, and Eduard Winslow, who courageously crossed the Atlantic to live in peace and freedom.

These people settled a land that 150 years later became the United States of America.  It was born through a decade’s bloody battles of the Revolutionary War.  In our Declaration of Independence, our people appealed to a higher power than kings; “their Creator”.  By God, declaration, and defense of their rights, they did “dissolve the political bands” of tyrannical rule. 

Today we have more freedom, communication, entertainment, food, drink and shelter than our ancestors could have dreamed.  We have far more luxuries than the licentious leaders they fled and fought to find freedom. We cross oceans in hours. Roads unite our continent’s coasts. Cities boom. Buildings tower.  

Let us gratefully remember our Maker.  He made America great.  Let’s remember to give Him thanks for our great American history and hope-filled future.

Out of the American wilderness walked a native named Samoset to meet the Pilgrims. Their silent astonishment was broken by his perfect English:  “Welcome, have you got any beer?”  They did not.  

Look how far we’ve come.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

International Basketball Training Academy

Friends from an Alliance church in North Carolina came to conduct a hoops camp for local kids.  
 Do you recognize any of those players?  (Hint: Not all of them are Mongolian)

 Attention to basketball basics as well as foundational truth to build your life on was taught through three days of training.  About 60 kids received instruction and prizes free of charge.  The man in charge of the gym was happy to receive 5 basketballs the team brought, also free of charge.  

Monday, October 31, 2016


You saw it here first....I'm making up a new word (at least to me).  I like to try to take stuff like Halloween back from the dark side.  I like how it used to be called All Hallows, or All Saints Eve, where Holy People who lived devoted to God were honored.  But I understand the night holiday has too many dark references to be celebrated as anything to do with the light for some.

So I offer this word which is a mix between Harvest Festival and All Saints Eve or Halloween: "Harvesteen" (after a quick search online, it looks like their are people with this as their surname, and some church named their fall festival by this "made up word").

Enough semantics; here's some pictures of our fall festivities....

Friday, October 21, 2016

Alliance World Fellowship

Close to 400 people from about 50 countries came to Thailand for the Quadrennial meeting of the Alliance Churches around the world.  
Our Mongolian brothers with believers from Africa above and the Middle East below.
Here they are with friends from southeast Asia
After all the great Word and worship, the group did some sightseeing at the king's summer palace.  
 Do our American Alliance people recognize the couple in this photo?
 They've got some skillful gardeners.  That's some royal creativity.
 "Luke and David" even got to ride an elephant, and an airplane.
To God be the glory!

Fall Birthdays

September and October bring birthdays for Jeremy and Clara.  She turned 9 years old this year!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Overhangai Provincial Capital and Southern Countryside

Chognam, Dawaa, Lxavga and Jeremy arrive at Overhangai Aimag Capital.
 Dawaa teaching Financial Peace lesson to government and community leaders there.
 Then we traveled south to the town of Togrog and conducted similar training there.
Here is a class of 6-8th graders hearing a one-hour lesson on character.
 At sunset on the way out of town, God painted a pretty sky.  Celebrate Recovery!
The night sky is amazingly lit with stars above this herdsman's home.  Can you see the big dipper?
Morning means everybody helps with chores, milking and handling the livestock.

Dawaa learns some animal husbandry.
Even their one year old son gets in on the fun!
The mom of the family handles the milking. Camels give 8-12 ounces/ each time.
Chores included roping horses to treat one and train another.
In another area, irrigation is starting to be used.  I believe this circle may be American made.