Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Vacation on Lake Erie

We brought up Papa's air mattresses and inflatable rafts to the beach.

And enjoyed a lot of beautiful sunsets...
And at least one selfie...

Josiah made friends with our old friends' son and nephew.  
Here they are with their fabulous finished fortress!

Renting this cabin at Beulah Beach worked out great!  There was room for Maggie and Lydia to join us for three nights, and lots of games around this table.  Praise the Lord a good time was had by all!

Back in the USA for Summer Vacation

Although Renee caught COVID before our June 16th flight, we all made it back to Ohio to join 
Maggie, Lydia, and Johanna at their grandparent's house. 
 Here's Maggie and Renee enjoying some summer sun in the back yard.  Renee stayed in the basement and outside until she tested negative to protect her parents from getting sick.

Josiah gets a haircut from grandma which he chose, though it may not look like it here. 

And here he is getting a tour of grandma's flower bed.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Josiah Turns 10 Years Old!

Clara helped celebrate and Johanna beamed in from Germany for the party!

His choice for dinner was the best pizza in Mongolia, his mom's! 

Next day a party with his school friends at the trampoline park.

Then for some bungee
jumping in the rain...

And a giant inner tube water ride with Bobby.

Human and Holy Spirit Attention, A Most Precious Resource

I was at a Celebrate Recovery training in 2013 and the founder this Christ-centered program made this joke: “We were going to start a support group for screen addiction, but we couldn’t find anyone with 15 minutes of sobriety!”  Our dependence on screens and their demands for attention has only grown in the 9 years since.

You might think Mongolia would struggle less with screens and internet dependence.  But I would wager more people are on Facebook and other social medias here than in the US. 


Our International Mongolian Basketball Academy uses sports to influence kids and coaches for Christ.  While kids and coaches are on the floor, both hands and eyes need to be on the ball.  So they can’t be on a screen.  I believe part of the benefits of exercise to our bodies, is the break our brains get from tech.  The healthiest I feel all week is after our two-hour trainings.


On Children’s Day, after an IMBA game against Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we were waiting for our food at Burger King.  You might not think that’s too healthy.  Almost every person out of 14 at our table was looking at a screen.  Two of the kids were playing some video game and holding their phone 6 inches from their face.  The food was about to come, so they were told to put them away.  But they did not.  Someone then accused them of being addicted.  There were no denials, but laughter that someone had said something true.  


In today’s world, screens seem now in more copious supply than human attention.  Part of what our kids at the IMBA get for their monthly fee of about 30$ is human attention from a caring responsible adult along with likeminded peers, who put away their screens for at least 4 waking hours per day.  May we all remember to add to our days time we devote to seek God’s face and the faces of real people in real time. 


The Holy Spirit is released in those that obey Him.  Let’s continue to see Him work by prioritizing Him and paying attention to real people around us over mindless distractions or addictions. 

Note that this post was written and read most likely on a screen ;D

Monday, June 06, 2022

Departing Friends and Children's Day

Mathias is dressed in his new Mongolian "Hurem" as he has his 'last supper' here with friends Nathan and Jonathan before departing for Ohio.
They both will also be traveling to the USA this summer.

Mathias helped us ship a bunch of suitcases back to our colleagues who now serve in Africa. 

Children's Day was celebrated June 1st by a big basketball game against the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who also use basketball to reach youth.

Here's our IMBA guys after lunch at Burger King
I think it was a Happy Children's Day!

Monday, May 30, 2022

LIFE 2022 Youth Conference Letter from Johanna and Clara

April 2022

Dear Alliance:


Greetings from Clara and Johanna Bergevin. We have both recently been invited and have decided to attend the Alliance Youth conference, LIFE 2022.  We are blessed to be able to go to this conference from July 4-10 in Orlando, Florida, with a group of Alliance kids from my school, Black Forest Academy, in Germany where I (Johanna) currently go to school.


I (Johanna) have heard so many things about LIFE as I have watched my sisters attend both in 2016 and 2019. Which is why I am looking forward to getting the chance to go and listen to amazing speakers, grow in my faith, and have lots of fun! I am especially excited to come together with around five thousand other teens from the Alliance Family to encounter God in new ways and prepare for the next step He has for me in life.


I (Clara) have also learned so many things about LIFE and how it has changed both of my older sisters, Lydia and Maggie’s lives. I am very curious and excited to see what LIFE will bring as my family and I start to plan. Along with this, I am very excited to learn new things about the gospel and become closer with God. I am also eager to experience this with a whole group of teenagers from the Alliance Family and Black Forest Academy. I know that God has a wonderful plan for me and the amazing things that I will experience during LIFE 2022, and hope that you can support me through this journey.


Our group has estimated the cost to be around $650 plus transportation to Orlando. Which means the total cost would be about $1700 altogether.  Would you consider supporting us as we attend LIFE 2022 and dig deeper into God’s plan for our futures? 


Johanna and Clara Bergevin

There is a specific account set up for students who are attending LIFE.  Please send your gift to our LIFE 2022 Support account by clicking and typing in the following:

1-47200-45-49-06001 Black Forest Academy LIFE Group

Friday, May 27, 2022

Family Hike on a Nice Sunday

So here's the view from our apartment on this beautiful Thursday evening, yesterday.  

When you look at surrounding mountains long enough, inspiration sometimes strikes like it did Sunday when we struck out to tackle them.  
Heading up steep ridges...

Resting and fueling up...

Celebrating at the summit...

Just before starting down through this forest, we saw a white tail deer!

Sometimes going down is longer or harder than the climb.

We made it home and to church on time...
Here's Renee making an announcement about MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers.

Mongolia Intern Ministry

In addition to making much needed improvements to our basketball academy website IMBA.MN Mathias has been busy teaching English, and helping train Mongolians in Alpha.  Here he is presenting his Akron University Computer Science Senior Project at the KAMA Center.

And presenting an orientation to church leaders on how to run Alpha outreach to share our faith.
...answering questions with translation help from Sunny.

At breakfast with pastors Scott and Eric from PA, who came to run our Prayer Retreat.

...getting around the city (mostly on foot) and now on bicycle.

And playing games with our kids like Guestures and Monopoly. 

...and with the team at Prayer Retreat. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Prayer Retreat Resumes After 2 Year Hiatus

We went out to a hotel for a couple nights at a place called "Hole in the Mountain"
There are rocks and mountain goats on one side.

And a forest of trees on the other side of the valley.

You can see the capital city faintly in the distance.

We had retiring leaders and pastors from the USA join us for Finnish BBQ beef, pork, chicken, sausage and tongue!

And three of us made it up through the trees to the peak, where we could see the other valley of Chingissing Hurray!

Clara and Josiah spent left early after breakfast for their drive into town for school.

Prayer and feasting was enjoyed by all.

Ukraine Invasion Exhibition

Ambassadors from the USA, EU, Canada and World Bank spoke at an event observing the carnage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week.

Here is the American Ambassador to Mongolia speaking at a Mongolian owned hotel conference room.

Pictures of atrocities were posted by the Ukrainian community in Mongolia.

Our church member Natalia, a member of our worship team, played her violin during the solemn event.

Our team members and Pastor Rich and Melody invited us to support her and the cause of justice.