Friday, June 27, 2008

Ni Hao from Taiyuan!

Guess what?! Blogger does work where I am in China, so I thought I'd post an update that really doesn't capture all that has already happened during the short time we've been here, but it will at least give you a little glimpse....

“The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. He ponders all His paths.”
Proverbs 5:21

Rachel, Kori, Noah and I have definitely been walking some new paths the past few days. Lots of new things to see, observe, taste, smell, ponder, pray about…

I just finished eating breakfast -- which consisted of rice/millet/sweet potato soup, hard boiled eggs, tofu, soybean/celery salad, boiled bread, onion/chive patties, and a few other interesting dishes. But compared to duck intestines and duck neck for lunch yesterday, it was all pretty mild this morning. Welcome to China!! [grin] The past few days have been so eventful – thank you all so much for your prayers in our behalf. I think we are adjusted to the new time zone, though there were several hours when my mind, my body and my watch were all telling me what time it was – and it was three different answers!

But where does one start?! I think we all have already had enough new experiences in the last 60 hours to come home and tell stories for hours!

We are praising the Lord for the answers to prayers we have already seen and been blessed by. Upon getting our tickets early Tuesday morning, we realized that all four of us would be in four different rows spread out all over the plane for the duration of the 14 hour flight. We talked to the ticket people, but the most they could do was to switch us around so we would be in groups of two. We continued praying that we could all sit together, and as we boarded the plane we found others willing to exchange seats – enabling all of us to be in one row!

As the plane took off, they had a huge GPS screen set up that gave out encouraging information like “2 out of 6353 total miles traveled.” But the numbers continually moved, and besides being long, it was a very good flight.

Johnny met us in Beijing and treated us to KFC for supper. (Bunny trail: For those of you who are ice cream lovers – I am glad I’m a girl! Ice cream is considered a “girl’s food,” and boys and men don’t eat it. Noah was quick to decide he was going to start influencing the culture...)

A 10 hour train ride to Taiyuan in a hard sleeper, using squat toilets for the first time, toting our luggage well over a mile and then up three flights of stairs during the heat of the day, only to be served steaming hot water upon arriving – and we were ‘home’ for seven weeks.

The hotel where the school is and also where we are staying.

Upon first arriving here, it was incredibly heartbreaking to see how America has influenced China for the worse. It seems what they see in Hollywood movies is perceived as the ‘norm’ in America which makes it *cool*. We covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment in knowing how to respond in these situations.

As we walk about, we get quite a few stares and pictures taken. Complete strangers that don’t know English will come up, point to us and then to themselves, then to their camera! It is amazing how much can be communicated by grunts and sign language.

Yesterday Darrel took us on a short walk around the hotel where we are staying to acquaint us to what is around town -- and were very pleased to find a convenience store (which will be our source of drinking water over the next 7 weeks), a park, and a very, very good restaurant all within a few blocks of where we are staying. The tour also included learning how to ask “how much is it?!”, say “delicious,” and count to ten in Mandarin. Oh – and they have the most amazing fruit leather and peach drink over here for pennies on the dollar, so we have discovered some great snack food. (And there is something nice about not being able to read the labels – is it healthy? how much sugar does it contain? Who knows!!)

We are all beginning to eat with chopsticks without thinking too much about eye/hand/stick coordination, though one can always tell how well we did or didn’t do by looking at the spills on the table cloth. [smile]

But it is time to sign off! Here in a few minutes we will be sitting in on a few classes to observe English teaching in action – and then on Tuesday we’ll begin teaching our own classes.

Blessings to you all! Thank you so much for you prayers. I think we are all adjusting and excited about then next 7 weeks. The first day was the hardest as far as being tired....homesick…ect…. It is amazing what some sleep and a shower can do to one’s perspective and outlook on the future!! Simple luxuries can make a huge difference.

Bethany for the team

Monday, June 23, 2008


...suitcases all packed...

...goodbyes begun...

...last treasured moments...

...lots of hugs...

I love you, precious family of mine!!

"...I have you in my heart..."
Philillppians 1:7

Little things...

A little thing is a little thing,

but faithfulness in a little thing is a
great thing.

-Hudson Taylor


For those of you who remember this sweet couple, they are awaiting a pretty special gift next month...

Congratulations to the new Daddy and Mommy-to-be!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Congratulations on graduating Elizabeth!!!

And we finally did it -- your senior pictures! (I think it took me long enough....) Thanks for working around the bright sunshine this morning. Have I ever told you how much I love working with you?! and playing with you?! and rooming with you?! Okay -- so I just totally love the fact that you are my sister!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A new camera!!

Thank you all for your prayers and concern -- after much research, I settled on the Nikon D80. And it came in the mail today! I am going to have fun playing with it and finding out all it's gadgets and gizmos before leaving for China in 4 days....

(and for future reference -- one should always, always wash the mirror before trying to take a self portrait!! just look at that awful smudge...)


I thoroughly enjoy messing around with creative handwriting ideas -- and being in need of a card to send to my brother Andrew today, Charissa and I made this simple one for him:

(If you can't read it -- the verse is Job 17:9. Go look it up! [grin] )

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crazy English!

In preparation for our upcoming trip to China, Rachel and I were given a course on teaching English as a second language. I had no idea my native tongue could be so confusing until I read the following article.....

Thank heaven we grew up speaking English!
-by Billy Wetterer

"Let's face it -- English is a crazy language."

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes; but the plural of ox became oxen, not oxes. One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese. You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice; yet the plural of house is houses, not hice. If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why should the plural of booth be called beeth? We speak of a brother, and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren. Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Some reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse the refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is not time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  • The were to close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with the planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

Screwy pronunciations can mess up your mind! For example... if you have a rough cough, climbing can be tough when going through the bough on a tree!

Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea or is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses the run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wiseguy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which and alarm goes off by going on.

If Dad is Pop, how come Mom isn't Mop?!

Can you see why I'll need your prayers in explaining all this?!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Please pray!

During the last day of camp, my camera malfunctioned and broke. I have had it over 3 years now and have taken around 84,000 pictures on it, so it has served me well! It is in the process of getting fixed, but it is a rather long process -- an estimated 4-6 weeks. And considering that I am leaving for China a week from today (and would really like to take a camera with me!) I am in the midst of camera shopping. There are so many details! If you think of me and would pray for much wisdom, I would appreciate it greatly.

I am extremely grateful that it waited to break until the last day of camp, and that it didn't wait to happen until I was already in China. Though it wasn't what I would've wished, I am thankful for the Lord's timing in it all, and look forward to seeing His hand at work in the whole situation.

"By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of our lips,
giving thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

Prairie Bible Camp 2008

:: preparing ::

:: memorizing scripture ::

:: action ::

:: gator ball ::

:: Bible time ::

:: evidence of a strong German heritage ::

:: explorers ::

:: singing ::

This year we did a three part skit on the life of Martin Luther. What an amazing testimony! And Stephen did a great job as the lead actor...

:: the chapel ::

:: Bible stories ::

:: games ::

:: yes, love was in the air at camp, too ::

Praise the Lord for another wonderful year at Praire Bible Camp 2008!

You can check out more details, pictures, and the slideshow on our family blog...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Titus 2:11-12

"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age."

Satan has deceived many into focusing on the good life while missing the holy life.

-Bob Sjogren

Praise the Lord for family!

Before Andrew flew out yesterday, we had to get a few pictures of all thirteen of us kids...

The five brothers

Sweet sisters!

The older four with their newest sister!

The eight oldest
Once upon a time we used to be stair steps when we all lined up; those days are long gone...

Monday, June 02, 2008

1 Timothy 4:12

" an example to the believers in word,
in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Keeping our thoughts pure
will help us keep our emotions pure.

Emotional Purity by Heather Paulsen