Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our Little Angel...

This is Zeke, our oldest son (6). His English school did a small Christmas program, and here he is playing the angel Gabriel. Isn't he sweet?! Of course the next day, when I asked him to stand up with us in church and sing a praise song, he responded, "It's my life and I can do what I want." Thank you, Disney. Upon later discussion we discovered that is a quote from "Mighty Ducks 3," and that our lil' angel has a photographic memory when it comes to cartoons and movies...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Our team

Over a year ago our team in Mongolia was down to four look at us! And most of the bigger kids are away studying in Taiwan! We are truly blessed to have each of these special people. Sure, sometimes it is difficult - gender, age, culture, personalities, etc. On our team we have brothers and sisters who have been born in the U.S., Canada, Korea, Vietnam, and South Africa (plus Isaiah was born in the Philippines!). But we are all citizens of Heaven, striving together to bring others home through Jesus.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lookin' like Christmas

Well, it's been white for quite some time now, but we just put up our Christmas decorations this weekend. The boys had a blast (notice all the branches decorated within their reach). Sure it's a 3-foot plastic tree (we put it up on a box to look taller), but there is just something about celebrating our King that warms the heart and lightens the spirit! We plan on inviting about 60-80 neighbors (over 2 nights) for a Christmas feast and to introduce them to the birth of our living Khan.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


This is our youngest, Isaiah. You will probably notice right away his charming looks and the glint in his eye. His Mongolian pre-school teacher sure does! Every day she calls him a "mischievious little boy" with delight. Mongolians, like most cultures, think that naughty boys are adorable and obedient helpful girls are a blessing. Sometimes we aren't so sure! He always makes us laugh, though, and we certainly enjoy having an extrovert in the family.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Friends in the Family

I had a lovely trip to Baronghara yesterday (our first sub-zero day!). My partner Dawaa and I met with some church leaders to talk about ways the church can use projects to reach their community and/or better support their "elder." This is the "elder's", not the older man, and no not the husband (although he assists). Her name is Batjargal and her husband in Munko, and they have a lovely joy-filled family (even though their only income is grandpa's social security). Please pray for them!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween for Jesus?

This is Bodio and Aruka. Bodio graduated with an English degree (at 19) and is now translating for CAMA. Aruka is studying Japanese...I'm not sure why. They were both a part of our community research team this summer, and they are both helping to lead the youth group here in Darhan. Here they are making pinatas. Why? Because we are preparing a Halloween party for English students. Mongolians already know about Halloween... all of the bad things anyway. As Christians we want these students to know that Halloween is really holy day, a day to laugh and celebrate victory over evil through Jesus. So that's what we'll tell them!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Zeke lost his first tooth. Most Mongolians tease him that he "looks like a grandpa" now. I tease him that he needs to stop fighting at school. But he is thrilled. It hung in there for a week or two and then, of course, he must have swallowed it or something. So here he is writing the Toothfairy a note to explain the whole situation. And yes, she did leave him a nice dollar (is she American?) under his pillow from Grammie ... now Isaiah wants to lose his teeth.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mongol funeral

I had the privelege to attend a funeral yesterday. We piled into cars and headed to the cemetery at 7am on a Wednesday (they must bury on Mon., Wed. or Fri.). It was neat to see how cleanly everything was prepared and the small traditions (sprinkling milk and seeds, piling white stones)...despite the cold steppe wind. It was a very special day because Tsingay was a Christian (notice the cross on top). The family, mostly "Buddhist," respected Tsingay and his wife Digit (in the wheelchair, with the orange blanket) and pastor Tsogoo was able to read and explain the hope we have in Christ (for 2 minutes). Unfortunately, not many who die in Mongolia share this hope...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Here is a happy three-some, huddled over our one-burner making an evening meal. Zeke absolutely loves to cook...unfortunately, he almost always wants soup (that's what he has almost every day at Mongolian kindergarten). Saiah, on the other hand, just likes to watch and stick his fingers into whatever is close by. Oh, and notice the head chef's hot new haircut!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


We've started a new venture in our little community this month - "driving" for water. I hired a young guy named Saihnaa, who is taking evening Bible courses, to research local materials and methods for drilling wells (our "western" method was difficult and expensive). So we started hand-drilling the first two meters (until we hit water) and then we simply put a pipe in the ground (with a point on it) and start pounding it down. This was our first well (we are now on our third and taking orders for more!), with Baljee and Gerlay doing the heavy lifting and pounding. Pray that 8-10 meters is deep enough for clean water, and that we figure out a way to keep the wells from freezing throughout our -30 winters!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

School time

First week of school. For Zeke this is 'old hat' - Mongolian kindergarten in the mornings, English 1st grade in the afternoons (plus an hour with mom doing homework). Zeke is now counting by 10's, doing addition, and already starting to read with phonics! For Saiah things are still kind of new. His very first day he was so excited that he forgot to cry...but the next couple days he would scream 'mommy' or 'daddy' as his Mongolian preschool teacher kept him from attempting a desperate escape. Finally, after just one week, he has decided he is a 'big' boy and likes going to school. He likes the snacks and even takes his nap there! There is still time to get out and play with friends, though. Not only are the Bergevin girls cute, but they have horses too!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Meeting family

Over the weekend we visited the capital city where we met with our adoption agency worker, Susie. Much to our surprise, Susie took us to meet our daughter Bayasaa ("Buy-suh"). We all got a bit of time to play with her and at lunch time Saiah sat down next to her and asked for his food. Zeke was a bit more stand-offish at first. We were also surprised with the news that we may have first committee approval within the next couple weeks and then we can foster our daughter till the second committee approval comes through! We are thrilled with these developments (even if we did walk around in a daze the rest of that day). Change is coming fast and we could not be more pleased!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Last summer fling?

As you can see there are some beautiful spots in Mongolia (we just happen to live on the treeless steppe). We had some great camping trips this month. Here Krista is carrying her wild rhubarb, Zeke is packing his homemade bow, and Saiah travels light so that he can jump and climb and run after anything that catches his eye. We got rained out on the last night but we got to wade through streams, climb mountains, have pinecone fights, chase eagles, visit an old monastery, and spend time with our friends. Hopefully there will be plenty more Fall fun, but it is starting to get cool already (last night was down to 40)...

Monday, August 21, 2006


I don't talk about money very often, but we have been working on our house and garden (which are getting better every year!) and we are so thankful to work in Mongolia for CAMA Services. Not only do they house us, but they help us raise funds for living and ministry too! Thank you for giving to support us through CAMA (P.O. Box 35000, Colorado Springs, CO 80935), because it is your gifts that help us to grow vegetables, fix up our house, provide water to neighbors, and work with local churches to bring the presence of God into our Mongolian communities. We are truly blessed to be a blessing! By the way, the car isn't paid for yet...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Beautiful baby girl?

As many of you know, we are going through the long process of searching for our daughter. This is Bayasaa. We have just been matched with Bayasaa which is very exciting, but we still have a lot of approval committees and paperwork to get through. We are waiting on the Lord to complete what He has promised for our family! Please pray with us that, if Bayasaa is meant to be with us, the authorities will release her quickly and easily so that she can come home to be with us!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wet & wild summer

The boys have had a great summer so more month until Mongolian pre-school and kindergarten! Zeke will also study half-time with our MK teacher. July has been surprisingly wet which makes for lots of great puddles. Yesterday they caught a can-full of frogs down by the river (we had a baptismal ceremony with our church). They cried when we made them let the frogs go, but other than that it has been a pleasant, scar-free summer!

Monday, July 24, 2006


Nope, not twins, but there is certainly a resemblance ... especially for Mongolians who think all white people look alike! Zeke is 6 and Saiah is 3, and despite all of the bickering (and bruises) they are pretty good brothers. I'm surprised how much they play together ... and Saiah can almost hold his own in wrestling! Zeke is starting to do "chores" around the house for an allowance. Saiah, on the other hand, has no interest in work of any kind ... what do you expect from a 3-year-old (or 30 for that matter)?

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Monumental View

Here we are at the opening of the newest monument in town. The workers put in long hours to get it done in time for Nadaam, the summer holiday of manly sports. This year was the 800th anniversary of Ghengis Khan as well as our city's 45th anniversary. There were big doings for both (archery, wrestling and horse racing), and this monument is one of the 45 improvements they are making around town.

Loving the great outdoors

Friday and Saturday we packed up the car (with camping stuff and lots of friends!) and headed off over the mountains. We found a nice little spot next to the Orhon river for a little retreat with our church leaders. We played (I even swam), we laughed (my sandal floated downriver), we got eaten by misquitos, we sang, and we studied some great examples of God's love in the Bible. What a pleasant weekend!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Summer is finally here...we even had a 100 degree day. Here is an action shot of our place - our house (far right), "our" car (which I am supposed to sell), our garden (or at least a beginning of one), our pump (getting good use in the hot weather), our neighbor's house and chicken coop (with 10 new chicks), and a few extra foreigners (our short-term team from Wisconsin whom we deeply enjoyed and appreciated for the variety of things they helped out with). That's it, nothing fancy, just a snapshot of one moment in our day...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Missionary AND rock star?

Wow, a dream come true. There was an international cultural event last Friday, which included a singing competition (in Mongolian). Luckily, I had a couple of traditional songs up my sleeve! It may not be rock-n-roll, but I must tell you that quite a few people were impressed (and a bit surprised). My Mongolian teacher even called me a "star." Not only do I get to think about God and help people every day, but I get to "work on my music" too! All glory to God!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

All kinds of neighbors...

This is Saknaa, our next door neighbor boy...back from the military! All young men are required to do 1-year of border patrol (and most of them love it!). All the neighbor kids are thrilled to have him back. But now Saknaa needs to find work, so I think he is leaving again today to go pan for gold. There is a gold mine about an hour south of Darhan. Maybe he'll find a fortune and help his parents to buy their own home (about $1000)!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Hail, the pale stranger gazing into the sun with squinted eyes, surveying the endless steppe with an unconquerable spirit of adventure. Yup, that's my 3-year old Saiah. It is now June, and even though we are still wearing long-johns the time has come to explore Mongolia. Why just last week we were out and about, and if we hadn't got stuck in three feet of mud then we wouldn't have been able to ride a horse! What adventure awaits this weekend as we head to Zunghara for a church's 1-year anniversary? Only God knows! Thankfully we can trust Him to get us out of anything He gets us into!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

OK, last snow...really

When is winter supposed to end again? We had snow May 23rd and I have had to wear long johns to work (the turned off the heat May 1). But enough grumbling. This is Zeke at his English school. In the mornings he goes to a Mongolian pre-school one block from CAMA. Then, after lunch, instead of nap-time he goes to English school with Miss Lisa (our CAMA school-teacher). Right now there are four other kids in the school...all Korean, actually, but next year there will be a Brazilian girl and Dr. Pham's daughter (Vietnamese-Am.). Zeke knows almost all of his letters and he is starting to read short words! Pretty soon he will be ready to learn the alphabet for his second language!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Time to garden!

Winter is finally over (it finished on May 8th, in case you didn't know, with 5 inches of snow in UB). But, thank God, we moved right into summer! This last weekend was HOT and we fellas were hard at work preparing the garden for Krista. We planted lots of potatoes and we are starting to get the first leaves on our tree saplings. Very exciting (when you are desperate for some green)! Now we will have to start watering everything by hand. Oh well, it's good exercise, and as you can see we need to build up those muscles!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spring free!

It sure is nice to be outside and enjoy it! The chickens are out, the boys are out (right until bedtime), and there is a patch of grass that is even beginning to turn greenish!! We even had rain the other day (though no self-respecting Oregonian would call it that). Yes, it is time for boys to be boys (God give us strength and patience!). From left to right are Boombulay ("round one"), Zaya ("destiny"), Zeke (no Mongol name yet), Jaknaa ("little one") and Erdenee ("treasure")...and Bayaraa ("joy") is missing from the gang. Also absent from the picture are two new puppies ("Jonah" and "Dinosaur Strong") which help to make up for the loss of our last puppy! Looks like fun to me...and lots of trouble too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Firewood season

Here I am, "supervising" the weekly firewood sawing, chopping and stacking (it's harder than it looks). Personally I prefer a Skilsaw. And yes, we will still be burning firewood (and coal) for at least another month, maybe two. Temperatures still average below freezing and it snowed almost every day last week. A beautiful white Easter! But I can't wait to get out of these long-johns!! By the way, this is Munko - my next-door neighbor - and Baljay, who will be graduating from high school next month. He lives with his parents and at least 2 brothers in a small ger. Neat kid!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My friend Dawaa

This is Dawaa, my partner and good friend. He works with me to research and implement community projects. This last weekend he (and his very pregnant wife!) taught a family seminar in a local church. He's a young guy (23?) but he is a great speaker and has a huge heart for God. They live in a small ger (yurt) and Dawaa loves to wrestle. He is really hoping for a son, and Bayanaa is just hoping it will be soon (she's the one whispering in the back)!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Dreamin' of a white Easter

A recent viewer asked some good questions about industries in our area. Hmm. The biggest issue for Mongolians now is unemployment (about 35%). Half of the industries in our city have closed since the Russians left 15 years ago. There are still a few running, though - metal, cement, flour, clothing. A lot of people sell a few things at the market or are involved in transportation - pushcarts, horsecarts, cars, vans, and trucks. There are quite a few families out in our community who have a couple cows, goats, chickens, or even pigs. And most of them will also plant a small garden. Most people are also very handy - making things like felt, leather, rope, knitting or making clothes. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find a market for most of these hand-made things and get a good price (because we are competing with cheaper manufactured products from China). It's tough, but also exciting to see the church passionate about helping people find work as they seek to establish His Kingdom in our community.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Growing like weeds...

I had a birthday this week, I'm SIX! I'm getting REALLY big and I got lots of Power Ranger gear to show off my muscles. I'm also getting pretty smart - I can read the clock, recite all the months, and I even know most all of my letters (in English). My dad thinks I'm pretty funny, too, with my photo poses and the things I repeat from movies. For some reason he thought it was pretty funny when I told him that the warm juice I had made me "crazy in the head." Oh, and I also got the cutest puppy in the world for my birthday. His name is Moses and he is going to grow up to be a big guard dog. He's already ferocious with my slippers...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Our little worker...

Here am I with my "big girlfriend" (I never use her real name, Orna Ikch). She usually comes to help me out around the house - dishes, sweeping, some laundry. Sometimes she reads books and pretends with me too. I like pretending... sometimes I am Dash (Incredibles), sometimes I am Superman (I even have a suit!), but most of the time I am Bob the Builder. My mom plays a very good "Wendy" and gives me lots of construction jobs to do. All I do is work, work, work!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

strangers in a strange land

Welcome to our community! This is Tosgon (literally "the village"). We live on the far side of this community near the Haraa river (it's knee deep, and muddy). We have about 12,000 neighbors out here, and since the only utility we have is electricity there are always ways to help each other. For example, we figure there are almost 50 families using our water well (which may be frozen much of the winter!). Heating fuel is also a huge need. Some of our neighbors have cows and chickens (fresh milk and eggs!) and vegetables in the summer time, but at least 1/3 of our neighbors cannot find work. There are lots of challenges, but we love this strange land and the tough people with their soft hearts!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy B-day to Me

Isaiah: I'm having lots of fun too, now that I can go outside and play in the dirt! It's my birthday and I'm a big boy now (3!). I can do lots of dangerous things, like jumping from stairs and couches. I have new boxing gloves, magnet letters and a Mr. Potatohead!

While dad's away, boys will play!

Zeke: While dad was in Thailand we had a lot of fun. It has actually been warm here in Mongolia (i.e. above freezing). My friend Maggie got a horse for her birthday ... actually it may be more for her dad. Now I just have to talk my dad into getting me one! She has lots of pictures of Mongolia on her blog at

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Big world, small world

It's a big wacky world where I can snorkel on a beach in Thailand (and burn to a crisp) and my family back in Mongolia gets 3 inches of snow...and that's just Asia! It was a good conference where I had the chance to see how many areas of the Alliance Church work (missions, education, U.S. districts, national office, etc.)...there are sure a lot of neat people doing a lot of neat things for God! It was especially nice to spend time with other "wholistic" workers to hear about their community projects and clarify our ministry goals together. On top of all that was the great Thai food and tropical fruit...but, to be honest, I've been ready to be home for several days already. I miss Mongolia and I really miss my family...I'm pretty sure they feel the same way.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No place like Home

I am on my way to Thailand for a C&MA leadership conference. I stayed in a beautiful Hyatt hotel, but I can't help but miss my home and family. Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this? You might scold me for leaving my family on the frozen tundra while I relax on a beach resort, as well you should...but I left them with a full tank of drinking water and 10 bags of coal! I tell ya, beaches are nice but there's no place like home. And I like a home that makes me feel like I am a man and that God is truly amazing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A play and pray weekend...

We spent last weekend with our team at a nice hotel in UB. It was nice to visit some decent restaurants and the boys LOVED the shallow swimming pool! It was a "Prayer Retreat," so besides the R&R we spent a lot of time learning and praying together too. I get to preach in Mongolian this Sunday from Acts 1-2. It seems to me that the disciples didn't waste a lot of time setting goals and making budgets. Rather the only plan they had was to come together and pray until the Spirit did something amazing!! Next week I am leaving the family and going to Thailand to rub elbows with other CAMA workers and C&MA leaders. Pray with us that it will be a Spirit-filled time and that God will watch over Krista and our two wrestling maniacs while I'm gone!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh, but it's cold outside

Another cold and windy week in Mongolia, but we had one day above freezing last sure doesn't take much to restore hope in Spring! The whole city was outside on that day - walking, playing, chatting in front of the market. For the most part, though, we are all still staying indoors. Zeke and Saiah LOVE to play the boardgames we brought back with us, and they like playing "animals" and reading books too. Anything to keep them from whining for more computer games! Zeke is back in school - Mongolian preschool in the mornings and English kindergarten in the afternoons. Krista and I are back in school too - each spending two mornings a week with a Mongolian tutor. Language is tough!! It's much easier to try and get by with what you already know than to continue deepening your knowledge and interaction...I suppose that would make a good spiritual principle too...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Getting down to Service...

It's been a somewhat frustrating week, but I suppose those frustrations are meant to show us what important things are missing from our lives. This week I feel like an organization trying to implement beneficial projects. "But that is your whole job," you say? Yes, but I can't help but feel like the greatest, most meaningful moments occur as I myself reach out in compassion to embrace someone who is struggling. It's not some big, well-oiled machine that distributes the most good to the most people in the shortest amount of time...rather it is a meeting of hearts. I think there should be some days when I quit "work" (i.e. administering projects from an office) early and just go around and spend time with people in need...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


It's been a rough week for these old hands. Monday it was trying to disassemble and unthaw that ornery American hand-pump, which was cold business because the inside of the house was still as cold as the outside. When that didn't work too well, Wednesday we bolted down a Mongolian hand-pump and hauled water to fill the radiator heating system. Then I grabbed a blow-torch and tried to thaw pipes so that the warm water would circulate. Thursday we drained cold and dirty water from the heating system and replaced a radiator that had cracked from the ice, then we unfroze the hand-pump and poured several more buckets into the heating system. That day we also pried the bent grate out of the woodstove, dug in the snow for pieces of rebar, sawed off several small pieces to make a new grate, and had 'em welded together. Friday we drained the cold and dirty water again in order to replace a cracked pipe that was leaking on the carpet. After that we unfroze the hand-pump and filled the radiators again. Saturday we mostly just wrapped and tightened leaking joints in the radiator system. Sunday, after clapping and turning pages and praying in church, we unfroze the hand-pump again and carried 500 liters of water up the ladder into the big water tank. Then we squeezed into a corner with a flaming blow-torch in order to thaw a valve from the tank going to the kitchen sink, after which we took apart and cleaned the kitchen faucet to get it working again and wired a lightbulb to hang directly over the aforementioned frost-prone tank valve. And did we forget to mention the chopping, stacking, and hauling of firewood and the crushing and bagging of coal? It probably wouldn't have been so rough a week if we hadn't sometimes forgotten our gloves and we weren't too macho for lotion...

We've never felt so dry, cracked, scuffed, bruised, frost-bitten, splintered, singed or dirty. But you know what, we don't mind all that much. We figure that means we're doing our part, getting something done, serving our purpose and not just shaking other hands or holding a silver spoon. Not that waving hello or shoveling desserts are unworthy activities! It's just that we would be disappointed if life didn't sometimes require everything we have to give.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fields of the Harvest - Mongolia!

Hello dear friends.
We are headed back to Mongolia January 12th. God bless 2006!