Saturday, April 29, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
Filled with a series of projects with tight deadlines, the past seven weeks have been left little time for writing updates. Now the task lies before me of trying to summarize so many significant events into one update newsletter.
First of all, I would like to say a special word of thanks to those who have continued to pray for us through these weeks, even with little or no news from the front lines. It is often the weeks of silence that indicate additional pressures and responsibilities, and a greater need for God’s grace.
Looking back over these past two months, let me start back at the second week of March. It was at this time that our director Tim felt that it would be good to move forward on printing some of our character training materials to sell in Mongolia.
I have enjoyed helping with some desktop publishing projects from time to time, but in the past I have usually turned to Isaac’s greater level of experience and expertise in this area. After coming to Mongolia with my family last June, one of Isaac’s projects was to procure the needed software and set up a computer for desktop publishing work.
We never realized at the time that this would be one of Isaac’s last projects in Mongolia, and among his final works was a set of stickers, bookmarks, and large posters for the first nine character qualities that we teach. The foundation that he laid in this area has prepared the way for us to continue on with desktop publishing projects after his departure.
It was with a feeling of taking up the torch passed by Isaac that I began working on some of the desktop publishing projects and learning the InDesign software program. Using one of the templates that Isaac had left for us, I was able to finish A4 sized posters for the first nine character qualities.
Excited by the progress, we began contemplating another much larger project. Our translation staff have been working for the past several months to do a final revision of the Basic Seminar Workbook in the Mongolian language. Doing all the text and layout in Microsoft Word, the workbook was modeled after the English workbook, but a side-by-side comparison left some things to be desired on the layout of the Mongolian pages.
Would it be possible to use a template from IBLP headquarters and make a professional looking Mongolian workbook? Maybe even in time for the Basic seminar scheduled next month? These questions had to be put off for a week as Rachelle, Derrick, Cindy and I left for four days of character training in Erdenet, an overnight train ride from Ulaanbaatar.
The time in Erdenet was filled with many joys and challenges. The poster project and other responsibilities the week before left me with very little time to plan for our trip, but the Lord was very merciful and worked out many details that could have caused great complications in our time there.
Every day we had trainings morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening as we did character trainings for a group of leaders from six different churches, two groups of World Vision staff, a group of local pastors and church leaders, high school students from two schools, a large group of school teachers, and a few government leaders.
Everywhere people were very receptive and excited about the character training. The World Vision and church leaders in Erdenet had been asking us to come since last fall, and they wanted to make the very most of our time there. Concluding the last training, we hurriedly filled out the final paperwork details and jumped into the van, barely making it to the train station in time for the evening train.
The strain of the week, coupled with maybe some poorly kept food that I ate on the way back to Ulaanbaatar left me sick for a couple days upon my return to the training center. Our Character English class team valiantly took over my Saturday English class, and by Monday I was able to start on a new desktop publishing project.
With all the work that our translators had been putting in on the Basic Seminar Workbook, Tim felt that it would be good to move ahead with an all-out push to get the workbook layout in InDesign completed as quickly as possible in the two weeks that we had before the seminar. Not having much experience with the program, I felt that it was probably doable, although it would not be an easy task.
Tim and the others were able to take over my other responsibilities so that I could focus as much as possible on the workbook project. While I enjoyed both the work I was doing, and the project I was involved in, the speed and accuracy I tried to maintain required a concentration and attention to detail that often left me mentally exhausted at the end of the day.
After some adjustments to each page of the layout after importing the QuarkXPress file to InDesign, I would take a section of the English text, convert it to the correct font, and then, line-by-line, copy each sentence or paragraph of Mongolian text and paste it into the workbook file. After copying the text, I usually had to adjust the layout again to account for the Mongolian translation often being longer than the English text.
Macros and keyboard shortcuts greatly improved the efficiency of the project, but the 80+ pages of text and diagrams gave me a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in using the InDesign program. It is so exciting to see how the Lord uses experiences in our lives that not only help us now, but they prepare us to be even more effective later.
David of Bible times was performing a very needed function in caring for his father’s sheep, but God was also using this very experience to prepare him for a time down the road when he would lead the nation of Israel. A few years ago, I was serving a company working as a network administrator, little imagining how God would be using these skills today in Mongolia.
In the pressures of finishing the workbook before the seminar, God brought a very special encouragement the day before the seminar began. Visiting our church on Sunday, a young lady came over to Tim and Angie’s apartment after the service for some further discussion.
Taking a few pages from the newly completed Basic Seminar Workbook, Tim and Angie explained a chart on the development of reprobation, how we experience the consequences of sin and the deception of Satan when we move away from God’s moral standards for our lives. Seeing her life pictured in this diagram, she broke down in tears, and came to Christ for Salvation.
More of her story unfolded in the following days by way of letters she gave to our staff. She had known many that called themselves Christians, only to later learn of hypocrisy in their lives. Finally she was convinced that all Christians must be fake. Her life had then taken a path of misery and despair.
As Tim and Angie related this story to me, I felt tears come to my eyes, not only for the joy of her salvation, but for the Lord’s lovingkindness in giving us a little glimpse of the fruit that He would bring forth through the Seminar workbook project. Many times we never see the fruit that God brings through the investments of our lives, but the Lord in His great love knows just when to bring us that needed encouragement.
The Lord in His great love not only knows when to encourage us, but He knows when to bring us chastening. One Saturday morning I was reading the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a huge tree, and how when he was lifted up in pride, God humbled him. “That’s a good reminder,” I thought, “about the importance of not letting pride creep into our lives.”
That evening, the first words in my journal were: “Well, my tree sure got felled today!” That day we had taught the final lesson of our five-week Character-English class series on patience. In the pressure and busyness of the previous days, I neglected to consult with Tim on some decisions with the class and as a result, incurred some misunderstandings between us.
Thinking back to our class just a few hours before, I remembered explaining to the attendees how sometimes we might be facing a difficult situation at work, and often our first tendency is to try to escape from the pressure. Instead of looking for a way out, I told them, we should use it as an opportunity to grow in character by choosing to have a right response. Now I was getting a chance to practice what I preach.
I am grateful that the Lord has allowed a restoration of this situation, and through this experience has taught me a number of other important lessons. No one likes to be misunderstood, but even in the best of relationships, we are going to have times when we misunderstand each other. That is why it is so important to have our focus on pleasing the Lord. He never misunderstands. He knows the deepest motives of our heart.
I believe that this is what gave David strength when he and his men returned wearily to Ziklag, only to find their city on fire, and their families led away captive. David’s loyal men turned on him and were about to stone him. -But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. David went on to lead his men to victory because his focus was on being approved unto God.
Some very encouraging news in the past few weeks came in the way of a phone call from Ideree. You may remember that in December of 2004, I began working on a project to make the Mongolian Bible text available as a module for The SWORD Project, a free Bible software program. (see http://crosswire.org/sword)
Over those next few weeks, the Lord worked out some divine appointments, and I learned of another missionary that actually began working on the same project at the very same time. I helped in a few little ways over the next few weeks as Ewen finished the module, and our Mongolian staff began testing it.
For the next year or so, neither of us had time to work on the project. I needed to meet with the Mongolian United Bible Society to talk about copyright and distribution, but just could not seem to get the time to move forward. Then, a few weeks ago, Ideree called to tell me that not only was the project back underway, but the Bible Society wanted to get a master CD completed that could be taken to Korea for mass duplication.
As soon as I finished the other desktop publishing project that I was working on, I set forth on this new project in an earnest effort to finish an installation program and master CD by last Saturday. Working all afternoon and into the evening on Saturday, I finally talked to pastor Dash at 11PM and we decided that it would probably be better to wait a little longer to allow adequate time to test the new CD.
Finishing up some other pressing projects this week, I was able to finish the master CD on Thursday, and after a little more testing, it should be ready to send to Korea. The Bible Society is not quite ready to allow the distribution of Mongolian Bible module for free, but at least this will be the first step in making it available for the people of Mongolia.
I mentioned a little earlier that sometimes the Lord gives us the opportunity to see a little bit of the fruit that He is bringing forth through our lives. Last Monday our family witnessed a special example of this. You might remember Baigalmaa, a Mongolian lady that owns a bakery business with her husband Bat. Receiving Christ after a character training a couple years ago, Baigalmaa has had the privilege of also seeing her husband come to Christ.
Known all over the city, the Batbaigal bakery is famous for their decorated cakes. They started about ten years ago, and now employ 60 staff, and produce about 150 cakes every day, in addition to other bakery products. Bat and Baigalmaa have a very special heart for their workers, and are constantly looking for ways to invest in their lives.
From our first meeting almost two years ago, I have really enjoyed working with Baigalmaa and the bakery workers. Most of their staff have come from the countryside and many of the principles of character are new concepts for them. Responding to the personal illustrations that make character application practical, many of the workers still remember my stories about forgiveness and other character qualities.
Every other week we have a character training for their workers. On Thursday morning they even delay the regular deliveries so that as many of their workers as possible can attend the character trainings at their bakery. It was with special delight that my family and I accepted their invitation and set up a time when my family could come and visit the bakery and meet their staff.
Bat and Baigalmaa greeted us outside as we arrived, and led us up the stairs to their building. Inside we heard applause and cheering as we stepped in to find all of their workers lining both sides of the hallway to greet us as we came in. If their workers were not so shy, I should have brought a video camera to capture the special moment.
We had a special time of sharing with their workers, and my family was able to sing some hymns and play some music for their staff. After the meeting, we had an extended tour of the bakery, finishing with a beautifully prepared meal in their newly completed staff room. You will have to see the pictures on our website to get a better picture of the generosity and kindness expressed to our family in that visit.
Our time in Mongolia has gone so quickly! It is hard to believe that we only have about three weeks left until we fly back to the States on May 22nd. We want to be open to however the Lord might direct our family, but we applied for an extension of our work permits in anticipation of our family possibly returning to Mongolia in the fall.
- Even with many farming responsibilities waiting for him at home, my brother Derrick took the time to be with our family in Mongolia for several months before heading back in early April to start planting the fields back in Wisconsin.
- I praise the Lord for bringing about the completion of the Mongolian Bible software project, equipping pastors and other Mongolian Christians here with more tools to study the Word of God.
- Thank you for praying with us in the finishing of an article honoring Isaac’s testimony for the Lord. You can read the completed article at: http://ati.iblp.org/ati/family/articles/eternalinvestment/
- This week we had the special privilege of welcoming Tim’s mother, and Roger and Ann, two friends from New Jersey for a three week visit to our team in Mongolia. This is the first time that Tim’s mother has been to Mongolia. Roger and Ann were here for a visit three years ago, and are very excited to see all that has transpired since their last visit.
- Several weeks ago we learned the unexpected news that our Mongolian pastor Enkhee was diagnosed with liver cancer. The cancer is at a more advanced stage, and was also found in his stomach. After much prayer and consideration, Enkhee and his wife Sodnom are traveling to Hawaii for rest and possible treatment options. They remain strong in faith and are a wonderful testimony to the believers here, but pray for wisdom and grace in the difficult decisions ahead.
- Last summer we were able to buy several used computer monitors at a very reasonable price. The vendor was quite willing to exchange them if there were any problems, but in the unexpected events of Isaac’s death and my family’s return to the States, we were not able to get everything resolved last summer. Pray that we would be able to get the three monitors exchanged in the next few weeks before our family leaves.
- On May 8th, our family has been invited to share at a special meeting of three schools where some of our team has been teaching character over the past several months. We are not sure exactly what to expect, but pray that we would be good testimony for the Lord in this opportunity.
Having our whole family in Mongolia adds a whole new dimension to
our visits with Mongolian friends.
One of the highlights of Derrick’s time in Mongolia was to go out to the
countryside for a week with Dorjoo, one of our Mongolian staff. Derrick
and Dorjoo helped a missionary family with several projects, including
building this tool chest.
Derrick visited Dorjoo’s family one afternoon. Dorjoo’s mother (far left)
came to Christ after attending Isaac’s funeral.
At my Mom’s suggestion, Matthew and I took one day to do a wood
project together. From going to the market to buy the wood, to screwing
in the final screws, Matthew loved every minute of it. We built a small
cabinet with a hinged mirror on the front.
Last Friday our whole family visited the MIU classes where some of our
staff teach three classes twice each week. Dad shared about how we try
to build character as a family, and then all the children sang the
You can see many more new pictures on our family website.
The pictures page for this update includes a number of pictures from our time at the Batbaigal bakery.
The heating for most of the buildings in Ulaanbaatar is supplied by a central hot water system for the city. On Monday, May first, we anticipate that the hot water heating will be turned off for the summer. It is quite common to have occasional snows after May. (In fact, we had snow flurries this morning.)
Thank you for praying for our family and the team! May the Lord bless each one of you today.
Adam Waller ~ MyAllForChrist@CadLinx.com
Family Website ~ http://cadlinx.com/wallerfamily
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9
If for any reason you would prefer not to receive these e-mails, just reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. If this e-mail is being forwarded to you, just let me know and I can put you on the regular list. – Adam
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