Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
When our family left for Mongolia in June of 2005, just one year ago, we were filled with excitement and an eager anticipation of what the Lord might do in and through our lives by this season of service together as a family. How little did we imagine the depth of the lessons that God had for us, or the riches of His grace that we would experience.
Arriving at the family farm in Wisconsin last Monday after several weeks of travel, meetings, and family reunions, we have been grateful for the chance to unpack and settle into more of a daily routine. Plans for the summer are quickly taking shape before us, but let me start with a brief look at our last few weeks in Mongolia.
The approaching departure date of our family on May 22nd added an additional pressure to finish some projects that our family was involved in. Among these was the printing of a set of A4 sized character posters for the first series of nine character qualities. Creating the template for these posters had been one of Isaac’s final desktop publishing projects in Mongolia, so it was special for me to see the job carried to completion.
This project is also a good example of some of the challenges that we often face overseas. In the States, you would typically finish your master copy, bring it to the printer, then pick up the final product, completed to your satisfaction. In Outer Mongolia, things are not quite that simple. 🙂
After finishing the first four posters, I made several trips to the printing company with our translators, trying to make sure I had covered every possible detail about what we were needing for this job. Understanding that we were proposing a several hundred-dollar job, with the prospect of future work, the company president was quite happy to concede to our unusually high quality requirements.
Receiving the call a few days later that the job was ready, Ideree and I went over to take a look. Another missionary had told me that every job his organization prints locally seems to have some type of quality problem, but I was pleasantly surprised as I reviewed the first set of posters. Other than some smaller blemishes and ink splatters, they seemed reasonable for the equipment that they were printed on.
The second set of 4 posters printed later was another story. More and larger ink splatters, and a heavy yellow cast to the animal pictures left me pondering how to better communicate what we were needing. It was only after writing and translating a detailed seven-page contract describing our quality requirements that the manager seemed to grasp what we were looking for.
Although they felt that the contract was too strict for them to sign, it seemed to have the desired result, and they assured us that we would be satisfied with the job. They reprinted the worst of the posters, and this time the color was really good. It wasn’t till we started making sets of posters back at our office that we discovered that they had been trimmed 3/8 inch smaller than the previous job. 🙂
I share this story not because I thought you had a great interest in the details of how to print posters in Mongolia, but to give you a little idea of the hours that are often spent on things that we take for granted in the States. I spent far more time working with the printer company on this project than I did on creating the actual posters themselves.
Often the greater testimony is not the work you do, but the character you demonstrate while doing it. I was so grateful for the Lord’s timing in some encouraging comments that were shared with my parents before we left. It was not the work that we did for CTI that impressed these friends, but our family simply being in Mongolia and living out our lives before them.
Visible evidences of the Lord’s work through you are encouraging moments, but I don’t believe the Lord lets us see too many of these, lest we be lifted up in pride. As our family made preparations for leaving Mongolia, we shared some special moments with friends and families that have become dear to us over the past year.
Walking down to the open market on the Saturday before we left, I had a neat talk with Chinggis, one of our Mongolian staff. He was coming to help me buy a traditional Mongolian “del” jacket. Walking down the dusty roadside together, stepping around the open manholes, I shared how grateful I was that he was working with us.
I have long admired the maturity and Godly example that Chinggis has demonstrated as our finance manager for CTI, but I had felt inadequate to express this in simple English, so I regret to say that most of our conversations had been on more of a business level.
Just to give you an idea of the heart of this young man, the day after I purchased my del jacket, he gave David his very own (and probably only) del jacket that he had just purchased a few months ago. The next morning he paid $5 (a full day’s wage for many) to take a taxi to the airport for a final goodbye before we left.
Perhaps one of the most touching goodbyes for our family was at the Sunday service at Holy Way Church, the day before our departure. After the main service our family shared some brief words and sang a hymn together. Many were in tears as the pastors prayed over us, committing us to the Lord and asking for His guidance for us in the days to come. I also had the joy of teaching one more character lesson on the quality of forgiveness.
God’s hand of guidance and care was clearly upon us as we made preparations to leave. We learned that because of a technical detail with the way we had booked our tickets, and some changes in the airline regulations, although we had carried about 140lbs of checked baggage per person on our initial flight to Mongolia, we were only allowed 40lbs per person on the flight back to Beijing. Any excess would be met with a stiff fee of about $1 per pound.
Making a number of calls to our travel agent, my Dad tried to see if we could work something out, but as the days and hours ticked away, it became apparent that we would have to just do the best we could, pray, and trust that the Lord would work things out on the day of the flight. We were at the mercy of the airline agents.
Friends offered the use of their vans for the early morning drive, and soon we were weighing our bags at the counter. We had packed our carry-on bags as heavily as we could, but the final count left us 410 pounds overweight in our checked baggage. Asking to speak to the supervisor, Dad explained our situation.
After some further discussion, the supervisor made a final decision on the baggage. Hearing the news, I calmly walked over to the window, where our staff were anxiously watching from outside to see how we would fare. With a joy that I dared not express, I slowly unfolded a paper where I had written the message, “No overweight charges. P.T.L!”
Returning to the States, probably the biggest shock for me was to see all the lush greenery around us. A Mongolian winter gives you a new appreciation for the few blades of green grass poking through the gravel by the sidewalk. The months of gray and brown in Mongolia gave one the feeling of entering the tropical rain forests and jungles of America. 🙂 The grass looked so lush and green, and Indianapolis looked like a city built in a forest.
Our family was again graciously hosted at the IBLP headquarters in Chicago, and this gave us the opportunity for a couple days of rest before beginning three weeks of travels that would finally end at our farm in Wisconsin. Derrick had preceded us to the farm by a few weeks, to plant the fields and get started with farming, but he flew down to Chicago to join the family as we drove down to Nashville TN, for an annual home schooling conference.
Stopping in Indianapolis at the South Campus Training Center for a few days, we enjoyed catching up with friends and families that have been praying for us over these months. A Memorial Day picnic and outdoor games gave us the opportunity to enjoy the warm 90 degree weather. We learned that morning that our team in Mongolia got an inch of snow on the same day. 🙂 (Yes, that is unusual, even in Mongolia.)
The annual ATI Regional Training Conference in Nashville has been a special time for our family each year, and this year was no exception. Our family helped work at the International table, sharing with interested attendees about the international ministry branches of IBLP, and on one of the nights the International Director, Mr. Mattix gave a report of what God is doing in each of the nations that IBLP is currently serving in.
At the close of the session, our family was given the opportunity to share a little of what the Lord has been doing in Mongolia. Dad shared some truths that have guided our family, and some verses that have been especially meaningful to us through the time of Isaac’s Homegoing. The four oldest of us children were also given the opportunity to share for a few minutes, and then we finished by singing the Mongolian translation of “This Little Light of Mine”.
Many people came up to us through the week, some of whom we had never met, and told us that they have been praying for our family. Others shared of special memories that they had of Isaac. It was encouraging to be able to share of the Lord’s faithfulness and grace to our family, and to be challenged and blessed by the speakers and messages at the conference.
Following the conference we joined our extended family on my Mother’s side for a family reunion in Georgia. The Lord gave us beautiful weather, (actually cooler than it had been in Indianapolis) as we gathered at a campground next to a lake with the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. The colored shirts for each family gave a graphic illustration of the generations represented.
Driving back up to Chicago, we packed all of our baggage into the van and popup camper trailer for the drive to Minnesota. One of the many things we miss about Isaac was his skills in packing and organizing our things for a trip. Somehow David and I managed to get everything inside the limited cargo areas, and we traveled on to the Olson family reunion.
Although not quite as closely related as some, (my Dad’s mother was a cousin to Clarice Olson) we have enjoyed the rich spiritual heritage of this branch of my Dad’s family. The falling rain and cold weather confined us to the large machine shed at the farm where the family reunion was held that Saturday. It was quite a sight to see the colorful spreads of food, and rows of chairs winding around the huge tractors and farm implements.
Finding another more empty machine shed, David and I managed to stretch a rope across the middle, and soon we had a lively game of volleyball going with the younger generation as the others visited. Of course the happy players got dust in their teeth, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.
On Sunday morning we arranged a large circle of folding chairs in an empty garage, and held our own church service together. It made me think of an underground church service, such as might be held in China, but what was lacking in atmosphere was made up in fellowship as we sang and shared together. Our family again had the opportunity to share testimonies of what the Lord has been doing in our lives.
Returning to our farm I was again reminded of the truth that moth and rust doth corrupt. Finding a forgotten bag of candy in my room, I made a fascinating discovery. Moths like the white chocolate, while the mice prefer the dark chocolate! Needless to say, we have been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing. It has been a year since we have spent much time at home, and spending some time on the mission field has a way of changing your perspective about the things are really important in life.
Plans for the summer seem to be taking shape before us. Dad is continuing his Engineering work, while taking time for various work projects around the house and farm. I was offered some computer programming work that I can do from home, so I plan to spend some time on that over the next few months.
The main farmer in the family, Derrick is keeping busy in the fields while Rachelle spearheads some cleaning and home improvement projects on the home front. David is assisting with a Bible Club training program and some curriculum development projects. Sarah and the younger ones are very excited to be back at the farm, and enjoying a farmyard with acres of areas to play, and endless possibilities for creative projects.
Many have asked us if we are planning to go back to Mongolia. As my Dad put it, “We are planning to go back in the fall, but we are holding this with open hands. We want the Lord to direct.” We would love to go back, but as we plan our way, we want God to direct our steps.
- We are so grateful for the Lord’s blessing in our travel as we returned from Mongolia. Safe travels, no extra charge for baggage, some fragile items surviving the journey were just a few of the praises for our trip.
- In our travels down to Nashville, David’s laptop, (our only portable computer) picked up a virus that left the computer almost unusable for a week before I had time to work on it. Using my Uncle’s computer, I found some software to assist in the recovery, and we were back up and running with no data loss.
- Last weekend our family was invited to share at a Christian campers club in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Lord gave us a very special time with this group, and several of us shared testimonies of God’s grace in our time of need. They also enjoyed the singing and music that we shared with them.
- Please continue to pray for our team in Mongolia. Right now they only have four American staff, including the director and his wife. Things are slowing down for the summer, but we are praying for the Lord to raise up laborers for the late summer and fall. We feel the need for both American and Mongolian staff, but particularly for more Mongolian translators.
- The Lord continues to give our family opportunities to share testimonies of what the Lord has been doing in our family, and in our lives personally. Pray that God would use these times to deepen our message, and bring forth lasting fruit.
The green grass and trees seemed so vivid when
contrasted with the Mongolian landscape below,
where our staff had joined some Christian students and
professors from MIU for a holiday outside the city.
The Blom generations. (My Mother’s family) In the pink
and gray are my grandparents. (The yellow shirts designate
Wallers, as you probably already noticed.)
Finally home. I climbed the silo to get this picture of our
house as we worked to unpack our things and dry out
tent and camper.
Lydia, our animal lover, was delighted to find some wild
baby rabbits in our front yard.
You can see many more new pictures on the Prayer Update section our family website.
The original part of our home in Wisconsin was actually a log home built in the 1870s. The wooden pins used to connect the logs are still visible in the attic. The more recent addition was constructed in 1916. The hot water heating, plumbing, and bathroom were all added later, which makes the plumbing configurations somewhat interesting.
Thank you for your prayers for our family! God’s grace has truly carried us, and continues to carry us through each day.
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
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