Back Home – In Mongolia

Family News

Part of Ulanbaatar as seen from the airplane window

On Tuesday, March 29 we landed in a Country which we have not been in for 3 ½ years! Finally, but, at the Lord’s perfect timing we have returned to the rustic, yet beautiful Country of Mongolia, to serve for the next three months.

Leaving Adam behind to continue serving in South Korea, pressing toward the completion of the first, complete Korean Basic Seminar and working on other projects, Sarah, Samuel, Lydia, Rebecca, Matthew, Mom and Dad all arrived safe in Mongolia.

These last few days have been full ones as we have jumped into various projects, as well as just continuing with the normal duties of day to day life.

I had not mentally prepared for the “culture shock” that was awaiting me in Mongolia. Coming straight from a clean atmosphere and large living space in Korea to Mongolia, I was reminded of just how dirty everything is here! I had also remembered the rooms being larger, and so, was surprised to find them as small as they really are! However, after living in them for a few days you kind of ‘grow’ (or shrink) into the space, and learn how to use each little nugget of the space you do have.

There have been comments made as to the cuteness of our kitchen. Indeed it is small but, it suits all of our needs. It is almost like playing house! Here is a picture showing Rebecca and I making Homemade Tortillas.

I had not mentally prepared either for how long it takes to cook here! It took me most of the day to cook the meals just for that day! Things take longer when you are not used to the surroundings but, I think it takes longer here, even for a pot of water to boil and cook the vegetables! Someone mentioned that this is what family life used to be like. Imagine living back in the 1800 or early 1900’s. Your whole life revolved around preparing the food you were going to eat, getting the firewood for your stove and doing the necessary duties of life. Mongolia is a great place to build character!

Some of you may be wondering, “What is the weather like?” Well, this was another thing I thought would be different when we came. I thought it would be cold! However, we have had beautiful sunny weather, with a crisp cool spring feel. It still is a bit chilly but, not the frigid cold of winter.

One of our first celebrations after retuning to Mongolia was Matthew’s 13th Birthday! We celebrated with Hoshor (A Mongolian food that is meat (or sometimes vegetables) inside of a bread pocket that has been fried.) and a cake, from a bakery that we had done trainings for when our family was here before. One of our translators had a birthday recently, so we took a picture of her with the cake as well.

God has brought our family here at this time for a specific reason. We may not fully know the impact until Eternity.

One of the verses my Dad received before we left Korea and came to Mongolia was, “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” ~1 Corinthians 2:9. Based on this, I believe that God has great things that He is going to accomplish through our family being here at this time.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for the Mongolian Basic Seminar next week. This is the third one to be done in the Mongolian Language. Pray that many will come and have their lives impacted.
  • Our family as we continue to adjust to life in Mongolia.

Thank you for praying for our family as we minister around the globe!

In Christ,

Sarah Waller

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A First Grandchild!

Family News, Rachelle & Joseph

On January 30th, 9:15 PM, Rachelle and Joseph Afarian had the joy of experiencing the birth of their first child! Arranging for a home birth with the assistance of two skilled midwives, Rachelle and Joseph were thankful to report a very smooth birth process.

Serena Grace Niaree Afarian

Entering the world at 8 pounds, 4 ounces (3.74kg), Serena Grace measured 20.5 inches long (52cm) and has light brown hair. Early reports indicated that she looks a bit like Rachelle’s younger siblings David or Sarah. Rachelle and Joseph (with family and others) described her as being exceptionally beautiful and very expressive in her facial expressions.

Some interesting notes about her name… “Serena Grace” is her first name, meaning peaceful love. Her middle name Niaree is of ancient Armenian origin, reflecting Joseph’s Armenian heritage, and carries the concepts of beauty and femininity.

Mother, father and baby are all doing very well, rejoicing together in this special new season of parenthood. Grandma and Grandpa Waller (Sue and Brian) and all of us aunts and uncles are thrilled for Rachelle and Joseph! Although we are thousands of miles away on the other side of the world, the pictures and phone calls seem to make that distance shorter.

More Pictures

I know everyone loves to see pictures, so I have included a few more for you to enjoy…

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Blessings in Jeju

Adam's Updates, Family News

The airplane shuddered and tilted back and forth as it descended toward the airport on Jeju Island, 50 miles south of the Korean peninsula. Peering through the window we could see the surf breaking against the rocky shore, stirred by the snowstorm brewing below us. Mr. Moon and I had been invited to teach at several church meetings over the weekend, but it appeared that the rare snowstorm on this tropical island might make it difficult to land the aircraft.

Suddenly the humming jet engines switched to full power mode, and amid a few gasps from passengers, we were tilted back in our seats as the plane pulled up in a steep climb. Moments later, the intercom crackled on, and the pilot explained that the airport was reporting high winds from the snowstorm, and for safety reasons he had carefully executed a missed approach.

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I turned to Mr. Moon with a look of concern, for our first meeting was scheduled to begin in an hour… Mr. Moon explained that the pilot was going to try a second attempt to land. The experience of the pilot can make a big difference, and we were blessed with a very skilled pilot with 30 years of flying experience.

We held our breath as again the plane descended into the storm. I could picture the concentration of the pilot working intently to steady the plane against the turbulent crosswind. Now we could clearly see the houses and trees as we descended to a few hundred feet above the ground on the final approach to the runway.

But again we felt the aircraft drop as a sudden gust of wind suddenly pushed us down, and again the pilot pulled up for a second missed approach. The wind was at 50mph, exceeding the safety rating of the aircraft. “Safety is our first priority”, the pilot explained, as he turned the plane to head back to the Gimpo airport that we had left an hour before.

What about the meeting we were supposed to be at? What about the people that were waiting for us? Would we even be able to get on a later flight? These questions raced through my mind, but having no way to contact the church, all we could do was pray that the Lord would work things out.

But the Lord indeed was working things out, as little as we could realize it at the time. Arriving at the Gimpo airport, we found that that church had already called ahead, canceled the original tickets, and made arrangements for us to return on a larger aircraft. Quickly transferring our bags, we rushed to the gate, only to find that the plane was still awaiting clearance to leave.

Suddenly the authorization was given, and the crowd of passengers rushed to board the aircraft. We all knew that this was probably our only chance to make it to Jeju that evening. An hour later, all was quiet as the aircraft descended toward the Jeju airport. It was dark now, but the larger Airbus A300 was handling the wind a little better. With a sigh of relief we felt the plane contact the runway and come to a stop on the tarmac.

Leaving the aircraft, I could feel the ice crunching under my feet as the blowing snow whipped across our faces. With snow, ice and wind like that, I was amazed that they had managed to land the airplane. Later we learned that just after our flight left Gimpo, every single flight to Jeju was canceled! And on top of that, Mr. Moon told me that we had been allowed to purchase the very last tickets available for that flight!

With the hand of the Lord so evident in our travels, we began our meetings with a distinct expectation that God must have some very special purposes in store for this trip.

A Pastor’s Vision

By now it was after 8:00 PM, and a core group of people from the church greeted us in the meeting room. Taking off our shoes at the entry, we joined the people sitting on the heated floor around short tables. I am still not flexible enough to comfortably tuck my knees under the table, so I tried not to be too much of a distraction as I periodically shifted my position from one side to the other.

Adjusting our plans for the change in schedule, Mr. Moon shared an introduction to the importance of building good character into our lives. Everyone enjoyed a group activity as we had them match the most important character qualities to various occupations. (Students need determination, dentists need gentleness, husbands need sensitivity, politicians need virtue, etc…)

Meeting the senior pastor the next morning before the Sunday service, we were impressed with his vision for the church. “We need to reach the next generation,” he explained, “We need to build strong families so that the next generation can be strong for the Lord.”

I sat back in my chair with amazement. So many churches today are focusing on building programs and outreach initiatives, while at the same time losing their own children to the world because of unresolved conflicts in the home. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, we tend to focus most of our energy on theological knowledge with very little practical application to daily life.

But here we were seeing something different; a senior pastor with a heart to learn and apply God’s ways, starting in his own life, and then in the lives of the church leadership, and then with their congregation.

Mr. Moon rejoiced to hear that the very topic he would be speaking about that afternoon was something that the Lord had impressed on the heart of the pastor over the past several months. Not only had God blessed our travels, but the Holy Spirit had truly gone before us and answered prayer by preparing hearts in a way that we never could have done.

Sharing from the testimony of his own life, Mr. Moon explained the vital importance of hearing the heart of his wife. While serving as a missionary in Egypt, he was so busy doing “God’s work” during the day that he would come home exhausted, and too tired to really hear his wife’s heart. But the Lord convicted him that he needed to lay down his life for his wife, even as Christ laid down his life for the church.

As Mr. Moon tried to obey the Lord’s direction in this area, he began to have a whole new appreciation for his wife and her counsel. Their relationship has deepened greatly since that time, and he has come to value her as a precious gift from the Lord.

Listening with great interest to this message, the pastor’s wife talked this over with her husband later that evening. “Let’s talk together,” she appealed to her husband. Even though he was tired from a long day of meetings, the pastor focused with renewed attentiveness as his wife shared from her heart.

For several hours late into the night they experienced the joy of resolving issues that for ten and twenty years had been obstacles in their relationship. “I was the one that received the greatest benefit from this weekend!” was the happy testimony of Pastor Kim the next morning.

A Turning Point

At the conclusion of our afternoon meetings, the assistant pastor was wrapping up some final details before taking us to dinner. Just before leaving, Mr. Moon told me that the pastor had arranged for a meeting that evening with the pastors and music leaders, and he wanted us to talk about good music, expanding on our discussion over lunch.

My heart trembled as I heard this. Yes, I see and understand the vital importance of right music, but I also know that this is one of the most controversial subjects in the church today, and discussions usually result in vicious opposition and tear churches apart with strong opinions on both sides.

Knowing that this is not a discussion to be won on an intellectual level, I prayed that God would give wisdom in how to appeal to the conscience and support their church vision. One of the elders took us out to a fancy sushi restaurant, but as I ate my fish head soup, raw octopus, my thoughts were on how to most effectively share about music principles.

After dinner we gathered in a meeting room with the pastors and church leaders, and the pastor talked with Mr. Moon about how they can emphasize principles of character in their church. The music director was there, but sitting back a little way from the table and not participating quite as much in the discussion. Silently I prayed that God would give us favor in the hearts of these leaders as we brought a difficult, but important message.

Turning to me, the senior pastor asked if I could share with everyone about music. Reaching for a piece of paper, I turned with a smile to the eager, interested eyes around the table. “God designed each of us in three parts,” I began, drawing three circles on the paper. We have a spirit, soul, and body. Our spirit is what is born again when we are saved, and our soul is the home of our mind, will and emotions.

Explaining these in more detail, I asked which one they thought was the most important. Everyone agreed that it would be the spirit. That is exactly right, I told them, God wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Godly music will minister to our spirit, encouraging us with the truth of God’s Word.

Music also affects our soul. I get excited in my emotions when I sing about God’s power and majesty, and what He has done in my life. And we also praise God with our body, singing with our voices to the Lord. Right music will bring the strongest focus on ministering to our spirit, while also involving our soul and body.

Looking around, it was clearly evident that God was working by His Holy Spirit to bring this message home to the hearts. The pastor was taking page after page of notes, and everyone was nodding in agreement. I sensed the Lord’s enabling to share these principles with great clarity. As I paused for Mr. Moon to translate each thought, the next one would come together in my mind with a clearness I could only attribute to the Lord’s working.

“Now let me show you a contrast,” I continued. “What kind of music would represent the world?” We talked about the worldly rock music of the 60’s. What was the strongest emphasis in this music? It was focused on the sensual passions of the body, and designed to stimulate the emotions to a wild excitement.

But what about the spirit? The spirit is the home of conscience, and rock music was designed to be played at volumes so loud it would drown out the voice of conscience. God doesn’t want us to drown out the voice of conscience and try to suppress guilt. He wants to resolve guilt so He can speak to us through a still small voice in our spirit.

Do you see the contrast? The world’s music is just the opposite of God’s design. Now do you suppose that the music of the Christian should be different than the music of the world? Yes, they definitely affirmed this. That is exactly what we read in the Psalms, where David talks about the Lord putting a new song in his mouth, even praise to the Lord.

Returning to my diagram, I explained the three parts of music, the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm. Which one of these should be dominant? They all pointed out the melody. Yes, and the harmony supports the melody, and the rhythm gives life to the music.

But what does rock music focus on? Again, we find it just the opposite. The rhythm is dominant with a driving beat, and chords are being played, sometimes with no real melody at all. “Now notice a correlation,” I continued, and pointed out how the melody ministers to our spirit, the harmony inspires our emotions, and rhythm appeals to our body.

In my observation, much of our music in churches across America today does very little to minister to the spirit, but is instead focused on creating an emotional response. You can get a youth group excited in their emotions on Sunday, but then have them go out and live in defeat through the rest of the week because they were not strong in their spirit.

“But I see an even deeper issue with this,” I went on. “Could I share with you something further?” “Yes, yes!” the senior pastor exclaimed, momentarily raising his pen from his paper. Deep in thought, the others leaned forward in interest.

God’s Word tells us that we should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. But we see Satan using the same tactics that he has used through history. When the nation of Israel came into the Promised Land it was like Satan tried to destroy them with powerful armies, but ultimately failed because God defended and protected His people.

Then Satan changed tactics. Since he could not defeat them as a roaring lion, he became like an angel of light. In the account of Baalam, we see that Baalam could not curse God’s people to destroy them, but led them astray into idolatry and immorality with the Moabites. This brought the judgment of God upon Israel, and in the generations following, thousands of God’s people were destroyed through these compromises with the world.

Take a look at the nation of Korea. When we toured the Korean war memorial museum, we saw the advance of the North Korean army until South Korea was reduced to just a small section on the tip of the peninsula. It was like Satan was using brute force and military power in a desperate attempt to crush Christianity in this land.

But I firmly believe that it was not the United States that saved Korea. It was not the United Nations that saved Korea. I believe it was God that saved Korea, and preserved His people against the attack of the enemy. Christianity could not be extinguished, and has since blossomed and flourished.

But now it seems that Satan has changed tactics again. Since he could not overcome with force, he is working to defeat Christians through compromise with the world. If he can defeat the Christians in their personal lives and families, they would lose their influence and witness to the world.

I am thrilled to see the vision of your church to reach the next generation! We want to do all we can to see them be strong for the Lord, knowing that they will be the leaders of families and churches in years to come.

But today there are temptations and pressures facing young people that were not there in my generation. When I was a boy, my parents were very careful about the things they allowed in our home, and the kinds of information we had access to. But today we have the Internet in almost every home, and children are a few clicks away from the most evil things. The only way we can protect them is to help them become mighty in spirit.

Scripture tells us that the flesh wars against the spirit. Sowing to the flesh brings death, but sowing to the spirit brings life. This is where it relates back to music. Music has a powerful influence in our lives, but it is either feeding the flesh or feeding the spirit. What kind of music will help the next generation to be strong in spirit?

As I looked around the table, every person seemed deeply interested. I did not sense any strong reaction, but rather a genuine hunger for truth. The education pastor raised her hand to ask a question, but the senior pastor looked up from his fresh stack of notes, and said “No, wait.” Then looking at me, he said, “Keep going.”

The scene made me think of a picture out of the book of Acts. Never have I seen such openness to truth on such a sensitive issue! They were like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, receiving the words with an open mind, and studying them out to see if these things were so.

Mr. Moon went on to explain many more things in detail, and the pastor closed the meeting at about 10:15 PM. Upon returning to our hotel room for the evening, Mr. Moon and I knelt in prayer to thank God for the incredible moving of the Holy Spirit that we had just witnessed. Truly God had prepared their hearts!

A Visit to Remember

On Monday morning we were joined by several other pastors and discussed how a church can focus on developing Godly character in the lives of their people. In this meeting it was like the senior pastor was taking the lead, emphasizing to the other pastors that we don’t need more ministries and programs, we need to strengthen the families in our churches.

Focusing on character is not about implementing another program, but about changing the lives of people as they apply principles of God’s Word to practical daily living. Most of the discussion was in Korean, but Mr. Moon stopped occasionally to summarize for me what was being discussed.

Following our meeting, we had lunch at a Korean restaurant where the wife of the assistant pastor works. We sat cross-legged on the floor around the low tables in typical Korean style. This time we ate duck, frying it on the stone slab in the center of the table. They all thought something was very funny about how I trimmed the fat off my meat before eating it, but the comments were in Korean, so I never figured it out.

On the way to the airport we stopped by the sea side to take a few pictures. It was a new experience to climb across the lava rock to the shore where the waves were crashing against the rock, sending a spray of water into the air. But our time was brief, and we needed to head to the airport to catch our return flight.

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God is doing a wonderful work in this church, and may the Lord greatly bless Pastor Kim and the Choong-shin church as they take steps to follow the Lord’s ways in these vital areas!

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Merry Christmas!

Adam's Updates, Family News

A Year to Remember

This has been an exciting year for the Waller family, with probably the biggest news being the return of our family to overseas ministry after three years in the States. Although we would have liked to return to Mongolia, changes in the government have made it much more difficult to obtain the required paperwork, so we were invited to join the work in South Korea, and possibly visit Mongolia in April, 2011.

We are very grateful for David and Derrick taking time away from busy schedules and pressing responsibilities to join the rest of the family for three weeks over the Christmas holiday! David will return to his work at IBLP headquarters, and Derrick to his construction and farming projects.

A Family Investment

This year my Dad reached the age where he could withdraw his 401K retirement without a penalty, and we were praying about a wise way to invest these funds in a way that could benefit future generations. In April we were contacted by a distant relative that was selling a farm in Harris, MN, and wanted to give us the first opportunity for purchase, if we were interested.

We witnessed another miracle of the Lord’s provision as we pooled together Dad’s 401K money, and some of our personal funds (not touching any of our ministry funds) and were able to buy the 115-acre farm for cash!

Just three miles off highway 35, the Harris farm is in a beautiful rural area near some lakes and surrounded by other farms. Like our Wisconsin farm, the house is very old, but functional, and the land would provide some excellent building sites if we chose to build in the future.

A New Direction

As I described in more detail in a previous article, my Dad and Derrick were unexpectedly laid off from ESD at the end of June. Economic difficulties had forced the company to release some of their workers, but for us, I personally believe that this was the hand of the Lord, preparing us for a new direction as a family.

During the past three years of working in Chicago, the Lord allowed my Dad to replenish the funds needed for our family to again head back overseas for a time of ministry to the people of Korea and Mongolia. As another blessing from our time in the States, my Dad was able to have hip replacement surgery in February, alleviating a painful limp.

South Korea

Three years ago our family was serving in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where Tim Levendusky directed CTI-Mongolia, an NGO established to teach principles of character to the people of Mongolia. Recovering from 70 years of Communism under Russian rule, the people warmly welcomed teaching on principles of responsibility, truthfulness, forgiveness, sincerity, etc.

After our family left Mongolia, a new office in South Korea was needing assistance, and Tim was asked to make South Korea his primary location, while making occasional trips across to Mongolia. With the present needs in South Korea and the visa difficulties in Mongolia, Tim invited our family to join the work in South Korea for a season of ministry as a family.

We are currently involved in training seminars and publications development, but our primary focus is the completion of the IBLP Basic Seminar translation which is scheduled to be finished in the spring. I believe the many Christians in South Korea will be greatly benefited by the practical application of Biblical truth as presented in this seminar.

A Special Visit

Amid some touching scenes, our family has had the opportunity here in Korea to thank some of the ones that helped our family during the passing of Isaac in 2005. A few days ago we visited the Yonsei Severance hospital where Isaac was brought by ambulance from the airplane. The Director of International Missions met with us and remembered taking time with my parents five years ago.

Expecting!

Rachelle and Joseph announced this summer that they are expecting their first child, due at the end of January. Now Mom and Dad are grandparents! Rachelle and Joseph are doing well, and visited us several times this year, most notably for a joint vacation in August to the Northwoods retreat center in Michigan where they first met.

North Korea Tensions

Our family lives in an apartment building in the city of Gimpo, northwest of Seoul, about twelve miles from the North Korean border. Although the Yeonpyeong Island shelling took place about 50 miles to the west of us, we feel safe knowing that God will take care of us. We have actually recently had some opportunities to do some character trainings for chaplains and soldiers of the South Korean forces.

A Writing Project

Drawing upon their experience in teaching character in the Oklahoma City public schools for the past two years, Sarah and Samuel are currently working to produce a Bible-based character curriculum for Sunday Schools and Kindergartens in Korea. The first booklet went to press just before Christmas, and will be used in January. They are working to produce one booklet for each month of 2011, to coincide with the monthly character emphasis on the character calendar produced by IBLP Korea.

More Pictures

Below are a few more pictures to enjoy.

 

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Rice Harvest

Family News

Ever since I was a boy I have enjoyed eating rice, but I had never seen how it was grown, or how it looks in a field. Now that I am living in South Korea, I can see rice fields from the window of my apartment, and I am learning more about the growing of this staple food.

Like many Asian countries, South Korea uses rice as the primary food source, and most Koreans eat rice at all three meals every day. Rice is typically eaten with small side dishes, usually including a spicy cabbage food called kimchi.

One day when I was out enjoying a walk with Tim Levendusky by the rice fields, we came upon a rice harvester that was working its way through a rice field near our apartment complex. I stopped to take some pictures, and capture a couple video clips. Later after my family arrived in Korea, we walked through a harvested rice field, and had a chance to find some actual rice that had been missed by the machine.

Harvesting Rice

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It was fascinating to see this machine make its way around the rice field. The front of the machine looks like a giant hair clippers, and the clipped off portion of the rice plant passes up a conveyor to a system that appears to work similar to a combine harvester, removing the rice grains, and leaving the stalks and chaff in a neat row behind.

Technical Difficulties

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Rounding the far corner of the field, something seems to have gone wrong and the rice plants started bunching up on the side of the machine. The operator stopped the machine, and the men worked to clear the jam.

Below you can see some more pictures of the rice fields and some close-up shots of rice still on the stalk. Enjoy the pictures!

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New Direction

Adam's Updates

Saturday, October 30th, 2010
Gimpo City, South Korea

Dear Family and Friends,

June 30th, 2010, is a date that will long live in my memory. It started just like any other day as I got up at 5, drove my Dad and Derrick to the train station to catch the 5:55 train, and headed into the office to have my personal quiet time before the beginning of the work day. By the afternoon, work projects were in full swing as I worked through another busy day of technical support issues, meetings and phone calls.

Picking up Dad at Hinsdale Train Station

“Adam, your Dad called,” one of my coworkers told me as I returned to my desk. “He said that you won’t need to pick him up from the train today, and asked if you could give him a call.” I was already on my way to another meeting, and the work day was over before I had the chance to return his call, little expecting the news awaiting me at home.

In 2007 our family had returned to the States after two years of serving together in Mongolia, and the Lord again showed His faithfulness in providing my Dad with an excellent job in downtown Chicago. The blessing of the Lord was supremely evident in the favor that my Dad was given as he returned to electrical engineering work at ESD, a company that he had worked at for nine years when our family lived in the Chicago area.

Even though the ecconomy was struggling, and many others were seeking jobs at the time, it was like the Lord was giving us a living demonstration of His promise that as we seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all these things would be added unto us. -God Himself would undertake to provide for our needs.

But as I came in the door that June evening, Derrick met me with a sober expression on his face, and explained that he and Dad had just been let go from their jobs at ESD. Feeling a little numb with shock, I went upstairs and found Dad and Mom sitting at the dining room table. Dinner was strangely quiet that evening as we all sat processing the unexpected news.

But looking at my Dad’s face, I saw something different. There was a joy and confidence, almost an excitement about what God was going to do next. In the days and weeks that followed, the deeper purposes behind the timing of this unexpected change began to come to light.

When God brought Elijah into the wilderness during a great drought, Elijah was sustained by the ravens and brook. But when the time came for Elijah to move on, God didn’t send an angel with a message, He simply dried up the brook.

God was doing something, and we continued to pray for direction. Was God wanting my Dad to take another job, or was the Lord opening the way for us to return to the mission field? During the three years of working in Chicago, my Dad was enabled to replenish the funds needed to go back out, but we were just seeking the Lord’s confirmation on the timing of our return.

Several months of job applications, resume’s and interviews with engineering firms seemed to indicate that the Lord has closed this door, and my Dad took several days in special prayer for direction. On the final day, he received an unexpected e-mail from Tim and Angie, the couple we had served with in Mongolia, asking if we had any thoughts or plans on returning to overseas work.

After this and other confirmations, the details seemed to fall into place rather rapidly, and a few weeks later we had booked tickets for eight of us to fly to South Korea, where Tim and Angie have based their work in South Korea and Mongolia. Working with IBLP, their vision is to strengthen and Christians and families with sound Biblical teaching, such as IBLP’s Basic Seminar.

IBLP Headquarters

My own responsibilities at IBLP as IT Director were transitioned over to Robert Staddon, a good friend and coworker, and I chose September 17 as my last day. It was hard to leave so many good friends, but I know that God has called me to overseas work, so I feel a special joy in returning to the place God has called me.

Arriving in Korea on October 20th, I have been learning all I can from Tim and Angie before they fly back to the United States on November 6th, where they will take several months to visit family and friends with their new baby Josiah. Because my family will arrive after they leave, I felt that these two weeks of overlap with Tim and Angie would be very helpful as our family makes the adjustment to life in Korea.

We would be grateful for your prayers as we enter into this new season of ministry as a family!

In Christ,

– Adam

View from our Apartment in Korea

 

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Fun in the Snow

Creative Projects

Taking advantage of the extra snow, Lydia, Rebecca, and Matthew have been building some snow forts in our front yard. With a little help from Adam they now have three “dugout” rooms, joined by over 30 feet of connecting tunnels!

In the video below, Matthew gives us a little tour of the snow fort…

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Wheels are Turning

Creative Projects

“Adam, do you think we could build a pedal-car?”

I turned with a smile to ponder 11-year old Matthew’s question. For months he had been asking if we could begin this project, but my attempts to describe the challenges involved did not seem to dampen his enthusiasm. I had tried to explain that this kind of project would be a lot easier to do up at our farm, where we have old bicycle parts, hardware, a full set of tools, and a welder. While I enjoy these kinds of creative projects, I just wasn’t sure how we could pull it off in Oak Brook, where our home doesn’t even have a garage to work in.

Well,.. Matthew persisted. Returning from a visit to the farm some weeks later, he triumphantly produced a set of four bicycle tires, (which I presume came off of old bikes in our shed.) Well, what could I say.  🙂 We sat down and I explained that we should start by putting together some plans for how to build this car. A few evenings later, we had completed our sketch of a two seat pedal-powered car. Matthew, Lydia and Rebecca were ecstatic, and could hardly wait to assemble the materials and get started.

By this time Rachelle’s wedding was just a couple months away, and my assistance was needed for some of the logistical and technical preparations. Dad wisely suggested that we hold off on the pedal-car project until after the wedding, so we could focus on the tasks at hand. The time flew by as our family pulled together in this happy but new experience, and on August 1st, 2009, Rachelle and Joseph Afarian were married.

But the smaller Wallers had not forgotten our project… “Do you think we could work on the pedal-car now?” The question came from eager eyes several weeks after the wedding. “Yes,” I said with a smile, “Thank you for honoring Mom and Dad’s council to wait till after the wedding.” -And how we saw God bless the project! I didn’t just want this to be a fun project together, but a way that we could see God’s hand working in very practical ways.

One Saturday morning I left our home, praying that God would prosper our way and provide the items we needed as I drove to my workplace to see what they might have as scraps from the wood shop and mechanic’s garage. To my great delight I found a rollaway bed frame that was being thrown away, which when unfolded, was almost the exact dimensions that we had outlined on our plans! It was like God had just provided the entire frame of the car, with almost no modifications needed!

Noticing the head of our construction department, who just “happened” to be there that morning, I wanted to confirm that it would be okay to use these materials. Not only did he give his full blessing, but when he heard what we were building, he welcomed us to use any of the miscellaneous hardware from the shop that we needed for the project! This turned out to be such a blessing, and allowed us to build the entire project with materials and hardware on hand.

The frame came together well. We built the steering system from a dust mop handle and tractor steering wheel, using some cable from a garage door and a closet door track as the crosspiece. Sturdy brass door hinges fastened the front wheels to the frame, while the back wheels were supported by a wood frame attached to the metal bed frame.

Of all the different aspects of the project, I expected that the drive train was going to be the greatest mechanical challenge. I would need to run a chain from the pedals to a drive axle under the seat, and then run a second chain to one of the back wheels. Here again we saw the Lord’s clear hand of blessing. On the very day we needed to find additional chains and gears, we found that another family had just thrown away three children’s bicyles!

Not only did this provide the needed chains and gears, but it also provided the parts to add a second pedal assembly, so two people could pedal the car! As little as we anticipated it at the time, the Lord also used these additional bicycle to provide a new set of strong front wheels when the original design strained under load.

I had to smile as I saw Rebecca and Lydia whizzing by on the newly completed pedal-car. With its bare frame construction, it looked like one of those horseless carriages that my great grandmother Blom would have ridden on.

Life is busy, work demands our time and energy, but may we never get so busy that we miss the opportunity to build memories with family. Twenty years from now, all the software programming I am working on now will be gone, but I think my siblings and I will still recall with fond memories our times working on the pedal-car, and remember the blessing of the Lord and the kindness of others that made it all possible.

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Rachelle and Joseph’s Wedding

Family News, Rachelle & Joseph

joseph-and-rachelleWe are delighted to announce the marriage of Rachelle Waller to Joseph Afarian, a research lawyer from Toronto, Canada.

Joseph and Rachelle met in the Fall of 2007 at a Christian young adult retreat in Michigan. After months of careful correspondence with our parents, Joseph entered into a courtship with Rachelle with our parents’ and family’s full blessing.

A strong Christian with conservative Biblical values, Joseph joins Rachelle with a vision for raising the foundations of many Godly generations.

Engaged in April of 2009, Joseph and Rachelle were be married on August 1st, 2009 in Minneapolis, MN.

Date and Location

Cross of GloryThe wedding was held at 2 pm on August 1st, 2009 at the Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, the same church where our parents, Brian and Sue Waller were married nearly 35 years ago.

Church Address:

5929 Brooklyn Blvd
Brooklyn Center, MN 55429
(763) 533-8602

Click here for map and directions

 

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Rachelle Waller’s Wedding – August 1st!

Adam's Updates, Rachelle & Joseph

Thursday, July 2, 2009
Oak Brook, IL

Dear Family and Friends,

I am excited to announce the upcoming wedding of my sister Rachelle! She is engaged to be married to Joseph Afarian on August 1st, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.2009-05-16 108a

As an older brother, it has been a special joy to see the Lord bring this couple together over the past several months. We first met Joseph in the fall of 2007 at a Christian retreat in Michigan. I was impressed with his quiet and thoughtful personality, and his serious commitment to Christian family values.

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Although I never imagined that Rachelle would one day marry an attorney, it is neat to see the balance brought out through the two of them. Joseph’s strong commitment to family values and spiritual leadership, complemented by Rachelle’s joyful, practical personality and well-refined homemaking skills give an excellent foundation for their future home togther.

One of the most beautiful things I have observed in their relationship is the strong commitment to honor both sets of parents. Unlike the casual dating relationships (and later heartaches) we so often see in our culture today, Joseph did not begin this relationship by spending time with Rachelle.

Instead, he spent several months last summer in careful correspondence with my parents, seeking to discern the Lord’s direction in this potential relationship. Then with the full blessing and approval of both sets of parents, my mother and father presented Rachelle with a letter from Joseph. -The first indication she received of his interest in pursuing a relationship with her.

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This, as could well be imagined, marked a significant change in Rachelle’s life. We all had to smile as we thought about it… None of us imagined that she would be the first one to be married.  🙂  Over the next several months, Joseph and Rachelle spent many hours on the phone together, getting to know one another, and finding the Lord’s confirmation in this new relationship.100_0698c

Visiting Toronto, Canada, in February was an adventure for the whole family as we loaded our van for the trip across the border to visit Joseph Afarian’s home and family. We were graciously hosted at the Afarian home, and enjoyed good fellowship with his family and friends. From basketball on Friday evening to church on Sunday morning, a visit to Joseph’s office and meetings with friends, a full itinerary made the most of our weekend together.

Filled with many details, calls and meetings, the last few months have quickly flown by. Rachelle and Joseph were formally engaged in April, and at the end of May Rachelle concluded her work responsibilities at IBLP to spend the next couple months preparing for her wedding. I miss seeing her smile when I pass her empty desk in the finance office, but I rejoice with her in this new chapter in her life.2009-04-23 055a

Wedding preparations are a new thing for us, but we are taking full advantage of the benefits of a large family.  🙂  It is really neat to see the diversity of skills coming together as we get ready for Rachelle’s special day. Dad’s practical organization of people and details keeps everyone working together, while Mom’s perspective brings creative ideas and a mother’s wisdom to our developing plans.

David’s creative negotiation skills have saved hundreds of dollars and his enthusiasm has been a constant inspiration for the rest of us. Sarah is putting her sewing skills to good use as she works with Rebecca and Lydia to sew the bridesmaid’s dresses. I have been helping on the technology side with Web site updates and invitation mailing lists, while Derrick is coordinating the transportation of Rachelle’s belongings to her new home in Canada.2009-06-17 071a

Even the smaller Wallers have been playing a key role in these weeks, from collating wedding invitations to preparing beautiful meals for the family, and keeping up with chores around the house. In addition to our family, we are so grateful for a number of others that have jumped in to help in various ways as we prepare for this event. It has truly been a team effort! Thank you all so much!2009-05-16 137b

Hopefully many of you will have received a wedding invitation by mail, but if we reached you by e-mail instead, please consider yourself invited to join us in our celebration of this happy occasion on August 1st as Rachelle and Joseph are united in marriage in Minneapolis, MN. Further details and an RSVP form are available at our family Web site. (www.visionserve.org)

Thank you for your part in our lives!

In Christ,

– Adam

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