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by Mark

If you met Harold Walker at first glance you might think him a bit gruff.  His salt and pepper hair was cut close in a brush cut. He had a barrel chest and powerful arms with a faded tattoo.  His voice had a bit of a growl to it.  Harold was a Navy Corpsman.  Under his skin he still carried around shrapnel from Okinawa when he landed with the Marines, the bloodiest war in the Pacific Theatre.  Harold Walker was not a man to be trifled with, he was brave enough to take on teaching a class of young boys.  Mr. Walker was my Sunday School teacher. 

It was his smile that gave it away- there was something different about Harold, he loved Jesus.  Thinking back I can’t remember when Mr. Walker came to Christ but you could see it in his life.   During my fifth grade year our class met in the church kitchen.  Sitting on folding metal chairs surrounded by big pots and aluminum foil we were fascinated by Mr. Walker’s stories of going on patrol at Okinawa.  Corpsmen were popular targets for snipers and sometimes were called up to be targets (unwilling ones) to flush out snipers.  I’m sure he saw more than he ever wanted to.  Mr.  Walker was a man of commitment, as a warrior, he went far beyond what was expected as a Sunday School teacher.  Mr. Walker was a warrior of another type, a warrior  seldom seen today  but urgently needed.  Harold was a prayer warrior.  Like my grandfather who went before him, from his knees he battled in a realm that was not seen.  He covered me in prayer. Every time I saw him his face would break into a great grin and ask me how I was doing and then let me know he was praying for me.  He continually greeted my parents at church and expressed to them that he was praying for me.  How many times he interceded on my behalf when I needed it most I do not know.  I believe one of the reasons that my family and are are in Mongolia today is because of people like Harold Walker who prayed for me and those who continue to pray. 

Mr. Walker died last week of a stroke.  In that moment when he died and went to be with Jesus Harold joined the throng- the ones who have gone before and cheer us on in finishing the race.  The picture painted in Hebrews is a beautiful one- a race that comes into the arena, the runners giving it all they can.  Across the stadium there is a roar, people standing on their toes, hands in the air cheering for the runners to give it there all.  Encouraging them to strive with all they have left to cross the finish line.  Mr. Walker finished the race, he is now among the crowd with so many others that I have loved who finished well and gone on.

  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Heb 12:1 ESV)

Thank you Mr. Walker, you are one of my heroes.    Thank you for loving Jesus, thank you for praying.  Keep cheering.  I will see you over the line. 

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posted by Cinda

 

Our teacher called it a party, but we think it was a lesson in disguise!  Whatever it was, the food was tasty, everyone was dressed up, and the singing and dancing were terrific.  Toby wouldn’t wear his dell after the first five minutes, but aside from that, he had fun.  The kids weren’t sure about most of the food, so thankfully there was plenty of fresh fruit and dessert to make up for the things they wouldn’t eat.  Mark was called upon to answer a few Tsagaan Sar history questions, for which he was well-qualified since he’s gathered a lot of information about it lately.  Some things never change!

Teachers, students, foodAunt Krista with some of the kids meat, potato salad, hoshur

We mingled, we wrapped and re-wrapped our dells, then we had the teachers re-wrap us, we learned about the foods, we ate the foods, and we enjoyed the traditional music and dance.  Then, when we were sated and lulled into complacency, they tested our Tsagaan Sar greetings.  I think we did okay.  We find out tomorrow when we start visiting for the actual holiday.  We have 3 days off school for the holiday.  We have at least 4 invitations to visit Mongolian homes and will get to practice our language while we celebrate with our friends and their families.  Everyone says we will be expected to eat boadz and drink milk-tea nonstop.  We joked about having a weigh-in today and another one next Monday–too bad we don’t have a scale at our house . . .  Maybe just “before and after” photos will work!  The kids will be given a lot of candy — anybody know a good dentist? 

 Annika and Mommy Annika and Daddy Ms. Kirsten with Annika Toby and Mommy

It’s a huge privilege for us to be serving here.  We are very thankful for so many things, among them the opportunities for our children to learn about Mongolian culture.  Mongolia is a beautiful place with an intriguing history and amazing people.  There is no doubt it isn’t easy to live in Mongolia, but God has used difficult circumstances to create incredible strength and perseverance in Mongolia’s people.  

Mongolian singer and fiddler Mongolian dancer

Mongolian Singing and Mooren Hor (Horse fiddle)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2009
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Alliance launched a multipurpose ministry center, including a student outreach, in Ulaanbaatar, the cultural hub of Mongolia. The grand opening of the Grain of Wheat Student Center took place on February 16, 2009.

Each year, 250,000 students pour into Ulaanbaatar from across the country to attend university. “The center is located in the heart of the city, close to several major universities,” says Bernie Anderson, who serves with The Alliance in Mongolia. “The center exists for the benefit of students who come to the city to study.”

Many students enter the university dormitory system, which consists of up to 10 students sharing one room with no furniture. “They have no quiet place of their own to study,” says Anderson. “There is no place in the city to simply ‘hang out,’ with the exception of the abundant number of bars and pubs. Alcoholism is a huge problem in Mongolia, and much of the time it begins with university students.”

The Grain of Wheat Student Center will help meet some of these needs, providing a warm and inviting environment for students to gather. It will feature a library and eventually computers for research, a quiet study area, and a coffee shop. Students will be able to attend English and vocational classes as well as movie and music nights.

The Alliance ministry team in Mongolia believes that the best way to build relationships with the people of Ulaanbaatar is to have a visible presence in the city. Dennis Maves, field director for Mongolia, says, “Our first priority is to establish a beachhead in this strategic city by purchasing a permanent location for a multipurpose ministry center that will serve as a tactical hub for student outreach and outreach into communities throughout the city.”

The Alliance is a fellowship of evangelical believers joined together in local churches, dedicated to caring about the whole person and meeting people’s needs. The Alliance maintains a “big tent” stance in reference to many doctrinal matters, encouraging believers of diverse backgrounds and theological traditions to unite in order to share the love of Jesus Christ through tangible acts of compassion. 

go to www.remembermongolia.org and www.camamongolia.org for more pictures

It’s been awhile since we posted anything new, so we thought we’d just take a few minutes to at least say hello!  After a brief warm spell, it has now turned “AAAMAR Wheaton”, which means frightfully cold.  We’re bundling up as usual and managing to persevere.  The most difficult times are waiting for the bus in the mornings (for Annika) and walking to and from language school.  However, our apartment continues to be very warm — for which we are extremely thankful!  Mark was able to celebrate his birthday (38!) in Bulgan at Jeremy and Renee Bergevin’s home.  They invited us out and we were happy to take them up on the offer.  It was a fun time for all, playing Dutch Blitz and cribbage, eating cake, and worshipping together.  We also had the fun of taking Isaiah Liberda with us to add to the enjoyment of all the kids.  Jeremy gave us a ride out there on Friday afternoon and we came back to Darhan in a taxi on Sunday afternoon.  I’ll leave space for Mark to describe the taxi ride home (related to the vulture pictures below), and to explain the eagle. 

The kids all painted together Saturday afternoon — thanks, Aunt Renee and Uncle Jeremy, for a great weekend! 

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100_5250      100_5260 100_5256 100_5261

I’m not sure if this is a golden eagle (its a bit small) or a falcon (its a bit larger than the Red Tails I’m used to seeing in Arkansas) Unfortunately it got hit by a car and met and early demise.  What a beautiful creature!  Its talons are truly razor sharp and its plumage spectacular.  (Yes I was thinking of all the flies I could tie but do not want to start any extraordinary demand for these beautiful creatures.) 

On the way back from Erdent our taxi driver was quite a guy.  I asked him if he had seen any camels or eagles on the road.  He said that he had not but he did see some camels north of Darhan.  As we were passing a field he stopped and said that there were big black birds- would we like to look at them.  Sure!  I said. In my mind this meant stopping and watching the birds from the road, the driver had other ideas.  To our delight he drove off the road and towards the birds, chasing them.  Toby, Annika and Isaiah thought it was the greatest thing.  We had fun.  We were able to get a few great shots of them as they flew off.  These vultures are the same birds that are used to fletch arrows on traditional Mongolian arrows.  What an adventure and great ending to a special birthday weekend.

 

 

100_5242  In an unrelated photo, Smokey is sporting her new collar — a gift from Grandma! 

Thank you for all your prayers and emails regarding our friend, coworker and neighbor Lisa following her accident.  We just wanted to let you know that she had surgery yesterday, the doctor said it was “ideal” (if I understood Lisa correctly on Skype today).  She’s on the mend and thankful to have that part behind her.   She’s thankful for Skype because it allows her to talk to her family everyday, and for the Korean friends and doctors who are taking such good care of her.  She and Esther will have a free home to stay in over the next two weeks thanks to a church in Korea.  The doctors have told her to expect it to be at least two weeks before she is able to return to Mongolia, which is of course very difficult for her as a mom of 4 children who all happen to be in Mongolia.  Malachi will have his birthday while Lisa is away and Isaiah’s is only a week after Malachi’s, so that also weighs heavy on her heart to be away during this time.  Keep praying!  Lisa is still having a lot of pain and discomfort, too, as well as the family things that are constantly on her mind. 

I’ve seen several high school teams that have tornados but I have not seen any with tornado colors.  For me those colors are pink and silver.  Last year was my first and I pray last experience with the devastation of a twister.  I will never forget the landscape littered with the pink and silver of insulation.  It was stuck on the barbed wire, it took the place of leaves in trees, there didn’t seem to be anyplace that didn’t have it in some amount.  Houses that should have been there were not.  Other houses that looked fine were totaled out because they were knocked a few inches off of their foundation.

I remember it was warmer than it should have been, our front door was open waiting for our small group to arrive.  The rain had started and the TV was on because the sirens started to go off.  I was worried about the Gentry’s place because the storm tracker just showed Petit Jean WMA.  I remember the storm tracker showing Atkins and thinking it was near Campbell’s.  I called them and surprisingly they were ok; what I didn’t know was that they were just emerging from Marion’s storm shelter.  Joanne was still in Russellville.  It had grown dark and the roads were going to be clogged with EMS and debris- we couldn’t get out there that night.

The next several days were a blur.  It was amazing to see people show up and help.  It was an amazing thing to see the church pull together and people out of no where show up and help.  The first day it seemed nothing would ever get done.  By the third day it was hard to recognize the condition things had been in.  The blackhawks flew over (the scary words- “we from FEMA and we’re here to help) to do damage assessments.  Over 100 miles on the ground is an unbelievable trail of damage.  Its a strong reminder that whatever amount of hubris man boasts of we are still at the mercy of the wind and rain; but the wind and rain falls silent at one word of God.  Who are we? 

The cleanup has been finished, Marion got a new house that I had the privilege of dedicating.  Windows are patched and roofs put back together but there are still scars of that night that will not leave.  Those memories are also tempered by the experience of having so many people come out and help – lending a hand, giving whatever was needed and then some. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Super_Tuesday_tornado_outbreak

Thank you to all who are praying.  The latest that we know is that Lisa arrived safely with Esther and are in the hospital.  Due to the nature of the break they need to wait for swelling to go down before the surgery is performed- this should be around Wednesday.  The doctors are estimating that they will keep Lisa for possibly another two weeks beyond the surgery to monitor.  Its much better to be safe than sorry in this situation.   Brent Liberda is now back and everyone is working to cover meals as needed for the family but they are doing very well.  Please keep praying, Lisa is still having allot of pain. 

Wednesday February 7, Lisa Liberda had a bad fall as she went to pick up her children at the local kindergarten.  She slipped on some slippery steps and fell.  She broke both bones on the lower leg close to the ankle.  She was taken to the Darhan hospital to stabilize her leg.  Her husband Brent transported her to UB last night where she was taken to the trauma hospital.  She met the main doctor this morning at 8 o’clock.  They were told that they were not able to have any surgery today and the earliest would be Monday.  We are now in the process for arranging a medical evacuation for her to be taken to the Yonsei hospital in Korea.  There is a flight available tonight and we are able to get confirmed seats.  Pray for the difficult travel ahead (she is in a lot of pain) and all the details and scheduling that will need to take place in Korea.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-207219

umm… I missed this one- but some good shots of downtown UB

 

Please pray for Lisa Liberda, she fell this afternoon and fractured her ankle.  She is stabilized and on the way to UB with her husband Brent.  The fracture will most likely require surgery.  Please pray for the provision of a good surgeon and healing for Lisa.