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posted by Cinda for all the cat-lovers and/or Grandparents reading this

Smokey decided to put his extra energy to good use this week.  In the first two photos he’s helping/supervising as Toby tackles the litterbox job.  The cat can actually balance on the edge of his litter box — is that normal?  We think he might be exceptionally talented as well as being exceptionally malicious . . . but it’s maybe just an excuse for keeping him around even though he drives us crazy.  He reminds us of that rhyme of the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead.  When she was good, she was really, really good, and when she was bad she was horrid.  One minute he’s cuddly and purring, and the next minute he slices your hand open with his talons or pierces a toe with his needle-like baby teeth.  We’ve all improved on our reflexes and running speed a lot since Smokey came to live with us.  You should see us run across the room and dive into bed after we remove our socks at night.  This is a cat who desperately needs some mice to chase but for now he has to settle for the dust mop.  

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This afternoon he decided to help out with cleaning the kitchen sink and counters after Toby left the step stool by the sink.  Really he just wanted to attack the dish cloth, but it LOOKED like he was being helpful.  He is a cute kitten, but we definitely miss our big lazy labrador!  We are very thankful for the joy Annika and Toby get from having Smokey around and for the great lessons they are learning from caring for a pet (and improved speed and agility).  Even Mark likes having the cat around, though if you ask him he will probably deny it! 


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by mark


Reading the following story online at BBC (this is where we get the most of our news from).  Rival to the World’s Tallest Man.  So what does it have to do with Mongolia?  Well if you scroll down and look at a comparison of the world’s tallest man you will see the current record holder, a man by the name of  Bao Xishun.  Where does Bao live?  Yep, that would be Darhan.  I can’t say that I have seen him although friends did see them standing, or bent over because the ceiling was to low, at the bank. 

by Annika

They made a club house.  They made the club house in a tree at the park.  Then one day a cat named Rocky and a cat named Smokey asked if they could be in 100_4557 the club.  But Strawberry, Heart, and Hello Kitty said “No” because they were boys.  So they built their own club house and made a club.

by Mark

Perhaps the most haunting words that echo from the cross are the words “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”  These are found in Matthew 27 and Mark 15.  It is striking that in both Matthew and Mark these are the last words of Jesus.  These are words of agony, of Jesus bearing the wrath of the Father in my place but in the agony and enduring the Father turning his back on the Son these are also words of victory and hope. 

Jesus is not shouting out a random cry of abandonment but he is quoting Psalm 22:1.  Even in the midst of the greatest pain he would ever endure Jesus brings scripture to mind.  Psalm 22 is an odd Psalm, in some ways it does not make sense.  The 31 verses are roughly divided into 2 parts.  Vs. 1-18 is a cry of anguish, of seeking understanding as the evil doers triumph.  The break of vs. 19-31 changes with the beautiful word, “but” But you, O lord, do not be far off! (19).  The second section seems to move from uncertainty to assurance.  In calling for the Lord the question still remains- will he come?  However quickly the section moves to recalling the faithfulness of God as well as asserting the triumph of God. 

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
(Psa 22:27-31 ESV)

On the cross Jesus in quoting this Psalm is summoning, recalling and triumphing the promise of God that all the nations would be blessed.  In the sacrifice of Christ the worship of the nations was secured, although it is still being realized (to a people yet unborn)- the day when we shall stand around the throne, from every tongue, tribe, people and nation and worship the King. 

You can’t understand Psalm 22 apart from the cross- the cross is the only thing that will tie together, the first verse that Jesus quotes and the last verse that Jesus quotes.  Because while we readily recognize the quote of the first verse of the Psalm “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” we don’t often recognize the last verse which are the last words of Jesus.   (vs 31)  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Jesus quotes this in John 18:30 when he says  He has done it = It is finished.  God is given glory as the  nations worship the Lord.  The Mission of God is accomplished
He is Risen

He is Risen Indeed


(I commend the book The Mission of God by Wright if you are interested in exploring God’s Mission especially from the OT perspective)

by Mark

DUST STORM! I’m thinking this might be a good title for a novel or a made-for-TV movie. (When you read it you must shout it with emphasis- its in caps with an exclamation point, its very dramatic)   I’ve seen many storms in my life but not really a true dust storm.  We enjoyed our time in the capital, Ulan Baatar and were looking forward to time back in Darhan to run around.  On Wednesday the DUST STORM! brewed up.  Everything goes brown.  After the storm when you realize that an inch of dust is deposited on the streets you realize how much soil is blowing, it’s like the dust bowl. 



You need to keep the windows shut.  Even with the windows shut the dust still comes in (this photo is the inside of our window sill).  Its really hard because the pars are still hot and the apartment gets hot and stuffy really quickly. 


During the storm- no basketball players


After shot for comparison (you can see some green grass coming up as well- its like we went from winter to summer in one week- except the heat is still on but we now have a fan!)


Back window


What else to do inside but watch a few movies and tie some flies (we have been on break from language school this week and it’s been good- but I think I am more tired now than at the beginning of the week!)


Here taimen, taimen, taimen  (size #4 Mustad 3366 -greatest hook ever made- gsp thread and deer hair)


Even Smokey settled down to take a nap.  He likes playing in boxes, just like some children we know.

by Annika

The Adventures of Hello Kitty, part two

During that year they also went to a friend’s party.  It was a friend who was a girl.  Her name was Heart.  They had never met Heart but their parents had!  They met her when she was a baby.  Now she was turning 7.  Strawberry had already been there seven years! 

So they next day they got up early and got dressed and ate breakfast.  They put on their helmets and rode their bikes to Heart’s house.  When they finally got to Heart’s house Heart greeted them.  It was fun at Heart’s house.  She had a swimming pool!  They went swimming in it!  After that they opened presents and then ate cake.

The party was a lot of fun!  After the party was over they decided to be friends.  They had a 3-friends Club!100_5243

by Mark

As I think back on March the question seems to be- “Where did it Go?” We started out with a prayer retreat outside of UB. 

group photo 2009 prayer retreat

You can see the whole crew above- We certainly are missing the Liberdas!



We wanted so say THANK YOU! to everyone from Menominee- Here are Diana and Jack, Homer and Diana, and Becky who did the kids program (kids loved it and so did mom and dad) It was great to spend time with team members and fellow super-heroes





We also discovered that despite not having seafood we are safe from goiters because we can get iodized salt.  Enough said and you can all breathe easier.  The salt is a bit strange because its by UNICEF but the font is the same as most of the food from Wal-Mart, is there an Arkansas connection? (Yes I’m going to start using Just for Men after this- Mongolian men rarely go gray, there are some but I’m an oddity- you always knew that didn’t you)

We have weathered our first dust storm.  March still comes in like a Lion and goes out like a – well still with a fury, we are not out of the dust storm season yet. We have a break next week from language study and are really looking forward to it.  We will see what April holds.

by Annika

Chapter Two

One time when Strawberry and Hello Kitty were 7 they learned how to ride a bike without training wheels!  It was fun!  When they got their bikes they were 6.  They both had their birthdays!  Their birthdays were fun.  They got different things like: a dress, chocolate, a stuffed animal, and even a helmet for their bike!  They had a lot of fun!  They even played princess with their dresses!


to be continued