Monday, January 11, 2021

2021 St. Louis Homeschool Missions Fair

A short time before leaving for China, it became my duty daily to dress the foot of a patient suffering from senile gangrene. The disease commenced, as usual, insidiously, and the patient had little idea that he was a doomed man, and probably had not long to live. I was not the first to attend to him, but when the case was transferred to me, I naturally became very anxious about his soul. The family with whom he lived were Christians, and from them I learned that he was an avowed atheist, and very antagonistic to anything religious. They had, without asking his consent, invited a Scripture reader to visit him, but in great passion he had ordered him from the room. The vicar of the district had also called, hoping to help him; but he had spit in his face, and refused to allow him to speak to him. His passionate temper was described to me as very violent, and altogether the case seemed to be as hopeless as could well be imagined.

Upon first commencing to attend him I prayed much about it; but for two or three days said nothing to him of a religious nature. By special care in dressing his diseased limb I was able considerably to lessen his sufferings, and he soon began to manifest grateful appreciation of my services. One day, with a trembling heart, I took advantage of his warm acknowledgments to tell him what was the spring of my action, and to speak of his own solemn position and need of God's mercy through Christ. It was evidently only by a powerful effort of self-restraint that he kept his lips closed. He turned over in bed with his back to me, and uttered no word.

I could not get the poor man out of my mind, and very often through each day I pleaded with God, by His Spirit, to save him ere He took him hence. After dressing the wound and relieving his pain, I never failed to say a few words to him, which I hoped the Lord would bless. He always turned his back to me, looking annoyed, but never spoke a word in reply.

After continuing this for some time, my heart sank. It seemed to me that I was not only doing no good, but perhaps really hardening him and increasing his guilt. One day, after dressing his limb and washing my hands, instead of returning to the bedside to speak to him, I went to the door, and stood hesitating for a few moments with the thought in my mind, "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone." I looked at the man and saw his surprise, as it was the first time since speaking to him that I had attempted to leave without going up to his bedside to say a few words for my Master. I could bear it no longer. Bursting into tears, I crossed the room and said, "My friend, whether you will hear or whether you will forbear, I must deliver my soul," and went on to speak very earnestly to him, telling him with many tears how much I wished that he would let me pray with him. To my unspeakable joy he did not turn away, but replied, "If it will be a relief to you, do." I need scarcely say that I fell on my knees and poured out my whole soul to God on his behalf. I believe the Lord then and there wrought a change in his soul.

— Hudson Taylor, from A Retrospect 

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a missionary for 51 years in China, and founded the China Inland Mission.


In February of last year, we held our 7th annual St Louis Homeschool Missions Fair. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and encouraging one another in light of what God is doing in other parts of the world. And we were reminded of our part in that work.  

Countries / groups represented included China, Colombia, Romania, California and the deaf. 

After an international potluck meal (these can be most adventurous) there were some presentations

The evening closed with a couple songs and prayer. 

It’s always a great time with likeminded believers, looking to see the gospel go where it is yet to be heard. We hope you can make it!

2021 St. Louis Homeschool Missions Fair

March 26, 2021

For more information or to sign up, email us at 

daveanddebklein@yahoo.com.  There is no fee, but RSVP is required by February 28, 2021. 

We’d love to see you there!

“...that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 

1 Peter 2:9b-10

Friday, April 06, 2018

Greetings from the Kleins at the end of 2017!

God has been very good to us. All of us. Everyone.
"Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!" — John Newton
We were condemned to die for our sins, which were many. We had no way to repay him because all our best deeds were like rubbish in the presence of his perfect holiness. But as holy and just as he is, he is also full of love. He is love, not superficial so-called love, not “only if you love me back” love. The Bible says he loved us when were just sinners, loving and living in our sin.
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people!" (Luke 2:10)
When we awakened to our hopeless plight, we discovered that the solution to our worst problem had already been solved. Our worst problem was not the need for more money, better health, relaxation, better this or better that. Our worst problem was that we had offended a God so holy that a single sin is too vile for his sight. The price for our sin had to be paid. A righteous, perfect Judge could never overlook an offense and still be considered righteous. We all know that would be a travesty of justice. He could not accept our futile promises to reform ourselves.
"Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought, and with his blood mankind has bought." — 13th century
The price had to be paid. Our God of love paid it on our behalf! It took nothing less and nothing more than the sacrifice of his own dear Son.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!" (Luke 2:11)
That sums up the best news of our 2017. It is good news to all people!

Noah and Susanna, were baptized this year, declaring their intent to seek and follow Jesus. We are so thankful. Noah has grown in many helpful abilities this year which has been a big blessing. Susanna had a couple of months of down time with various health issues, but she is improving and learning to wait patiently on the Lord, which has also been a blessing. 
(Readers will note the frequent use of the word blessing in this letter.)
"Sometimes we go to the Koilpillais' house, and nobody gets married."  Daniel, 2017

This year on March 25, Miss Lily-Ann Koilpillai became Mrs. Benjamin D. Klein. And so, for that amazing occasion which occurred near the home of our dear friends, the Koilpillais, we headed west to Olympia, Washington. It was a misty, spring day, full of much joy and thanksgiving to God. We wrapped things up, headed home, and kinda settled down for a bit. However, this fall found us back on the road again, to rejoice with the Koilpillais again, for another celebration on a misty, fall day, November 4, when Abi became Mrs. Nathanael J Koilpillai.

Now, there was that one time we went to the Koilpillais and nobody got married... 

It was in August, right after that thing in the sky...what was that? Something like partial polar hairclip or something. We all drove to Wyoming, and camped on the side of the road next to the people from Poland, and we all wore welding masks. We were actually on the way to a much anticipated Bible conference in Oregon, but we were able to manage getting back up to Olympia and spending some time again visiting the Koilpillais'. That time, it wasn’t too misty, and nobody got married.  

The rest of the time, when we went to the Koilpillais’ house, someone got married. The weddings totally eclipsed that thing in the sky.

Zak and Beth continue to live nearby and are expecting a little girl in February, giving Great Grandpa Edd yet another chance for a descendent to share his birthday. Zak continues working mostly from home and enjoys opportunities to travel with the family and research geological features which reveal evidence for the global earth catastrophe known as Noah’s flood. Bethie keeps busy caring for Zak, John Mark (2) and Timmy (1), and their expected blessing. Also firm believers in catastrophism, John and Timmy happily conduct experiments on a local scale, usually involving blocks, books and of late, the salt shaker.

Abigail and Nathanael (Jebi) are happily married and residing in Olympia, Washington. Though our families have known each other for several years, it was Ben and Lily’s spring wedding that provided the time and opportunity for Abi and Jebi, who worked with planning and coordinating, to see in one another some very important and precious mutual priorities and goals. With much joy, we dusted off Ben and Lily’s guest list and planned a wedding which coincided with a fall tech event we already had scheduled in Seattle. There was not much dust to dust off.

Ben and Lily are happily married and are residing near us in St Louis. Their story began before our last year’s newsletter had been processed in the post office, as God’s wisdom was being sought by Ben, Lily and their parents. With much rejoicing and assurance, plans were quickly set in motion for a March wedding in Washington, as we were already doing a west coast tech event around that time.
Sarah happily joined in with efforts on both wedding celebrations, especially in helping us get from point A to point B with all our debris and in searching thrift stores for color coordinated attire. Music was a big part of both weddings, and Sarah cheerfully did what she could. She continues to work with Zak doing javascript when the opportunity arises. She has an interest in working on translation for those who have no Bible in their language. Her continued pursuit of Greek (between visits to the Koilpillais) has gone well. This is partly due to her diligence and enjoyment of Greek and partly due to the fact that Greek does not move too quickly.

Solomon has been a big blessing in providing cross-country transportation and did quite a bit of wedding photography. He plays a crucial brotherly role in the family in all he does, and we are so thankful for his efforts in that area. We had our final regional tech conference this year, but then started a new type of tech conference, which we expect to be annual and only based in the Pacific Northwest. Solomon kept busy with all the set up required for the new brand. The timing of our tech events this year heavily influenced wedding dates. Yes, we are getting inquiries about the timing of next year’s tech event. Solomon crafts exquisite macaroni and cheese and is great at replacing the occasional alternator on our van, which seems to be the kind of alternator we occasionally get.

Hannah was privileged to help by singing and figuring out parts for playing violin at both weddings. As our astronomical advisor during the- four-minute-thing-in-the-sky that we watched in Wyoming, she demonstrated the correct time to shed tears of joy. There were just a lot of things like that this year...blessings, watching the sky, and weddings. She stays busy with meal planning and preparation, shopping, musical arranging and projects, household organizing projects, science study and occasional field study, and booking accommodations for the events we help with... but her biggest accomplishment this year has been her completion of copying the entire Bible by hand... which she considers a blessing. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Joanna was a huge help to Debbie as they both set out to California to relocate Grandma Chris to Saint Louis. Joanna has taught herself some flute this year (after receiving one as a birthday gift), continues to study Chinese and continues to organize the annual St Louis Homeschool Missions Fair each February. Joanna joined in with musical help for both weddings. With each wedding in our family, we have been overwhelmed by the help of dear family in Christ who do abundantly more than we could imagine in the way of service. Both weddings this year featured delicious international cuisine contributed by many dear friends. For Abi and Jebi’s wedding, Joanna teamed up with her siblings as a dear family friend taught us how to make a very special Mexican dish called mole (mo lay). Mole is famed for requiring the use of almost every ingredient imaginable, even chocolate, so we had never dreamed of actually being able to make it ourselves. The counter was cluttered with bowls full of rare and diverse spices, seeds and diced produce. It turned out very good, though we noted the strange absence of goldfish crackers.

Rebekah conspired with Debbie to make what we thought was a surprise visit to Grandpa Bill in California for his 75th birthday. For a special gift, Bekah illustrated a storybook of Grandpa’s adventures with his prized puppy in days gone by. But Bekah’s surprise special delivery appeared to backfire, as Grandpa thanked her for the delivery with an almost straight face, said goodbye, and then shut the door. But it was a JOKE. Later we all had ice cream. Bekah joyfully helped with the weddings in many essential and artful ways. She enjoys working on special musical projects as surprises. She is full of surprises. Bekah’s own self-designed birthday cake was inexplicably garnished with chocolate dipped vegetables. It tasted as one would expect, and there was plenty to go around. For days.

Susanna has experienced relief from much of the constant pain which affected her for a couple of months. We are so thankful she was sufficiently recovered from outpatient surgery to participate in preparations for Abi and Jebi’s wedding, such as decorating and playing a musical instrument. Outpatient surgery helped, but she still has some inflammation in her ribs which limits her activity. She likes to find little ways to bless her friends and family. Sometimes these ways are very small, even miniscule. She has really enjoyed having a new sister (Lily) and brother (Jebi). She loves to make tea for loved ones, and continues studying German, and her vocabulary is shaped by her reading a lot of 18th century biography. And if we have told her thrice, we have told her a thousand times...

Noah is about as industrious as a colony of ants, but slows down a teency bit for his duties as “Uncle NoNo” when the opportunity allows. His growing set of woodworking skills has injected much sawdust into our dryer’s lint filter, but it has also helped to solve many practical problems around the house, and produced a very sweet anniversary gift for his parents, made almost entirely out of firewood. He likes baking, playing guitar, doing lawn care and home repair projects, all manner of woodworking, reading, and is itching to replace his first alternator, which may not be too far on the horizon.

Sammy has had great opportunities for photography, at both weddings, and during the total solar eclipse, and all the travel in-between. He loves to help with tasks at the nephews’ house. Hannah tutors Sammy in astronomy, and they keep us posted about upcoming night sky phenomena. Even if we walk away without seeing anything stellar, he gets some pretty interesting photos, which he also edits. He sometimes succeeds in getting candid photos of our local fox’s morning backyard antics, and he practices percussion. But not at the same time.

Gideon also put in a lot of time behind the seatbelt, reading away the miles, taking in many familiar roadside sights, stopping at the same truck stops, identifying the same road cuts. He kept Grandma Jemelie company as she ironed all of the green men and boys’ shirts for Ben and Lily’s wedding, which we caught on time lapse—amazing! We are very blessed. Gideon is always ready to learn new writing fonts, invent fonts of his own, practice calligraphy, and is wanting to learn the technique of illumination. He is an excessively happy uncle. Neighbors recently gave us a flute, which Gideon has adopted, and Joanna intends to help him learn it. We suspect we will not soon hear the end of it.

Joshie received a painted piranha souvenir from friends who are working to share the good news about Jesus in South America. He loves helping with practical projects, especially yard work, though he finds impractical projects almost as appealing. He enjoyed our family’s opportunity for helping out at the new location of the Mount St Helens Creation Center. His birthday celebration was at the Toutle River, the headwaters of which flow from near the north side of Mount St Helens. The younger brothers commemorated Joshie’s milestone by accidentally sending Daddy’s shoes down the mighty Toutle and floating out to the Pacific Ocean. Then, we went to a shoe store.

Daniel is five years old and his menu of adverbs is growing exponentially. He works with his big sisters on phonics, but often muses on the topic for his next podcast. He continues to volunteer his expertise in various areas, such as paleontology, culinary arts, American history, and, on the eve of losing his first baby tooth, dental hygiene. He enjoys drawing in the same way that most people enjoy breathing. For some reason, Daniel really enjoys putting on wedding attire, a task which he tries to work into his daily routine.

Dave and Debbie were overwhelmed and amazed, blessed, and thankful, but not thankful enough.

Well, it is just so amazing what the Lord has done for us all. No matter what 2017 brought us, nothing can dim nor outshine the tremendous gift the Lord has bestowed upon us, because of his great compassion and love. 
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

With much thankfulness, the Klein family:

Dave, Debbie, Sarah, Solomon, Hannah, Joanna, Rebekah, Susanna, Noah, Sammy, Gideon, Joshua, and Daniel

Monday, January 22, 2018

Come and join us!

Do you remember what He's called you out of? 
Do you remember where you were? 
Let us not take advantage of His love 
Lest we forget that we have been forgiven 
Without Him we can do nothing 

We gathered around an early evening backyard campfire at the home of brand new friends in Idaho.  Song time was about to commence.  As the guitar was being tuned, we asked our hosts if they knew any Petra songs.  

Eyes lit up, and a comment about not having heard a Petra song in years was made.

Red is the color of the blood that flowed
Down the face of Someone who loved us so
He's the perfect Man, He's the Lord's own Son
He's the lamb of God, He's the only One
That can give us life, that can make us grow
That can make the love between us flow

At evening devotions with friends in southern Mexico, while sharing favorite songs, our kids unanimously declared we must sing “Grave Robber”.   And so we did.  And now it is one of our friends’ favorite songs as well.

Many still mourn and many still weep
For those who they love who have fallen asleep
But we have this hope though our hearts may still ache
Just one shout from above and they all will awake
And in the reunion, what joy we will see
Death will be swallowed in sweet victory

Powerful words, powerful music, powerfully sung.  It only seemed fitting to us as newlyweds back in the ‘80s.  Songs by the christian music group Petra held common themes of valuing what God values, not being deceived, having faith in an almighty God, depending on him, praying.  

I lived an illusion with no one else to blame
I found a solution when I called on His name
I may not have money or riches 
but I found something better to be
To be a servant of Jesus, 
He means more than the world to me
I just want to be, I just want to be 
I just want to be His disciple

These were ideas with which we were not raised.  As we wore the dreaded “horse hoof” sounds into the cassettes by repeated play, the words and lessons were being impressed on our hearts. It was a means God used to encourage us in truth that is despised by the world.

Some say this life I live is only foolishness 
No waiting pot of gold in the faith that I possess 
But the treasures of this life will slowly turn to dust 
And this fool will find his gold in the Savior that I trust 

Fool's gold - it's waiting in a crown 
Fool's gold - in a city coming down 
I'll leave the gold I can't afford 
For the higher prize I'm pressing toward 
I'll preach the foolish cross of Christ 
And wait for my reward 
Fool's gold 

As children were added to our family, many of the analogies in the songs took on greater depth:  struggling with our own lack of self-discipline, the need to shift priorities, to care more for pleasing the Lord than pleasing men.  

And it takes so long to see the change
But we look around, and it seems so strange
We have come so far, but the journey's long
And we once were weak, but now we’re strong

As our children have grown, they have learned and loved these songs as well.  Petra put to music many truths, priorities and promises which they have been blessed to know from their earliest days.  

We love figuring out how to play and sing old favorites.  And so the idea grew...a Petra Sing Along night!

Our gracious friends at the Family Vision Library are excited to host this special evening, so we want to get out the word.  

Whether these songs are like old friends to you or you would just like some fresh encouragement from days gone by:  if you are in or near the Saint Louis metro, please come and join us! 

There's a Light over the horizon 
I'll keep walking down this road of hope 
Faithful in my prayer 
There's a Light over the horizon 
Though I may not know what lies ahead 
I know that you'll be there 
You'll be there

You won’t find the polish of seasoned road warriors, but we hope to make noise that somewhat resembles some of our favorite songs.  We will project the words and everyone can sing along.  We pray it will be a night of fellowship and refreshing as we encourage one another and praise the Lord with melodies from our hearts.  

You may be weary, but you gotta be leery 
When somebody says that you will never finish the race 
They can discourage but don't lose your courage 
You gotta narrow the margin and keep up the pace 

You gotta run for the prize
Don't look over your shoulder
Gotta keep your eyes
On the straight and narrow
Gotta run for the prize
There's no time to be wandering
Gotta make your way
Just as straight as an arrow

Please join us on Friday, March 16, at the Family Vision Library.  Bring snacks if you would like. And tell your friends!  

It would be fun and helpful to RSVP and suggest some of your favorite songs for us to consider as we compile our song list.  

More power to ya!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Volo Bog in Illinois

In March of 2016, we held our first CocoaConf of that year in Chicago, Illinois. We were able to all come out as a family this time, which is always fun. :) During the conference, those not directly involved with the conference duties made a few excursions to explore the area.

On the last day of the conference, some of us went out to see Volo Bog. Our family first heard about Volo Bog from Dr. Kurt Wise, in a lecture some of us heard a few years ago. He showed some video clips from Volo Bog to illustrate what a quaking bog is like. And since we were less than an hour’s drive away at our hotel in Chicago, we didn’t want to pass up the chance to check it out ourselves. :)

Volo Bog is the last quaking bog in Illinois with an open water center, and the furthest south of such bogs in North America. And what, perchance, is a quaking bog?

The dates are a little off, sure, but the basic concept expressed in the pictures is helpful. :)
At the end of the Ice Age, ice left behind from the retreating glaciers melted, and left large lakes in the northern parts of North America. Over time, vegetation begins growing in over the lake, and silt accumulates, and the lake slowly becomes covered over. 

The vegetation mat is floating over the lake, hence the quaking nature of the bog. You can get a group of kids to stand in a circle on the surface, hold hands, and jump up and down in sequence, and you can make concentric waves that travel through the ground and sway the plants and trees. Pretty neat! :)

Sadly, they don’t allow standing on the surface of Volo Bog – you have to stay on the boardwalk. But they did have this little model so you can experience the feeling to some extent.
There’s a short boardwalk that goes right out to the open water center of the bog, so you can see all the different environments of a quaking bog.

A quaking bog has five zones that encircle the open water in the center. Starting out, we walked through the marsh zone.

And we found a critter! A muskrat, we think.
Whilst watching said muskrat, Noah’s glasses lens fell out and joined the bog ecosystem. Oops!
They have a little brochure with numbered descriptions of various parts of the bog, and numbered posts along the boardwalk, so you can give yourself your own tour.
From the marsh zone, we came into the tall shrub zone. As you may infer, a major constituent of this zone is tall shrubs. :)

Next is the tamarack zone. Tamarack pines are here in abundance, and we learned that they are an unusual pine – they’re deciduous!

Abi, our resident biology enthusiast, particularly enjoyed the little things most of us walked right past. Like this sphagnum moss. :)
In the right season, you can also find pitcher plants. But this was early Spring, so they weren’t showing their little faces just yet.

And here, behind Daniel, you can see the last two zones: the low shrub zone, and the herb zone. I suppose the distinction between the two isn’t particularly sharp. And then it’s open water!

Closer to the open water, a few of us had fun grabbing the tamarack pines by the trunk and bouncing them up and down, though it was a bit difficult to get adequate leverage from the boardwalk.

One cool feature of a quaking bog is the false bottom, which you can see here, in the marsh zone. We tried finding something sturdy enough laying around to pierce through the false bottom, but the best we could find was tall grass that wasn’t too cooperative. Nonetheless, were you to stick your foot down there you would just keep going down. :)

After the boardwalk, we went in to see the little nature center they have there, in an old barn and silo.

Daniel got to meet a snake!
This elevator is built in the silo, and it has one glass wall so you can travel up and down a timeline of the Volo Bog area over time.

They had a nice fossil collection.
A little research library.

And then, after some fun perusing in the center, we headed back to help wrap up the conference. :)