Kleins at the fireplace

Kleins at the fireplace


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zak & Beth’s Testimony

Our blog has been sadly neglected for the better part of this year, and we are working on updating it as we have opportunity! 

While so much has gone on in the last seven months, of course the most monumental for our family has been Zak and Elizabeth Bale getting together, seeking the Lord's will for their lives, and eventually uniting in marriage. We are amazed and thankful as we look over what the Lord has done for the two of them thus far, and we can't wait to see what He does with these two young people as they seek to follow Him every step of the way.

We are working on getting together the pictures from their wedding day and will hopefully be posting those soon, but first we wanted to share the testimony that Zak and Beth gave at their wedding in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on July 12. 

Zak: Thank you all so much for being here today. Some of you know that Rhinelander is the town where Elizabeth and I first met, in the winter of 2006. This area and this church are very special to both of us, and we are grateful to the Lord and our friends here for the opportunity to share this time with you all in this place.

Over the past few weeks a number of folks have asked Beth or myself just how we got together. For context, the Bale family has been serving as missionaries for the past several years in Romania, while the Klein family has resided in St. Louis for about the same period of time. Considering that these two locations are separated by 5,207 miles, including the Atlantic ocean, it's probably reasonable to wonder how we ended up in front here.

As I mentioned earlier, Beth and I first met back in 2006, when our families both attended a series of meetings here in Rhinelander. Over the next four years or so, our families saw each other for brief visits while we lived in central Wisconsin, and the Bales in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and our two families became friends. However, while I had taken note that Beth seemed to be a godly young lady, neither of us felt any interest in each other during this time. Our families had many similar priorities and experiences, but God still had much more to teach Beth and I before either of us were ready for this.

Summer of 2007 in Rhinelander, WI at a series of meetings

Klein and Bale kids playing a game
December 2009, in Portage WI

A visit from the Bales in April 2010, 
a few weeks before their family left for Romania

Beth: When we first met the Klein family, I was blessed to see their many kids, and see their heart for the Lord. Our families did see each other and get to be friends, but only for a couple of days a year, and usually in a large group setting. What I did see of Zak made me think he was a nice guy, but I had no idea that the Lord would work this out.

My family and I moved to Romania in 2010, where we lived for the next four years. Before we moved, some people had expressed concerns as to whether I would ever be able to find a husband if I moved to Romania. While we appreciated their concern, I truly felt it was God's leading, and if it was His will, He could bring me and my future husband together, in His time and in His place. And I actually felt that Romania was part of it all, and I've seen it to be so, as God worked in my life and taught me many lessons while I lived and worked with my family, and the things He had us deal with.

Elizabeth with Viorica, a single mother whom the Bales took in,
and her daughter Estera

In late January of 2014, the Lord worked it out for my mom, my youngest sister and her husband, my two youngest brothers and I to come back for our first visit to the States, to be there for my Grandma Wright's 90th birthday, and to visit a whole lot of dear folks. Coming over from Romania, we landed in Chicago, stayed with a dear Romanian family, then headed West to California - the first stop being the Klein family.

Zak: When I first heard that some of the Bales would be visiting our home, I remember being rather nonchalant about the idea. By this time I had come to appreciate the family's ministry in Romania, and knew it would be good to see them again and be of whatever service we could. I figured it would be a nice visit, and then the Bales would be off to their next destination, and life would go on as usual.

Kleins, Bales and Bîlcs - February 2014

It turned out God had other plans.

The Bales left our home in St. Louis on February 3rd, heading out towards California for their next stop. Again, I remember being very casual about the situation, but I also distinctly recall feeling as though I had “missed” something during those few days with the Bale family. But I dismissed the feeling without much thought - after all, there was surely nothing to be missed here.

Later that afternoon, we received a phone call from the Bales. Their van had broken down in Emporia, Kansas, about four hours away from our home. The family got a hotel room and tried to find either a shop to fix the van, or an alternative vehicle. Nothing seemed to work out, so later that night, my brother Solomon and I boarded my truck and headed out to Emporia, just ahead of a massive blizzard.

Between adventures in getting the Bale's van repaired and waiting out the storm, Solomon and I ended up spending the better part of two days stranded at the hotel with the Bales. Us boys stayed in a second room while details were worked out. During this time, the Lord opened my eyes to something I had never bothered to see before. We all know that trials tend to bring out a person's true character. As I worked alongside the Bales in trying to resolve the problem, God allowed me to see Elizabeth in a new light. Her attitude and demeanor in the face of difficult personal situations resonated with me, and I found myself reminded of a passage in 1 Peter 3.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

When my brother and I finally parted company with the Bales and headed home on February 5th, I knew I wasn't going back to life as usual.

After some prayer and consternation, I talked to my parents about my newfound feelings. Dad and Mom were both very supportive, and faithfully prayed with me and for me during the following days and weeks. Dad gave me his blessing, and counseled me to talk with Elizabeth's father before too long.

The Bales stopped by our home again on March 5, on their way back up to their house in Ironwood, Michigan. They stayed for several days, and while I certainly took the opportunity to observe Beth and get to know the family better, I didn't share any of my feelings. But this second visit went a long way towards settling my thoughts on the matter. The day after the Bales left our house again, I called Mr. Bale and asked him if he would consider me as a husband for Elizabeth.

Tim agreed to pray about my request, and told me he would get back to me in “a few days.” Those few days were very long ones, for sure. However, the Lord used the time to prepare me for what was to come later. I remember repeatedly praying that, if this was not the Lord's will for Beth and I, the door would be closed.

Five days later, Tim called me back, and gave me his and Terri's blessing. Then he told me that I needed to talk to Elizabeth.

It took just over another month before I finally spoke with Beth about this. During the interim time, the Lord worked things out that myself and one of my sisters were able to travel with Terri, Elizabeth, and her two youngest brothers, David and Nate, for a two week trip across the Eastern United States. I went along as a driver, and during the trip I had many chances to get to know Beth better, as well as many opportunities to interact with family and friends that we visited along the way.

With Beth's brother Josh and his family in New York
Late night theological discussions with friends in upstate NY

God was using this time to stretch me in many ways - spiritually, theologically, and physically. And all the while Beth and I shared many lengthy conversations in the car about a broad range of subjects, developing a friendship and learning more about each other every day.

Beth: On my side, in the brief times we'd seen each other since coming back to the States, I was very blessed and impressed with all the Lord had done in Zak's life since I had last saw him. Of course he was just one of many young men I knew who love the Lord, and I appreciated that, but I did my best to stay neutral, being kind, but not seeking attention. Over time, I began to wonder at times whether Zak was thinking something more, but I really couldn't tell because he did such a good job of just being a good Christian brother.

Song time at Beth's aunt's house in Ohio

With long-time friends of the Bales in Michigan

On the trip out East, these wonderings grew, and I prayed a lot, but mostly it was a very peaceful time getting to visit folks, and really getting to know who Zak was in a neutral way, because I hadn't really known him personally at all up to that point.

The place where Zak and Beth had their first talk - 
the home of long-time friends of the Bales in Kentucky

The last night of our trip, Zak asked me to talk, and told me that he had talked to my dad, and that he had given his blessing for us to seek the Lord's will in the matter. On the one hand, the Lord had shown me a lot of things that gave me peace about the matter, but I also had some concerns. So we got to talk some, and it was a very blessed time. One really neat thing was, that we both agreed that God's will is best, and if this was not God's will, then we didn't want it to happen. But if it was - we totally did want it to happen. We agreed to pray about it, and to talk some more. Then we prayed together, and it was all a very special time.

The Northeast trip group picture, 
before Beth and her family headed back home to Ironwood, MI

The next day we all drove back to St Louis. After a few days at the Kleins', me and my family drove back up to Ironwood. Zak and I continued to talk over the phone, and as the scheduled time came for our family to go back to Romania, the Lord led us to change our plans. Which then made it possible for me to come down and visit in St Louis, and get to know Zak even better. The Lord continued to guide and show me things in so many ways, through people, through sermons, through the Bible, and through Zak.

Zak: Over the next six weeks after Beth and I first talked, God continued to give us many indications of His leading. Patrick Clough and his family, dear friends in St Louis, graciously opened their home to Elizabeth, and she stayed in the area for just over one month. During this time we saw each other almost daily, and spent the majority of our time together in prayer and Bible study as we discussed various issues and possible differences between us.

One of many get togethers with the Cloughs

Beth and I both agreed that we wanted the Lord's will in this whole matter, and we also understood that when it came to matters of faith, family, or any area of life, God's word had to be our final authority, and not our own opinions or family practices.  Thankfully our parents on both sides had instilled a deep respect and trust of the Bible in their children, and we now found ourselves appreciating the Scripture more and more as our guide in discovering God's plan for our lives individually, as well as together.

As time went on and our discussions continued, Elizabeth and I both saw that the Lord was indeed working between us. And as we talked and shared more of our thoughts and memories with each other,  our friendship began to grow into something more.

On June 2nd, I asked Elizabeth if she would become my wife.

Beth: I said yes. (smile)

Zak: As we look back on the path God has led both of us over the past few months, one thing that stands out the most is that, while both Elizabeth and I were certainly interested in marriage, neither of us were led to search out a prospective spouse on our own. Jesus, quoting from the book of Genesis in Matthew 19:5, says “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” Up till this time, God had clearly given me a role within my family as a son and a brother to my (many) siblings. And He had given Elizabeth a place to serve with her family in Romania., more than 5000 miles away.

There were certainly many times in my adult life where I figured marriage wasn't going to be in my future. With our family's frequent moves and somewhat “unusual” lifestyle, I must confess that I was very doubtful at times that the Lord would ever bring me a spouse. After all, it's not like a godly missionary girl in a like-minded family from across an ocean would ever end up on our doorstep in St Louis, right?

Ephesians 3:19 says that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” For Elizabeth and I, He has certainly done that. While neither of us can claim to have done as well as we ought, both of us have come to understand the principle of Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

Our hope is that everyone here today would be encouraged to seek the Lord even more, and to trust Him to provide “all these things” that you need. We are grateful beyond words that He was weaved our lives together, and  we invite you to join with us in living out the promise of Psalm 37:5:

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting our blessings

O     N     E    !  


T     W    O    !  

Zachary and Abigail

T     H    R    E     E    !  

Zachary, Abigail
and Benjamin

F       O       U      R       !  

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin and Sarah

F        I      V     E      !  

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah
and Solomon

S            I          X         !

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon and Hannah

S       E     V     E     N     !

  Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon, Hannah
and Joanna

E     I      G      H     T     !

Zachary, Abigail, 
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon, Hannah,
Joanna and Rebekah

N        I       N       E       !

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon, Hannah,
Joanna, Rebekah
and Susanna

T          E          N          !

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon, Hannah,
Joanna, Rebekah,
Susanna and Noah

E     L    E    V    E    N   !  

 Zachary, Abigail, 
Benjamin, Sarah, 
Solomon, Hannah, 
Joanna, Rebekah, 
Susanna, Noah 
and Samuel

T    W    E    L   V    E    !

Zachary, Abigail, 
Benjamin, Sarah, 
Solomon, Hannah, 
Joanna, Rebekah, 
Susanna, Noah, 
Samuel and Gideon

T   H   I   R  T  E  E  N  !

Zachary, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah,
Solomon, Hannah,
Joanna, Rebekah,
Susanna, Noah,
Samuel, Gideon
and Joshua

F  O  U  R  T  E  E  N  !  

Zachary, Abigail, 
Benjamin, Sarah, 
Solomon, Hannah, 
Joanna, Rebekah, 
Susanna, Noah, 
Samuel, Gideon 
and Daniel Amos Klein

Friday, November 01, 2013

A hymn for parents, too!

This hymn always seemed to be about farming or Thanksgiving. It's actually a soul winner's hymn. But it also has a good message for christian parents, whose job is to train their children in the way they should go, to persevere.  

So much of parenting, which is a privilege and blessing,  is teaching and doing the same thing over and over and over, in the midst of learning on the job, being tired or impatient, struggling with our own growth in the Lord (or lack).  We need to keep our purpose before us and remember what it's all about.  It all works together for good to those who love God.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Psalm 126:5

And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
 Galatians 6:9

Bringing in the Sheaves
Knowles Shaw

Sowing in the morning, 
sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide 
and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, 
and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, 
bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, 
bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, 
sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds 
nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, 
and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves.

Going forth with weeping, 
sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained 
our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, 
He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Missionary wall

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, 
that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: 
that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 
Ephesians 6:18-20

Our current home has a lot more wall space that the previous one, so it allowed us to have a dedicated missionary wall area.  

Some dear friends gave us the idea, as they had a similar set up in their home, with a map and current prayer needs.  So, after moving to this huge house, we set it up in our dining/devotions/school area.  It is a focal point and helps to keep updated with prayer requests for those who are unreached, and the christians who have left all to seek to reach them.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; 
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body 
be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.  
Brethren, pray for us.  
1 Thessalonians 5:23-5

So we have room for a laminated map, hung almost level, and a big whiteboard that is separated into areas for those we want to be regularly praying for.   We also had plenty of room for a book shelf, so we took apart a retail book display and modified it.  It gives us space to keep missionary related books and newsletters displayed and accessible in the same area.  We use some of those 3 prong portfolios to collect newsletters on this rack.  In the center, we have some bulletin board strips for photos or recent newsletters.

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, 
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:38

Our desire is to remember what God is doing beyond our zip code and time zone.  It is a struggle to think outside our own territory.  The whiteboard especially has been a big help in keeping up to date with current events for missionaries.  The addition of a dedicated calendar to mark up with events, travels and outreaches is the next ingredient we need.

We give thanks to God always for you all, 
making mention of you in our prayers;
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, 
and labour of love, 
and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, 
in the sight of God and our Father; 
 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3

2014 Saint Louis Homeschool Missions Fair

We are super-excited that the Lord has opened the door for another homeschool missions fair!  We were first involved in one with our dear friends in Wisconsin, and it was such a blessing!  If you are in the St Louis area, here are the details!  (Click each photo to enlarge - it is in brochure layout, so you kind of have to figure out where panel one begins!)

If you have any questions or want to sign up, please email us!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

God has a purpose

by Art Dappen

We have found this article, which was written in September of 2004, to be a much needed challenge.  We hope it will be a blessing to other christian parents, too.  This past summer, we have heard many lament, in effect, "Where are the Timothys?"  Perhaps the answer is not that hard to find.  -- the Kleins

When God says "Teach my words to your children," he has a purpose. 

What is the purpose of teaching the Bible to our children? The modern world does not think it is important to teach the Bible. Even the modern church thinks that it is more important for children to study academic subjects than to study the Bible. The average Christian boy or girl studies six hours of academics a day, compared to a few minutes of the Bible. Few parents seriously teach the Bible to their children. 

God tells parents many times to teach his Word to their children. God desires that the children know his Word and come to him. The Word of God causes children to know God, to believe him, and to understand what he wants them to do. It tells the children how to follow Jesus. 

The Law of God reveals God's righteousness, just as the whole visible Creation of God reveals his power. Without the Law of God, no one could imagine the character of God, because that character is not seen in the physical universe. You could watch the sun, the mountains, and the ocean for thousands of years and never realize that God is full of mercy and truth.  His merciful and truthful character is not declared by the trees, rocks, and rivers, but it is revealed in the Law of God. The Law reveals the qualities of God's character as he acts in righteousness and as he judges sin.  God's judgments against sin teach us that such sinful behavior is unacceptable to the righteous God.  

What then will a child receive who diligently studies God's Law? He will obtain the knowledge of God's righteousness. He will thus know who God is, and what God expects him to be. He will also understand why certain behavior is evil: because it opposes the righteousness of God.  

All the men whose lives are described in the Bible are examples to us, but especially the example of Jesus. These examples show us what it means to believe God and to be servants of His righteousness. Jesus tells us to follow righteousness, and the way he walked was the perfect expression of righteousness.

Today many people are trying to serve God, but not in the same way that Jesus and Peter and Paul were serving him. Modern methods are very different; they do not depend upon the power of righteousness, but the power of electronics, the power of mass psychology, and the power of medical science. Modern Christians are enlightened by human knowledge rather than by the knowledge of God's righteousness.  

For this reason God does not answer their prayers to the same extent. A lowered knowledge of God's righteousness has resulted in a lowered power in prayer. Since God does not answer their prayers as he did in the book of Acts, they must resort to human technology and science. Thus the modern Christians are rapidly departing from the faith of the New Testament, a faith rooted in righteousness and depending wholly upon following righteousness.  

The thing that puts power in prayer is the righteousness in the heart of the one who prays. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16.) Jesus said the same thing to his disciples: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John15:7.) When Jesus speaks of "his words abiding in us", he is speaking of his righteousness abiding in us.  

Modern education does not teach righteousness, but teaches all of man's modern discoveries as a substitute for righteousness. Those who place great value on education are those who have lost the power of righteousness, or perhaps never had it to begin with. They do all their works to be seen of men and to receive the accreditation of men. They diligently seek the praise of men because God gives them no praise. Their lives have little righteousness. Jesus said of such men, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44.) 

Jesus and the apostles did not use the world's education or science in order to serve the lost and needy because they had something vastly better. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12.) In order to work such works, we Christians must be full of faith in Jesus, particularly in his words which he left to teach us the ways of righteousness.  Abundant righteousness in the heart will come from meditating upon the Word of God. It will not come from studying the words of proud men who go about to establish their own righteousness through their good works. 

How are we going to represent Christ in this present darkness? By seeking his righteousness and showing the world the power that exists in such righteousness?  Or by seeking the wisdom of modern man's science and showing the world the power that exists in such science? Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, and follow the example of his life.  

We should hunger and thirst for righteousness so that we can properly serve the Lord. The Word of God will create that hunger and thirst for righteousness.  However, let us identify the substitutes for righteousness which the children are taught to nibble on, and which take away their hunger for righteousness.  

In the first place our society has a general craving for fun, enjoyment, and excitement. Children are fed a constant diet of things to awaken and deepen their craving for fun and thrills. This "fun and games" mentality is an unscriptural training which will poison the hunger for true righteousness in the child.  

In the second place our society has a craving for success, prosperity, and security. Children are fed a constant diet of ideas which will awaken and deepen their craving for success, prosperity, and security. This "get ahead” and “be successful" mentality is an unscriptural substitute for the true righteousness which is the only true security. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12: 20-21.)  

Spiritual growth will not occur in children if the parents are appealing to the child's flesh. When parents appeal to the flesh, they will get growth of the flesh, nothing else. But when the parents appeal to the spirit, they will get growth of the spirit. The most spiritual thing on earth is the Bible. For this reason God commands the parents to teach the words of the Bible to the children, and teach them without ceasing: while at home, while traveling, in the evening and in the morning. His words should be written upon the doors and posts of the home.  

Will this cause the children to hate the truth? No more than speaking constant English to a child would cause him to hate English. In reality, the constant exposure to anything will cause a child to like it more. This is why Australian children like Vegemite.  

Timothy was a child who had been taught the Scriptures from his childhood, and it did him great good:  "...from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 3:15.) Little wonder that Timothy was different from other men. Paul testified of him, saying, "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel."  (Philippians 2: 19-22.)  

When God says "Teach my words to your children," he has a purpose. He wants more Timothys. The word of God will produce them if the parents teach the word diligently to their children. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn Praise

O breeze that rustles waving grass,
That sighs your way o'er plain and hill,
And sways the leafy maple boughs,
While never resting, never still;

O birds that fly in heav'n above,
Who trace the path which years before
Your fathers laid, who, this same time,
Began their flight at autumn's door;

O trees, crowned now in all the fire
The seasons ever grant to you,
Who drop your beauty to the ground,
Enriching all with scarlet hue;

O sun, that dyes the scen'ry gold
With brightest glory ever seen,
A diamond pure, in sapphire set;
In sapphire strong, at peace, serene;

All nature come, join with me now,
O breeze and birds, the trees and sun:
Begin your autumn praise to Him —
Come sing the song that must be sung!

-- Hannah Rose Klein