Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2015 Saint Louis Homeschool Missions Fair

“Come up to our monastery- we’ve been waiting for you”, a Buddhist monk told Gladys and her escort. “We want to hear about the God that loves sinners.”
Gladys Aylward, missionary to China, had been traveling with a Chinese doctor to an unreached mountain village in a western province in China, on the border of Tibet. After eleven days in the wilderness, they had lost their way. Exhausted and afraid, they knelt to pray. Then, at Gladys’ suggestion, they began to sing. Their song was heard by some of the monks from the monastery on the hill up ahead, and so this monk had found Gladys and Dr. Huang, and was now inviting them to come up and stay a while to teach them. 
Gladys was shocked. She knew these men lived in strict seclusion, and were never allow to speak to a woman. What made them so eager that they would disregard this rule, and  how did they know that there was a God that loves sinners? The threesome ascended the hill to the monastery, and there met about 500 hundred more monks, all eager to hear of the God that loved sinners.
Later, one of them explained what had happened. 
“Many years ago”, he said, “a man came by on horse back, and gave us this.” He motioned to the wall, where was tacked a piece paper worn and cracked after so many years, which had John 3:16 written on it. “All of us have read or listened to these words many times, and have committed them to memory. This was all the man brought, but from this alone we learned there was a God that loved sinners.  
"For five years we sought to find where this God that loved sinners lived, but we found no information about this matter. Finally one of us made a vow that he would go and not return till he had learned more about this God. He with several others left travelled long through the mountains till they arrived in the small town of Len Chow. There they found a Christian evangelist, who told them as much as he could, and gave them each a copy of the Gospels. These they brought back to us, and together we read them. 
“These words”, the monk continued, “we believe to be true. But there were many things we could not understand. One text was of great importance to us. At the end of mark’s gospel, Christ commanded His disciples to 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature'. We were sure that one day, one of those who had been given this command would come to tell us. We only needed to wait for them to come, and to be ready to listen when they did. when we heard your singing, we knew that you were the messengers we had been waiting for, and so we sent for you."
Gladys was too moved to speak. These men had been waiting, believing that those who knew this great God Who loves sinners, those who had tasted of His love and knew His grace, would be more than eager to be obedient to Him, and “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel…”


Last February, our family helped organize the St Louis Homeschool Missions Fair at The Family Vision Library, a Christian library in St. Peters, Missouri. 

Our goal for the missions fair was to help us to remember to be praying for those who are still unreached with the Gospel and those who are trying to reach them, as well as to keep the Great Commission before us, so that we will be fulfilling our Lord’s command to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

How it works...

Each family participating chooses a country or people group to focus on. Then they research and learn together about that country or people group, and put together a table display with information on that country or people group (population, language, needs, religion, photos, etc. etc.).

The fair starts with an international potluck dinner, featuring foods from all the countries represented. Each family brings an authentic (or nearly authentic) dish from the country they are focusing on.

After dinner, there is opportunity for oral presentations. Presentations are optional, and run about 5 minutes each. families may base their presentations on their tables display or share additional information on their chosen country/people group.

The fair concludes with a time of prayer for missions worldwide. 

This past missions fair was not only fun and educational, it was also an encouragement and a challenge to us all to be fulfilling the great Commission ourselves. We are thankful for the opportunity to put this on, and trust it was a blessing for all who came.

If you are interested...

...and semi-local (or want to make a trip to the area :), we would like you to know that, Lord willing,

 the 2015 Homeschool Missions Fair 

 will be on 

 February 20, at 6:00 pm

at The Family Vision Library
2020 Parkway Drive
St. Peters, MO 63376

There is no fee, but registration is required, and we ask that you please sign up by January 31, 2015.

To sign up, please send:

  • Family names, children's ages
  • Contact info (phone/email)
  • Area of focus (country/people group)
  • Oral presentation (yes/no)

After sign up, we will contact you with further detail as needed.

To sign up, obtain fliers or if you have any questions, write us at daveanddebklein@yahoo.com  

Hope to see you there! God bless!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Zak and Beth's Wedding, Part 3

Since he has at least a six-pack of aspiring photographers in the family, Zak had asked his siblings to be the photographers at the wedding, and the following are the collective shots from their cameras. We were thankful to our friends Kayley and Nathan for taking photos while both families were up in front.

The morning of the wedding, a group of the girls headed to the church building at 7 to finish food preparations for the reception. The meal Zak and Beth requested was taco salad - also known as “haystacks.” Much of the food preparation had been done beforehand, but there were still 35 heads of lettuce and several dozen tomatoes to prepare. We were blessed by the young ladies and guys who came out to help with all the chopping!

Harmony (center) showed up bright and early, and was a delightful helper!

Aaron, Nate and David helping in the kitchen

Nikki and her little ones were a big blessing
with food preparation

As the morning progressed, more local friends arrived to help, and the busyness continued. We had a last minute change in the wedding program, and here are our dear friends from Saint Louis, Carrie Clough and her son Silas, helping out by affixing the new inserts into the printed programs.

Two of Nikki's children, Crystal and Jasper

Ruth covering tables

Sarah used her creative touch to sweeten thing up!

We were thrilled that Grandpa Edd flew from California
to come to the wedding!

As it drew closer to three o’ clock, we began to scurry about getting changed out of our work clothes and making ourselves presentable!

This is when Zak emerged from changing into his wedding clothes, and in a rare moment of pre-wedding confusion, told Mom :

“…I left my dress shoes in the trailer at the campground!”

Smiling, Mom assured him that his shoes would be unnoticed.

Family and helping friends milling around before hearing the call, 
"People are coming!!"

Our little friend Silas (in the green shirt) scurried about the parking lot
delivering freshly taped wedding programs :)

It was so exciting for both Kleins and Bales, to see the many friends and family who arrived to celebrate this day with us. We were having such wonderful reunions, but we quickly had to hurry in the building, as it was approaching time for the wedding to begin!

The room began to fill up, and we had just a few short minutes until it was wedding time!  

More soon!

Monday, October 13, 2014


A man complains bitterly, “There’s no justice in this world!”

What is he talking about? 

If it doesn’t exist on earth, he has obviously never had any contact with the quality of justice that he is complaining ought to be here but isn’t. How does he know it is missing in human experience? Why is he sure it exists?  Where could that be, and how does he know about it? How does he even have the concept of “justice” (or of grace, truth, holiness, or selfless love) if he is only the material of his body and has had no physical contact with justice by sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell?

Indeed, justice has none of these physical qualities. It is unquestionably nonphysical.

That we understand nonphysical concepts proves that we, our real selves that exist independent of our bodies, must be nonphysical as well. Materialism simply won’t hold up to examination. It cannot explain even the simplest realities of life that we experience daily. Much less can materialism explain profound thoughts, philosophical concepts, the drive to expand one’s knowledge, and the yearning for purpose and meaning even beyond this physical life.

Undeniably, the appreciation of truth, wisdom, and beauty, the loathing of evil, and the longing for ultimate fulfillment do not arise from any quality of the atoms, molecules, or cells that constitute the body or even of the brain.

Tissues know nothing about issues. There is therefore good reason to believe that the spirit to which these undeniably spiritual capacities belong will continue to exist even when the tissues that make up the body it has inhabited have died.


There is no denying the fact that, even though we have never seen it on earth, each of us innately recognizes a perfect standard of absolute justice, truth, and moral purity. Moreover, we have something we call a “conscience” that tells us when we have violated that standard. We can learn to turn a deaf ear to this inner voice or to pervert it, but it is there nevertheless.

Once again, the conscience can only be explained on the basis that there is, residing in these physical bodies, a nonmaterial spirit made in the image of a personal Creator who is a Spirit and has impressed His standards upon us. And it can only be from Him that the obviously spiritual capabilities we possess originate.

The God who inspired the Bible claims to have written His moral laws in every human conscience:

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. (Romans 2:14-15)

The consciousness of having broken an unseen but not unknown perfect standard of right and wrong goes beyond culture and cannot be explained in terms of learned behavior. We can reason about what is right and wrong and decide upon behavior totally at odds with our upbringing and presumed conditioning.

This fact is proved again and again as generation after generation rebels against the standards they have been taught. The hippies of the sixties are but one example. Sin is defined in the Bible as coming short of that perfection for which God created us in order to reflect His own glory.

Sin is rejecting God’s light, refusing to let it guide and energize us in obeying our Creator’s will. We know when we are guilty of that, and that disturbing sense of coming short is what troubles the conscience.


Yes, we all have an undeniable inner recognition of right or wrong. The man who complains about the injustice of a court decision need not be referring to a violation of any legislated law. In fact, far from accepting every law passed by legislative bodies, we often complain about their injustice. The man sitting in court and observing what he considers to be improper procedure and conclusion is really demanding that the court itself adhere to the innate standard that he knows exists and believes the court has violated.


No one has the right to take another’s innocent life to save oneself. That rule is written in our conscience. But it is the very opposite of everything that evolution, were it true, would produce as instinctive reaction. Self-preservation is the law of the jungle and enforced by tooth and claw without compassion. 

Respect for others is highly regarded among humans, and survival of the fittest could never produce it. Everywhere in nature, creatures kill and feed upon one another. We consider that normal and ourselves feed upon lower life forms that we have killed for our sustenance. At the same time, however, we know it is wrong to murder other human beings of whatever color, race, or creed. The random motions of atoms in our brains that presumably all began with a big bang and have proceeded by chance ever since could never produce the moral understanding that is common to all. 

Nor can moral conviction or compassion for others be explained by any evolutionary process. In fact, “survival of the fittest” would be undermined by, and could never produce, conscience and ethical concerns. Yet the soldier who falls on an enemy hand grenade to save the lives of his buddies (as some have done), or the policemen and firemen who gave their lives in the attempt to rescue others on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was brought down by terrorists, are admired as heroes. A consistent materialist/evolutionist view would have to denounce as utterly senseless the risking of one’s own life to save the lives of total strangers. In spite of the predominant instinct of self-preservation, however, self-sacrificial deeds are admired and given the highest praise by society. How can that be, if we are products of evolution? 

When did evolution do away with the instinctive law of the jungle that is so essential to survival of the fittest?


Furthermore, in spite of “thou shalt not commit murder” being written indelibly in every conscience, man finds reasons to kill and even to torture his fellows. These rationalizations include supposedly justifiable wars, ethnic hatred, and religious fanaticism. Man has his devious explanations by which he can justify almost any evil. He is a rational being, even accusing others of being irrational, the worst insult one can level at another. 

But big bangs and the resulting chance motions of atoms do not produce rationality. Reason is not a quality of matter but an ability of persons. Consequently, a person must consist of something more than the material of the body. Nor can a physical universe explain the existence of personal beings with the ability to reason about their origin. That could come about only through an infinite Being having created them in His image and likeness so that they could know and love Him and one another and receive His and others’ love.

That we recognize a love that puts others ahead of oneself as the highest experience—and that the expression of human love involves not just the physical pleasure of an animal body, but something so far beyond it that it can only be described as spiritual—is further proof of man’s origin at the hand of God and that man is more than the physical composition of his body. 

The very fact that we have a conscience apart from culture and an innate sense of justice that does not derive from man’s laws but even complains about their injustices, can only be explained in one way: our spirits living in these bodies were created in the spiritual image of the God who is perfect in justice, holiness, love, truth, and those other nonphysical attributes that only God could possess in flawless fullness.

Excerpted from Seeking and Finding God, Dave Hunt

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zak and Beth's Wedding, Part 2

Early in the week before the wedding, we enjoyed extended family time at the wonderful guest house, planning for the wedding (of course!) and many times of fellowship with the folks from the church in Rhinelander. Their hospitality was such a blessing!

We cherished our times
with this sweet big brother :)

Breakfast and devotions outside

We exceeded the capacity of the trash receptacles at our temporary abode (what else is new?) so we were given instructions to a nearby dumping area which we had permission to patronize.

Strawberry plants that Ruth (Beth's sister) and our girls
wrapped and used for decorations
Aaron (Ruth's husband) and Solomon setting up risers 
we borrowed from friends

Our friend Casey blessed us with his carpentry skills, and reinforced the risers
(to ensure it didn't crack under the weight of 30+ people on at one time!),
and added a step.
We had one big room to use for the wedding and ceremony, and we saw that first setting up chairs in rows for the ceremony, then rearranging and adding tables for the reception, would not work with the number of people attending. So we had to be creative and figure out how to fit 220+ loved ones in the space available, for both parts of the day.

Measuring distances for tables

Every square inch of space was accounted for!
We spent a while going over possible layouts, and eventually, settled for this arrangement:

(The chairs in front were being used for step-stools for decorating)
All the chairs faced forwards, with the tables set up. And following the wedding, the chairs in front of the tables were turned around.

While there was an abundance of chairs at the church building, they were all mismatched. So, our little boys sorted and tallied up all the different colors and styles of chairs, and came up with their own symmetrical pattern, to make the room look more "festive." :)

The church building did not have light covers for the light bulbs, and so Mom came up with a creative way to shade the rays a bit.

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but these fans cut out of butcher paper not only softened the light but cast pretty patterns across the ceiling. It was, as Bethie said, "simple, yet elegant!" :)

On Tuesday, some of the girls made a raid to the local Goodwill, to see if we could find fabric to make a backdrop for the wedding. We had the use of a room divider, which would be good to cover up most of the window in front of the building, but we were hoping and praying we could find something to cover it and give it some nice color. The Lord blessed our efforts and we left the thrift store with armloads of various blue and green curtains, sheets, and tablecloths, which we were able to pin up on the room divider as one big drape. As one of the girls said, "Zak and Bethie are going to get married in front of a clothes line!" :)

Sarah's creativity was responsible for turning the rather barren wall divider
into a simple/sweet backdrop

Even though things were super busy, and both families were separated by a two hour drive, Zak, Beth, and both sets of parents had a great desire to somehow have a special time together before the wedding, to slow down for a bit and encourage one another.  We are thankful to the Lord for working out all the details, with each side driving an hour to meet up in the middle, on Thursday evening.

One of many sweet times with the Conjurske family
Friday came quickly - the day before the wedding. We spent most of the day preparing food for the reception, last minute cleaning the building, and working on decorating.

Hannah and Bekah, labeling serving dishes

Hannah and Hanna Bale making guacamole

Hannah browning ground beef - 65 pounds in all! 

Then as it got later, various friends and family who would be involved in the wedding arrived, and we got ready to do the rehearsal. It was tricky starting out - not only were several of the key people for the ceremony not there (as they needed no rehearsing, and would arrive the next day) - the bride and groom were not there either! Beth was two hours away in Ironwood, and wasn't able to get to the church till an hour later than the time we planned. And Zak, along with a few siblings, was at a trailer park 2 hours away from Rhinelander. He was able to leave the trailer there set up, so when he and Bethie left Saturday evening, their home sweet home would be ready. 

Everyone was sleepy and this resulted in some silliness.
Here Aaron welcomes us to Zak and Beth's wedding. :) 

Zak hadn't yet arrived at this point, but we made the most of the time
by going over the order of ceremony

Finally at 10:30 or so, Zak arrived and participated!
Note his shoes. They performed an important role later on.

Brandon (in the lemon pants) was a huge help in keeping us on track,
and stayed till we finished up - at midnight!

We closed our late evening in a time of prayer, and then it was off to get some rest. Beth took Zak's car and stayed overnight with some friends in Rhinelander. Our family piled in the bus and realized -this was our last time to ride in the bus as a family of 16! It was with much excitement and anticipation (of course, more so for one of us!) that we settled down for the night.

Next will be wedding pictures!