Thursday, April 05, 2007
Hi...Greg here. I'm just now wrapping up my first day of work at the new job, and planning to embark on a little family trip. We're so happy and in awe of how God is working in our lives. One incredible family has lent us their car so we can go on our trip! They're the Klahns, and for those of your Greg historians, you'll remember Ted flying on Greg's wing through much of his high school days. (Or was Greg Ted's wingman? HMM) Ted and Gina have 8 kids, and baby 9 is on the way. Their kindness to my family & their incredible trust in having a tribe of children makes them incredibly special Christian examples. But their love for the Lord is exhibited even more incredibly in the following email I received from Mrs. Klahn.
We rec'd a visit in the beginning of Feb from a friend who had just been in S Korea and China. While in China she visited a farm (currently housing cashmere sheep) run by a Mennonite family that is looking to expand and buy a dairy herd. They need someone to come in and run the dairy. Our friend thought of us. The farm is backed by a ministry from S Korea (this needs to be kept confidential) - the group is officially called a "Company" for safety's sake. We are being asked to be "employees" of the "Company".
Our family has been presented with an unusual opportunity and we wanted to share with you what is going on, ask for prayer, etc.
The farm is located very near the N Korean border and in another direction, one can see the Russian mountains in the background. *See Picture - The Building is the future dairy barn.* A future goal is to use this farm as a model to set up dairy farms in N Korea to help feed the starving people there.
Following are the latest plans and information:
Near future plans are that Timothy (the man currently living on the farm) will be visiting us from March 24 - 31. He and Ted will be planning the dairy operation, as well as visiting dairy farms in this area. They may visit a farm show in Osh Kosh as well. During that week, the Company's Supervisor, Eddie, will also visit for a day. Ted and the boys will then go to the farm in China from April 1 - 7 to look around, get to know Timothy and his family, and do further dairy planning. The Company approved paying the costs for not only Ted's ticket, but the boys' tickets as well. We're very thankful! We do ask for prayer for Ted to not experience jet lag, as we've no time built into the schedule for that. LOL
In the meantime, we are getting our documents in order. We have ordered 2nd copies of all birth and marriage certificates, in order to have a copy in the states should a copy get lost in China. We also need to "authenticate" each document at the county and state levels and then bring to the Chinese Consulate for them to be authenticated there. I (Gina) have already been made familiar with the consulate, as Zack and I went there last Friday to apply for the guys' tourist visas.
It appears the Company may be purchasing a container (similar to a semi trailer) instead of renting one, for us to fill with farm and household goods that will then be shipped over. We're making tentative lists of what to bring, what to sell and what to store. Shipping items over involves a lot of work. Here's a excerpt from Timothy: "You need to include itemized lists of all items, and number every box, parcel, package, piece of equipment with a number and description along with a customs value for declaration purposes and an insurance value for replacement. Used items usually have a wide discrepancy between replacement with a new item, vs the sale value of a used item." We would store very little: only those items that we would like to keep, but would not want to leave behind in China "in the event of a rapid departure". This would mostly be sentimental items and the piano. We've already had someone show an interest in purchasing our 15-pass van and the timing would work out well for both parties.
The tentative date for us going over to live would be either Jan or Feb of next year. We could have the baby here, get her/his paperwork in order and be ready to go, Lord willing. This is our thought to the timing - we are flexible to align to His timing, should it be different.
A few weeks ago we were advised to try to meet someone who was from China, but living here, in order to learn more about the country and its people, etc. We initially thought, "How in the world are we going to meet someone??" A couple of days later a friend called and said that he had met a woman who was from China (about 3 hrs from the farm), that she was excited to hear that a farm was going to be started, and that she (and her family) would love to meet us. We did meet them a little over a week ago and had such an enjoyable visit with her and her husband! She gave us her contact information before leaving and said that if we indeed ended up living in China, that she'd give us the names and telephone numbers of her family and friends and that she'd come visit us when she goes back to see her family. What a blessing this was!
We just received our language programs (Chinese and Korean) today, so we're looking forward to begin learning what we have been told is a very difficult language (Chinese). Apparently when you say the word that sounds like "shoe" with 4 different tones, it means 4 different words (food, tree, rat and book). It should be an adventure!
We've enjoyed learning a lot about China in various ways in the past month. We have Chinese Central TV on the dish programming and have seen many cultural, news and other info of interest. We've surfed on the internet and I've "met" an American lady who lives in China (because of her husband's job) and homeschools her daughter there. *If you'd like to visit her blog, the address is: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Jimmie/ She has many pages of pictures and other interesting information. We've also enjoyed communications with the Shells, who are patiently answering all the crazy questions that I have. Have you ever heard of spicy, brown sugar? Did you know that you cannot buy prepared mustard in China? A "town" of 180,000 is considered small by Chinese standards (this is the size of the town that is 15 min from the farm).
We've been told to start getting together house plans, as they would build a separate residence for us. We're enjoying thinking about the possibilities. When I asked the question of whether or not they drink their well water, we were told that our home would be downhill from an artesian spring (with pure, perfect water), so we will have this water on tap. They plan to start bottling and selling the spring water this year (as bottled water is more expensive than milk in China).
Someone at our church offered out of the blue to teach Ali and I how to give various haircuts. This was a few days after I had thought that I'd need to learn more and Aliisa had thought that she'd want to take a class to learn hair cutting techniques. We hadn't mentioned this to each other, or anyone else, for that matter. He is truly taking care of each item that we think about, in His time.
The kids are all on board and we all get more excited as the days pass and we consider the possibilities. We do not cherish the thoughts of missing family and friends, but try to not think about that too much right now. We know that there'll be plenty of time for that if/when we're there.
This link should take you to a map of near where the farm is: http://maps.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTExNmIycG51BF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLWJ1dHRvbgRzbGsDbGluaw--#q1=china&mvt=m&trf=0&lon=129.693604&lat=42.722804&mag=12 Near the far eastern North Korean border, you'll notice a town called Yanji. This is where the closest airport is and where Ted and the boys will fly into. You should be able to click on the map near Yanji and then roll your mouse roller forward and the map will close in more. To the east of Yanji there will be a town call Hunchun. This is the town that is 15 min from the farm.
Well, that's all that I can think of for now. If you have any questions, please ask. If you'd like to or would rather not receive updates, please let us know.
We covet your prayers for wisdom and guidance as we pursue this opportunity.