Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Common to Mankind

I recently thought I should chalk 2017 up to a challenging year:

  • I developed an arthritic condition in my back that leaves me unable to walk periodically (3 episodes this year).
  • I experienced the worst case of poison ivy I have ever seen (lesions from my shoulders to my shins, continuing to develop for almost one month, while on steroids).
  • We had our first experience with bedbugs; took 53 days to completely eradicate them.
  • Dave found out that the job he loves (teaching anthropology and missions and intercultural communications at Moody Spokane) is coming to an end (the school will close at the end of the school year).
  • We are walking with some family members on that difficult part of life's road: the final stretch.
  • And the one that has pierced my heart: our oldest son decided that he doesn't believe in God and at the end of the summer he informed us that he does not want relationship with us.
The good news is that faith grows stronger when under stress, and my turning to the LORD has been a great source of comfort.  Also, I have practiced giving thanks for so many good things from this year:

  • Dave and I celebrated 25 years of marriage; we went to Hawaii for the first time!
  • Our three sons at home are a great source of joy.
  • One son participated in a mission trip independently.
  • Another son has so many good prospects for college and scholarships.
  • We have more family living nearby (in Spokane) than ever before.
  • We are part of a wonderful community of faith, and we enjoy some significant, long-lasting friendships.
  • Day by day, our every need is met.
Last night, we were meeting with a group of people who are very dear to us, and this verse came to my mind:  "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1Cor. 10:13)

The temptation to think my year has been hard was looming in the forefront of my mind.  (It seems kind of silly in light of the international refugee situation, so please forgive me.)  I am a living testimony that God is faithful.  My small trials are not more than I can bear.  I can endure... with HOPE:
Though my body may be wasting away, my spirit is growing stronger.
Every earthly life has an end... and then the real life with Christ begins!
Truth stands the test of time... and the truth sets us free.
Every one of my challenges this year has been something common to man (illness is inevitable and frailty often comes after many decades, bugs invade homes, jobs come and go, children rebel against their parents... ).

God remains my source of hope.  He fills me with joy and peace.  I continue to trust Him.

Sometimes the adventure leaves you tired... and then He lifts up your head.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beine Family Christmas Letter 2016

December 2016
The newsletter formerly known as the... Beine Banter

Well, the Beine Banter is no more, but several have asked for an update from the Beines. It has
been almost one year since making a major change: leaving Wycliffe Bible Translators, after 28 years of full-time missionary work, to transition to a full-time teaching position as Professor of Intercultural Studies at Moody Bible Institute, Spokane. Beyond much encouraging daily interaction with students (who are the next generation of missionaries), I (Dave) have enjoyed continuing to direct an honors program (my current honors prodigy is studying medical anthropology) and I published a chapter in a missions book this year ( ). 

During the summer, I enjoyed the opportunity to lead thirteen students on a trip to Vienna, Austria
to study the European refugee crisis in depth. At the end of that trip, I rented a car and visited interns whom I supervise in Italy and Spain. I also visited missionary friends in France, as well as friends and family in Germany. It was a wonderful experience that reminded me of the close student interaction I used to enjoy while directing the summer SIL programs.
2 The Beine Banter
We have suffered Nepal withdrawal this past year, but interactions with our Nepali-speaking neighbors here in Spokane, and continued involvement with the growing South Asian community here, has helped to lessen the pain a bit. We still miss Nepal! I was offered an opportunity to co-teach a medical anthropology course at a university in Kathmandu next Spring... but it conflicts with my teaching schedule here in Spokane, so for now we have no Nepal travel plans on the horizon.

This past year brought more injuries. After an injury-filled 2015 (Nick tore his ACL requiring surgery, Nate tore a ligament in his ankle and Josh broke his arm) we had hoped for a quiet medical year. New Year's Eve (2015) began with Kimberly tearing her meniscus and MCL in her knee while playing broom ball in our backyard with the boys and their friends (she has a mean reputation on the court). Her subsequent visit to the doctor revealed arthritic deterioration in her joints that is more typical of someone decades older than she is. This came as quite a blow to someone who has taken good care of herself and who thrives on exercise; it is probably written in her genes. This reality has been a source of discouragement several times this past year. Early September found Kimberly in the ER with bulging and torn discs in her back, with loss of right leg function that kept her from walking for six days -- likely related to the progressive arthritis.

Our first son has flown the coop. Nick graduated from high school and has begun his first year at the University of Washington. He secured a prestigious ROTC scholarship that is covering his tuition and providing a stipend as well. He also received a generous university grant and several small private scholarships that covered his first year expenses completely. A great start to an expensive endeavor. He wants to study engineering, followed by service in the Air Force. I guess we instilled the traveling bug? As a graduation gift, I took him to Europe. When the Moody excursion in Austria was finished, we rented a car and drove to Italy (we got to watch the European Championship in several countries), the French Riviera (Nick really liked Monte Carlo), Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Lyon France, Frankfurt Germany, and Salzburg Austria. It was an amazing trip... and a great last father/son opportunity before launching him off.

Nick in a cockpit... not sure if he will compete for the pilot slot yet... and in his sleeping space at college.
3 The Beine Banter
Nate is a junior in high school this year. He is a fantastic scholar and an amazing musician (trombone). He was selected for the prestigious Joel E. Ferris Jazz Orchestra and was invited to perform a piece for a senior composition recital at Whitworth University (quite an honor as a high school student). He is teaching piano lessons and also working for Spokane Parks & Rec. (managing sports leagues). Did I mention that he is highly motivated?! We look forward to seeing where he will go to college; we are in the midst of regular discussions about the options and about how he will pay for the privilege. We are very hopeful for scholarships.

Jake is enjoying a new group of friends as a freshman in high school. He has really grown in his faith this year and is a very mature and helpful young man. He is also quite the scholar and musician. He plays French horn in the concert band and trumpet in the jazz band. He played varsity baseball while in junior high and he hopes to try out for the high school team in the spring. He started working this year, as a dishwasher at a local Chinese restaurant, in preparation for paying for car insurance that will begin in March.

Can you pick out our Jake?  
Josh began junior high at a new school and is having a very good experience. He is following in his brother’s academic footsteps... and he has a definite passion for music! His electives are both in music: he plays trombone and drums in the regular band as well as in two jazz bands. He often stays after school to practice percussion with the student teacher from a local college. It is nice to see him thriving. Last Spring, he performed in the Spokane Children’s Theater production of Seussical the Musical (he really enjoys acting) and in the Fall he played tackle football, and his team finished strong. He has such a unique combination of interests. 
"I really wish my kids could get motivated"!- Dave

                      (Josh ready for his first junior high concert)

We also managed to get in one final vacation together as a family this summer: we visited Yellowstone National Park, thanks to the kindness of some Wycliffe friends who let us stay in their West Yellowstone cabin for a whole week. We managed to get in over 40 miles of hiking in the Yellowstone back country (the boys did some more strenuous climbing) and we drove the entire park, also making it around the Grand Tetons. What an amazing place! We didnt get much sleep that week, as the boys really enjoyed the crepusculars (animals that are active primarily during twilight) and they talked us into getting up early to reach the park at dawn, as well as staying late in the evening, to see them again at dusk.


During the summer, my sister and her family moved to Spokane from Seattle. It has been really nice having family close by. My parents spent the Christmas holiday with us also. More opportunity to enjoy the gift of family! 
                                (David and bigsister Denisa)

Kimberly served as a chairperson for the Ferris High School Jazz Orchestra Annual Swing Dance and Auction again this year. It was her second year in this position, which is pretty much a full-time job for parts of the Fall. The event raised about $17,000 for the band, which has been such a huge blessing for all of our kids, and for so many more (our band has about 170 students this year). It feels good to give back in this way; funding for the Arts is not as high as it used to be. We have decided that we would not want to live in a world without music.

Kimberly is making plans to return to work in 2017. It will not likely be in medicine, but rather as an editor, hopefully. She is still passionate about medicine, but the American medical system is still dysfunctional enough that she is not yet ready to return to it, having already burned out from its brokenness once.

Perhaps the hardest thing we faced this past year was the loss of a ten-plus year adoption dream. Early October brought the expiry of our final home study in an attempt to adopt a daughter. You may remember the various close calls along the way, but we decided that if it didn’t happen by the time this third home study expired we would accept it as God’s will that we NOT adopt. We had hoped to adopt daughters not granddaughters. It was clearly not God’s plan for us. Kimberly had processed this loss some time ago, but I waited right up until the final hour, so this really hit me hard when the time came. It was a fairly melancholy Fall.

We look forward to 2017 expectantly... with hope and with peace and with joy.  We hope the same for you.

-the Beines