Saturday, July 26, 2008


Guess what we've been up to lately?! If you'd stop to take a peek into our kitchen these days, you'd probably see the counters piled high with......apples! Tis the season for harvesting and canning summer fruit. Ah, the smells of the season!

Our little apple picker

Bounty by the bushel load!

And the process continues.

It was great having Grandma here for the week, too.
(Thanks for your help, Grandma!)

"The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter."

Psalm 74:16-17

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wedding Preperations

With wedding bells scheduled to ring in less than two months, (or as the bride and groom would tell you -- 57 days!) preparations are in full swing. Ruth spent a couple days this week at the Rehm's home helping sew the bridesmaid dresses. They are coming together beautifully and it's exciting to see details take shape little by little!

Abi's mom and cousin help cut out the pieces.

Guess who the camera caught at the sewing machine?!?

Along with bridesmaid dresses, Ruth also worked on gowns for our younger girls who will be in the wedding.

Such a happy sewing crew!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life in Taiyuan

It's been another full week in Taiyuan! Full of teaching hours, building relationships, exploring the city, sharing hospitality and fellowship in our apartment, and adventures in the nearby park.

Bethany has been documenting each day with oodles of pictures, some of which she has posted here.

We as a team have been memorizing 1 Peter 1 together and I was recently encouraged by this verse --

"Whom having not seen you love.
Though now you do not see Him, yet believing,
you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,"
1 Peter 1:8

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Home Front

With a gratitude for the marvelous invention of Skype, we continue to work, study, play, and practice on the home front. Our days have been full of new adventures -- an additional driver in the family, Matthias' new job working in the PortaBlast office, wedding preparations, new songs, and watching the computer for news from our family in the Ukraine and China.

Charissa is growing so quickly these days -- and has been learning new words by the handfuls. With sisters Skyping from China, she has several Mandarin phrases in her vocabulary, too -- Ne Hao!

Mmmmmm!!! A Wissmann favorite -- ice cream birthday cakes!

Wedding preparations have taken the form of dozens of hours behind the sewing machine for Ruth this week With each of us involved in some aspect of the special day, this equals a host of new outfits!

Practice has continued with several new songs in the works -- it's great to see our younger ones stepping in to take up the slack!

And yes -- there has been plenty of opportunity to enjoy our traditional summer activities. There's just nothing like getting your work done in time for a water fight!

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing
which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee,
and unto thine house."
Deut 16:11

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Solo!

Our Daddy is flying -- well, with the help of an airplane! [smile]

For the past 20+ years airplane flight has become one of Dad's earnest dreams. Over the years he would periodically check into the prices of various flight rentals and classes. But with the needs of a growing, lively family, he always set aside his desires to financially provide for the crew.

And isn't God good?! Now, with his own son as a pilot instructor, he's been able to take lessons these past couple months. And Wednesday was his big day -- the first solo! With an eager cheering section from the ground, he was up, up, and away.....and back down again with a safe landing!

Way to go, Daddy! We are so happy for you -- and thank the Lord for the fulfillment of your desires. May you have many safe, happy flight hours!

"Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Happy 15th Birthday Stephen!

The day has finally arrived and you can officially drive! Congrats on being the only Wissmann thus far to ace the driving test!! May you have many, many safe miles ahead of you. We're excited about this new responsibility in your life, and rejoice in the maturity and growth you've shown in the past year -- both bodily and spiritually. Your initiative and diligence in music practice, taking care of the upkeep of our yard, and enjoying the relationships of your brothers and sisters. We love you lots and hope you have a wonderful day! Happy driving!

Here are a few of Stephen's favorite things --

  • Sport -- Ultimate frisbee or volley ball
  • Vacation Spot -- Wyoming and Branson
  • Past time -- Working with wood.
  • Bible character -- Paul or OT Joseph
  • Fast food resturaunt -- Subway
  • Store -- Good question... any outdoor store... Scheels, Cabela's
  • Dessert -- My mom's ice cream cake.
  • Car -- Dodge Viper
  • Truck -- Dodge Cummins Diesel

"My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land,
That they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a perfect way,
He shall serve me."
Psalm 101:6

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ukraine Week 5

This week Matthew Day wrote the team update....

Monday was our day off (hallelujah!). Well, sort of. On Monday's we clean the apartment, shop for the week, go to the gym, do laundry, and anything else that we need to do that didn't get done during the week. (Maybe now we have a taste of what it's like to be a parent, always working.) Well, this Monday was no exception and we were doing the Monday thing as early as, well, after we got out of bed and had breakfast. (I guess that's why Monday is called the day off, we get to sleep in.)

Wednesday was another one of those days out tracting. Every one of us was hoping for humongous apartment buildings with lots of wide slot PO boxes (CMO heaven). That night we went over to the Steeles' apartment for ice cream and a movie. There we also met Shira Pinson and her assistant, Gedys. They are here from Great Britain to make a documentary film about missionary work in Ukraine. They are planning to be here through next Sunday.

On Saturday we got on our train to Stariy Sambir, and there met Jessie and his yellow van. We rode with Jessie up to the villages of Voloshynove and Rozsokhy, where we passed out Good and Evils as well as G&E invites. As we drove to our camp site it started to rain. Thank God it stopped long enough for us to set up our tents. It sprinkled off and on while we cooked dinner. Then as we were about to go to bed it started pouring. Good old Carpathian weather!

For more of this week's update, click here.


Some memories are just meant to be passed on -- and fishing in our late-grandpa's fishing pond is certainly one of them! Several days ago we had the opportunity to spend the afternoon baiting our line and pulling some good sized bass out of the little pond. With lots of fun conversations, laughter -- and more than our share of chigger bites -- we made some special memories with our extended family. And caught enough fish for a fantastic meal!

Susanna waits for a tug on her line.

Our whopper --way to go, Elizabeth!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Happy 22nd Birthday Bethany!

As you're far away from home on your special day, we're praying the Lord showers you with blessings that could only come from His hand! You are an incredible blessing in our family -- from your cheerful diligence with the laundry, to your enthusiasm for teaching you little sisters the many homemaking skills you've mastered -- and of course, your tender and consisant walk with the Lord Jesus, abiding in His Word. We are so grateful for you!

And these are a few of Bethany's favorite things --
  • Store -- Thrift stores
  • Food -- Chocolate in any shape, size or form!
  • Sport -- Tennis
  • Activity -- Photography
  • more to come....

"Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.
In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted."

Psalm 89:16

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

July 4th Weekend

It was a very full weekend on the home front --filled with friends and family and hometown Seward's memorable July 4th celebration!

Between helping to prepare and serve 230 meals from our kitchen and enjoying a few of the local festivities, we also gave our first program without Rachel, Bethany, and Andrew! It was very different without them.....but God's grace was sufficient. Abi helped with a few songs -- and Stephen even surprised Josiah and Abi by singing a favorite ol' love song!

Here are a few pictures of the day -- thanks to Hannah for filling in for Bethany!

Preparing dozens of sugar cookies!

Making our annual flower arrangements.

The Bontrager family shared a night of music on July 3rd to kick off the celebration.
The Lord gave us a beautiful evening!

Matthias, Elizabeth, Susanna and Alaythia ran in the annual 'fun run'
-- along with several friends from church.

Alaythia even won second in her age division!

Matthias ran the 10K race
"So you shall rejoice in every good thing
which the LORD your God has given to you and your house."
Deut 26:11

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ukraine Week 4

This week the Ukrainian update was written by Joshua Dasher, one of the young men on the team:
Another fantastic week at CMO has come to a close! As always we learned many new things this week. The first several days of this week were spent praying for electricity. An extremely intense storm had swept through L'viv, and while the power had returned in the city, it was out for several days in the country. The problem was that we needed to go to the country and spend time at the Beals' house in order to complete the chalk art course. After spending a few days doing ministry in the city and praying for power (literal and figurative!) the electricity finally returned and we all headed out to the Beals' house in the country nearby L'viv. The next few days can be summed up in a few words: "good food and the color blue." Thanks to the Beals and the hard work they put into caring for us we feasted like kings (a.k.a. no Ramen!) all week.

We all spent the rest of the time there discovering our inner artists thanks to Christie Ballmann and her excellent instruction in the art of chalk drawing. What we did not realize is that your inner artist only comes out after you have been coated in a fine layer of blue chalk dust. (Most of the team is still sneezing the color blue.) We spent from nine in the morning until five at night in a small room drawing with chalk and learning about rocks, trees, perspective, black lights, colors, composition, and all other things pertaining to artistic design.

It was Friday by the time we had completed the course, and our instructor only had one full day remaining with us, so she decided that she would do several chalk drawings in L'viv on Saturday. It was incredible to see God work through an artist's hands to share messages about Him. At one point she was drawing for a crowd of over fifty people.

A single chalk presentation usually lasts about 15 minutes, after which team members chat with people from crowd and distribute Gospel literature. To read more highlights of the week and for specific prayer requests, please visit here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Taiyuan News

Life is good here in Taiyuan as we continue to see the Lord's faithfulness displayed in many ways. Our week has been full of teaching, visiting a colorful marketplace, learning our way around this huge city, learning to work with the language barriers -- and much laughter, camaraderie, and spiritual encouragment as a team.

For a more detailed update of our week, please visit here!

"You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."
Psalm 118:28-29

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Guess what we've been busy with this week on the home front!??! Involving lots of teamwork, sticky fingers, and happy's strawberry season! After almost three hours in a local field we had around 70 pounds of the delicious fruit in tow. Mmmmmmmm! You can probably imagine the activity in our dining room all afternoon:

Ukraine Week 3

This week the Ukrainian update was written by our friend, Nathan Day....

Tuesday morning, the CMO team gathered for a quick team meeting and devotion and then headed for the mountains. Our destination was Strilky, the village where we were scheduled to show the film the following Sunday. Our goal was to pass out invitations and put up posters for the film.

After about 2 and a half hours of travel, we arrived in Strilky, agreed on a time for the film showing with the village head, and split up into three teams to pass out invitations. Before long, we realized that there were far more houses in Strilky than we had invitations. We started leaving invitations at every other house, but even with that, we were unable to reach the farthest ends of the village. However, news spreads like wildfire in the villages, and we had no doubt that in no time at all, everyone in the village would know that a group of Americans had been going from door to door advertising a film...

Wednesday was supposed to be the day we started the chalk art course, but because Christie Ballmann, our instructor, was delayed due to flight difficulties, we wound up using Wednesday to get ready for the chalk art course [a tool we use to share the Gospel on the streets of L'viv].

Most of the guys needed some junky clothes (chalk drawing can be messy), so Josh took them out to some second-hand shops to get some clothes. The results were pretty funny! Benjamin wound up with a pair of capris (they are quite popular with Ukrainian men), Andrew looked like an African trail guide with a green pair of trail pants and a tan shirt, and Matthew's bell-bottoms made him look like an escapee from the seventies!

To read more highlights of the week and for specific prayer requests, please visit here.