Sunday, October 20, 2013

Two Months In

It's the halfway point of our time at Elim. Mid-term exams are in full swing and we're working hard to absorb as much as possible. Here are a few highlights:

Win Ministry's Video Project

Four hours each week Ben works on the video project for Win Ministries Many of the lectures here are videoed and will be translated into other languages for use by pastors and churches all over the world. On the video team Ben has the opportunity to operate cameras, direct, edit, and last week even to be on camera as part of a video for the upcoming Ethnos Conference. Here's Ben in the editing seat working on a video for the Foundations for Life class.

Practical Lessons

In addition to book work, our classes have several practical exercises. For Cultures and Customs we have to give presentations on world religions, creative aspects of a particular culture, a detailed report of a people group, and interviews with experienced international workers. Our Missionary Life class last week featured a very practical car repair lesson. We even learned how to plug tires, which was very satisfying once accomplished! In the second picture I'm practicing a homemade Turkish Delight recipe for another class project.

Isaiah: the most popular kid at school

While we were eating in the school dining hall one evening Isaiah told me, "Mommy, I want to know everyone's name in here." Isaiah is genuinely interested in making friends with everyone he meets. He is very popular with the students and staff, even making up names for some of his favorites! Miss Tickle Me, Miss Kangaroo, and Miss Mackerie are among his special people. This week Grandma and Grandad England are visiting so he's been enjoying an extra dose of spoiling.

Home Made Yogurt

At home we've been doing our own bit of preparation for life in Papua. With fresh dairy products limited and/or expensive I recently asked our neighbor how she makes yogurt. I'd attempted this in the past and always failed miserably. However after a lesson we've had quite a bit of success with it and I thought you might like to try making yogurt at home too. This recipe uses full fat powdered milk, water, and a bit of store bought plain yogurt as a starter.

Ingredients and Ratios:
The basic ratio is 2 parts room temperature water to 1 part boiling water. Whatever the total amount of water, half it and that is the amount of powdered milk to add. For the powdered milk you need to use a full fat variety. The Nido brand works great. Check for it in the international foods isle. Just make sure you get the regular version that says "Fortificada" not the one with a child on it that says "Kinder". For the yogurt starter, Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt works well. If you choose another brand just make sure that it has "live and active cultures". Avoid brands that include gelatin. After you've made your own you can reserve a cup for the starter in the next batch.

Here are the amounts I use:
6 cups room temperature water
3 cups boiling water
4.5 cups powdered milk
1 cup plain yogurt

You'll also need:
Large bowl with a secure lid
Large towel for insulating the yogurt

Pour the room temp water into a large bowl and mix in the powdered milk. Add boiling water and give a good stir so all the water is the same temperature. Now for the finger test. You want it to feel like warm bathwater for a baby. Not too hot and not too cold. If you've got the ratios right you'll have the correct temperature. Working fast, quickly whisk in the yogurt starter, put the lid on the bowl, place somewhere it won't be disturbed, and cover with a thick towel. You'll need to leave the yogurt over night to set. It is really important not to touch or peek at your yogurt at all until the next morning. If you can resist that temptation then when you do have a peek 8 or so hours later you will have the smoothest, creamiest, most delicious yogurt you have ever tasted! One more note - if you don't like plain yogurt, you can add a can of sweetened condensed milk just before you whisk in the yogurt starter.

I enjoy mine with granola and fruit in the morning. If you decide to give this recipe a go let me know how your yogurt turns out!

We'll keep you updated as things progress. Thank you for all your prayers and support, we really appreciate it!

Ben, Anisha & Isaiah

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