Archive for the Recommendations

Friday, October 4th, 2013

T4A: Had I but Known


Update: I just discovered that has a bunch of Together for Adoption free audio downloads, including my talk, What I Wish I Had Known]


Tonight Jason Kovacs spoke of a change in emphasis that has happened in the years since the beginning of Together for Adoption–of realizing that in the beginning there wasn’t enough weight given to the challenges and downright suffering that can come with adoption.

That thought parallels my own observation that over the last few years, there has been more open recognition by speakers and adoptive parents of that kind of pain and uncertainty.

That’s where my thoughts were this time last year when I spoke at the 2012 T4A Conference. In case you didn’t already hear these thoughts, here’s the audio of the full talk and a slightly shortened print version.

Had I But Known

Imagine you’re reading a novel . . . Well, first imagine you had time to read a novel . . . You come to the end of a chapter where all seems to be going well, but the author writes ominously, “Had she but known . . .”

Today, we’ll put ourselves in the shoes of that character, not knowing what will come next. Because that’s the way life is. God blesses us by not telling us today what tomorrow will bring.

My experience is mine and yours is yours. But I bet there’s a lot of overlap amongst us all. Listening to other parents talk about their families has been one of the most important ways God has taught me what I need to know for my family, at least as much as I’ve learned so far.

So I sent out a call for help to my blog readers.

Less than a month from now is the 40th anniversary of my becoming a mother. Had I but known that 40 years into mothering there would still be so many things I wish I knew. . . so many things I thought I knew, but I didn’t. . . so many things I hadn’t even thought about knowing, things waiting to bless me or to blindside me.

I resonated with the one who wrote, “I wish I had known that by the time I’d figure out how to do this gig with some degree of wisdom, my children would be nearly grown. I wish someone had told me that I was going to make mistake after mistake after mistake, but that God’s grace would always be sufficient.”

In all our skipping from one topic to another today, there’s just one main theme, as a blog friend wrote, “I wasn’t totally ignorant about prayer, but I’m learning so much more of it, what it means to give my children to the Lord.”

That’s the main topic today. We aren’t in control. God is the only one who has perfect control. We call it his sovereignty. He is the only perfect parent—to both us and our children.

I heard Pastor Chris Lent say, “The most common command in Scripture is ‘Don’t be afraid.’ Fear happens when I don’t know everything and can’t control everything. Do not fear—those are not just comforting words, but a command.”

We love our children and want the best for them. But sometimes we misjudge what’s best for them or just flat-out don’t know what’s best. And even when we do know, we may not have the ability to make it happen. And unless our child dies before us, someday we will be another parent who leaves him—not because we want to, but because we’re mortal.

But God. God loves his children. He always wants what’s best for them. He always knows what’s best for them. He has the power to do what’s best and he does what’s best. And he will never leave or forsake his children—never.

Do not be afraid. Do not fear.

Some of you are here because you’re in the process of adopting or are considering adoption. I don’t want to be that woman, if we were in the labor-and-delivery world, who discovers someone is pregnant and that triggers her gag reflex and she spews out every horrific birth story she’s ever heard. Meanwhile those poor soon-to-be-parents are splattered with the slimy stink of uncertainty and fear.

What I want to be, in the labor-and-delivery metaphor, is the woman who teaches the birthing class—the matter-of-fact one who knows the basic facts and helps new parents not be caught off guard by inevitable pain and possible—even probable—complications.

It’s important to be as prepared as we can be, but in reality, none of us knows all that parenting will bring into our lives, both of grief and gladness. As one blog friend wrote, “I often think it is grace that we don’t know what parenting will bring or look like before it comes, and that we can take each new turn one at a time.”

There’s another particular person here I want to say something to. You have one or more children, no matter whether they entered your family by birth or by adoption. You’re running into situations with your children you didn’t expect and you don’t know how to handle. And you don’t know where to turn for advice or support.

You look around and see 2 kinds of families. There are the ones that seem to have it pretty much together. So how could they understand? If you spoke with them, maybe they’d think less of you because of how inadequate you are. And then there are the others who are obviously dealing with severe issues—lots more serious than yours. You think you’d just look like a crybaby to them.

Well, let me open the door a crack on both those kinds of families. I know a lot of families that when you see them at church or school, you’d think all is good—no problems. But remember, God is the only one who has it all together. Any family that has children has challenges. I’m trusting you to approach those parents respectfully, not expecting them to dump out all their dirty laundry in front of you. There are probably legitimate reasons for the boundaries they’ve set—out of respect for their child, or perhaps knowing that others won’t understand and might a wrong impression or give up on their child. But many people have lots of humble wisdom and experience to share with you in a way that won’t be disrespectful to their children.

I also know a number of families whose challenges are out there for anyone to see. They love their children as deeply as other parents, but the children live with the kind of damage and disability that people write about in books.

Maybe we ourselves don’t experience anything like the almost-constant drama and danger and discouragement of those families. And yet conversations with some of those mothers have been some of the best education I’ve received for our parenting. They’ve helped me see that a child’s needs and differences shouldn’t be minimized or ignored just because they don’t match the intensity described in a book or experienced by another family.

But there’s only one friend who can be for us everything we need. That’s what I was trying to say in my children’s book, Do You Want a Friend?. I love the one blog friend’s suggestion that to avoid exploding, we vent vertically. If you’re old enough, you can picture a hissing pressure cooker. If steam were shooting from the vent, it would keep the lid from blowing and pasting the scalding dinner all over the ceiling and walls. Vent vertically.

Or for more familiar language: Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. Or as in 1 Peter 5:7, you can be “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Dorothy Bode is one of those women who has taught me so much. Dorothy has 11 children, 8 of them adopted and a houseful of so-called “hidden” disabilities, meaning the disabilities aren’t obvious physical challenges. At her blog, you can read her from-the-gut response to my question: What do you wish you had known? I recommend Dorothy’s blog to you. It is powerful, gritty, and real.

What are some of the things I didn’t know?

First of all, I did know that adoption would change my life, though I still don’t know all the ways.

What didn’t I know? Here are some of the things I learned by experience and from other people’s stories.

I didn’t know that the decision to adopt would be my key experience understanding what it means for us as husband and wife to come to a decision together when, in essence, there must be a tiebreaker. Johnny was by no means opposed to adoption, either in principle or for us in particular. He just took longer than I did to be persuaded that it was a good decision for us. And during the days that we talked and prayed and consulted with close friends and our other children, I truly had no idea whether he would say yes or no. I knew his decision would be for good reasons, and only after he’d prayed a lot. Of course I knew if he said yes, I’d be elated. And I knew if he said no, I’d be bitterly disappointed, but not bitter. I would know that God had another good plan for us. The letter he wrote me when he told me yes reflects his heart-searching and his love for me and for Talitha.

I didn’t know that grief was part of every adoption. I began to realize that even before Talitha came, when I didn’t know how to pray. We’d seen a picture of the soft, sleeping face surrounded by dark curls—the little girl that might become part of our family. All the circumstances that led up to that picture in our hands seemed to be saying that she would be ours. But I knew too many stories of disappointment.

Should I pray that God would cause her birth mother to sign the papers? But I didn’t want to ask God to tear at a mother’s heart like that. And that would mean I was praying that the little girl I wanted to love would lose her mother. I wasn’t God—I couldn’t know what was best for the birth mother and for the little girl I was already calling Talitha. But if she didn’t choose to relinquish her baby, I already knew what it would do to my heart. On top of that, I had no idea for a long time to come of the grief hidden in a child who’s lost his or her first mother—the grief that seeps out in ways that neither the child nor the adoptive parents understand or maybe even recognize.

So I began to pray that God would do good for the birth mother and for Talitha, and if it meant adoption, that he would place her in the family he had for her, even if it wasn’t ours. I guess that was my confused way of acknowledging his control—his sovereignty. “You go ahead and do what you’re going to do, God. I want you to do what you’re going to do.”

I had no idea that I’d be watching Johnny so closely after Talitha came to us to be sure this was our decision and not just a favor to me. When she cried, when she needed a diaper change, when there were a lot of those normal inconveniences of having a baby in the family, what would I see on his face, in his posture? Was she our baby, or did he give any hint that she was my project and he didn’t want to be bothered. Never. It’s like one of my blog friends said, “I never realized how much I would love watching my husband be an awesome Daddy—a husband who loves me, mistakes and all.”

I sort of knew, but I wish I’d realized earlier that love is not enough. You know, like so many people will tell you when they’re congratulating you on your adoption: “If you can just love them enough, you can bring them through whatever difficulties they have.” But love ISN’T enough to erase possible brain damage, to erase the pre-adoption history.

Karen Richburg wrote, “If we just love enough . . . but you can never fill the bucket with love when the bucket is riddled with holes.”

Love might be enough if we could love perfectly and if we knew everything there is to know about what is good for our child, and if we had power to do everything that the child needs—in other words, if we were God. But we’re not.

Yes. Love is enough, if it’s God’s love.

Having adopted transracially, I had no idea how much at first I’d notice people looking at us. And I was amazed that most of the positive feedback we got from strangers was from African Americans.

I was surprised at how self-conscious I felt scolding Talitha in public or firmly grasping a disobedient hand or whatever I’d have done without a thought to our children who look like us.

I didn’t know how much it would matter to me that she knew I was her mother. There was a moment when she was maybe about 9 months old. I was holding her and she threw her arms in a hug around my neck. My instinctive thought was, “She knows!” I never gave that a thought with the children born to me. I was their mother—of course I was their mother.

I didn’t know that receiving a very young infant does not mean you avoid attachment issues, even when you follow above and beyond your agency’s requirements that only family members hold and feed the baby for a designated amount of time.

I thought a good adoptive parent would treat all her children alike, within the range that takes into account the differences of our children. In other words, a good adoptive parent would never throw up her hands and say, that must be because he’s adopted. Skip the throwing up the hands bit, but still there are times when we will know that there are differences owing to adoption. Once again, it was Dorothy who helped me see this. Our child has genetics that aren’t ours, a reality aside from us. Adoption and birth are not just 2 different ways to have children. We step into a history that had nothing to do with us. To ignore that is to do an injustice to our children. “Blended family” is an understanding that might help a family function better. It acknowledges that there were other people influencing our child before he or she became part of our family.

I didn’t really take into account that looks wouldn’t be the only way Talitha is different than me. I used to dream of an adopted daughter who, of course, wouldn’t look like me, but people would see other attributes that would make them say, “Isn’t she like her mother?” (Somehow, I was forgetting how many things about me I wouldn’t want to see in her.) Anyway, I don’t remember much about my doll playing when I was little. But I do know I couldn’t have told you the names of 7 babies, with the names of the adopted ones taking priority over the ones born into the family. And for Talitha, the names and details were consistent day after day.

I never expected that at this late stage of mothering, I’d still so often be second guessing myself, and that even real friends sometimes just don’t get it and contribute to my confusion. Is our daughter getting her way too much?—Or is it that we’re working with her and who she is so she can cope with decision-making and change? Is it letting her have her own way or is it part of dying to self for the sake of our child?

I didn’t know that a medical record that says there’s no history of substance abuse may or may not be correct. As Dorothy said one time, If you were a birth mother being questioned by an official-looking social worker or hospital admissions officer, would you want to admit you’d been using regularly?

Back when we adopted I knew hardly any families who had adopted older children, so I knew of only a couple situations of what I’d know now is severe RAD. But the more Christ’s compassion reaches into harder places through you, his people, the more stories there will be.

I was surprised that adoption made some of my children confused about where babies come from. After we’d waited several times with parents greeting their babies arriving from faraway places, one of our sons thought babies come from the airport.

Or Talitha. She was 6 and I was surprised she hadn’t asked any birth mother questions. On Jan 22, Roe v Wade day, we stood on the steps of the MN state capitol along with thousands of others. Talitha looked across the distance to a poster with a line drawing of a partial birth abortion, but it just looked like birth to her. “Look there’s a baby being born, like baby Elizabeth,” she said naming a little newborn friend. “And like you,” I said. She corrected me, “I wasn’t born, I was adopted.” So there on the massive capitol stairway, surrounded by people who would have applauded Talitha’s birth mother’s choice of life for Talitha, I explained that she had indeed been born before she was adopted, and that there was another mother before me.

I didn’t know that even adoption experts whom I know personally and admire immensely don’t always get it right. I wish I’d paid more attention to some of the books that one such friend pooh-poohed—books, for instance, about a child’s deep grief that is literally inexpressible.  “Don’t probe topics like that with your child”, I heard. “You’ll just introduce problems.”

I thought if there weren’t drastic symptoms, there was not need to consider RAD or fetal alcohol effects.

When I became a parent, I never expected to be sitting, sobbing, on the bumper of a car in an ice-covered parking lot at a pastor’s wives retreat—so no one could see me–because all the things that were wrong with a child were my fault, because all the same things were wrong with me and had been inherited from me—and I didn’t know how to change me or that child who had been born to me.

And I never expected that other times I’d be weeping because a child is so different from me and I have no idea what to do.

I never expected that I’d want my husband to stop complimenting me by saying I was unflappable. I used to think of myself as a person who could handle almost any situation. But you know how that was possible? Because I was a non-emotional person. I stuffed my emotions like you stuff a rag doll. Force enough stuffing inside and that doll can stand up stiff and straight.

During a couple of years of counseling, I learned to express more emotions than just flat or angry. And along the way, I realized I want to flap sometimes. I want to fall apart sometimes, not stuff it all down and “be strong.” I want to flop over onto my father’s lap so he can take care of me.

The body needs every part, including our broken selves and our broken children. The weaker parts have a lot to teach—including that the strong are not as strong as they thought. When I reveled in being unflappable, that might have looked like strength, but really it had more to do with control.

when god weepsI’ve done a fair amount of volunteering with Joni and Friends.a place of healing It hadn’t occurred to me that there’d be so much overlap between the worlds of adoptive families and families with disabilities.

And I never expected to be diagnosed myself with ADD after I was 60. That was a great big AH HA. But so late. Why so late? If I had known earlier, it could have made such a difference in relationships with my husband and my older children. I can’t go back and redo the young years of our boys. I grieve for those years of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

But the diagnosis came also just at the right time. As we try to understand the different sort of brain function of more than one of our children, I find myself saying, I know what that’s like. Or when Johnny and I have one of those conversations where each of us is making perfectly good sense, except not to each other, I get a glimpse of what might be happening inside a child’s head in a similar conversation.

I had no idea it would be so hard to sort out what’s brain function and what’s sin, both in myself and in my children. Even if Johnny and I didn’t agree on how a child should be disciplined or reward, at least we were working from a similar foundation and outlook.  Who know how hard it could be to understand and agree when neurological damage is involved, not just the human will.

One time one of my sons told me that when they were little it was like I wished they were somewhere else. That’s what it looks like when I’m focused on something—it’s like everything else either disappears. And I did that to my children without realizing it. Or was it an ongoing sin of self-centeredness? AARGH!

I keep reminding myself that God never wastes anything, even ADD, even if we have to wait till Heaven to understand it. And that’s just as true for our children with their various challenges, difficulties, damage.

A battle-worn blog friend writes, “I wish someone had even hinted that once we followed God down this path of parenting via adoption we were going to enter into a new kind of spiritual warfare the likes of which we had never known and possibly will never know again. We were so completely blindsided by the battle, we were not even expecting a single arrow, let alone a relentless onslaught lasting many years.”

Families who are weary and worn down by the battle are Satan’s playground.

Jesus is never blindsided and he warns us what to expect. “In the world you will have  tribulation. But  take heart;  I have overcome the world.”  That’s John 16:33, and John records another truth in 1 John 4:4—a promise of who God is for us: “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”

We are sinners, raised by sinners, raising sinners who will look back and recognize our sin while they are raising sinners.

If we think about that a while, we can fall into fatalistic depression or we can throw ourselves and our children into the lap of our Abba Father. He’s the only one in the universe who can say “Don’t be afraid” with no qualifications. He is the only father that does not sin. He does not fail us or our children. He is the father we all need all the time.

One of my blog friends wrote about heart-wrenching pain with her children who are young adults now, then she wrote, “All that said, I love my children so much and for all the hell, I would not give up the blessing of my children. I never thought I would be a mother. It is the hardest thing but the best thing I have ever done. . . . They still have their challenges but I am so blessed. He carried me through. He will carry them through too because, just as I always tell them, He did not bring you across the ocean to me without a good reason. He has a plan.”

God is in control. He is sovereign.  And he is the Father of all those who are trusting Jesus.

Last, I didn’t know that because of our adoption, the picture of God’s adoption would leap alive off the page.

We wanted to adopt. We did what we could to make adoption happen. We have worked to fold our child into our family, a challenge that remains throughout our lives.

Isn’t that what God does?—except perfectly and with no glitches.

And I look at adoption from the perspective of a child. Adoption is a much more powerful picture for me now as I recognize myself as one of God’s adopted children who has a hard time sometimes feeling like she belongs, as a child with attachment issues.

Birth can happen “by accident” from the parents’ perspective. Adoption can’t. Adoption happens by the intention and action of parents. Even when we might feel like it’s forced upon us by circumstances, usually there’s a choice at some level.

Whether the metaphor is new birth or adoption, we don’t know ahead of time very much about who the child is or what we’re getting into with him or her. God does know every detail about every one of his children and he knows precisely what he’s getting into.

God is in control. He’s sovereign. And he’s the father of all who are trusting Jesus.


A couple years ago, I told our own adoption story. It begins here

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Monday, June 24th, 2013

Free book today: A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away: A NovelI’ve just ordered A Heartbeat Away: A Novel, by Harry Kraus. It’s free for Kindle today, and I don’t know if that offer lasts longer. I’m eager to read it.

You may remember a couple of earlier posts about Harry. One was Breathing Grace: What You Need More Than Your Next Breathabout visiting him and Kris where they work in Kijabe, Kenya. The other gives a short description of his book Breathing Grace: What You Need More than Your Next Breath. It was being offered free then, but still it’s only $.99 for Kindle, and it’s one of my favorites of Harry Kraus’s books, and he’s written a bunch.


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Friday, June 21st, 2013

Escape through your kids’ escape literature

girl readingIt’s that season. Summertime. School holidays. Children. Boredom.

You’re planning to travel . . . or wishing you could. And some days, you’re thinking how nice it would be if you could send your children on a trip somewhere.

You’ve heard of escape literature. Well, I’ve just discovered some of that genre for your kids. If they curl up in their favorite reading nooks and escape with some of these books, it might be as good as your own escape.

Or maybe they’ll discover a destination you’re actually planning to visit and can read about what to expect.



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Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

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Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Hidden art in a hayfield


The long walk to the mailbox yesterday evening was pointless if letters  The Hidden Art of Homemakingwere the only goal. But it was far from fruitless from Edith Schaeffer’s outlook of taking pleasure in the everyday beauty around you.

Almost hidden in the hayfield were a couple of stalks of bright orange butterfly weed in the neighborhood of lots of delicate fleabane. At least, I think that’s what those wildflowers are called. Tell me if I’m wrong.

Whatever they’re called, they brighten our breakfast table.

There’s lots more about our new place where we’re living this year at my travel blog–Tell Me When to Pack.

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Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

God speaks your language

I’m so happy, I can hardly sit still. After my last post about free mp3 Bible downloads–in English–I discovered free mp3 audio downloads of the New Testament in more than 150 languages. There were many languages I hadn’t heard of. Since I was looking up their geography, I thought you might want to know too, so I included that information with each listing.

Plautdietsch New Testament – Mennonite Low German — many places in the world  (Non-Dramatized) – Plautdietsch Bible

PDV Nouveau Testament Français Parole de Vie African Voices (dramatisé )- French Bible

Arabic New Testament – Kitab al Hayat Version (Dramatized) – Injil

Arabic New Testament – Van Dyck Version (Dramatized) – Injil

Guarayo del Nuevo Testamento – Bolivia (Dramatizadas) – Guarayo Bible

Bulgarian Bible

Lyele du Nouveau Testament – Burkina Faso (Dramatisé) – Lyele Bible

Moore du Nouveau Testament  – Burkina Faso (Dramatisé) 1988 Version Protestante – Moore Bible

Bissa du Nouveau Testament  – Burkina Faso/Ghana (dramatisé) – Bissa Bible

Bobo Madare le sud du Nouveau Testament – Burkina Faso/Mali (dramatisé) – Bobo Madare Southern Bible

Khmer Centrale du Nouveau Testament – Cambodia (Dramatisé) – Ancienne Version – Khmer Central Bible

Bafut du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Bafut Bible

Ghomala du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Ghomala Bible

Kwanja Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Kwanja Bible

Douala du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (dramatisé) – Douala Bible

Guiziga Sud Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – South Guiziga New Testament

Koonzime du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Koonzime Bible

Medumba du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (dramatisé) – Medumba Bible

Mofa Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Mofa Bible

Pidgin du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Pidgin Bible

Massana Nuevo Testamento – Cameroon/Chad (Dramatizadas) – Massana Bible

Toupouri du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon/Chad (Dramatisé) – Tupuri Bible

Bamoun du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon/Nigeria (non-dramatisé) – Bamun Bible

Mumuye New Testament – Cameroon/Nigeria (Dramatized)

Yamba du Nouveau Testament  – Cameroon/Nigeria (Dramatisé) – Yamba Bible

PDV Nouveau Testament Français Parole de Vie Voix Canadiennes (dramatisé) – French Bible

Buli New Testament  – Central African Republic/ both Congos/Cameroon (Dramatized)

Moundang Du Nouveau Testament – Chad/Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Moundang Bible

Chinese Cantonese Bible (Dramatized) – Chinese Union Version

Chinese Mandarin Bible (Dramatized) – Revised Chinese Union Version Bible

Chinese Mandarin Bible (Dramatized) – Chinese Union Version

Iu Mien Bible – China/Laos/Vietnam/Thailand  

Guambiano del Nuevo Testamento – Colombia Dramatizadas) – Guambiano Bible

Lahu Bible – China/Thailand/Myanmar/Laos

Guayabero en el Nuevo Testamento – Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Guayabero Bible

Inga en el Nuevo Testamento  – Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Inga Bible

Huitoto Minica Del Nuevo Testamento – Colombia/Peru/Brazil  (Dramatizadas) – Huitoto Minica Bible

Tshiluba du Nouveau Testament – Democratic Republic of Congo-Kinshasa (Dramatisé) – Tshiluba Bible

Le Lingala du Nouveau Testament – Congo (Brazzaville)/Congo (Kinshasa)/Central African Republic/Angola (Dramatisé) – Lingala Bible

Amharic New Testament  – Ethiopia (Non-Dramatized) 1988 Common Version

Borana New Testament – Ethiopia/ Kenya (Dramatized)

Guji New Testament – Ethiopia/Kenya (Dramatized)

Oromo West Central New Testament – Ethiopia/Kenya/Somalia (Dramatized)

Fiji-Hindi New Testament (Dramatized)

Fijian New Testament (Dramatized)

Suomalainen Uuden Testamentin (ei dramatisoitu) 1938 Versio – Finnish Bible

Georgian Bible – Republic of Georgia (Dramatized)

Bimoba New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Kusaal New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Birifor Southern New Testament –Ghana/Burkina Faso (Dramatized)

Adele New Testament – Ghana/Togo (Dramatized)

Dangme New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Ga New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Gikyode New Testament – Ghana  (Dramatized)

Hanga New Testament –Ghana (Dramatized)

Sehwi New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Vagla New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Akan Fante New Testament – Ghana/ Ivory Coast (Dramatized)

Ewe New Testament – Ghana/Togo (Dramatized)

Acateco, Kanjobal Occidental del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/ Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Kanjobal Western Bible

Chuj de San Sebastián en el Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Chuj San Sebastian Bible

Achi de Cubulco del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Achi de Cubulco Bible

Ixil San Juan Cotzal del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Ixil San Juan Cotzal Bible

Cakchiquel Santa María de Jesús (Kaqchikel) – Guatemala Nuevo Testamento (dramatizada) – Kaqchikel New Testament (Dramatized)

Cakchiquel Yepocapa del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala  (Dramatizadas) – Cakchiquel Yepocapa Bible

Mam del Norte del Nuevo Testamento  – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Mam Northern Bible

Rabinal Achi en el Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Achi Rabinal Bible

Kekchi del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/Belize (Dramatizadas) – Kekchi Bible

Crioulo Alta Guiné Novo Testamento (Dramatizada) – Crioulo Upper Guinea Bible

Créole Haïtien du Nouveau Testament (Dramatisé) – Kreyol Ayisyen – Lafwa Soti Nan Mesaj Ou Tande – Haitian Creole Bible

Garífuna En El Nuevo Testamento – Honduras/Guatemala/Belize/Nicaragua (Dramatizadas) – Garifuna Bible

Bhojpuri Bible  – India/Nepal (Dramatized)

Bahasa Indonesia Terjemahan Baru Perjanjian Baru (formal) Versi (didramatisir) – Indonesian Bible

Sunda Perjanjian Baru –Indonesia  (Didramatisir) Versi Sunda Formal – Sundanese Bible

Txitxopi do Novo Testamento – Indonesia (Dramatizada) – Txitxopi Bible

Hebrew New Testament Modern Hebrew Version – Israel  (Dramatized)

Baoulé Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast (non-dramatisé) – Baoule Bible

Bete Daloa du Nouveau Testament  – Ivory Coast (dramatisé) – Bete Daloa Bible

Ebrié Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast (dramatisé) – Ebire Bible

Tagbana du Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast/Mali/Burkina Faso/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Tagbana Bible

Japan Bible (Non-Dramatized) – New Interconfessional Version

Gikuyu New Testament – Kenya (Dramatized)

Ruhaya New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania (Umetiwa Chumvi) – Ruhaya Bible

Digo New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania  (Non-Dramatized)

Kikamba New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania  (Dramatized)

Kalenjin New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda (Non-Dramatized)

Maasai New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania (Dramatized) Biblia Sinyati Version

Luo New Testament  – Kenya/Uganda/ Tanzania/Ethiopia/South Sudan (Dramatized)

Latvian Bible (Non-Dramatized)

Bassa New Testament – Liberia/Sierra Leone(Dramatized)

Bassa New Testament – Liberia/Sierra Leone(Dramatized)

Malgache du Nouveau Testament –Madagascar (Non-Dramatisée) Version Protestante – Malagasy Bible

Chiyao New Testament – Malawi (Dramatized)

Chitumbuka New Testament – Malawi/Zambia/Tanzania (Dramatized)

Chichewa New Testament – Malawi/Zambia/Mozambique/Zimbabwe (Non-Dramatized) 1997 Buku Loyera

Tamasheq du Nouveau Testament – Mali (Non-Dramatisée) – Tamasheq Bible

Bambara du Nouveau Testament – Mali/Burkino Faso/Senegal (dramatisé) – Bambara Bible

Chinanteco de San Juan Lalana del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico  (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de San Juan Lalana Bible

Chinanteco de San Juan Lealao del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de San Juan Lealao Bible

Chinanteco de Palantla del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de Palantla

Huave de San Mateo del Mar del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas)

Mixe del Istmo en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Mixe del Istmo Bible

Nahnu Otomí del Mezquital en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Nahnu Otomi Mezquital Bible

Purépecha Del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico  (Dramatizadas) – Purepecha Bible

Tzeltal Bachajón del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Tzeltal Bachajon Bible

Tzeltal de Oxchuc en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Tzeltal Oxchuc Bible

O’othham New Testament – Mexico/Arizona (Non-Dramatized)

Xitshwa do Novo Testamento – Mozambique (Dramatizada) – Xitshwa Bible

Navajo New Testament (Non-Dramatized)

Zarma du Nouveau Testament – Niger (Dramatisé) – Zarma Bible

Limbu New Testament – Nepal/Bhutan/India (Dramatized)

Hausa New Testament – Niger/Nigeria/Ghana/Benin/Cameroon/Ivory Coast/Sudan (Dramatized)

Kanuri Central New Testament – Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon (Dramatized)

Bura New Testament  – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Ebira New Testament  – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Edo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Efik New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Gokana New Testament –Nigeria (Dramatized)

Igala New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Igbo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized) Union Version

Igede New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Itsekiri New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Jju New Testament – Nigeria  (Dramatized)

Kalabari New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Mada New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Margi New Testament –Nigeria (Dramatized)

Urhobo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Yoruba New Testament  – Nigeria/Benin/Togo (Dramatized) 1960 Version

Mambila du Nouveau Testament – Nigeria/Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Mambila Bible

Urdu New Testament (Dramatized) for Pakistan

Ese Ejja del Nuevo Testamento – Papua New Guinea (Dramatizadas) – Ese Ejja Bible

Tok Pisin New Testament – Papua New Guinea (Dramatized)

Chamacoco del Nuevo Testamento – Paraguay (Dramatizada) – Chamacoco Bible

Guaraní de Paraguay en el Nuevo Testamento (Dramatizadas) – Guarani Paraguayan Bible

Nivaclé del Nuevo Testamento – Paraguay/Argentina (Dramatizadas) – Nivacle Bible

Quechua Ayacucho del Nuevo Testamento – Peru (Dramatizadas) – Quechua Ayacucho Bible

Quechua de Lambayeque en el Nuevo Testamento – Peru (Dramatizadas) – Quechua Lambayeque Bible

Ashaninca del Nuevo Testamento  – Peru/Brazil (Dramatizadas) – Ashaninca Bible

Bora en el Nuevo Testamento – Peru/Colombia (dramatizadas) – Bora Bible

Cebuano New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized) Revised Popular Version

Hiligaynon New Testament –Philippines (Dramatized) Hiligaynon Popular Version

Koronadal Blaan New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized)

Manobo Western Bukidnon New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized)

Tagalog New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized) 1996 Magandang Balita Biblia (Revised) – Tagalog Bible

Polsko Nowy Testament (Non-Udramatyzowana) Wersja Millennium – Polish Bible

Português Novo Testamento Tradução Interconfessional (dramatizada) – Portuguese Bible

Russian Bible (Dramatized) – Russian Asian Version

Russian Bible (Dramatized) – Holy Synod Version

Tatar Bible – Russia (Dramatized)

Saint Lucian Creole New Testament (Dramatized)

Krio New Testament – Sierra Leone (Dramatized) Good News for All Men

Themne New Testament – Sierra Leone (Dramatized)

IsiXhosa Nuwe Testament – South Africa (Gedramatiseerde) Hersiene Unie Weergawe – Isixhosa Bible

IsiZulu Nuwe Testament – South Africa (Gedramatiseer) – Isizulu Bible

Jur Modo New Testament – South Sudan (Dramatized)

Español Nuevo Testamento Nueva Versión Internacional (dramatizadas) – Spanish Bible

Samami Hindi Nieuwe Testament –Suriname (Dramatized) 

Chigogo New Testament (Tanzania) Umetiwa Chumvi)

Kimashami New Testament – Tanzania (Umetiwa Chumvi) – Kimashami Bible

Thai Bible (Dramatized) – Thai Standard Version

Bassar Ntcham du Nouveau Testament – Togo/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Bassar Ntcham Bible

Moba Nouveau Testament – Togo/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Moba Bible

Kabiyè du Nouveau Testament – Togo/Benin/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Kabiye Bible

Karimojong New Testament – Uganda (Dramatized)

Luganda New Testament – Uganda (Dramatized)

Acholi New Testament – Uganda/South Sudan (Dramatized)

Wayuu en el Nuevo Testamento – Venezuela/Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Wayuu Bible

Vietnamese Bible (Dramatized) – Vietnamese Old Version

Cymraeg Testament Newydd Da Newyddion Beibl (ddramateiddio) – Welsh Bible

Chitonga New Testament – Zambia (Dramatized)

Lamba New Testament – Zambia (Dramatized)

Kaonde New Testament – Zambia/Congo-Kinshasa (Dramatized)

Lozi New Testament – Zambia/Zimbabwe/Botswana/Namibia (Dramatized)

Shona New Testament – Zimbabwe/Zambia (Non-Dramatized) Union Version

Kalanga New Testament  – Zimbabwe/Botswana (Dramatized)

Didn’t find the language you were looking for? Did you notice that almost all these downloads are from Faith Comes by Hearing (Facebook)? I was astounded by what I found there: Faith Comes By Hearing offers audio Bible in 712 languages, reaching more than 5.7 billion people in more than 187 countries. And they’re working to make more available in other languages.

I went to the Select Language dropdown menu at their Free Audio Bibles page to see if I could find a couple of languages I’m interested in. I found:

  • Kachin, the Burmese language into which Ola Hanson translated the Bible in the years around the turn of the 20th Century. Ola and Minnie were sent out in 1890 by !st Swedish Baptist Church (our church’s name until the mid-1940s). In the last decade, a strong connection has grown between Bethlehem Baptist and the Kachin church.
  • Ngiemboon, the Cameroonian language whose Bible translation was begun by my brother-in-law in the 1970s. I was there in 2007 at the dedication of the Ngiemboon New Testament (video of music & dancing during the ceremonies). Of all the speakers during the long celebration, Steve was the only one who actually spoke in Ngiemboon. The pleasure of the people when he spoke is a testimony to the fact that nothing speaks to people like their own language, no matter how well they can speak the official language–French in that area of Cameroon.

Having always had the Bible in my own language, it’s hard to imagine what a gift that  has been. But the Ngiemboon New Testament celebration gave me new eyes. After hours of French-language speeches, suddenly their own language flows into their ears. Drowsy eyes open wide and hearts open. You can watch the first couple of minutes of Steve’s address to see it in their faces.

If a foreigner’s speech does that, imagine what impact there is in reading and hearing God’s word in your own language.

It’s taken most of 2 days for me to put this list together. It’s given me great pleasure and it’s my Easter gift to you.

Would you give me a gift in return? Have you found your own heart language here or at Faith Comes by Hearing? Or what’s spoken where you live or work? Or a language that someone you know is learning or speaking where they work? In other words, have you found here a language in which you have a special interest? Your gift to me would be your comment at this post. It could be as simple as naming the language or if there’s more to tell, I would be blessed to read it.


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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Free mp3 of complete Bible

Faith Comes by Hearing: What a perfect name for audio albums of the Bible.

I know people who listen to the Bible when reading isn’t holding them anymore. I know people who listen while they read along. I know people who listen because they can’t see or physically can’t turn pages. I know people who listen while they drive.

Right now the Old Testament and New Testament are offered free in several versions.

English Standard Version is what we use at home and church, so I noticed that one in particular.

ESV New Testament - English Standard Version (Dramatized)      ESV Old Testament - English Standard Version (Dramatized)

Some of you will be drawn by the beauty and familiarity of the words in King James Version.

KJV New Testament - King James Version (Dramatized)      KJV Old Testament - King James Version (Dramatized)

All of these are dramatized, which means different voices speak for different characters of the Bible, but the words are the same words you read in your Bible. This style may not be everyone’s preference, but you might be surprised–and it doesn’t cost anything to try.


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Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Advice from Louisa May’s uncle

This advice from a father to his son away at university in the late 1800s is a worthy challenge to us all.

I hear indirectly that you’ve been called on to deliver an address or lecture or speech of some sort. Let us know all about it. The more thoughts you express, the more you will have, and there is no exercise of the mind that is so quickening and strengthening to all our mental faculties as carefully ranging and clearly expressing our thoughts on any subject worth thinking about.

I hope you, too, will take pains to acquire an excellent locution. Do learn to read well and speak well. Accustom yourself to speak extempore in common Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Motherconversation. Cultivate the habit of saying exactly what you mean to say, of using clear and appropriate language, and of finishing your sentences. A slovenly, slipshod style in conversation will be very likely to insinuate itself into one’s extempore speeches.

Samuel Joseph May, brother of Abigail May Alcott.

Taken from Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother, by Eve LaPlante

I’d say this boils down to:

  • Say what you mean;
  • Mean what you say;
  • Say it so it can be understood;
  • Say it well (complete sentences and all).

Have you received or given any similar or very different advice?



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Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Brushing up on the classics

Pop quiz!

Who was Theseus? How did the Aegean Sea get its name?

If you can’t remember, perhaps our 8-year-old grandson can remind you.

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Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Black History: Talitha’s DVD recommendations

(Originally posted 2 years ago, and worth mentioning again.)

These DVDs are recommended by our daughter Talitha off the top of her head. She wants to make clear that there are other really good movies too.

I agree with her in recommending these.

As with all movies, it would be wise for parents to preview before watching with their children, especially  considering the tension, language, and frightening experiences that are part of stories from this swath of our history.


Glory Road — Story of “the groundbreaking achievement of Don Haskins, who coached the 1965-66 team from Texas Western University to the NCAA championship, using the first-ever all-black lineup in the championship game and forever changing the rules of college basketball. Texas Western’s underdog season is followed from anxious start to glorious finish. . . . This typically wholesome Disney film doesn’t flinch from the harsh realities of racial tension (including player beatings and vandalized motel rooms) that Texas Western’s black players had to struggle against as their victories began to draw national attention” ( review).

Selma, Lord, Selma — It’s 1965, segregation is still the order of the day in the South, Martin Luther King Jr. is leading voter-registration drives, and an Alabama schoolgirl gets caught up in the civil rights movement. . .  .Being forced to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar in order to vote and being gassed and beaten for marching are just some of the indignities Sheyann and her friends endure. Parents should know that two prominent characters are murdered. . . . Appropriate for kids 7 and up with adult guidance” ( review). Based on the memoir of the same title by Sheyann Webb.

And the Children Shall Lead — “In 1964 segregation is a reality in Catesville, Mississippi, but 12-year-old Rachel doesn’t notice it because she has many white friends. When a group of civil rights activists comes to town, the tension between black and white citizens grows. It’s now up to Rachel and her friends to persuade the adults to overcome the racial barriers that divide them” ( review)

The Great Debaters — “Inspired by real events, The Great Debaters reveals one of the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement in its story of Melvin B. Tolson and his champion 1935 debate club from the all-African-American Wiley College in Texas. . . . The film is also about the state of race relations in America at the height of the Great Depression. With lynchings of black men and women a common form of entertainment and black subjugation for many rural whites, the idea of talented and highly intelligent African-American young people learning to think on their feet during debates would seem almost a hopeless endeavor” ( review).

The Rosa Parks Story






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Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Black History: Children’s books

For Martin Luther King Day last month, Jill Swanson made the following list of relevant books she’s reviewed at Orange Marmalade, her blog that’s devoted to children’s literature–what a great resource! You can use the search box there at her website to find her posts about any of these you’re interested in.


In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson  – Betty Bao Lord
Jackie & Me  — Dan Gutman
The Lions of Little Rock — Kristin Levine
One Crazy Summer — Rita Williams-Garcia


Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story — Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illus. by John Holyfield
Child of the Civil Rights Movement — Paula Young Shelton, illus. by Raul Colón
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave — Laban Carrick Hill, illus. by Bryan Collier
Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights — James Haskins, illus. by Benny Andrews
Frederick Douglass (Picture Book Biography) — David A. Adler
I Have a Dream (Book & CD) — Martin Luther King, Jr., illus. by Kadir Nelson
Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told— Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Bonnie Christensen
I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Leonard Jenkins
Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t You Grow Weary— Elizabeth Partridge
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Caldecott Honor Book) — Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Kadir NelsonA Nat
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis — Matt de le Peña, illus. by Kadir Nelson
Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change — Michelle Cook, illus. by various artists
Rosa — Nikki Giovanni, illus. by Bryan Collier
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)) — Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney
Through My Eyes — Ruby Bridges
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad— written and illustrated by Henry Cole
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights — Russell Freedman
When Marian Sang:The True Recital of Marian Anderson — Pam Munoz Ryan, illus. by Brian Selznick


The Negro Speaks of Rivers — Langston Hughes, illus. by E.B. Lewis

Thank you, Jill!


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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Blind date, and silent



I have a terrible time remembering the titles of books I’ve read. But decades later I still remember this one: How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything, by Barbara Walters.

I also have a terrible time remember much about what I’ve read. But I still remember one point from that long-ago book: Show interest in your conversation partner by asking questions. When I remember that advice, I get along much better.

But I will never be as adept as the young woman in this Kid History video (“kids talk, adults act”). Maybe I should be glad I don’t have her “skill,” and I’m definitely glad that my dating days are behind me. Conversationally, I was much more like the guy here.

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Monday, December 31st, 2012

Kindle Fire or Kindle Paperwhite?

Our anniversary and my birthday are less than a week apart, with Christmas in between. Sometimes that means one larger gift that covers all the occasions. I guess I wasn’t very subtle about what was on my wish list this year for Christiversaday–a replacement for the Kindle I couldn’t find when I returned home from a trip a while back.

I’d played around a few minutes with a friend’s Kindle Fire 7Kindle Fire and was impressed by the colors and apps. So that’s what I was crossing my fingers for. And that’s what my husband blessed me with on our anniversary. We enjoyed getting acquainted with it together.

Though the apps and games would be fun, my main use of a Kindle is for reading. So my heart sank when I realized that reading on the Kindle Fire is missing the same 2 important features that are lacking on the Kindle app for various devices (iphone, android, iPad, PC, Mac, Blackberry,Windows Phone 7)  –features that were a normal part of my earlier Kindle experience:

  • Unbroken continuation of a highlight from one page to the next.
  • The ability to organize my books into Collections.

Highlighting. On my earlier Kindle, to continue a highlight to the next page, I just kept the cursor moving to the bottom corner of the screen and the page automatically turned and the highlight continued. By contrast, when I’m highlighting in the Kindle app on my phone or on an iPad, I can’t drag the highlight beyond the bottom of the screen. That means if the passage continues on the next page, I have to start a new highlight on the next page. So when I go later to my notes and highlights, I find it saved as if it were two highlights rather than as one passage. That’s the way the Kindle Fire does it too.

Collections. Some people keep only a few books at a time on their Kindles and store the rest in “the cloud” until they want them (I know that’s an accepted term and shouldn’t need quotation marks, but it sounds like a nebulous–pun intended–metaphor to me.). But I keep pretty much everything in my device. So I want a way to organize my books and not have to page through several hundred hoping to find the one I want. The Collection feature on my earlier Kindle let me create categories that are most useful to me–fiction, Christian living, China, biography, etc. That feature is not available in Kindle apps or in the Kindle Fire.

I had made the big mistake of assuming that every new Kindle product was an upgrade–keeping the great features and making them better. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It was too subtle for me that the Getting Acquainted with Kindle page was showing a Kindle Fire Family of devices and a Kindle E-reader Family. I thought Kindle meant Kindle.

Kindle Paperwhite, 6I returned the Kindle Fire and ordered instead a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader. Now that has what I wanted and more.

What I wanted:

  • Collections.
  • Highlighting that continues to next page.

And more:

  • Noticeably smaller size and lighter weight than the Kindle Fire and earlier Kindle e-readers.
  • Touch screen.
  • On-screen keyboard that pops up as needed.
  • Higher resolution (62% more pixels)
  • Adjustable built-in light that is not a backlight  (page down here for a more technical description).

When it comes to reading, the Kindle Fire is in competition with iPad, not with Kindle e-readers. If you want color and don’t care as much about the reading features, a Kindle Fire is probably what you want.

But if you’re like me and want the possibility of 1000 books in one 7.5-ounce device you can drop in your pocket, purse, or carry-on, go for a Kindle e-reader (Kindle E-reader Family on this page). My choice is the Kindle Paperwhite.


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