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Family Newsletter - Apr/May 2003

Past Issues: 1998 June July August Sept Oct Nov/Dec 1999 Jan/Feb March/April May June July Sept/Oct Nov/Dec 2000 Jan/Feb Mar/Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep/Oct 2001 Jan/Feb May/June Sep/Oct 2002 Jan/Feb Mar/Apr May/Jun/Jul

From: Madi and Henry

Madi and Henry were trying out a digital camera while I was visiting at Bets' and Carls' in March. As you can see, they both were becoming expert photographers!

Henry, by Madi.......................................Madi, by Henry

Madi and Henry, by Jo

From: Loey

After struggling to find jobs from India and not succeeding, Gary and I have decided that Gary should stay in the US after we arrive there in June and that I should return to India for one more academic year. I am in the middle of several projects that I would hate to leave half finished, like a major software system for grading and reporting (which I co-own and could sell later). I would also like to work with the women at the co-op to make just a couple more quilts and get the juniors through the IB exam next year. I'm still negotiating the agreement but that's the current plan. Gary will look for an aerospace job or just drive his motorcycle around on roads that aren't full of potholes, cows, bundy carts, big roaring buses, drying hay, kids, women with wood, and everything else except normal traffic. When he has it all figured out in the US, I'll join him.

It's nice being in Kodai where the war is quite far away. At least currently we feel safe in India though there are problems around us in Bangladesh, Pakistan etc. Nikhil and Priya are planning on internships in SE Asia or S America - hopefully the war won't prevent this from happening.

From: Michael

Michael with his students at New Hope
Valentine bags for the kids

I left New Hope Children's Academy on March 28th with plans to pursue further education towards obtaining teacher certification for working with Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten. I am pursuing many options and deciding on which will be the most expedient and fit into my daily schedules. Some possibilities include a B.A. in Early Childhood Education or a M.S. in Early Childhood. I will have further updates as to what I have finally deciding on for the next newsletter. Words of wisdom/encouragement/advice are greatly appreciated. Knowing that I have many relatives that are asociated in some sort with the educational sytem, there should be plenty of resources to draw upon. Is teaching something that is part of the Hiebert DNA?

Since I am going back to school, I started thinking about all the family members that have gone on for higher degrees, and would like to compile this information for our next newsletter. Could you send me information about the colleges/universities you've attended and the degrees you've attained and also other education beyond that of high school. It should be an interesting study. Please send this information to my new email address:

From: Karen and Rick

Rick writes that he and Karen, Grace and Toby, are moving back to Fresno this summer. The following is a press release from the M.B. Biblical Seminary:

MB Biblical Seminary is delighted to announce the appointment of Rick Bartlett as the Ministry Quest program director effective June 2003. Ministry Quest is a program giving High School Youth the opportunity to explore ministry as a vocational option. Ministry Quest is the High School component of the "Hearing The Call" project directed by John Neufeld.

In addition to Directing Ministry Quest, Rick will teach courses and lead seminars in youth ministry, leadership development and discipleship.

Rick is 1992 Graduate of MBBS and has served in three MB congregations, at Heartland Christian Camp, as the Assistant to the National Director for Youth for Christ - Britain from 1993-2000 and Leadership Development Director - Youth for Christ Pacific Northwest Region from 2000 - present. Rick will be relocating to Fresno with his wife Karen and their two children Grace and Toby.

Karen, Grace, Toby and Rick

From: Margy

For me, 2003 has been "the best of times, the worst of times."

For worst:
1. lost my best friend Judy to cancer after long heart-breaking time of helping care for her
2. lost my favorite doctor (and consequently half my clients) to cancer
3. lost my other doctor (and other half of my clients) to ugly disagreement he had with my company
4. undetected water pipe damage under kitchen sink spread disaster throughout, necessitating repairing floor in kitchen, hall, bathroom, plus part of a wall
5. entire roof needed repair + one section had to be replaced
6. we went to war

For best (or at least better):

1. my company gave me a new doctor to work with who is an absolute joy, plus 5 new facilities and their clients
2. I still have lots of wonderful, wonderful friends who give me joy and share adventures
3. I have priceless memories of times with Judy
4. Michael and I learned how to repair a roof and got the job done, and well done at that
5. found terrific handyman to fix the house, who will also help us build Michael a house for about 1/3 less than if we did it traditional way
6. Michael and I are healthy, happy, and feeling blessed to be alive
7. Brian and I take a 2-week trip to Alaska in June, which makes all 50 states for me

Hiebert Family Endowment

We've done it! The Hiebert Family endowment chair is in place at the Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College in Shamshabad, India. Saji Oommen, director for Asia at MBMSI, presented the check to the India governing Council on November 26, 2002. Our total was $15,300, sent in by 27 donors. Another $1000 (or more) has come in since Christmas. The rest of the $18,000 was brought in from over-subscription to another endowment. Any gifts still coming in will be added to the Hiebert chair to offset this subsidy.

The chair will be co-named for the N. N. Hiebert family, including J.N.C. and Anna Hiebert, and an Indian leader yet to be designated. This endowment means that support for one MBCBC teacher will come from funds in a bank in India. The college depends heavily on these funds since the Indian people in our field are too poor to support the college themselves. Many of the leaders of the India Conference come from the college; their contribution to the conference is crucial. Thank you, all who have supported this project!

From: Chelsea and Rich

Chelsea sent this picture of Brian. What a cutie! Gary, does he get his adorable looks from his maternal grandfather?

Lone Ranger Brian with his horse Silver

From: Gwen

I am happily retired and, like Joanne, am busier than ever. I divide my time between quilting and gardening and do a little consulting on the side. Dick and I continue to paint the white pipe fence. We do a large section each summer so that in seven years we are able to make the full round. Then we start over again. Our family is very involved in the war as Jason, Debbie's son, is in Kuwait with a Patriot Missile unit. We have not heard from him since the war started. Debbie and Dary are under exteme stress during this time and request everyone's prayers. The day Jason returns will be one of great celebration for us! If you want to write him or send a package, you can send this to: PVT Jason K. Zerbe, Operation Enduring Freedom, A-Btry, 2 ADA, APO AE O9366.

This winter I made the famous trip to India with Jo, Frank, and Paul. Loey was an amazing travel agent who was able to get us from one place to another with little fuss and managed to pack a lot of sightseeing into a few short weeks. It is all like a dream right now but I am making the rounds, showing my slides to local groups. One woman saw them and asked why the Indians didn't want running water in their homes - she had no clue. Loey's co-op ladies are still working on the many quilts that I ordered. They'll be busy for the next year!

Loey's dog, Rio, will arrive here in about a week. The rest of you please come and see us if you are anywhere near the Dallas area - we'll make room for you.

From: Pete

Pete and Kristin at work; .......so what kind of sandwich do you want to order? They're all delicious!

From: Chris

This last year Chris and a colleague adapted A Christmas Carol, using as its setting Cripple Creek, Colorado, a small former mining town where the two had acted in melodramas some years ago. The play was performed this last Christmas season and received great reviews. It will be performed again this next Christmas.....and hopefully become an annual event.


This winter Chris directed The Laramie Project at Monmouth College. It was a powerful performance and brought about some good dialogue among students, as well as in our very conservative community.

Monmouth College performers

From: Phyl

I flew out from Omaha... It was COLD, ten below zero the first nights. I flew on to Paraguayan summer, HOT, 100,104, up to108 degrees! And HUMID. Elmer had just finished two weeks of teaching and came to pick me up at the airport in Asuncion. Next morning at 4 am we left for the Chaco, a plains area covered with a thick mass of bushes, trees and grass and zillions of short palm trees. The Mennonites have cleared a lot of land, now have farms, ranches, villages, and nice homes there, also a Cooperative which produces dairy products sent to all parts of Paraguay. German and Spanish are spoken there, some English by those who have been at the seminary.

At one point we drove through a Lengua Indian camp. The Indians used to be hunter-gatherers who practiced infanticide because the land couldn't support too many--500 or so. Now they have houses, gardens, jobs, churches, schools--their level of education is approaching that of the Paraguayan nationals. They now number about 25,000.

Back to Asuncion, then off again to see a huge dam, the ruins of a large Catholic mission compound, and IGUACU FALLS. Plural! The river is broad and falls over a long cliff or cleft of rock, then a second long cleft, so that many double falls are created, separated by masses of green growth. Spectacular! We saw it from the Brazil side, then next day the Argentine side where one walks along the top on bridges with the falls rushing over the cliff just under one's feet. On the way home we stopped at Kilometer 81, the hospital which treats patients with Hanson's Disease (leprosy) and other illnesses.

The last Sunday we went to an MB church inside the federal prison in Asuncion!! Elmer and I forgot our documents, had to go back for them to be admitted into the prison. Hundreds of men sitting about tables under a large roof waiting for their womenfolk to visit them--the women were lined up outside and admitted a few at a time. The service was in Spanish, very lively loud music, sermon by an ex-con who had spent 20 years in jail for murder. He spoke with passion!

Arrived in Fresno about 2 pm. Tuesday, all well at home. We thanked God, who did all things well!

Phyl's Trip to Paraguay (taken from her family letter)

Phyl also has a new web page, The English Corner, that you should check: http://www.theenglishcorner.com

From: Debbie

Debbie recently sent in a news article about Jared's performance of the role of Nutcracker in Friends University Ballet production. Jerod was featured in the Life section of The Salina Journal. The article states, among other things:
-"At 15, Jerod Zerbe can lift a ballerina above his head and perform lead roles in classical productions along side more-seasoned performers. Over the next two weekends, he will perform the role of the Nutcracker in friends Unviersity Ballet's production of the Christmas ballet of the same name."
-"He used to give a standard comeback if teased about being a ballet dancer: 'When was the last time you were in a class full of girls in leotards?" Great comeback, Jerod!
-Stan Rogers, ballet department director at Friends: "I think he can do just about whatever he wants to do; I really do."

Good luck with your ballet, Jerod.

Jared practicing Nutcracker ballet

From: Dave and Beverly Zapata, Dallas, Texas

Aaron and Dawn Zapata, David's second son, are expecting their first child in the latter part of May. They live in Yorba Linda, California, which is southeast of Pasadena, half way to Anaheim. Aaron is Vice President of a real estate firm, is a licensed real estate broker, and also the office manager (he's very busy). Dawn is an English teacher at California High School nearby, and the Chair of the English Department. She will retire from teaching when she delivers the child. They have elected to NOT learn the childs' gender until birth, so they're very excited, to say the least. Both of them graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA.

David's oldest daughter, Loralie, recently graduated from San Jose State University in California, with a hard-earned Bachelor of Music degree (not a BA in Music, which is easier). She hopes to become a recording artist, and has a strong leaning towards Jazz. Loralie got engaged this past Christmas to one of her classmates, Matt Wheeler, of San Jose. They are planning an October wedding in the San Francisco Bay Area. Matt has 2 years left of school, but plans may change.

David's youngest daughter, Crystal, is a senior at California State University in Fullerton (LA area). She is majoring in geography, and hopes to finish in December. She recently spend some time traveling in Europe, primarily France, where she had to make use of her years of French language learned in school.

David is employed as a Project Engineer in Dallas, designing foodservice equipment, such as conveyor toasters and pizza ovens for the commercial market. Beverly is an administrative assistant, currently looking for her next job. Dave and Bev have been married for 2 1/2 years, and Dave re-located to Dallas when he was down-sized in his previous job in late 1999. Both want to get back to the West Coast where their families reside, so job-hunting is the word.

On several occasions, Dave and Bev have had the pleasure of getting together with Vern and Sally Martens of Greenville, Texas. On one of those occasions, Gwen and Dick Schroth and Elmer Martens were present, so Bev got to meet some of the extended family. We all shared Thanksgiving 2001 together.

From: Marilyn Cox (Uncle George and Aunt Elizabeth's daughter)

Marilyn sent this picture of Mom and Aunt Elizabeth to share with our family. Thanks, Marilyn!

Good friends: Aunt Elizabeth and Anna

From: Paul, Gwen, Jo and Loey

The four of us siblings had a great time exploring India this winter. This is a VERY brief account of that time, along with pictures of our neat experiences there.

Click here for our story.