There's more to life at Bethel than classes & seminars

Beyond the green is a place students to share the joys and hardships of being a Thresher.

  • Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

    Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

  • Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

    Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

The End of a Tennis Season

The End of a Tennis Season

This past weekend were the conference tournaments for the men's and women's tennis teams. Unfortunately, neither team made it to nationals but that does not discount the great and successful seasons they had.
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Pirates of Penzance

Pirates of Penzance

Over the past month many of Bethel’s students have been working on the opera, The Pirates of Penzance.
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Bubbert Awards 2014

Bubbert Awards 2014

This year’s Bubberts Awards were on the evening of April 12th. Bubberts was great as always! Everyone looked super spiffy and fancy.
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Concert Choir In Europe

Concert Choir In Europe

The Concert Choir gave a bittersweet farewell to our European choir tour with a final concert on Sunday, this time in front of the friendly faces of Bethel’s campus.
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Down time at the Mission

When we are not working in the fields, helping Neal with his research or weeding, our time at the mission is relatively free. Over the past week I have found joy in this down time.

After a hot morning of work, a few of us walked down to the river that runs by the mission. The water is fairly shallow, but it moves quickly and is crystal clear. We explored up stream a ways and found a deeper spot that was shaded by a beautiful willow tree. We lounged there in the water for a long time, talking and cooling off. Some of us even washed our hair in the clear water and did some laundry. It was a very refreshing afternoon.

Later in the evening, we sat outside watching the sunset, the clouds and sky transition in a gorgeous aray of colors. And as soon as the sun set, stars began to appear. There was no moon and no light pollution in the valley so the night was pitch black and the stars were bright as ever. I have never seen so many stars in my life! I was completely mesmerized by the night sky and spent a long time watching the stars move across the sky  before going to bed.

Here in Lesotho,  I feel much more connected with my environment. Everything we do here relates to the land: We work in the fields, we eat the tomatoes and apples from the mission gardens, even our recreation is centered around the landscape. And when so much of one’s life is focused on the surrounding land, one feels a much deeper sense of gratitude to the earth and to the Creator. This is something I feel very strongly here in Lesotho.

-Emma Regier

Report from China: January 16—Shanghai

Our business visit this morning took us eastward across the Huangpu River on a 45-minute drive to Pudong’s business district. Of Shanghai’s 23 million residents, about 13 mn live west of the river (Puxi) and 10 mn on the eastern side (Pudong). Travel across the river is now facilitated by 7 tunnels and 6 bridges! Enroute, our local guide Jack noted that 25 years ago Pudong was largely vegetable gardens and pig farms. Today this highly-developed area challenges Hong Kong as the financial center of East Asia.

Our destination, International Exhibition and Trading Center of Wine and Beverages, is where we met Wanny Zhang, who was to describe in general terms the work of this state-owned business. In the most general terms, the objective of the center, established in 2008 and now comprising some 80 members worldwide, is to help foreign distilleries and breweries access the Chinese market—a market that has grown in the last few years by a remarkable 50% annually.

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Maphutseng – 1.12.12

On Thursday January 12, Neal, Bill, 5 other students and I traveled up the valley to set up research plots on some fields there. We drove in as far as we could and then hiked in 4.5 miles to a village where several famers live. It is located where the two mountain ranges in our area meet. The amazing view made the long hike worth it.

We split up into two groups and set up plots on different fields. When we returned to the village some of the women had prepared hot tea and steamed bread for us. It provided us with much needed energy to finish our work.

We were very hot and tired on the hike back, but it started raining for a while which was very refreshing. After the rain, we saw a huge full double rainbow. It was so beautiful with the mountains in the background. Bill enjoyed a horseback ride the whole way back.

When we returned to Maphutseng, the rest of the group had prepared a celebration for Bill’s birthday which was that day. We had cookies and sang Happy Birthday. It was a great day!

-Tiffany Kaufman

Maphutseng – Weeding

In Maphutseng, we have been staying at the Growing Nations Training Center. While here, we have spent most of our mornings out in the fields. We like working from 6am to 1pm best because then we get our afternoons and evenings off. The work that the majority of us have done consists of working with tomato, carrot, and beet root plants.

The first couple of days we worked on the tomatoes, planting poles, wiring, weeding, and mulching. After finishing those, we moved on to the carrots and beets. We hand weeded and hoed this section. A lot of the work we did was simple and the same each day. It was just hard because we have traveled from Kansas weather to Lesotho weather (85 degrees), and we work in the sun constantly. However, this work did allow for us to have conversations with those around us, getting to know each other better, and it even allowed time for self reflection.

At the beginning of our time here, the fields we worked on seemed daunting. But by working together everyday, we were able to finally finish this task.

Kylie Jantz

Traveling through Lesotho

Traveling through Lesotho has been quite an adventure.  And it takes a lot of time.  If you look at Lesotho on a map, it seems small, someone said it was comparable in size to Maryland.  However, it takes hours for us to get where we need to go.  Many of the roads we have traveled on here in Lesotho have been dirt roads and very rough with lots of pot holes, much worse than the country roads in Kansas.  Riding in the back of the vans can get a little rough and isn’t always the most desirable place to be.  The roads here never go through mountains, they always go around them.  Up in the mountain they can be a little narrow too, especially when your van driver goes full speed around the corner with cars coming from the other direction.  One positive of these winding dirt roads is that we get to see a lot of the scenery, which is definitely worth seeing.  Lesotho is a beautiful country, bumpy roads and all.

Camille Claassen

Learning How to Take a Proper Basin Bath

I came on this trip expecting to only take about one shower per week. I especially expected it to be that way in the village where there was no running water or electricity. However, this expectation was quickly changed as Megan Siebert and I woke up the first morning in the village.

It was difficult to communicate with our host grandmother because she hardly spoke any English and we didn’t know any Sosotho. Luckily, a lady next door came over to translate for us. First, we were asked if we had bathed. After saying we hadn’t, she took us into the second bedroom where they had hot water in a basin waiting for us. Although our translator was speaking English, we had trouble understanding her with her accent. We finally understood that we were to take our clothes off so that we could wash ourselves. At that point, all modesty went out the window. We had failed to bring washcloths because it wasn’t on our packing list, but, luckily, our host provided them for us. Megan and I learned that you wash from top to bottom and at the end we would wash our underwear in our bath water so that we could wear it again the next day.

Learning to bathe in a different country with trouble understanding directions is tough. However, we laughed through it and realized that it makes for a great story and was a good experience.

-Natalia Krahn

January 15–Shanghai

After a good sleep in Shanghai’s fine Long Men (“Dragon Gate”) Hotel and a great breakfast buffet, we boarded our bus for the 30-minute drive to one Shanghai’s great tourist attractions, the Shanghai Museum. Opened in 1994 to rave reviews by the world’s museum cognoscenti, this carefully designed museum has over 200,000 objects on display, ranging from colorful costumes of  some of China’s 52 ethnic minorities, to an outstanding collection of Tang and Ming style furniture, to a remarkable display of Chinese currencies used over 3,000 years, to bronzes and to what has been described as perhaps the world’s finest collection of jade.

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January 14—Puyang-Zhengzhou-Shanghai

It was another 24-course breakfast in Puyang before boarding the bus for the 160-mile drive to Zhengzhou where we would board bullet train D284 for Shanghai.Just prior to departure, Mr. Li Da Qing, General Secretary of the Daming church, boarded our bus to express his heartfelt thanks and good wishes to our group.

Halfway to Zhengzhou we pulled into a truck stop for some relief and were amused by several of the ”Chinglish” signs in the restrooms. The sign above the lavatories urged conservation in water use: “Economy uses this water”; the hand washing area was dubbed “Water pool”; the foot pedal flushing device on the stools had the name “trample flush”.

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January 13—Puyang

After a nice buffet breakfast, we drove a few miles through heavy AM rush hour traffic in search of an easy access to the Dong Guan Church. It was built in 1917 by Mennonite missionaries and for the next several years served as the “mother church” of missionary work in the area. We were met by several elderly ladies who welcomed us by singing in Chinese “Silent Night” and in English, “Amazing Grace”.

Our final stop of the morning was at a large new church. Built in 2003, this structure has sanctuary seating for perhaps 1,000. We were welcomed by Madam Zhang Yan Min, one of the church pastors, and five young woman singing hymns around a magnificent new grand. In response to an invitation from the singing ladies of Mu En, our group reciprocated by a nice rendition of the “606”—the “Praise God” closing song in many US services today. Following the visit to the sanctuary, we were invited to a warm meeting room for some snacks and additional briefing about the Mu En Church.

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January 12—Daming

This was the day we would make a round trip to/from Daming, about 50 miles away, and the site where the W.C. Voth famly served as Mennonnite missionaries in the mid-1920s.

We arrived in Daming some 50 miles away at 10 AM and proceeded directly to the complex housing the former Mennonite mission. There we met Messrs. Li Da Qing, General Secretary of the church, and Zhang Bo Sheng, a church spokesman. Nearby was a large red-brick church built in the past few years, but now used largely as a Christian training center with some 60 local residents in regular attendance. More than 30 “Bible training classes” have been held at this church since its return. In a corner of the complex we viewed the “memory stones” of the three toddlers who died in Puyang, viz., children of the Voths, the Browns and the Kuaffmans. We were told that Daming County now has some 10,000 Christians who meet regularly in 47 “prayer points” around the county.