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Idli, sambar, dosai, dahl, and rice!


Posted by on January 7, 2013

Do you like Indian food? I have a heart for the people of India, and I really enjoy good food of all types, but I have a confession to make: Indian food is not my favorite. I will eat it (and indeed like some things), but I guess my palette just prefers other flavors that are more common in the United States. However, as I sought inspiration for this blog post, it occurred to me that maybe readers would be interested to know what the Bethania kids eat. So this is my feeble attempt to give you a “taste journey” to South India, courtesy of the Mysore Cafe in Rochester, Minnesota (please excuse my amateur photography).

While I am certainly not an expert, I think I can make a few general comments about South Indian food. First, like many other cultures of the world, rice is a staple ingredient. Many dishes are vegetarian and based on dried lentils, chickpeas, beans, and potatoes. You may find chicken and lamb, occasionally beef, but many practicing Hindus do not eat meat because cows are sacred in their religion. When I visited India I did not find much variety in the foods, and I’m sure this is due to the availability of ingredients in the region. It certainly made me more appreciative of all that I can enjoy in the States. So here is a short introduction* to some of the food that the Bethania kids are likely eating:

Idli and Sambar: This is a popular breakfast dish. Idlis are steamed cakes made of rice and fermented black lentils. Sambar is a vegetable stew made of pigeon peas.

Idli and Sambar

Dosai: This is very similar to a crepe. They are thin, crispy, rolled up, and taste slightly sour. Sometimes they can be really long! Fresh off the stove and served on a banana leaf, these are really good.


Dahl and Rice: My guess is that the Bethania kids eat this on a daily basis. I ate this quite often when I visited India. Dahl is another vegetable stew (similar to sambar) made of lentils or beans. It is a meatless form of protein that can be prepared in multiple ways, depending on the base ingredient.

Dahl and Rice

I can tell you with confidence that the children are well-nourished, and the cooks are good stewards of their grocery budgets. I recall eating lunch with a day care center on my last visit, and it was explained to me that the children are all given small portions at first. If they are still hungry after finishing their food, they may have seconds. But they are very careful not to waste any food. This was a good, humbling reminder when I consider the enormous plates served at many American restaurants.

So the next time you find yourself at an Indian buffet, or picking up frozen Chicken Biriyani at Trader Joe’s, I hope you’ll be reminded of the Bethania Kids. It is due to the generosity of so many donors that these children are healthy and thriving, even if what they eat daily isn’t necessarily what stocks my refrigerator.

* was helpful to me in preparing this blog piece.

Marching Forward in Faith


Posted by on November 8, 2012

Earlier this year, I began a new “read the Bible in a year” plan. I’m only in Numbers, so I have a ways to go! After making it through a lot of Old Testament laws and specifications for the building of the tabernacle, I came across a cool passage in Numbers 10 that reminded me of Bethania. God had a plan to move the nation of Israel. They had been camped just outside the Promised Land after their slavery in Egypt. God’s presence with them is in the form of a cloud that covers the tabernacle, and when that cloud moves, so moves the nation of Israel. I’m not just talking about a few large families. There were hundreds of thousands of Israelites on the journey.

This imagery reminded me of Bethania’s new developments in Orissa. I think God decided that our existing ministries are really well established, and it is now time to pick up and move out of our comfort zone. Orissa is an area of India that is very unlike the other regions that we are familiar with – Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. I hope you’ve looked around our website and seen the raw video footage of this impoverished area in East Central India. To give you just a taste of the social and economic issues: There is no internet access (except in town), and even if it were available, many people cannot read. Alcohol and other chemical addictions are common. There exist strong beliefs rooted in witchcraft, influencing medical care and directly impacting community health. You see, the poverty in this area involves multiple contributing socio-economic factors.

Read more…

It takes a village

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Posted by on June 26, 2012

We have recently celebrated Mother’s and Father’s Days here in the United States. I am blessed to have been raised by loving, hard-working parents, and every year at this time I strive to find a meaningful way to honor them. My mom and dad provided abundantly for my brother, sister, and me – both in material and non-material ways, for all of my needs and some of my wants. They fed and clothed me, made sure I did my homework, took me to the doctor, listened to my piano recitals, celebrated my accomplishments, and most importantly — gave me an example of Christian faith to follow. It’s hard to imagine where I’d be in my life if not for the influence of my parents. Read more…

Forget me not

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Posted by on April 25, 2012

Right now, I am sitting at my air-conditioned desk on the 12th floor of my office building. My day as an audiologist consisted of hearing test after hearing test after hearing test – 11 patients total – with a leisurely lunch break mid-day. Throughout the day, I had various distractions ranging from an exploding email inbox to celebrating a coworker’s new baby to stressing over some large projects on the horizon. When I go home tonight, we will heat up some leftover food, play with our son, and if we’re lucky, catch our favorite TV show before falling asleep – and then the cycle begins again tomorrow. Can you relate to this?

And where does India fit in to all of this? The answer is, Read more…

Bethania has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I folded Bethania newsletters in our dining room. I have traveled to India in 1995 and 2009, at which time I was fortunate to witness the growth of these ministries and the very real transformation happening in these children's lives. From 2006 to 2011, I was the chair of the Sponsor A Child Program, and currently I am an Associate Member of the Board of Directors. I live in Rochester, Minnesota with my husband and young son, where I work as an audiologist.