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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.

Simple Gifts


Posted by on December 21, 2012

Have you taken a look at Bethania’s gift catalog? What an awesome opportunity to give to others at a time when we are reminded of the blessings in our lives – family near, good food on our tables, gifts under the tree, and a God who gave Himself to restore a relationship with us. During this season especially, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness in my life and am all the more eager to use the resources He’s given me to be an extension of His love to those in need.
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Christmas With Bethania

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Posted by on December 4, 2012

Crackling fireplaces, snowflakes, decorated houses, gingerbread cookies, ornaments, and candy canes – all the indicators of the holiday season are coming to life as December finally arrives. While you and your family start your Christmas traditions, we want to tell you about some of the traditions of the children in our Bethania Kids homes. We invite you to incorporate some of the Bethania Christmas traditions into your own Christmas celebrations! Read more…

Pure and Faultless

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Posted by on November 20, 2012

Religion. It’s me and God, right? Go to church, read the Bible, say a prayer, give some money – is that Christianity?

Maybe I truly and sincerely invest in each of these endeavors. Church is not an obligation, but a welcome opportunity to worship God with fellow believers. I read Scripture with a heart and mind seeking to hear God’s voice through the pages of His word. My prayers are heartfelt and expect, in faith, to be answered. Giving financially is a joyful response of gratitude to all that God has given me. Is this Christianity? Is this true religion? Read more…

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.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012

A few months ago I was walking through Target, and I found the movie Slumdog Millionaire in the $5 dvd bin. The only thought that ran through my head was, “How could I not buy it?” Apparently I said my thoughts out loud, because my wife responded by saying she had never seen it. I immediately put the dvd in our cart and as soon as we got home we started watching it. 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…


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Posted by on June 14, 2012

“You won’t forget me?”

How could I respond to that question?! After a few short days with the amazing children at Kannivadi, I felt like these kids were truly my Indian brothers and sisters. They wanted to know if I’d be able to see their Christmas program. Sadly, I had to answer with a “no.” I’d be back in America by Christmas, and I didn’t know when I’d be back in India or visiting them at Bethania. They wanted to know if I’d forget them. Read more…

The Path of Education

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Posted by on May 26, 2012

Last Friday I walked across a stage and received my college diploma. In some ways, I see this as a major accomplishment. That degree represents many hours of sitting in lectures, reading textbooks, preparing and giving speeches, writing papers, studying for exams, researching topics, and participating in group discussions and projects. It represents courage to do things I thought were too hard for me, perseverance when I didn’t feel like studying anymore, and faithful encouragement from my friends and family. Yes, I do believe the diploma I now have represents a big accomplishment. 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…