Who are we?

Hi, we’re Dave and Debbie Klein. Starting in 2011, our family has organized the much loved CocoaConf, and now, Swift by Northwest, and we are glad you are here! Here’s a little about us.

We were married in 1985 and planned on being your average American family, a nice house, two cars, 2.5 kids. Normal. But then we realized from God’s word, the Bible, that there was a lot more to life than that. That we, just like you, were created for a purpose. In order to fulfill that purpose, we needed to let God take the lead in our lives. So far, that has led to 14 dearly loved children, and, at one point, a school bus in the driveway.

But children are a gift from God, a blessing, and not a burden. We never expected to have 14, but the Lord hasn’t given us one yet that we wanted to send back. ☺

We have been blessed with 8 boys and 6 girls. Being a larger than average family, we often get asked certain questions. We’d like to answer a few of them in advance here.

  • No, we are not Mormons.
  • No, we are not Catholics.
  • No, we are not Amish or Mennonite.
  • No, no twins or adoptions.
  • No, we don’t have a TV show.
  • Yes, they are all ours.
  • Yes, we have a big house.
  • Yes, we teach our children at home.
  • Yes, we’re rich (just not in money).
  • No, we’re not crazy.

Well, that last one is kind of a subjective thing, isn’t it?

Actually, there is a lot of subjectivity going on in this world. Where are the absolutes? We see them when water freezes or the birds fly south, but in human life, are there any absolutes? Is there any plan for people, just like there is for penguins? Some say “Absolutely not!” But that is kind of subjective, too, isn’t it?

God’s design for the family is perfect, and even though we’re not a perfect family (not even close), we do have a perfect God who will help us and as we follow Him and His Word, we can begin to fulfill the purpose we were created for. We’re counting on it!

More about this in a minute, but first we’d like to introduce you to our gang. This may take a few minutes, so you may want to sit down.

Zak, and his wife Beth, love kids. Formerly the lead webmaster of cocoaconf.com, Zak now works as an software consultant, but he still shows up at events now and again. Sons John and Timmy get lots of hang-time with the aunts and uncles, but somehow their walking skills are still coming along quite nicely.

 
abi

Abi loves kids, helps in household menu planning, and enjoys graphic arts, sewing, writing, video editing, Spanish translation, piano and arranging music. She is our hotel liaison.

 
ben

Ben is the devoted husband of Lily, and they love kids. And nature walks. Ben likes punctuation, especially commas, and words in general. He is a tech writer with Pivotal Software. He helps us with copy editing, website maintenance, and coffee mug testing.

 
sarah

Sarah loves kids, likes figuring out new things, is studying Koine Greek and ASL, and is a fledgling soap- maker. She helps us stay organized, which is a huge job, and she can find things. Very important. Frozen fruit fears her. She helps design our event programs and makes sure we pack enough socks.

 
bill

Solomon loves kids. He plays bass, and practices photography. Solomon handles much official communications, hence the high usage of “alrighty” in much official communications. According to reliable witnesses, he once made Marcus Zarra laugh. (citation needed)

 
hannah

Hannah loves kids, writes poetry, enjoys piano, sings loudly, and can spot a planation surface a mile away. She is diligent in the kitchen and loves sewing, cooking, and taught herself xylophone without the aid of a “Teach Yourself Xylophone” book. Hannah is in charge of producing our programs and spiffy, coffee-resistant attendee name tags.

 
joanna

Joanna loves kids, enjoys singing, is learning Mandarin, and can play two recorders at the same time. She makes magnificent muffins and can crochet a replica of just about any carbon-based life form. But she puts crochet on hold during our busy season, helping with holding down the fort.

 
bekah

Rebekah loves kids, enjoys singing and piano, crochets very capably, and has good sentence construction skills. She wants everyone to know she does not speak much French, but we can truly say that, compared to the rest of us, she is fluent in French. She is a big help at our registration table.

 
suby

Susanna loves kids. She is known to be quiet and loud, at different times. She enjoys drawing, paper crafting, crochet, and photography. She greets each attendee with a smile.

 
noah

Noah loves kids. He has his own toolbox, in which he keeps tools, parts of broken objects, old keys, old padlocks and possibly lots of Chapstick. We’re not sure; it’s locked. He is a helper and enjoys accessing problems and suggesting solutions. Noah works hard with set up and tear down, and helps eat leftover cheesecake.

 
sammy

Sammy loves kids. He has studied some Swift, really enjoys photography, and is learning drums. His chief culinary skill thus far is applying veggies to our homemade pizza in his signature style.

 
giddy

Gideon loves kids. You can also often find him matching socks, or writing correspondence in olde English, hearkening back to the days before standardized speling. Due to a rare genetic mutation, he does not care much for macaroni and cheese. Gideon helps at the registration table, can wind extension cords like a pro, and often collects all the leftover hotel swag.

 
josh

Joshua loves kids, of course. He fancies himself a scientist, enjoys finding microscopes at thrift stores (working or not) and white dress shirts in his brothers’ closet. Joshie doesn’t have any official duties as yet; he’s just here for the name tag.

 
dano

Daniel loves kids, and enjoys drawing, especially dinosaurs, and life forms of the Cambrian explosion. He enjoys reciting and modifying factoids about animals, and he almost has enough material for his own podcast. Daniel runs the whole operation.

 

Trees in the fall don’t deliberate about changing color, do they? Caterpillars don’t opt out of making a cocoon. You don’t hear of the disintegration of the porcupine family unit. God has laid out intricate plans for all of life. But He didn’t stop that plan with people. However, he did give people a choice, whether or not to follow His plan for their lives.

We look around and notice that some people make pretty bad choices, choices that affect others, sometimes for the worse. The Bible calls that sin, and it doesn’t just affect ourselves and others, but actually causes God’s condemnation. There really is evil in this world, and if we were each honest with ourselves, we would admit that we are a part of it. We have 14 children, and we have never had to teach them to sin.

We are all guaranteed to face death. “... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) None of us want to be judged, but we probably wouldn’t mind a few (or many) others we know being judged. We have a sense of right and wrong. Our sense of right and wrong is often subjective, but there is a perfect Judge. We have not followed his plan for life, in fact, we have rejected it. We know good we should do and yet don’t do it. We do things we wish we could forget. One day, we will each be judged.

God is love, and God is just. His love provided away for us to escape judgment. His own Son took our place when He died on the cross. In speaking of His death, Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:13)

We couldn’t possibly tell you everything we would like to about our need for a Savior and God’s gift of salvation, about God’s wonderful provision and help in every situation, or about our hope of His coming again, but we can and do encourage you to read it for yourself, in the Bible. God is not far off, nor hard to find. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17)