e-Compass – May 2015

Land of Dust

Throughout our lives we set and achieve many goals; some goals expect immediate accomplishment, others require a strategic target requiring significantly more time for completion. When presented with the opportunity to realize a personal goal of truly making a difference over the long term, Robert and Linda Gist took advantage and have done just that.

Former ARCO/BP employee of 38 years, and Multop Financial clients since 2008, Bob Gist and his wife, Linda, have found great fulfillment through mission work during their retirement. Bob very kindly credits his early retirement at the age of 60 in part to his advisory relationship with Multop Financial, and has graciously agreed to share with us how they have spent the last few years.

Opportunity struck in 2007 when Bob and Linda were approached by the Christ The King Church’s Missions’ Director and were invited to visit the Youth With A Mission base in Tanzania. Their group was set out to build a medical clinic in the Masaai region of Engikaret. The organization was given 16 acres of land, where the Masaai people continue to wear their traditional clothing and practice the same set of traditions as centuries before. The word “engikaret” means “land of dust,” attesting to the barren condition of the lands. Since 2007, this mission group built a medical clinic, as well as a two storey home for children.

Since then, Bob and Linda visited the YWAM base in Tanzania annually, coordinating their three month trip schedule to coincide with a nearby school where Linda volunteers as an English teacher and librarian. Linda works directly with children from ages 5 to 12 teaching English and other fundamentals while encouraging them to stay in school. Per agreements with the local tribal council, as long as a girl is in school she is not to be sold into marriage. In the Masaai culture men treat women and girls very harshly. Girls as young as twelve are deemed eligible to be sold to an older man for marriage in return for a dowry of livestock. Bob and Linda have used education as a tool to encourage these children, particularly young women, to stay in school in order to break away from the culture’s maltreatment of women and youth.

While Linda is working in the school, Bob travels up to Kenya to visit a local missionary who operates two elementary schools and an orphanage in the Kibera Slums. The average size of a shack in this area is twelve by twelve feet, constructed with mud walls, screened with concrete and corrugated tin for a roof. These minimal quarters typically house families of eight or more. This slum cannot be found on a map and is more or less neglected by national authorities, resulting in a 95% unemployment rate. The lack of employment opportunities and natural resources directly correlate with crime and fatality rates within the region.

The human body’s ability to adapt and even thrive in a variety of environments is one of the hallmarks of our species. Case and point, several of the tribal men claim to have never had a sip of water, and during times of drought turned to other methods to quench their thirst. Bob described the Maasai men as being very tall; carrying a spear, with a large knife and club attached to their belt and have multiple piercings. Much to his surprise, they also carried a cell phone; checking on the local cattle market report.

“I wish I had known how gracious and loving the people of east Africa are despite extreme poverty and adverse living conditions. When traveling on a mission trip be willing to listen, adapt to the situation around you, don’t negatively judge another person’s culture until you learn about all aspects of its history, and know that you can’t fix or help everything that touches your heart,” explains Bob. “The biggest compliment that Linda and I received was that we were ‘simple’ people and were able to adapt.”

We can easily become disillusioned by the world’s enormous needs. But if we see the value in helping just one or a few other human beings out of poverty, the world will be transformed. Bob and Linda have continued to live their mission from home through New + Vision Soccer. New + Vision Soccer was founded locally and has a strong belief that people should care for the children of this world, and that each child should be presented with the same educational opportunities. This organization targets young boys in Africa, most of which have lost their parents and are left to fend for themselves. Usually they end up in street gangs in order to survive, following anyone who is willing to feed them. Presented with such harsh circumstances, many of these children have no interest in prioritizing education. Learn more about New + Vision Soccer and the opportunities it provides to the youth in Africa by clicking here.

At Multop Financial we applaud Bob and Linda Gist for their inspired services. We are honored to play just a small part in their retirement experience.

Russian Olivier Salad

A taste of home – Siberia, that is!

“Salad Olivier” is one of the most traditional summer side dishes in Russian cuisine.

With picnic weather upon us, let’s celebrate the season with a creamy and delicious side that is sure to satisfy all ages. Oxana Khizhnyak, our Accounting Assistant, was born in Siberia and moved to Whatcom County at the age of 15.

Oxana says that she was raised on this dish, and still prepares it frequently for her husband when they crave a little taste of home.


3 Medium Russet Potatoes
5 Eggs
½ lb Russian Bologna
8 Small Dill Pickles
1 (15 oz) can Peas
1 cup Mayonnaise
5 Green Onions
1 tablespoon Dill


Place the potatoes into a medium pot with the skins on, add cold water. Cover the pot and gently boil for 20-25 minutes or until tender. While your potatoes are boiling, place the eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water and place over medium heat; when the water reaches a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 12 minutes.

Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Peel eggs and set aside. Once your potatoes are fully cooked, drain them into a colander and place under cool running water. Peel and dice into fine cubes, then set aside.

Finely dice eggs, pickles and bologna into ¼ inch cubes and mince the green onions. Thoroughly rinse and drain peas.

Combine your potatoes, eggs, pickles, bologna, green onion and peas with mayonnaise in a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly and garnish with dill.

Your fresh Russian Olivier Salad is now ready to be served as a unique side at a picnic or in a martini glass as an appetizer that is sure to impress. Enjoy!

Download & print this recipe

Multop Financial Team Focus

Brianna Kastning

Bri grew up in north Seattle, and graduated from Western Washington University in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science. While attending Western, Bri worked as a Resident Advisor where she interacted and mentored first-year students to help them adjust and grow to reach their full potential during their time at the university.

Multop Financial is delighted to feature the newest member of the team, Brianna Kastning. Bri started with us in late January as an office assistant for tax season. She is leaving for another project during the summer, but will rejoin the firm later in August to become a permanent part of our administrative support team. She looks forward to building long term relationships with the staff and clients here at Multop Financial.

To put herself through college, Bri has spent her summers working in the beautiful Bristol Bay region in a remote fishing town called Naknek, Alaska. Almost 70 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon is caught in Bristol Bay and Naknek, creating a demanding work environment. Trimming salmon fillets for 16-hours every day for two months at the fishery wasn’t glamorous work; the conditions were cold and wet, and were both physically and mentally taxing.

On a personal note, Bri considers herself a sunshine-enthusiast and takes every opportunity to soak up the sun whether that be exploring a new trail in the Chuckanuts or simply sitting on her porch with a tall glass of lemonade and the latest crime novel.

We look forward to the contributions Bri will be making at Multop Financial. Her skills, talent and personality will be an important part of our administration department.

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For those of you who have visited our office, you know that we take great care and pride in presenting a beautiful space to make every guest feel welcome. Our walls feature the Multop’s unique collection of artwork, most of which is in support of local Bellingham and Whatcom County artists. Our new office tour video features our Barkley location, and is designed to give our out-of-town clients and colleagues a glimpse into our home-away-from-home. We hope you have a chance to stop by, get a cup of coffee, and look around.

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Upcoming Events - Bellingham

Multop Financial is a proud sponsor of several charitable golf tournaments this summer. If you are interested in participating as a golfer with our team, please contact info@multop.com for dates and openings.

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