My clock is off, and not because of jet-lag.

•March 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth.  I think it is safe to say that I suffered from a case of culture shock from which I needed to recuperate (not quite there yet).  Suffice it to say that going from the poverty of Sichuan to Dubai where the average income is $17m was actually really hard.  I think going from the US to Dubai would be shocking let alone Sichuan to Dubai.  It really left me confused.  I was stuck asking the cosmic question of “Why?  God, why does it have to be this way?  Ok, so it is.  What are we as your people supposed to do about it?”

Plus I am really at a loss for words to describe my trip.  Everyone here wants a story.  How do I encapsulate my week around the world into a “story”?  It seems like everyone here wants me be flamboyant about how great my trip was – and it many ways it WAS AWESOME!  But there is another side.  The side that comes to terms with the magnitude of the work in front of workers in the field.  The side that saw the valleys of mundane living that stretch from peak to peak for the global worker.  I saw just how much effort it takes for a missionary to live in a foreign culture.  I think the average church goer in the US thinks that the life of a missionary is quite a bit different than it actually is.  Digesting that – the difficulty, the poverty, the magnitude, the disparity is hard to be upbeat about.  Spending time with my friends in China – SUPER upbeat.  But the trip left me with far more questions than answers and far more disoriented than when I left.

So then, my final struggle is dealing with what I felt like was being shown to me.  I came away from that trip really with only one thing that I feel was real clear for me.  That was the fact that me and my family are NOT called for foreign service – at least right now.  For me that was and is a hard pill to swallow.  I have lived for years thinking that my place in kingdom work was overseas service of some sort.  For a while that realization made me feel lost, but now I have moved past that to some unnamed emotion.  To sum it up, I feel like my clock is ticking just a bit differently now and that is hard to adjust to.  Not better, not worse, just different.  Susan sees it.  Heck everyone sees it, thank God she kinda understands because of her trip to Guatemala.

Some sort of Catholic Church in the town I was in.

Any guesses for the national sport of China?

Typical city scene. The river is a bit low to say the least.

Geez people, get with it. They have feelings too!

I have no idea how to caption this!

The Daily Grind - Sichuan Style.

A sample of spices responsible for the famous Sichuan cuisine.


Around the World in 9 Days

•March 13, 2010 • 2 Comments

Commentary to follow in a later post.

Departing San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge & Alcatraz

Siberia, near Magadan

Delayed in Chengdu - Time for a snack. Who doesn't love duck neck?

Finally in Sichuan!

Woven Goods Seller

Old Ways Contending with New Ways

Wal-Mart is so overrated. Can't beat this selection.

Funny Signs were EVERYWHERE!

More Snacks! Mmmm organs!

Tibetan Himalaya

Pakistani Plain

Iranian Coast & Persian Gulf

Dubai Hiding in a Cloud of Arabian Sand

Recession? What Recession? Jumeirah Beach Skyline in Dubai

Rides on the beach at my hotel on Jumeirah Beach

The Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai), the World's Tallest Building.

Then I flew overnight, over Iraq, Turkey and Eastern Europe to Frankfurt, Germany where I am sitting now.  Unfortunately it was pitch black so I did not get any pics of  Iraq.  I am looking forward to getting home and sharing some stories with you all.  Talk to you soon!

What a Trip, I’m Speeachless…

•March 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, for the first time in several days I have the ability to post.  First I was sick for a couple of days (word of advice – do not eat cold dishes in China).  Then, I was not able to log in to my blog for a few days.  But suffice it to say it has been an amazing trip.  I am in Dubai now.  I will be starting my trek home in about 11 hours – woohoo!

I will post a few pics in Franfurt during my layover.  Talk to you all soon.

Please keep praying.  I am exhausted.

What a Cool Little Town

•March 7, 2010 • 3 Comments

Well first off I regret to inform you that I will not be able to provide you with visual content while I am in Sichuan.  My compter does not want to cooperate with Fran and Gill’s internet connection so I have been graciously allowed to use their computer for my email and blog.  However since all of my movies and pictures of this interesting little town are on my machine, I am not able to post them without considerable time and effort.  So being as I am a guest, I would rather spend that time with Fran and Gill instead of in front of a compter transferring data or messing with network settings.

Ok so now that the disclaimer is out-of-the-way, let’s get to a brief synopsis of today.  So let me think.

Keywords:  Smiles, stares, eels, chickens, numb tongues, traffic, mountains, fuzzy motorized animals, high rises, mud huts.

That about sums up the day.  So today about the time you all were eating dinner on Saturday night, we headed down the street for fresh cooked local breakfast.  Delicious pork and rice in a soy-like sauce wrapped in a dumpling-like dough.  Sounds like and odd breakfast to our western ears, but it was awesome.  With that fueling our bellies we embarked on a day long journey hopping from bus to bus going from end of town to another, and then outside the city limits to rural villages.  We stopped in fruit markets, flower markets, meat markets, poultry markets, rice markets, and spice markets.  Really just about any kind of market you can think of we stopped at.  The live eels are what really stand out to me.  I’ll post some video of our walks through these markets when I get a chance.

All the while Francis and Gilbert and I had a great time getting caught up on their new lives in China.  It has been a GREAT day.

Obviously I miss my kiddos terribly, but Fran and Gill’s awesome kids have really helped me cope.  Little Miss has become my sidekick and follow me around quite a bit.  She holds my hand crossing streets and sits on lap whenever there is chance.  She is so adorable.  Have the two of then around is priceless.

I have no idea what is on the agenda for tomorrow.  But I am sure it will involve me saying “Wow” a lot.  I watched some of the video I took today and all that stood out was how many times I said “wow”.  It’s just that kinda place.

But at the end of the day, the Fran and Gill family are doing well.  They and their children are very well suited for life in Sichuan.  They adapt well and are certainly where God wants them to be.

Real Quick.

•March 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

Well I made it to China.  Not only that but I made it through customs and immigration with 120 lbs of gear and gifts for my friends in China without a single hitch.

I finally connected with Fran & Gill around Midnight Denver time on Friday night.  We enjoyed an afternoon of catching up and a foot tour of their home town.  Its a nice city of about 100,000 and much more modern than I expected and much cleaner than I have experienced before in rural China.

Well I am beat so I will post some pics tomorrow (your night).

For those in prayer, please fight, odd things when I was alone last night.

Off to bed…

Off to Beijing

•March 4, 2010 • 2 Comments

Ready for the 12:42 flight! I am fired up!

(Using miles for first class helps)!

Man This is Early

•March 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

You know you’re at the airport early when you’re the first person in line. Literally. I mean no one else was waiting to check in. (Ben, I am sure this sickens you).

Well the good news is that I am on my first flight (Denver – San Francisco) with all 121 lbs of gear safely checked for China.

So far so good. Praise God.