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

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.

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~ by shanesthoughts on March 22, 2010.

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