So much time, so little to do… Wait. Stop. Reverse that.

•March 2, 2010 • 2 Comments

Who was I kidding that I would have time to blog before I head out RTW?

Work, kids, packing, work, call the airlines, church, work…

Man oh man there is a lot to do.  So let me make this quick so that I can get back to being busy.  Last time I left you with the shallow reasons for my trip – visiting friends.  But really the reason behind the reason is what makes this trip make sense.

So for reasons that I will leave for another entry, my friends (um, let’s call them Gilbert and Francis – Gil and Fran for short) felt compelled to help out those in need.  In particular they felt compelled to help the Nosu people of Sichuan Provence in China.  So after months and months of lengthy prep work Gil and Fran left last October along with there two children, ages 6 and 10 I believe.  They left typical middle class life in a mountain community in Colorado for a small urban center in China’s southwest.  They traded in their mountain home for a concrete apartment.  King Soopers for a live chicken.  The familiar for the foreign.  They left knowing very little of the dialect of Chinese they would need to learn.  They left knowing that they could not come home for two years.

Now there are good and sometimes long reasons behind those circumstances and rather than spend my time explaining those, please allow me to explain my trip.  As you can imagine that is not an easy transition.  Their everyday life is a chore.  Simply put – they miss home.  So since they cannot come home for a while yet, I am going to take a slice of home to them.

A familiar face, some chocolate, a little coffee and quilts from Mom are all safely packed away among a mish mosh of other goodies from home.  So this Thursday I head out to bring gifts to a family selflessly giving their lives to help a people group known as the Nosu.

So if you are of the praying sort, I could certainly use your help.  Gilbert and Francis could use your help.  Please pray for:

  • Safe travels for both me and the bags of gifts.
  • Wisdom of what, if anything, I should say to encourage them.
  • That we could be mutually blessed by each others company.

Some pics of the packing process…

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A Dream Becomes a Reality (with a Legitimate Purpose)

•February 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So who knew?

Who knew that this little blog (started as a way to keep in touch with friends and family about my trip to Mexico with Healing Waters last August) would be visited by over 38,000 people?!?

Who knew that hundreds of people would would take interest in my Around the World poll?

Who knew that just months later (starting March 4th to be exact) that I would indeed be journeying around the world?

Now I will not exactly be following the idea of my last post.  I will not be racing across 6 continents in 80 hours.  But I WILL be going to 4 countries on 3 continents in 10 days.  But that’s not the cool part.  The cool part is WHY I will be journeying on this trip.

It’s a story that actually has its origin months ago.  A story that I will paint for you over the next 7 days as I prepare to travel the 21,975 miles it will take me to circle the globe. But let me give you the ending before I give beginning…

I am going to encourage my friends.

I know what you are thinking.  Sounds kinda hokey.  I will let you judge that after you get the whole story.  But in a nutshell I heading out to Sichuan, China and Dubai, UAE and I will be circumnavigating the world in the process. I am going to see something quite a bit more meaningful than the sights listed below.  I am going to see my friends.  So instead of collecting pictures of monuments and trinkets, I will be collecting stories and sharing laughs.  And most importantly, I will just be a friend.

Check out the route –

Courtesy of GCMap.com

Around the World in 80… Hours

•September 25, 2009 • 18 Comments

So what do I do when I am laid up in bed sick?

Well today the answer to that question  is daydream.  Daydream about travel.  Somehow my mind started thinking about the old Jules Verne novel “Around the World in 80 Days.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the basics of the book, the story is set in the late 1800’s and there is a wager whether or not a man could circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.  So using a combination of trains and steamers, Phileas Fogg took the following route.

Check out the nifty map I found at Wikipedia

Check out the nifty map I found at Wikipedia

So I thought about what that journey would look like today.  With the advent of modern air travel 80 days was ridiulously long.  8 days was plenty.  Heck even 80 hours could be done.  But suppose someone actually wanted to see an attraction or two?  Perhaps a key location on each of the continents.  What would those sights be?  Almost like the seven seven wonders of the world, but not quite.  More like six quintessential spots that stand as icons of their continent. Could a person hit six amazing locations on six continents in 80 hours?  It really depends on which locations are chosen.  Some places are much easier and quicker to get to.  That’s where you come in.  I want to know what you think.  Where would you want to go?  Below is a series of poles where you can vote for those iconic locations.  Based on the results I will try find the magic 80 hour itinerary.  So let’s get going!

North America

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

South America

The Amazon

The Amazon

Machu Piccu, Peru

Machu Piccu, Peru

Christ the Redeemer & Rio de Janiero Harbor, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer & Rio de Janiero Harbor, Brazil

Europe

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Roman Coliseum, Rome, Italy

Roman Coliseum, Rome, Italy

Big Ben, London, England

Big Ben, London, England

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Africa

Pyramids of Gize, Egypt

Pyramids of Gize, Egypt

Victoria Falls, Zambia / Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zambia / Zimbabwe

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Safari on the Seregeti

Safari on the Seregeti, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Sahara Desert

Sahara Desert, North Africa

Asia

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

Mount Everest (Flight Seeing)

Mount Everest (Flight Seeing), Nepal

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong

Australia

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, Australia

Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia

Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

So all I need is your response, some corporate sposorship, and 80 hours.

1446 Miles and Still Unreached

•August 31, 2009 • 2 Comments
Mexico City

Mexico City

So ever since the trip to Mexico the Lord has been really opening my eyes (or perhaps I should say heart) to the plight of the Mexican people.

I was reading recently about life in Mexico City.  The Mexico CIty metropolitan area has over 20,000,000 people, behind only Seoul, and Tokyo.  Yet get a load of these facts…

1.  Only 1.9% of the population is actively involved in one of the 2300 or so evangelical congregations.

2.  There are approximately 7 million squatters in Mexico City living in absolutely horrendous conditions.  There is very little in the way of outreach to these people.  As the book “Operation World” puts it “Christian Ministry to them is fraught with difficulty and challenge.  Few are prepared to commit themselves to it.”

3.  There are more than 1,000 neighborhoods without  an evangelical congregation.

Mexico City Barrio

Mexico City Barrio

WOW.  This is just 1446 miles south of us as the crow flies.  Less than a thousand miles from the US border.  That’s crazy.  The logical question then is how can I help?  How can you help?  There are millions of lost souls, living in squalor like Daisy Marie was in Tuxtla.  No running water, dirt floors, campfire cooking.  I have to ask myself, could I commit to helping those people?  Thats a tough question.  What does that commitment look like? We love our air conditioned houses, hot showers, barbaque grills and SUV’s.  I do not have a solution.  I only offer up my aching heart.

Lord, what what would you have me do?

Estoy cansado, feliz y en una pérdida para las palabras

•August 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

I am tired, happy and at a loss for words.

Wow what a week.   I came back from Mexico stepping into a firestorm at work.  We are still working through the insurance nightmares ever since that freak storm in early July devastated our company and it had me totally consumed.  So to those of you checking back regularly, I apologize about taking so long to write.  But in retrospect it forced me to really think about the trip before I threw up my thoughts.

Resident of El Refugio

Resident of El Refugio

First off, let express what an awesome time I had in Chiapas.  It does not shock me that I had a good time, but I am surprised that I could have such an amazing time in Mexico.  I suppose this trip pointed out to me how I had many preconceived notions about Mexico and Mexicans in general.  I had been to resort towns in Mexico before – like Cancun, Cozumel, and Puerta Vallarta.  And I think I had had typical “Mexican experiences”, but never have I been enamored with Mexico.  I now find myself with a real love for Mexico, and Chiapas in particular.  I found the Chiapanecos so much warmer and hospitable that I have ever experienced from any other Mexican encounter.

So I will sum up my thoughts today this way…  God continues to show me how we are all basically the same.  Whether America, Mexican or Chinese we are all trying to live a peaceful life where we can enjoy our families and have some fun along the way.  However it is becoming apparent that some people have an easier journey than others.  Should we not try to come along side those whose journey is hard and lend a hand?

Also be sure to check out Greg’s blog and Jenni’s blog as well.  They’re great.

What a Trip!

•August 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It is 12:30 am and I have to be up in 4 1/2 hours.  But I can’t sleep.  It is good though.  So many thoughts, experiences, memories, ideas, stories, laughs, and they are all running through my head at the same time.  I will eventually pour them out here, but now is not the time.  Too much to say and I really should go to sleep.

Here is a brief recap of the past 36 hours starting Friday night after my last posting.

Look for a Chiapas Jaguars jersey.  Failed.

Have an awesome dinner in an Italian restaurant.

Laugh so hard in the van ride back to the hotel I almost cry.  (Had to do with someones “Groove being harshed” – I’ll have to explain that one later.)

Sleep

Skip breakfast too much to do on the last day.

Find a gas station with coffee!  Jackpot!

Visit a competeing water provider and, now educated, see ALL of the ways their contaminate their water.

Have an unexpected breakfast in the home of Daisy Maria, a squater in a slum of Tuxtla called El Refugio (the Refuge), and a recipient of HWI clean water.

Absolutely humbled by the hospitality of this family to invite us into their home and feed bunch of chubby “gueros”.

Go to ATM and realize I left my ATM card in Denver.

Took a boat ride up a kilometer deep canyon and saw spider monkeys and crocodiles.

Look for a Chiapas Jaguars jersey.  Failed.

Drove to a mountainous colonial town, San Cristobol de las Casas.  What a beautiful place.  This felt soooo much further away from home than Mexico.

Had lunch.

Look for a Chiapas Jaguars jersey.  Failed.

Walked around a craft market looking for gifts.

Look for a Chiapas Jaguars jersey.  Found one big enough for Jon on our team (he’s a big dude).  But only one, so Greg and I are still on the hunt.

Ask Jon to try it one and realize Jon is not with us.

Look for Jon.

Look for Jon.

Look for Jon.

Everyone meets back up to make a better plan.

Look for Jon.

Everyone meets back up to make a new better plan.

Look for Jon.

Found Jon!

Get sick.  (Darn you Montezuma and your stinkin’ revenge!)

Look for the car.

Realize I all I do here is laugh.

Find car.

Drive over and hour back to Tuxtla (now past 10:30) and listen to Ryan tell the funniest / weirdest stories I have ever heard.

Pack.

Blog.

And now I am going to bed, content, with a head full of thought that can be sifted through tomorrow on airplanes and through airports.

So here is the above story, visually.

Are missions trips supposed to have dinners like this?

Are missions trips supposed to have dinners like this?

The house of Daisy Maria and her family.

The house of Daisy Maria and her family.

Two of the kids.

Two of the kids.

What a shirt - "The Tank"

What a shirt - "The Tank"

Breakfast is served.  Chicken in a mole sauce served with tortillas and rice.

Breakfast is served. Chicken in a mole sauce served with tortillas and rice.

Althea and Jenni have breakfast.

The team with Daily and her children.

You gotta love a self portrait in a gringo hat!

You gotta love a self portrait in a gringo hat!

Poor Jenni had to sit with Greg the WHOLE way.

Poor Jenni had to sit with Greg the WHOLE way.

Check that out!

Check that out!

Sweet!

Sweet!

Dos mas!

Dos mas!

How cool is this place!

How cool is this place!

At the end of the canyon it opens up in to this lake.

At the end of the canyon it opens up in to this lake.

The Cathedral in San Cristobal.

The Cathedral in San Cristobal.

Cross

Who you callin' "Guero"?  Not Greg!

Who you callin' "Guero"? Not Greg!

Susan, I think your dove flew from Antigua to San Cristobal.

Susan, I think your dove flew from Antigua to San Cristobal.

Work Hard, Play Harder

•August 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

Today we went to rehab center and planted a vegetable and flower garden for them.  I got see their recover process in action as well as meet a couple of guys who just arrived today.  They place was built for 15-18 guys, but currently houses over 60.  A bit crowded.  But is providing and they keep Jesus as the focus – it was cool.

We actually got done with that early so we went to check out a nearby waterfall.  It was down a canyon – 750 steps down and back up.  What a work out.  For the first time in my life I was happy that the only exercise equiptment in my house is a Stairmaster.  That practice came in handy.

As for stories – I have a ton to tell, but not the time.  A 5 day trip does not leave much spare time and the blog stories are being sacrificed.  But I will post them as I have an opportunity.

Prayer requests?  No change I guess.  I really felt like I should ask if I could pray for the two guys that just arrived at detox.  I was too timid and kept my mouth shut and just prayed silently for them.  I regret that.  Perhaps pray I would know when to be bold.

Here is a selection of pics from today:

Lumberyard in Chiapas.  What my office would like if I were a Mexicano.

Lumberyard in Chiapas. What my office would like if I were a Mexicano.

The rehab residence really took charge of the project.  They were excited about it.

Are we working or posing for the camera?

Are we working or posing for the camera?

Greg trying to not to hurt himself.  A gringo with a machette is a scary thing.

Greg trying to not to hurt himself. A gringo with a machette is a scary thing.

The finished product...

The finished product...

Many hands make light work.

Many hands make light work.

Ryan, the cray one, tries everything.  Tongue for lunch.  Mmmmm!

Ryan, the cray one, tries everything. Tongue for lunch. Mmmmm!

This canyon was HUGE!  A long way down.

This canyon was HUGE! A long way down.

Very refreshing in the jungle heat!

Very refreshing in the jungle heat!

Going up?

Going up?

A church that hosts a water project in Tuxtla.  Massive sound system for such a small room!

A church that hosts a water project in Tuxtla. Massive sound system for such a small room!

Thanks for the prayers.  I can feel them.  Things are going well and people are being blessed in the name of Jesus.  Finally, I was not uptight at all at the rehab center and all of the guys were very nice.  My heart really ached for their situation.