Sunday, July 24, 2005

Westminster Woods

China was amazing. But my body thinks it is 7:00 AM, when it's now 4:00 PM for me - bummer. But now I'm off to Westminster Woods for 6 days, and I'll be back on Saturday. I'm recording all my China thoughts and reflections in my paper journal, and when I get back I'll share some stories and impressions. See y'all soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

In China - III

Well, my time is winding down here in China. This is a picture of our team singing songs up on the roof about DAD. This trip has been amazing - it has totally changed the way that I think about China - the people, the faith, the poverty, and the beauty of a country that is growing to be a world superpower.

Everything is cheap here. Last saturday I took a day of rest and got a 2 hour foot and partial body massage for 40 yuan, which is 5 bucks. Drinks cost a quarter. Shirts cost a dollar. Candy costs 12 cents. Nice journals (YES) are a buck. I ate a barbequed chicken heart. It was good. I ate a pickled, 20 year-old chicken egg. That wasn't so good.

Sorry these updates are short and sweet, but when I get back to the states and I can say HOW I REALLY FEEL, I'll share some of the deep and amazing stuff that been going on here at the university and down in my heart. I just wanted to post here every once awhile to feel like I'm close to home, and that though I feel alone, I am never alone. Be home soon.

By the way, a tropical storm is setting in just over our town right now, which just a day or two ago was Typhoon Haitang. Welcome to China.

P.S. - I can read comments here in China, but I can't respond to them because I can't actually view my webpage. but I can update, and I can see your comments. Thanks for those who've dropped a line, and I'll get in touch with you when I'm back in the states.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son
Thou in my dwelling, and I with thee Lord

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only, first in my heart
High king of heaven, my treasure thou art

High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joy, O bright Heaven’s sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of All

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

In China - II

Still not dead. The MSG tried to knock me out, but I'm sticking to rice and vegetables until I get my strength back. I've been blessed with the opportunity to try tons of different kinds of food, but my weak-sauce stomach keeps me from being really adventurous. I begin this post with a food comment because it is one of the most popular topics of conversations amongst us lauai (foreigners), as well the bodily functions related to food. Nuff said.

I joined a group of other foreigners on a trip into "town" yesterday, and it was nuts. In my last post, I alluded to the fact that the lane markers here in China are more like suggestions. Well, I experienced it firsthand on our taxi ride. I sat in the front seat, and it was definitely a faith moment, because it seemed to me like death was a very feasible and quite possible option at that point. Needless to say, it was pretty sweet, in an "I-almost-died" kind of way. But I got to have the tea drink with the little balls in the bottom, which made it all worth it. it cost me 5 yuan, which is a little over 60 cents. China is awesome.

Here at the university, things are amazing. We start each day with song, and then we go out and love on kids who are just so hungry for relationship and truth that it almost feels overwhelming at times. The most amazing thing that I've seen here is the way that the barrier of language opens doors and hearts, and to be reminded of the reality that all things do work for good. True love transcends language, expression, and hardship, and to see this truth become a reality here between our team and the chinese has only just begun, and I can't wait to see it continue to unfold. I'm not even tired yet, sucka, and I will not be silent anymore.

I'm going to the Shaolin temple tommorow. I'm reading Les Miserables. I finished Moby Dick. I love you all, and keep it real in the free world.

Friday, July 08, 2005

In China - I

I'm alive. There's so much to say, but I can't really tell you - the sights, the smells, the sounds, everything. So I thought I'd share some not-so-random thoughts that I've had here so far. Here goes:

- The lane markers, including the ones dividing opposing traffic, are not rules; more like polite suggestions.
- Pedestrians don't have the right of way.
- It's really hot, and really humid. Everywhere.
- I love it here.
- Jade is really expensive.
- There are locusts everywhere, but you don't see them - you hear them. It's like cicadas, but times ten. It makes me wonder what it sounded like in Egypt when the plagues blew through. Must've been deafening.
- Dumplings are the bomb.
- A lot of Chinese speak english, or they want to.
- Tianamen square is really big.
- The Great Wall is bigger. And really steep. Gorgeous.
- You never need to ask where the bathroom is. You smell it.
- Chinese children are beautiful, and they don't all look alike.
- This isn't one nation under ___.

This place is amazing! I'm excited about what's to come, and I'm ready. I will not be silent anymore. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Well, it is monday, the 4th of July - I was watching fireworks explode over the bay today from my patio and realized that it's going to be awhile before I get to see Fremont again. I'm flying out of SFO tommorow at 1:45pm non-stop to Beijing on a 13-hour flight to spend three weeks at SIAS university, and I won't be back until the 24th of July. I'm stoked. I've been thinking about expectations I have for the trip, and I don't really have much, save for the knowledge that GOD's going to blow my socks off. I can't wait. This is a trip that has been a long time in preparation and prayer, and I can't believe that tommorow it begins. Updates will posted sporadically here and I'll have limited access to my email. But I'm blessed to know that so many people are lifting me up in their prayers, I know that I'll never be far away in the hearts of people that I love. If you're one of those people, thank you.

On a different note, I'm packing pretty light for the trip, and so I've stuffed everything into my hiking backpack, which will help me a lot with lugging it everywhere. But I've decided to take only 12 CDs with me (gasp), and so here's the list:
- Enter the Worship Circle: First Circle, 100 Portraits and Waterdeep (awesome disc, simple worship)
- Chase The Sun, The OC Supertones (upbeat ska about Jesus, never fails to bring a smile to my face)
- Illuminate, David Crowder Band (amazing lyrics)
- Undone, MercyMe (Bart Millard has an amazing way with lyrics that really resonates with me)
- Self-Titled & Much Afraid, Jars of Clay (no explanation necessary)
- Self-Titled, Nickel Creek (amazing musicality, good reading music)

- Myself When I Am Real, Bebo Norman (mellow, deep, Jesus - I'm a fan)

- New Way To Be Human, Switchfoot (my go-to disc for solid rock)

- Reverence, Timber (Brings me back to Xtreme Camp 2000, and that's a good thing)

- Lost November (and some random stuff), Jack Withers (I'm strongly against pirating/"borrowing" music, but I love this disc so much that I had to jack it - his songs are amazing)
- Self-Titled, Yellowcard (SOLID ROCK that's not boring - I love it)

"It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir

It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns

Let it rise about the four winds
Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals
To the faithful gathered underground
Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation
Some were meant to persist
Of all the bells rung from a thousand steeples
None rings truer than this

And all the powers of darkness
Tremble at what they’ve just heard
‘Cause all the powers of darkness
Can’t drown out a single word

When all God’s children sing out
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
All God’s people singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns"
(He Reigns, Newsboys)
See you soon.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Vacation Bible School out at CCC was a real blessing. The theme was "Kingdom of the Son," and the kids loved it. We hung old palm branches all around the church, and I climbed this rickety old aluminum ladder to hang this paper-mache giraffe head off of the roof - it was money. The VBS program ran from Monday to Friday, from 9:00am to 12:00pm every day. Each day was divided up into six 30-minute blocks, the first and last of them being wake-up and wrap-up times, respectively. That left 4 blocks for me to work directly with the kids. My assigned task for the week was pretty easy - I had to organize the games for each half-hour block, and a different age group came for each block. The first group was the 5th and 6th graders, and we usually played whiffleball or crab soccer. Then we had the Pre-Ks, with which we usually just read stories and played with toy parachutes.

One of the relationships that really sums VBS for me is the one that I formed with a little (she'd probably resent that) girl named Kim. She's in 4th grade, and she has a little bit of a speech impediment. I've seen her in the church before, and on Monday I saw her playing on the play set so I went to her and said, "Hi, Kimberly." She looked at me with this kind of exasperated/cross expression that she's so good at and said, "My name is Kim, not Kim-buh-lee!" I looked down at her nametag and sure enough, it said "Kim," and so Kim it was.

Every day after our recreation time, she would turn to me and say, "Gee, my legs huwt... can I have a piggy-back wide?" And under that scorching noonday sun, I would hoist her up on my back and carry the two blocks from the park to the church (it's a small town.) She would sort of bounce around on my back as I carried her along, and a few times we broke into a sprint to beat all the other kids back to the church. A lot of the times, I wasn't wearing any kicks, and so walking around with 60 pounds on my back in bare feet didn't tickle. But I didn't care. Her smiles and staggered, breathy way of laughing warmed me up inside.

There were a lot of of awesome things that happened in this last week - forming relationships with some rad high school volunteers, having happy birthday sung to me 7 times on Wednesday (actually my birthday), loving on little kids, and eating otter pops in the blistering heat - but the most poignant memory of the week is Kim's angelic face, and the way she laughed as I ran across the burning blacktop with her on my back. Looking within, I think the realization that has begun to form in my heart is that I would rather tie a millstone around my neck than to lead her astray. That's what VBS is all about - the kids learned/experienced what it feels like to be loved by GOD, and I learned what it looks like to have a child-like faith. Nails. See you soon.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea." (Mark 9:42)

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." (Luke 18:17)