Friday, October 29, 2010

Blast

"...A time to cry and a time to laugh." Ecclesiastes 3:4

I know many tears have been shed by the spouses, children and even the warriors. I have shed thousands of tears at hundreds of goodbyes. Some of the experiences come with the knowledge I will not see the person again this side of glory - I know that. Yet, even in those painful partings it is not the same as sending a loved one off to war.

I can't imagine the tears shed when the phone call, or notification comes that a loved one has been injured.

I surely could never record the number of tears falling during multiple surgeries, painful rehabilitation as well as the days when they are just worn down - and out.

Before the soldiers and their families arrive the volunteer staff goes through a time of training to better prepare us. There are a few medical specialists here that provided us new (new to me) clinical information on what occurs in the brain during injury as well as healing.

Norepenephrine!

Since my first Warrior Getaway, I haven't really understood "why" the Imagination Station worked; I just knew it worked. It's hard to explain the sight of grown men and women wounded in battle, putting on prom dresses, way too small clown costumes and parading around grinning like they won the lottery.

Now I know. My array of crazy clothes, boas, wigs and wild wearables gives their brain a spurt of norepenephrine. I am not just a purveyor of fun - I'm a pharmacist!

As the warriors arrived they were quickly corralled by Care EE into the "dope zone." There aren't enough superlatives to describe a 6'4" soldier with a long brunette wig on, holding an inflatable guitar making like Jon Bon Jovi.

After dinner the children went off for their own age appropriate fun, while the adults were entertained by "Tina Turntable" and her sidekick (Dana Crews the Program Director). We enlisted a few soldiers and started the evening event with our own rendition of the famous tune by the Black-eyed Peas, "I've got a Feeling."

"Tonight's gonna be a good, good night."

A good night indeed!

We played various versions of games popularized by the TV Show "Minute to Win It." They included tying a pair of pantyhose (filled with tennis balls) to your head and knocking over water bottles; applying vaseline to your nose and putting your face in a bowl of cotton balls and filling a basket up with the fluffy captures.

One soldier was laughing so hard he was literally laying on the ground laughing until he was crying.

Now that's the kind of tears worth crying and counting. When it was all said and done I walked past one of the newcomers and asked "Did you have a good time?"

"I had a blast!" he replied. Then he broke out laughing. He said, "I haven't had a blast since...

Chuckle, chuckle

Iraq! He turned to his friend and repeated his "play on words." "Hey, I just said I haven't had a blast since Iraq." Laughter was heard far beyond the moonlit night at Tapatio Springs. It was heard in the heavenlies.

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Proverbs 17:22

Dolling it out like a doctor!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Vonnegut

I loved Kurt Vonnegut.

I haven't read anything he wrote later than 1985 but everything before, I devoured. From "Slaughterhouse Five" to "Breakfast of Champions" and all the novels and short stories in between, fascinated me. There was something about "the voice" he wrote in, or perhaps it was merely the odd quirkiness of his characters (misunderstood weirdos) that resonated with me at the time. But now, I am often reminded of one of his short stories. PBS produced it as a drama starring Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon entitled "Who am I This Time?"

In the story, two small town extremely shy and unnoticed residents reluctantly audition for the local theatre production. Strangely, (perhaps due to their lack of personality) they are able to embody the characters of whatever particular drama they portray. The towns folk are so captured by their acting they begin to stage productions simply to see the performance. When the show closes they return to their unassuming lives, void of any sign of the outgoing thespians. The story ends with the characters being approached to star in yet another local rendition of a theatre classic. They turn to one another and say, "Who am I this time?"

"I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life." 1 Corinthians 9:22 The Message

I find myself in various cultures all around the world. I wake up in countries as diverse in climate as they are in conditions. One month I am in Africa, the next month Russia or China, and in the course of a year often twice in India. The food whether too spicy or too strange is at least sustaining. The people I mingle with generally don't look at all like the light-skinned fair-haired girl that I am. And the weather, well, I never can be sure of. Of all the climates, conditions and cultures I encounter perhaps the one I connect deepest with, as well as find the most difficult - are the soldiers.

Every homecoming I enjoy and look forward to is a return from the spiritual battlefield. One where souls are fought for and victory claimed. It is also where I see how the sin of humanity wounds and kills the spirit of the lost.

I still don't understand the great mysteries of God; how He uses costumes, silly hats, feather boas, and a Tina Turner wig to bring joy to the hearts of broken men and women. I don't understand the foolishness and I get anxious about "what if I'm not that funny this time."

Wednesday, I leave for the sixth Warrior Getaway in San Antonio. It is a "full-house," ministering to the more families than ever before! I returned late Saturday night from China, and unpacked one bag while packing another. I will take several of my "personas" to provide "the best medicine" for the weary and wounded.

I eat more than the "Breakfast of Champions." I feed on the Word of the Living God that nourishes and strengthens me for yet another battle. "I am all things..." All characters, the fool of all fools, so that some perhaps might be saved.

"I don't know about you, but I'm running hard to the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got." 1 Corinthians 9:26 The Message

"Who am I this time?"

I'll be the one smiling, still serving, and still looking toward the goal of the upward high calling!

TEXAS - Calendar of Events

Oct 27
WEDNESDAY
Leave for San Antonio

Oct 28
THURSDAY
Training and Orientation
Warrior Families arrive in the afternoon
Evening Program of FUN!

Oct 29
FRIDAY
Full Day Children's Program
Evening Program of DANCE

Oct 30
SATURDAY
Full Day Children's Program
Evening FALL FESTIVAL

Oct 31
SUNDAY
Worship
Return to DFW

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Global Debt Crisis

"This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on?..." 2 Corinthians 2:16

My time here in China is coming to a close. Today (it is already Thursday morning) I will be packing up and preparing to "move on." Tonight will be my last encounter with students. A select few will gather at my friends apartment for "English Corner." It will give them an opportunity to have conversational English. These evening meetings are small intimate gatherings designed to give students an environment where questions with depth can be asked and deeper answers can be given.

"...We stand in Christ's presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can." 2 Corinthians 2:17 The Message

For the past week I have been watching the international news in the evening. There is also a program called "Dialogue" with an anchor woman who interviews leaders on current hot topics in the headlines. The "Global Debt Crisis" has been in the news every day as well as American pressure for the Chinese to do something about their currency. As I listen, my head just starts spinning. "What? What are they talking about? How can anyone fix this?"

In my confusion about global issues, lack of knowledge about monetary valuing and de-valuing, I realized it is the reason I came to China in the first place. I have THE answer!

I share during the question and answer time with these bright and eager university students the TRUTH. It is not about money, information, medicine or even people. The only thing that has the power solve the problems is knowledge of the Living God and what His love compelled Him to do. He sent His Son to pay the Global Debt! "For God so loved the world..."

Just in case you are wondering if I really had a chance to say such things in a "closed" country, the answer is, yes, many times over. The Truth was proclaimed in different and unconventional ways, but remember Jesus thanked the Father, for revealing wisdom to the simple and not the wise. (see Matthew 11:26)

You have supplied a "farmer" to plant seeds in the hearts of over 500 university students. You have practiced pure religion undefiled by reaching orphans at the Tai'an children's home. You have been faithful to ask the Lord of the Harvest! He has answered your prayers.

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves!

The Harvest is bought and paid for - debt free indeed.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

99

"I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story,
Because I know 'tis true;
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do..."

It was a storytelling day. In fact it has been a storytelling week. I have to hand it to my friends working here in China. For the past ten years, they have seen the same tricks, and heard the same stories told over and over again. They still laugh, and they still take great delight in seeing the enthusiasm on the new "crop" of students' faces.

Each year they have remarked how the individuals I choose to "help" with the story are the perfect match. They are either the really shy ones that need a little encouragement to be engaged, or they are the class clowns that can really add to the delight of their classmates by their energy and participation.

"I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and His love."

As I was reading His story, I noticed how the parables always created questions. This same scenario has played out year after year in China. The performance is the hook for putting the students at ease. We have always provided an opportunity for questions afterward. Generally they begin asking the secret of the "tricks" I have shown. Then they move on to more serious matters.

"I love to tell the story;
More wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies
Of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story,
It did so much for me;
And that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee."

The theme of many questions regards how I made a choice for "this type of work." After the lead in (I am a Christian) I always answer with the James 1:27 on caring for orphans. It gives ample room for, "As a Christian, the Bible is the foundation for my life choices... My love for God and His love for me compels me..." They listen, they take notes, they nod in agreement. My friend will always affirm, "The Bible, you understand, the book The Bible?" "Yes, yes, we know the Bible."

We work in tandem. Whether in the classroom or weeks after I am gone. They will use the questions (and answers) to create more opportunities and more seeds to be sown. "Remember when you asked the clown about why she went to other countries? Remember...?" In ten years we have heard thousands of students ask the questions (Why? How?) in one form or another, and we are prepared with the same old answer.

"I love to tell the story;
'Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God's own holy Word."

Today, one of the students asked me to tell them a story about my children. I shared a time when they were very young and I was busy downstairs cooking dinner, they were busy playing school in the attic. I heard some strange banging noises and went to check on them. I opened my closet door that led into the attic storage area where the "schoolhouse" was located. As the door opened they all came piling out on top of one another, crying with despair. "What is the matter?", I asked. "We were locked in! We would have died in there! We would have starved to death!" I just laughed and said, "Didn't you think I would come looking for you? Did you think I would just sit down to dinner without my children? Don't you know I would miss you?" Of course they looked at each other and knew of course I would.

The students thought this was funny. But then, I was able to share His story about the "ninety and nine" sheep and the one that was lost. "I told you I am a Christian. Did you know Jesus taught those who followed Him by using stories. When this happened with my children, I immediately thought about Jesus' story of the one sheep that was lost. The Shepherd left the 99 that were safe and went to look for His sheep that had wandered off. That is how much God loves His children! His children that are lost in America, in China, in Africa, in India, He comes to look for them." They smiled. Perhaps some of them were hearing the Voice.

"I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long."

Smiling, telling, and singing the same old song!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh O

If you have ever asked yourself, "How does she do it?" Other than the obvious first answer (the Lord) the second and sometimes obvious is Oswald Chambers.

At 5:30 this morning I awoke to blood-curdling screams. The sound was so strange at first I didn't realize what it was exactly. The fact that I also sleep with a pillow covering my head to muffle night time sounds in various parts of the world, added to my confusion. "Surely, that is not what I think it is." Then another scream; followed by weeping. I got up and went to the window to try and determine where this was coming from. The hotel where I am staying? The apartments behind, the street, a movie? Just as I would think it was coming to an end, it would start up again, louder, longer and more terrified.

I fumbled for the cell phone I had been given to try and contact my friends. There is no 911 here in China - or if it does exist, English would not be the language of the operator. Now, I could hear a child's screams and pleading as well. When I finally got through to my friends, even through the phone, they could hear what was happening.

They contacted the hotel (I was sure they must be able to hear) and the young desk clerk acknowledged the commotion and said the woman had mental problems. My friend said in no uncertain terms and in enough Chinese they understood, "If you don't call the police we will."

The noise stopped, I returned to bed and just prayed.

Other than the morning's events today was a Sabbath rest, and I joined the fellowship of foreign teachers this afternoon for Bible study. The meetings traditionally begin with prayer requests and praises.

One of mine was for the woman and child.

Tonight, my friends were walking me back to the hotel to speak (in person) to the night staff about what happened. As we looked to see what apartments were around it occurred to me, today just might have been the first time this woman (and whatever the horrific circumstance she is in) has ever been prayed for. I turned to my friend, "Think about it, who around here is a believer?" In this godless society, who turns to God for help?
Although my friends had warned me about the cultural norm of "not my problem" as well as the police corruption, it became even clearer in talking with the staff, they don't turn to their neighbors for help either.

I pondered what to share of the day. I opened up Oswald:

October 17
"Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work."

I am going to bed now, it's night here in a land of a billion lost souls with no one to cry out to when they cry. The neighbors may not respond to this one woman's cries but we know the One who does - and will.

Let's join together and do the greater work
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bow Down

I couldn't tell if the tiny hand gripping my finger tightly was that of a little boy or a girl. The hair on all of the children confined to the stainless steel beds is kept at a quarter of an inch.

The size of the child lying in the crib didn't really offer an indication of age either. There were children no more than 30 inches but already several years old. One way we were able to estimate was by the number and condition of their teeth.

*"Lesson One in the school of faith. That is, ...having to bow down before that which I could not possibly explain...."

Today was my first visit to the new multi-million dollar orphanage in Tai'an. The children moved in 18 months ago.

The new facility is phenomenal. Probably six stories tall with a center courtyard with a badminton net and ping pong tables. There are brightly painted murals on all the walls, and an array of umbrellas and silk flags hanging from the glass ceiling far above.

We called in advance to ask what was needed most that we could bring as a gift. Their answer - diapers. How can that be explained?

*...Usually, we need not bow. We can simply ignore the unexplainable because we have other things to occupy our minds...."

We arrived a few minutes late and were quickly escorted up the stairs where the older (and mostly able-bodied) children were waiting for their special guests. Our minds and theirs were occupied for over an hour with tricks, stories, games and of course the Chicken Dance!

We finished the program and took Polaroid photos with each of the kids. Then the assistant director took us to the "baby" rooms.

The older children share rooms and have joint bathrooms with the room next door. There is no comparing it to the old building. There is much more room, but there are many more

orphans.

The rooms are nicer, cleaner, bigger, more spacious and lovely. They house too many more broken, disfigured, and abandoned.

*"...We evade the questions...."
Tonight, after the performance for close to 150 medical students, I tried not to evade the questions. I answered honestly.

*"...Faith's most severe tests come not when we see nothing..."
I saw children crumpled in the corner of the crib come to life when I approached. I heard them laugh and giggle when I merely reached in between the bars and touched them through the layers of clothing they were swaddled in.

*...but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain...."
There were at least four babies with cleft palates. Disfigurements easily corrected. Older children with cerebral palsy that could have greater mobility if there were more accessible physical therapy.

*"...If God were God,..."
Did He really knit together a child without a nose, whose family would abandon her?

*"...if He were omnipotent, if He cared, would this have happened? "
I knelt beside more than eighty cribs today, stroking the face of each precious and treasured child. I understood "whatever you do for the least of these" in a deeper and more profound way. Our Savior, became by choice - an infant! How much more disabled could the Creator be?

Here I am in China to worship, here at an orphanage filled with too many broken and abandoned children I am to bow down, here I am saying that You're my God.

And sometimes at the end of the day the smiles left behind turn to tears,
Charlynn

*Quoted from "These Strange Ashes" by Elisabeth Elliott
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Darkness Passing

"Its truth is seen. In Him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." 1 John 2:8

The sun has set here in Red China, but today has been a day of "darkness passing." Since my arrival Wednesday I have seen over
350 University students. Hitting the ground running is an understatement! In a country with over a billion people - most lost to an ideology that denies the existence of God, "running with the horses" is what it takes.

The three classes have been lively. It is interesting to see what kind of questions are generated by the Spirit of God calling out to those who know His voice. My friend has marveled at what comes from these reserved and shy students. She prepared them in advance with certain vocabulary (non-profits, orphanage, orphans, humanitarian, disabled) that isn't typically found in conversations and curriculum. I still use words they don't understand and I have to make adjustments, but there is obviously an internal/eternal interpreter at work in their hearts.

As I prepared for the day, I was thankful to read the subject of Oswald Chamber's devotion:

The Key to the Missionary Message

"Paul did not say, "Woe unto me if I do not preach what Christ has done for me," but - "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel." This is the Gospel- "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"

I knew there was a specific reason I needed to meditate on the message. Evangelism methods many times focus on "personal testimony." It is said "no one can argue what God has done for you personally." That is entirely accurate and true. The relative freedom (in a society closed to the Gospel) to make "personal" statements such as "this is what God has done for me and how He changed my life," has probably kept the government happy to grant me a visa year after year. Who is going to argue with a clown?

But a billion people need to know He died for THEM! When class was over this afternoon, one girl approached with her notebook and said, "Would you please write the most important sentence you know; one that has made the most impact?"

Thank you Oswald. "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Tonight, at the end of another long day far away from home, I know there is a young girl probably studying in one of her many books, writing homework she must complete by tomorrow, and perhaps pondering things she might have heard for the first time. I know my God is watching over His Word, to see that it does not return to Him void. It is like a tiny seed, waiting to be watered, waiting to sprout, waiting for sunshine.

Faithfully farming with a smile on my face!

"...not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lake Wobegon

"And that's all the news this week from Lake Wobegon. Where all the women are strong, men are good looking and the children are above average." Garrison Keillor the Prairie Home Companion
My friend began each of her English speaking classes today with two questions written on the chalkboard. "What is the news this week in China? What about the rest of the world?"

The exercise is meant to assist them in changing their thought process from one language to another. Chatter breaks out as the students partner up and my friend makes the rounds through the classroom reminding them, "English only please."

After a few minutes they are asked to stand and give their answers. It was interesting and informative for the blonde, blue-eyed visitor at the back of the room. I learned the price of cabbage has gone up considerably here, and a fight broke out between the Chinese and the Brazilian basketball players. Noteworthy, but to an outsider not so news worthy.

What about the rest of the world?

Jeeely!

"Jeeely?" My friend responded. And then all the students said the word "rescue." "Oh, Chile. The 33 miners that were rescued after 69 days." Now, THAT IS news.

I have often heard, "All of heaven rejoices when a sinner repents." I can't say I have ever put much thought into the truth, actuality, or how is that REALLY possible until today. I thought it was like the tag line Garrison Keillor closed his "news from Lake Wobegon" with. All the women are strong, the men are good-looking and the children are above average. Angels rejoicing is a nice catchy phrase to end a sermon or after the sixth chorus of "Just as I Am."

But I have followed the news story of the trapped miners, buried beneath tons of earth on three separate continents. I heard it in Russia, in the USA, and now, in a country not so open with world news 20,000 miles away from the mining town where the event is taking place. Thirty-three men "trapped" have held the attention of the world for 69 days. Why did I ever find is difficult to believe, REALLY the rejoicing that occurs in heaven when a person "trapped" in sin is set free? Perhaps my brain and my faith is not so far "above average?"

My visit here at the university is designed to trigger questions that will have faith and spiritual answers. It has happened consistently every year I have come for the past ten years. Today one of the young men stood and asked what I thought was more important, meeting physical needs or spiritual needs?

This is what we have come to refer to as "the open door policy." While there are definitely limits on speaking about Christianity, there are no boundaries on sharing you personal answer about your personal belief. The students were eager to hear and listened attentively to my responses, all which generally began with the phrase, "I am a Christian...," or "as a Christian we follow the Bible...the Bible teaches..." "As a Christian I belief God the creator is good and just..."

The last question of the last class was "You take care of so many people, how do you take care of yourself when you are sad, or lonely, or hurting?"

Once again, probably like all the "strong women" of Lake Wobegon - I began, "I am a Christian...

I pray.

I have friends that pray for me and encourage me.

You out there, in Russia, in Ghana, in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Israel, in India, in China, in Texas (we are a whole 'nother country you know) and all over the good ole US of A, we ARE more than the above average residents of Lake Wobegon. We ARE children of the King. We are more than strong, we are CONQUERORS!

There may not be paparazzi hounding us on the streets, but what we are accomplishing here on earth IS being talked about in the heavenlies! ANGELS are watching us! Sometimes it's said, today's news is tomorrow's bird cage liner. What we do won't be found in tomorrow's trash heap it will be rejoiced over for eternity.

Smiling at the Headlines of service
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Circles

I admit I haven't thought much about the derivative of the phrase "prayer circle" until I found myself reading the following verse in The Message:

"God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray." Psalm 34:7

Here in Tai'an, China I know I am in desperate need of some "circles." I arrived yesterday after 38 travelling hours and finally collapsed at 7:00 last night. I slept fairly well and I am feeling adjusted this morning. I await the arrival of my friend, and we will be heading out for our first round of classes. The goal is to prompt questions about "why" and "how" I do the things I do and go the places I go.

Once that is introduced, I will be free to give them the REAL reason (although it is not Christmas, Jesus IS the "reason for this season" here in China).

Please join me in making some circles by praying.

More to come
Until He comes
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Ice Makers, Hair Dryers and a Pot to $*#s In

Just six weeks after my 51st birthday I actually had a "senior moment." Until I crossed over to the downhill slide to glory, I flippantly (and crudely) referred to such incidents as "brain f*rts." Now, I know what my "senior" friends have been referring to. I suppose the Father was honing my compassion skills or letting me know- more to come.

I was packing for China, locating my costume, clothes, checking weather and all the other very familiar routines I execute before I leave for yet another foreign destination. For the life of me, I could not remember where I had unpacked (from Russia) my clown paraphernalia. Then to compound the senior confusion - I couldn't even remember how long I have been home; was my office unpacked when I got back? WHAT! I have been home for more than a few weeks!? What have I been doing with my time? Where is that important and convenient place I would have put the items I would turn around and reuse for China?

I decided just to go to my nice comfortable bed, access my refreshing shower the next morning, have a cool drink to make use of my handy ice maker (it has been 10 years since I have had such luxury). Then I would dry my hair in front of the bathroom mirror! Oddities of comfort that I am strangely unfamiliar with. My hair dryer would trip the breaker in my old apartment unless I was using the outlet in my living room. And the piece de' la resistance - a pot to....

sit down on.

Trust me, this really is a luxury; simple and taken for granted but I thank the Lord wherever I find myself in the world and this is afforded to me.

I located all I needed the following day, tossed it off to my AARP renewal lapsing, and prepared myself with the most important aspect before leaving on any adventure.

I pour over the Word and my selected Daily Devotionals. After the day I had experienced I took note of the Oswald Chambers entry:

"We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life - those are simply to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength....we are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, ...it is to be turned into character." Oswald Chambers

I am not sure how much "character" squatting in jungles, deserts, and hillsides where I learned the hard way about gravity- I have formed - but I have definitely turned into a character filled with stories.

No ice, questionable food, odd smells, unsanitary conditions and all the other personal discomforts that remove any source of comfort from my zone has equipped me. Truly, I can agree with Paul, I have had much and I have had nothing and I have learned to be content in all circumstances.

I have also learned to be very thankful when I can sit down and read a magazine when the moment of "blessing" (as it is know in the mission field) presents itself.

I am returning to China for the 9th time. It will be a different trip than I have had the last eight years. My friends have relocated to Tai'an (the original city I visited in 2001). I will not be visiting Beijing or Jinan. I will be focusing on helping my friends plow the new fallow ground of the Medical University where they are teaching. This is an exciting opportunity. There are new students, new territories and many strongholds.

In 2001, on my first visit to China in one of the classes where I "performed" the Foreign Affairs officer was attending. He approached us after class and said "There is an orphanage here, will you go?". Of course I did. This was unprecedented access granted to a foreigner at the time. It opened the door for other foreigners to return to the facility to minister to the workers, hold the disfigured and dying, encouraging and love the living, and bring the light of Christ's love into a forgotten place.

When I sent out the email requesting prayer in 2001 - at the same time - my car was being stolen in Dallas! Then, you may recall 4 years ago, the Chinese government sent me a special invitation to attend the 90th Anniversary celebration of the orphanage. Much fanfare, special treatment and deluxe accommodations were given to the "special friends" of the orphanage. It was a mountain top indeed. But coming down from the mountaintop I faced the dark valley of the shadow of death. My companion was deliberately struck by a car.

It is clear there is a stronghold in this particular area. Tai'an is home to the holiest mountain (of seven) to Confusionism. The philosopher had a great enlightening there. It is believed if you see the sunrise after climbing to the top of Mount Tai, good fortune will be on your life. We take mountain REMOVING faith to this area. We are bringing TRUTH to bring people out of "confusion."

"God's protection is preparation for God's service. We go in that we might go out. We worship that we might work; we rest that we might serve." Warren Wiersbe - The Bumps are What we Climb On

I am climbing on the "bumps" of past experiences and exposure to traumatic and perilous events. I have been protected by the sovereign hand of the Almighty! I am here to worship the King I love. I have rested up to go out (again) and serve Him fully.

Jumping over stones with a smile
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fair Fried Fare


"Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest...you'll summon nations you've never heard of, and nations who have never heard of you will come running to you." Isaiah 55:2;4-5 The Message

Each Monday night when I find myself state side, all three of my children come over to my house for dinner, "Monday@Mom's." It's a tradition we started at the beginning of this year and we have managed to carry it through with only a few absences (aside from my schedule).

My first week back from Russia, both my sons were at a friends "destination wedding." This week, knowing I would be leaving for China next Monday, my oldest son suggested we all go to the State Fair. It is a paradise of food, though mostly fried, of all varieties. There is even an annual contest for the Best Taste and Most Creative. Last year the grand dame of TV Talk herself appeared (Oprah) to try the award winning Fried Butter!

When I read the passage in Isaiah on Monday, I took note of the way The Message translated it. "Cotton Candy!" Okay, I would have none of that, and perhaps I could justify some of the items I would select that evening as having health benefits: protein rich (sausage on a stick), vegetables (corn on the cob slathered with butter), etc...

We come by our need of justification naturally. This "little" bit-o-bad we do, really isn't all that bad. What we do and how we give to support and follow the Great Commission is due to the economic downturn. We are building up storehouses when tonight our very lives may be required of us! (See Luke 12:16-21)

The calendar for our Fall Ministry may seem ambitious. October will find us in China and a few days after our return we will serve the Wounded Warriors in San Antonio. The following week will take us back to India. Impossible, nothing is too hard for the King we serve.

Each day as the "bad news" scrolls across the bottom of the TV channel, I see it as an invitation to share the Good News more, and more often.

I did eat the fried food Monday, but every day I feast on the Word of the Living God. Nations are crying out, "Come, tell us of the Savior." In the heavenlies, the Lord of all creation is still inquiring, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

I still answer with a smile, "Here I am, send me!"

There is still time and a great need for your prayerful financial participation in the upcoming Fall Ministry activities. You can impact the lives of over 2000 orphans, university students in China, wounded soldiers, their families in America, and rural village men, women and children who have never heard the name of Jesus in India. That's three continents of the Kingdom advancing!

To make a donation by credit card visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Remember each day to "taste and see the Lord is good."

And just in case you are wondering about the bad stuff of the 2010 Big Tex Choice Award winners:

Best Taste
Texas Fried Frito Pie: a generous portion of chili accented with a hint of sharp cheddar cheese, encased in everybody's favorite corn chip. Lightly battered and fried to a golden brown perfection.

Most Creative
Fried Beer: Beer-filled pretzel pocket deep fried to a golden brown. One bite and the escaping beer serves as a dipping sauce.
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