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, 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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