24 August 2005

Before and...Before

If you are not my mother, or another teacher, or a big fan of that "Clean Sweep" television program, today's entry may not hold a good deal of your interest. Two days ago my 6th grade classroom, newly remodeled: looked like this:

The newspapers cover boxes and boxes of books, currently (as I type!) being shelved in the newly finished library next door to my classroom. Though it may not be apparent, the room was covered in construction dust and a slimy green kind of...dirt had to be scrubbed off the I-beams. And the windows! Don't get me started, don't even get me started.

But by the end of the day we had it put together pretty well. Try and imagine these two right next to each other.

It's a little bare; there's still a good deal to be done. Next week Wednesday the students come in. This classroom is for my 11 6th graders.

22 August 2005

And We've Endearingly Named the Insects Los Banos

Made it okay!

Want to make it (kind of) brief so everyone won't stop reading halfway through, even though there's so much to tell. And in case you're wondering, there's NO PICTURE TODAY, so everyone will just have to take some time and sit with that one.

I arrived on Wednesday here, Tuesday back home. As many overseas flights are, this one was taxing. We finally reached our new home in Min Hsiung on the campus of Concordia English Language Academy (CELA) and for the rest of the day pursued one goal and one goal only: staving off sleep. This was difficult. In fact I think we're all just now emerging from the oppressive hand of jet lag. I'm reminded of a classic hit from the Monkees:

Once I thought that jet lag was just a fairly tale
And then, for someone else but not for me
Jet lag was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Disapointment haunted all my dreams

That pretty much sums it up. Except for the dreaming part. Not much of that was really going on. Happily, now that we're all sleeping normal hours, we're blessed to find the greater joys and challenges set before us. (By we, I mean the team of nine of us from all over the US.) This past Sunday, we worshipped with Salvation Lutheran Church for the first time. As the service was in Chinese, one member translated while we listened with headsets. The new missionaries made up about half of the congregation. Afterward we all met for lunch. The woman sitting next to me offered to help me learn Chinese.

I realize more and more every day how inadequate I am on my own for this job. No matter if I spend every moment studying Chinese or planning for classes, I'm still going to feel this way. I'm still going to be this way. It occurs to me that without knowing it, I've had this feeling often throughout my life. Removed from the clutter of peripheral priorities, it's easier to see that I always have and will be inadequate. Jesus, though, appears in abundance again and again.

I'm starting to compare everything that Jesus has done to the infinite biodiversity one finds on this tropical island. Everywhere we look, something is living or growing. Geckos sneak into our houses at night. They make clicking sounds like a baseball card against the spokes of a slowly-turning bicycle. On every tree, some other vine also flourishes. My mind can't even categorize the number of new (to me) species of plants I've seen. I could make wings out of the big leathery leaves that grow on the tree right outside of my house. Every morning, we sweep up a veritable harvest of tiny, winged black insects who have flown into the bathroom and died; they're something like manna except, inasmuch as we can tell, far less useful.

The point of all of this is only to say what has already been said many times before:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

16 August 2005

International Airport Land

And so it begins.

It seems to me that the short flight from Sacramento to San Francisco has already brought me to a different country, of sorts, located within the arachnid network that is SFO, San Francisco International Airport. Even crossing over into the international portion of the airport, I felt I was walking on foreign soil. Maybe a no man's land. Really, to be more accurate, an everyman's land. The flight to Taipei connects people to destinations all over the eastern world. Tonight I met a woman on her way back home to Jahkarta and a man visiting relatives in Cambodia.

Despite all the new faces, I only have eyes for one. The only member of my team to fly out of San Francisco with me, Anna Meyer, has not shown up anywhere in the terminal. She flies from Wisconsin today. We do not have a way to get in touch. According to the ticket counter, she had not checked in and of course I don't see her at the gate either. I suppose that once she gets here, there'll be no more time for bloggercising. So we'll live it up while we have the chance.

Though I have thanked many of you in person, I'm also aware that prayers are being offered on my behalf from places I may not even know of. Let me offer my thanks. I know that as I sit here, only beginning to swim in a sea of unfamiliar faces, I am here because of the prayers ad support of countless brothers and sisters, and of course in the hollow of the Lord's hand. There is nothing he has not provided. Not one thing.

Including, presently, one (1) Anna Meyer!

Next time, from Taipei!

04 August 2005

I thought you were driving!

So addicted am I to electronic communications (E-dicted, for future reference) that a grand total of four electronic devices were used to create this entry, all in celebration of the newest addition which I was able to purchase today. The podcast has complete details

this is an audio post - click to play