Saturday, April 29, 2006

Opie Taylor's Move to the Dark Side, NBA Playoffs, 2nd/3rd Declension Nouns

Opie Taylor's Move to the Dark Side. I'm disappointed in Opie. Actually, I'm disappointed with Ron Howard. I grew up watching Ronnie Howard play Opie Taylor. People just a little younger than I may think of him more as Richie Cunningham than as Opie Taylor. Actually, Ron Howard has proven himself to be an excellent film producer. He has done well for himself.

As the producer of what is certainly to be a Hollywood blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code (to be released on May 19th), he will make even more millions of dollars for himself. I am sorry that he chose to produce that story, which will delude millions of people into believing that the Scriptures perpetrate a lie about Jesus Christ. I read Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code during a trip to the orient in March 2005. It is a great read, though very easy to de-bunk. Lots of things have been written de-bunking the garbage presented in the "novel" as truth. My son recently blogged about Da Vinci Code (have you read the book, Greg?). He mentions Tom Hanks (star of the movie) as saying that the movie will be an opportunity for more people to go to church. I hope that Hanks is correct.

Dr. Stephen Farra, professor at one of the my alma maters, Columbia International University, wrote an interesting piece on the Da Vinci Code.Farra is a professor of psychology/counseling, and rather than attacking the historical accuracy of Dan Brown's work (which is very easily done), uncovers what he considers to be Brown's agenda, that of preaching Wiccan paganism.

Over the past two and a half years three of my grown sons and several of their college-aged friends have read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, as have millions of other readers. When some of them started to quote this well-written but rather bizarre conspiracy novel as fact, I knew I needed to read it. As I did, the similarities between the underlying thought stream in the novel and the Wiccan beliefs that I had encountered in therapy sessions several years before began to leap out at me. By the time I was about a third of the way through the book, it was clear to me that this work of fiction is essentially an apologetic and promo piece for “the Wiccan Way,” complete with a Wiccan interpretation of the New Testament and early Christian history. Reading the rest of the book only reinforced these beliefs. Wicca is just one form of Neo-Paganism. But, it is thoroughly oriented toward “the sacred feminine,” and followers of Wicca claim all of ancient/medieval paganism that orients toward the feminine as their own.

Farra summarizes similarities between Wiccan beliefs and those presented by "the Browns" (he credits quite a bit to the belief system of Dan Brown's wife, Blythe) in The Da Vinci Code:

Personally, I think the Browns have done a masterful job of encoding their Wiccan beliefs. Talk about hiding your secret in plain sight! The Browns lay out their alternative to Catholicism and Christianity, the Wiccan belief and value system, clearly and right away, but they do it in way that makes you think you are going to learn some fascinating “insider information” about Catholicism and Christianity, instead of actually learning about Witchcraft (the Wiccan way), and the Wiccan interpretation of the New Testament and early Christian history.

Recently when Rose and I saw the preview for the movie, she asked me if I really thought people would accept the crazy view that The Da Vinci Code promotes. Yes, I do. Greg is correct about the need for good apologetics. Let's get ready to show people the truth about Jesus Christ.

NBA Playoffs. I really am not much of a fan of the NBA. When I lived in Chile, I watched quite a bit of NBA on TV. Having grown up in the Chicago area when the Bulls were awful, I enjoyed the Michael Jordan era. Since moving to the U.S. over the past 12 years, I have found myself losing interest. College basketball is more interesting. I've watched the Missouri Tigers, I've watched the Fighting Illini. College basketball is a great game. Kobe is great, LeBron is amazing, but pro players can be such prima donnas that it turns me off just a bit.

Maybe it would be different if Joplin had a team. Not living in an NBA town, it has recently come home to me how different my attitude is from those who have a hometown team. Last Sunday, my brother-in-law, Steve, who lives in Phoenix was at our home for Sunday dinner. I didn't have plans to tune in the Suns' playoff game, but Steve was obviously going to watch. I would be happy to see the Suns beat the Lakers! I write these words from Indianapolis, IN, a city that also has an NBA team. We drove into Indy last night, and met extended family members for a meal. My nephew, Richard, had something in his pocket that said "Pacers". I noticed it when we first met. Through a buddy at work, he shares in some "season tickets" for the Pacers. The buddy got playoff tickets, but was not going to use them, so he gave them to Richard. Richard's girls have ball games this afternoon, so his father and I will be at Conseco Fieldhouse to watch Game 4 of the playoff series between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets. I came to Indpls to speak at a church, never thinking about an NBA playoff game. Two and a half hours from now, I'll be there. Thank you, Richard!

Though I confessed to not being a huge NBA fan, this will be my second ever NBA game, and my first NBA playoff game. It's a great game, and I will enjoy watching it. Thanks again, Richard!

2nd/3rd Declension Nouns. Every once is a while, I learn something that strikes me as interesting. I'll share this one. It might be described as an epiphanous moment for me. I'm certain that I got more excited about it than my readers will, except for the exception of AROD828 (this is for you, friend!). At any rate, the word for Sabbath in the New Testament is a 2nd Declension noun, one of the first declensions learned:
σάββατον, ου, τό. However, recently in my Greek class, we had a selection that we translated from Mark 3:4:
Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι;
I mentioned to my class that the Sabbath there was dative plural. One student, who should have known better, asked how I knew it was dative plural (Duh!). I quickly retorted with a much-used phrase stolen from the author of our textbook: "The definite article is your friend!" It should be obvious that the definite article τοῖς is dative plural. Since articles agree with the nouns they modify in gender, case, and number, the Sabbath word is also dative plural. When I looked at the form τοῖς σάββασιν, however, I was overcome by a sense of wonder. The lexical form for Sabbath is obviously 2nd declension, but its form here follows typical 3rd declension form. If I knew of that previously, I had forgotten it. The explanation is that likely its form in Hebrew would be tranliterated shabbat. In 3rd declension nouns, a common final consonant stem is "t", like the word ὄνομα, in which case the final tau drops out in the nominative singular and in the dative plural, since a tau does not stand at the end of a word and drops off (in the case of the nominative singular), and a tau followed by a sigma will drop the tau, leaving just the sigma, as in the Square of Stops (the case in the dative plural).

This is a variation that takes place in the NT. Every NT instance of "Sabbath" that occurs in the dative plural takes a 3rd declension form, even though the word is 2nd declension. This does not take place in the LXX. Every instance where "sabbath" occurs in the dative plural in the LXX the 2nd declension form τοῖς σαββάτοις is used.

I'm aware that most of you don't care about this as much as I, but I wrote it up for you, Andy!

Hope you all have a great day!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Practicing Hospitality, Still Recovering, Still Translating, Skip Day, Trip to Indiana, Bought Tickets!

Practicing Hospitality. I'm kind of a "enjoy being by myself kind of a person" married to a "enjoy being with other people" kind of a person. She has the gift of hospitality, I do not! We have practiced hospitality frequently in the far past, not so much in the recent past, and are finding a compromise. Over the past week and a half, however, we have done quite a bit.

Easter Sunday we had our extended family (Charissa & Steve), my Mom, my sister Jacque and her family, and Kristy and Dan. Kristy is kind of a surrogate daughter, and Dan is her fiance.

Tuesday night we had a celebration party (cookout) with Costa Rican seaso
ned steak with my Costa Rican Week of Evangelism team. The spouses of two of the members made it.

Thursday night we had a celebration cookout with our 40 Days of Purpose small group. Not all the members made it, but we enjoyed it just the same.

Sunday we had our own family with Rose's brother, Steve, sister-in-law Jean, nephew Scott, Scott's wife Lyndsey, and their baby, Jordan. Scott and Lyndsey live in Webb City, and Steve and Jean were visiting from the Phoenix area.

I may not be all for initiating events like that, and I may drag my feet a little, but when you get me out of my "I enjoy being by myself" mode, I do enjoy so
cial interaction. So all of that has been good!

Still Recovering. I don't remember a time in recent history when I have been sickly for this long. I have not gone to the doctor, and feel much better (!!!) than I did, but I am not completely over this cold. I went to the gym to workout yesterday (first time since I get sick), and did all right there. I guess my odyssey in Costa Rica really depleted my defenses. You could pray for me. I would appreciate it.

Still Translating. I continue to work with Hispanics in the area. Last week I began (Wednesday afternoon--between two cookouts) a 10-session class with a man with two DWI offenses. Normally I haven't done anything that prolonged. I will dedicate at least two hours
translation for him during 10 separate sessions over the next 5 weeks (normally on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon). We will skip the session tonight, because I started a 10 hour (on two successive nights) class with another gentleman last night. Because I was translating for him, I missed my Perspectives class (Chris DeWelt subbed for me).

Skip Day. Tomorrow is Skip Day! Glory Hallelujah! I don't have to teach tomorrow. There will be fun activities in the park near our campus. My classes can afford it. We kind of plan on one in the spring semester each year. The rumor has been floating around the campus for the past week and a half. It was announced at the end of our chapel service today. Rose will go to the park for the lunch, then go to work at 12:00. I'll eat with her, then take off for Ozark Center, to do an alcohol screening for still another hispanic who called me today. I'm not sure when that class will need to start.

Trip to Indiana. Because of our Skip Day, it just worked out that Friday will
be a test day in all three of my classes. I will leave the tests to be proctored by others, as Rose and I will leave for Indiana. We will spend Friday night in Greenfield with her sister Patty. Saturday will be a family day there, and I think we'll have an extended family meal somewhere there on Saturday night (she has two brothers that also live in the Indianapolis area). I will speak at the Keystone Christian Church in Indianapolis on Sunday morning, before returning to Joplin. With the test day in all three of my classes, I think I can even take Kim out to breakfast before taking off for Indiana. Friday will be her 21st birthday!

Bought Tickets. Well, the Cubbies are 4 games above .500, which is probably not bad, since the Ace pitchers (Prior and Wood) are on the Disabled List, a
long with MVP candidate, Derrek Lee. The expected ace of the pitching staff would be Carlos Zambrano, who has pitched well, but who is winless so far this season. The bright spot in the rotation is 40-year old, future Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux, who is 4-0 in his first four starts for the first time in his career, with a baffling 0.99 ERA. I watched his masterful domination of the Cardinals on Sunday. Tony LaRussa and the Cardinal batters asked the umpire to check Maddux's balls numerous times for banned substances (always without finding any evidence of cheating). I watched as the radar gun topped out at about 85 mph for his fastball (not all that fast). Anyway, I will be attending a Perspectives Course Coordinator Workshop in Kansas City on June 2-3. Rose and I will make it a mini-getaway. Instead of staying in Kansas City on Saturday night, we'll rush across I-70 to St. Louis, because I got two excellent tickets to the Cubs/Cardinals game on June 4. I got a room near the St. Louis airport on Hotwire, so we'll probably attend Harvester Christian Church in St. Charles before heading down to the new Busch Stadium. Hopefully we'll watch the Cubbies dominate the Redbirds once again (last year we got to 4 Cubs/Cardinals game, and so the Cubs win each time [3 in St. Louis and 1 in Chicago--This is probably our only game for 2006--until the World Series]). One can dream, right?

That's enough randomnity for now. May the LORD bless and keep each one of you!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Been Sick this week . . .

I don't usually get sick like this. I started with the sniffles last Friday, as I administered a Greek test. My wife and I went to a church leadership retreat in Branson over the weekend, and I was obviously catching a cold. It has been with me all week! The congestion starts in the head, and progresses from there to the south.

I have been using generic NyQuil at night, and a combination of brand name and generic DayQuil during the day. I made my first purchase of brand name DayQuil at a local Wal Mart on Monday morning about 6:00 AM, because the generic (fo
r less money) needed to be purchased at the pharmacy counter, which was at that time not open. The reason? The generic follows the old formula that contains pseudoephedrine now has purchase restraints on it because of the meth problem. The brand name DayQuil uses a new formula with phenylephrine instead of pseudoephredine, so it is not restricted. I returned to Wal Mart this morning (Friday at 8:00 AM) to get the generic. I had to show my ID and sign to buy it.

The Cubbies are not doing as well as I would like. The Cincinnati Reds have often been viewed as one of the weaker teams in the NL Central, but the Cubbies can't seem to beat them. We beat up on the Cardinals. Tonight they head off to Pittsburgh, to see how they match up against the cellar dwellers of the Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The bright spot for the Cubs so far has been Greg Maddux. He has delivered!

Go Cubbies! Eamus Catuli!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Accursed Preachers

The Apostle Paul had some pretty strong words, that many of us take as words inspired by God:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ga 1:8-9). Wheaton Standard Bible Society.
ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ εὐαγγελίζηται [ὑμῖν] παρ᾽ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω. ὡς προειρήκαμεν καὶ ἄρτι πάλιν λέγω, εἴ τις ὑμᾶς εὐαγγελίζεται παρ᾽ ὃ παρελάβετε, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.
The Greek New Testament (4th ed.) (Ga 1:8-9). Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies.

There are a number of accursed preachers making the news these days. Tomorrow night, the National Geographic Channel will be airing a program pushing one of those contrary gospels, the Gospel of Judas. Much in Da Vinci Code-like fashion, this is being publicized as a newly discovered "gospel" that the established church has wanted to suppress to keep people in the dark.

This is nothing that was not known about years ago. Irenaeus wrote about The Gospel of Judas in his treatise Against Heresies:

They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.
Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. The apostolic fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

Geisler & Nix have this paragraph concerning the Gospel of Judas:
The Gospel of Judas (late second century). This gospel was known to Irenaeus and Epiphanius (c. 315-403), bishop of Salamia. The product of an antinomian Gnostic sect, it may have contained “a Passion story setting forth the ‘mystery of the betrayal’ (proditionis mysterium) and explaining how Judas by his treachery made possible the salvation of all mankind.”
Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996, c1986). A general introduction to the Bible. Includes indexes. Includes a short-title checklist of English translations of the Bible (chronologically arranged). (Rev. and expanded.) (Page 307). Chicago: Moody Press.
Let no man be deceived. The truth about Jesus Christ was revealed to mankind in four narrative accounts that were written within a few short years of the events themselves. There are many fictitious accounts, sometimes adopting the names of apostles, in order to yield certain credibility. Those pseudipigraphal gospels were rejected as spurious many years ago. They are neither trustworthy nor are they reliable. Whether Dan Brown, the National Geographic Channel, or an angel from heaven proclaim a different gospel, let him be accursed.

Peace to all proclaimers of the true gospel!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Busy Week, Busy Weekend, Followed by Busy Week

I'm not complaining, but it has been a very busy week. I'm not sure that I'm recovered (sleep-wise/energy level-wise) from the trip to Costa Rica. One week back, we have the start of Daylight Savings Time, and begin Pre-enrollment for the fall semester. I have met with most of my student advisees this week, so it won't be that much longer before I finish with the student appointments.

Thinking about next fall, I have a new assignment, with a new prep in the fall: Analytical Grammar. My boss gave me a couple months notice. I think it was back in February when he said something like: "Since you're the best linguist on our campus [sic], what would you think about teaching Analytical Grammar?" I was kind of hoping that it might just go away, but when he came back with a formal request, I accepted. I will be teaching one section (of five). The other sections will be handled by part-time instructors.
This afternoon, we will be taking off for a church leadership (College Heights Christian Church) retreat in Branson. We'll be staying at a motel in Branson that has a sufficiently-sized conference room, Friday and Saturday night. If past years' retreats serve as a model, we will have a meeting tonight, meetings most of the day on Saturday, a worship time on Sunday, then we will return back to Joplin. I imagine there will be 45-60 people in attendance. It is usually attended by the elders, deacons and staff members, and their spouses.

Monday (normally a cherished day in my work week, since we have no day classes scheduled) will be filled with a twice-a-year commitment. I am the Faculty Representative for the OCC Athletic Department. Chris Lahm and I will travel to Kansas City for the Spring meeting of the MCCC Conference. It will be attended by the Athletic Directors and the Faculty Representatives of the member schools. This will be my second meeting.

Monday evening the Perspectives course will meet, and I will actually teach it, since our previously scheduled teacher (listed on the syllabus) was doubly-scheduled, and must fulfill the other commitment. I have known about it for several weeks, but it will require several hours of preparation (already this week I have re-done the reading assignment for this section of Perspectives). I will sneak the remaining prep time in somewhere.

The Cubbies are now at .500, losing to the lowly Reds in their second game out. They have their home opener this afternoon against their division rivals and arch enemies, the St. Louis Cardinals. I would love to sweep the Redbirds, but they have several superstars. The Cubbies will start Greg Maddux this afternoon. I hope that he is on his game, and that he gives nothing good to hit when Pujols is at the plate. Eamus Catuli!

I'm off to see the wizard. Fifty minutes from now my Greek students will begin a test over Greek Participles. I hope you have a blessed day!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cubs Win!!! Cubs Win!!!

Well, the Cubbies are in 1st place! 24 hours ago they were in 1st place, and they still are. After a not-so-impressive spring training, they are 1-0, beating the Cincinnati Reds yesterday afternoon by the comfortable margin of 16-7. I didn't get to see or hear any of it (it is recorded on my DVR at home, so I may watch part of it sometime before deleting the game), but I followed part of it on the internet.

I read some Cubs stuff on the internet, and a fellow blogger who writes under the moniker of Death wrote an interesting opening paragraph:
The leadoff triple by Juan Pierre is far and away the best hit I've never seen. I mean, I don't know what actually happened in the game, but Pierre was like a rabbit on amphetamines in my imagination, burning a path of destruction across the bases as he slammed into third for an easy triple. Yep, that Pierre sure did hustle.

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse
Having Pierre at the top of the lineup will certainly help over the former fiasco of Korey Patterson as a leadoff hitter. The Cubbies may actually try to manufacture runs this year, instead of trying to knock the ball out of Wrigley, or wherever they are playing.

Things are well in Cub Nation. Now they need to get ready to beat the Reds again on Wednesday, then get back to Wrigley to face the Cardinals.

Change of subject: our speaker last night in the Perspectives course was from African Inland Mission, and was a blessing to us. He stayed in our home for two nights, and then spent last night in the Missionary Residence guest rooms on campus.

I have a meeting this evening at church, but will swing by my Mom's house to see Harley and Lola Mitchell, who will be visiting in the area. That will be very nice indeed! :) :)

Best of God's grace to you and yours!


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring Break (Week of Evangelism) Trip to Costa Rica

Wow! I took a pretty neat trip to Costa Rica over our break. We had a bit of everything--excitement, danger, intrigue, illness, and some pretty neat natural hot springs-filled swimming pools, that enabled us to rest our weary muscles after a 3-day long excursion in the mountains near Chirripó south and east of San José.

I took a group of five students, ranging in age from 20 to 67 years of age. We had a great time. We left Joplin, MO about 7:00 AM on Saturday, March 18 to head down to Tulsa, OK to catch a flight. Our flight left Tulsa a little bit late, which shortened the time of the lenghthy layover we were expecting to have in Atlanta. Since it was Spring Break time, the flight from Atlanta to San José was oversold. Delta Airlines was asking for volunteers to stay until the next day. The next day, however was Sunday, and we had planned our trip in such a way as to be in Costa Rica on two different Sundays, so we had to go. I've always wanted to get bumped when I could afford the time. It hasn't ever happened. A year ago (Spring Break time) I missed a connecting flight in O'Hare airport on the way home, but that is another story.

The pastor of the church we were working with, Rodrigo Rojas, and his brother, Francisco, met us at the San José airport about 9:45 PM, and we made our way to the church complex, on the southeast side of San José. Francisco had a Hyundai Diesel Jeep. Five of us sat in the two main rows of seats in the jeep, the three girls travelled on fold-down seats in the trunk area of the jeep (not very comfortable), and all the luggage was tied onto a luggage rack on top. That experience brought back memories of living in Latin America.

We stayed at the Iglesia del Evangelio de Jesucristo, located in a part of the capital city called San Miguel, Desamparados. On Friday, another group of students from OCC
had left to go to Costa Rica. They would be workinging primarily with Roger Twitchell and Darrin King, OCC alumni who are working in Costa Rica. Our Sunday activity included a joint united church service for several churches in Costa Rica. The other group participated. Darrin King told me that he thought the service was historic, in the sense that nothing like that had ever taken place there since they arrived a couple of years before. Tony Allmoschlecher taught the adult Bible School class (I translated), and I preached during the main worship service. One of the students with me gave the communion meditation.

On Monday, we began a journey for which we were ill-prepared. God kept us safe. Rodrigo Rojas has an old 4WD Isuzu Trooper, but he really doesn't like to drive much. I found myself as the principal driver for our trip. But first, we had to buy supplies, that we ourselves would need, as well as package of staple food items to give to Indian church leaders in the mountains.

We got kind of a late start, le
ft San José, and stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant east of Cartago. From there we continued through Turrialba, then got off of a main road that took us through a place called La Suiza, another place called Grano de Oro, after which we continued on dirt roads. We kept going further and further into the mountains, and the road was getting rougher and rougher. The group with me thought that I was doing a great job navigating the ruts on the road, but I would have been happy to pass the job to someone else. Finally, we got to a place called Quetzal Alto, which was with a fourth of a mile of the end of the road. It was late afternoon, and a meeting between Rodrigo and the Indians who had hiked there to help us get to our interior destination, recommended that we spend the night there, and begin our hike the next morning at daybreak.

We had about a six hour hike to get to the hut that belongs to an Indian brother named Arnoldo, who has a church that meets there. All in all, there are seven Indian church leaders scattered over the mountain region, who look to Rodrigo for leadership and guidance. Rodrigo had never made it to Arnoldo's place, so we ended up going farther than he had ever gone. The Indian leaders go regularly to San José, and meet with Rodrigo. There have also been celebrations held at Quetzal Alto, but we made it further than Rodrigo had been. It was the grace of God that allowed us to get there. You can get a glimpse of what our mountain trail was like from the photo at the left. Indians helped us as guides and carriers. Crystal (seen with the backpack) carried her on pack all the way in. The rest of us surrendered our loads. We had some pack horses, and a couple for riding. But when the path was steep or muddy, the horses couldn't carry a rider. Orvel (a retired student) twisted his knee within the first couple hours, and was relegated to a horse. After about six hours, we made it to Arnoldo's hut. It was built out of sugar cane poles, and had a zinc roof. We were ushered into the house, and found a platform instead of chairs. That became our bed that night. All six of us slept side by side on that platform, built out of sugar cane poles. Our feet were hanging off the end of the platform. The night before, I had slept on a hardword floor in a sleeping bag. At the start of the second night, I commented that the sugar cane pole was more comfortable. By the next morning, however, I wasn't so sure. You can see a photo of our "bed" to the above.

We got up at 4:00 AM the next morning, to hike out of there. The hike out was mainly uphill. We had secured a couple more horses. The hike out of there was longer, since we were mai
nly going uphill. Each one of our group spent a little bit of time on a horse. I was the last person in the group to get on a horse. I rode on out of there at the end. I ran completely out of gas (physically speaking). Near the end of our hike out, I sat down on a rock and nearly fell asleep. I sent word to one of our Indian guides that I needed a horse (by that time everyone else of the group had been on a horse at least for a short time). Probably all of us were in danger of dehydration, and we needed nourishment. We left our food provisions (which were slim) with the Indians, and began hiking. The trip out of there took us about 7 and a half hours to get to the Trooper. Another problem was that it was raining most of the way, and the little trail was quite slippery. Once all six of us made it out, we enjoyed some saltine crackers and a room-temperature Fresca. It was wonderful! From there, we had about a two hour drive (in the rain) to get to Turrialba, where we had lunch (about 4:00 PM). Another two hours later, we were back in San José, where a shower awaited us. God had protected us all on the journey. All the muscles in our legs were tied into veritable knots. We looked very funny walking anywhere.

On Thursday, we had a Rest & Relaxation. We went to a natural hot spring that flows from the Arenales Volcano north and west of San José. The place we went to had a se
ries of pools constructed with thermal water (even with thermal waterfalls). After our over-exertion in the mountains, it was wonderful!!! It was like soaking in the largest, most efficient jacuzzi in the world! It really rejuvenated us all. It was a wonderful day, except for Liz, who was sick on the way back to the city.

On Friday, we visited the Spanish Language Institute, where Rose and I had studied Spanish 30 years ago. It was a nice visit. Gilbert ran into an old friend who works with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and who had been doing an intensive course there. He hadn't seen her for about 20 years! On Saturday, we went downtown to San José, and did some souvenir shopping. We took public transportation to downtown San José and back. The first place we went, however, was to a pharmacy (both Crystal and Liz were sick), and then to the Clínica Bíblica, a private hospital run (formerly at least) by the Latin American Mission.

I taught Bible School on Sunday, then translated as Gilbert preached during the morning message. The girls spent Sunday with the other OCC group at a youth retreat. Kevin and Teri Cook (long-time friends that we knew from Chile that now live in Costa Rica) visited the church in San Miguel on our second Sunday. I had lunch with them and their two kids, and was able to catch up on their lives. Sunday night, we had a Costa Rican BBQ as a despedida. All in all, it was a successful trip. Assuming that Mark Scott (my boss) wants to repeat the course, I would go back there. In some ways, I would prepare myself and the next group differently. The church is alive and well there.

I got back home at about 3:30 AM on Tuesday morning. I had Greek class at 7:00 AM. I slept for a couple hours, then got up and went to work. I got through my Tuesday morning classes, then went home at lunch time, and had a nice afternoon nap. I believe I'm caught up on sleep now. Early Monday morning, I have pre-enrollment appointments with several of my academic advisees.

Life goes on, but God is good.

Blessings to all of you!