Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reprise of the Ice Storm

I actually wrote this post on Wednesday, December 12, posted it initially, then deleted it because it was kind of a dumb thing to put an ad in cyberspace to say that our house is without electricity and we are out of town, so come on over and take our stuff.

We are back from Texas now. I think that the lights came back on one day after we left home.

Ice Storm across the Midwest

I would much rather deal with snow than ice. We were in Texas early in January (just before our Spring Semester 2007 started). An ice storm ripped across the plains as we were traveling north. In order to avoid icy roads in Oklahoma, we headed east to Texarkana, attended Sunday morning services in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and traveled north through Arkansas, avoiding most of the icy roads, until we got to the extreme northwest corner of Arkansas. The last 35 miles was rather difficult, but we made it home safely. We never lost power, though many in Joplin did.

We were warned of the possibility of another ice storm last Saturday night. Many in the Joplin area woke up Sunday morning without electricity. We had power at our home. Sunday afternoon, my nephew, Scott McGill, his wife Lindsey and their two kids came over, as their home was without electricity. Sunday afternoon our satellite receiver iced over, and we lost TV. The kids watched DVDs, and all was fine. I had been listening to a Joplin AM radio station streamed on the internet. I woke up Monday morning (about the time I usually do--5 AM), and decided to start listening to the radio station streamed over the internet. As I was booting my computer, we had some loud sounds coming from nearby transformers, and we lost power. Now 2 1/2 days later, we're still without power, and I don't expect to see electricity in our house until we return from a trip to Texas on December 23. I hope that I am wrong!

About 58,000 customers in the Joplin area lost power. Their website currently says that 33,000 customers are still without power. It has been an experience. OCC was also without power, and the decision to cancel final exams was made late on Sunday. Students will receive whatever grade they had in the class, without taking final exams. Power is back on at OCC (I showered this morning in the dorm I lived in 35 years ago). We have had quite a few meals at my Mom's this week (she did not lose power--buried power lines are a wonderful idea).

Monday night we were to have an Open House at our place for all of my students and the girls who live on Goodman Hall 2nd floor. We had a quick meal at Mom's, then traversed the city to our home, and lit candles, just in case anyone showed up. It would not have made sense for kids to travel in the dark, with power lines and trees down across roadways. Thankfully, no one came. We went to bed in a cold house, but piled on the blankets. I thought it was great. We were really toasty under the blankets. It reminded me of being in Southern Chile, and going to bed in a cold house, but being very warm under the blankets.

Yesterday, we bought a Kerosene Heater. Years ago in Chile we used kerosene for heat. These heaters have come a long way since then, using cleaner kerosene (1K), and are much safer. We thought about picking one up Monday afternoon, but the word was that there were heaters to be purchased, but finding kerosene would be difficult. I found a pallet of 5 gallon drums of 1K Kerosene at Home Depot yesterday, but no heaters. I heard that Lowe's had heaters but no kerosene. When we decided to do it, I bought the kerosene first at Home Depot (over $7.00/gallon), then went to Lowe's to buy the heater.

We used it in the house last night, and it worked very well. The house was at 42 degrees when we started it up (about 9:30 PM). By morning, we were at 67 degrees. I'll go home in a bit and get it ready to go for tonight.

We are leaving Friday morning (Dec. 14) for Texas. We'll spend Friday night in the Dallas area, then make the long journey south on Saturday. I'll share the pulpit with Greg in the Spanish service at Central Christian in Brownsville. Other than that, we'll be staying out on South Padre Island. Greg will take Monday off, and we'll celebrate Christmas with the Texas Fish Clan on Monday, December 17. Charissa and Kimberly are going with us. Charissa will fly back on Monday night. Kimberly will fly back on Wednesday night. We'll leave South Texas on Saturday, December 22, make the trek to the Dallas area, attend church there on Sunday morning, and then drive home. I imagine that is when we'll see electric lights on at our house.

I'll get grades turned in before we leave. I hope you have a blessed Christmas.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some Thoughts of the Republican Presidential Candidates About the Bible

Last night CNN and YouTube partnered in putting on a debate among the Republican Presidential Candidates. I DVRd most of the debate (I lost about the first 15 minutes). I probably watched about half of what I recorded. I'll finish watching the last 40 minutes or so before I delete the file.

I was interested, however, in a segment in which a YouTube participant asked the candidates their belief about "every word" of the Bible (the one he held up was a King James Bible). This is my first time to upload a video segment to YouTube, and to place it on my blog:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jesus: God's Promised Gift

School started again this morning, after an entire week off for Thanksgiving Break. My boss, Mark Scott, preached in chapel this morning. We have just two more weeks of class before Final Exam Week, so there are only 3 more chapel services now.

His assigned text was Matthew 1-2, "The Gift . . . Promised". He opened with a verse from Proverbs:
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
(Proverbs 13:12, NIV)

He divided the first two chapters of Matthew into four literary units, with this dominant theme: The Promised Gift would not be deferred by:
  1. Questionable Roots (1:1-17)
  2. Suspicious Origin (1:18-25)
  3. A Looney King (2:1-18)
  4. Seeming Obscurity (2:19-23)

Mark did a masterful job, which drew me towards Christ. The audio should appear on the college website within a couple days. I recommend you check it out. You can either listen online, or download the sermon file in MP3 format.

The songs selected during the worship time contributed to the service. Songs were interspersed with Scripture readings taken from Matthew 1-2. The lyrics to a song we sang were especially significant to me, and probably put me into the Christmas spirit, Welcome to our World, by Chris Rice:

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking

How we need to hear from God

You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome, Holy Child

Welcome, Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger

How I wish we would have known

But long-awaited, Holy Stranger

Make Yourself at home.

Please, make Yourself at home.

Bring Your peace into our violence

Bid our hungry souls be filled

Word, now breaking Heaven's silence

Welcome to our world

Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us

Tender brow prepared for thorn

Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born

Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You

Breathe our air and walk our sod

Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God

Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world.

May the Christ of Christmas indwell your world.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts on Thanksgiving: aka 25 Years Ago This Month

25 years ago (this month), we were living in a house rented for us by the Lakeside Christian Church of Springfield, IL. The chairman of the mission committee at Lakeside Church lived across the street from us. My good friends from college, Mark Scott (who is now my boss) and James McCracken ministered in the Springfield area. My oldest child, Charissa, was in kindergarten at Christian Elementary School, operated by the Westside Christian Church. Delicia (nee Jones) Bare was in her class.

25 years ago (this month) my son Greg was being potty trained. On a Sunday afternoon, he had an accident (that means he pottied in his training pants) when he was with me but not with his Mom. You see, he accompanied me to a store to buy some allergy medication. On the way back home a Springfield police officer stopped me for doing 38mph in a 25mph zone. The vehicle we were driving that furlough was licensed in Florida, and I had a Florida drivers license. Because I was an "out-of-state" driver, I was told that I would have to pay a $50 bond. I didn't have $50 to pay the bond, so I was taken to the police station (my son, in training pants accompanied me). It was at the police station that Greg had his accident. Everybody knows that you get one phone call from the police station before they throw you in the cell. Did I call Rose? No, I did not! I knew that she didn't have $50 either. Who was the recipient of my call? Our friendly neighbor, the chairman of the mission committee of Lakeside Christian Church, received that honor. I trusted that he either had $50, or could get it from one of those fancy ATM machines (ATM machines were rather new--we had set up a checking account with a local institution, but because we were only going to be in Springfield for 3-4 months, I did not think I needed an ATM card). Having to call the chairman of the missions committee was quite embarrassing (though it makes a good story).

25 years ago (this month) I bought my very first personal computer. It was a Commodore VIC-20, with a whopping 5KB of ram. I think it cost me about $300. The crummy dot-matrix printer that I got with it (no descenders) cost $399. The computer came with a tape player type of drive that stored its programs and files on an ordinary cassette tape. The VIC-20 was advertised by Star Trek's William Shatner. You can see a commercial of Shatner hawking the VIC-20 by clicking here.

Today (this month--that's a tad redundant, don't you think?), I'm writing these lines on a laptop computer that has 419,430.4 times the amount of RAM as the VIC-20. In case you are interested in the math, a kilobyte has 1024 bytes. 5KB of RAM equals 5,120 bytes. To get a megabyte, you multiply the kilobyte by 1024. To get a gigabyte, you multiply the megabyte by 1024. My computer now has 2GB of RAM (though some of that is shared with the video card). The VIC-20 with 5KB of RAM totaled 5,120 bytes. My current laptop with 2GB or RAM is calculated by the following formula: 2 x 1024^3, or 2,147,483,648 bytes of RAM. That number divided by the 5,120 bytes of RAM in the VIC-20 is 419,430.4.

25 years ago, Kimberly, our youngest, was not even a thought. Today (25 years later), our son Greg has recently given us 3 adorable grandsons. Rose is happy that we will get to see them in about 20 days!

The idea to write this little essay came to me when I realized that I purchased my very first personal computer 25 years ago this month. I put that little tidbit in the 3rd paragraph, as I understand that family trumps computers every time. Thanksgiving was Thursday, and I was thankful. Today is the Monday after (known by retailers now as Cyber Monday), and I navigated both Black Friday and Cyber Monday without spending money I don't have on things that I don't need. That makes today a day of Thanksgiving as well.

The Psalmist put it well:
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
(Psalms 34:8, ESV)

I am blessed indeed!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workshop at the National Missionary Convention

Tomorrow we'll meet home about 1:00 PM and head towards Cincinnati for the National Missionary Convention. I will lead a workshop on Electronic Resources for Bible Study on Saturday morning.

I will demo some of the packages I mention in the handout. How things have changed since the days when I shipped hundreds of book in print form. Now that the postal service no longer has international book rate, missionaries should take advantage of electronic books.

As an added plus, we'll get to visit the Creation Museum just west of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

At the Risk of Losing Readers--Rubber Ducky in Greek

My nephew, who is a minister in Texas, told me that I lost readership of this blog (dropped from 4 readers to 3, I suppose) last year when I started diagramming sentences in Greek.

I've enjoyed team teaching 2nd year Greek this year with my highly esteemed colleague, Kenny Boles. I was a student in 2nd year Greek (under Kenny Boles) 35 years ago. When his children were small, he translated the Rubber Ducky song sung by Ernie on Sesame Street into Greek.

His classes have sung it at least once a year ever since. I had that privilege this week. If you want to check it out, you can download it in PDF by clicking here.

Hope you all have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Power of the Cross

"The Power of the Cross"
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
There are times in corporate worship that a song reaches into my inner being and resonates with my soul. Usually I'm not given to emotional touchy, feely moods, but in our chapel service this morning, the lyrics above did a number on me. Rooted in Scripture, the gospel Passion accounts, plus a number of important texts from the epistles, the song summarizes the work of Christ for us on the cross. May it never cease to amaze us!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Beauty of a Phrase Well-Turned (Reprise)

Last week I wrote about a beautiful paragraph in Isabel Allende's book Inés, del Alma Mía. I quoted the Spanish text verbatim, without an translation. I received an e-mail from a friend commenting on the blog, telling me that she enjoyed reading it even when I wrote in Spanish or in Greek.

I answered her e-mail, with my own translation, but the original Spanish was much better. Yesterday, I checked to see the English translation of the book was in our public library. It was, and was even checked in, so I put in a hold request on the book. I went to pick it up at lunch time today. If you have not read the other piece, you must understand that one of the suggested meanings of the name Chile means where the land ends.

The original in Spanish reads like this:

El Jardín del Edén, la tierra prometida, el paraíso. Mudo, mojado de lágrimas, el conquistador conquistado iba descubriendo el lugar donde acaba la tierra, Chile.

The translation in the book published in English reads like this:

The Garden of Eden, the promised land, paradise. Mute, his face wet with tears, the conquered conqueror was coming to know the place where the land ends: Chile.

The translatorʼs name is Margaret Sayers Peden. I think she has translated all of the Isabel Allende books into English. She is an excellent translator. More beautiful still, though, is the original Spanish.

I checked it out of the library. Maybe Rose will enjoy reading it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Quiet Testimony of a Woman of Faith

I've just returned home from a funeral service of a friend. The eulogy printed in the bulletin (picture included below) began this way: "Julia (Judy) Leann (Hutton) Williams, 55, Joplin, "transcended to heaven" Thursday, October 4 after a brief battle with an exceedingly rare breast cancer. She is survived by her loving husband, Martin, and their two children, Ryan Michael, and April LeAnn."

Martin and Judy were special to both of us. I first met him when Rose was working at the old Revival Fires Ministry located across the street from Ozark. Martin was actually her boss, during part of the time that she worked for Revival Fires. I got to know him a bit better during 1974 and 1975, as I was playing on a fast-pitch softball team in Joplin, and he was a teammate. When Rose and I got married, they were some of our "older married" friends. I really didn't realize how close in age Judy and I were. Martin was five years older than she. In 1976, when we made plans to go to the mission field, they asked us to share our plans with them. I remember going to their home, slide projector and all, and sharing our plans for the mission field. They supported us regularly while we were on the field. On several furloughs we would get together with them, and share about life.

Judy got sick in August, and ended up in the hospital. At first she was at Freeman Hospital, not far from our home. After several weeks there, she was transferred to Freeman East. I visited Martin and Judy at Freeman, during a time that she was heavily sedated. On a later visit, she told me that she didn't remember that. Rose visited her about a month ago (I wasn't able to go), and came away talking about how Judy was ready to go to be with Jesus. The last time we visited her about about 2 weeks ago today. We went there, and saw the sign on the door, which said to limit visits to about five minutes. We entered, and visited with Judy. She was there by herself. It was Sunday evening. Martin plays the organ for the Park Plaza Christian Church, and was at their evening service at the time. We were there beyond the five minute limit, and I was feeling guilty about it, so I prayed for her and we tried to leave. We couldn't get away from her, though, because she wanted to talk. The five minute visit turned into about 40 minutes, but we left, being encouraged, because we could see that she was ready to meet her maker.

As we were leaving, Martin was arriving from the evening service at Park Plaza. We visited with him briefly in the hallway. We went to the funeral home for visitation yesterday. The entire family was there, resting in the goodness of God. Martin told me that he doesn't understand how people who don't know Jesus can go through things like this. Judy's hope was firmly fixed on Christ, and gladly went to meet him. It was obvious that she had left a legacy of faith in her family, as well.

Paul penned these words: "And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word." (1 Th 4:13, The Message).
B. A. Austin, Jr., former minister at College Heights Christian Church, and current minister at Park Plaza Christian Church, gave the funeral message. In it he related that Judy had told him recently that she had called both her children, Ryan and April, and had given them a stern message: "Don't ever do anything that will keep you out of heaven, because I want to see you there." She is now resting with Jesus, and has joined the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). She went home to be with Jesus, facing a terrible cancer with dignity, grace, and faith. To paraphrase words from the author of Hebrews (11:4), by faith she still speaks, even though she is dead.
Judy, we will miss you, but will look forward to seeing you in our true home. Thanks for ministering to us! May God be praised!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Baseball Season Over for Cubs--Basketball Season On for Roger Powell

The Cubs' Season is Now Over!

Yes, I'm disappointed. The Cubs were humiliated by the Arizona Diamondbacks, nicknamed the BabyBacks. During the regular season, Arizona ranked 14th (out of 16 NL teams) in hitting. They scored 20 fewer runs than their opponents scored against them, yet they had the best record in the National League. Their bats came alive in the Divisional Series against the Cubs, while the Cubs forgot how they got to the playoffs. Next year will mark the 100th anniversary since the Cubs won their last World Series. You just wait 'til next year!

Roger Powell is back in the lineup at Siviglio Wear Teramo!

Roger Powell, Jr. took an elbow to the upper jaw in a practice session early in September. He missed the first regular season game, but played on Thursday night, scoring 15 points in 20 minutes. I wish you well, Roger! If you can read some Italian you can see the box score by clicking here:
  • 15 points in 20 minutes
  • 1-4 in 2 pt. shots
  • 2-3 in 3 pt. shots
  • 7-8 in Free Throws
  • 2 offensive rebounds

That's all I have to say right now.


Friday, October 05, 2007

The Beauty of a Phrase Well-Turned

I've always appreciated wordsmiths. I've got little or nothing of artistic creativity, but I enjoy words. Being a multilingual reader adds to my sense of amazement at the power of artistic words, capable of creating mental image, with no need of paint or canvas.

Southern Chile is beautiful. Eusebio Lillo and Bernardo de Vera y Pintado may have been thinking of her beauty when they wrote these words that Chileans sing as part of their National Anthem:

Puro Chile, es tu cielo azulado, Puras brisas te cruzan también, Y tu campo de flores bordados, Es la copia feliz del Edén.

Those lines speak of Chile being a "perfect copy of Eden." Say, did you know the meaning of the name, Chile? Though disputed, one of the suggested meanings has its origin in an Aymara word that means "end of the earth." That's an interesting thought, a perfect copy of Eden, at the end of the earth.

Over a very long period of time now, I have been reading Isabel Allende's new book, Inés, del Alma Mía (link to English translation), which is the story of Inés Suárez, who with Pedro de Valdivia, conquered Chile. I have seen her name on street signs before, without knowing about her story. Pedro de Valdivia is legendary in Chile (I knew a bit about his story), founding the city of Santiago (where we lived for many years). Academician don't usually admit to liking or using Wikipedia. It is not a refereed encyclopedia, and doesn't meet academic or scholarly standards. Many Wikipedia articles lack documentation. If you don't tell anyone I pointed you to it, you can get some information about Inés Suárez without having to read the book by reading this article.

I'm almost done reading the book. Allende is a wordsmith in Spanish, a master storyteller. On page 328, I found these words, that describe Pedro de Valdivia being smitten with the beauty of Southern Chile, using the analogy of the garden of Eden, as well:

El Jardín del Edén, la tierra prometida, el paraíso. Mudo, mojado de lágrimas, el conquistador conquistado iba descubriendo el lugar donde acaba la tierra, Chile.

Whoa! Such a beautiful phrase takes the sting out of the Cubs being down 0-2 in the NLDS. Part of being made imago Dei, is our ability to use language to communicate about the glory of God. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Because I Care About More Than Baseball

Why am I writing this post? Because I care about more than baseball, that's why! This afternoon I came across a transcript of a debate between William Lane Craig (Talbot School of Theology) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). I have written previously about Bart Ehrman.

Ehrman is a former fundamentalist who lost his faith and became an agnostic. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, of the Colbert Report interviewed Ehrman, and told him what an agnostic in reality was, but I'll let you google that for your own discovery, if you wich. The tragic thing is that Ehrman is the Chair of Religious Studies at UNC.

The debate was held at Holy Cross University in March of 2006 on the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. You can download the transcript of the debate in PDF. I found it interesting that the moderator of the debate mentioned that his all-time-favorite debate was between a man (whom many of us know and love), Alexander Campbell and a Roman Catholic Bishop, James Purcell, held in Cincinnati in 1837. That debate lasted for 6 days, and each participant was very wordy. If you should care to read the transcript of the Campbell-Purcell debate, you can read it all (360 pages of it, with the exception of page 348, which is a tad bit blurry) by clicking here.

I do care about more than baseball. But I am excited about watching the Cubs in the post-season. Eamus Catuli!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Good-bye to XM Radio--a Baseball Fan's Dream (when travelling)

Last July, we began a serious look at personal finances. One of the things that I really enjoyed was XM Radio. I bought an XM radio receiver on an impulse, when I saw it available for only $5 after rebate. The monthly subscription fee, however, was something that we could easily cut from the budget, in order to reduce expenses.

I made the call to cancel my subscription during the month of July. I was offered 3 months for FREE, and made myself a note in my calendar to re-cancel the service before I would be charged again. In July I was told that I would not be charged the monthly subscription fee until October 11. My calendar was to inform me to call again on October 7. I made the call this morning. They tried to get me to stay with them, but my service is cancelled. This time I was told that it was paid through October 27, so the service will remain active until then, at which time it will lapse. I have enjoyed the service. Yesterday was a particularly enjoyable XM Radio day.

Yesterday was the last day of the baseball season. We drove Emily and Samuel to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, then headed for home. The Cubs were playing the last game of the final season, a game that had not importance whatsoever, because they had already clinched the NL Central Crown. Though Alfonso Soriano led off the game again with a home run, and though the Cubs had a 3-0 lead, they lost the game 8-4. After leaving the DFW airport, I listened to the end of the Cubs game. The NL East was at stake still, so after the Cubs game ended, I listened to the end of the Mets-Marlins game, also to the end of the Phillies-Nationals game, then to the end of the Brewers-Padres game, and finally to the end of the Diamondbacks-Rockies game.

All of those games were significant to MLB playoffs, and, particularly since I was driving (and because Rose was sleeping), I got to listen to ALL of them.

The AL Division series looks like this:
Angels vs. Red Sox
Indians vs. Yankees

The NL Division series is not yet set, awaiting the playoff game between the Padres and the Rockies, later today.

It will be:
Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
Phillies vs. Padres or Rockies.

The games begin on Wednesday. The NL games will be broadcast on TBS, with play-by-play done by Chip Caray, and color commentary by Steve Stone. They worked together as Cubs broadcasters for several years. I always enjoyed Steve Stone's color commentary. Chip Caray seems to have a chip on his shoulder against the Cubs. I hope he will be objective.


Reprise of Face Time with Samuel

Isn't he cute?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Some Face Time with Samuel

We're in Texas now at the home of Dave & Jennie Smith. Emily travelled north with baby Samuel, as one of her cousins got married yesterday. We watched Samuel (and his cousin Addy) during the wedding. We'll attend church this morning in Frisco, TX, then pick up Emily and Samuel, drop them off at DFW airport, then head home. He's getting quite a bit bigger. We're going to South Padre Island in December, so we'll see him again at that time. Greg stayed at home with Nathan and Eli.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

Cubs Win NL Central Crown! I'm writing this words from the Dallas area. We travelled down yesterday afternoon. Thanks to XM Radio, I listened to most of the Cubs game on the way. I was polite when we arrived at Dave & Jennie Smith's (Jennie is Rose's sister) home, and visited, just checking on the score. With a 6-0, led by Carlos Zambrano's career-high 18th victory, powered by home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee, the Cubs lowered their magic number to 1, awaiting the outcome of the game in Milwaukee, between the San Diego Padres (also hunting a playoff spot), and the Milwaukee Brewers, who led the NL Central for most of the season. Ironically, it was future hall of famer, and 2-times Cub pitcher, Greg Maddux, who was pitching for San Diego. Maddux notched his 14th win of the season (his 347th of his career), beating the team for whom his older brother is the pitching coach.

The Cubs can play their last two games of the regular season without pressure, knowing that they have already clinched the division crown. The Phillies could clinch the NL East today, the Diamondbacks clinched a playoff spot (at least the Wild Card). The Mets, who led the NL East all season long fell out of 1st place yesterday, and could be eliminated today. The Boston Red Sox clinched the AL East yesterday.

What would your favorite matchup for the World Series be? Cubs-Yankees could be exciting. Cubs-Red Sox would be story-book. Do you see I'm trying to avoid the West? Not too excited about the teams from the West! There are some scary teams out there. At any rate, we're in the post season again. Let's stay away from the Billy goats, the Bartmans, and all that kind of stuff!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Cubs in Driver's Seat

Have the Cubbies clinched the National League Central yet? No, not really, but they are in pretty good shape, with a 3.5 game lead on the Brewers. Milwaukee still has 7 games to play, and the Cubs only 6, but the Magic Number is only 4 after Sunday's action.

Sunday morning, post-season tickets for Wrigley Field went on sale. I entered a virtual waiting room about 8:45 AM, and watched the countdown from 30 seconds until about 9:12 AM when I needed to leave for church. I didn't get an opportunity to buy any. The available tickets were sold out in 30 minutes!

The photos below were taken at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. A group of 10 of us travelled in a 15-passenger van to watch the Cubs beat the Cardinals. Thanks for sending them to me, Jeannie! Eamus Catuli! Don't stop now!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cubs back in sole possession of 1st place

Those pesky Brewers just won't go away! The Cubs have fought back, however, and are in sole possession of 1st place. They have a day off today, but the Brewers start a 4-game series in Atlanta against the Braves. Add to that the fact that the Brewers are 15 games under .500 while playing on the road, whereas the Cubs are above .500 playing at home AND on the road, and I think this may be our year!

At times the Cubs have played like champions, coming back from behind to win important games. They did it twice during the last three games.

My hope is built on things eternal, but a winner on the North Side of Chicago would make this a special year indeed!

Eamus Catuli!

Friday, September 14, 2007

By the Rivers of Babylon--a look at an Imprecatory Psalm

On Tuesday of this week, we started a new sermon series in the Ozark Christian College chapel services. The series, titled Echoes of Worship, is based on the book of Psalms. Our president, Matt Proctor, preached the first sermon in the series. It was on Psalms of Lament, and the text chosen was Psalm 137, a psalm from the Babylonian exile. During the 1980s, Boney M, a Jamaican group that made it big in Europe (and around most of the world, except for the U.S.), recorded a song titled By the Rivers of Babylon. I think of Boney M when I read Psalm 137.

The end of Psalm 137 spews hatred toward the Edomites and the Babylonians:

God, remember those Edomites,
and remember the ruin of Jerusalem,
That day they yelled out,
“Wreck it, smash it to bits!”
And you, Babylonians—ravagers!
A reward to whoever gets back at you
for all you’ve done to us;
Yes, a reward to the one who grabs your babies
and smashes their heads on the rocks!
Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Ps 137:7-9). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.

Matt did an excellent job of introducing this series, and in treating this class of psalms. You can listen to it in streaming audio by clicking here, or download an mp3 file of it by clicking here. I recommend it heartily.


Off to St. Louis

Cubbies Back in 1st Place

The Cubbies are back in sole possession of 1st place. Tonight they open up a 4-game season against the St. Louis Cardinals. Going into the series, as you can see from the current standings (Sept. 14, 5:00 AM), they have a 5 game lead on the Cardinals.

A week ago, the Cardinals were scary, as they were playing incredibly well. Rick Ankiel was the feel-good story of the baseball season (almost as feel-good as a Cubs World Series victory might be). Ankiel's story stopped being so feel-good, though about a week ago, as the story broke that in the year 2004, he purchased a 12-month supply of HGH, a substance often linked to the steroid abuse. At the time Ankiel allegedly purchased the substance, it was not banned by baseball. However, this is the same Ankiel who had a mental meltdown in the 2000 World Series (as a top flight pitcher). This story evidently has gotten into Ankiel's head. In the last 7 games, Ankiel's batting average has dropped from .353 to .301. He has gone 2-24 with 0 RBI and 9 strikeouts. Ouch!

During this stretch, the Cubs should have played better. Out of the past nearly 4 weeks, the Cubs have been in 1st place in the NL Central (either sole or shared possession) for all but two days. Those two days occurred this week. In one sense, it's a good thing that I take Prevacid (for reasons totally unrelated to baseball).

I will teach this morning. At about 1:00 PM, I'll get into a 15-passenger van, and head to St. Louis. I believe that there will be 11 passengers in the van, 9 of whom are Cubs fans! There will be one student who is a Cardinals fan, and Terry Bowland, my esteemed colleague, who is also a Cardinals fan. I have made several trips to St. Louis with him for Cardinals/Cubs games in the past.

My ticket (sans barcode) is posted above. This game is sold out, so we have standing room only. I have a student in class this semester who had a standing room only ticket to the World Series game in 2000 when Rick Ankiel had his meltdown. He said going to a ballgame in standing room only is a blast.

We'll drive back to Joplin after the ballgame is over. Carlos Zambrano (thinking of head cases) is pitching for the Cubs. I have never seen him lose in person. Hopefully he will have his head properly in the game. I expect we'll get back home around 3 AM. But it will be fun, especially if the Cubs win. Another of my colleagues, Chad Ragsdale (also a Cub fan), will be travelling to St. Louis this afternoon, spending the night there with his wife, Tara, and will be attending the 1st game of Saturday's doubleheader. I hope they get to see a Cubs victory as well.

What are the chances of a Cubs/Red Sox World Series? A Cubs victory in 7 games over the Red Sox--now that would be a great finish to a feel-good story!


Monday, September 10, 2007

Timothy Paul Jones on Bart Ehrman

Last year I gave a quick read to Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Ehrman looked to Princeton's Bruce Metzger as a mentor. I have no illusions about Metzger having been conservative theologically (he passed away last year), but his mentee, Ehrman, did not get his radical position from Metzger. Ehrman pretends that his book contains earth-and-faith-shattering new information. It does not. His book proffers nothing new. It is all stuff I had in a freshman course in New Testament Evidences 36 years ago. J. Harold Greenlee's Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (orginally published by Eerdmans and now available again by Hendrickson) addresses every issue Ehrman puts forth. Ehrman plays with the evidence, and skews it to match his desire for God's Word not to be true.

Reading Ehrman made me angry. There are conservative, Bible believing scholars, with academic pedigrees at least as prestigious as Ehrman's. Ehrman does not mention them only to dismiss them, but rather ignores them completely! That is poor scholarship, Dr. Ehrman. He writes with a chip on his shoulder, as if nobody with half a brain would believe that the books in our Bibles are in reality canonical, and therefore, God's very word. Such academic snobbery is unbecoming. The fact that the masses may read his books and believe his thesis is disheartening.

Timothy Paul Jones, a Baptist minister from Tulsa, OK, has answered the call. Jones, with a doctorate in church history, had previously co-authored a book debunking Dan Brown's thesis in The Da Vinci Code, The Da Vinci Codebreaker: An Easy-to-Use Fact Checker for Truth Seekers. Jones' new book, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus", is a breath of fresh air.

Jones is much kinder than I, but addresses the issues head on. Once again, Ehrman presents nothing new, other than an interpretation of the facts that is in keeping with his starting presupposition of unbelief. Ehrman's earlier faith was shaken by variants found in manuscripts of the New Testament. Some variants can be explained as unintentional errors made by scribes; others are intentional changes, that some well-or-not-so-well-meaning scribe may have made. Ehrman purports that some of the intentional changes are highly significant, stating that "in some instances, the very meaning of the text is at stake." (Misquoting Jesus, p. 208). Jones' entire book is a corrective to Ehrman's exaggerations, but in the case of intentional changes in manuscripts being significant, he offers an entire chapter titled "Truth About 'Significant Changes' in the New Testament". On p. 55 Jones he writes:

"It is at this point that Ehrman finds changes that are supposedly so significant that they affect entire books of the Bible. And, it is at this point that I must respectfully disagree with Ehrman. Here's what I find as I look at the textual evidence: In every case in which two or more options remain possible, every possible option simply reinforces truths that are already clearly present in the writings of that particular author and in the New Testament as a whole; there is no point at which any of the possible options would require readers to rethink an essential belief about Jesus or to doubt the historical integrity of the New Testament."

Thank you, Dr. Jones. We are more certain about the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts, than we are about any manuscripts that tell us anything about the ancient world. F. F. Bruce long ago addressed the problem of the many textual variants, that are a direct result of having so many more manuscripts of the New Testament than any other ancient document of that era: "if the great number of MSS increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be fear; it is in truth remarkably small. The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice." (F. F. Bruce [1943] The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, pp. 19-20)

I heartily recommend Jones' book. It is easily read (it might take a little more than 2 hours to read), has copious footnotes, and is written kindly. A campus minister at the University of North Carolina (where Ehrman teaches New Testament) wrote:

Into this milieu comes Timothy Paul Jone's voice of sanity: Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus published by InterVarsity Press. Jones tackles the tough issues that Ehrman rightly raises. But where Ehrman tends to sensationalize and severely over-state the problems, Jones gently and graciously corrects.
I agree 100%. εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Roger Powell Jr. in Highest Pro League in Italy

Roger Powell Jr. has signed with Siviglia Wear Teramo of the Italian Professional Basketball League. Rose and I went to see him play in April with the now defunct Arkansas RimRockers of the NBA Developmental League. He ended up leading the NBADL in scoring (ppg) last season. He told us he thought that he would make an NBA squad, but that his stock had risen considerably, and that playing in Europe was also a possibility.

He played on a summer squad with the Memphis Grizzlies, but it was a matter of not being the right fit for that squad. I recently (about a week ago) that he has signed with Siviglio Wear Teramo of the Italian Series A Professional Basketball League. The regular season starts on September 30. One of his teammates is Clay Tucker, with whom he played on the Arkansas RimRockers last season.

I don't read Italian well, but I believe he suffered an injury, taking an elbow to the upper jaw, and had surgery yesterday (Saturday, September 8). The news reports seem to indicate he could be out for 3-4 weeks. Hope you get well, soon, Roger, and have a great season in Italy.

We have some missionary friends in Ancona, Italy, which is probably not very far from Teramo, where Powell will be playing. Maybe they can make contact with him sometime.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Word-for-Word Translations Don't Work

I remember about 15 years ago, when I still lived in Chile, I got some software to aid in translation of documents from English to Spanish and vice versa. Because languages differ in manners of expression, a literal word-for-word translation rarely works. That particular software program had varying degrees of interactivity, to assure that an expression in one language would be adequately expressed in the second. The complexities of both English and Spanish made it necessary to set the software to the highest degree of interactivity possible. The result was that it was easier for me to translate an entire document by myself than to use the software.

I once set the software to the lowest level of interactivity, and had it translate a letter from the United States. The result was unintelligible.

There was a terrible tragedy in baseball on Friday. Juan Encarnación was getting ready to pinch hit for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was on the on deck circle, but wasn't paying attention. Aaron Miles was at bat, and hit a rocket of a foul ball that hit
Encarnación directly on the left eye, and the orbital bone "exploded". This tragedy evokes memories of Tony Conigliaro getting beaned.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz wrote a piece wishing him a speedy recovery. The headline gets the Spanish right, but Bernie's article has this at the bottom:

Obtenga bien pronto, Juan.

A literal word-for-word translation might be:

Get well soon, Juan, but the phrase is completely unintelligible in Spanish. What he should have written is "que te mejores pronto, Juan."

I'm a die hard Cubs fan, but my heart aches for
Encarnación. Albert Pujols has requested prayer for himן

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Number 66

. . . is 600 less than the number 666, and I guess that's good.

. . . is the number of a famous U.S. Highway that ran through my home town (Joliet, IL) and the town where I currently live (Joplin, MO).

. . . is the number of wins that the Chicago Cubs had on the way to a last place finish in 2006.

. . . is the number of wins that the Chicago Cubs currently have as they are in 1st place in the National League Central (and they still have 35 more games to play!).

. . . and that makes me smile!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Grandsons from Brownsville, TX

Here is a pretty cool slide show of my three grandsons, Nathan (5 years old), Eli (3 years old), and Samuel (nearly 9 months old). All these photos were taken by their mother, Emily, who is quite an accomplished photographer. The photos show a photographer's label, similar to what an expensive studio would stamp on the photos. It wasn't until after a while that I read the label, and realized that the label said "Fish Xpressions Photography," and that Emily had done these. They're cute, aren't they?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pastors' Retreat in Villa Alemana (Reprise)

I just discovered a photo taken of the group in Villa Alemana. I had posted earlier about this, but wanted to post this photo here:

The Chilean church seems to be fragmented, yet good things are taking place in different places. Chilean churches are sending missionaries to nearby countries, as well as lands in the 10/40 Window.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Manipulation of the Truth with Photos

I received this via e-mail. To give context to the photo that appears here, I feel I must include the text that accompanied it:

I was going through a bunch of old stuff while working in my basement, and ran across some old baseball cards. To my astonishment, I found a Barry Bonds rookie card, mint condition. I really think that at some point in the future Bonds will be exonerated of most all steroid charges and will go in to the Hall of Fame distinguished as the best hitter of all time. If you, or anybody you know, might have an interest in buying this card, let me know ASAP. I'm giving it 2 weeks and then putting it on Ebay and taking whatever I can get for it. I've included a scanned copy of the card to show it's condition - as you'll see it is in MINT condition.

Now I know that Barry was thin when he first came up, but, really now!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Life is Good! Jesus on the Throne and the Cubs in 1st!

In a couple hours I'll be advising (academically) new students to OCC. Our classes start next week. It appears that we have a pretty good incoming class. I like my classroom assignments (with the exception of my Spanish class assignment, but you can't have everything). Yesterday I finished setting up the website that supports my classes. Life is good.

The Cubbies made an announcement yesterday morning that sometimes pitching ace, Carlos Zambrano, signed a contract extension: five years at a ridiculously high price. Hopefully, that will settle him down (his last 3 starts have been bad after being nearly lights out good since the dugout fight with former catcher Michael Barrett on June 2), and beat the Redbirds on ESPN Sunday night.

Yesterday, Albert Pujols got his shot in, a home run to left field, against the wind. Fortunately, no one was on base. The next half inning, the Cubs scored twice (2-run homer by Jacque Jones), and took the lead, beating the Cardinals 2-1. That win moved them into a tie for first place, pending the Brewers/Reds game later in the day. The Reds soundly defeated the Brewers last night, giving the Cubs sole possession of first place. Eamus Catuli!
I got my oldest grandson, Nathan, a Chicago Cubs outfit when he was a newborn. I thought I had resolved his baseball issues early on. Unfortunately, I have been reminded recently of how easily a child can be influenced in the wrong way. A few weeks ago, when the kids were in Joplin, Nathan and I got to watch some Cubs baseball on TV (for him it was a way to stay "out of bed"). He asked me, "Grandpa, why do you like the Cubs?" Dumb question, right? Then he follows it up with, "My Grandmama (that's Emily's mother) says the Cubs are yucky! I like the Cardinals." Well, look at the standings, Grandmama!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back at it Again! Don't be Left Behind!

A new school year is upon us. New students are moving into the dorms at OCC this morning. Orientation begins this afternoon, with a full slate of activities. It should be a great year.

A colleague sent me an e-mail with a link to a song on You Tube about eschatology. I thought you might enjoy watching it as well. Here is the link:
The Rapture Song, by Randy Bonifield.

The Cubbies are in a free fall right now. I sure hope they decide to play ball and win a game today. The 4-day series against the hated Cardinals is crucial.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Am I That Round?

I've been teaching an Old Testament Survey course in Lautaro, Chile this week. At our intermission this evening, I discovered a drawing that was circulating around the classroom. I believe I am really quite a bit taller than the drawing reveals, and may not be quite as large around the middle. What do you think?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pastor's Retreat in Villa Alemana

It would be a huge understatement to say that the Churches of Christ/Christian Churches in Chile are fragmented. I arrived in Chile on Friday, August 3. I slept a couple hours before taking a bus to Villa Alemana (about 2 hours from Santiago on a bus) to participate in a Pastor's Retreat. Just about everybody from the different factions of the churches in Chile was invited, but participation could have been much better. I was pleased to be able to participate, however, and there were members from various of the corporations in the country. I hope and pray that in the future, there will be a wider participation. Fernando, si estás leyendo estas palabras, quiero que sepas que levanté tu nombre.

Julio Carreño, adopted son of Bertrand Smith, the pioneer Restoration Movement missionary to Chile, organized the event. Julio is doing a tremendous job of serving God in his homeland, and promotes unity on diverse levels. He had invited me to share with the members. I got to teach somewhere between 4 or 5 hours, and found the group very receptive to my teaching. The title of the study was The Christian Worker and Personal Transparency: a Theological, Cultural and Generational Perspective. The main question I was asking was this. To what degree should the Christian worker be transparent, willing to show his or her own personal weaknesses? My thoughts were influenced by the following works, in addition to the Scriptures:
  • Mayers, Marvin K. (1974). Christianity Confronts Culture. Zondervan.
  • Howard, J. Grant (1979). The Trauma of Transparency. Multnomah
  • Lingenfelter, Sherwood & Mayers, Marvin (1986). Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships. Baker Book House.
  • Scott, Mark R. (2006). The Self-Disclosure of the Preacher in the Sermon: Teaching Undergraduate Bible College Student Ministers to Disclose with Discretion, doctoral dissertation, Denver Seminary.

I had not taught on that theme before, but enjoyed the preparation and the teaching itself.

I managed to catch myself a cold. I understand that the Joplin area is facing an incredible heat wave. Here, Chile is experiencing a winter with record cold temperatures. I had to wait until this afternoon to shower, as the pipes of the house where I am staying froze quite a bit last night.

I returned to Santiago on Sunday evening, and spent Sunday evening, and all day Monday and Tuesday visiting friends. I am now in Lautaro, Chile, and will return to Santiago on Sunday night. I will meet with Doug Kallestad, Director of the Iberoamerican Institute on Monday morning, then have lunch with my long-time friend, Jack Mitchell, whose mother, Lola, served as our forwarding agent for many years. Lastly, I will meet another pastor friend, Lito Farías, at a hospital to visit Victor Garcia, another long-time friend, who was assault on March 30, shot twice, and left paraplegic as a result. Despite his situation, his brother-in-law (another friend I had not seen for many years until last Tuesday) tells me that he testifies about God's goodness on a daily basis.

Below I will include some photos taken from the Pastor's Retreat in Villa Alemana:

In Southern Chile

I'm in Lautaro, Chile now. I spent several days in Santiago, with my dear friends, Jano and Pati Castro. I didn't have access from my computer to the Internet while I was there. I could have taken my laptop to a Wi-Fi spot, which I did several times, but it was not frequent. When I did have my computer with me, my e-mail was not working well, as my Outlook file got corrupted somehow. I was able to restore it (which took considerable time), and I'm back. Outlook has a built-in program to repair the Inbox (search for the file scanpst.exe), but that didn't restore mine. I found a utility (shareware) called Outlook Recovery Toolbox that was able to restore my previously received e-mails. Thank you, Lord!

I taught the introductory session to an OT Survey course last night. The course will continue tonight (Thursday), Friday, then all day long on Saturday. I'll preach at the church here in Lautaro on Sunday morning, then return to Santiago late Sunday night, before leaving Chile on Monday night.

I managed to catch quite a cold, so I don't feel particulary well, but trust that I will make it through. I found a cough remedy called Paltomiel, that is interesting, a mixture of extracts from avocado, eucalyptus, honey, which has been used quite a bit here. I guess I'll have to wait and see if I recommend it whole-heartedly.

I've been able to visit lots of friends from the past. God has been good. I'll write more later.

Blessings to you all!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Won, Cubs Win, Fly Joplin, Chile Trip

I Won!

On Monday I saw a first. I assumed that I was going to a friend's house to clean up his virus-laden computer. He has helped me in the past with several mechanical type issues. His computer was ill, and I may not be a very good mechanic (I DID manage to fix my motor scooter last week without anybody else touching it), but I can mess with computers pretty well. What I found, however, was a computer very mildly affected by viruses, but infested to the core with malware (some call it spyware, or adware). When he spoke to my about poor performance, I suspected viruses. He told me that he started his trek through the DSL-connected Internet world without good antivirus software (something I would never consider doing). He had downloaded some free antivirus software, and it had worked well during the trial period. The software was called Windows Antivirus Pro 2007. I recommend and use an excellent free antivirus program (I have been a paying customer of both of the big ones in the past), but I had not heard of the program he was using. His program was the problem! Rather than being an antivirus program, it is malware! He had properly decided to uninstall it (through the Control Panel), but it refuses to go away. I joked that "this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." It had taken over his computer, giving a pop-up window of detection of a virus about every 10 seconds, making it near impossible to do anything. The pop-up window gave him an opportunity to "register" the antivirus program (remember that trial period was over) for payment (I never did find out how much the registration was. At any rate, the files allegedly infected with viruses were false positives, just to get the unsuspecting sort to pay them money. What crooks! Along the way, I found an excellent tool for debugging problems on Windows-based computers. It is called the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. It is based on the Bart PE platform, but has additional tools built in. If you are technologically savvy, you may want to add it to your arsenal.

Cubs Win!

The Cubbies are in first place. I heard last night that the last time they were in first place on August 1 was back in 2001. I'm leaving the U.S. tonight, and hope that they are still in first place by the time I leave (they could fall out of first, since they are playing an afternoon game today). I sure hope they will still be in first place when I return to the U.S. on August 14.

Fly Joplin!

I went to Chile in March, and flew straight from Joplin. I did it again today. I'm writing these lines from the Kansas City Airport, waiting my connecting Delta flight to Atlanta, and then on to Chile. The Joplin-Kansas City flight is $98 round trip, which makes it much cheaper than driving to another major airport. The fare from Kansas City to Santiago was cheaper than other airports near Joplin, making the Fly Joplin trip cheaper. When I was on a shuttle bus between terminals at Kansas City, I saw that airport garage parking is $18/day. The long-term parking at Kansas City is $5.50. Parking for this trip would be over $70, without taking the cost of driving to Kansas City into the equation. According to Mapquest, it is 190 miles from my house to the Kansas City Airport. At the IRS-approved rate for mileage reimbursement, the "cost" of driving round trip is $184.30. I'm happy to fly from Joplin! Rose even got up this morning to drop me off at the airport. The day I arrive back, she will leave me car for me at the Joplin airport (free parking). Thanks, honey! I love you!

Chile Trip.

I will arrive in Santiago Friday morning (about 6:30 in the U.S. Central Time Zone). If you want to call me, dial 011-569-8-975-7136. In March, the family I stayed with had a cell phone that they were no longer using. I bought a SIM card for a Chilean cellular phone company (actually, it's a multinational company based in Europe). Since I bought the SIM card, I returned the loaned phone, and kept the card for use on future trips. I unblocked my U.S. cell phone (I have service with Cingular, or what they now call the New AT&T). Once I get in the air over Atlanta (when you have to turn cell phones off), I will put the Chilean SIM card in my phone. The next morning when I land in Santiago, I will turn on my phone, and it will connect to a Chilean cell phone service. I won't be able to make any calls (on Friday morning I will need purchase pre-paid minutes before I can make any phone calls), but I will be able to receive calls (as incoming calls on free on any Chilean cell phone).

I will speak at a Pastors' Retreat this weekend in Villa Alemana, Chile (located just up the valley from Viña del Mar (see map). I'll return to Santiago Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening, there will be a large group (I suppose) of people from the old San Joaquin church. I'll be staying with long-time pastor friend Alejandro Castro from Sunday night through Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I'll fly to Temuco (see highlighted map), to start a 5-day intensive course in nearby Lautaro. The course will end on Sunday evening. I'll return to Santiago on Monday, leaving Monday night to come home.

Blessings to you all!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Looking for 'Mater on the Old Route 66

After the circus we took off looking for one of Nathan and Eli's favorite characters from the Pixar movie, Cars. The producers of the movie were traveling across Route 66 back in the year 2000. Near Galena, Kansas they found an old International Tow Truck, that became the inspiration for the character 'Mater. It is now located at a newly restored 1930s era service station, with a Route 66/Cars gift shop. We took the boys to see the truck.

A Trip to the Circus with our Grandsons

We went to the Shrine Circus with our grandsons this afternoon. I heard that it was supposed to come to Joplin in January, but was postponed because of our snow/ice storm. A good time was had by all:

25 Years After CES

You may not know what CES is. It stands for Christian Elementary School. It is located in Springfield, Illinois. In August of 1982 (that's 25 years ago), our family was on furlough from our mission work in Chile. We moved into a community on the east side of Springfield, in a home rented for us by the Lakeside Christian Church, one of our supporting churches.

Our daughter, Charissa, started kindergarten there, in Mrs. Bridges' class. Another member of College Heights Christian Church, Delicia Bare (nee Jones) was in her class. Charissa's cousin, Christina, was a 1st grader at CES that year.

Yesterday, Christina and her husband, Jesse (I performed their wedding ceremony), were passing through town. Christina is a school teacher. Jesse's company had worked on a job in California, and they were traveling back home. We got together for a brunch at my Mom's house.

They're all grown up now. Take a look at them (Christina & Charissa, left to right)!

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Scooter Left me Stranded on West 7th St.

My scooter broke down on Wednesday afternoon. I had just bragged on how well it was running, when it quit. I had to call a friend, to whom I had just bragged about it, to come bail me out. We put the scooter on the back of his pickup truck, and he drove me home.

Thursday afternoon I tore into the machine. I changed the spark plug, putting in an Iridium spark plug I bought as a backup last summer. I checked the fuel lines, and tried to start it. It almost started, but dumped some fuel on my garage floor. I found the explanation, a screw at the bottom of the carburetor drain tube fell out. I'll find the means to plug it tomorrow, and that should solve my problem.

I'm not much of a mechanic, but at times I have had a small degree of satisfaction by digging in and finding solutions by myself. I'm still capable of taking a job that any idiot can do in one hour, and figuring out a way to take four or five hours to get it done. But I'm learning.

The Cubs dropped game 3 against the Cardinals, and looked Fortunately, the Reds knocked off the Brewers, so they didn't lose ground. I'm going to break tradition and root for the Cardinals for the next few days.

¡Paz a todos ustedes!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baseball on Oak Ridge Drive

The Cubs are playing in St. Louis right now. I'm thankful for the DVR, as I can watch it at my convenience. About the time the game started, there was a higher priority (hear that, Rose?). We had our grandsons over at the house. Nathan (the 5 year old) handles the bat a little better than Eli (3 years old).

Nathan had a bigger bat than Eli. You can see them both warming up here.

I taught Nathan how to choke up a bit on the bat, which gave him more bat control.

I think I must have pitched at least six innings! We had a great time. I found out that Nathan can run faster than I can, because "little boys can run faster than grown ups!"