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!