Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thailand - A Land Of Contrasts

Thailand was a land of many contrasts. The picture below parallels the open sewers of Bangkok with a Karen mountainside tribal garden.

In Bangkok some of the team were nauseated by the smells and even some of the sights. Teeming populations live along these sewers, drying their laundry in the methane filled air. Children swim with crocodiles in the same streams and rivers underneath their homes. In the Karen mountain village hard work and simple living accompany the tranquil setting on the attached photo.

Even though each of these sets of folks live in very different environments they are still bound to the same prison of animal sacrifice, spirit worship and Buddhism. Some work the entire year to pay for the animals required in fear, with no assurance that their efforts are recognized.

The vision team was able to see these prisons, but they could also clearly see the the sanitary, almost invisible prison that we as Americans have allowed ourselves to construct. As the teens lived in the homes of Karen village Christians they could see that what is important is their life in Christ and teaching others how to be free from their prisons. Material things of life have no value.

A completely different set of priorities.

Even two weeks later the teens are still making sense of it all. Somehow Nintendo is less important now.

Monday, June 27, 2005

We're home

Sorry for the delay in this posting. We arrived back in Grand Rapids last Thursday afternoon around 4pm. There were no problems on any of the flights coming back from Thailand. The trip was a wonderful experience and I look forward to sharing more about it on here in the days and weeks to come. Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Back in Bangkok

We are back in Bangkok awaiting our flight out 1am local time on Thursday morning. Our thanks to everyone who has prayed for us during our time here. God has worked in hearts and lives and I don't think we'll be the same for having been here. We took an overnight train last night from Chiangmai to Bangkok. No problems on the train and I think everyone slept well.
We arrive back in Grand Rapids late in the afternoon on the 23rd. Please pray for us as we travel home, particularly the long plane ride from Seoul to Chicago.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Thailand Trip Update

Things continue to go well here in Thailand. We just returned from being in the village for the weekend. We left on Friday afternoon and returned this afternoon (Sunday). Tonight we are headed out to dinner and tomorrow we do the Buddhism package. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us that we would be open to everything God has to teach us while we're here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

We're in Chiang Mai

We arrived early this afternoon in Chiang Mai. We took the overnight train from Bangkok and let's just say that was an adventure. Tonight we went to a traditional Thai dinner. Tomorrow we head to a village for the weekend.
Things continue to go well for us. Please pray for us as we adjust to the heat and that we would have teachable spirits.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

We're in Bangkok

We arrived in Bangkok earlier this morning around 1am local time. We spent the night at a guesthouse and plan to see the sights in Bangkok today. Thanks for your prayers for our team. All is going well.

We're in Korea

We have arrived in Seoul, South Korea. The flight from Chicago was certainly long but uneventful. We are here for about 3 hours and then we fly to Bangkok. Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for us.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Off to Thailand

Well today is the day we leave for Thailand. The trip that has been a year in the making is now hear. Our ride to the airport should be here shortly. Please pray for us as we go. My prayer is that nothing would distract us from what God wants to teach while we're there. I hope to post some updates on either this blog or the trip blog while we're there so keep checking both of them.
Talk to you all later.
Robertson out

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Personality Assessments

Today Pfitz put a link in his blog entry to an online, free personality assessment. It is not the Myers-Briggs test but it is close and quite accurate. I am an ISTJ meaning I am systematic, thoroguh, cautious, serious, applying past experience, logical, analytical and skeptical of new ideas that don't seem to have immediate and practical application. Pretty accurate test for only taking 5 minutes.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Last night Becca and I rented Hotel Rwanda. Needless to say this is a very well done movie and I encourage all of you to view it. The movie recounts a modern genocide that has taken place in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The following is a portion of the story from the movie's website.
Over the course of 100 days, almost one million people were killed in Rwanda.  The streets of the capital city of Kigali ran red with rivers of blood, but no one came to help.  There was no international intervention in Rwanda, no expeditionary forces, no coalition of the willing.  There was no international aid for Rwanda.  Rwanda's Hutu extremists slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors and any moderate Hutus who stood in their way, and the world left them to it. "Ten years on, politicians from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Rwanda to ask for forgiveness from the survivors, and once more the same politicians promise `never again,'" says director Terry George.  "But it's happening yet again in Sudan, or the Congo, or some Godforsaken place where life is worth less than dirt.  Places where men and women like Paul and Tatiana shame us all by their decency and bravery."
This is indeed a very powerful movie and I hope it receives the recognition it deserves. Check it out!


What God Has Joined Together

A professor of Hope College has recently written a book called What God Has Joined Together. This book unfortunately makes a case that Scripture supports homosexual marriage. I have not yet read the book and am not sure if I want to purchase it. Part of me wants to read it so I can learn more about the author's argument. However, another part of me does not want to support the author financially by purchasing this book. We'll have to see.
Here is an excerpt from an editorial review on this book from an
Coauthors Myers (who serves on the board of the National Marriage Project) and Scanzoni (of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus) "take marriage... [and] our Christian faith seriously." Bringing together those two commitments to build a Christian case for gay marriage, they begin by arguing that marriage is good for society: marriage correlates to longevity; boys raised by married parents are less likely to commit crimes; married moms are less prone to depression than single moms and so forth. Why, the authors ask, should these good things be reserved for heterosexuals? They then consider what Scripture has to say about sexual orientation, rehearsing the by now familiar arguments that Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality, and though the Bible does talk occasionally about homosexual sex, it does not deal with "loving committed homosexual relationships." Myers and Scanzoni's tone is calm, respectful and balanced. For example, though they present some of the latest scientific evidence about the causes of sexual orientation (including a chart of "mental rotation scores by sexual orientation"!), they also freely admit that scientific studies on this issue are still in the early stages, and that even conclusive scientific information "cannot... resolve values questions." With its traditional defense of marriage and its progressive embrace of same-sex relationships, this book cannot be pigeonholed, and that in itself is refreshing.
I think we need to be worried as a society with books like this coming out, especially if they receive a lot of popularity. As Christians we know what the Scripture says and at the same time we must respond to books like this, as well as those who struggle with homosexuality, with the same love that God has shown to us.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Hit Me Baby 1 More Time

Well we finally went shopping last night. The disadvantage to moving is that you don't want to have too many groceries in the house because that means you will have to move more. At this point we are moved, however we are leaving for Thailand on the 13th so we don't want to have too much at this point either.
Last night Becca and I watched an interesting show on TV. The show is called H1t me baby one more time. The show is kind of like American Idol though different. Participants on the show are artists and groups who were big back in the 80's. They are invited on to sing one of their songs that made it big and then their version of a popular song right now. One of the groups last night was called A Flock of Seagulls and let me just say it was incredibly wrong when they sang Enrique Iglesias "Hero." I think Becca and I are still in recovery over that one. For all you American Idol fans, this show may tie you over until the next season. It is on at 9pm on NBC on Thursdays.
Robertson out

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ace is the place...

This is the first time I am posting to my blog by email so we'll have to see how this turns out. Last night my in-laws came over along with my sister in law and a friend of theirs. The purposes of the evening were to 1) Install the gas dryer and 2) Plant some flowers and other plants. My mother-in-law is definitely the one with the green thumb in the family so when it comes to flowers and plants, she is in charge. Dad and I took to the task of getting the gas dryer working. The copper pipe was already there so we needed to connect it to the dryer and we're done. Simple, right!
This is where Ace comes into the picture. I made 4 trips to Ace last night. First trip to get cabling and plug adapters. Second trip to get an adapter for the dryer cable. Third trip to get a different adapter. Fourth trip to get the correct adapter and a major appliance extension cord. Let's just say the people at Ace know me well and are very helpful for those of us who are not home improvement experts.
Robertson out