Archive for June, 2009

Monday, June 29th, 2009

When the cat’s away, the cat will play

The people of Beijing use the extensive grounds of the Temple of Heaven as a park. We came upon a plaza where a hundred or more people were dancing to piped-in music. A lady in a green t-shirt kept motioning to our group, inviting us to join in the fun.

This is about the extent of my dancing ability. I’m looking forward to the REAL temple of the real HEAVEN when no dance lessons are required.

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Friday, June 26th, 2009

A heart for children with disabilities

On one particular day, our path in China crossed with a kind of work that is especially close to my heart. Most of my ministry that isn’t with Bethlehem is with and through Joni and Friends. JAF’s focus is outreach to people with disabilities.

Near Beijing, we visited the Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, operated by the Philip Hayden Foundation. The Village is provides foster care for orphans with disabilities and serious medical conditions.

As it happened, on that day a small team from Joni and Friends was finishing up a short term there, and it was a pleasure to meet James Rene from the JAF headquarters in California.

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The Infamous Beijing Left Turn–LIVE!

In 1995, bicycles were everywhere in Beijing. Now bikes have been replaced with cars. It doesn’t take a physicist to figure out: The roads of 1995 were planned primarily for bikes . . . A car is lots larger than a bike . . . Road building can’t keep up with car purchases . . . Therefore . . .

I’m so glad I don’t have to drive in China. Here are a few scenes from the streets of Beijing, including live footage of a left turn–as viewed from the front seat of a taxi.

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


A few examples of Chinglish I was able to catch with my camera. You can click on any of the photos to see it better.

Not too bad. But what exactly does Cafe de Sofa cause?

Okay, okay. I won’t scratch.

Talenty English — Would you want to learn English here?

As Jo comments, “I’m guessing that they are going to have

trouble establishing their credibility.”

My personal favorite. Don’t you just hanker after that aftertaste?

This is the explanation of a tourist village.

I leave it for you to figure out how much it explains.

(click the photo to get the full story)
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Illustrated Chinese Etiquette Lesson

1. Hanging out with friends works in any culture.

2. There’s always room for one more at the table.

3. If your food glares at you, don’t stare back.

4. Chopsticks: Practice makes perfect — sort of.

5. Chopsticks: If rule number 4 fails,

your spoon is your best friend.

6. Slurping–especially noodles–is encouraged

(don’t tell my children).

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Home and 1st video

Our group arrived home yesterday evening–all healthy and glad to have been in China. Thank you so much for your prayers.

The Lord was good to teach us a lot. You may have wondered if I was only playing, but there were lots of very important and informative conversations. It’s just that it seemed better not to be too specific as we blogged from there.

You can see a bit more if you go to the Desiring God blog and scroll down for the daily reports from China.

And you can continue to get a taste of China by following Jo’s blog. In fact, her most recent post lists the principles of our trip.

Now, I promised you videos, and here’s the first — the amazing noodle puller of Yuci.

If I ever test a recipe for pulled noodles, I’ll let you know. Don’t hold your breath.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Last Day

11:30 pm, Saturday in Beijing

Tomorrow early we leave for Minneapolis. We all are eager to see our families and thank them so much for sending us out for this rich, informative time.

Today was the first day in which we have had no ministry planned. It was a day of soaking up some of Old China. This morning we went to the Great Wall and this evening we strolled through some of the hutongs (lanes) of Old Beijing and had supper at a Hakka Restaurant. Hakkas are one of China’s minority people, living mainly in the Southwest.

Pictures of the day are at:

The wall is indeed great, and a great reminder that our God is much greater–the one who made the men who made the wall and who created the mountains that dwarf the wall.

I hope to be posting some more pictures beginning a couple of days from now, including some videos that I myself can’t wait to see.

(I encourage you to subscribe to Jo’s blog for regular glimpses of life in China: )

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Friday, June 19th, 2009


Friday, 10:55 pm

Thanks for praying about my speaking time last night. There were about 50 students and young career-type people from lots of nations. I told them the story of Gladys Aylward within the context of Hebrews 13’s encouragement toward biography: remember, consider, imitate your leaders who have spoken the word to you — those who have gone before us in the faith.

I thought it was going well until q&a time when one woman asked unsmilingly: “Why did you choose THIS story? Where’s the practical application to my life?” I stammered something, pretty much repeating what I’d already said about us having the same God as Gladys Aylward and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Well, I THINK it was better for others.

I’ve posted more pictures:

Be sure to check out my friend Jo’s blog. After years here, she continues to enjoy and share the oddities of life in China: . Today’s post is about a very-familiar/not-quite-familiar shop sign.

(Sorry you have to copy and paste the links while I’m here. Also, when I get home, I’ll post some cool videos I’ve shot here.)

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


Thursday 3:30 pm

I’m out the door in about 1/2 hour to eat dinner with a group and then speak to a regular gathering of expat 20-somethings. I’ll tell them Gladys Aylward’s story. I expect most of you will read this several hours after I’ve spoken. So pray for God’s continuing shaking of the ones he wants to shake into even greater challenges.

I don’t know if I’ll have time to post again later tonight.

AND I forgot to mention last night that we had Mongolian food for dinner, including sheep’s stomach soup. Not as bad as it sounds.

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Check out the DG Blog

The Desiring God blog is a great way to keep up with the vision aspects of our trip – . (Note: Day 1 for the rest of the group is Day 7 for me, since I came a week early).

This morning we did our first sightseeing before we settled down in the afternoon to some more purposeful activities. I’m sorry, but it’s too late to sort and upload pictures tonight. It’s going on 11:30 pm here, even though it’s only 10:20 am at home in Minneapolis.

Still, if you haven’t seen the pictures that are already posted, you can find them at .

(I can’t make the links work here, so please copy and paste addresses.)

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Beijing Driving Lesson

I’ve been trying to capture in photos the traffic amoeba I find myself part of when I’m riding through Beijing. It’s practically impossible, because something is happening all the way around.

My advice: don’t ever try to drive here. But in case you do, here’s a hilarious, invaluable step-by-step lesson:

(Since I can’t make the links work correctly here, please copy and paste the addresses.)

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Monday, June 15th, 2009

Langfang and Friends

Monday, 6/15, 11:20 pm

Today was a full day and the men who arrived LATE last night held up admirably, as did Joann who met them and got them to their hotel.

One of the highlights of the day was our visit this morning to the town of Langfang, just outside Beijing. There we visited the Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, operated by the Philip Hayden Foundation. As you know, here in China I can’t link to other sites, so please copy and paste to visit their website — . You might also be interested in the report on their work presented by NPR —

Children’s Village is rare, if not unique here — a Christian organization that provides home, love, care, therapy, and education for orphans with special needs, with the prayer that God will place many into adoptive families.

Then we went to visit Jeff and Sarah and their family, friends from Bethlehem who live near the Children’s Village and have been in China several years.

Jeff has a web design business, and one aspect of his work is helping Chinese clients adapt the look of their sites to be appealing to western users.

Sarah is definitely a FULL-time mother to their 8 children, 4 months old up to 12 years. The kids were very cooperative in gathering together for some photos.

The Children’s Village and family photos are at .

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