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I use different blogs for different chapters of my life. My newest is called Live on Purpose. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lou Jin - Fasting

This is a conversation I had with our Chinese friend Milissa. Let me know what you think. Give me some constructive criticism. What do you think about her responses?  

Milissa - Fasting 12.7.11 10:00 AM 
Stan: Hey... Did I ever tell you about 'fasting'?
Milissa: Not yet ~~ tell me :)
Stan: QQ? *1
Milissa: Yeah!
Stan: hi
Milissa: hi
Stan: ok... 'fasting'
Milissa: yey~
Stan: do you know what the word means?
Milissa: fasting ...
Milissa: i think so ;)
Stan: tell me about it
Milissa: so what's the fasting ?
Stan: it's something from the bible... so is it ok for me to use a story to explain it?
Milissa: of course
Stan: k... just a sec while i find it
Milissa: haha~ ok
Stan: ok...
Milissa: :)
Stan: i'm just gonna tell you the story in my own words, cause I think the story has too many other things in it that are difficult to understand
Stan: ce yi ma? *2
Milissa: ke yi !
Stan: ha ha... sorry
Stan: so there was this lady...
Stan: she lived in a town with no indoor plumbing
Stan: if she was thirsty, she had to get her bucket and walk to the well that was just outside of town
Stan: do you know 'well'?
Milissa: yep
Milissa: go on
Stan: ok... so the only place to get water was in a hole in the ground and the only way to get there was to walk
Milissa: en *3
Stan: she couldn't take a taxi or a bus, cause... well, there were none
Milissa: haha~ ok
Stan: they had not been invented yet
Stan: right?
Milissa: agree
Stan: hao *4
Milissa: :)
Stan: so...
Stan: oh one more thing about her living conditions
Stan: it was really hot where she lived
Milissa: ok
Stan: and she was going to get water in the hottest part of the day
Stan: got it?
Milissa: yes sir
Stan: : )
Stan: so... she went out to get some water one day and she met a man at the well
Stan: the man was Jesus but she did not know it
Milissa: oh~ really '
Stan: she had heard of a man named Jesus and she had heard lots of amazing things that he had been doing
Stan: but she had never seen him before, so she didn't know who he was
Stan: got it?
Milissa: y *5
Stan: so... she walks up to the well and he asks her for some water
Milissa: ok..
Stan: that's where the conversation starts
Stan: and they talk for a while and their conversation gets deeper and deeper
Milissa: o....k....
Milissa: so...
Stan: she keeps talking to him and she realizes that He knows her
Milissa: en
Stan: they have never met, but Jesus tells her things about her life that nobody else knows
Stan: she starts to wonder if he is the man called Jesus, but she doesn't ask him
Stan: Jesus tells her that there are exciting times coming soon for people who believe in God
Milissa: yey
Stan: she leaves her bucket at the well and goes back down to the town to ask anyone if the man that she just met is the man that they call Jesus
Stan: she tells the people in the town that this man told her things about herself that no one could know
Milissa: ok
Stan: the people that hear her talking can see that she is so excited about meeting him
Stan: and they want to meet him too
Stan: so they start walking out of the town, to the well
Stan: other people in the town see the unusual number of people walking and come out to see what is happening
Milissa: en..
Stan: by the time the people get to the well to see if this man is Jesus, it is the whole town
Stan: like the first lady, most of the people in the town had heard something about a man named Jesus and how he could do amazing things, but they had never met him
Stan: got it?
Milissa: yeah!!
Stan: fasting takes many forms to different people
Stan: it is always a decision to do without something that you want or enjoy for a period of time
Stan: in the bible there are instances where people are fasting and it means they have made the decision to not eat any food for a period of time
Stan: i think always in the bible if the word 'fasting' is used it is about a decision to not eat for a period of time
Stan: got it?
Milissa: ok..
Milissa: so you gonna fasting today
Stan: ok... now I’m gonna ask you something...
Milissa: go
Stan: why do you think i use that story to explain fasting?
Milissa: for remember the day they saw Jesus?
Stan: oh... good answer
Milissa: right answer?
Stan: that was not my answer, but it will help me today
Milissa: what's your answer?
Stan: it is a right answer, but it is not the direction i was thinking
Stan: the reason i used this story to tell you about fasting concerns the mindset of the woman
Milissa: oh~~yes
Stan: when i read the story for myself it seems to me that the woman does something really cool
Stan: she went to the well b/c she was thirsty right
Milissa: right
Stan: and she gave Jesus a drink cause he asked her... right?
Milissa: right
Stan: but then they started talking and talking
Stan: and talking
Milissa: haha~
Stan: and then what happened?
Milissa: they became friends
Stan: yeah and she left her bucket and went back to the town
Stan: it never says in the story that she got a drink for herself
Milissa: haha~
Stan: it seems to me that she forgot she was thirsty
Milissa: oh~ haha
Stan: it seems to me that Jesus is the kind of man that can make people so excited about God that they can forget the most important thing they need to live
Milissa: you read carefully
Stan: there was no market she could go to when she got back in the town
Stan: there was no extra water for her to stop along the way
Milissa: good point
Stan: she went to get water cause it was really hot and she was really thirsty, but she found Jesus instead
Milissa: yeah!
Stan: amazing!
Milissa: yeah~ amazing
Stan: think of a time when you were really thirsty
Stan: what would it take to make you completely forget??
Stan: i don't know what it would take for me
Milissa: but if i can talk to the man liked God, i think i will too excited to forget anything
Stan: this woman did not make the decision to 'fast' like people in other stories in the bible, but the mindset is what is important to me
Milissa: when the really amazing big things happen , you will be shocked right
Stan: people in the bible will fast for many different reasons
Milissa: for example ..
Stan: for example...
Stan: if someone needs to make a big decision about something in their life sometimes they will fast
Stan: there is a story about Jesus fasting for 40 days!
Stan: 40 days with no food
Milissa: wow~
Milissa: unbelievable
Milissa: still alive >
Milissa: ?
Stan: I know... it is hard for me to go 40 minutes
Milissa: haha ~ na
Stan: yeah... hungry, but still alive
Milissa: but i still confuse the why ppl did that
Milissa: God allow us to hurt ourself >
Milissa: ?
Stan: en...
Stan: 'hurt' is an interesting word
Milissa: as far as i know God ,to be sons or daughters of God ,we should to be good ,love each other course we are bro and sis , and love ourself ..
Stan: do you think the woman at the well was hurting?
Milissa: no...but the "fasting"
Milissa: what do you think?
Stan: i think it doesn't hurt to skip a meal
Milissa: that's ok , i have no breakfast for almost 4 years
Milissa: haha~
Stan: HA HA
Stan: how are you so funny : )
Milissa: thanks ~
Stan: that's an interesting example you use
Stan: do you know the origin of the word... "breakfast"
Milissa: so ..what you do the fasting for?
Milissa: no...you dont teach me yet ...teacher Stan
Stan: ha ha... break fast
Milissa: oh~~yes! huh
Stan: you eat at dinner, then you have the longest period of time before the next meal...
Milissa: cool~ good explain
Stan: but, the meaning of 'fast' in 'breakfast' is not about
God... just a word created to explain the first meal time.
Milissa: hey~ what's the "lunch" mean?
Stan: ha ha... idk about lunch
Milissa: i'll tell you when you in China :)
Stan: so... back to your question, "so ..what you do the fasting for?"
Milissa: yay~~
Stan: for me, today, i want to be more like the woman who met Jesus
Stan: I don't know what she was thinking exactly, but it seems to me that she realized that God was more important than the things (water) that seem to be the MOST important for living
Milissa: yes!!
Stan: but also...
Stan: when I asked you... "why do you think i use that story to explain fasting?" you said, "for remember the day they saw Jesus?"
Milissa: yey~
Milissa: so you did for this reason too ?
Stan: I haven't thought about the reason you said... but I will today
Milissa: haha ~ thanks :)
Milissa: i'm happy it seems i helped !  :)
Stan: ha ha... no no no. Thank you, you helped me understand what I was trying to help you understand
Milissa: i'll take it ~ btw i have been study Bible and try to know God for more than a month
Stan: any luck?
Milissa: yep~ i told you
Milissa: what are you doing now? had break fast ?
Stan: nope... no food for me today, anytime I get hongry today i'm gonna think about how exciting it would be to meet Jesus
Milissa: oh~ you mean whole day ?!
Stan: yep : )
Stan: do you think I can make it?
(DATE) 11:38:52
Milissa: i thought you gonna fasting for one meal when you said you will do it today
Stan: it seemed easy for the woman to get excited, I want to be like her
Milissa: yeah!! you can made it!
Milissa: maybe you will see God today !!
Stan: maybe... I will let you know
Milissa: en~thanks
Milissa: family :)
Stan: thanks for talking to me
Milissa: thank YA for talking to me
Milissa: hey~ will Julihua does the "fasting "?
Stan: sometimes... not today
Stan: sometimes I will tell her that I am going to and she will do it too
Stan: but she does it for herself some too
Milissa: ok~ :)
12.7.11 11:55:11 am

12.7.11 8:24 pm
Milissa: How you feel the fasting now ?
Stan: Fasting is not too hard with the right motivation
Milissa: Good job ! Stan :)
Stan: For me... It's not about not eating, it's more about realizing that God is in control of my life and nothing is more important.
Milissa: But I'm just a little worried about you ... I was thinking last day if I did the fasting maybe it's hard for me ...
Stan: It is something that is easy for me to forget. Fasting really helps me remember.
Maybe I can try next time w/ ya :)
Milissa: Yeah! I can understand !
Stan: Yeah... But there are no rules... You can fast for a day or a meal or a week. No rules
Milissa: Really ? For what ?
Stan: Just do it for the right reasons
Milissa: Ok! :)
Milissa: I mean what the fasting make you remember something that you forget ?
Stan: Oh... Sometimes I forget that God is in control of my life. And when I forget I try to do it myself.
Milissa: Yeah! :)
Stan: But my life is never as good when I try to do what's best for me as it is when I try to do what God wants me to do
Milissa: I think so :)

*1 'QQ' is a program similliar to Skype or any instant messaging program.
*2 'ce yi ma' is a miss spelling of the chinese phrase 'ke yi ma?' It means 'Is that ok?' 'ke yi' means 'okay'
*3 'En' is the chinese phonetic spelling of a nonverbal communication that is equivalent to an understanding head nod
*4 'Hao' means 'ok, good'
*5 'y' abbreviation of 'yes'... I think :) 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Any Comments? part 2/2

"As in water, face reflects face, so a man's heart reveals the man."
Through trial and error we have discovered that being a follower of God in China is not much different than being a follower of Him anywhere else in the world. When you care about people they tend to care about you. And when they see what your heart is reflecting, the Good News begins to not sound so scary or stupid. When that happens friendships that would have been content to stay shallow can quickly deepen.

"Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him, But if not, it will return to you." 

There is a concept about making friendships called finding a Person of Peace (P.o.P.) The idea being that this person is someone who, firstly is open and interested in meaningful conversation and secondly, is interested enough to tell others. One of my good friends and mentor would describe a P.o.P as a person who, after hearing some Good News, couldn't help but tell their friends.

In part one I failed to mention that this was actually the second letter I have written, bragging on the folks at this store. From the 'contact us' section at the condiments table I had picked up a business card. The sign in front of it read, "Have any comments or suggestions? Email me (the district manager)" This is what I wrote...

"Hi Lucy,
We have met. My name is Stan. Me and my wife and friends absolutely love coming to your Starbucks! We feel we have made some really good friends with every staff member that we have met at your store. In fact some of our closest Chinese friends are members of your staff! We have also made friends with other customers in your store. The environment and atmosphere in your Starbucks is so friendly! Being Americans, we initially started coming to Starbucks because it was a place that felt like home. But honestly, now that we have met such wonderful people in your store... once we go back to America, we will go to Starbucks just to feel like we are in China again. Keep up the good work! Blessings. -Stan

P.s. Two suggestions... WiFi and coffee mugs with 'Hangzhou' on them."

Nothing too special, more of just a quick 'thank you.' The funny part is Lucy's English isn't that great and Milissa ended up having to translate it for her. So Milissa (the store manager) had to brag on herself and her store to her boss.

Relationships... "Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some have entertained Angels unknowingly." As a believer in the Book that contains these words I am commanded to be obedient. Commanded to be friendly??? What an easy task. Due to this 'command' I am almost always taken back, honored, and amazed at the friendships that ensue. Looking for friendships from strangers seems to be a little counterintuitive. I think the natural mentality clings more to "your friends are where you feel comfortable and strangers are... well strangers." Obviously, there is a degree of privacy and security that most folks naturally feel when interacting with strangers. But, who thinks as they go out for the day that the stranger they may meet today will develop into life long friendships tomorrow?

In China it is easy to be friendly, but due to cultural and language differences, it is difficult to develop friendships with depth. Like in any culture, having someone you consider a good friend takes time and nourishment. The friendships that have developed with the staff at Starbucks has really been great! After eight months we are beginning to reach a point where conversations about important things are natural. (Want an excellent example of a conversation about 'important things' read Juliane's latest blog, 'Vera'
) Those two emails took me less than an hour to write, but the friendships continue to grow. And that's the best part of the story... Friendships!

If you pray and have got a minute pray that we can help our friends discover God. Pray for the P.o.P. at Starbucks... whomever that may be. Pray for us to have wisdom. Pray for Stan in China. Blessings. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Any Comments? part 1/2

We have been making some of our closest friends at the Starbucks near our apartment. About a month ago at the bottom of my receipt was an opportunity to take a survey and get a free coffee as a result. I took the survey. At the end of the survey there was a ‘Comments’ section. Because it was an online survey I thought that my ‘comment’ might make it to some office of Corporate Starbucks in the States. This is what I wrote...

“THIS Starbucks is absolutely amazing! I am a teacher in China. I have been to probably 20 different Starbucks in China and this one is, by far, the best. I didn't go to Starbucks very often when I lived in America. When I came to China I wanted a place to go that felt like 'home'. Starbucks was that place. I returned to the States for the summer and found myself going to Starbucks because it helped me feel like I was back in my China home. Now that I am back in China I go to Starbucks for a different reason. It's not because of the location, it's not because of the size or 'niceness' of the store itself, it is the staff. They are so friendly. This Starbucks does not have Internet. To me, Internet goes with coffee better than classic sugar. Your Chinese coffee competitors have just as good of a product, usually at a cheaper price and closer to my home, but I go there because of the people. The Chinese staff all have English names. They all know me and my wife and friend by name and I know all of them by name too. I even know some of their Chinese names. I'm not sure if this will actually be read, but I hope it doesn't go unheard. The store manager's name is Lou Jin. I don't know how much voice she has, being Chinese. She's got some great ideas that someone needs to hear. For example... I know that you strive to keep all stores looking the same, but she has told me that in China, Starbucks' color schemes can translate to funeral or death colors. Chinese Starbucks would benefit from someone listening to her. I'm so glad to take the survey and brag on this store. I am a friendly person. The friendships I've made with the staff at this store are the best that I've made in my two years in China. After this term I am moving back to the States to go to Grad School. I am dreading the day I have to tell them bye, because I know that I will probably never seem them again. It will be a sad day. Thanks for giving me a receipt with a code on it so I can have a voice. If you'd like to contact me my email is...Thanks again. Blessings. –Stan"

I found out a week and a half later that everyone in that store got some kind of a prize or bonus. So, that was cool. THEN... Two nights ago... about a month after my comments on the survey... one of our closest friends and store manager, Lou Jin (pronounced Low Jean... aka Milissa… it's like Melissa, but better :) met us downtown for dinner and she told me this. “As a store manager I have to go to Shanghai for workshops and meetings. I was in the elevator going up to one of these meetings last week and someone got in the elevator with me. It was my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss... The BIG BOSS. He recognized me and knew what store I was from. He said, ‘Hi’ and the next thing he said was, ‘Has Stan gone back to America yet?’”

I’m not sure if my comments made it to a reader’s eyes in Corporate Starbucks in the States, but I know that Chinese Corporate read it. Apparently, everybody has read it. We were in another part of Hangzhou yesterday and... Well, wait, you need to know something about our city, Hangzhou (pronounced Hong Joe). It is a big place! There are around 7 million folks here. This ‘other part’ of ‘Hong Joe’ is a district pronounced ‘Bing Jung.’ It is about 2 hours bus ride from our district ‘Sha Sha.’ But if you want to take a taxi, you can get there in about an hour and to the tune of 15 dollars (the bus cost about 80 cents). So, this ‘other part of town’ we were in was no hop-skip and a jump away. We have been to ‘Bing Jung’ one time before and made a couple of friends at that Starbucks too. So, I walk in to the ‘Bing Jung’ Starbucks yesterday morning and say hello to my friend Mia. The first thing she says to me... “Hi, I read your email.”

“And we know that for those who love God all thing work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Stay tuned for part two... it’s even better! Blessings. –Stan

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My 'No Boat'

There are things that we remember that were our firsts'. My first bike, my first girlfriend, my first house... all things that I don't think about often, but can recall in the blink of an eye. My grand dad is going through some new firsts of his own. This is the first time that he will be experiencing things for the last time. What a concept... Have you ever thought what the last things you will do would be? What your last meal would be? What would be the last joke you hear? Who would the last person you set your eyes on before they close for the last time? What would be your last thought? Is this pleasant to think about? What if you didn't have the opportunity to realize your last lasts? Does it scare you to think about your last... everything?

The evolution of my dad's dad's name: Growing up I had a lot of 'Papas.' I had a Papa in Colorado, a Papa in Tennessee, a Papa Bear, and a 'Papa with the boat'. My dad's dad had two boats so as you might guess... 'Papa with the boat' was the name we gave him. As the years passed he sold off his boats. A couple of years ago we realized that his name no longer fit him. So we started calling him 'Papa No Boat.' We have dropped the 'Papa' and we lovingly call him 'No Boat.'

I'm here in Arizona, visiting 'No Boat' for the last time. This weekend is the last time I will have the opportunity to see his smiling face, to touch his warm skin, to sit by him on the bed as he struggles for every breath. Is it sad? Of course it is, when does death ever feel right? It always comes too soon and "just a little more time" is never enough. To deny that I want him to recover and continue to be my "Papa No Boat" would be a lie.

Having this last opportunity to be with him is such a blessing. To be able to reminisce about the past, to see him smile, to hear him say the words, "I'm really glad you are here", to see humor fight its way through all his sickness and fill the entire room with laughter, to see that classic "Papa No Boat" wink that says everything without using a word, is a 'last' for me that is of the most valuable experiences of my life.

I'm so thankful for the life and love of my Papa. He has and will always be one of the biggest influences in the life of my dad, my brother, and myself. He has sculpted us into the men we have become. His failures have been for the benefit of the McCorkle clan. His success continues to provide us with wisdom. Without him ever having to say so, we know that we have made him proud.

So this is where I am... How do I say what I want to say when I know it is the last time I will have the chance to say it? How do I wrap up an entire lifetime of experiences into words of thanks, with only a couple of hours of visiting time? Is it possible to express in words... maybe not. I'm glad to have this last time. If you feel like praying, pray for my dad. Pray for closure for the family. Pray that the time that my Papa has left will be painless. Pray that, with the time he has left, he will be able to communicate what he wants to say. Give thanks to the Father for 'last experiences.' Blessings. -Stan

P.S. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Call someone you love just to say, Hi.

Sent from my iPhone

Location:Tucson, AZ

Monday, March 14, 2011

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."

This is gonna be my class next week... 

Title: Subtle Acts of Respect

Subtle... What does it mean? 

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels unknowingly." What does it mean? 

"If you've ever seen me outside of class... and sometimes even in the classroom, you'll know that I usually wear a hat. I like my blue hat. It serves many purposes for me. One of the main reasons I wear it is so that I can be recognized as "That guy that wears a blue hat." I don't need recognition, but being unique as a foreigner sometimes aids in making friends. You may also know that I like to entertain people. Sometimes, my hat becomes a toy. I like to balance it on my finger to see how long I can do it. If I notice someone watching, many times I will try to get them to try it. It's a fun icebreaker between a stranger and me. :) 
Though I almost always have my hat on, you will almost never see me wearing my hat while I'm eating. In America taking your hat off is a sign of respect. Wearing a hat is not necessarily a sign of disrespect. There are circumstances where not taking your hat off on purpose could be interpreted as disrespectful. There are times when you could be wearing a hat and someone thinks you are being disrespectful even when you are not. Sound complicated? On top of that, at times there are different hat wearing rules for men and women. It is important for me that other people know that I value them whether I know them or not. Being respectful to other people and showing them that I am a nice person is a big part of me as a person. My parents and grandparents taught me that if I am at the dinner table I should take my hat off. 
Every country has it's own set of subtle signs of respect. In America taking off your hat is one of those things. I have never been a person that is disrespectful on purpose. In fact, if I am aware of a respectful way to do something I will always try to do it that way. One thing I have learned about Chinese culture is that when I want to pay for something, it is more respectful to hand the money with both hands. I don't understand why. In America there is not certain way that more or less respectful way to pay for something.
There are so many ways to show subtle acts of respect. It is good to understand these subtle acts, but I don't have to understand them to do them. I am sure there are things that I do in China that could be done better or differently to show respect. What is something that you do to show respect to others? What is something foreigners should know about subtle acts of respect in Chinese culture? "
Want to help? This is a class I am working on for next week. You all live on purpose in so many ways. Our goal is to talk about things that we do on purpose because we are who we are. When they see us in action, living on purpose opportunities open up for conversations. This is class number one. Do you have ideas/examples for this class? Can you think of a passage that might go well with this class? Do you have an idea for class number two? After being here for almost 2 years there are things that we've forgotten about living on purpose in the States. You don't have to type up a word for word class, but if you have and example or an idea that you think we could expand into a class, shoot me a quick email or just a comment on this blog. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Blessings. -Stan

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can you answer this???

‎"Ohhh... I wish I could Skype with Jesus"... Quote from my friend Pan Pan :)  She also said... "I wish there was a video of the Bible so we could see what He was talking about." lol Pan Pan is so great and encouraging. We were discussing Gen. 6.4 "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, & also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them..." and Job 1.6 "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD and Satan also came among them." Pan Pan wants to know "I thought Jesus was the only son of God, who are these other sons?" What would your answer be?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The First & Last Bite

They say that you really only appreciate the first and last bite of your food. They say that after that first bite you kinda go on autopilot till you realize you've only got a bite left. I don't know who 'they' is and maybe 'they' don't know everyone 'they' talk about, but in this case 'they' seem to know me. If ‘they’ are right, and our aim is to enjoy our food, wouldn’t smaller portions, more often be the best way to eat? Furthermore... what if we only ate two bites per meal? It seems the optimal enjoyment would be to only have a first and last bite. You didn't come here to read about eating habits.

I have never been one to be shy or had a hard time making friends. When it comes to being in a new place I get excited to try out new methods of friend making that I have learned from the previous place and experiences. During our winter break we (Kevin, Juliane and myself) spent almost a full month in one city in Vietnam. While we were there we purposefully visited some of the same places... the same convenient stores, the same places to eat lunch and dinner. By doing this we had opportunities to consistently and purposefully talk to the same people. Though they were working and we were customers, they enjoyed our company and we began to stand out as different. We really enjoyed spending time with these people and made some surprisingly close relationships. Even relationships that quickly evolved into time spent outside of their place of employment. (Want to know more about our Vietnam Adventure? Read Juliane's Blog here and Kevin's blog here) The problem with relationships of this nature is we left them in Vietnam. We may never see these people again ever. Sure we may still be able to email from time to time, but 'out of sight out of mind' tends to creep its way in when distance is involved.

We have spent the last couple of days 'retreating' with two people whom we hold very dear to our hearts. From the very beginning of the process of coming to China they have been mentors for us. Without us asking, they have gone out of their way to be a part of our lives. They are John King and Mark Hooper (want to know more about John King click here for Mark Hooper click here). One thing that was discussed while they were here was the idea of being more temporary.

Be temporary... Isn't leaving 'home' and coming to China being temporary? What could be more temporary than that? This is something that I've not really considered. The more I think about this concept the more it makes sense to me. Being gone from 'home' for a year and a half now, He has taught me how to live on purpose on a new level. With this talent that He has developed in me comes new responsibilities. How can a relationship continue to develop with an 'out of sight out of mind' mentality? Did I miss an opportunity in our one month in Vietnam to say the magical words that would get them hooked on the Good news? Are there even magical words to say? If there were, would they not be revealed to us? Isn't it quite 'Bookical' for those traveling abroad to retrace their steps to aid in further understanding?

I've always felt that having a China adventure or an 'anywhere' adventure would be something where you find a place and try to settle into it as quickly and smoothly as possible. Most folks you read about didn't do that. Didn't they continue from place to place in search of those who were searching? Being long-term and temporary used to seem like contradictory ideas. They make more sense to me now than ever before. What are your thoughts? Think about the methods of men of the Book. Did they settle down? How long did they stay in one place? How often did they return? You can't help feeling at home somewhere any more than you can help being born. Are you aware of how temporary you actually are? Do examples from the Book suggest getting off auto-pilot, focusing on smaller portions of people and more often, as the best way to reach out? How can you make your interactions more ‘first and last bite’ and less mindless filler? Blessings.