I took off from Seattle about an hour ago, as I’m writing this. We’re directly west of Vancouver now on our flight which is heading W NW. We’ll cross the Pacific south of Alaska coming close to Russia and then turning more SW. We’ll fly over Korea and Japan, and finally over the eastern part before arriving in Hong Kong. It’s supposed to be a 12-hour and 30-minute flight, but the captain said we will have favorable winds, in this case meaning we won’t have a strong headwind like we do sometimes. He said we'd arrive in Hong Kong at around 8:00 which is an hour earlier than scheduled. I’m certainly not complaining about that, as it’s such a long flight.
We had a wonderful time with Ace, Becki Daniel Nathan and Elia, as you can see if you look at the photos I posted. However, I was only home less than 24 hours before Cindy and I left to attend our annual church conference in Canton, Oh, a 2-hour drive from Columbus. The conference lasted for 3 day. My youngest sister, Jean, lives only a few minutes from where the conference is held, so we usually stay with her during that time.
We did have some business to take care of while we were in the States, and some shopping to do to get some things that are not easy to find in Hong Kong. For me that is most of my clothes. My height and size make it difficult to find most clothing items and shoes.
Other than those sorts of things, we had a family reunion, with my sisters, brother-in-laws nephews and nieces and their families. Some came from afar… Oklahoma and Kansas, a 2-day journey from Ohio by car. Regrettably, ot all of could come. One family had sickness, and a couple others could not get off from work. Altogether I guess we had around 35.
The boy genes in my nephews and nieces children must run strong as they were outnumbered by about 12 to 6, Of the 6 girls, most were toddlers. Some of youngest had not ever met. Some had met at my mom’s funeral in 2013. At any rate we all enjoyed the time together, though the time went by so quickly.
We also had a 4-day camping trip to northwest Ohio near Lake Erie. it’s a pretty area with lots of wildlife and marshes.. In the spring and fall it would be especially nice with many migrating birds stopping by on their routes to the north or south, depending on the season.
One of our goals in being in the States this time was to talk to contractors about our plans to build an addition or even a separate living unit on the property we share with Ace and Becki. It would be for our retirement home. We talked to three different contractors, and with the variety of possibilities that they shared, we were able to get a better idea of what we might want. We are still not totally what we should do or whose we should contract to build, but at least we are closer to that. The good news is that with our lot, there are different options that would work.
Cindy will return to Hong Kong next Thursday. For me it’s back to work with some busy days ahead in getting RiverGrace registered, moved, set up, and equipped with the things we’ll need as we move to United Christian College by October.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Blessings on your week. Dave
For the photos of our trip to the US click on "Photos" above on the menu or go to my FB account
https://www.facebook.com/dave.aufrance/media_set?set=a.10159037320300099.1073741859.753795098&type=3 and https://www.facebook.com/dave.aufrance/media_set?set=a.10159061715110099.1073741860.753795098&type=3
Into the Story
Science fiction novelist Kurt Vonnegut once said of one of his most recurrent characters, “Trout was the only character I ever created who had enough imagination to suspect that he might be the creation of another human being. He had spoken of this possibility several times to his parakeet. He had said, for instance, ‘Honest to God, Bill, the way things are going, all I can think of is that I’m a character in a book by somebody who wants to write about somebody who suffers all the time.”(1) In this scene from the book Breakfast of Champions, Kilgore Trout’s haunting suspicion is unveiled before him. Sitting content at a bar, Kilgore is suddenly overwhelmed by someone or something that has entered the room. Beginning to sweat, he becomes uncomfortably aware of a presence disturbingly greater than himself.
The author himself, Kurt Vonnegut, has stepped beyond the role of narrator and into the book itself, and the effect is as bizarre for Kilgore as it is for the readers. When the author of the book steps into the novel, fiction is lost within a new reality. Kilgore senses the world as he knows it collapsing. In fact, this was the author’s intent. Vonnegut has placed himself in Kilgore’s world for no other reason than to explain the meaninglessness of Kilgore’s life. He came to explain to Kilgore face to face that the very tiresome life he has led was, in fact, all due to the pen and whims of an author who made it all up for his own sake. In this twisted ending, no doubt illustrative of Vonnegut’s own humanism, Kilgore is forced to conclude that apart from the imagination of the author he does not actually exist. Ironically, he also must come to terms with the fact that it is because of the author that his very existence has been ridiculous.
The testifying voices of the gospel tell a story that is perhaps as fantastic as Vonnegut’s tale, though one with consequences in stark contrast. The Gospel of John, too, begins with a story that is interrupted by the presence of the author: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and that life was the light of all people… And the word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth… From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”(2) The word became one of us and moved into the neighborhood. But in this story, the presence of the author is not our demise but our inherent good.
Working in a ministry in the city many years ago, I saw a small glimpse of the strange effects of being present—an incomparable cry to the Incarnation itself, but a lesson in the sacredness of place nonetheless. During the first year, I lived in an apartment just outside the city. But during the second year I was able to move into the neighborhood where many of the children involved in our ministry lived. The difference was profound. Teenagers that previously had held me at arms length came closer. Kids continually came to my door to ask if I could play. We occupied the same space, and it was not unusual for them to mention it. One girl told me that she knew I was real because I stayed around after dark. I was now interested in her life in a way we could physically grasp: a hand to clasp on the way home, a next-door neighbor to sit with on the porch, a heart that knew both the joys and fears of the city. Stepping into the neighborhood changed my experience entirely.
How much more the author of grace and mystery stepped into our world to change our lives. John relays as an eyewitness that Jesus Christ, the Word in flesh, joined the story in body and blood. Eternity stepped into time and brought with it grace and truth. The artist moved into his artwork, declaring it good all over again, making it new, ushering in the presence of redemption, proclaiming again the meaning of life. It is a story that turns the mind inside out with questions of existence and reality. But in intense contrast to Kilgore’s conclusions of purposelessness, we are strangely called to be a greater part of the storyline.
In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought perhaps it involved a magician. And this pointed a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has a purpose; and if there is a purpose, there is a person.”(3) The vicarious humanity of the Son of God is the nearness of a storyteller who hopes we might know him, and grasp that we are known. His presence is our very overwhelming good.
~Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
(1) Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions (New York: Random House, 2006), 246.
(2) John 1:1-15.
(3) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: John Lane Company, 1909), 110.
@A Slice of Infinity - go to http://www.rzim.org/slice/ to subscribe
A Scotsman, planning a trip to the Holy Land, was aghast when he found it would cost one hundred dollars an hour to rent a boat on the Sea of Galilee.
"Hoot mon," he said, "in Scotland it wouldna ha been more than $20."
"That might be true," said the travel agent, "but you have to take into account that the Sea of Galilee is water on which our Lord Himself walked."
"Well, at $100 an hour for a boat," said the Scotsman, "it's no wonder He walked."
@Doc's Daily Chuckles - go here email@example.com to subscribe
* A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops.My desk is my work station ...
* I believe five out of four people have trouble with fractions.
* If quitters never win, and winners never quit, what genius came up with, "Quit while you're ahead"?
* Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?
* What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
* Employment application blanks always ask who is to be notified in case of an emergency. I think you should write . . . A Very Good Doctor.
@Cybersalt Digest - Click here to subscribe: http://www.cybersalt.org/
It was the beginning of term at a primary school in Brooklyn. The teacher asked the children their names one at a time, and for each to spell their name out loud.
When she came to a young Pakistani boy and asked his name, he replied, "Ravashanka Vankatarataam Bannerjee."
"How do you spell that?" asked the teacher.
"My mother helps me," said the little boy.
@Sent by Tommy Wilkerson
Excerpts from actual letters sent to landlords...
1. "The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is cleared."
2. "I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfired and burnt my knob off."
3. "This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door."
4. "I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall."
5. "I request your permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen."
6. "Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces."
7. "Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk. Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant."
8. "Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny color and not fit to drink."
9. "Would you please send a man to repair my downspout. I am an old page pensioner and need it straight away.”
TOP TEN WAYS YOU KNOW YOU HAVE JOINED THE WRONG CHURCH
10. The church bus has gun racks.
9. The church staff consists of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Sociopastor.
8. The Bible they use is the "Dr. Seuss Version."
7. There's an ATM in the lobby.
6. Choir wears leather robes.
5. Worship services are B.Y.O.S. "Bring Your Own Snake."
4. No cover charge, but communion is a twodrink minimum.
3. Pastor regularly attends meeting at Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
2. Ushers ask, "Smoking or Nonsmoking?"
1. The Women's Quartet are all married to the pastor.