Tuesday, May 30, 2006

off to china!

I’m going to China for the month of June. SLU is sending me to a faculty seminar in SW China. You can check out my tentative schedule. I’m also able to add 12 days for travel and study on my own after the seiminar. I am working with someone to make contacts and this appears to be bearing fruit. If you are in the old elementary school in Madrid, New York the evening of June 21st I believe you will be able to meet her husband.

Please keep me and my travels in your prayers during month of June.

I’ve made travel plans for this weekend to go, all on my own, to Beijing. It is a bit of a challenge to maneuver and cope in a city I’ve never been to and where the signs do not have any letters that are recognizable to me. I have made reservations on an airline I’ve never heard of (Eastern China) and for a hotel just a few blocks from the Forbidden City.

I was told about a couple of Chinese travel websites, kind of like Expedia or Travelocity. I made my Shanghai-Beijing plane reservations though one and saved about $100. However, within hours I started receiving Chinese spam on my email account. I quickly got a gmail account and put that for my “membership profile” for the Chinese travel sites. The Chinese spam has stopped.

I’ll have my laptop so I should be in contact, but how often I don’t know.

Now, I must go back to running around, being the unprepared preparing for the unpreparable. I leave very early tomorrow morning, Wednesday May 31st, for the Syracuse airport and then about 19 hours of air travel with one stop in Chicago before I'm due to arrive in Shanghai.

Be blessed!
RB

p.s. my slu web pages are back up and running.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

operation walk in the spirit

The Plan:

One night last week I decided that the next morning I would get up and try my best to focus on God’s Spirit all day long in everything I did.

The Objective:

To be lead by God and walk in the Spirit.

The Result:

I overslept by a couple of hours and missed most of the morning before I got to work.

The Conclusion:

Either I failed miserably as a diligent servant of the Lord

Or God is really, I mean really, very cool.

personal pages down

For some reason my web pages on the SLU's server for myslu.stlawu .edu/~blewett/ won't load.
Sorry. I may have to wait until i.t. at slu is open on Tuesday

Friday, May 26, 2006

good news, good memories

The past week I've been emailing with a brother who used to attend CFC. He knew I was going to be in China for the month of June. He mentioned in an email this morning that he and his wife were adopting a baby girl from China and would probably be traveling there in January or February.

That brought back some memories. Very sweet memories.

In January 2004 I visited Hong Kong and Guangdong Province in P.R. China. We toured the city of Guangzhou (formerly called Canton) and stayed at the White Swan Hotel, a really nice hotel overlooking the Pearl River. All Americans adopting in China have to work through the U.S. Consulate just down the street and must stay at the White Swan. As a result the hotel was crowded with these very, very happy couples holding their little Chinese daughters. It was wonderful seeing that and being around it. I even felt very much out of place not having a baby to hold!

Just reading his note this morning brought back those wonderful feelings from the White Swan. I'm very happy for this couple. I'm even happier for their Chinese daughter who will be blessed with great parents.

Be blessed!
RB

another death, another tragedy

A neighbor of mine died on Saturday at home. Suicide. Depression. He was in a very dark place. He left a wife and two sons. Great kids – one just finished his freshman year at college and the youngest is in grade school. Supposedly the youngest one found him in the bathtub, wrists slashed. Please pray for the family.

They live at the end of my street and I walk by their house at least twice a day on my way to work and back. Although we’ve known them since they moved into the neighborhood, we didn’t socialize other than chatting when we met somewhere. My daughter babysat for them a while back. I remember when they adopted the youngest from Russia. Good memories. They are neat people.

I really enjoyed seeing him walk his dog, a long-legged beagle, usually accompanied by his youngest son. I enjoyed it more if we were able to stop and chat. He was a great guy, devoted to his family, cared about people as individuals as well concerned about and involved with his community.

I admire him.

What he did was wrong. Very wrong. He hurt his wife. He hurt his sons. There is absolutely nothing good about what he did. The thing is, he probably thought killing himself was doing the best thing. He was deceived that ultimately people, although they might not realize it, would be better off without him.

Some people will exhort you to do what is right for you and to follow your heart.

What a crock.

If your heart is your compass, then what happens if your compass is out of whack? What if it is wrong? We need an external compass to check our all-too-often faulty and deceptive internal compasses. Following our hearts without outside verification is something we all do too frequently. It is also something very ignorant and quite arrogant. Potentially, this is an all too deadly combination. We think we’re smart. We think we have deeper insights, better understanding, than others. No one else has walked in our shoes so no one can come close to fully appreciating our true perceptions of reality. So why bother trying to explain? We know what we know.

The Word also says the heart is deceptive and it is evil when people do what is right in their own eyes. We need an external compass that is true and stays true.

Depression is deceptive. Depression relies on deception.

I saw her the other day on my way to work. She and the youngest were walking the dogs. I said “I’m sorry.” What else do you say? She was about to start crying and didn’t want to. I didn’t want her to. I quickly commented that the beagle wasn’t so skinny anymore. She laughed, “You mean fat?” “No, she’s buff.” I got out of there.

Most stuff we tell ourselves about ourselves is a bunch of crap. Anyone else would recognize it as such but the easiest person to deceive is yourself. After we feed ourselves enough crap, everything starts to look crappy.

What foolishness.

What evil.

This is going nowhere. I’ll stop.

Final word: You’re full of crap. I’m full of crap. The world would be a better place if we all realized that. The world would be a better place if we all accepted that we are neither very insightful nor very intelligent; self-deception is the rule not the exception. Our internal compasses are junk and we need to check the external compasses provided by others and the Lord.

That may appear to be a rather negative conclusion. It’s not. It’s actually quite freeing.