Back to China

In less than 3 days, I will board a plane headed back to China. It has not been any time at all since the graduation, and now I am off to another side of our world. Though the setting is familiar, it is a new experience, a new side, and a new job that I return to.

I will be working with college-aged students this time around, helping their language adjustment as they embark on studying abroad in English-speaking countries. It's a far more technical job than I've had in the past, relying on a more nuanced style of teaching. It is also the first time I'll be a teacher in a heavily structured environment of a predetermined curriculum. So, as I was told by a future co-worker of mine, "It's a good job that just lets you work with people."

I'll also be searching for a new, non-blocked blog site in China, so I will be able to update at regular intervals.

Thank you all for your prayers and keeping up with my life. I'll do my best to keep you posted.


Things As Of Late

It has been quite some time since I've updated my blog. Much has happened in the last few months.

As of December the 18th, I am done with my academic career. A journey of six years, transfers, papers, tests, books, reading, writing, and teaching. This culmination gives only a small indication of what this journey is truly like. To put it lightly, it is an ending I've welcomed far before it made itself a reality.

The last few months also allowed me to appreciate my situation in Buena Park. Though my apartment was on the end side of a total of 9 guys living in it over the last 3 years, it is a place that held a deeper significance that just a crappy place to live. I made good friends that will stay with me (in spirit, of course) for the rest of my life.

I was asked by Jenny who my friends were; who the men in my life I considered important and great for my development. I could only really think of a select few, with these two in attendance of that list. I've learned of the importance of friends in life and how deeply that affects the way we live our lives.

For the near future, I'm returning to China. Shortly following my time last summer, I was offered a job from a friend I made while in Shantou, working as a teacher/lecturer for his English teaching company. It's a 6 month commitment, but it gives room for the Lord to act as He would during my time there.

Something that has given me truth was the way I came about going to China. It was not "I'm going, pray that the Lord blesses it." It rather came from God' giving. Asked to come back, I had to think on my time, asking for the next step. I've learned that it is never about what I would want to do, but where I'm being led. I do want to go to China, but it is not my desires or wishes that has led me there. In that, I'm incredibly thankful and look forward to what that future looks like.

I've enrolled in a TESOL course, starting the end of January. This will give me further help in teaching as well as an outlet for future job prospects wherever I may go. As was the last time I was in China, the greatest things I will need is prayer. The Lord will provide all that I need and I hope that you would be willing to join me in bringing all these things before Him. The future is bright and I look forward to seeing how God will work in the lives of myself, the people I meet, and the people who keep me in their prayers.


The Onramp to the Road to China

Today marks the first day of real progress to China. After waiting a good deal at the Consulate General's offices in LA, I am in possession of a Chinese visa, bound for Shantou, Guangdong, China.

My travels this summer have already been great in distance and lessons: from New York City, to Guangdong Province, China and the 20,000 some-odd miles I will travel in my remaining time this season, I look forward to all that God will bring to me.

I was told always end with a sunset, but this desolate clearness was a sight from the bus.


My Summer

For the last three years I have been attending Biola University, majoring in Intercultural Studies. For the final summer at Biola, I have the privilege to go out on a cross-cultural internship that allows me to apply what I have learned in ethnic studies, cultural adjustment, and overseas ministry.

This summer, I will be going to Shantou, China, which is located in the southeastern most province, called Guangdong. In my time there, I will be teaching English in the summer program at a local school of elementary aged children. Shantou is a city that has over 1100 years of history, starting sometime during the Song Dynasty. It is now a prominent port city where over 4.9 million people live and work, making it one of the most densely populated places in China. It is a city made primarily of industry, large with exports and factories that house tens of thousands of workers. Much of the population lives in relative poverty, taking factory jobs and working many hours of the day. This leaves parents on assembly lines and children taking care of their siblings at home. This job will allow me to reach out to the local children at the Rong Chang Hope School, many of which do not have much of a summer outside of the programs offered through the school. I will teach these children English as well as play games and allow them to enjoy their summer.

My internship will start June the 28th and will last until the final week in August. I will be embarking on many firsts this summer: my first time in Asia, my first job overseas, and the first time I will have spent an extended period outside of the US. At Rong Chang Hope School, there is a general openness to Christianity, but a strict adherence to ancient traditions and ancestor placation. It is a hard ground, but the Lord has begun His tilling in China. I will also be living and commuting with the local people, giving me many chances for interaction and cultural experiences.

My budget for my time is a flexible blessing: the company I am to work for has footed the bill for my round trip ticket. What lies ahead is $500-650 left in support to raise, which will pay for food and general expenses while in China. Most of all, I need prayer to support this time. Specifically, I need prayer for:
>the logistics of the trip and travel process
>the visa application process and verification
>Shantou, as foreigners are a rare occurrence in much of the city
>the language barrier and an ability to work around it
>my job in teaching and playing with children and that it would always be to the best of my ability
>the preparation I need for my heart, head, and spirit
>the fun, the experiences, and the relationships that I will make
>living with nationals and learning from their lives
>learning all that I can from my experiences

Thank you so much in advanced for all the support you are giving. "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13). These are His children and, with your support, I will work to show them that in all that I do. It is my honor and excited privilege to work this job in the coming summer and share all that I learn with you.


Something Funny I Thought About...

Welcome to California State's budget meetings...


Culture Give-Ins?

I spoke recently with a friend of mine. He's a brilliant fellow, studying the deep areas of philosophy and religion and focusing in on how the two intersect. It has become more and more apparent to me lately that much theory is taught and learned, yet most people graduate with little to no true understanding of what the message of Christ-in-culture truly is.

As I spoke with my friend, he brought an interesting point up: Christian sub-culture, as it has been deemed, has decided that it, for the most part, is most satisfied with partitioning itself off with its own music, book, and self-help section that all reflect a Christianized version of a secular concept. In my mind, I feel that the Christian sub-culture, itself, has proved to engage very few people, satisfying many with warm feelings of sentiment, Thomas Kinkade-branded theology, and a reactionary stance on nearly everything. In fact, the largest and strongest graduate program at my current university is apologetics.

Why do we react instead of act? Where have the culture makers gone? Where is the Lewis, Chestertons, and Augustines of our time? Why have so many influential Christian authors seen fit to merely preach to the choir and stand in the background? Why have so many students, like myself, seen fit to listen to the cultural backlash against beliefs and not met them head-on?

I am convinced that God works through culture. In my major, that is called contextualization. It is a ministry happening all over the earth, showing with definitive evidence that the gospel is for all and redeems culture. But my question comes down to this: why have we not contextualized a message for the "Christian" nation of America; for the politicians; for those who need to hear it? Why have I not made this effort?



Because beautiful sunrises need beautiful music:

Charlie Parker Sessions

Coleman Hawkins-alto saxophone
Charlie Parker-alto saxophone
Buddy Rich-drums
Ray Brown-bass


"Pennies From Heaven" and a blues tune
Lester Young-tenor saxophone
Bill Harris-trombone
Hank Jones-piano
Ray Brown-bass
Buddy Rich-drums
Harry "Sweets" Edison-trumpet
Flip Philips-tenor saxophone
Ella Fitzgerald-vocals

Praise the LORD
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 150