Hey all…remember to pray for Deneise (sp?). Cyndi and I had to get new tires on the car today and while we were waiting for the car to get done, we went to the mall. While at the mall, we went to the calendar store. While there, the lady working struck up a conversation. Well, eventually, she mentioned God, etc… so I took the opportunity to start witnessing to her. We just got going in the conversation when she had to turn her attention to a customer (there was no one else in the store when she started talking) who had walked in. Afterwards, we never did get to return, but I gave her a tract before we left.

She appeared to be seeking something….Remember her in your prayers and ask God to reveal Himself to her.

Cell Phone Service

As I mentioned before, Cyndi and I got a new cell phone plan and phones a couple of weeks ago. This past weekend, we went to my grandparents. Then, we went into the boonies way farther than that….no running water. We have to use an outhouse. It barely has electricity. This place is remote. Well, guess what worked? Yep…my cell phone. For anyone who knows how to do it, here is a picture of the info screen from my phone. I'd like to know whose tower I was using.




Ok…who knows what a ramp is? No, not that kind of ramp. The kind you eat. They are awesome!

I figured as much. Well, I was just watching Iron Chief America and Mario just used ramps!

Don’t know what they are? Follow these links to learn more:

Ramp Fests Add Flavor, Stench, to Appalachian Spring
It’s the Ramp you love to eat and keep coming back for more!
Crafting Locality
Cultivating Ramps: Wild Leeks of Appalachia

[Updated 2011-01-11 15:34:14] To add a picture and link from this new article.

Image from h-bomb via flickr

Books vs Internet

In general, I think I tend to read a lot. I read things on the Internet along with books and traditional sources of information (magazines, newspapers, etc…). Recently, I had someone ask the following question:

I was wondering if you had any predominant reason why you read so many Internet articles vs. books. I was simply interested in your thought process because I assumed that mine was different and was interested in what yours might be:

As a general rule, I do not read articles of any kind (except for the ones you send me, because I typically find them interesting!) (this extends from newspapers all the way to the Internet), except for journals of theology. I figure that I have very limited time to read – if I am to read anything, it will be books on God, theology, or the Bible – books that have stood the test of time, classics, or books by the greatest scholars of today.

When it comes to books, I generally agree. I want the books I buy to be good solid books that either have or will withstood the test of time. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't. Here was my response: 

Basically, I relate reading articles and blogs online to watching the news and keeping up with current events. I would say I have 3 main reasons for reading stuff on the internet:

1)Current events/blogs — I'll skim TONS of these 2-4 times/week. I may spend 5 min at it…I may spend 30 min at it. It just keeps me up to date with lots of different topics.
2)Research — I have something specific I'm looking for or want to learn more about. In this case, I can read lots of things on the internet, get many different viewpoints, then make up my mind. it also lets me research things I would never spend money on (after Cyndi and I went skiing, I wanted to learn a tad more about mormonism. The internet let me learn about it, but I never would have supported a mormon author with money)
3)Yak Shaving — I start reading about one thing which leads to another which leads to another. This doesn't happen often, but mindless surfing of the internet is a BIG BIG waste of time. I try to not do too much of this.

The idea I was seeking to convey was what I have explained above: the books I purchase I tend to be picky about. Reading on the internet allows me to expose myself to many different ideas which I can then use to form my opinion on issues/situations. However, I don't give everything the same weight. An article by someone solid will carry more weight with me than just a general blog post I stumble across. An article by someone who clearly has a wrong slant will get tossed asside without much thought.

Just like in a military situation it is important to know who you are and who your enemies are, it is important I know enough about what I stand on to defend my views, but I also need to be familiar with other's views and what they believe. This will allow us to have a close-to-common base. For example, Muslims believe Jesus was real, believe that Jesus did miracles, and they even believe in the virgin birth. If I wasn't aware of that and simply started talking to a Muslim, I would totally misunderstand what they were trying to say. However, having a basic knowledge of what others think and understanding that the same word may mean something totally different forms a necessary base on which to build.

So, how about you? Why do you read? How are you in critically evaluating your sources? Books you purchase? Articles you read? Things you use to form opinions?

Persecution Blogroll

For those who couldn't tell, I'm extremely interested in the persecuted church. That's why, when Persecution Blog announced their blogroll program, I jumped at the chance. Well, an update has been sent out stating that traffic to Persecution Blog is up and Voice of the Martyrs is seeing an increase in their newsletter subscriptions. Here is the update:

Thanks to you traffic to the Persecution blog ( is up over 50%. As a result, letters written to believers imprisoned for their faith via the Prisoner Alert website ( is up as are signups for the VOM newsletter. 

Your participation in the blogosphere program is vital to the blog's success in educating Christians to the plight of fellow believers across the globe. Again, I want to express my thanks for your involvement.

If you would like more information on the PersecutionBlog Blogoshpere Program, follow the link.




As part of the PersecutionBlog Blogger Program, I get some interesting ideas for things to blog about. The most recent one dovetailed nicely with something I had recently been talking to someone about:

One post you might consider writing is your own feelings about persecuted Christians and the persecuted church around the world. Unfortunately, this is not an issue many Christians are familiar with. It's unpleasant to think that fellow believers are being tortured and imprisoned for their faith. Yet, what more inspiring story is there than that of a follower of Christ standing firmly for their faith knowing it could mean prison, torture, even death.

Christ put it this way in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

So how does it make me feel that countries in the world still persecute Christians? How does it make me feel that our government won't stand up for basic human rights? How does it make me feel when a nation we call friend throws a fit over alleged desecration of Qu'ran when that same country regularly destroys any copies of the Bible they find in their country? How does it make me feel that my country–the lone superpower in the world, the one country in the world that could make a difference–does nothing. In one word: angry! I get angry when I wonder why our government doesn't stand up for what's right. I get angry at the people who allow our government to continue in the "status quo." Just so you don't get me wrong, people shouldn't be told what to believe by the government. They should be free to believe whatever they want.

How does it make me feel when I read stories from Voice of the Martyrs about my brothers and sisters in chains? How does it make me feel when I read stories of Christians not renouncing their faith when faced with torture and death? How does it make me feel when I read about parents asked to choose between their children and Jesus? In one word: inspired! It makes me dig deep in my heart and seek God. It makes me pray that I will also not renounce my Lord and Savior if I ever am faced with a similar situation. It makes me want to draw closer to God. It makes me seek Him even more.

How does it make me feel when I think of those who perform the torture? How does it make me feel when I think of those who perform the arrests? How does it make me feel when I think of those who commit murder for their government? In one word: sadness. It makes me sad that these people don't know God–and I speak here of the Great God of the Universe: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: the God who created the earth and everthing else: the God who saved me: THE God. It makes me sad that these people will die and go to Hell without knowing of what God and Jesus did for them 2000+ years ago on the cross. Someone needs to go tell these people!

How can you help? Well, the easiest way is to just pray. Pray for the Christians persecuted for their faith as well as their captors. The next easiest thing is to visit Voice of the Martyrs and sign up for their free newsletter. Learn more about what is going on in the world. Then why not write a letter? Visit Prisoner Alert and write a letter. It is so easy! All you have to do is pick a prisoner, click a few dropdowns and buttons, and you will end up with a letter in the believer's language. Think it costs a TON to send mail overseas? Nope. The ones I have sent have cost under a buck to send (80 cents to be exact). If you want to get more involved, VOM has tons of ways you can be involved. Just get involved!



Update on Parents

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have heard from my parents. They sent me an update to post here for everyone:

We have been here a week and time is passing quickly. We have settled into the routine and adjusted well. The weather is generally mild temperatures during the day and comfortable at night. We leave nearly all of the windows open in the apartment all of the time. There is no central heat/air conditioning in any home in this portion of the whole country. It has rained at some time during each day so far but that should be ending soon. The dry season is starting and there will be no rain until next March or May. We are on the 5th floor of this building and there are no elevators anywhere. One of the team members lives on the 6th floor. They have 2 small boys and a baby this means 91 steps up & down every time to go in or out. It’s a way of life. 

We have been busy supporting the other team members here with listening ears and some home schooling. Judy has completed reading classes and even some science experiments. She even helped to put together a balsa wood helicopter. I have lead the boys on several bike rides for exercise and to give moms a little space. The kids here are just like every other kids and love attention.

It is funny trying to communicate. I tried to order a 5 gal bottle of water this morning. It is 1600 (4 pm) now and the water still hasn’t arrived. I just called again. I have this script to read to them which has our address written in phonic Chinese. It generally goes well but this time the girl started asking me some questions which I couldn’t understand at all. Finally she must have recognized who I was because she said,” OK-bye bye” and hung up. She probably turned to her co-worker and said something about dumb foreigners. We’ll see if water arrives or not. We have succeeded in the past getting our shui (water) we go through about 1 5gal jug every day. You need a lot of water here because of the altitude.

Judy has been involved with 3 English classes which the team members teach to the local kids. Some of these are kids from the professional class whose parents are sending to learn English. There are a few kids from a local orphanage so they are a bit challenging. They have a difficult time with some of the English letters. D and V are particularly difficult because they don’t use this sound much here.

Tonight is the formal English Corner which we talked about last week. There should be more people at this corner since this is the end of the National Day holiday. Last week I noticed that some students were actually speaking English and others were just saying memorized sounds (like ordering water). It sometimes is productive for the team.