Wednesday, July 14, 2004

U.S.: China bound

Well, I'll be heading to China in the third week of August, and will remain there for a year, could be more. You can do these things when you have neither chick nor child nor parrot on a stick. So, I'm doing it. In fact, lemme give the Clinton answer to 'why are you going to China?' ... because I can.

I'll be about 150-300 miles away from Vietnam in Guangxi province.

Last night, I was out exercising -- the usual jump rope -- and I looked up at the sky and had a brief conversation with God. Is it right to call it a conversation when you're the one who's talking? More of a monologue or a soliloquy, right? Well, that's what I had.

Somehow, I never thought I'd be China bound this year. Last year, around this time, I was thinking that it would be nice to be able to go spend either several months or a year in China. I was devoutly wishing I could do it. However, I was wrapping up my M.A. thesis and looking forward to starting the Ph.D. in the fall. So, I did both, and I discovered that I was burnt out and broke. The second was manageable, the third was untenable, so I left the program in January.

Again, going to China popped into my head, and I began exploring the possibilities earlier this year in a semi-serious way. Then I stopped. About three weeks ago, I resumed my exploration and voila! I've got a firm commitment and will leave the fruited plains for China.

So, I had this little conversation, er, monologue, with God. My monologues with Him always make me glad that I'm Christian and that He has a powerful sense of humor. When I'm blue, I blame Him for everything under the sun, curse at Him, yell, generally act like a 2-year-old. Times like that, I can just envision God slowly shaking His head with a slight smile on His face saying, 'if you only knew, eh.' Other times, it's more like teenage behavior, and the chief question is 'why?'. The rest is thanks and praise. Out of His infinite mercy and tender loving kindness, His khesed, God permits me all these things. He permits us all of this.

So, back to the conversation. I looked up at the night sky, slowly expelled a gust of air, and thought, 'well, Lord, where you lead me, I'll follow; where you send me, I'll go.' I'm not going to China in a missionary capacity. Far from it. However, that does not prevent me from thinking that God has a reason and a purpose for sending me there, for opening the way that I might be there. What it is, I don't know, and I am content. It is enough for me that He holds my life and times in His hands; for more than that, it is impossible to ask.

What does a Sp. Baptist do in China? Work. Pray. Learn to speak and read Chinese. Have fun.

Man, it will be blast coming back to these shores and going in to a Chinese restaurant and speaking Chinese.

Anyway, I solicit your prayers and best wishes.

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