Thursday, November 13, 2008

WORLD ORPHANS CENTRAL AMERICA


I had the privilege of spending some time with BJ Murrey, the new Regional Director for Central America for World Orphans. Last time I saw him, it was at Mike Vinsons' new place in Colorado over a year ago. At that time BJ had said he was headed to Guatemala to work with WO and had to take care of some financial obligations first. He has stuck to his word and commitment and paid off his debts, loaded up his truck and drove here with the purpose of overseeing the work of World Orphans. Since then I had been invited to join the Board of World Orphans.

We had a chance to catch up and then Bill & Patricia Mossman joined us and had a chance to speak with BJ regarding the work that WO is doing. Who knows how this might all fit together down the road for everyone. Bottom line it was wonderful to see him and I am excited about his heart for the Lord and his desire to see widow's and orphans taken care of by the Church.

For those of you who would like to know more about World Orphans:

www.worldorphans.org

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HOSPICIO SAN JOSE

Patricia and myself had the chance to visit Hospicio San Jose just outside of Antiqua in Guatemala on Monday. We were taken their by a missionary friend of Pat's named Cathy who has been volunteering there for sometime. It is a part of the St. Joseph's Hospice Association, which was created by Father Fancis O'Leary. It was created with the purpose of helping the terminally ill patients pass away with dignity. Because of the miracle of AIDS drugs, many are living and are able to turn around in their lives -- so this particular location has become somewhat of a respite center. There are 14 Adults presently at the center.

Additionally, they are housing nearly 68 Orphan Children who are all living with HIV. They live at San Jose Hospice and attend normal school and then come back to this place.

We had a chance to meet the director and to get the background on the place and how they came to be. After our time with the director, we were given a chance to actually speak with the patients. We were unable to take any photos and so I don't have any pictures for you -- but perhaps I can paint a visual picture for you.

We spoke to the Adults first. They were positioned in chairs and hospital gurneys -- right in the hallway and were watching television. I was to speak to them and Cathy was going to interpret in Spanish for me -- and Pat, happend to quite naturally move right into the nursery and start to quiet the crying babies (she was amazing -- they were cooing in no time!)

It was such a gift to speak to this group and to share how God had given me hope beyond my diagnosis with what He promised in his word and how my faith in Jesus Christ has actually released healing power in and through my life. I spoke from Psalm 139 which speaks about how intimately God knows each and every one of us -- and how even though we feel left alone sometimes and overlooked -- "He knows every thought before it even comes to be in each and every one of us..." that "he formed us in our mothers' womb........" We can find comfort in His love and care.

We had a time of question and answer and then I closed with the song Healing Rain. In the middle of the song, the guy in a hospital gurney, who had just had surgery, had a very large scar on his knee and was literally skin and bones -- lifted his hands and started to give praise God. To see this man in such pain and through that lift praise to God was almost too much for me as I thought I would not be able to keep singing.


The lyrics at that point in the song were:

So lift your head, let us return
to the mercy seat where time began
and in your eyes, I see the pain
come soak this dry heart in heaven's rain.

And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and make him stand
so lift your hands, that can be held
by someone greater, the great I AM

Healing Rain is coming down, Healing Rain is coming down
Don't be afraid....don't be afraid

Healing Rain is coming down, Healing Rain is coming down
I'm not afraid.....I'm not afraid.........

Afterwards we had a chance to pray for all of them and it was a powerful time as some of them wept from their hearts in gratitude towards God -- I can't explain how wonderful this seemed.... to be in a hallway in a hospice and see the Lord touch these people who feel so overlooked at times. What a gift.

We were then taken in to the main cafeteria and we helped set up the film equipment for Cathy to show a movie to the kids after their meal. It was a Jesus film and then afterwards I had a chance to address the kids. There were about 40 of the kids who were over 12 through age 16, which we felt was an appropriate age. I had a chance to tell a bit of my story to them and also shared about how much God loved them and that He would be there strength in the midst of stigma or teasing that might happen at school or when they leave the safe confines of the Hospice into the world where stigma against HIV/AIDS still exists.

San Jose Hospice is a great place for people to visit and even volunteer if they go to Guatemala. If you would like any further information you can write to hospiciosanjose@hotmail.com. The Director of the program is Elena Cavijo and her administrator is Patricia Santis. Patricia speaks english.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

MORE GUILIN......




more pics....see below...
john

GUILIN, CONT´D






more pics from Guilin......

GUILIN, CHINA






This place drew me from the first time I saw the area in the movie the Painted Veil '' it is way more touristy in person '' and crowded. complete with the boats going down the river....lined up like commuter traffic on the 405 in southern california....however, i still saw some of the beauty of God´s creation...hope you enjoy the pics. Had a chance to see some local cosume, have a monkey sit on my shoulder and look into my face....etc...

john

GUILIN, CHINA

This place drew me from the first time I saw the area in the movie the Painted Veil '' it is way more touristy in person '' and crowded. complete with the boats going down the river....lined up like commuter traffic on the 405 in southern california....however, i still saw some of the beauty of God´s creation...hope you enjoy the pics.

john

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PANDA - LICIOUS! VIDEO

Caught a Panda enjoying some bamboo -- Click on the start button to see video!

PANDAS IN CHENGDU




Arrived at the City -- Chengdu -- which is known for it's Great Panda reserve -- the park is really wonderful and very worth the trip. I was met at the airport by my Guide - Helen (pictures in front of Panda Statue). I have a couple shots for you -- one of the front entrance, another shot of a couple Pandas -- complete with one sleeping in a tree. There is also a shot of a "Red Panda" which looks more like a little fox. These are really privileged animals -- they live like Kings -- they eat, sleep.... have people wait on them and then eat and sleep somemore!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

TIBET





....and more, please scroll down to see the others.

peace
john

TIBET MONASTARY






Here are some more shots in Lahasa -- The Monastary, local people, buildings, monks, there is a rich history here -- it feels like you are going back about 100 years.

LAHASSA TIBET





I am going to load some pics for you from my trip to Lahassa in Tibet. I arrived yesterday by air -- the shots from the plane were wonderful -- the mountains are beautiful and snow-capped. I took a shot of the oxygen tank that is in the Hotel Room - it is for those who can't handle the altitude of 12,000 feet. I was met at the airport with the traditional white scarf by my guide who is a former Trecker to Everest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK





At the last building of the Terracotta Museum -- they have some of the work of Jiang Yuan displayed. I thought the movement in his horse screens were beautiful and the colors were really wonderful. He loves to paint on round objects, believing that there is something eternal about the circle and that art is a part of that.....great thought.

enjoy......


I am off to Tibet.
peace
john

TERRACOTTA WARRIORS MUSEUM





We got an early start today and headed about an hour and a half outside of Xian city to where the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors is located. I must admit -- it felt good to see some more of the mountainous areas and not more of the cement buildings -- which are typical around the world. We stopped at a factory nearby which explained the process of how these warriors were actually made. (see shot of Daisy) But it can't compare with walking into the pits, with huge overhangs and seeing these artifacts all lined up -- The emperor thought that he was preparing himself for the next life and that he would have set up for battle as well. He thought that he would be able to rule from the next life - well apart from him being in for a big surprise -- we on this side of eternity have the pleasure of being able to see the great effort that went into this endeavor. This was all uncovered just in 1975 by some farmers -- one of which sits at a table in the main entry hall, and is on display(but no photos please).

(From the Web)
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archaeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).

The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary.

enjoy the shots....

XIAN, CHINA - WHITE GOOSE PAGODA





I am in Xian, pronounced (shee-ann) -- it gets very confusing with the Che and She sounds. Anyway -- I was met at the airport by my local guide whose name is Daisy. I had a meal at the airport and then was transported to the Hotel. I am staying fairly in the center of town at a place called the Lee Garden Hotel. I found out that the name "Lee" means black horse -- which is supposed to be beautiful -- so I am staying at the Black Horse Hotel or Beautiful Black Horse Hotel -- However....this horse needs some water and a run around the track!

First day of sightseeing took us to the Big White Goose Pagoda, which was built by the emperor from the Quin Dynasty I believe -- this temple was built after he traveled for nearly 10 years to Italy and back and brought the influence of Tao Buddhism to China (I think I heard that correctly -- perhaps not) -- anyway -- like other buildings in Italy -- this one also has started to lean -- I was told about the leaning while on the third floor -- and then I saw engineers with measuring equipment on the 4th floor -- needless to say -- I didn't stay long on the 7th floor!

enjoy.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SUMMER PALACE










My last day in Beijing was met with sleeping in until 9:00am (Yeh!) breakfast, packing and then Jack (Lien Xiu) picked me up at the hotel at 11:00am for my last day of sightseeing. We were on our way to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was frequented by the Emperor and is situated on a very large piece of land. There is a huge man made lake in the center and a famous part of the Palace is the 17-Arch Bridge. Because the Chinese believe that the number 9 is a strong number -- no matter which way you count -- you end up at 9 in the middle.

The pics I have are from one of the Iron Sculptures in Front of the Palace building -- where they conducted Business while vacationing here -- also there are shots from a very long corridor, 750 meters to be exact, which leads to the launch of the dragon boats (I have that on video) then there are some shots through these wonderfully shaped windows that made for interesting photographs. The tall temple you see at the top of the Hill was built for the Emperor Dowager (Dragon Lady) for her 60th birthday. I guess it was a long hike up the hill, sing happy birthday, blow out the candles and a long schlep down!

The last shot is of a big Pagoda near the center of the lake and then the 17-arch bridge.

Drove to the airport and had McDonald's for lunch and then off to Xian. Which is located an hour and half by air in the south west direction of Beijing. I'll spend 3 days there and will fill you in as we go.

for now......

peace
john