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This week I took the boys back for an encore visit to the Singapore Science Center, which is their favorite place to go here. In addition to serious science, the Center also has a lot of fun things to look at and do. Though it may appear that I got upset with the boys, chopped off their heads, and served them on a platter, rest assured that they are fine.

This chair lift at Sentosa island felt much riskier to me, but the boys loved it!

Yesterday we saw much of Singapore from two different perspective–up high and down low.

We usually get around Singapore on the MRT–a train system that encircles the island and is good for getting to most places. There is also an extensive bus network, but usually we just take it for connecting to the MRT. Yesterday, however, we opted to take the bus for a cross-island trip which took about an hour. It was a nice, relaxed ride that took us through parts of town that we seldom see. Without going into a lot of details, the return trip took almost two hours, on a longer route in rush hour traffic. Because we got on early, we had seats, unlike most of the other passengers who stood for the entire ride. After the morning ride, I was thinking about how it can be better travel when we slow down, make more stops, and see something different. By the time we got home last night, I was ready to get back on the fast track. I guess there are times for a slow pace, and times when we need to pick it up a little.

For a higher perspective, we took both the chair lift on Sentosa island, plus the much higher cable car across Singapore’s harbor. (All of this was courtesy of a friend who gave us the tickets!) I found the lower chair lift scarrier because there was much less protection. The kids were oblivious to the danger and enjoyed it much more. Ignorant bliss or childlike trust?


In addition to the articles recommeded by Carson Reed (N.T. Wright’s is especially good), some of the guys here in Singapore pointed me to a less confessional perspective found at:

The New Yorker: The Critics: The Current Cinema

In case you’re not inclined to read the entire review, here is a pretty good summary of the point-of-view of this high-brow magazine:

“The movie is baloney; the movie is an accurate representation of the book; therefore, the book is also baloney, although it takes even longer to consume.”

Of course, that’s just one guy’s opinion. I haven’t see it yet. The one person who I’ve talked who has seen it advised us to wait and buy the pirated DVD because the movie wasn’t, in his opinion, worth the ticket price. (I’ll withhold the name of this respected clergyman.)

Here are some snapshots we made at the “Little Guilin” rock quary on Saturday.

We woke up yesterday morning to the 21st century’s worst nightmare – no Internet. Since we arrived here in Singapore two weeks ago, we had been freeloading off of a neighbor’s wireless connection. It worked Saturday night, but Sunday morning, there was no connection. By Sunday night, we figured out that our neighbor had secured his connection so that we could not access it. I certainly don’t blame him or her (we’re not even sure which neighbor we were freeloading off of); we could have been hackers or virus-spreaders; but it was nice while it was lasted.

So now I’ve been relegated to making the ten minute walk to the nearest McDonalds, which is a free, wireless hotspot. School must have just let out because lots of kids in uniforms just came in. I guess I’ll be making a daily trip for a hot fudge sundae. (I’ll need to check to see how far the signal will reach and whether I actually have to come inside.)

If anyone is still checking this blog, I’ll update you on what we’ve been up to the past few days:

We spent the last three days of last week with Maureen’s aunt. She and her Scottish husband live about a fifteen-minute train ride from Maureen’s parents, where we have been the rest of the time. They have a nice apartment overlooking an old quarry that has become a lake. The area around it has been turned into a park and it is quite picturesque. Saturday morning we went out with the boys for a walk and ended up climbing the forested hill behind the quarry; when we came down the other side, we didn’t feel like climbing back up, but ended up making a much longer trek around the long way to avoid going back over the hill. Saturday was also Maureen’s birthday. I took her out Friday night for shopping and a meal while her aunt watched the boys, and then the whole family got together for a cook-out and her brother’s place on Saturday night.

Sunday we visited the new location of the Citivision church, where I had the honor speaking. The people there were most gracious, but I had a hard time getting through my lesson as my kids were behaving horribly. Any ideas on what to do as a dad when you’re preaching and your kids are misbehaving? Do you stop in mid-sermon to correct them? I would have in Africa, but it just didn’t seem to be the thing to do here. I’m sure no other preachers (or preacher-wanna-bes like me) have ever had this problem.

Now we’re back with Maureen’s parents. She is busy several days this week taking her parents for different medical appointments. I took the boys over to a local park this morning and they had a good time on the playgrounds. This park is also a mini-botanical gardens with some beautiful forested walking trails – and it’s within spittin’ distance from Maureen’s parents’ place. You wouldn’t expect to find such a place so easily in a city of 4 million, but I guess they don’t call Singapore the “Garden City” for nothing.

It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog. These past months seem to have passed by in a whirl. As I write this, I have been in Singapore a week now. We will be spending a total of 3 weeks here visiting with my family before going to the States.  It wasn’t too long ago when we were just planning our departure from Togo after almost 13 years in West Africa.

At this stage of my life, I feel like what Sarah might have felt when she was informed by Abraham that God had asked him to leave his home and go to a country where God would show him. She left with Abraham, not knowing where they were going.

Like Sarah, I am now embarking on a journey to an unknown destination, not knowing where I will end up in but knowing my rightful place is beside Anthony and my kids. We feet that God is calling us to go back to the States but where to, is still a mystery. This journey will be a testing of our faith. It is difficult not knowing what we will be doing (job/ministry) and where we will be going to settle with the added fact that I have not lived in the States before except for the few months that we were on furloughs.

Even though I have moments when I am anxious about the future, I am reassured by God’s faithfulness and goodness all these years. He called me to Ghana, (then Benin and Togo) and provided me with the love of my life and 2 beautiful boys. He has seen us though all the numerous bouts of malaria and other illnesses. He has provided us with all we need, friends and families who love us and encourage us, a wonderful team to work with. He has shown His faithfulness and love for us, moreso over these past months, as we packed up “our life” in Togo and left for Singapore. There were many moments of anxiety as we packed our stuff to be shipped back to the States, wondering whether it would all fit in the container (we shared a container with 2 other families), and yet we ended up with more room to spare. The clearing up of the house and getting rid of stuff that we had accumulated all these years added to my anxiety level and yet it was accomplished without too much of a hassle. I was anxious about our luggage as we left Togo since they were somewhat a little over the weight limit. (We were allowed 2 pieces of luggage each from Togo to Paris but only one piece each from Paris to Singapore, so I was limited as to what I could bring with us) and yet there was never a problem with our luggage. We were to spend 2 nights in Paris and the weather reports for our time there were showers and thunderstorms, but yet we had 3 wonderful days of beautiful weather and sightseeing. I was concerned about Jonathan as he had proved to be a handful on long flights and yet he slept through most of the flights. In all these blessings, I have been reminded of God’s love and answers to our prayers.

These may seem trivial to many, but they have reminded me that our God cares for us in our ordinary, everyday events and He is definitely interested and care for us in our future.

Join me in praising our God, the Almighty, who holds our future in His hand. May His Name be forever praised and glorified.

Jenna has started a new round of tag with new questions, so I’ll play along.

my favorite spices/flavors
1) smoked bacon
2) curry-green or red
3) taco or any Mexican seasoning
4) arabica coffee

four things I must do daily in hygiene
1) brush teeth
2) wash hair
3) wash face
4) anti-perspirant (aren’t you glad?)

4 things I’d rather be doing
1) reading a fast-paced novel
2) listening to a interesting/challenging lecture/sermon
3) Sunday p.m. adult worship & prayer with the Tabligbo team
4) teaching/preaching

what I’m reading
1) Revelation (with the kids, at Jeremy’s request)
2) The Essence of the Church, Craig Van Gelder
3) Straits Times, Singapore’s daily newspaper
4) These blogs

4 people I’d love to meet
1) My grandfather – Papa (James Raymond) Parker, who died when I was 2 but who left behind a rich heritage of faith
2) David Lipscomb – who strikes me as a particularly courageous leader in the Restoration movement
3) John Mark Hicks
4) Bono

jobs I would have liked to do
1) travel agent
2) counselor
3) doctor
4) extreme sports professional – not

my favorite time-wasters
1) Movies/TV serials (Alias, 24, Lost) on DVD
2) TV News
3) naps
4) web surfing/reading blogs

some websites I visit often
1) My Yahoo!
3) Google
4) ACU & Lipscomb “churches looking” lists

people I’m tagging (respond in comments or on your own blog)
1) Patti
2) Steve D.
3) Matt E.
4) Dee

This past weekend we stopped in Paris for a couple of days of “decompression” between the goodbyes of Togo and the hellos of Singapore, where we arrived last night. The trip was quite tiring for the boys, but God answered our prayers with beautiful weather in spite of the meteorologists’ predictions of showers and thunderstorms. We didn’t buy any souvenirs, but we took lots of pictures — here are a few of the more interesting ones.

Jeremy was fascinated by this man who had the birds outside the Louvre eating out of his hand. (Notice the bird hovering above Jeremy’s shoulder.)
The boys, tired from three days of walking, enjoyed seeing the sights from the comfort of the river boat.

What man made for God (Notre Dame) and what God made for man. Who do you think did a better job?

Maureen was particularly happy that Paris was in bloom.

Maureen took on the Paris traffic to take this photo from the middle of the Champs-Elysee.

Friends, Romans, countrymen … Jonathan imitates Mark Anthony in the Louvre.

One tuckered out boy and his dad.

Parting Sorrows — Maureen with Edemno at church last Sunday Posted by Picasa

Once again I’ve taken a long time between posts.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s that I have too much to say – or at least too much going on through my mind and I’m not sure how to say it. 

We left our house a week ago and have been staying in the Crowson’s guest house.  I can’t tell you what a big help they and all of our team have been to us.  Just one example:  Two nights ago we were eating at the Koonces and Maureen took some last minute sewing over to do on Louise’s machine.  She never got it completed and left it behind there.  Yesterday afternoon we came back to the Crowsons after running some errands and saying our goodbyes to our old neighbors.  When we got back here, there was a plastic bag at our door containing the sewing project that Louise had completed for Maureen.

On Tuesday, I was with Marty as he was giving some counseling to the Tabligbo elders, who have been hurt by some recent events.  Marty explained to them that we all experience “woundings” that we have to deal with.  Without any elaboration, he mentioned that they were wounded by our leaving.  He did not mean this as any kind of criticism of us for leaving, just saying that there is pain in the separation.  I was reminded of Henri Nouwen’s book, The Wounded Healer, and how we minister, even more effectively, when we minister out of our own woundedness.  This team has certainly done this for us.

Two days ago I celebrated my 45th birthday.  Does this qualify as mid-life?

Today is Jeremy’s eighth birthday.  In about three hours, we’ll be leaving here and going down with all the team to a guest house with a pool for a low-key party, and then hang out at the Baptist conference center in the afternoon, get some rest, showers, etc. before flying out tonight at 10:20.  One little hiccup – the people who are buying my car said that they need me to go with them to the vehicle registration place to sign over the papers – so that will take a little time out of my afternoon.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of husband and father I am, leaving here without a “secure” (what an illusion!) long-term job waiting when I get back.  As I was lying awake in bed this morning, God reminded me of Abraham who just knew that he had been called to leave, but did not know his final destination—except that he was “looking for a heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God.”

I’m no Abraham, but I am thankful for this faith-building experience.  God has displayed his love and his grace by taking care major stressor that we have faced as we have prepared for this move – Maureen’s U.S. visa, shipping our belongings, selling our vehicle, …. I could go on.  I’m sure there will be other stressors on the journey, but I think that I am learning not to get quite so stressed—as I grow deeper in my confidence in God’s faithfulness.