Monday, June 26, 2006

International Family

"Consequently, you are no longer foriegners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." - Ephesians 2:19

The Beijing International Christian Fellowship was a church experience like none other. The church is strictly made up of foriegners. Chinese nationals cannot attend - one must have a foriegn passport to enter. I was very blessed to be able to worship with brothers and sisters from all over the world who spoke different languages and expressed their love for Jesus Christ in so many different ways. I thought that the international church gives a glimpse of what the risen church will be from the discription in Revelation 7:

"I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb... and they [praised Him] in a loud voice."

On a side note, one of the most moving songs we sang was: All around the world, let the praise begin!

I go to Tokyo on Sunday, hope I get to publsh another post before then. Been real busy though. God Bless Y'all!

One Year Home

This is the Rosedale Hotel:
Its pretty nice - big room to myself and decent food.

Chinese Cowboys? It's a Texas Bar!
I wonder how you say "Saw-Em Off" in Chinese?
Reminds me of the Jackie Chan movie Shanghai Noon.

Smoke and Mirrors

How is Beijing? ... I am not sure how to answer that question. My first impression when we stepped out of the airport was that this city is very dirty. Some days the smog has been so bad I couldn't see more than 100 yards in front of me, but then there are days like today which is beautifully blue and cool - so refreshing that I had to get out and run a few miles this morning.

The people can be curious, polite, and friendly; or proud and aloof; or just plain annoyingly persistantly trying to get at my American money. There are prostitutes who have no reservations about grabbing at any and every white male that walks by. Some store owners, and some beggars will also physically grab foriegners to get our attention.

Yesterday my buddy gave some money to a young beggar boy who was not even waist tall (my waist...) He followed us a few steps mumbling something in Chinese and then after we hailed a cab, he ran over grabbed the door and the seat of the car on my side and with tears rolling down his cheeks, wailed (in Chinese) "give me money, give me money!" I was at a loss; we had already given him money and I could not just close my door without crushing his hands. I tried to gently, but firmly push him away, but despite my obvious size and strength advantage he hung on with all of his might, all the while screaming and crying. Finally, my buddy got out of the car and picked him up so that I could close my door, and I reached through my window to grab the child by the arm so that my friend could close his door and we drove off, leaving the wailing child behind. It was unnatural to push him away, I would rather have taken him home and fed and clothed him, but what could I we really have done? There are people here that have been left in the dust of China's economic success whose home is the dirty street-side. One cannot help aching for these people.

Jesus says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but he whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become a spring welling up into eternal life." A few Quai will buy food for a day, but the Chinese beggars, and everyone here, needs eternal sustinance much more desperately.

So how is Beijing? The city and its people are full of contridictions. Chinese people are very deep, and very spiritual, but they are not very open, and their spirituality has no central focus, no savior. Just like any big city there is good and bad, the very rich and the very poor, but the differences seem more distinct here. Here's my analysis: I don't know what to think - it's not at all like home.

I am still having fun though, don't doubt that! I do not at all regret the decision to come to China; there is so much to learn here about the country, about myself, and about my relationship with a God who desires that all peoples may have life abundant.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Acrobatics and Rock n' Roll

I never knew that a man, even with practice and the proper training, could be anatomically able to touch his buttocks to hid fore head Touching your toes is cake compared to these crazy guys (and girls) can do. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I can't really describe it to you , but here are some photos:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Massage! Massage! Nice Price for You!

I must have turned down a dozen massage offers yesterday. These massage parlors are everywhere here, three to a block in some places! Most of these were very aggressive sales pitches too. The average Chinese street merchant has no concept of personal space. I was grabbed three times (above the belt, thankfully) by overzealous sales-hounds. They were grabbing at me as if I was a $20 bill laying on the street.

My friend bought three Rolex knock-offs yesterday. He paid an average of 80 RMB (about ten dollars) for each, but I still think he got ripped off. I bought some nice hand-painted chopsticks for myself and avoided the ubiquitous Rolex offerings, knock-off purse vendors, and massage parlors.

Anything can be bought and sold cheap here, including people. I saw a dirty a dirty old, fat, bald man with five Chinese (?) prostitutes hanging off of his arms, cuddling him, and kissing him. This is not uncommon in Beijing, and it makes me sick to my stomach. Prostitution is supposed to be illiegal here, but they are everywhere and no one really seems to care. There is even a line of them outside our hotels some evenings.

Work is good! I can't really tell you about what I do, but it is flippin' sweet! I am with a great crew and I am learning a lot so far. I'm relly sore today, maybe a (legitimate) massage wouldn't be too bad right now. As always, I'm sure it'll be a "nice price" for me!

Signing out from the Coffee Station,

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogger Block

Howdy Y'all! Just wanted to say that I made it!!! The trans-pacific flight was un-forgettable. It took 26 hours to get to Beijing from San Antonio by way of Minneapolis, and I had to fight a sumo-sized Asian and an ancient little Chinese man for elbow room while we flew over the Pacific. We arrived at the Rosdale, a very nice hotel, at 10:30 PM (I'll post a picture tomorrow.)

There is a 11 hour time difference here; that means that as I am writing this at 9:00 PM here it is 8:00 AM the same day over in Texas! I apologise for today's hurried journal entry - I need to sleep a little more to get rid of the jetlag. I'll try to post again tomorrow and tell you a little more about what it is like here!

NOTE - I think that China blocks the blogs on, so I while I can post to my blog, I cannot actually see it or your comments. : ( Please e-mail or facebook me, I really appreciate communicating with y'all from halfway across the world!

God Bless!

Friday, June 16, 2006


Today was a full day of orientation at Zachry's headquarters. We went through safety and Zachry's company history and core values, etc. etc.

The people I am with are more interesting. There are six others being oriented in this group: three who appear to be in their twenties, one in his fourties, and two in their fifties or sixties. When I think of construction workers, I usually think of highway workers that one sees on the roads in Houston - but these guys are a different breed. For some of us, working in China is a "great opprotunity," and for others, "China is just another paying job." Of the six, three have been to Iraq: one in the army and two others as workers for KRB. I think that they welcome this new job in China because it will be much calmer. Their stories of bombs and rockets flying overhead and sirins blaring weekly in the night made me glad that we are traveling to a controlled communist society. For this American laborer, Communism beats chaos any day.

These guys are all friendly; especially the elder two who have worked in Iraq. They have shown some interest in my travel stories as well. The two Zachry HR directors assigned to us were showing me, and showing off, the Zachry headquarters during our lunch break. I think they are trying to recruit a future Civil Engineer.

That's all I have to report for now. I am going to go grab my book again (Reading The Weight of Glory by CS Lewis.) The two older guys went to Walgreens to get blood pressure meds so that they can pass the physical tomorrow, and two others are looking for a resteraunt. All is quiet in the hotel.

England beat T&T 2-0. Whoop. I was hoping they'd score one more goal - I had the Brits winning 3 -0. Oh well, I still get a point for predicting the winner.

Signing off from San Antone,

Thursday, June 15, 2006

San Antonio

People keep telling me that a year is a very long time, but it still hasn't hit me yet. Right now I am sitting in my room at the Comfort Suites (See Photo) eating delivery pizza and relishing the fact that I have nothing at all to do tonight except catch up on some reading and some sleep. I am at peace; and I trust in Christ's ability to direct my life to its greatest fullness in Him. Right now, fullness means eating pizza while typing on my blog and anticipating tomorrow's briefing - and you know what... things couldn't be better.

Signing out from San Antone,

This is the view from my hotel window. If you squint a little - you may be able to see me in the reflection, third window from the left, top story.