Monday, October 29, 2007

Miscellaneous Thailand Photos

These are the few photos that I actually took myself on my camera.

A Story From Thailand

Now that I have a little time, I will be able to get back to a few of the stories that I wanted to tell. Here's the first:

Wandering Alone
The Junior High Students had just loaded onto Songtaos and left for their homes. We met as a staff to clean up the chapel a little bit, and then Rich announced what the rest of our day would look like. The High Schoolers would not be coming until afternoon the next day, so we had almost a full twenty-four hours of free time. These were our plans: eat lunch at 12pm, then meet in front of the chapel at 2pm to take Songtaos to a massage parlor in Chang Mai for traditional Thai Massages, take Songtaos to the McDonalds at the Night Bazaar then spread out from there for dinner and shopping until 10pm when we would meet back at the McDonalds to ride together back to the resort. From the time that we were done with lunch, until we met to leave at 2pm we had free time, but we had to move our stuff out of the rooms that we had been staying, spread out all over in different houses to be with the students, to now all be in one house together while they cleaned the others. We were also supposed to use this free time to take a nap. So, I figured out where I was supposed to go, then packed up all my stuff, ready to move it, then took a nap right there where I was. I woke up right at 2pm, in a panic! I rushed my luggage up the new house, then ran down to the front of the chapel. It was 2:07 and nobody was there. I looked inside the chapel and walked around a little bit, but nobody was to be found. They had left promptly, as scheduled. I had been left alone at the resort. I didn't know of a way to contact anyone in our group, and I didn't know the name or location of the Massage Parlor.
I wasn't too worried. Since, I wasn't really interested in getting a Thai massage, and I knew when and where they were meeting for dinner, so I figured that I would just hire a ride into the city and meet them there. The ride into Chang Mai was about 45 minutes, so I had two hours before I needed to leave the resort. I found a porch with a good view and a relatively cool breeze in the hot humid afternoon, and settled down to read for a little while.
Well, I got bored after just an hour. I figured that I would just get down town early and wander around before everyone else got there. So, I walked down toward the main office to call for transportation. One of the resort employees saw me and asked in broken English and hand gestures if I was the one American that had been left behind. I communicated that, yes, I was, and he told me that somebody had called to talk with me. I went into to the office, all the resort staff looked at me smiling, like good Thai people would, but with humor behind their eyes, "That's the guy that was late and got left behind." I was handed a cell phone, and told, "Kru Fai talk to you." And, she did. Fai is the language teacher at Grace International, and had been helping us as a translator and counselor during camp. She worked with Hume Lake when they came two years ago, and has visited the camp in the United States as well. She was with our team today, taking them to the massage parlor. She wanted me to be able to experience the Thai massage, and to have me be included with the rest of the group. I really appreciated that, even though I wasn't keen on the massage. "You can still get an hour of massage; I will have somebody from the resort drive you down." Okay, sure. So, I handed the phone over to one of the women in the office. She motioned to a van and then to a man rushing by, "He take you massage," she said. I got up to get in the van, "No. You sit here. Wait." Uh, okay. I guess I'll wait here, then. After about five minutes, I was brought to the van, then I sat in the van for another ten minutes before the driver got in and we left. I tried to talk to him, but he didn't speak English and I didn't speak much Thai. I got out a piece of paper that I had been given our first day in Thailand. It had a few common phrases, just the very basics to get around. So, for the next hour of driving I learned how to count in Thai, and memorized a few phrases to help me out when I got lost later during the trip. At this point, I was just expecting to get lost if not today, then at some point during the trip. I wasn't afraid, I knew I would be able to find my way around, getting help when I needed it, even if it took a long time and I had many adventures along the way. And, adventures I did have.
I was watching carefully the whole drive, trying to remember every detail of our route, so that I knew where I was. We turned down a large, busy street with shops and businesses on either side. Then, we turned down a small alley, while the driver looked intently at each shop. He looked like he was lost. We did one circle around the block before he stopped on the side of the road. He got out without saying a word, opened my door, helped me out of the van, then pointed up at a large two story building. "I'm supposed to go in there?" I asked. He nodded, "Thai massage!" Okay, so I crossed the street and walked walked up the steps to the door of the pink stucco building. It had large lettering in Thai, then smaller in English below it, "Massage Parlour". "This must be it," I thought as I pulled on the doors. They didn't budge, and as I looked down I realized that there was a large chain and padlock wrapped around the handles on the inside. There was a sign in Thai taped to the inside of the glass. I looked through the dark tinted glass and saw that there was nothing inside, just torn up walls, and a bare floor with splattered paint and drywall dust everywhere. I turned around just in time to see the van speeding off around the corner. I was alone in the wrong place, in a city I didn't know, with a language that I didn't speak. I walked back out into the alley to look up at the other buildings, maybe he had just pointed at the wrong one. Next door, there was another smaller building that looked like a massage parlor. I walked over, and a janitor looking man was outside sweeping the side walk. I asked in English if there were Americans inside getting massages. He nodded enthusiastically and led me inside. I took off my shoes, and sat down in the chair as he gestured for me to do so in the politest way possible before quickly hurrying down the hall. "Well, I guess I'll just wait here..." I thought. Ten minutes later, I was starting to feel uneasy when I saw him return down the hall way and begin knocking on each door down the hall, listening for a minute with his ear to the door before moving on to the next. It was slightly humorous; I refrained from laughing out loud. Finally at the last door, he heard something, stepped back, and waited as the door opened just moments later. A women dressed in a hospital like gown, a mask, rubber gloves, and booties came out blinking at the bright light. The man quickly said something in Thai, motioned towards me, then bowed slightly as he scurried back down the hall. The women came over to me, smiling politely, though she looked like she had just been rudely awakened from a good sleep. She asked me several questions in Thai. I asked if she spoke English. She asked another question in Thai and gestured kindly toward the hall of doors, smiling. No. Uh, "I'm looking for Americans getting massages." "American Massage?" "No, American tourists?" It when on like this for what seemed like fifteen minutes. She was still speaking Thai at me most of the time. So, I was trying to use the phrases I had learned. I finally gathered that the big Thai Massage parlor next door had moved "across the street". I said thank you, "Kaap Kuun Krap," put my shoes back on and left with a polite bow of the head. "Across the street," what ever that meant. Literally, across the street was a large, unmarked warehouse with steel roll up doors locked shut. Maybe she meant across the main busy street. I walked up the alley and looked across that big four lain divided road, now busy with five 0'clock rush hour traffic. There was nothing that looked like a massage parlor. So, I began walking down one side of the street looking in the windows of each business looking for my friends or at least a massage parlor that looked like it could handle twenty-five people at once. I got all the way down to a large five-way intersection, beyond which, there was just green open land, junk yards, and street-side taco stands that don't serve tacos. I decided it probably wasn't down there, so I crossed the intersection and started down the other side. That's easy to say, but quite difficult when you're in an unfamiliar country. They drive very different in Thailand. First of all, it's primary western influence was British, so they drive on the other side of the road. Then, they tend to make up lanes, as many as can fit, the traffic lights are kind of different, and nobody stops at a red light when they are turning left, also most of the vehicles are motorized scooters with riders in masks and strange helmets. It only made things worse that this was a five-way intersection with no pedestrian signals. Does nobody walk in this city? When I got across the other side, there was what looked like a biker gang. It wasn't, but that's what it always looks like, about fifty motorcycles with people in masks and rubber gloves, sometimes brightly colored rubber galoshes. I was walking against traffic on the side of the road with no shoulder. Fortunately they were waiting at the light, and not running me over, but I had to squeeze around each bike. Most of them just stared at me, like the stupid foreigner that I was at that moment. One women was not paying attention. She was looking down at her right foot when I squeezed by on her left side, just inches from her body. Suddenly she looked up and got startled really bad, she almost dropped the motorcycle on it's side and grabbed tightly, her hand landing on the horn as she quickly responded in a panic. I just smiled, while the guy on the motorcycle behind her laughed out loud. We shared a moment together, two complete strangers, able to laugh at an awkward situation, understood even without a common language. Some things are just universal.
I walked for forty-five minutes, up and down the street. I saw many massage parlors, but none of them held my friends. I went into several of them, going through conversations similar to my first one. I even walked down and around a few alleys. I was so many interesting things. I saw construction workers just getting off the job, loaded into tall trucks with large cage enclosures in the back, fifty people or more crammed in the back, looking forlornly out between the bars as if they were refugees in a war torn country. I saw a Starbucks Coffee, and two 7-Elevens. I saw a motorcycle rental store, and thought about renting one to continue my search. I crossed the street in the middle of busy traffic, at first following closely with locals, then later by myself. I was just about to give up on meeting them for a massage, and just catch a Songtao for a ride to the Night Bazaar meeting for dinner, when up ahead I saw Fai standing out near the street on her cell phone. She turned just as I called to her. She smiled, glad to have found me. "Where were you? What happened?" she asked. "I slept too long at the resort, and then got dropped off at the wrong place here." She showed me inside a building that said something about Kid Works on the side, so it had moved, but hadn't gotten a sign yet. No wonder I couldn't find it. Everyone had just finished their massages and was very glad to see me. Rich admitted to me that nobody noticed I was missing until they had all driven the hour drive into Chang Mai, gotten into the massage parlor and finished handing out money for the massage. He had agreed to pay the tip for everyone, 100 Baht to each person, until everyone had gotten their money. "Why do I have a hundred Baht left?" "Who are we missing?" "Where's Nathan?"
So, that was my little adventure. The rest of the night was fun. We had dinner at an outdoor market, I think I got Kao Soy Gai, curry, coconut soup, the favorite among locals. And, we spent the rest of the evening in the Night Bazaar, bartering for cheap, knock-offs of designer things. I was glad to be with the rest of the group, but just in that little bit of being lost and wandering, I had gained a new confidence in being able to find my way around and ask questions of strangers. I'm glad that this happened. I was just worried about the stress that I caused the rest of the group worrying for me, and feeling guilty that they hadn't noticed that I was missing until sooner. I don't mind, it was my own fault. Actually, it was kind of funny. The rest of our trip, everyone always asked, "Is everyone here? Is Nathan here?"
When all was said and done, I think that I got to know the city in a way that I couldn't have otherwise.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I just found out that my parent's trailer where my family spent many vacations traveling around the western US is all burned up. The were storing at a friends house where the fires came through. My dad and I spent many hours fixing it up, and modifiying it to accomadate a family of eight. This news also means that my sail boat, which was parked next to it, is also burned. That's very sad, as I was never able to get it out onto the water. I bought it very cheap over a year ago, intending to refinish the hull, before I took it out. Oh, well. I'll sail the sea some other season in life.

In an Airport Again

Well, I'm back in the Chang Mai international airport. The last few days have been very busy, full of tourism and site seeing. It was supposed to be a relaxing time of rest and relaxation, but it turned out to be very full.
We finished camp on Tuesday morning, had everything packed up by lunch time, then left the resort to spend our last two days in the city. Tuesday evening we went to a traditional cultural dinner where we all sat on the floor to eat, and watched ladies with long fingernails dance around waving their hands in the traditional Thai style. There was also a guy who danced with knives and later fire. Wednesday we went to an orchid farm, then rode elephants to a small village out in the mountain jungles. We then rode on an ox cart to the side of a river to eat lunch. From there, we boarded bamboo rafts and took them down the river a few miles through small rapids and beautiful mountains. That night, and the next, we spent at the Night Bazaar. I may spend more time describing it in detail, I sure could. It's pretty amazing! I got to know my way around it very well.
Yesterday, we visited an orphanage and played with the kids, singing songs, teaching them games, and just seeing how they live, showing them love. We ate lunch at Grace International School with many of the students who had been at the camp. In the afternoon, we visited the largest Buddist temple in Chang Mai. It was on the top of the mountain right behind the city, with a beautiful view of the smoggy city. Last night, we ate dinner on a river boat cruise on the dirty Ping river. It was beautiful, even romantic, reminding me of Paris. Our boat looked like it was from the Jungle Boat Cruise at Disney land. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to our time here.

It is strange being here in another country, almost another world, while Southern California is on fire. All my family is safe, and, last I checked, our material possesions have not been burned. I have been praying that the community would become united as Christ's people act with the love that they have been given.
I expect to be back in Los Angeles by 9pm, Friday.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Why I Am Here

Some one asked, and I realized that I hadn't made it clear what I am doing here in Thailand.
So, here's what I'm doing:
Hume Lake puts on camp in different locations around the world. It's part of their Off-site and International Ministry. There are 25 of us on the team; most of us have worked at Hume during the past year, and a few of us still currently work at Hume. We are here from October 16-26. We just finished running a four-day camp for 160 Junior High students, and just started another four-day camp for 260 High School students. Most of the kids are MKs from Grace Internaional and CMI in Chaing Mai, Thailand, though there are many from other schools and some individuals as well. The kids represent an expatriate international community larger than just Thailand and more than just MKs. They are all Third Culture Kids, owning a culture of their own that is different from their parents and from the community in which they live. We get the opportunity to put on a western style camp, much like a regular week in the summer at Hume Lake.
We are using BanKlangDoi, a resort near Chaing Mai as our camp. It is a resort, so our "Hume in a can" takes on a bit different flavor here. The kids stay in fancy houses, and we eat really good restaurant-style Thai food. We play games like KaJobe Kan-Kan on a lawn that is highly ornamental. A few of the very few difficult things about this trip are the hot, muggy, moist weather and the insects and reptiles of all kinds and sizes the seem to get into every thing possible. I am currently sleeping under netting in a quaint, picturesque bamboo hut that is floating on a beautiful, yet mosquito infested pond.
Chris Simning is speaking on the parable of the talents; we are using the Many Return of Honorable Grasshopper Fighting videos that Hume used two summers ago for their high school theme. Robbie Conrad is leading worship with a band that he put together from the San Diego area. Camp has been going very well, so far.
My responsibilities are running sound for all the meetings, lead counseling, helping with recreation, and anything else that might need to happen. I'm supper busy most of the day, and very tired every night. I love this kind of ministry for so many different reasons! This just fits who I am, so well. This is the kind of thing that I was made to do. I just finished going around to all the guys rooms that I am responsible for, laying down the rules, and spending time getting to know them a little bit. I think this was the best first night of lead counseling that I've ever had. I felt like I really connected with the students, and I wanted to spend so much more time talking with them, already, about what God was doing in their lives. This is a very critical time for them, and I know that God wants to do great things in and through them. It's very exciting to hear and see that, being even just a small part of what God is doing.
Keep praying for us these next few days, please. There is so much that could distract from what needs to be heard. And, there is a larger spiritual battle that is happening in this part of the world. Not all of these students know Jesus. We are here to make Jesus known, and there are many who would try to stop that from happening. Do battle with me, even as I am...
on my knees
praying with you with one God and One purpose.

Junior High, Part 2

Here is a link to some more photos from Junior High Camp.

A rain forest Adventure

Okay, so I don't know that it's actually a rain forest. It's rainy, and it's a forest, it's wet and more like a rain forest than any of the rain forest sections at the Wild Animal Park.
On Thursday afternoon, I took a group of junior high kids part of the way down the trail to the waterfall. We stopped at the first falls, before the trail gets too tight; it wasn't very far. I let them play in the waterfall a little bit, and Eric came along and took some pictures for us.
So, here they are.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Photos from Thailand

I heard it, From The Inside Out

The highlight of my day was hearing 160 junior high students sing louder than the band tonight.
It's not always easy, just coming in like we did. Everything about is different. It's a new band, with new people, a different face, with different students. Our culture is different from theirs, and we are singing different songs that they probably haven't heard before this week. They have so many reasons to be disengaged and jaded. That's why I was so excited to be a part of them, worshiping our God together, with hands raised and voices together louder than the drums and guitars, all the things that could so easily just be a good show. This was real. This gives indication to why I am here. That God be praised, in the way that He ought, before any other thing, and that it would be seen and heard loudly above all the noise around us.

An Afternoon Hike

Thailand, North of Chang Mai
Today, I hiked through a lush, dense jungle-like forest down an overgrown, little-used path beside a small river to a beautiful waterfall. The small river (or large stream) runs through the resort area where we are running camp. The name of the resort is Baan Klan Doi, which means House in The Center of The Mountains. That’s what it is; we are in the mountains, beautiful mountains covered with trees, vines, and dense undergrowth. There are springs up higher (I hear rumor of some caves) and cliff faces peaking out of the trees at the higher elevations. The earth is very red, clay and soft. Because of this, the water in the river is murky and milky, slightly red, almost brown. After spending so much time in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which are rich with granite and crystal clear water, this stream looked like sewer water. The waterfall was beautiful, but I was distrustful of touching it. I initially wanted to jump into it like I jumped into Mist Falls on the King’s River two months ago. –I asked the local, Chum Li, who had brought me to this trail if the water was safe. He told me that there probably was sewer in it, since there were many people living in remote locations up stream, and that there might be chemicals from crops grown on the mountainside. He recommended not putting my head under the water. Since I didn’t have any open cuts on my legs, I felt it would be okay to walk through the water. There’s no such thing as Hookworm in Thailand, right?
We walked farther down stream until the trail split. Ryan and I took the path that led down closer to the water, while Chum Li and Matt continued on the upper path, agreeing to meet back up where the trail met the water again (at least, according to Chum Li).
Ryan and I soon lost all signs of the trail, perhaps it was just badly overgrown, but we didn’t let that stop us as we pushed through vines, bamboo, and trees along the edge of the water. Sometimes we walked in the water, climbing down the rocks when there were waterfalls and crossing, as we needed when the sides had no room to walk because of the dense growth or slippery rocks. I had been told that there were no poisonous plants, so I had a certain level of confidence; I just had to avoid the thorns and push back the rising fear of snakes and spiders, both of which are very poisonous in this area of the world. We never found any snakes, but I had to brush off spiders from my body every so often and avoid as many webs as I could.
Soon we realized that Chum Li and Matt were nowhere to be found along the stream. I didn’t feel lost, because we were only a mile or two down stream from where we started. Though I was afraid because we had lost them. We started yelling, but couldn’t hear any response. Our voices were swallowed up by the sound of the waterfalls crashing upon the rocks. So, we headed back upstream, trying to take every possible notion of a side trail that might lead up the canyon side towards the other trail. This just brought more confusion in the dense jungle-like growth.
Finally, we found the higher trail and followed it a bit before deciding that we weren’t going to find them. One of them was a local, so I wasn’t worried that they might not find their way back. So, we returned to the camp. There they were, waiting for us when we got back. I guess they weren’t as adventurous and had turned around when the trail got tight.
Something must have bitten me, because my feet itched for about an hour after I got back.

Monday, October 15, 2007

First Days in ChangMai

Thailand is lush, full of life, many plants, lots of moisture. All the wood living or structural is dark colored, full of moisture, deep... as the land itself. We are in Chang Mai, "The New City", a city that was new over seven hundred years ago. There is a weight and depth of history that permeates everything, like the moisture.
Last night as soon as we got off the airplane, we collected our luggage, passed through customs without any issues, and loaded onto three, non-US Toyota vans (the tall skinny ones that, in Africa seat sixteen and in Thailand seat ten, limosine style) and two Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks. We ate dinner at what must have inspired the Rainforest cafes in the US, except these were real. I didn't see any snakes while we were eating, but there were trees and vines, and dripping water everywhere. It was pretty amazing, and beautiful. The food was delicious, every meal has been amazing so far. We set up all the sound that night, and got a quick sound check in before going to bed at 12:30 am.
This morning we had a crash course in Thai culture and learned a few practical phrases before being sent out into the city in pairs on a scavenger hunt. It was almost like The Amazing Race tv show. We were each given a little bit of money, and a card with an item written on each side for us to find and buy, then a place to find and meet at in 45 minutes. The writing on our cards was phonetic, so we couldn't just show it to a stranger, but we had to form sentences and be led from stranger to stranger, place to place through the city until we found what we needed to find. Ryan and I eventually found Roses (dawk gulap) and an Eraser, (yang lope). Then, we got a tuk tuk (a three wheeled, motorized, covered vehicle) to take us to what turned out to be a temple on the other side of town. All in all, it was a very fun, slightly stressful, challenging exercise that immersed us immediately in to the culture.
This afternoon we finished setting up the chapel, and planning the details of the week's schedule. Kyle and I are going to be lead counselors in addition to running everything technical in the meetings. The junior high students arrive tomorrow after lunch, 160 of them. Right now, it's 11:08 pm, I'm sitting in a covered porch, outside, it's pouring rain, probably 82 degrees, and humid. I'm ready to head back to my room, crawl on top of my bed and drift off to sleep.

Oh, the building that I'm sleeping in is probably the closest to living in The Swiss Family Robinson's tree house that I've ever been.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Welcome to Singapore

12:13pm. We just arrived in Singapore, not more than ten minutes ago. I immeadiatly found a free internet Kiosk. Next to me are four other team memebers, staring out the window. Over their shoulders I can see the runway, and then green, lots of green, trees and trees, then clouds and patches of blue sky. It's warm and muggy, 86 degrees Farenheit. We'be been together as a whole team for 24 hours already. I've been travelling for seven hours more, a total of 31 hours. By the time we get to Chang Mai, Thailand, it will have been over 48 hours. Everything is going as planned. I got quite a few hours of sleep, and already feel a little bit adjusted to my destination time zone.
I got a pleasant surprise at LAX, David, my brother and one of my sisters, Rebecca, came and spent several hours with me before we went through security. It was so good to see you two!
We ran into several people from Rock Harbor Church in Orange County. They were on their way to India for a week.
It's just another trip, I guess, and I'm expecting good things in the next two weeks.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This frustrates me:

I just got a call from a school that I attended my first year in college, Moody Bible Institute. Most of their majors are focused on preparing young men and women for working in a full-time Christian vocation, with a heavy emphasis on over-seas work. I, for instance, was a Missions Aviation major. I was planing on living in a jungle somewhere, in a very basic, minimalistic lifestyle without much money at all. I think the expectation of that lifestyle was felt by most of the students, whatever their major might have been.
So, I got a call from the Alumni Association wanting to verify my contact information and current career, etc. for their Alumni book. I was pretty excited about it. It would be pretty amazing to have a book with all of my friends and former classmates, even my roommate, to know what they are doing now, to know about their new families, and to be able to get into contact with them. So, I was excited to be giving my information.
Then, the women on the phone asked if I would like to reserve my very own copy for two payments of $39.99. Suddenly she was a telemarketer.
$80??? I was so sad to have to say no, no, and no as she tried to sell me the book. I can't afford that. For the most part, I'm fine with the lifestyle that God has called me to live. There are times when it is hard, and this was one of them. I was sad, but even more so, I was sad for so many other people. I suddenly had faces flashing through my mind, like my old roommate, Greg, who last I heard was working with Eskimos in the northern tundra, traveling from village to village. There are so many others that I wonder about; I don't know where they are, but I do know that they were expecting to live with just their daily necessities being met. This would have been a hard thing for them to spend money on. Moody should know that. Maybe they do, and this was just a plan to raise money off of the alumni who are working for wealthy churches, or who have been called to places where God has chosen to bless them with money. It is those kind of people, I suppose, who helped pay for my college years. It's just sad to me that usually the only time an alumni association from any school calls me is when they are asking for money.
Sometimes it's just hard, and I have a moment of sadness.
"No, I can't afford that."

Friday, October 5, 2007

God loves

If you don't already know, a storm came through our mountains and dumped several inches of snow all day today. It was so amazing, so beautiful, so perfect!
The last thing I remember last night was feeling like I needed it to rain; like my soul needed to just stand in the rain, arms outstretched with my face toward heaven. So, the last thing I did before I left the waking world was tell that to God. It was kind of like praying for rain, except not so much literally, maybe poetically; my soul needed it... like the desert... yeah, "needs the rain." Longing expressed. That's all.

I awoke to the sound of rain. That is the first thing I remember, the sound of good, hard rain. The second thing I remember was looking out the window of our cabin and seeing a world covered in a soft blanket of white. Then I realized that it wasn't raining, it was sleet, or hail, or white dip'n'dots. I was outside as quickly as I could be.
I was in such a different spirit all day today. Such a good day. Everything was beautiful, everything was good, was peace, was right, was home. God had answered my prayer, more than I could hold, it had spilled outside of myselfishness and onto the world. The food tasted better, I laughed, I smiled at friends, I talked to strangers.
In the past week some of you have asked how I as. I usually replied, "melancholy." It has been a bit of low week for me. Today I was changed. I think you would have noticed if you had been here. I want you to notice now and say, "Wow, God loves." And, I want you to be sure of it like I am. That is why I'm writing this right now instead of sleeping.
Oh, and to top it all off, tonight I went off-roading with Rich, in dark, in the snow, up Sunshine Mountain. By then the clouds had passed and it was a stellar, clear night. Glorious. I saw my favourite cluster of stars, The Pleiades. They are a small, distinct cluster of seven stars. Yeah, God is the one who holds them together. "The Bible contains three direct references to the Pleiades in Job 9:9 and 38:31, and Amos 5:8, and a single indirect reference in the New Testament. This latter passage (Revelation 1:16) describes a vision of the coming of the Messiah – who holds, in his right hand, seven stars…"
The context of the Amos passage affirms God's creation of The Pleiades, and the Lord, Himself, exhorts, "Seek me that you may live."

Job 9:5-9
It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how,
When He overturns them in His anger;
Who shakes the earth out of its place,
And its pillars tremble;
Who commands the sun not to shine,
And sets a seal upon the stars;
Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
Job 38:31-33
"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?
"Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites?
"Do you know the ordinances of the heavens,
Or fix their rule over the earth?

Yes, This God! He is the one who loves.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Yosemite Weekend

Last Fall season, I hiked Half Dome at Yosemite during the night with friends from Hume. We got to watch the sun rise over the valley. It was a moment that reminded me of heaven.
This year we wanted to return to the park and try to make something of a tradition out of it. Only three of us were able to make it this year: Karly Solderholm, Mojave, and me. And, we brought along two others, Josh Mull, and Ali Dishman.
We ended up just hanging out most of the weekend. On Saturday we drove to Glacier Point, enjoyed the view and hiked to Sentinel Dome. On Sunday we hiked out past Mirror Lake and under the face of Half Dome. I don't think that we hiked more than six miles the whole weekend, but we enjoyed a more laid back pace than last time. I slept under the stars both nights. The second morning I awoke with ice on the backpack next to my head. I don't think I've slept in temperatures that cold, ever. I have a cold now. I guess it got cold enough that my immune system just couldn't keep up.
I got to see two bears while we were hiking. I was so excited. I haven't seen a bear in over three years. One of them was content to just forage amongst the trees along the edge of the trail, so we got to watch him closely for a while. The other one was lumbering down the trail towards us, so we made noise and watched him run away into the bracken. I thought he was a cub and his mother might be nearby. Josh contended that he was large enough to be by himself. I'm just glad I got to see a bear.

First Snow

We had our first snow two weekends ago. I had been editing video all night, so I saw the rain change to sleet down here in camp. I knew that there would be snow up at the higher elevations. So, after breakfast, I got in my truck and headed up to Buck Rock to do a little bit of off-roading in the snow. It was beautiful. I got to make fresh tracks, visited the ranger on top of the rock and learned a little bit about deer hunting and disease screening. Enjoy the slideshow via Picasa Web.