Monday, April 28, 2008

Even the Signs are better in Japan

This made me wonder why all the men who cross streets in the US are bald.
This is obviously a western man with style crossing the street.
I dig it.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trick My Tube

One of my recent projects, this Trick My Tube video, in the style of MTV's "Pimp My Ride" show was created for Hume Lake's Fisherman's Conference. Eric came up with the idea, Ben, who also works in our department, played Phil, Devin played his sister, and Scott the mechanic built our tube. Paco helped me get all the shooting done. It was a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Time Zone

There, I changed my default time zone from PST to Tokyo time.

Time Difference

I just noticed that if I set the date and time that I publish a blog to be the date and time that I am in here in Japan, then Blogger thinks that I want to wait until CA reaches that date and time to publish my blog entry.

It's a little weird living in the future.

On Monday, we will leave Japan a few minutes after we arrive in Los Angeles.
I think I am going to get up early to watch the sun rise, then watch the sun rise again a second time on the same day. Weird.

Off Base

All the campers are gone. We visited half of them at the air force base on the other side of the island this afternoon. I saw a whole line of F-15s ready to fly out at a moment's notice, in fact, I saw a few large bombs being loaded onto two of them. We had one of the youth group leaders with us who told us excitedly about her job, doing just that, and how a few days ago she had to wear a haz-mat suit while she was working because of some sort of biological weapon that they were loading on. Kind of scary, huh? Yes, in case you were wondering, our country uses those.
We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and eating dinner in the downtown part of Okinawa. It's called American Village. That about sums it up. All the stores carried stuff that was trying to look American. I saw the words "happy beans" and "sexy girls" on the same hat. It was pretty incredible. I'm not sure what they were trying to say. There was also a shirt with the bio of some obscure film director, obviously copied off the internet. There were still some pieces of the html code in the text. I was looking for some crazy shoes, but I couldn't find anything different than what you would find at Wal-Mart in the states. I ended up being in one of those moods where I didn't buy anything. I almost bought a pair of chopsticks, but the line was too long and we had to leave right away.

I had sushi for dinner. It was pretty good, but not as good as the stuff I had in San Louis Obispo three weeks ago. Oddly enough, this was far more like a typical american sushi shop than I would of thought, but I was in "American Village".
I saw the China sea, but thought that it was just the Pacific, otherwise I would have stuck my head in it like I did when I was on the Mediterranean in Israel last year.
When we got back to the barracks on our base after dinner, we had to deep clean everything. The students did a pretty good job of cleaning their rooms, but all the hallways and common areas still needed a lot of work. I was already exhausted, I think everybody was, but we worked hard and worked quickly, finishing it in just over two hours.

I think we're going to a church, aquarium, and a castle tomorrow. Though, I'm not sure, since our plans seem to change every hour. We have just over 24 hours left in the country. I am glad that we are getting to see a bit more of life outside of a military base on this island. And, it's cool to be able to have some time to get to know the people on our team a little bit better. I think it would have been good to be able to do that before we started camp. I don't know.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Victory Circle on the Beach

There's nothing quite like a bonfire on the beach. It's even better if the people enjoying it with you are telling stories of the awesome work that God did in their lives during just the last few days. I think that worshiping God while standing on the beach is one of my favorite things to do. Really, any overwhelmingly beautiful and expansive natural place of wonder will do, as long as it reminds me of how small I am in comparison to the God who made everything and still loves us enough to make his home in our hearts.

I got to show the wrap-up up video that I made right after Victory circle while we were still on the beach. We just let the fire die down a bit, then turned on the rear screen projector and portable sound system hooked to the laptop... it was very cool. The sounds of the waves mixed with the sounds of the video. I was perhaps the most real surround sound experience I've ever had. The sound quality wasn't the greatest, and the image would have been better if it were larger, but it was still an awesome moment that I think I'll never forget.

It was a good end to a very stressful day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

...working on this one

I was throwing stones into the sea,
trying to cast desires far from me
to drop into the ocean, to watch them forever disappear into the night.

I threw and threw and threw,
until I realized I could throw no more
Like prayers prayed to rid myself of some great weight,
but never answered, never leaving.
Still those desires held to me like they were part of me.
stuck to me

I don't want it, take it, keep it,
drown it in the sea.

Again and again I threw the stones into the sea
again and again they kept coming back to me.
Perhaps I'll throw myself into the sea.

If I could throw myself into the sea,
sink beneath the waves and have this all just go away
Would God keep saving me? Preventing me from drowning,
Would He send a whale to carry me back to the shore where he wants me?

I wonder if Jonah was bitter at God for saving his life and putting him on that beach...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Okinawa: Tuesday AM

A real hummer just drove past me, and last night there were jets (F-18, maybe?) flying over head, about twenty of them. So far the only things that really makes this place different from America are cars and the drinks. Most of the cars are so tiny, compact, sporty, and well designed that I want to take one home with me. There is usually nothing bigger than a Toyota Scion, most of the cars have 12" rims, if that. And, they still manage to seat four comfortably. The vans are tall and skinny, like cigarette boxes turned up on their side, seating 14, but probably only running on 3 cylinder engines and getting ridiculously good gas mileage. I've seen a few Nissan Skylines, and several 4x4 lifted minivans that seems to be stock. I'd love to get a grip of them for Hume, if it were legal in CA. There are vending machines everywhere with coffee drinks, energy drinks, fruit smoothies, aloe vera drinks, all kinds of strange things cold and sometimes hot out of the same machine. And, they are pretty cheap. Some of the energy drinks are apparently illegal in the states; they tasted better than ours, maybe that's why.
I'm sitting outside of the chapel right now while today's round of seminars are being taught. It's hazy and overcast like it has not been the last two days. I don't think it will burn of, but it might. I guess two beautiful, clear sunny days are more than enough of a blessing. I hope it doesn't start raining, that always makes the process of shooting video more... interesting.
We played a few night rec games last night. I'm my ankles are sore from running around, geting chased while videoing. That may have been because I was running backwards.

I better run off to rec now, the students are starting to stream out of the chapel and back to their barracks (cabins?) to get ready for recreation.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Okinawa: Monday PM

This is Hume’s first time running camp with military kids and our first time doing it in Japan. We were a bit afraid it would be difficult to gain the enthusiasm and trust that we would normally have from a youth group at Ponderosa in the summer that has been coming for years and years. Usually the first few days of a new camp like this are the most difficult. We expect very little audience response at first, hardly any participation in worship, and spirited recreation has to be modeled by our staff and counselors.
This was way different than we expected:

The students arrived with so much energy that I felt like we had been coming here for years. There was screaming and yelling as they entered chapel on Sunday night. I got chills in anticipation while the Viking music was playing. We just finished our first day of recreation, and it was wild! I can’t wait for tomorrow!
Tonight, our time of worship was filled with energy and Jeff was able to teach in the midst of the singing on how to worship God. PJ talked about three of the most important things to believe about God: That He loves you, He is all-powerful, and He has all wisdom and knowledge. I’ve heard him teach this before at the Joshua Wilderness Institute, it was life changing then for many of the students, and I think it was tonight as well. We’ll see in the next couple of days as he challenges them to make public decisions and changes in their lives.

This island really is beautiful. Yes, it does look a lot like Point Loma, and the buildings look like my high school, but the beaches are tropical, even if the water is a bit colder than most of the campers expected. I got to spend some time shooting video down at Ora Wan beach this afternoon and I probably should have worn sunscreen, especially after spending all morning in the sun while shooting rec. I’m a bit toasted, but it will tan. I thought the water was warm though I only had time to jump in a swim around for a few minutes; it felt good to get salt water on my skin and sand between my toes.

I’ll be teaching a seminar Wednesday morning I've titled it Storytelling for the Master. I’m using 2 Samuel 12 and a few of Jesus’ parables as well as my own life story. I’m excited to be able to teach, even though I’m slightly nervous.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Okinawa: from the other side of the ocean

We are a military base that looks a whole lot like Point Loma Nazarene's campus, just with fewer trees. Today we got most of the recreation set up and tried out several of the games with our own team. It was a lot of fun. We were experimenting with a strange game involving flags, like in flag football, and running back and forth "plundering" the other team's "villiage." PK pulled the pocket off my shorts instead of pulling my flag. It made the rest of the game a little more interesting, and, well... better ventilated. No hard feelings. I'll sew it up as soon as my shorts are dry. It was pouring rain, warm rain, at the perfect temperature. When we were done playing, some us ran down to a secluded beach cove and swam in the ocean. It was probably about 62 degrees, a bit cold at first, but wonderful once I got in. I swam out to some reefy rocks, climbed up and jumped off. It was pretty amazing with all the warm rain.
We had curry dinner at a favorite local restaurant. I'm still feeling the heat, and I know that I'll probably sweating out curry later tonight. But, it was so good!
Camp starts tomorrow. Pray for us! Our speaker, isn't feeling the greatest. I'm still expecting God to be using that somehow. He know's what's up.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I am traveling to Okinawa, Japan with Hume Lake to run a camp for high school students from the US marine base. We left yesterday (whenever that was) and now because of some pretty extreme flight delays, have been put up in an extremely fancy hotel in downtown Tokyo. It's pretty amazing. Here are some photos I just took from my hotel.