Wednesday, September 27, 2006

the other evening, we bought our tickets and made our reservations for our trip to siliguri, india. when telling family and friends about our plans, the voyage seems so distant, so far away. it seems like it'll take place in the not-so-near future. but now, with only 2 months before our departure date, the idea has now become reality. the excitement has turned to nervousness. oh, yesh, it will go back and forth twix these emotions, with others following, and leading in some cases.

that night, as rin was getting ready for bed, i laid down and started reading one of my surfing* magazines. i came across a story called "of ants and elephants" written by matt beacham. it was about when he and his wife, lily, headed into sri lanka to help rebuild after the tsunami of '06. he wrote about what he saw and did while there. one thing that he wrote was:

"what happens to a people who have nothing and lose everything?"

i have asked myself that many times. i don't think i was the first person to ask that. neither was matt. here is another excerpt from the article:

"in sri lanka, you gather your trash and simply lay it on the road. as i crossed the street, refuse in hand, an elderly man slowly got off his rusty bike and started sifting through the rubbish. this man was finding value in what i had considered waste. we stood there, and i could feel the impassable chasm between our lives. i knew he was my equal, and yet, we lived so unequally. my elephant-sized life suddenly seemed inflated and scandalous and, as i turned and headed back through the gate, it took everything to keep me from breaking down."

too some, this is the closest that they will get to poverty, reading about it in a monthly magazine as they drive their $50,000+ cars through the
drive-up coffee shacks around town, thinking to themselves, "that's sad." i look at the humility of mr. beacham as he says:

"i knew he was my equal, and yet, we lived so unequally."

i wonder to myself, am i an ant, trying to do an elephant's job as i begin my journey to india? i know what is waiting for me, and yet, i desire to go. i have witnessed first hand the depravity of man. i have seen the rags that keep the poor warm at night. i have walked on the streets that double as beds for the homeless.

who do i think i am to go and
share the love of Christ? i am nobody, but in Christ's eyes, i am whole because he sees me through His blood. in Him. i am made perfect because of His sacrifice on the cross. i know that without Christ, this whole trip is useless. it is no good. He needs to be the main focus and focal point. everything else that is blurry will come together the way that He wills it. i want to be His hands and His feet. To be led by Him. i want to be willing to do the things that He wills for me. to be listening to His still, small voice and go where i am supposed to go.

Monday, September 25, 2006

we have the dates! it's about time. our trip is coming together. india is only a couple months away. i've been talking to people about it at church and letting them know that i will try and post once every few days (depending on internet accessibility) on here so they have started reading this blog. so, "hello there" to you guys. there is always the nervousness of leaving but the excitement of it all as well.

it seems more 'concrete' now that the dates are, excuse the pun, concrete. we've been getting together with rin's parents to work out the final details of everything that needs to be taken care of. our hotels have been reserved. the flights are there as well. rin's dad leaves on saturday the 30th of this month. the rest of her family leaves around the 21st of okytober.

my sister has volunteered her service of driving us at the crack of before dawn the day we leave and picking us up at night when we come back.

we will be heading into the hill country of india as well as green tea gardens and a ltc. also, we will be visiting some local schools/churches and heading into nepal.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

well, we are here sitting around looking at the calender and planning our trip to india. looks like the dates are coming together (finally). it's been a back and forth battle of which dates will work and when the flights are available.

we're also planning on going into nepal for a day as well. it's going to be weird heading off again, doing some international travel. going into india, byway of singapore and toyko.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

last night, i was flipping through the stations looking for something to watch when i came across "war photographer". i pressed info on the remote and the description came up as:

filmmaker christian frei follows photojournalist james nachtwey in kosovo, indonesia, palestine and rwanda.

naturally, i was intrigued because of the photography aspect of it. i turned it on and the first image i see is a woman from kosovo, wailing. her son (i believe) was killed. i really didn't know what i was getting into since i missed the first half hour of the documentary.

as i was getting roped into watching this show, i watched the photos come across the screen. each told it's own story without words. there was a batch of pictures of a family that lived between a pair of railroad tracks on a cardboard box. the father lost an arm and a leg. he was trying to keep his family together and trying his best to take care of them.

there were many photographs that spoke out. i would love to be able to have that ability. to take images and just let them speak for themselves. . .

Friday, September 15, 2006

today is my eldest birthday. she's growing up, and fast too. the day she was born, rin woke me up to her having contractions. i was tired, not knowing where i was, but quickly sobered to what was happening. the labor went fast and was intense, but at 3:20, our firstborn was birthed, weighing in at 4lbs, 5oz and was 18" long. yesh, she was premature and was taken to the n.i.c.u. to make sure everything was fine.

i got to go see her before rin did, but i let rin hold her first. i don't know why...i just felt that she got to have those rights. i put my finger in her hand and felt her grip it. she had an iv in her foot and was under a heat lamp to keep her warm. i couldn't believe that she was my daughter. i was a daddy. it blew me away. life changed completely.

i went back to see rin with a couple polaroids of our beautiful child. when rin was able to, we got her in a wheelchair and i pushed her to where b was. rin was handed her and held her for quite a while. then rin handed her to me and i felt another life in my hands. her head fit in the palm of my hand. her eyes were closed. her chest lifted and fell everytime she took a breath. we sat there and just held her.

we had to go back to rin's room while things were done in the n.i.c.u. so we turned on the tv while we had some dinner and birthday cake. we watched "jaws" and i would go back and forth from room to room, checking on b and then back to rin. throughout the night, while rin slept, i would go look in on b and hold her, then go back and get some sleep.

after a couple days, rin was released from the hospital, but b had to stay for observation. that was difficult to leave her. i told rin that we should go home, get cleaned up and we'll come back. after a few more days of b being in the hospital, we were able to take her home.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

the waterfall in the japanese gardens of manito park. . .

Monday, September 11, 2006

today is the fifth anniversary of the twin tower's if you didn't know. everyone is talking about it on the news and on sirius radio. i would like to tell you where i was five years ago. . .

my wife and i were in the hospital, awaiting the birth of our first child. rin's water broke on september 8th, and that was six weeks early. she was rushed to the hospital and then air lifted to spokane's sacred heart. the next day, an ultrasound was done to make sure the baby wasn't in shock and that it was doing ok (we didn't know the sex of our baby). the doctor said that everything was good and that he wanted to, if possible, wait an extra week before inducing. so, rin was moved into a room to wait for the delivery.

each morning at six, rin's blood was drawn and tested. the morning of the 11th was the same as the previous day. six o'clock came and the needle was inserted, then the plunger was pulled back, taking with it the blood of rin. the nurse left and i jokingly said, "i wonder what's on tv." i grabbed the remote and flipped on the tv. the smoking north tower came into focus and rin and i just sat there, wondering what had happened. the newsperson's voice came on and said that if we are just tuning in, a plane had hit one of the towers. then, the second plane came onto the screen and slammed into the south tower. words escaped rin and i. just "whoa" passed my lips.

we sat there, listening to the anchors talking to us. after about an hour, the doctor came in and watched with us. he had his rounds to make, but he stood there watching as well. after a few moments of silence between us all, he said that the blood looks good and that we are planned for a delivery on saturday.

since nothing was peeking, i went into work that day. rin's mom came to sit with her while i was away. as i drove into work, i listened to the news. trying to find every piece of information. i walked into the coffeeshop at work and there was a tv on and the staff was watching it.

fast forward a few days to the birth of my gorgeous baby girl. in the midst of tragedy and despair, love entered our lives through our first born. our lives were changed in many ways that week. . .

Friday, September 08, 2006

last night, rin was getting stuff ready for the garage sale that is taking place today and tomorrow at her parent's house. while she was pulling things and looking through them, she came across a shoebox full of photos. "i wonder if those are my india pictures" i told her. sure enough, the lost photographs were found. it was awesome to hold those memories in my hand again.

the glossy paper ignited the recollection of past times. the smells and sights hit me as i flipped through the pictures. walking the streets of kolkata and downtown siliguri, i remembered the heat and foot traffic. the street vendors yelling at us to come see their wares. the old man sitting by all of his brass collection of merchandise. the incense that seemed to follow me as i turn this corner to that corner. the women that were out getting new salwars and sarees.

the green tea gardens, the schools that i walked by, the little villages and bustling cities. the yellow taxis driving this way and that. the horns that are constantly blowing. the underground market. even as i write this, more images are entering my head. india is a place that has to be experienced. my expectations of it didn't prepare me for what i actually witnessed...and not in a bad way either. i've seen videos and heard the stories. i now have the pictures and the stories. i get to go again. soon and very soon. this time, rin will see what i've seen. will hear what her parent's have heard. will taste what we've tasted. . .

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

as i was heading into work this morning, i looked up at the sky and saw the sun poking through the clouds. this image doesn't do it justice. . .

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

camp was here, now it's gone...

our summer '06 camp was last week. we were at camp lutherhaven, starting tuesday at 2 in the afternoon and ending on friday, same time. rin and i were leaders and i had a cabin with chris (another leader) and about 10 highschoolers (between 16-18).

even though i was tired come the end of the week, i had a blast. we did many things. chapel, team competitions and all around good times. a band by the name of shachah came up from southern cali. they are from calvary chapel costa mesa. their music is a fusion of funk / hip-hop / rap with some acoustic riffs as well.

shachah (pronounced sha-KAH) is the hebrew word for worship. it is a verb meaning to bow down, to prostrate onself, to crouch before God in worship.

i wound up being the sound guy for them...which was pretty awesome. they had a "concert" on thursday night. stephen, the drummer, is a novice photographer, so i had a couple things in common with him. he asked if i would be willing to do some photography for them during the set. "of problem."

after the concert, a talent show followed. rin, myself, chris and gina were the judges. there are some talented kids in our group.

some of the team competitions were:
ultimate pigskin, egg slap, dolphins and trainers, egg relay, and the gross out game. some of these games went along with their names.

high score: 152,275

no pooping