Monday, June 26, 2017

Whirlwind Trip to the PNW, or Jordan's Graduation

The Best of Both Worlds: Gecko Tales ~ June 25, 2017

A whirlwind trip to the Seattle area was full patches of heaven right here on earth. One of those patches was seeing my son Jordan graduate from Sammamish High School after a year of putting his nose to the grindstone.  All my children were in town and I was able to see them, and spend some extended time with my oldest son Matt. 

On the day I arrived, wilted, exhausted and the victim of an 11-hour lay over in Korea, Judy Runions picked me up at the airport. She drove me to her house in Shoreline so I could borrow her truck. I then made a beeline for SPU where the Jazzy Piggy (Jacqueline) was receiving her nursing degree. Just before SPU, I got stuck at a drawbridge, and then overshot my exit as the street signs shrunk the closer I got to the University. Got back on the right road and it was bumper to bumper. I pulled into SPU parking lot at 4pm exactly and was just on time for the service and to see Jackie pinned.

Was able to touch base with a number of long time close friends like Jim Schmick, Rich Leatherberry, Bill Forbes (who climbed Rainier this weekend), the Meisels, the Pommers, and more. Jim Schmick, an old mate from World Vision, Cambodia, has been landscaping his back yard in Auburn since 1996, and after all his years of trial and error, it finally resembles the Garden of Eden - with exception of the ‘Charlie Brown’ fir. A typical fir had been ravaged by a windstorm in 2010. He called me to fix it and I did, but the way the tree responded to the trauma and pruning over the years made it look like a very strange new species of tree – an aberration. Maybe it’s a token “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?”

A particular God thing was meeting up with Dan Daly, an old time friend from Paul Smith’s college, the forestry school where I studied in the Adirondack Mountains in Update New York. The last time we met was in 1980 or so. We shared our life stories with each other and found out that each of our lives, miles and contexts apart, had been transformed by God through similar crises, with God having met us in those crises in very, very, similar ways. For me, this was the second biggest highlight (Jordan’s graduation being first) of my trip as Paul Smith’s was a sacred place for me, and the people and experiences there were indelible.

My last two days in the PNW were gorgeous, just what I imagine the future Kingdom of God on earth to be like. I stayed with John and Penny, whose yard boasted roses of various hues in full bloom, intermittently planted around in strategic places, buffeted by fresh mountain air, set in a backdrop of tall firs reaching toward incredible blue PNW sky. I have inkling of what John and Penny will be doing in the coming Kingdom.

It seems in our response to life, we can create patches of heaven on earth in many places, enough to keep us going when tough times come.  And then, for me, came the long flight on Korean Air back to Cambodia.  Without going into it, or else I will sin, I will concede the flight was a patch of Purgatory or Limbo here on earth, not quite a patch of hell, but an experience where I had to exercise much patience, control, and perseverance.

Back in the Kingdom after 18 hours in the air, I was reunited with the love of my life at 11 pm at Pochentong Airport. The first thing the following morning I had my favorite type of noodle soup with Mr. Kimlieng, whom I have mentored for 2 or 3 years now. He is another person whose life has many similarities to mine.

Bophal led worship at the Center of Peace this morning. She used an ONYX PSF (Personal Spiritual Formation) lesson where each teen and child selected a laminated photo or picture of different scenes of life, and shared what God was saying to them through the photos. I felt very privileged to listen to their very personal and transparent interpretations, and was overjoyed to know that they are much aware that their responses to life can open doors where the future Kingdom of God spills into their lives in the present. They understood that this life is not just about getting to another place, and that they can experience the Kingdom of God right here and now, through their response to life, how open they are to God, their attitudes and actions, their ability to see with eyes of their heart, and to what level of consciousness they allow themselves to operate on.

On to Dove’s Coffee House Ministry at 3 pm where 60 teenagers (ONYX Students facilitating) learned about becoming peacemakers with Peace Bridges. I sat there observing their energy, playfulness, humility, their willingness to engage and cooperate with instructor and one another.  Again, this was the reign of Christ, breaking into the present and it was tangible.

I am very grateful to able to surf from patch of heaven to patch of heaven on both sides of the Pacific.

Now, as Jetlag begins to take over, I will quit here. As I sign off, I am hoping you will sign on.  If you aren’t supporting us please do. Our ministries may not hit the covers of major Christian publications, but God allows us to reach deep into the lives of Cambodian youth.

Thanks for your friendship, support, finances and prayer

Brian and Bophal

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