Friday, November 21, 2008


Friday nights I engage in conversation with, teach English to (scary thought, I know), and lead musical worship for international students who come to the friday night fellowship on the Penn State campus. (The group is called "International Christian Fellowship"). Today I decided to bring my camera along and take photos, because I've told a lot of people about this group but have never posted any photos.

Also, today it snowed, and was beautiful, and we had a clear intense blue sky in the evening so I took photos of walking to the fellowship room.

So these are stepping out of my building, then walking over the IST bridge, which is a whole other building in and of itself. Possibly the coolest building on all of campus, actually.

In the fellowship room, the church responsible for this weeks food sets up their food on a set of tables and stands behind it and serves along with some of the ICF staff. The students lineup and get the food. This week it was thanksgiving themed food... turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce. It was tasty

Here's Solomon teaching Grace a special handshake, with an interested onlooker standing behind. Solomon is from South Africa, and speaks the Zulu click tongue, a most interesting language which, among other things, features clicking noises made with the tongue. Grace is the ICF student group treasurer and is a real character.

This is HaeYun. He and I beat out various classic worship songs and hymns. We aren't exactly musician extraordinairs, however, we have an audience that loves the music and learns about God through it, so I couldn't ask for more. Sometimes a girl named Johanna sings for us which is good because she can sing loud and well, and neither of us really know how to do that part.

Here's the dinner line in formation. There were a lot of US folks tonight

Here's Bill... he's the head and cordinator of the PSU ICF ministries. He's got his hands full on Friday nights, but here he greets everyone in the line. He knows pretty much everyone there by name, except the new people who always come.

These are some English lesson tables. ICF participants have two options normally: go to a bible study, or have an English lesson in which you learn idioms. Today, at my table was: Changnan (from China), Ali (from Peru), Haeyun (from Korea), Grace (Taiwan), and Keith, who lived in Sendai, in the same building as me, for a whole semester, and I didn't know he was there. We found out afterwards. He is a cool brother in Christ... we tag teamed for the lesson. It was about Thanksgiving, and the origin of the holiday.

We always close with one of the Christian brothers or sisters sharing their testimony. Tonight, Barbara, Bill's wife, shared. She is nervous infront of a crowd, but you actually wouldn't know at all because she spoke very well. Then, we did a couple songs, (Haeyun, Johanna, and I), and then we closed.

So there you have it, that's ICF

Friday, November 14, 2008

Days of yore

So it was recently brought to my attention that I haven't blogged in a while, and that I really needed to blog. It is much less enjoyable to blog when I have no enjoyable photos to blog about and lately, I just haven't taken any. However, due to a certain highly regarded person's prompting in the matter, I decided to brows through the old files in hopes of finding something interesting that i have not yet blogged about.

And lo! Within C:\WDmybook\Passport315008\Other stuff\desktop backup\my documents\camera\camping I found what I was looking for. I present to you: Tim, Marian, Chris and Josh's most excellent adventure I!

*** background ***
Fresh from a barn-burning senior year in at SPU it became clear to me after graduation that for the past four years I had less than capitalized on my proximity to the abundant natural beauty that surrounds the Seattle region. Having a somewhat phantastical bent, the gigantic, moss draped ancient forests of the Olympic penninsula had always appealed to me most, but I never took the time to go actually see these forests. So, after graduation I organized a 3 day packing trip through the "enchanted valley," a forested valley that empties into lake quinault, and has several of the largest trees of their kind in the world (spruce, cedar, hemlock and... something else I think). Josh - great buddy & study partner, and Chris - room mate and in the same design project team, were the other guys, and Marian was the solo female.


We look intrepid, here, but we're still in our front lawn.

We were going to meet Josh and Chris somewhere in Seattle, if I recall, and then carpool out to lake Quinault, to get our hiker registration (and enormous bear canister (for bear protection (which I incidentally had to lug the whole way))). There was some sort of forest fire creating a haze in central washington then.

What is considered the "world's largest spruce tree" stands at the edge of lake quinault, where we started. Here's Chris standing on one of the giant roots. This tree was... very large.

Marian took this photo for us climbing up the side

This was quite an amazing gorge cut out of rock by the river, ferns were growing out of the sides

I'm not making the blue in that river up...

These are some maples, I guess... thought they looked pretty neat, all mossy like that

Gigantic trees lining the path. They were so large and tall that if you stood at the base and looked up they were bending in the middle... they didn't look safe. Probably explained all the fallen trees we saw in this forest, which supposedly had never been logged.

Hiking in this forest was one of the couple times when, due to natural scenery, I've litterally felt buggish. Bug sized. We were dwarfed by the enormous trees next to us... I know this isn't the redwood forest and all, but these were the most massive trees I had ever seen. The other time I felt buggish was in the Tiger Leaping Gorge...

Crossing a river... almost at our first campsight.

This was the riverbed next to our first campsite (~10 miles in from the trailhead). The Quinault rainforest gets something like 12 feet of rain a year, so sometimes the river is really high, but at this time of the year it was pretty low, and the river is off to the right (you can't really see it in the photo). that evening, we ate something which I forget, listened to Josh tell stories of going hiking with people who packed wrong gear and ended up being sopping wet and cold all night while he was "bone dry." We put the bear canister I lugged up to good use... pitched our tent (Marian and I used dad's old school but butt-kicking 4 season North face tent from the 70's. It had an openable orifice on the bottom to reach through and gather snow, but since there was only dirt below us we didn't really use it).

Our goal was to hike out to see the "World's largest hemlock" (how do they know these things?) the next day, about 5 or six miles up the trail, and return back to the camp. Here's me starting up the stove in the morning.

My ultra cool portable stove that can cook sausages with anything anything from gasoline to jet fuel.

Chris, and me enjoying a hot cup of something. You can see my chacos. Still the same ones I've got now. Hiked the whole way in them.

Hiking out to the hemlock, after breakfast

This was a giant cedar tree that had fallen over. Pretty massive.

I think I'm making that face because of the clouds of mesquitoes sucking our blood.

We cleared the dense forest, and ended up in the "enchanted valley", where a bajillion small waterfalls were pouring down from the cliffs surrounding us, and herds of elk were roaming on the far sides. Pretty amazing place.

Marian, hugging the world's largest hemlock! Ok, the world's largest hemlock is somewhat underwhelming compared to the other trees.

Looking up at the sides of the valley, again

Here's marian at our dinner fire, and Josh in the background

Hmmm so that night, we uh... slept. I think there was some roasting of some delicious food involved. It hadn't occured to me at this time of life to write down the events of the day, when going on an excursion. At any rate, the next morning the plan was to hike back to the car, drive into seattle and catch the Seattle fireworks (it was July 4th) from the amazingly located apartment of one of Josh's chums

Me in the morning

A bear I prevented Marian from petting

A grouse! I think... is that a grouse?

I had a small memory card, so I don't really have anymore photos of note from the hike on the way out. Josh and Chris tore up the trail, Marian and I took a sort of leisurely pace, and I think I remember munching on beef jerky being involved... I haven't eating beef jerky in a long time I just now realized. That's good stuff. Anyway, we got back to the car and my feet probably felt better than anyone else's because I did the whole thing in sandals. Then, we drove back to seattle, went to Josh's place and took showers (thanks Josh), then headed over to Chris's friends apartment, waaaay up some building. Here is the view from his balcony:

View from Chris's friend's balcony. That's I5, lake union, and the space needle in the distance. (His friend's house is in the U-district)

A firework.

So, all the red lightes on I5 are cars parked there to get a good view. Apparently, to the city's great irritation, people do this every year. Beforehand it was fun seeing the cops line up next to the bridge, then watching as traffic came to a complete, sudden halt when the fireworks started. The cops then proceded to walk around dishing out tickets.

So there it was! And, I am completely toast right now so I'm heading home now, but I hope that was interesting

Monday, November 03, 2008

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise

Rooting through stacks of paper in her living room, Hilary found these two worship songs written by one of her younger siblings.

With original spelling...

1. By ***
Lord you are my God

Lord Lord Lord.
you are my God. You
are the strankth of
my life. you are the dlekler (dlerler?). You
love me. You help me to.
You are my
you are my Lord. Forever.

2. Lord you are good to me forever

Lord Oe Lord. You are God. I will wershep
you. All my life. God you are my God.
you are good to me.
I can allwase have you.
Lord you are good to me.

By ***