I spent all day with the Chancellor of the Iligan Institute of Technology – a university in the Philippines. Back in March, he had sent his former Dean of the College of Education to spend some time in the US learning about web-based learning. She wound up spending a couple of days with me at the Center for Distance Learning at my university. I created an itinerary that let him meet people who could arrange faculty and student exchanges, share academic ideas – and in my case, work on projects involving web-based learning.
My school does a good job of educating kids from an “at risk” background. Though we’ll never challenge Harvard or Stanford’s position at the top, we’re the kind of place that educates most people in America. Most of our time is spent working for the student, while the remaining time is spent whining about how little money we have.
All things are relative, however. Iligan doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. We are fabulously rich by comparison. The national government currently provides thirty percent of the funding for Iligan – but has declared it will be reduced to zero over the next five years. Iligan can’t hold on to faculty – as soon as they earn an advanced degree, they’re off to another country where they can earn a decent living. Iligan has students from homes scattered across rugged mountains and isolated islands. Iligan can’t provide dorms, so the students live where they can.
I’m really not into dualism. In other words, there is just one God, and not two – Satan is not another God.
But, we must have pissed off somebody. There’s a lot going on right now.
C’s elderly Dad needs surgery. It was all scheduled, and C went to be with her parents – then the hospital screwed up, didn’t do the correct prep prior to surgery, and it was postponed - indefinitely.
While in her hometown, C visited her sick brother – only to find out his hepatitis is advanced, his liver shot – and he has a spot on his lungs.
We’re in the process of finding out if my Mom has Alzheimer’s.
My gorgeous daughter-in-law has a tumor on her thyroid – and won’t know whether it is benign or cancerous until it is excised. Oh yeah – she recently changed jobs and has no health insurance. My son is self-employed, so his insurance is expensive.
Finally - and this is seemingly minor, but its not – C and I have trouble communicating. No no – our relationship is fine. I mean the technology doesn’t work. Her parent’s house must sit right on the edge of the mobile phone cell because I can’t talk to her in the house, and we loose contact often when she goes outside. The house phone doesn’t work well, and Internet service is dial-up. The parents don’t like the phone line being tied up very long, so she has to limit online time.
I’m surviving being a geographic bachelor, but the frozen dinners are a bummer.
Ah yes – the joys of family. The professional conference I attended in Orlando was great (it really was), but spending time with my son and his wonderful family is even better. The joy is tempered by the fact that C can’t be with me. She left early to go be with her parents – her elderly father is having serious surgery on Monday.
Not only that, but today is our anniversary – and we’re apart. The past two anniversaries were spent in Viet Nam. Happy 33rd anniversary, Babe.
I’ve gotten behind on my blog reading – and don’t care. Time was better spent last evening with my son as we smoked good cigars and solved the world’s problems. Sure, bloggers are world-problem solvers too, but then again most bloggers aren’t my son, and I have yet to enjoy a cigar with a blogger. We did that after taking the nine year old grandson out for wings – and showed him how to play pool. He beat his dad is his very first game of pool when my son decided to sink the eight ball early. Yeah, I’ve heard all the clichés about male bonding, but it was a special evening anyway.
So this morning, I tapped into his wi-fi network at home, and caught up on my blog reading. Tejas de Korea’s posting about ducks and dogs made me think more about our plans to live and teach English in Viet Nam. Coincidently, RealLivePreacher’s comments about the Bible as a weapon were read right after this morning’s coffee conversation about Christian fundamentalism.
Ah yes - this is nice. A little mixing of business and pleasure. I have a conference here in Orlando this week, but (by coincidence) Orlando also happens to be where my son and his family live. After an excellent workshop yesterday on the use of PDAs in higher ed, I'm enjoying sitting in the living room with my four grandkids around me.
I'll figure out something heavy and deep to write later - right now, I'm having too much fun.
As C and I continue to move towards living in Viet Nam, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Some of the reading has been notes I wrote to myself sometime in the past and have since forgotten. One of those notes dealt with missions – the calling contained in The Great Commission in Matthew 28. I love the way The Message paraphrases it:
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
Today, that Commission is carried out in a variety of ways: within our environment at work or leisure, within our communities, and within our churches. But, when the word “mission” is used, we usually mean going off somewhere to a foreign land and bringing the good news to those who have haven’t had the chance to hear it.
In modern times, that “going off to foreign lands” has been accomplished two ways:
Long term missions - people devoting significant chunks of their lives to going overseas to Africa, Asia, or Latin America. That’s what we hope to do in Viet Nam.
Short term missions – “Amateurs” taking a week or two out of their normal lives to travel at their own expense to bring medical, humanitarian, or educational assistance to poverty stricken people, and to do so as a means of showing God’s love rather than talking about God’s love. C and I have been on such short term missions to Viet Nam and Honduras.