Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our New Address!

1060 Thornrose Way
Wake Forest, NC 27587

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's Next?

Now that we are back in the States we have frequently been asked the question "So what are you going to do next?" I thought I would spend a few minutes answering the question for those of you who haven't been able to ask us in person. Since November 22nd we have been living with my parents in Cherryville, NC. Since we are in a transition time without jobs we have tried to keep ourselves busy. I went to a conference on "Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention" for a few days with my father in Ridgecrest, NC. Then on a hunting expedition with my uncle in Camden, SC. We have also been on the go visiting friends and all the new babies that have been born during our 15 month absence. This past weekend we traveled to Williamston and Henderson, NC with my parents where we visited the Griffins, Ms. Sexton and the Burnhams. All of those were great visits and they further increased my excitement about our upcoming move to the eastern part of the state. On Friday we leave to go to Atlanta, GA. where we will spend about five days with Leslie's brother, Brent. We are looking forward to spending time with him and seeing his new house.

We will continue living in Cherryville until January 12th, then we pick up and move to Wake Forest, NC. In Wake Forest I will be attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and we will be living in their married housing apartments for the upcoming spring semester. Leslie is currently looking for a job as a Graphic Designer in and around the Raleigh area. When the day arrives will be sure to update you with the good news that Leslie has found a job she likes, until then please pray for her as she searches.

Our goal is to only live in the married housing apartments for a semester. Since we know that the Masters of Divinity program will run me at least three years we would like to try and buy a house somewhere in the area. If you are keeping a list of prayer requests the hope and dream of buying a house is somewhere below Leslie finding a good job and me not failing out of school.

Now you know about as much as we do. Thanks for keeping up with us and for praying for us, we will be sure to keep you updated as we can. God bless.

PS. I have some really great friends who are working in a very difficult place in Africa. They have a wonderful blog that I know you will enjoy reading and following. They both graduated with me from Rift Valley Academy in Kenya and they have since gone on to receive degrees from Moody Bible College and Columbia International University. They are some of the most capable people I know and no one in the world could do the job they are doing any better than they are. I know they would appreciate your prayers as well.
www.africanfaders.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Amsterdam


Here we are the third and final installment of the "Trip Home" series. Thanks for sticking with me this far.

Amsterdam was by far the easiest city to get around in. The public transportation was so easy to learn and use, it amazed me. The train ride from the airport to Central Station was a quick 15 or 20 minutes, then we walked outside and got on a tram which took us close to our hotel. The whole time we were there it was so easy to use our little map out of the travel book and get wherever we wanted without walking to terribly far. The weather was much colder than Thailand or Athens so we weren't as excited about exploring the city on foot as we were the previous destinations. America could really stand to learn a lesson or two about public transportation from Europe, or Korea for that matter it was good there as well.

In Amsterdam we were forced to stay in a hotel rather than a hostel due to conditions beyond our control. A week or so before we arrived in Amsterdam we were online looking and looking for available hostel rooms and were dumbfounded not to find any. When we arrived we found out why, it was Cannabis Cup week! Evidently, Amsterdam hosts it once a year and we just happened to pick that weekend to travel through. For those of you curious...No we didn't join the judges but in case you're interested I will explain how it works. Anyone over the age of 18 can buy a judges pass for x amount of money. That individual can then go around to all the different "coffee shops" and smoke their finest selection. That judge then votes on which "coffee shops" had the best product. The winners can then boast that they have the best selection available. (By the way, if you are an American reading this thinking how liberal and far down the slope Holland is, you should just know that most of the people walking around with judges passes on were Americans.)


Amsterdam was a beautiful city to explore. Athens of course has the Parthenon and those surrounding hills but outside of those the city itself is nothing to special to look at. Amsterdam was fun for the eyes wherever you looked. Buildings that looked ancient but housed modern offices or buildings that we swore looked like they were leaning sideways. A beautiful, old, (but still active) stone church sat in the middle of the red light district. The canals and their accompanying bridges are a marvel to behold. I would love to go back sometime when the weather is warmer, rent bicycles and ride up and down each canal.

We went to the Van Gogh Museum one day and that was interesting, (more interesting if you really enjoy art, most of it was lost on me.) We also went to the Hemp Museum, personally I found it more entertaining than Van Gogh. Inside they had a completely legal grow house, along with lots of other documented history regarding hemp and its use over the years. You can see pictures from the grow house in the flickr album, evidently they have won several awards at Cannabis Cups over the years. This is one of the many reasons I love traveling, you can see so much crazy stuff that you would never get to see otherwise.

The food was good, we had Indian, hot dogs, English breakfast (2 eggs sunny side up, on top of toast, with a side of bacon, fantastic!), fish and chips, shawarma, I enjoyed it all.

Another fun part of the trip was a parade that happened while we were there. St Nickolaus comes to town a little earlier in Amsterdam than he does in America. There was a big parade to welcome him as he rode through town on his white horse accompanied by the black faced Peters. (Why are there black faced Peters? I don't know. Look it up.) They handed out ginger snaps to all the kids and to us if we smiled big enough. It was fun. We only have a few pictures of the occasion though because the battery on the camera was about to die, there is at least one good pic of St Nickolaus though.

Well I hope you have enjoyed these posts about the trip home. If you have further questions about any of these places you can feel free to ask. If you want to see pictures of Amsterdam click on the Flickr photo link on the right hand side of the page and go to the set titled "Trip Home: Amsterdam."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Athens


I think quite honestly that this may have been my favorite stop on this trip. We arrived early in the morning and made our way to Athens Backpackers Hostel very near the Acropolis. Check in time wasn't until one o'clock so we left our bags and went up the hill to see the sights. Within two hours of being in the country we were sitting on top of the Acropolis in the shadow of the Parthenon. The whole experience of walking up the hill through the olive trees, past the ancient marble, through the scaffolding, between the throng of retired American tourists was just fantastic. The view from the top of the Acropolis is marvelous. No matter how many pictures or postcards you have seen of the Parthenon and the other temples at the top of the Acropolis nothing comes close to being there. Standing in front of ruins that old really put me in awe.

The hostel was nice but it was a bit difficult to sleep with all the other people in the room having different schedules requiring them to either come in late or get up insanely early. Staying there though did provide us the chance to meet other travelers and hear their stories. One of the best parts about traveling is meeting other people from around the world and hearing their perspective.

Greek food is wonderful. It was such a nice contrast from the Korean food we had been consuming for fourteen months. Everything is cooked in large amounts of olive oil and it tastes great. We ate baked chicken and potato almost every day, plus gyros and slouvaki, and greek salad which is drenched in olive oil dressing with a generous slab of feta cheese. It was fun every time we ate.

The second and third day we climbed Aeropagus Hill (in Acts 17 it is referred to as Mars Hill) and walked through the Ancient Agora (market). Mars Hill stands in a great location. Depending on how you are facing you can look down on the Ancient Market or turn around and look up at the Acropolis, and of course all around is a great view of the city of Athens. I have always wanted to do a tour of Israel and the numerous sites there that are mentioned in the Bible. But this was a good second to what I think that experience will be like. While we were standing on top of Mars Hill an American church group walked up and sat beside us and did a reading of Acts 17, then the preacher did a short talk about what the city of Athens was like during the time of the apostle Paul, he also gave some good background on the intellectual community which Paul was speaking to when he preached his famous sermon "The Unknown God." It was a wonderful experience that really made the whole trip to Athens worth every penny that we paid.

If there is one regret that I have it is that we did not have enough time to go south and do the Greek islands. I would love to go back and island hop sometime when the weather is warm. If you want to see pictures of our time in Athens click on the link to the right called Flickr Photos then go to the set titled Trip Home: Athens. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for an upcoming post on Amsterdam. If you have questions you are of course welcome to ask, write me an email or post a comment.