May 21

No Time for Jet Lag

Last Friday night at 11 pm I arrived home in Kaohsiung. My visit to the US was brief and my schedule during my stay there was busy. The highlight of my trip was the opportunity to spend some time with my son, Luke, whom we have not seen since Christmas 2008.

I flew out of Kaohsiung on Monday morning (May 10) for the long, 21-hour trip to Cleveland (4 different flights). The time was not wasted since I brought along plenty of reading material to occupy the time. I arrived Monday evening (Cleveland time) and was able to enjoy a good night’s rest before the day-long meeting (the reason for my trip) at our Baptist Mid-Missions’ office on Tuesday.

Luke, who had just completed his sophomore year at Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC), caught a ride to Cleveland and shared my hotel room for two nights. It was a blessing to enjoy the face-to-face time with him and observe the maturing process taking place in his life. (Trying to maintain a relationship with a busy college student from the other side of the world, in the opposite time-zone, can be very frustrating.)

Luke had earlier written us a brief e-mail in which he informed us that his society had won first place in the Scholastic Bowl competition on campus. Scholastic Bowl is a Jeopardy-style general knowledge quizzing competition.  Since his society is a smaller society among BJU’s 45 men’s and women’s societies that competed in the event, we were suitable impressed. It wasn’t till I arrived in Cleveland that I learned “the rest of the story” (as Paul Harvey would say). Luke was himself a member of the three-man team which competed in the final round before the whole student body. Wow! (I’m just a little bit proud.)

On Wednesday I rented a car and drove Luke to Toledo; Marla’s parents drove down from Michigan and met us there. Luke will be staying with them till the end of May when he will begin a summer job in North Carolina working for The Wild’s, a conservative Christian camp. His primary responsibility will be doing grounds-keeping (mowing lawns, etc.), but he will also have opportunities to play his trumpet occasionally in their nightly evangelistic meetings and participate in other ministries.

Unlike Naomi in the book of Ruth, I went away empty and came home full. The one large soft-side suitcase that I left with was so empty that my clothing rattled around like a pea in a can. After finishing with the shopping list that Marla had sent along with me, I had two full bags to check for my return flight.

My flight home was more stressful than the flight out. Weather in Chicago necessitated a complete change of my itinerary (I even had to change airlines). After an hour and a half waiting in check-in lines for two different airlines and barely making my rescheduled flight, I ended up on a puddle-jumper to Toronto.  It was a very turbulent and uncomfortable hop; then I had to track down the transfer counter in a strange airport to get the boarding pass for my next flight. I had to do the same thing again in Tokyo. In the end I arrived home at exactly the same time as my original itinerary had planned. Between the flights there and back, I got in about 15 hours of reading for my July seminary block course.

Amazingly, I experienced no serious jet lag either way. I probably wasn’t there long enough and I was too busy for my body to register the change. Sunday I was back in my pulpit. Please continue to pray for our family and ministry here, and for Luke there, as we carry on with ministry responsibilities.

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