Friday, February 23, 2018

The Spice Of Life

You can't beat Chinese food! This is from February 4, 2014. We had a number of visitors in our Chinese worship this past Sunday. Three came in together and I introduced myself. My thought was that they must be college students but in actuality, they all work for the same Houston company. As we talked, I mentioned that I had made two mission trips to China, the most recent one being almost four weeks in a Christian orphanage in rural Hunan Province. As soon as I spoke the words Hunan Province, the young lady of the three guests immediately said, "SPICY FOOD!" And she was right! The cooks at the orphanage sometimes would very kindly make a special portion of the meal for me because it would have been difficult for me to swallow. The amazing thing is that no one but me drank anything with their meals! I made sure I had plenty of water on hand to quench the flames!

You know what's interesting? Every time I talk to someone from China about my July in Hunan, they say the same thing as Amy, my new friend from church: SPICY FOOD! Even my translator that summer, Lavender, who was from another part of China, was under orders from her mother to bring back a healthy supply of Hunan spices. Because in Hunan Province, that's what they're known for- spicy food. It's the region's calling card. Like Detroit and cars. Or Nashville and country music. So the next time you have a VISA and you're craving spicy cuisine, there's only one destination- Hunan Province!

So what are we known for? I'm convinced most of us have a mental image of people when we hear their name mentioned. That carries over to our perception of Biblical characters as well. Dorcas? Made stuff for widows. Samson? Cover boy for Gold's Gym. Joseph? Favorite son turned farm guru. But how about you and me? What is the first thing when our names come up? Steve? Fashion icon? Cell phone Cro Magnon man? Thoughtful? Jerk? Hypocrite? Here's the amazing thing, though. We can change ourselves and thus, others' perceptions of us! Twenty-three months ago, I wrote a blog about Kaitlyn, one of my 8th grade Bible students, and her obsession with the boy band, One Direction. (If interested, here is the link to that entry: This afternoon, Kaitlyn, now a grownup sophomore varsity cheerleader, was using my classroom for some physics tutoring. I mentioned how several of my middle school team members already had their tickets from One Direction's concert in Houston IN AUGUST. I asked Kaitlyn if she was going to be in the audience that night, too. She laughed and told me she has moved on. She is no longer a Directioner and the five boys from Great Britain are no longer the center of her universe. Overcoming an addiction to a teenage group crush? Just proves anything is possible. Kaitlyn is my new example. I want to be known as a guy who can change. Through Jesus, I can. Be patient.

Applicable quote of the day:
"In the States, you can buy Chinese food. In Beijing you can buy hamburger. It's very close. Now I feel the world become a big family, like a really big family. You have many neighbors. Not like before, two countries are far away."
Jet Li

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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