Saturday, June 11, 2016

Smartphone, Dumb Guy

One week of basketball camp is in the books- two to go! It also means I leave for Vietnam in twenty-four days, my sixth trip to Can Tho. Each summer I make out a to-do list before I embark. Some of the items directly impact my mission while some, like rotating the tires on my car, are simply chores I have to take care of. My list stands at 98 with roughly half of the numerals accomplished. I add daily and check off daily. Since I began traveling by myself in 2010, I'm much improved in the process. Last summer brought a change to my living conditions in Vietnam. In the initial four trips, I stayed in the duplex which houses the church and at that time, the school started by members of the congregation. In July 2015, I stayed at a hotel two blocks from the church property. It was a good change; when I stayed at the church, it caused rearranging of quarters of the members who lived there. Also, a foreigner can cause some suspicion with the authorities. It's a nice hotel, only $11 per day plus an outside cafe. The Internet is excellent and they do a good job with laundry. But a problem arose. My phone is not usable in Vietnam and Facebook/e-mail is not conducive to quick communication. Hai, the preacher, gave me a phone with only 2 or 3 numbers coded in and that was a passable solution. And I never lost it once!

Every August when I get back, our WCS in-service is in full swing and my administrators know I'm dealing with jet lag and odds and ends to tend to. One of my return tasks is spending some time with Mike Tune on the phone. Mike was my minister in Tennessee and now oversees the several-layers of work in Can Tho. Mike's dad, Tom, was a long-term missionary in Asia and began this particular work. Last August, as I reported to Mike about my trip, he suggested sending a phone with me to enhance staying in touch. I reminded him last week and sure enough, a fully functioning BlackBerry Smartphone arrived in my mailbox. Fully functioning, that is, to someone who knows how to use a BlackBerry Smartphone. I have figured out how to turn it on. I even called it with my AT+T LG phone but when it rang, I couldn't figure out to answer it! Mike has explained the phone to me via emails and told me to play around with it in the next several weeks. He also thinks I understate my tech skills. I have him fooled!

Several weeks before the end of school, I asked my students if they think I could figure out a Smartphone and similar devices. They seemed to think I could with conditions. One, I would want to figure it out. Second, it would take time. And third, I would need help. They know I can barely call and text on the simple phone I have- I don't even know for certain how to save numbers. These kids were raised with devices in their hands; it's all they know. A number of my classmates in Nebraska had party lines on their phones which I would have to explain to my youngsters has nothing to do with a rave. But, now I have the one thing I need- incentive. A willingness to learn with a commitment to finding assistance. I watched a you tube how-to video but really clicked out feeling more confused than enlightened about BlackBerry Smartphones. I kind of see myself like the unnamed Ethiopian court official in Acts 8  on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza, struggling with the interpretation of Scripture. When the evangelist Philip asks the man if he understood what he's reading, the Ethiopian replied, "How can I unless someone explain it to me?" And Philip took the time to do so. If you remember the story, the official believed the testimony about Jesus, was baptized into Christ, and departed rejoicing! He just needed the right person who knew the truth AND who was willing to teach him. That's all I want, too. Someone who knows more than me and will tolerate my ineptitude. I've got a few candidates in mind! If you see me in a chariot tooling around Houston in the next three weeks, let's talk! It better be face to face, though. I don't quite have the other part down yet!

Applicable quote of the day:
"The moment of drifting into thought has been so clipped by modern technology. Our lives are filled with distraction with smartphones and all the rest. People are so locked into not being present."
Glen Hansard

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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