great controversy book work

in thailand 2006 – iv

Well, Thailand has come to be my 3rd home it seems.  It is great to be able to stay in a country that is free to the spread of the gospel, has a free visa chop at the airport, has caring SDAs who will help support your work by giving a place to stay, has most of the things needed to live comfortably like doctors, raisins, computers etc., and that is centrally located so that transportation fares to other SE Asian countries are low.  Thank you Thailand!  Thank you Thailanders!!

Arriving from the airport, i head straight for Pantip with my computer.  90 minutes of poking, and mostly just changing out memory cards finally leads the repairman to say the control chip seems to be the problem, and that i need to bring it to the shop next door the next day.  It will start when you press down hard on the keyboard around the F,V,C area.  But otherwise, nothing happens when you press the power switch.

The next day finds me of course at the repair shop with my precious Toshiba.  It is quite a lonely feeling handing it over, and knowing i’ll be without for up to one week.  An even worse feeling is knowing it’s probably going to cost a lot to get it working properly again 🙁

in thailand 2006 – iii

Coming in from Cambodia was strange, as all of us whities got shunted off to one place (Poi Pet) where we had to wait over 2 hours for our bus to come.  I knew the casino bus was running to Bangkok for a cheaper price, but knowing how things often don’t go as expected, i decided to play it safe and take one company all the way to my final destination.  Mistake this time.  Oh well, i arrive in Bangkok probably around 3 or 4 hours later than necessary, and in the middle of a demonstration against the current prime minister.  Just glad to catch a bus to the Chinese Church, where the pastor insists i stay with his family instead of in the primary room at church.  It sleeps very well, except that the covering sheet is more like a quilt, and causes a bit of sweat in the 29degree Bangkok nites.  Having a real bed to sleep on is quite a luxury, thank you pastor 🙂

Wanting to sleep, but knowing that things need to get done, i wash the red Cambodian dirt out of all my things, and go to Khao San area to get a visa for M, then over to Pantip plaza and get some CD-Rs to burn the movie i hope to make of some of my travels.  I’m really looking forward to meeting the two young men who come to English lessons, and who join readily in Bible reading and singing worship songs, but only one of them is here tonite.  I go out to eat with the Filipino teacher, and when it is time to pay, he acts like he will pay it all.  I insist on paying my part, and then he says “It’s my birthday”, so i happily pay for both of us, even buying a little sweet and giving it to him.  After taking a bite or two, he says laughingly, “It’s a joke, it’s not really my birthday”.  This is one of the rudest, most unchristlike things i’ve seen on my whole trip.  (No, he didn’t offer to pay either.)  I tell him that we as Christians must always speak the truth, because the liars will be outside the New Jerusalem.  He just smiles.  I forgive him, and pray that he repents.

in cambodia 2006 – iv

Somehow we find the bus on the Cambodian side taking us to Phnom Penh, and here another little miracle occurs.  For some reason, the seat next to me is the last one empty. (didn’t i wash a bit just yesterday?!)  A large man seats next to me, but then a small lady gets up near the front, and they exchange seats.  We don’t talk for around the first half of the trip, but then strike up a conversation, and i show her pics from the Philippines (her country), and after she says she is Christian (RCC), i show her the GC anime.  She remarks that it is very nice, and she wants to go to heaven too.  She gladly accepts the English GC book i offer her, and reads the 1st chapter right there.  Praise God!  Of all the 40 riders on that bus, God put probably the only one interested in the truth right next to me.  She didn’t crinkle her nose either, and in fact, asked me why i didn’t have a companion, so i guess my body odor was not the reason for the empty seat – haha.

The guide is a rarity – a Cambodian who can speak pretty good English and is a bit funny to boot.  He rejects my request to let me off at the Japanese embassy, but the Filipino next to me encourages me to ask again, and explaining i have all my luggage with me already, he consents, saving me probably 3,000khr (75cents) and 20 minutes or more.  Thank you!!!  I walk straight to the internet cafe for a quick 30minuter.  No going out at nite, so have to do it now – 5:10pm.  8 1/2 hours from Saigon, probably doable in 4 hours by car if they were quick about working at the border.   It was interesting how things were quite green in Vietnam, and so brown and dried up in Cambodia.  Hope they can make it until the monsoons in July!

in vietnam 2006

First time ever into this country.  40usd for a visa is the most i’ve ever paid anywhere, but just glad to get it.

After the Cambodian system-less exit process, the Vietnamese process seems quite logical.  The first officials ask for money, even saying “money” to me, but i protest quietly that i have already paid $40 for a visa….  After about a minute, they wave me on, and i get ripped off about 50cents with another official, and then i’m in.

You would think that border towns would be bustling with activity, but perhaps because of past wars, there is nothing in sight.  Many motorbike touts are telling me “10 dollars”, and i’m replying “3”.  One of them stays with me, and finally, cursing under his breath it seemed, he took me to his taxi company.  I wait under a low, metal roof for around 20 – 30 minutes watching the women work at stripping the sugar cane, and the men laze around in hammocks, or smoke absent-headedly.

The other 3 riders insist i take the front seat, so after a small protest, i hop in.  It is a nice car, and we whiz past super-green rice and corn fields.  It is probably over 2km to the first town, so it’s a good thing i didn’t carry thru with my initial idea of walking to find a cheaper taxi.  2km doesn’t sound like much, but with a backpack, and no shade in a blazing sun, it probably would’ve raisined me.

in cambodia 2006 – iii

Now that my time in Cambodia is drawing to a close, i finally take the trouble to learn the money code is KHR.  USD is gladly accepted most everywhere too, and in fact, even the little market vendors will take usd, and will give khr in change.  The problem is, when you flash usd, the greed element kicks in on some people, and the khr that comes back is puny.  I find that compared to most poor countries tho, the Khmer are the best at not trying to cheat and take advantage 🙂

I really should do more computer work, writing people etc., but playing and talking with the house members seems important too, and besides, there are many power outages.  Nearly all morning is spent teaching, and then a little over an hour in the evening with the English kids – super enjoyable, and tiring in a good, “working tired” way.

Doing a lot of praying the nite before regarding how to teach the prophecies well has been rewarded with God leading me to tell plainly, and in a way connecting everything together that even i did not recognize until it happened.  I hope and pray everyone there will be able to understand, and remember what was studied today.  The final fulfillment of the 1260, 1290, and 1335 day prophecy is yet future, and is strongly inferred by Christ dying “in the middle of the week”.  When will the last part of the week be?  I don’t know, but do know that Jesus will confirm the covenant with the 144,000 for 3 1/2 years at the end time.  May i be true to you, and stand firmly for the truth dear Jesus!

in cambodia 2006 – ii

Breakfast on the last day of January 2006 is a heaping plate of fried rice, with a side of peeled and sliced cucumber, and a sliced half of a tomato, mostly red.  It tastes good, but i’m getting tired of the same thing morning, noon, and nite.  A few coconut-flavored pnuts help out this meal a lot 🙂

After writing for this blog a while, i set out my excellent adventure.  A 15 minute walk takes me to the main hiway where i await a bike pulling a big flat bed that around 20-30 people sit on, or failing that, a motorbike-taxi.  A motorbike pulls over.  I show a 500riel note (around 15jpy) and he says “no”, and speeds off in the same direction i wished to go.  The next man is not super-thrilled, but he takes me.  Seems like since they are going to that place anyway, they would rather have 500 than nothing.  I’m told later that 500 is exactly right for that distance, 1,000 if you have them bring you all the way home.  I feel just a touch of pride that my savvy has made up for a bit of the extravagance of Saturday’s ride – haha.

in cambodia 2006

A young man pulls a cart with 4 of us riding in it over to the passport area.  Us non-Thais are whisked right thru – cool.  But that thot turns out to be a bit premature.  Now over to the Cambodian passport control side.  I need a visa.  Yes, they make it for you right there – $20 for a 30day tourist visa.  The catch for me is, i don’t have an empty page, and these stupid visas from all countries take up a whole page.  They hem and haw a bit, and finally say they will paste it over some page i specify……for $30.  If they had said 50, i would have gone back to Bangkok and gotten some more pages entered at the US embassy there, but $10?  So long 2004 Malaysia chop marks on page 16.  I already have my Vietnam visa, so the only chops i expect before returning to Thailand are the little entry and exit ones, for which they can find space to stamp them.

I heard that packed taxis are around $12-15 to Phnom Penh.  Calling my pastor friend, i hear his voice coming from inside a bus.  He couldn’t wait any longer, and took the 8:00 bus for $6.  A young tout with good English tells me about a deal where i can ride in the front seat for “only” 1,000thb (25usd).  Nope.  He comes down to 900, and says no less.  It is coming on 11o’clock, and i’m starting to get concerned about reaching Phnom Penh at all today, so agree, and then pay the tout 100thb as a tip.  No doubt that is a decent day’s wage.  The contrast between the Thai side and the Cambodian side are striking.  One has cars and buses and large buildings and paved roads.  The other has people pulling carts, dusty, few cars, and few buildings.  The greatest difference tho, is that there are almost no stores worthy of the name on the Cambodian side.

in thailand 2006 – ii

P-san meets me for several hours, and we have a great discussion about end times, Ellen White, the need for more SOP books to increase the spiritual level of SDAs in Thailand, and especially at this school, etc.  She agrees that most SOP books available now in Thai are not translated very well.  Everyone tells me that.  That is really too bad.  I wonder how many English readers can understand or empathize with them?  God has blessed us with his words given to the prophet in our own language, giving us easy access to great truths that most of the world hasn’t even dreamed of.  I meet the Iraqi man studying theology here that i’ve heard about ever since Borneo.  Unfortunately, he seems to think higher of the Qur’an than of the Spirit of Prophecy!  Fortunately, i’m proven mistaken about this later 🙂  A friend i met in Borneo last year introduces me to some of his Japanese friends.  There are 5 Japanese guys going to school here, and it is really cool to talk to them in our language.

Is it legal to experience two miracles in one day?  That’s what happened on the 20th, giving me a double punch of God’s blessings (?!)  I head over to the College, a 5 minute bike ride thru a quiet neighborhood called “Australia”, down the steps and thru the back yard of the elementary school, and down the big hill to the campus.  The Iraqi said he’d like to talk more to me today, so i prayed a lot last nite for God to give me the right words to say to him, to stand tall for the truth, and at the same time show love and understanding to him.  When i sat down, a young man sat across from me, and introduced himself while we started eating the somewhat overpriced food.

in thailand 2006

in thailand1
At Bangkok train station i’m approached by someone i take for a “tout”, so i brush him off.  I apologize after he shows me his badge, that he is a volunteer for the tourist information center.  Unfortunately, the information center has no maps, but point out to me about where on the map the Bangkok Chinese SDA Church should be.  I walk in the hot sun pulling my suitcase to a large Chinese Church, but it isn’t SDA.  I ask a young man walking by, and he says it’s across the road behind the Shell station, and sure enough, the familiar Chinese characters for “Sabbath day” and “Advent” appear, and i walk thru the gates.  A Filipino man is sitting inside, waiting for English students.  He used to be a successfull literature evangelist here in Bangkok, but for some reason the school sponsor made him quit that to devote full time to the school, even tho there are only around 25 students.  It’s sad to see someone with plenty of time, talent, and experience to sell truth-filled literature not be given freedom to do that.

In the classroom at nite i teach English in front of a whiteboard for the first time since leaving Japan.  The teacher is not experienced, and doesn’t really enjoy teaching, and frankly, needs more English training himself (which he admits).  My faster style takes the students a bit by surprise it seems, and they struggle a bit to keep up – good!  No going to sleep in this class 🙂  I hear later that they really like my class, even tho it was a bit too fast for them – haha.

I go to a little open-restaurant on a back street, and eat some rice and vegetables for 30baht (75cents usd).  It makes one lose their appetite tho when cockroaches run up the leg when eating, and i do mean “es”, as two of them did it – yucko!

in malaysia 2006

Happy New Year 2006
I had expected to greet the new year in Thailand, and had been telling people that, but this is where i am – Melaka, Malaysia.  God has a great gift in store for me today!!

Around 4 in the afternoon the young literature evangelist i’m sharing this room with takes me over in the old Portugese area of town.  They have intermarried over so many years, that there seem to be no Portugese speakers really left now, but some of the customs and houses are a bit different.  We go to an apartment area.  The doors all have crescent moon symbols over them.  Not a good sign.  It is illegal to proselytize a Muslim in this country.  OK, we’ll move on.  The next apartment building holds much better promise, as nearly every door has a cross, pic of Mary, or a Christmas decoration over it.  He starts his talk by promoting the health benefits to be found at Aenon Health Farms.  He sure does have a lot of courage, as English is not even his native tongue, but he does his best, and i admire him greatly. 

Then i notice a 40-something man standing near the front of the building.  We go over to him and give the promotion, and he is quite receptive.  Mr. A tells us he is visiting from Kuala Lumpur, where he is a teacher in a Roman Catholic church.  Yes Lord!  Then the current, large Great Controversy is presented to him.  He takes a look at it and says: “What is the controversy”?  Exactly my thots on the matter, but to see a real person have the same thots as me on the matter, it helped immensely in verifying my thinking.  I pull out the original Great Controversy printed just 2 weeks earlier.  He looked at the title, and nodded, “It’s between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels is it”?  Being a Christian, he knows this much already, so we didn’t have to explain who Jesus Christ and Satan are.  After a few seconds of flipping thru the book, he asked how much it was.  I told him 5 ringgit (around 1.30usd).  The young LE who took me said he would sell his big book for 5 ringgit also.  The man didn’t hesitate.  He said he would rather have the small, easy to carry book over the big one that looked so imposing.  Another verification of my thinking.  This 40 minute interaction with this Catholic leader (who later asked if i was a healer, because he likes to go to “healings”) was the perfect gift from God to start my new year (^-^).

in malaysia 2005

I have lunch with a South African man and Yogi again at a vegetarian restaurant.  The conversation is interesting, and what i’ve heard about car-jacking and things in general going to pot in S.A. and Zimbabwe is verified:(  So sad as that part of the world used to be the shining star of Africa, altho they did have discrimination based on skin color, which is evil.  But now they have reverse discrimination, and the people’s standard of living has dropped dramatically.

The poster to promote the original Great Controversy in the Philippines is finished now.  Yogi helped me scan in a few book covers that i used in it.  I know i scanned them in while still in Japan, but can’t find them now.  To see or use as you wish:
Looks pretty nice if i say so myself!

I was asked to go caroling with the church Christmas carolers on the 14th, so arrive at 7pm only to find the pastor quite cold.  His first words to me are: “You should learn Malay”.  I smile weakly.  He knows that i plan to only be here 2 or 3 more weeks at the most, so why does he, and one or two others, insist on this?  What is even stranger, about 1 minute later he is talking to someone else in English!?$%&!  He finally says something like: “Why don’t you come back tomorrow?”  I pretty much brush it off, and look out the door for the friends that invited me.  They come pretty soon, and after explaining everything, all is well.  We go to a hair salon, then a home, then a home by a church.  At each place we sing around 4 Christmas songs.  Then the pastor has a prayer, and then they have cakes and drinks which i don’t partake of, to the disappointment of some.  Next day i go to the hair salon place again, and get my hair cut for 5myr (150jpy).  Not a bad deal, even if it is with electric clippers that make me dig cut hairs out of my ears for 2 days – ha!  The owner is not SDA, but is studying the Bible with a church member, so i share the GC anime and have prayer with her.  She seems so happy.

in philippines 2005

10/24 I leave Japan.  My suitcase is still empty up until 8:45am.  I have to leave by 12:40.  The whirlwind goes thru the house throwing away things i thot i couldn’t part with, but when it comes to everything in one suitcase, and one backpack, some things inevitably get left behind.  After leaving Japan i remember that i forgot the power pack to my notebook, and left some food in the cabinet above the sink.  I hope my 2nd mama wasn’t too upset 🙂

The grandkids took off school today to go with me to the train station.  I was quite touched by their love for me.  Already i miss them, and pray they will grow up to love Jesus so we can meet in heaven some day.  Friends J and A met me at Kyobashi station to ride with me a few stations to where i had to change trains.  There was an accident somewhere, so all the trains were stopped, and i missed my train.  It worked out OK because i was able to take a slow train for awhile, and save a few yen on express fare costs.  At Nabari i struck up a conversation with a nice lady – S, and she was very helpful in assisting me to the correct platform and everything in Nagoya for the airport train.  She accepted a Great Controversy book.

When i got to the airport the sign said that my 7:40 flight to Manila was delayed to 0:00.  After my final meal at Lawson’s convenience store, i made it on the plane and asked a passenger what happened.  He said that the plane from Detroit had gotten past Anchorage when it was discovered that the toilets had not been serviced in Detroit, so they turned around and jettisoned lots of fuel and landed in Anchorage to clean the toilets.  Sounds very Northwest-like.  He was a nice man who worked with the World Bank, and altho he had a Diplomat passport, he was flying economy like me.