March 2013


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March Break used to be the time that my colleagues in Ontario would take off for the Caribbean for a break from the stress of teaching and a way to shake off the winter blues. We could never afford that ourselves, but I certainly sympathized with the sentiment and would often envy them the leisure time. Teachers over here are no different, and all this week I have been hearing about Australia and China and other neat places my colleagues have gone without many stories of my own to tell.

We are not exactly broke anymore, but we did have a pretty spectacular visit to New Zealand over Christmas and Pam has just got back from an almost uninterrupted month of travel around Southeast Asia. So this March Break we could think of nothing we would rather do than grab our towels and bathing suits and head on down to the pool with a coffee and a good book. So that is what we did all week.

The weather was pretty cooperative and most days we had the pool to ourselves. We swam and sat and chatted and then swam some more until it was too hot to sit outside, and then we took the elevator back to our apartment where we read and sat and chatted and then read some more. Pretty boring week, right?

Well I didn’t think so. I thought it was darn near the nicest holiday I had ever had! The alternating exercise and relaxation was exactly what this old body needed and it was good to get caught up with my partner’s life beyond the mandatory, ‘How was your day?’ We were able to finalize our flights home and get ourselves prepared for a change in our ministry focus in the coming year. All that and we were able to sleep in our beds at night. All in all a nice little holiday.

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We hope you have a wonderful day and look forward to sharing this amazing year ahead with you and Liz.

You are an awesome addition to our family and we know you are going to make a great Dad for our new little grandson.

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Can’t wait to meet this little guy.

Online Master'sA little older, a little balder, a little pudgier, but still game to learn. This is me at 63 working on my first course in my Master’s in Intercultural Studies, an endeavor that perhaps optimistically will be finished in four years and a bit. If I’m still around, I’ll be 68 when I’m done. Seems like a bit of a pointless exercise, right?

However, I consider education to be one of life’s greatest joys and privileges. If you reckon that about five percent of the world’s population has a university degree, it is a rare privilege as well. This may sound intuitively false in Canada, a country recently hailed by the UN to be the first in world history to have a majority of its citizens with a post-secondary education. But if you consider the billions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East with barely any education, it makes our little pocket of the world the exception, rather than the rule.

So what am I going to do with this Master’s, presuming that I survive till then? Well if I consider both my family’s genetic s and world trends in longevity, I am likely to be around into my nineties. Seen in that light, not to get further education now that I can finally afford it would be foolish. Who knows what opportunities the Lord may bring my way for service in the years remaining? I certainly don’t!

But I do know this: whatever the Lord has for me He is going to need me to be better equipped than I am at present. I have gone a long way on a three-year B.A. and a year of teacher’s college. Pam has gone even further on her R.N. For us to go further, we both need to be better educated. Neither of us can think of anything we would rather spend our time, effort, and resources on that to prepare for the road ahead, no matter how long, no matter how short.

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Okay, we know that we don’t look the same. But when the days are good – and for all the mileage we still have a lot of good days – we feel the same. Thank you to all who have made the journey worthwhile.

StuffedMailbox2_fullWe have been here almost six years now and have yet to find a foolproof solution to receiving letters or packages from overseas. There are, of course, the obvious issues where anything of value or that appears to be of value is apt to go missing in transit. Letters will usually get through if the address is correct but this is an issue for any type of automated address labelling system which simply cannot deal with a non traditional address format. When the name of our complex, Boulevard Condo is automatically shortened to Blvd, it means nothing here in Asia. We have no idea how much mail has gone astray, but we do apologize if it was yours!

Assuming the address is correct and it makes its way through Pos Malaysia to our building, the postie then randomly tosses letters into any box with a matching number or letter. We live in apartment 13A. But as the Chinese will not live on any floor that has a ‘four’ in it (sounds like ‘death’ in Mandarin), the entire floor above us is also 13A. We get a lot of mail, but not much of it is ours. Sometimes the mail gets to our box eventually thanks to helpful neighbours. I know we regularly redistribute the mail that is delivered to us.

However, now we are engaged in online courses, for the next several years we need to be able to access many books in a country where libraries are not a priority and have them delivered expeditiously. From the first course that Steve took we have learned that textbooks will be our major challenge. Some books are available on Kindle and we are very grateful for that, but three Steve had to order from the bookstore attached to the seminary. He received the third one a few days ago in the last week of his course.

This is clearly not a viable option so we now have another mailing address in a commercial complex. Yes, we know that this gives us four existing addresses, five if you count the school address, but it has become necessary. We have set up a mailbox at Mailbox, Etc. which is an outlet for both UPS and DHL so we will be able to pick up our own delivery, at our convenience, rather than having the Malay speaking delivery guy try to work out the details of delivery with our Nepali speaking security guards. Hopefully this is the beginning of a successful and ongoing relationship with Amazon and maybe even anyone else who might be inclined to send us a Christmas gift. Letters and cards can still come to our apartment, but if it is important, it should go to the address below.

So if you are inclined to send us something other than your prayers, our new and secure mailing address is:

Suite 158

MBE Empire Subang

P-05A, Empire Shopping Gallery

Jalan SS16/1

47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor