Monday, September 29, 2008

My Potato

I don't know a lot about Spanish, so feel free to correct me if this is wrong, but a friend of mine was showing me this shirt that says, "Mi papa lo arregla  todo."  The shirt is supposed to translate to say, "My daddy can fix anything."  But, if I am right, without the accent over the last "a" in "papa" (like this mi papá ) it really says either, "My potato can fix anything" or "My Pope can fix anything."  Whichever the case, isn't it funny how different the message can be if even one little piece is missing?  It reminds me to communicate clearly and take nothing for granted!  The sub-text says "For nothing is impossible for God," as it quotes Luke 1:37.  How true it is!  If God has given you a potato that can fix anything it really is miraculous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See You At The Pole

As I stood across town video taping students at Coronado High, my children met at their flag pole and prayed for their campus.  They also prayed for students around the world who will be sharing Christ with those who need to hear.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spontaneous Worship & Uprising

So, I've been sitting and thinking about a somewhat spontaneous (probably more instantaneous) worship event.  I'm wondering if there are some that would drop what they are doing with a days notice to be somewhere public to share in song, Scriptures, and prayer.  Are you one of those who would?  If you are, leave a comment and join the revolution.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Whatever Happened to Ray Boltz?

Many of you may be too young to remember Ray Boltz.  He authored several spiritual hits in the 80's and 90's.  Among them, "Thank You" and "I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb."  Well, as I was reading Los' blog last night, I found a post about Mr. Boltz coming out of the closet.  So, I did some looking around, and found an article.  You can click here to read for yourself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some Thoughts

I am sitting in Houston International Airport (or Bush Int'l, as it is now called), and it is 4:30 in the morning.  The rest of the team is sound asleep on the floor around me.  Someone had to stay up to watch the luggage, right?

Anyway, I wanted to put this down before I forget it.  The biggest thought or lesson I am bringing home from our Asian experience is that there are MANY people from our country who love God and have answered His Call to go to the corners of the world.  They sacrifice holidays with family.  They sacrifice their favorite foods.  They sacrifice television and radio that they can understand.  They live humbly and serve selflessly.  In some places, like the place we were in, they even have to maintain a low profile and work in secret.  Too often I take for granted what I have here in the States.  I can speak the name of Jesus without repercussions.  I can gather with my local church and lift up songs.  I can pray for and be prayed for openly.  I can engage in the work that Christ has called me to without worrying that it might cost me the chance to stay in this country.  I can share with people here without fear that they or their family could be imprisoned or killed if they say "yes" to Jesus.  And yet, there are days when I feel alone, stifled, like I'm the only one who gets it.  That's not true here, but for our friends in foreign lands, they are alone, stifled, and they know they will remain so.

So, here's to my heroes.  For all of you on the front lines, who give and give and give, who sacrifice and work to advance the kingdom at risk of peril, loneliness, and discouragement; THANK YOU!  You are an inspiration to me, and a constant encouragement to push harder, reach farther, and to never give up.  May God bless you with His presence and with the opportunity to see the fruit from the seeds you sow.  And know that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

And to all of us in open countries who feel like we've got it tough...maybe we do.  But it's nothing compared to what our friends overseas deal with daily.  So lift your eyes up and get to the task.  Let us run with endurance, knowing that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  Strive for the prize.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Asian Experience - The In-Between Day

Sorry!  I thought I sent this and just realized that I didn't!  This is the Thursday night and Friday morning update.  The one I just sent that is day 4/5 begins after this one!

What an exhausting day.  I will try to update you on the happenings, but may get things a bit blurry (just like my eyes at the moment).  At least the night before ended with a 1 hour massage.  I use the word "massage" loosely because it is more like a 1 hour torture session.  The really cool thing is that the environment is very festive.  There were 7 of us Maegorans (the Chinese word for Americans), and we all got to share a room.  The Chinese massage is a fully clothed event, so no issues with coed mingling.  There are 3 42" plasma TV's on the wall in this room where our 7 plush loungers are lined along one wall.  Each toruturer, err, I mean therapist comes in with a huge wooden barrel with water and spices to wash your feet.  The water is HOT, so my massage starts off with her boiling the skin off of my feet.  Then she lotions and spices my right foot and wraps it in a super heated towel and begins to BEAT THE FOOL out of my left foot.  For 20 minutes she pounds the mess out of my feet.  And now, 24 hours later, the arch of my left foot is so sore i cannot touch it!  She continues to massage my head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, by rubbing, and then punching, and then slapping me.  It's amazing that I am still alive.  And yet, by the time the Grand Inquisitor is done with you, you feel refreshed.  It's pretty amazing.  And the best part if that the whole thing (including green tea) cost me 75 RMB, or right at $9.00 USD!  Absolutely amazing.

So, we get up this morning and head to the park as we have every day.  Our usual ti jienza group was there, so we jumped in.  Everyone that is traveling with me has improved at this sport.  I bought 12 or 13 of the shuttlecock to use with our kiddos when I get home.  As we parted ways with them after 45 minutes of playing, I asked where the lao sher (teacher) bought his traditional gae from and found out it was custom made by a local lady.  One of these folks spoke English, so he helped me find out how I could get a couple of outfits like his.  All of the people playing were sure she could make me some outfits, but that they would take extra material for me since I am fat!  They are very to the point here!  So, I made arrangements to meet my English speaking older friend, another friend, and the lady that makes the outfits back at the park at 2:00 that afternoon.  I handed out DVD's that have the story of hope, and brochures that share the story and we departed to go do some power walking at the campus.

After the park, Michael and Lindsey went to a local school to play with Chinese children.  They had a chance to play and speak with the kids.  Lindsey has some great pictures that I will insert once I get a few.  They had an incredible time.  Lindsey fell in love with one like pudgy boy named "Lewis."  Lindsey decided he as a chunky monkey and she just wanted to squeeze him to death!

We met back up for lunch, and then it was off to the park for my fitting.  While I was being fitted, the rest of the team made some appointments to have dinner with some of the University students.  I was very proud of them for heading off without me to do the things that needed done.  Dinner was filled with significant conversations as they showed the students how to make these beaded bracelets we have.   The beads help tell about Dad's plan for us, and his cost to help us overcome our birth condition.  From what they have told me, it was a good time, and the conversations were deeply impacting for a few.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of town, I was being told that the outfits would cost even more than they thought because of my girth.  I just love the Chinese bluntness.  My English speaking friend said he had the afternoon free, so I asked him to help me shop for Cayla.  He agreed, and we headed off into the city.  I must say at this point that I have really been excited about my ability to get around and take care of things while I've been here.  I was very worried about getting around, ordering food/buying things, but have done alright.  We've only needed to hand our cell phones to drivers a couple of times so our Chinese speaking friends could get us where we needed to be.

Anyway, as we shopped for Cayla, I shared about dad, and how His son has some wonderful things in store for us.  We talked for a bit about that, and about the son's teachings.  My friend said that he reads the book every day, and that he thinks that The Son is a great teacher, but that he just can't believe all of what he reads.  We camped on that issue for a bit, focusing on The Son as an honest man and good teacher.  If, then, he is an honest man and good teacher, then he must also be what he claims to be.  If he is not what he claims to be, then he is a liar and not a good teacher.  My friend agreed and said that he would think on this further.  We parted ways, and I headed off to finish shopping on my own and headed to the bank to exchange money for the rest of the trip.  I hope that he will think on that, and that he will find the truth.

Well, that's all for now.  I will post more later!


The Asia Experience - Days 4 & 5

Friday night here found us at a couple of houses with some University students who want to practice their english skills.  There were 14 students at the house where Lindsey and I were; and there were about the same number where Michael and Rebecca were hanging out.  We ate some American food prepared by an American friend here, and sat around and spoke English with our students.  The theme for our English Corner was "Home Town."  We answered questions about our home towns, and then split up guys and gals for more directed time of sharing about our home.  It was a great time to share that, although my family and friends are in Texas, my home is not on earth.  I got to share the story, share about my family, and share about the reason I travel in this world.  I want to invite them to my real home, and ask them to be in my family.  It was an awesome time that led to some great stuff on Saturday.  After the English corner, I was talking with Lindsey, and she said the girls had some really deep, well thought, and specific questions about our "not-in-this-world" home.  She was very encouraged by the questions, and feels that some definite steps towards the kingdom where taken.  Michael and Rebecca shared similar experiences from their English corner, as well.

After the English corner, I called two of our new Chinese friends and asked them if they would like to accompany me to sight see on Saturday.  They said they would be honored. The other English corner produced two students to travel with us, too.  So, Saturday morning, we all met at the train station at 6:45 and took a 2.5 hour train ride to a city on the coast.  The train ride provided us lots of time to get to know our new friends, and share our stories with them.  We also got to hear their stories.  Our friends have all adopted American names.  They go by Wayne, Owen, Tina, and Nancy.  We went to the place where the Great Wall began.  It's called the Old Dragon's Head, and it begins on the Bohai Sea.  I will have some great pictures to post of our travels.  We also visited some caves that the rebel armies used to hide from the emperor during a revolt from the 1300's.  It was cool to walk on the Great Wall, thru the Great Wall, and under the Great Wall.  

On the train trip back, conversations  turned to important family business.  We found out that Own already knows and loves Dad.  So does Tina.  I believe Wayne met dad yesterday, and will be telling others about dad.  I'm not sure about Nancy.  I know she heard our family story, and knows what our family is.  I am sure that she will have more encounters in the near future that will help figure all of that out for her.  It was an AWESOME day!  Our American friends who live here will stay in touch with our Chinese friends to help them learn from the family book and become more like dad.  I will never forget what Owen and Wayne (they are room-mates who read the book together every day) said as we got ready to leave the train.  "This has been the greatest day of our lives, and we will never forget you or your gift to us.  We hope that you will visit us again so that we can continue to be friends."  And they really meant it.  As we parted ways at the train station, Wayne began to cry.  It was one of those moments where no one wanted to leave, but we all knew it was time.

From there, we went to dinner with Marcus and Kat at the Sizzling Skillet.  It is SOOOOO GOOOOD!  They serve the meal on skillets like fajitas are served on in the states.  It was a very good meal.  I left the restaurant to play ping pong with a friend and dream/envision our next time to visit here.  The others went back to the hotel, and the girls were asleep around 9 p.m.  I got in around 11:30 after having been beat like a drum by american and chinese friends.  

Today, we gathered with other family to celebrate Dad like many of you will do on Sunday morning.  We sang songs and celebrated what Dad is doing here.  I shared a word of encouragement with those who will stay.  They are my heroes.  I shared about boasting in weakness, and not worrying about those moments when they feel inadequate.  Those inadequate moments are times for Dad to make us strong and do the impossible.  It was an emotional moment for us.  The realization of Dad's goodness was overwhelming for some.  For me, the emotional moment was the realization that the windows were open and compliments to Dad about His character and His goodness were pouring from the apartment.  There are so many things that you and I take for granted in our country.  Dad reminded me today of my great freedom, and of my great laziness in doing the work at home.  My friends here sacrifice, wrestle, and struggle DAILY to get the word out.  But I am inconvenienced by having to be kind at home?  Anyway, I'll share more on that in my trip summary that I am working on.

In just a few minutes, Rebecca and I will be meeting with local parents to share parenting methods and customs.  Or methods and customs are shaped by The Book, and we hope to impart wisdom and truth.  And the, we meet back up with the rest of the team to head for Beijing as we begin our 3 day trip home.  Monday will be sight seeing, and Tuesday/Wednesday will be reflection and travel.  It seems like we just got here and it is time to go.  LOL.  One of the American children here told us we should come back when we could stay for 7 months or even 7 years!  And each one of should really consider that.

Thank you for all you have done to make this trip possible.  I will be sharing in the next/final update about the results of the trip.  You will be amazed at what father has done here.  And your prayers help in that.  Keep on keeping on, and remember the struggle of family here as you walk your journey.

See you soon,
Jason Bishop - weary traveler

Friday, September 05, 2008

Asia - Day 3

Last night we had board game night with 40 local university students, and we had a BLAST!  When the evening concluded, they all hung out and continued to visit with us.  No one wanted to go home.  Several of the students exchanged phone numbers with us, and made plans to spend some time with us today.  From there, we went to Aaron Burger, where the team had pizza and burgers!  WOOT!  It was a GREAT evening, but a late one

Today we saw many great things.  We were planning on doing a video conference home to talk with the youth group, and to say hello to our families, but we didn't want to miss our daily time of Ti Jienza with the senior adults at the park, so we decided we'd leave early.  We arrived at the park at 6 a.m. and found our group just forming.  In anticipation of our coming back, the ladies had invited their Lao shur (teacher) to come and participate with us.  Several people who walked by mentioned what a "jing hao lao shur" he is.  He was probably mid 70's, and could handle the ti jienza like a mad fool!  It was AWESOME to watch.  But what's really cool is that the ladies invited him to come play with us.  Tomorrow morning will be our last day with them, so we are taking gifts to give them.  Each gift is a DVD and a pamphlet that has good news in it or on it.  Ask Dad to make sure they get watched, and that these gifts would impact the future of our friends.

We left the park to go do the video chat with our friends back home.  We had a really good time, and were very encouraged by each person's smiles, presence, and support.  Thank you to Austin Mc, who made that magic moment possible.  Our families came early and stayed late to visit with us live via the internet.  It was a sweet time.

From there, it was lunch with local American friends followed by an afternoon of eating and shopping with some new friends who are not like minded yet.  Thru the course of the afternoon, we shopped, ate, and shared Dad's truth with them.  We also touched base with some of the university students from game night and made plans to hang out with them.  I'll fill you in on that in a bit.  As a team, we went with some new Asian friends to a restaurant that serves JZ BBQ.  We were served scorpions on a stick, goat eye-balls, grasshoppers, chicken kidneys, silk worms, and much MUCH more.  I video taped the meal and will include it in the final video that I'll post when we get back.  Be SURE to watch me eat exotic, and watch the other team members nearly lose their lunch!  Yes, I ate scorpion, silk worm, fried grasshopper, chicken kidneys, goat eye-balls, and all the rest.

After dinner, Rebecca, Michael, and Lindsey headed back to the campus where they met up with some of the guys and girls from last night.  After some ti jienza, they shared and had some great conversation.  Two of the girls have asked for copies of the book to read, and all of them said that they would come hang out with us on Friday night at the English corner we will be helping with.  Ask Dad to bring them, and to continue to draw them.  The conversations were deep, direct, and very encouraging.

While the three amigos where at the campus, I continued to spend time with the man who took us shopping and to dinner.  We stopped off at Aaron Burger for a Coke on our way to the Night Market.  While sitting at Aaron Burger, I got the opportunity to share the entire good news message with him.  We dialogued for a long time on how to know you can trust Dad, how you can feel/hear/interact with Dad, and what a follower's life should look like.  I thought that he was very close to joining the family, but sensed he was not quite ready to make a commitment.  He did commit to ask Dad to prove He is real.  My friend is seeking, and has encountered Dad before, but just isn't sure Dad isn't a fabrication of the human mind.  It was a long, good talk that actually went from 6:15 up to about 8 p.m.  Please ask Dad to show my friend that He is real.  I am so encouraged by the conversation that I can't really sleep.  But I will as soon as I'm done typing this.  It's 11:52 p.m. and I still have video to capture.  I'll update you on the massages (1 hour for $9) and our last day at the park when I do tomorrow's update

Zi Jian.
Jason Bishop

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Asia - Day 2

Ni Hao!  That is the traditional Chinese greeting that is equivalent to our "hello."  It's funny because when people here see Americans, they yell out, "Hello!" to which we respond, "Ni Hao!"  They always look shocked or amused that we can say hello in their language...even though they themselves can say hello in ours!

Anyway, today has been a great day to this point.  We got rolling at 6 a.m. heading to the park to do what we call "power walking."  Power walking is an exercise in talking to Dad while we walk around.  We talk to Him about the people we see.  We listen for His directions.  We sometimes quote His Book as we walking, knowing that the things we are saying and reading have never been spoken in these places before.  It's an awe inspiring thing to speak the name of His Son for the first time in these places.  It weighs heavy on my heart that His Name is not known here.  But, it weighs heavy on my heart, too, that His Name is so taken for granted in our country.  Such a great name should never be ignored, abandoned, or abused.

While at the park this morning, we played Jien za with some Senior Adults.  Now, first you must know that the park is full every morning with Senior Adults who are in better shape than you or me.  They are doing Tae Chi, sword practice, martial arts, and other highly energetic things.  Some sections have places for stretching, and the senior adults can do amazing things like stretch their legs over their heads!  I have been amazed.  So, when I say we "played" with senior adults, understand that these people are athletes that could rival most 30 somethings!  Jien za is like hacky sack, but is played with a really big badminton birdie that is flat at the weighted end instead of having a rubber ball.  The name Jien za literally means "kicking the feathers."  And these older ladies could kick from behind their heads, do scissor kicks, and had amazing speed.  We looked like toddlers trying to hacky with university students.  It was a lot of fun, though, and we are invited back in the morning.  Over the next couple of days, I want to learn how to tell them the name of The Son in their language, and be able to part ways each day by telling them that Dad loves them very much.

From there, we met up with friends and went to a Buddhist mountain that has many shrines and worship places.  It was quite a hike to the top.  We actually rode a chair lift 3/4 of the way up.  At the top, we had a great conversation with new friends about Father, and how much He loves His children.  We also had a great talk about the spiritual deception of other world views and spiritual oppression.  Perhaps our new friend and his wife will have their eyes opened soon.  Please talk to Dad about that.  After the mountain, our new friends took us shopping, and we got to experience this city's version of Wal-Mart!  It was pure chaos!  But I found a box of cherries for $80!  They have to import them.  Of course, I didn't buy them since I hate cherries.  Some things are expensive here, and other things are stupid cheap!  We charted a bus today to take us (4) and our friends (3) to the mountain.  It was a 4 mile trip, and the bus driver waited 3 hours for us to finish, and then brought us the 4 miles back into town all for $14.  Go figure.

We are about to head out for an evening of board games with local university students.  We invited our friends from today to come, and we hope they will.  We will be playing Twister, Sorry, Genga, Trouble, Monopoly, and Uno with about 40 college students.  Talk to Dad over the next couple of hours for us.  We would like for Him to grant us favor with the new people we will meet.  We would also ask that He gives us words to speak and ears to hear as we have these important conversations.

For those of you at THF, we will be doing a live broad cast for the youth on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.  It's a time for them to ask questions and hear about Dad's work here.  Feel free to drop in, but please remember that this time is for them.  If we have further time, we can answer questions from you, but I'd like the students to have first crack at it.

As always, you are so very important to this trip.  I am thankful for your support and look forward to the great things that Dad will do; knowing that you have made them possible.  I'll send more update stuff when we have time!


Asia - Day 1

We are nearing the end of our first day in JZ, and have had an incredible day.  Michael, Lindsey, Rebecca, and I have had a great time learning our way around the city, and sharing some meals with like-minded people.  We are going to the local university in a little bit to spend some time power walking and meeting university students.  I will be posting some pictures on my blog as soon as I have a reliable internet connection.  My blog is You should be able to check there in the next day or two for some pictures.  I'm attaching a picture to this message for you to see some of what we've seen today.  My friend, Austin, will be helping me upload some video footage to YouTube in the next few days, too.
If you would, please take the time to talk to Dad about a couple of things on our behalf.
1)  Ask Him to give us some guidance towards potential partners in our endeavor.  He knows so much better than we do who we should be spending our time with.  Along those lines, we could use His help in communicating with those whose language we don't speak.  We spent the afternoon on a cultural scavenger hunt with a list of things to do on our own with no Chinese speakers with us.  We managed to get the list done in just over an hour, but it helped us realize 2 things.  One is that we can communicate when we take the time and really think things thru. But the other thing we realized is that if we can find English speakers, it goes much better!  We could use His help with that.
2)  As you know, we are 13 hours ahead of most of you, and jet lag is affecting a couple of folks on the team.  I am doing great.  Michael and Lindsey seem to be doing okay.  Rebecca is wiped out.  She's fine, but it would be great for some outside help in adjusting.  Of course, the hotel we are staying in has A/C, but decided that it is cool enough outside that we don't really need it...and they turned it off.  So our rooms are about 85 degrees at night.  It's not bad, but it makes for restless nights.  Getting our bodies onto North Asia time will require us maximizing our designated rest times, so this could present an issue.  Ask Dad to make it cool in our rooms! We'll make it without A/C, but it would be nice.
3)  In the morning (Tuesday night your time), we will be heading out to meet people and learn their culture.  If you would be so kind as to help prepare the way for us by asking Dad to be there ahead of us, that would be great.  We'll be engaging some folks in recreational activities at the park.  I'm going to learn TaeChi and hopefully share my views on inner peace and balance. We also have a badminton set to play with, and will be inviting folks to play with us.  Then, tomorrow night we will be playing board games and Twister with some new friends.  I am excited about playing with our Chinese friends.  We are hoping that some will go with us to dinner and site seeing in the next few days.  Ask our Father to grant us favor, boldness, and wisdom in family expansion.

As always, I am so grateful for you and for your support as I travel and seek the ancient  work that Father started so long ago.  He has been busy here for a long time, and with your help, I am sure we will find those places He is preparing us for.

Shiou Ju (my friends here last year nick named me Shiou Ju, which means "small pig.")
aka Jason

Monday, September 01, 2008


We landed Monday, and headed to the city we are staying in last night (we are 13 hours ahead of those of you in Texas!).  Today we spent time at a local park talking to Dad about the people and how to bring the family business to this city.  We are expecting for answers to these requests, and would ask that you join me in talking to Dad about this opportunity.  I'll post pictures and some directions for video viewing when I get a chance.  Love all of you!