Current Work and Projects
I got my first PC in 1986. It was our first year in Japan and we were deeply immersed in learning Japanese language and culture. I needed something to take the pressure off and move me away from Japanese language and culture from time to time. My friend, another ex-pat living in Japan suggested I learn to operate a computer. I was interested, but had never even touched a keyboard. Together we set up a nearly-new Tandy 1000A. It had a smokin' 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor, 640 Kb of RAM and two floppy drives. When turned on, the 16 color monitor sported a beautifully uncluttered black screen with a white prompt that read A:\. Jim and I spent two mornings a week figuring out what to do with it. You had to write a program in Basic in order to get it to perform any work. I had the original version of WordStar, which soon gave way to Word Perfect Version 0.8 Beta. The point of all this is that my initiation to technology took hold in my soul. For about 10 years I tried my best to stay on top of the technology revolution. I was among the first few (thousand) to receive and try out the Beta version of a new program called Microsoft Windows. It had a really cool clock and you needed something called a mouse. It didn't work. Obviously, I'm interested in using technology to advance learning opportunities and communications, particularly through this web site, and also within my other work. But I must say, doing IT stuff isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Working with computers, Web Pages and the like really comes down to a lot of tedious, time consuming work. It's something I can do, and the work is starting to pay off in terms of building a sphere of influence.
I maintain several web pages for ministries and organizations with which I'm associated. The mission board at Yucaipa Christian Church has a site at www.yccglobaloutreach.com and there you'll find information about all kinds of mission work the church supports, including my work with New Mission Systems. One of my main functions, in partnership with my wife, Danece, is Field Advisor for New Mission Systems. In addition to those sites, I am in the beginning stages of a Blog entitled Pax-Rex: Big Ideas About Absolute Truth in a Relative World. There are links to both of the current blogs on the Discussions area of this site.
While we were living in Japan, Danece and I started a ministry to women and children in crisis, which we titled Ai no Kesshin (Loving Decisions). Sarah Gordon and Ako Suzuki carry on that vital work now that we're here in the United States, but I still maintain a postcard site for that ministry at www.ainokesshin.com.
I currently work as an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities here in Southern California. Among them, those at which I'm currently active, are Hope International University in Fullerton, CA; University of Redlands in Redlands, CA; University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus. In addition to this I teach a small group Bible class at Yucaipa Christian Church on Sunday mornings at 8:45. If you're in the area, you'd always be welcome to join us. We usually do one book of the scripture at a time and look at it from the aspect of devotional literature as well as from the viewpoint of ancient literature. Soon I'll post some of the PowerPoint slides that I use along with the text. It's a low-tech solution, but digitally recording the sessions just isn't in the picture right now. I also maintain an active schedule teaching in both Africa and Asia, but that's the subject of the next section.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles
My work with NMSI takes me many places. I travel a lot in Asia, mainly to Japan, developing the work there. It's an 11 hour flight going and 9 hours coming home. I've gotten so used to being on the plane that I forget. I've been in most of the countries in Asia at one time or another over the past 20 years, and Southern Africa is in the itinerary for the past 3. Most of this travel is done alone, since Danece and I have to share the responsibilities here at home. Once a year, though, I lead an outreach from YCC to Africa, where we work with Hippo Valley Christian Mission in Zimbabwe. During those trips I usually manage to visit our other working locations in Malawi, Mozambique, and Kenya. This coming year (summer 2007) we will be working in Mozambique for a month-long project on the border with Zimbabwe, in the town of Chicualacuala. For more information on this outreach you can visit the YCC Global Outreach site.
Children: Birth, Adopted and Otherwise
Kids drive me absolutely NUTS! But I love them too. I have five of my own presently. Our two birth children, both daughters, are now 39 and 35 respectively (or dis-respectfully, depending on which day you ask them) and my only son is now 33. They are all involved in healthcare/helping professions, the eldest as a trauma-transport nurse, the second as a physician (Ob/Gyn) and my son as a Paramedic/Fireman. I think this may be because their mother is a nurse, though I must say I've encouraged them to take these paths. My son is, by his birth, actually my great-nephew (don't try to figure it out, just accept it!) who we adopted when he was 10 years old. Later on we adopted again . . . twice. I have two younger daughters, both Japanese, who are now 19 and 15. This means that I get to be two kinds of Dad: I get to play the role of "Dad to the older kids who have their own life now and really don't need my advice but still like to hear what the old guy has to say" and "Dad to the younger kids who still need someone to run them here and there and make sure they clean up their rooms." It's an interesting life. Since those two lives weren't able to make me completely insane (insanity being a goal of the highest order in our family's value system) we also work with foster children, and from time to time you'll find some of those at our house, though presently there are none.
Seriously, though, our family is a source of pride for me and, I might add, utter amazement for others. Including Sons-In-Law, Grandsons (six of them, 10, 8, 4, 3 year old twins, and 2) and one Grand-daughter (now 9 months old) we are 15 in number (just the right size to cause a complete panic when we arrive at a restaurant unannounced). In addition to that, we are multi-cultural, multi-national (Irish/English/French; Cherokee; , and multi-colored (red, brown, yellow, black and white) and none of us actually look alike (another fact causing consternation in restaurants: "Now let's see, who belongs with whom in this gaggle?)
We (My lovely wife, Danece and I) are committed to family, family values, family fun and, of course, family craziness. Come to our home any morning and I guarantee you'll leave after an hour or so shaking your head and welcoming the trip home in the quietness of an automobile to your own place of solitary humble abode.
So family, more than just something that happens, is part of a strategy for us. Our heart and help (as much as we are able) goes out to children, especially abused children, abandoned children and women and children in crisis in various locations throughout the world. Currently, Danece is in process of obtaining her Master's degree in Social Work in order to better serve this group of people. Want to know more? Ask us!
Trucks, and Other Mechanical Stuff
I know it might seem out of character for a Pastor/Professor/Missionary to be interested in mechanical stuff, but I always have been, and I don't see any sense in stopping now. You'll find a page on this site for the 1958 Chevrolet Apache I'm building. It's been a long project, but it's finally starting to take shape. I'm hoping to work on more projects of this sort, albeit with a bit more timeliness, as the years go by. Generally speaking, I like mechanical things because they either work or don't work, and if they don't work you can usually figure out the reason and fix it. I find that refreshing in a world full of people and computers, neither of which are so very uncomplicated.