Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Last Blog

            Hey guys, a lot has happened on my trek through the mountains the last couple of weeks and I’m excited to share it with you. First of all our friend from America made it here safely and should have returned home safely by the time this blog is posted. Spending time with him was great, seeing someone else being so motivated to do our work motivated me. During our two week adventure we visited 25 different villages throughout the area and each one has a story to tell.
            We eat an authentic local dinner with an English speaker in one of these villages. We also got invited to teach an elementary English class and were able to play basketball with them afterwards. There were also several homes we were invited to go in and sometimes they would fix authentic dishes for us. We saw some beautiful landscapes and had some breathtaking hikes. Not to mention we also did some shopping and shot off some fireworks. It was a pretty loaded couple of weeks.
            Christmas is just a couple days away and it provides us great opportunities to invite our local friends over to eat food, play games, and tell them the Christmas story. Already we have had one Christmas party with our friends and we will likely have at least two more parties. Christmas dinner consisted of rice, fried chicken, and cookies all eaten with chopsticks. We also get to sing some Christmas carols in both English and the local language. This has been a hard time being away from home but luckily Skype will bring me together with my family on Christmas day.
            I now have less than two weeks left before I will be back home with my family. I look forward to being back home but at the same time I am sad to leave my local friends. I will have a week after Christmas to say goodbye to my local friends and hang out with them one last time. Then I will fly to a nearby big city and have business meetings for a couple days and then I will fly home. So please continue to support me as I will say my farewells this week.
            It feels kinda weird that I’m writing my last blog. This trip has certainly been a big adventure for me. I expected this trip to be massive even before I left and it turned out to be bigger than what I expected. I have certainly learned and grown a lot from it. I feel like my Daddy has shaped me into the man He wants me to be. Thank you guys for your support in all of this, you truly have been amazing. You guys are our third man on this team and a dare say one of the best players as well. Your support has helped me so much during my stay here and if it wasn’t for some of your financial support I wouldn’t even be here. Thank you all, I look forward to seeing you again real soon. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Last Few Weeks

Hey guys, I’m glad I get to write to you again. Over the past couple of weeks various things have happened and I’m glad I get to share them with you. The majority of our time has been spent writing papers for school. However, this has caused us to interact with the locals tremendously. We have received the opportunity to interview various amounts of locals and ask deep questions to these friends of ours.
            Brady and I have both been engaging in the culture on a regular basis. From having interviews, to walking down the street and talking to locals, we have learned so much about this culture. We have had so many meaningful conversations with people. This is mostly because we are communicating with people we have already developed relationships with while teaching at the high school. We were even invited to a local’s house where they cooked us chicken and tofu in a boiling pot for dinner. Over the various interviews I have eaten rat, dog, snake, goat’s blood, pig intestine, and octopus. However, take me seriously when I say that I am truly grateful for the opportunities that have been given to us and I hope they will continue throughout the rest of our stay.
            By the time this blog is published our American friend will have arrived to our city and we will be packing our backpacks for an adventure through various rural villages. I am writing this blog a little early so I can spend as much time with them once they arrive. I am looking forward to this adventure and can’t wait to see what happens. I will be packing books about the culture so I can double check my research in my spare time. I have grown out a beard and let my hair go wild for the past month so I would be prepared for this adventure.
            Emotionally I am feeling great. I feel like I am at one with the culture and look forward to engaging it in the next few weeks. I am a little sad that I only have a few weeks left. I have always had a love for East Asia and have now grown relationships with those living there. So now I have a love for the people of East Asia. It will be sad for me as I continue to say goodbye to the friends I have grown to love so much. However, I do look forward to reuniting with my family and friends back home. I am so grateful I have people like you supporting me. Thank you so much, I love you. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blog #14 "Thanksgiving"

            Hey everybody, I’m so glad I get to write to you again. I was able to communicate back home a little bit more these past couple weeks and I just have to say that you guys are too nice. I received so many encouraging words and support that really blessed my heart, thank you. I want you to know I have discovered a newfound joy living here and I don’t feel like I have any problems. Now let me tell you what’s been going on the past couple weeks.
            Our time at the high school has come to an end. I am extremely sad to leave the students and teachers that I love so much. On the other hand it is nice not having to wake up at 6:30 in the morning. As our time has come to a close we have been able to take lots of pictures with the students and tell them goodbye. We have also been able to eat a few meals with the teachers and talk with them before leaving. I have very much enjoyed this time but I also know it was the right time for us to leave.
            Ironically we finished teaching school just before Thanksgiving, making it a truly thankful Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a blast! There was lots and lots of food and it all tasted authentically American! I ate food all day while we played games. We played tons of games. I even got to hacky sack in the middle of a rose garden. The party lasted over nine hours. It was a day I was truly grateful for. And oh yes, there were lots of pies and I ate a piece of every one.
            Now that teaching and Thanksgiving are over I am intensely focused on writing papers. Brady and I have a week or so to build upon the relationships we have created with the locals and write our papers. Our ethnography paper over the local culture has allowed us to ask deeper questions to the friends we have made. This has actually caused us to grow deeper relationships with our friends at the high school. Writing these papers will be a difficult task for me as I typically get burnt out on writing after an hour or so.
            There is so much to get done and our time is winding down here. I have been so focused on what to do with the little bit of time I have left I have tried to plan out every day I have left. Not to mention in early December an American will be visiting our land and we will all go backpacking through rural villages for a couple of weeks. This means that our school work and relationships with the locals should be pretty much wrapped up by then. Needless to say there is a lot to get done and not a lot of time to get it done in.
These thoughts of wrapping up my time here and starting up my time back home have been filling my mind. If I ask anything from you guys during this time it is that you would ask Daddy that I would have perseverance. Finishing up papers and relationships will be difficult and backpacking through villages will be hard as well, I could use as much help as I can get. Even though it will be difficult I joyfully look forward to everything. Even though it will be hard it will also be a blast. Thank you guys for the support I love you all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Last Two Weeks, The Next Two Months

Hey guys, I’m happy I get to talk to you again through this blog. The first thing I want to mention is how grateful I am for all of your support. After my last blog my email and Facebook account were flooded with words of encouragement and support. So needless to say I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to respond to you all and tell you what has been happening the past couple weeks.
The first thing I would like to say is that things really have not been going as well as I would like for them to go. Even after my last blog I still underwent spiritual warfare. The relationship between my partner Brady and I got worse. There were some strange things that happened that I can’t really explain. Also Brady got sick so instead of going out to villages on our week off from school we stayed inside restricted to each of our rooms.
By the end of the week I was fuming as I thought about the challenges I’ve been facing. That’s when I got to Skype with my sister, brother in law, mom and dad. I feel like I might have inappropriately vented my circumstances to them but they lovingly listened and provided me with some advice. As soon as I started taking their advice everything changed.
Since then I have faced little if any spiritual warfare. My relationship with Brady is still not dandy but things have become considerably better. Also, my hands have been so busy getting involved in the local community this last week I’ve barely had time to sit down. Teaching has been going great. Talking to people on the streets has gotten better. Even schoolwork has been going well this last week. I don’t believe any of this would be happening if it wasn’t for your support, thank you.
Really quickly I would like to tell you about what’s planned for my last two months here. We will for sure have at least one more week teaching at the high school. This will be an important time during our stay considering that we will be wrapping up some deep friendships we have developed. Our supervisor has planned a big thanksgiving feast for all of us and even though I will miss my family during this time our supervisor’s wife makes some of the best pie on earth, maybe even better than my moms. Sometime after thanksgiving a man will be visiting our area and for the month of December. Brady and I will be accompanying him as we visit small villages and communities out in the mountains. There is also a giant 20 page ethnography paper that Brady and I have been working diligently on during our spare time, all to say that these last couple months are going to be busy.
Despite these opportunities to be engaged in the culture I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t miss home. I look forward to these next couple of months but I long to see my family and friends again. I have learned so much from my Daddy on this trip because of my solitude away from people back home. Please continue to support me during this time as probably our most important work will take place in the next two months. I love you all and look forward to seeing your faces again. Thank you always for your support.

P.S. My sister had her baby with no complications in the birthing process. Spencer Richardson was born in L.A. on 11/07/2012. Thank you Daddy for safely allowing one of your children to enter this world. I will continue to pray for you always Spencer, sincerely your uncl

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Some Good and Bad News

Hey guys, whoa has a lot of stuff happened in the past couple weeks for me to tell. To be honest I’ve been having a difficult time trying to come up with the words to say about these past couple of weeks. Some crazy stuff has happened both good and bad, and I don’t know what to share with you. Let me start with the bad news first so we can end on a bright note.
I don’t know how to say this besides the fact that I have been going through spiritual warfare. Now I like to downplay the role of spiritual warfare in life but I can’t deny that I have been facing it. Things I can’t explain have been happening; having multiple nightmares, being bullied and physically hurt, fighting off sinful thoughts for hours on end, being constantly insulted, having people tell me the opposite thing I’ve heard from my Daddy, and problems with signing up for classes next semester. Even as I write this I feel a strange pressure to erase this paragraph and cry into my pillow.
There is no reason to name the specifics as long as you know that I’m experiencing spiritual warfare. I’ve never dealt with this before and I’m having a hard time facing it. It has been tuff but it has brought me closer in my relationship to my Daddy, and has grown me into a stronger man. So enough about the bad news let’s talk about the good news.
Just as things have been going miraculously bad things have also been going miraculously good. It just seems that out of nowhere these good things are popping up; teachers asking us for c.d.’s, being invited over to read, talking to Daddy with others, sharing stories with students, developing close friendships with locals, and discovering nice friendly villages. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen more progress than we probably have our entire stay. The door has not opened up yet but for the first time it appears we are seeing it start to crack.
I can’t express how ridiculous these things keep popping up, so I will give you an example of a good thing that happened. At the end of each class Brady asks the class if they have any questions while I erase the board. I was still erasing when I heard Brady say, “ooooohhh very nice.” I finished erasing and turned around to see a student showing Brady a book entitled “Daddy’s Stories” written in the local language. I stood back shocked and then realize that this is the same student I have been playing basketball with for the last month.
Needless to say every moment whether good or bad has been like this. Please pray for me as I face these next couple of weeks. I’ve never dealt with such emotional extremes as I have been recently. Thank you guys again for all your support, its times like this I need it. Love ya

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Over the Hill

Hey guys I haven’t talked to you in a while and I am very excited to write to you. Things have been crazy the past couple of weeks but crazy in a good way. As of now I am back to teaching at the local high school. However, I have been all over the place since the last time I taught at school.
            On our first week off from school we celebrated a local holiday and then headed out to a nearby village. This village was beautiful. There where mountains everywhere and miles and miles of farmland in-between them. From this village we traveled down some paths and met some people in smaller villages. Some of these people even took us through a hidden mountain pass that lead to a lake in the middle of the mountains. There are some great stories that I will tell from this trip, stories that will stay with me forever.
            The second week off from school we made our midterm visa run to one of the largest cities in the world. While we were there I was sure to eat as much hamburger and pizza that I could get my hands on. After this day long trip a group of us visited a beautiful backpacker town nearby. While we were there we went bamboo rafting, bike riding, hiking, shopping, and hotel hoping for 4 days. Once again I ate as much hamburger and pizza as I could.
            After coming back to teaching I have to admit that I am ready to come home. Maybe it would be better if I say that I’m looking forward to coming home. Either way I admit that I want to be with my family and friends right now. Everything has seemed to slow down at this part of the journey. Brady and I are getting used to creating lesson plans and teaching students. My schoolwork has died down since the midterm but will gradually pick up towards the end. The students are so busy we end up with a lot of free time on our hands.
            Not only do we have a lot of free time but our apartment is very remote from the students as well as remote from the rest of the city. Also, without internet we are cut off from any outside communication. Not to say there hasn't been advantages to this. I have spent a lot of my free time talking with my Daddy and reading His words. I have also gone out into the city and tried to practice my language with people. However, even with these things I still have a lot free time on my hands.
            I miss my family and friends and am looking forward to coming back to them. Not to say that I don’t want to be here. I am called here and I have a job to complete here but I do look forward to seeing it completed. Two and a half months is quite a bit of time to get the job done yet, on the same hand that is not much time at all. I look forward to what the next couple of months hold in store and I long to see all of you reading this face to face again. Thank you always for your support, I love you all.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


            Wow, a lot has taken place since my last blog. I’m officially in the 2nd part of my three part trip, teaching at the high school. The day after posting my last blog I packed up everything I had with me and moved into a new apartment. This apartment is about two blocks away from the high school and is very nice. Ironically the place is too big for us; we only use about half the space that we have. Brady and I each have our own rooms. This has allowed me to spend a lot of time in reflection and talking to my Daddy.
            The catch to this nice apartment is that there is no internet. This has also been a good thing allowing me to eliminate the distractions that surround me. However, without internet, communication back home is scarce to none and the moral support I received through it has diminished. Still, this has made me find more support from my Daddy. Although I do want to admit that I still miss home, friends, and family.
            Teaching at the high school has been a blast for me so far. Brady and I teach all our classes together. Our first class every morning starts at 7:35 and we are done before noon every day. We then teach a much more open and free class called English corner at 5:10. Hanging out with the students is a blast. They love to talk English with us and take our pictures. I haven’t played any hacky sack because there hasn’t been a good spot to. However, I have been playing basketball with some students on a regular basis.
            Even though it has been a blast hanging out with the students, we don’t get to spend much time with them. High school is considered the hardest time in a person’s life in this country. I once went to the school at 1:00 during that huge break we have to play basketball with the students and no one was there. They have classes from 7am to 5pm and then they have study session from 7pm to 9pm. So the only time I get to hang out with them is from 6 to 7. This has caused an awkward amount of free time which I have spent doing school work, playing on my computer, and reading lots of books.
            Now that I have gotten in the mode of high school another curve ball has come. This next week is a national holiday and the students have school off and are asked to go back home. So Brady and I are going on another back packing trip during that week. Then when they get back we go on our midterm visa run. The visa run is only a couple days but we are going to spend our cultural (vacation) days afterwards. That means for the next two weeks we won’t be doing any teaching at the high school.
            However, I am very eager for the next couple of weeks and the rest of our stay at the high school. This has already been a very blessed time here and I believe it will only get better. I apologize if communication will be sketchy the next couple months but just know that I’m doing what I love to do. Thank you all again for your support; even reading a blog like this helps me know that I have people back home that love me and support what I do. You are all very wonderful and precious to me. Thank you.