When Kori and I first visited Hanoi, Vietnam 16 years ago to adopt Chien, the city was unlike anything we'd ever experienced. We were impressed and, at times, nearly overwhelmed by what seemed like a constant barrage of sights, smells and sounds. Hanoi seemed a blur, a blender. Everyone was honking and shouting and bustling from before sunup to way after my bed time.
After 20-some trips to Southeast Asia, this place seems to have slowed down quite a bit. Compared to, say, Phnom Penh, traffic in Hanoi is downright orderly, and commerce is positively genteel. This morning, Chien and I were walking around the Old Quarter, and a motorcycle came buzzing towards us down the middle of the sidewalk. We stepped aside without thinking and Chien observed, "A few years ago that would have freaked me out." Yeah. Me too.
It would be easy to become jaded: "Oh. A motorcycle with four live pigs stacked on the back like firewood. Ho hum." "Guy has his arm inside a cow's rectum. Nothing to see here." "Weasel poop coffee and phở for breakfast. Again?" I'll admit that I'm not as easily scared, amazed or impressed -- I don't walk the streets, slack-jawed in a gobsmacked daze. But I've worked hard to maintain my sense of wonder.
I don't take any of this for granted, and I hope my kids don't either. Stewardship of this ministry is an awesome privilege. In just a few days, we'll be heading to India, flying into Mumbai, passing through Kolkata, driving through the Darjeeling foothills of the Himalayas and spending a few days with orphaned kids and the wonderful people who have rescued them and welcomed them into their family. I get to call them my friends. They remember me and I remember them. I'll get to watch them grow up, get married and have kids. That's my day job.
I'm not sure how or why this happened, but I'm humbled and I'm still surprised that I get to represent Jesus -- and all of you -- in Cambodia, Thailand, India and beyond.
This summer is just beginning. Soon, we'll be with the kids and staff. I'll try to keep the posts and photos interesting! Keep praying for us.