#aphotoaday Bird Throwing Hobby

Ever heard of “Bird Throwing”? Yeah, me neither. “What is it”, you ask? Well, it’s quite literally throwing a bird. Seriously. It’s like Angry Birds without the pigs…or the walls…or dazed birds. Ok, it’s not that similar to Angry Birds, but it is interesting.


Everyday on my home from work, I see two groups of people out in an empty lot of grass. And each day I see a bird rack with several birds on it and what appears to be people throwing birds into the air. At first I thought they were shooting them down because I’d see a guy point a rifle-looking thing at the bird and it would come straight down, but that didn’t make any sense. First of all, “shooting stuff down” isn’t a thing here. And the Chinese have a general respect of birds. So I had to go and see what it was all about.

Walking up to the group, I quickly confirmed that they were indeed throwing birds up into the air. They gripped the bird in their hand and whipped it straight up in the air and then the bird would come straight back like a boomerang. As I got even closer I could see that the man throwing the bird was also throwing some food pellets up at the same time, giving something for the birds to go after. And the man who looked like he was shooting them down, well, he was using his rifle-looking stick thing to throw an additional food pellet up near the bird in the air so it would also go after it. After the bird got the second pellet, it would then return to the man who threw him.

I asked one of the guys what the purpose of this was and he said it was just a hobby. And the birds seemed to like it as well. They weren’t being hurt or anything. After some time one of the birds didn’t want to go after the food any more, and they guy said, “He doesn’t want to play any more”. He put the bird back on the stand and gave it some water and moved on to the next bird that “wanted to play”.

I tried doing a Google search on this, but wasn’t able to find anything. I really have no idea where this hobby came from. If you know more about this hobby, comment below!

It looks like a lot of fun.

Normally, I only post one photo a day, but this one was just a cool thing, I’ve decided to break my rule and post some more. I hope you don’t mind!

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#aphotoaday Hole in the Wall

When you think of the phrase, “hole in the wall restaurant” in China, this is what comes to mind. The man smoking a cigarette, with his subservient mongrel dog next to him. The mini-kitchen with a wok on the burner and a calendar with a buddhist image on the wall. The size of the entire room is 130ft². I haven’t eaten at this particular take-out place, but I guarantee it’s some of the best Chinese food around.


#aphotoaday Chinese Shack

Outside my office, in the otherwise sprawling surroundings of educational facilities that make up an international school and a university, sits this shack. It’s right in front of a manmade fishing pond. Between the shore and shack it’s not uncommon to see a fisherman fishing or a man singing and/or shouting over the water. It’s quite the contrast to an otherwise modern look at China.

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New Apartment Pics

While we’ve been busy finalizing everything here in the States, our new friends in China have been busy preparing for our arrival. It really takes a huge effort to get people over to China and we’re so thankful our team has been on the ball getting things ready for us. Not the least of which has been our apartment.

That’s right, we’ve already got an apartment. As soon as we arrive in China, we’ll be arriving at our new home! And we’ve got some pictures to share:

We don’t know much about the apartment, except that’s it’s on the 9th floor and has 4 bedrooms. And it has lots of wallpaper… I’ve also confirmed that the building has an elevator, so that’s a plus.

Would you like to partner with us as we head over? Just click this handy little button:

Target Date

With our latest leg of paperwork completed, we can now predict when we’ll be able to head out to China! And it’s going to be during the 2nd week of January!

Wow, this suddenly got real!

Of course, this is assuming there aren’t any delays in visa process.

Going back to China!


We’re very happy to announce that we are on our way back to China!

To quote a few of our friends:
“Seriously?” “Huh?” “That’s crazy!” “What the what?”

I’ve put together a quick FAQ for you.


…if you really want to get the inside scoop, you’re going to have to subscribe to our newsletter. You can do that here:

What will you be doing?

The short of it is I’m going to be an Assistant City Manager for an education-based company operating in China.

Is this the same company you were with before?

Yep. Same company. Different position. Different City.

What will you be doing?

I’m going to be the Assistant City Manager for one of the cities the company operates in. My job will be to provide support, representation, and encouragement to the staff of the different entities operating in the city.

What city are you going to?

We’re headed to Tianjin, about 2 hours drive from Beijing. This will be a new experience for us. We’ve never lived in Tianjin and have only visited it a couple of times.

When are you going?

January 2016! That’s the goal, anyway. And yes, that’s very soon.

Are you excited?

Totally! But, if we’re honest, it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride as well. This move is going to be a lot harder than the first time we went to China. The first time we were newly married without kids and very few connections. Now we’re a family of 6 with lots of connections to lots of awesome people. We’re very sad to be leaving everyone we love.

How can I support you in this?

At this time, the best thing to do is subscribe to our newsletter. We’re going to be giving alot more information by email. And you’ll better know how to support us.

Click this button:


Saturday after some morning errands we headed out to Minnewaska. On the way up the mountain, Jacquelyn did some research online and found that the weekends are supposedly crazy busy. And, yes, it was crazy busy. All of the parking lots were completely full. But this actually worked out in our favor. Instead of having to pay $10 to park the car, we just joined a slew of other cars and parked along the side of the road.

We knew it was supposed to be a cold day, but we still didn’t quite prepare enough for the reality of it. This was really the first cold day of the season, so I guess we just didn’t think that we needed more layers. But since we were moving most of the time, we were able to handle it.

All said and done we walked just over 2 miles. We could’ve probably done a bit more, but with the cold we were ready to head home.

Anna lead most of the walk.

Lucas lead us on some remote paths looking for shortcuts.

Micah had fun fishing and scaring his parents that whe would fall off the rocks and into the water.

Eloise’s hands kinda turned purple because we forgot her gloves. But she didn’t really complain about it.

Paul even admitted that he had some fun going on the stroll.

Jacquelyn carried Eloise in the backpack carrier for most of the walk.

And I took pictures…and made sure nobody plunged off the side of cliff.

To Shanghai and Back Again…Now Repeat

We knew for quite some time that our daughter, Anna’s, passport and visa were going to expire soon. We planned to go and take care of it as soon as our son Micah was born. After all, he would need a passport and visa as well. We might as well take care of it at the same time. Plus, Jacquelyn was really in no shape to travel being as far a long as she was.

We Pause now for a Context Explanation: In order to get a new passport for a 5 year old, both parents must go to the Embassy or one of the Consulates and show a photo for every 6 months of life of the child proving that the 5-day old picture of your child on the old passport is the same child 5 years later. Also, before we could get a passport for Micah, we had to get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) – which is like the equivalent to an American birth certificate for us Expats. Again both parents must go and show their marriage certificate and passports along with the new baby’s Chinese birth certificate (which is a rather interesting process in and of itself…I’ll share that another time, I guess.) In both situations, it takes about 10 working days to process the paperwork, make the new passports in the US, FedEx them to China, and, if you do it in Beijing, they’ll mail it to you!

So Micah comes and we’re extremely happy just enjoying our new treasure. Micah was born on a Thursday and the following week was spring break…great timing for a birth, actually. I still had several paternity days, which we were planning to use to go take care of the passports.

During this pre-paternity-days spring break I went online and scheduled the earliest appointment available at the Beijing Embassy. The appointment is 1 week before the Anna’s passport and visa expire. I’m not too worried about it, though. Surely, as long as the passport is being processed, the visa can go over a couple of days. After all, the Embassy could provide proof that the passport was being processed. So, on the first day back to school I check with our visa liaison to make sure this was okay. It turns out that my assumptions were wrong. The visa-processing-people would not be able to accept that the passport was being processed as, “there was no policy for this situation”. If Anna overstayed her visa, we would be fined 500 RMB (75 USD) for each day overstayed…plus she would have a “bad record”. I’m not sure what a bad record means, but I do know overstaying your visa accidentally or otherwise is not something you want to do. You can end up in jail in addition to the fines and bad record.

This was not the news that we wanted to hear. So I get on the phone with Jacquelyn and talk about our different options. We could try to go to Beijing and just do a walk-in appointment, but there was no guarantee that we’d be able to see anyone.

Context Explanation: The lines outside of the Embassy are tremendously long. Of the 1.3 billion people in China, about half are trying to get a visa to the US…okay, not half…but the line seriously snakes around the block for along way. Being American citizens, we most definitely probably wouldn’t have to wait in that line…but still, the thought of being in any line that resembles that one scares me. I actually have a recurring nightmare about such a line.

Another option was getting to Hong Kong. Although the Consulate down there didn’t have any appointments available either, we don’t need a visa to be in Hong Kong for like 30 days. But that would have been ridiculously expensive. Finally, we came up with the idea of going to Shanghai. Shanghai’s Consulate had appointments right way. Jacquelyn finds tickets online for that very evening and books them! We’ve got plenty of time. I can go home from work at 4:30, eat a nice dinner, pack up clothes and head out the door for a stress free trip to Shanghai.

As a review, here is the timeline up to this point:
-Monday 7am – find out we need to get the passport sooner than expected
-Monday 8am – talk to the embassy on the phone and try to figure it out
-Monday 9am – panic
-Monday 1pm – purchase tickets to Shanghai

I get home as planned and have a nice dinner. Just after finishing, I go to the computer and check online to make sure that we have all the documents needed as requested by the Consulate. Marriage Certificate – check; Anna’s age progression photos – check; current passports for the whole family – check; Anna’s CRBA – not with the other stuff. Hmm, okay, the search begins…

Remember, the CRBA is the equivalent to an American Birth Certificate. We cannot update Anna’s passport without it. We tear the house apart looking for it. We can’t find it. I have this faint idea that it is in a green folder. I had to use it to apply for Anna’s SSN like a year ago. Oh, no. Does that mean that I left it at my office? So, I pack several days worth of clothes, not sure if I’ll be matching in Shanghai or not and head out the door to my office. Jacquelyn continues looking for it at the house just in case it’s not at my office.

The taxi driver is not the best driver. He’s one of those drivers that can’t seem to figure out how to slowly press the gas, gain speed at a steady rate, and then in the smooth and calculated way press the brake when needed. If you’ve ever ridden with someone who rides the brake, you know what I’m talking about. We’re a block a way from the house and I’m already car sick and contemplating if it would be too rude to ask to get down sooner than what I already told him in order to change taxis. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time for such luxuries. But one things was for sure, I was not going to ask him to wait for me at my office to take me home. I’d try my luck at finding a different taxi – even though taxis aren’t as frequent out at the office.

I finally make it to the school and look everywhere for this thing that I think should be in a green folder. It’s not there. I run up to my storage room in case it inadvertently got moved up there. The lights don’t work in the room, so I’m using my cell phone as a flashlight. It’s not there. It’s got to be at the house. This is not good. I’m 25 minutes from home not helping in the search and just wasted about an hour going to the office. We need to be leaving for the airport in about 45 minutes. There’s no point in going to Shanghai if we can’t find this cursed CRBA. Can we get money back for the tickets that we purchased?

In the taxi ride home Jacquelyn and I go over the places that she’s looked and she starts re-looking in those places. We say a panicked prayer to God asking for help. She opens a backpack – somewhere that she’s already looked – and locates a green folder. Inside is the CRBA! Tears of frustration are replaced by tears of joy.

Ordering a House

Anna my 6 year old is screaming from upstairs in her bed for me to come up to her. She’s not screaming because she’s scared. I can tell from her voice that she’s just got something to tell me. It’s the typical persistant, ever growing louder by each call type of yell. I can tell she really wants to talk to me because I can hear her all the way from the sound-killing family room as I try to watch the NBA playoffs. Lucas, who is younger than Anna by 4 years is also screaming. But he’s doing it because Anna’s doing it. It’s a game to him. Plus, the result of the game is that daddy comes back in the room.

Someone in the kitchen, where it’s much easier to hear what’s going on upstairs, alerts me to their cries by saying, “The kids are asking for you.” I make the snide remark, “They’re asking for some discipline is what they’re asking for.” as I make my first motion out of my recliner. I’m a bit upset. It’s the second time we’ve completed this exercise tonight. As I get to the stairs, I’m contemplating the type of discipline I’m going to dish out. But by the time I reach the top of the stairs, my attitude has changed and I decide to hear her out on what this “urgent” need is. (Then I’ll decide what type of punishment she would get.)

“Yes, dear, what’s the problem?”, I say.
“Daddy, I miss China.”, she said at first fine, but by the word “China” is forcing out a tear and overemphasized wording.

Two thoughts occur to me at this moment. The first is, Man, she’s such a drama queen. Should I let her turn on tears like that? The second was, Man, I’m really glad I didn’t come in here without hearing out what my daughter had to say.

Except for Micah, who was like 4 months old when we left China, we’ve all done some type of grieving since leaving China. Lucas, 2, struggled with the unfamiliarity of everything and everybody. Anna’s biggest anxiety came in the form of her room. She misses it. She misses the colors, the bedspread, the closets, and that she had a room by herself. (Her brother shares a room with her now.)

Jacquelyn and I continue to struggle with our grief over leaving China, too. There are lots of manifestations as a result of our grief, but one of the main roots of the grief is our purpose. Or better put, the lack of purpose. What’s our ministry here?

“Daddy, I miss China”, Anna repeated, this time in full forced tears.
“What is it that you miss about China?” I said, trying to think of something that would comfort her. I sit on the bed and give her a snuggle.
“My room…You know that cover with the colors on it and it was purple and it was my blanket”, she said, using her hand to draw the designs of the comforter. “I want that. Can we get that out of storage.”
“Yes, we can get it out of storage. Did we bring it back with us from China?” I say.

“I miss my friends”, she continued.
“Well, your mom and I are praying about going back”, I said, realizing that by the time that we would actually get back to China her memory of the place would be very little and everything that we knew would be different. Plus, she probably will be pretty engrained in life here in the States by that time.

The statement was true. We are praying about going back. In fact, just that day I surprised myself with my response when the pastor of the church we are attending asked me where I see my self and my family in 5 years. Without hesitation I said, “Back in China, or if not China, some place around the world.” His reply was one of excitement, “Well, that gives us something pray about, doesn’t it?” He then probed a bit further, “What would it take to get you back there?” Again, without hesitation I said, “Two things. A specific call to do a specific thing and Jacquelyn and I take the next step in our spiritual growth.”

Anna had a puzzled look on her face and repeated what I just said as a question, “Move back?”
“Yeah, we’re praying about it”, I offered.
“But we just ordered a house”, Anna said, truly confused as to why we would “order” a house and then decide to move.
“We didn’t order a house, dear”, myself now confused.
“Yes, we did. Mommy got a piece of paper with a house on it. We ordered it.” she said quite positive of her memory.

Jacquelyn had taken Anna to look at a house that was for sale and picked up a flyer about the house.

“Oh, well, we didn’t order it. Mommy and you just looked at the house and that piece of paper just listed all the things it includes.” I said with a big a smile on my face.
“Can we get that blanket out of storage?” she said in her scattered, non-sequitur kind of way.
“Yes, dear. Now go to sleep. Put your head on your pillow and close your eyes. Good night, dear.”
“Good night, daddy”

Lucas, who up to this point was sitting up in his bed, repeating everything that Anna was saying, with the same intonation, looked at me with a huge smile.
“You, too, bud. Head down. Eyes closed. Go to sleep.”
In his 2 year-old, cute way he replied, “Go sleep”, and put his head down.

Eastern Hymn Cover

Ever since I heard David Crowder’s “Eastern Hymn”,  I wanted to do it. I finally got the chance last Sunday. We obviously didn’t get it perfect; the location of the camera wasn’t able to pick up the bass and hardly the drums which are key elements of the song, and it was a bit “*pitchy”. But anyway, it was super fun to play with some super cool people!

This was also a special day for us since it was our “goodbye” to the fellowship that we have been a part of for the past 4 years. We’ve really enjoyed being part of such a cool fellowship and having the opportunity and encouragement to use our gifts. This fellowship really has been our “home fellowship” for the past 4 yeas. It has been the place that we have felt most comfortable and yet challenged. It is the fellowship that we have been at the longest. We will also remember and treasure our time at QICF!

*Some of my musical friends have issue with the word “pitchy” as made popular by the American Idol Judge, Randy Jackson. My use of it here is dedicated to those friends… 🙂

**To hear the original by David Crowder *Band, click below:

Update from the Carmans in China

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Dear Supporters,

Four months ago I officially resigned from my position at International School of Qingdao. These last four months have been an intense time of seeking His will, dealing with the emotions of possibly leaving our home of 7 and a half years, and saying goodbye to our incredible friends here. We are still formulating our long-term plan; however, we are excited to tell you about a short-term project that we have decided to do in the meantime.

From July 1 to July 24, the Carman family will be working at Living Stones Village (LSV), in Beihai, Guangxi Province, China. LSV is an orphanage for disabled and abandoned children in Guangxi, China. Children with missing limbs, cerebral palsy, polio, hearing impairment, blindness, and crippling burn injuries are being raised and treasured in the Village.

I initially visited this place in February to see about the possibility of joining with them. I was impressed with the vision of the leadership as well as the obvious blessings that He has shown at this place and to the people who live there. One of LSV’s goals is to be a vital part of the surrounding villages for the purpose of building relationships. This summer LSV has organized several camps to help facilitate this goal. We have been asked to participate in the family camp. Along with us, several families from the US will be working with about 30 children aged 9 to 11. These children come from the neighboring villages. As the resident orphans who are cared for by LSV are all above 11 years old, they will also participate in helping to run various activities at the camp.

We will be engaging the children in various activities, including: English study, sports, hobbies, movies, and games. Week 1 will be orientation and training. Week 2 will be the camp. Week 3 will be getting to know the city, LSV staff, and the director of the orphanage to consider future work. Our objectives are to share the love from above with the children and help LSV create solid relationships with the surrounding villages for future work. Our final goal is to assess how we can further help LSV in the future. As such, this camp will also serve as a survey trip.


  • That He would do a great work with the children at the camp
  • His guidance as we consider working there long-term
  • Logistics of getting there and back and then to the US

Financial Needs:
Total Cost of Trip: $4,193 (See attachment for breakdown of financial needs.)

If you are interested in supporting us financially, you can give a tax-deductible donation by sending a check to the following address:

PO Box 3326
Chattanooga, TN   37404

Please endorse checks to “GFMA” and signify in the memo line that the money is to go to Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman

Thank you very much for the continued support over the years.

Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman & Family

Jeremy: jalopyhead @ (remove the spaces);;
Jacquelyn: jalopygirl @ (remove the spaces);
LSV Website:

Appendix Gone

So last weekend I had my appendix taken out. Friday night I started to feel nauseous, but didn’t think anything of it since I had just returned from a large Chinese dinner with important people. (Large Chinese dinners with important people means lots of strange food.) The pain endured until the next day. I still wasn’t too concerned at this point as I figured my body was just indecisive on how it was  going to get rid of the food.

By Saturday morning my body did make its decision and I threw up 5 times over a 10 hour period. Each time I was expecting some relief of the pain in my stomach, but none came. After about 10 hours of this and becoming paler and weaker each moment,  I started getting concerned that there was something more serious going on. That’s when it hit me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen alot of ER and House episodes or what, but I suddenly thought “appendicitis”.

I looked up the symptoms online and confirmed that I had most: Lowish fever, abdominal pain (that was quite obvious), loss of appetite. So I headed to an international clinic (Bellaire) where I was given antibiotics. (Chinese try to control it before removing it.) After several hours on the IV, they sent me home to wait for an ultrasound in the morning. At that point they would make the final diagnosis. It was about 8pm when I got home.

I didn’t make it to the morning. As soon as I got home I threw up again – this time a scary green. Also, the pain had quite localized itself to the lower right quadrant. We called a friend of ours who is a nurse. After discussing our various options, we called back Bellaire to say that I needed emergency help.

The overnight nurse came and picked us up in a taxi and accompanied us to the emergency room. While she was running around paying our various bills (which if you know Chinese hospitals, can be quite a challenge),  an endless amount of people poked at my abdominal area each confirming that I was indeed in pain when they did that. They sent me up to the ultrasound room where they confirmed that I did have an infection. Blood results also confirmed it.

At one point the the doctor asked, Are you ready for an operation? I was thinking, yeah!, Get this thing out of me before it explodes! So, the Bellaire nurse paid some more bills and then we all headed to the operation room.

In the elevator, the doctor asked me if I wanted general or local anesthesia (Chinese usually do local, but he knew foreigners preferred general).

Jacquelyn wasn’t allowed to accompany me beyond the operation room doors. At the doors, the operating room nurses asked, “Where’s your patient clothes”? I said, “You haven’t given them to me yet”. This is when I learned that when you go to the hospital for an emergency operation in China, you should first stop at the hospital store and buy patient clothes…which at that hour was closed anyway. So, I stripped down to my skivvies.

In the operation room all the people made their preparations. At one point the doctor said, “Don’t worry, I’ve worked on alot of foreigners. Just recently worked on a German.” Truth be told, I wasn’t worried. With 7 million people in our small city, I’m sure the doctors have taken an appendix or two out before. Eventually they started the anesthetic via an IV. I panicked for a few seconds because I lost my ability to swallow and I thought that was important. Then I relaxed thinking, surely, swallowing isn’t a necessity.

I woke up being wheeled to the recovery room. My friend Nathan Greene flanking one side and my wife the other. Jacquelyn’s friend was also there, but my vision was so blurry and she was standing in my periphery that I couldn’t see her. I said quite a few funny things coming out from anesthesia. I decided that the word appendix was too difficult to remember and renamed it to my “adidas”. I kept calling myself sexy and sang, I’m too sexy for my ladies when JK and her friend walked out of the room.

The next day we signed out of the hospital and went back to Bellaire to recover in a better environment.

I’m hoping to get the stitches out on Sunday.

Rebekah’s Wedding

This past weekend my family and I had the privilege of going to my assistant’s wedding.

The wedding was in a small town. We were treated like royalty and ate like royalty as well.

Anna Mae had a great time making a new friend on the 5 hour bus ride down.

She also got to be a flower girl. She took the job very seriously.

It was really exciting getting to see small-town life.

Congratulations Rebekah and David!

China Day: I’m More Chinese than You

Recently the school where I work put on a China Day show. It featured our staff, students, and some local entertainers. I was in the one of the plays. Take a look at the video and pictures.

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Olympic Torch in Qingdao

The excitement is growing here in Qingdao as the Olympics are getting closer. This past Monday there was an Olympic torch relay through Qingdao. It started at the sailing center and turned down the main road that passes in front of our apartment complex. It continued down and around Qingdao and ended up at beach #1 where it went on a sail boat across the way back to the sailing center.

As you can see in most of my pictures we couldn’t see very much because everyone was waving flags, but just to be there was so exciting. It is interesting to be here as the Olympics come. I think that the local government did not want the crowd to be too large, so they told most people to stay inside while the torch relay was going on. They bused almost all the spectators in from around town. That is why they are all dressed alike.
There were actually suppose to be two other torch relays in the nearby area but for some reason or another they were canceled. So what happened is all the relayers came to Qingdao and were going to “run” in this one. All together there were 259 people that carried the torch. So instead of running 2 km they each ran 50 m (about 130 feet). So each relayer did not actually do much running.

Where we were standing we got to see the fire pass from one relayer to the next. Unfortunately, all the flags & cameras were in our way so I can’t say I saw that actually happen. But after watching it, Jeremy & I were both very excited to see the Olympics, so I think the purpose of the relay did it’s job.

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Sleepless Nights

For the past two nights I have had serious trouble going to sleep. Last night I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do if an earthquake happened here. Obviously, the earthquake that happened in Sichuan a couple weeks ago is the reason for these thoughts. The worst image that I have came from a person’s description of a newspaper article that he read. He said they found smothered-to-death small children under the ruble with their fingernails gone – a result of scratching at the ruble to try to free themselves. Even further in my own thought process as I unsuccessfully tried to sleep was imagining my little Anna in that situation. It brings tears to my eyes just imagining it. To actually have that happen to her, or Jacquelyn, or anyone else that I know, would just be devastating.

It is interesting the barriers that we create for ourselves. I have built a wall just high enough to shield myself from thinking too hard about the awful effects of the earthquake, but, yet, I have kept the wall just low enough that I can see over it. It truly sucks what happened to those people. To think about it in the slightest truly breaks my heart. I don’t want to think about it. But last night, I couldn’t stop.

In the days following the earthquake I heard many people pray that God would use this event to bring people to Him. This is also my prayer. However, in the back of my head I really struggle with all the suffering that happened…and continues to happen to those people. Of course God is just and whatever He uses to demonstrate His power…or whatever He’s doing…is certainly up to Him.

80,000 people are expected to have died as a result of the earthquake…women, children, men…it makes no difference. Wow. Why are people saying, “Lord, Your will be done.”? Because there is nothing else to say. With a broken heart I also cry out, Lord, Your will be done…