Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're Going!

Thanks to an incredibly generous public, many of our friends and family, and possibly divine intervention, we have raised enough money to pay for our Costa Rica missions trip.

We leave in three days.

I didn't realize how massive this undertaking would be until Michelle started packing for it. There are clothes upon clothes all over the place--who knew it would take so much planning and effort to shuttle two weeks' worth of clothes for seven people?

Anyway, we're all very excited (and slightly nervous) about the whole endeavor. We look forward to seeing the ways God stretches us on this trip (though I'm secretly hoping that he only stretches me in ways that are comfortable--which probably means he won't).

If I can, I'll offer some updates while abroad. I'm taking a two-week vacation from the ol' laptop, but I think there'll be a computer somewhere along the way.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Discovery: We Don't Know As Much As We Think.

We have a confluence of new discoveries made recently that are really making me ponder my existence. I'm sure this coincides with my recent purchase of The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, which in turn coincided with me checking out the official audio version of said collection from my local library.

Up first, this story about a tribe of people in Brazil/Peru that has absolutely no idea that we, this internet-connected, GMO-consuming, gas-price-worrying society, exists. Here they are, obviously feeling threatened by the noisy, enormous bird flying over them:

Follow this link for more photos and the complete story, which contains this intriguing bit:

In our overcrowded world their very future hangs in the balance. Almost all of these tribes are threatened by powerful outsiders who want their land. These outsiders - loggers, miners, cattle ranchers - are often willing to kill the tribespeople to get what they want.

Even where there is no violence, the tribes can be wiped out by diseases like the common cold to which they have no resistance.

According to Miriam Ross of Survival International, which campaigns to protect the world's remaining indigenous peoples, "These tribes represent the incredible diversity of humankind. Unless we want to condemn yet more of the earth's peoples to extinction, we must respect their choice. Any contact they have with outsiders must happen in their own time and on their own terms."

Secondly, we have this bulletin from NASA, which shows, apparently, a patch of ice uncovered by the Phoenix Mars Lander's thrusters last week:

And, from the story:

"We were expecting to find ice within two to six inches of the surface," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, principal investigator for Phoenix. "The thrusters have excavated two to six inches and, sure enough, we see something that looks like ice. It's not impossible that it's something else, but our leading interpretation is ice."

(Please note that the researchers are from the University of Arizona and that this whole Mars Lander thing was not orchestrated nor sponsored by the University of Phoenix. Presumably, if there is extraterrestrial life, the boosters at U of A are hoping to make them Wildcat fans before any of the other schools can get to them.)

Jocularity aside, read these stories (and while you're at it, The World Without Us isn't a bad idea, either) and then consider this: if we didn't know about either of these things, what else do we not know, and what should that teach us about our own humility?