JOURNAL ENTRY 12.05.1999

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Excerpt from David Joannes’s journal while trekking traveling among unreached people groups and villages in Southwest China.
Journal entry 12.05.1999

Woke up this morning at 6:15 to catch the 7:am bus to L*****g, but after arriving at the bus station we found out that it leaves at 8:am. It’s 7:15am right now and we’re waiting in the bus station waiting room. I think I’ll continue reading my Chinese Bible…

Thinking about Tian Guangzhong 田光忠 right now. I’m sure he’s very depressed and upset at his parents for not letting him take such a great opportunity to go to K*****g and study the Bible…

1:41pm:
We arrived here into L*****g at around 1:pm. It took almost five hours to get here from G*****a, and 20 Yuan on a zhong ba che. From C******n to G****a there are only two buses: 7:30am and 2:pm. They are both 20 Yuan.

We have already bought tickets to K*****g at 3:pm. It should take about 16 hours to get there, and 90 Yuan.

We have traveled many hours on buses, and no one is able to come to K******g, as far as I know. The others went to a village outside of C******n this morning at 10:am to see if anyone could come. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow what happened. The reason Elder Li wanted them to come back is because he wanted to pick the best men to come out and study. We’ll see. The thing about Wa areas is they’re so hard to get to. The buses take so long and the roads are terrible. This is where sacrifice and commitment come in…

Here in China they don’t always leave on the right times. The tickets we bought for 3:pm seem to be useless all the sudden… We got out here to the bus station and they say that the bus leaves at 4:30pm. So here Zhong and I are, both of us not understanding exactly what’s going on, but having to wait until they decide to leave, whenever that will be.

It’s funny here in China the things that intrigue them… As I write in English they all gather around gazing at the strange shapes coming from this pen. “I don’t understand anything!” one girls says. “Don’t you know anything?” an officer replies, “he went to college.” “You don’t need to go to college to learn how to write in your mother tongue,” I tell them. The world outside just grew a bit larger since they met me. “Is there life beyond China?” Yesterday I asked some Wa kids, “Han nationality is the largest nationality in the world, isn’t it?” They didn’t even think of any countries beside China. Sometimes it’s fun to be a foreigner here in China. Other times it really wears on your soul.
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069Journal04.21.1999-05.01.2000_IMG_3529
David’s actual journal entry

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Passing out stickers to poor Wa children on the China/Myanmar border

dj & wa baby
Playing with the locals

david & jingpo boy
Half naked boy with the sniffles

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A Wa tribal home 24 hours from Kunming

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Wa village set high in the mountains

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It is normal to see Wa minority women smoking long silver pipes

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TIME IS TO ME A STRANGE THING

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ~King David

September has arrived in Manila, Philippines, and I am already hearing Christmas tunes around the city. Which mean time is flying. Which means my daughter will be born within 12 weeks. Wow! Time does fly. So with that in mind, Here’s a note that I wrote Lorna for our 5th month anniversary.


May 13, 2004

Time is to me a strange thing.

I once wished for nothing more than my favorite cartoon to be on. And it came on Saturday at 8:30am. But it went away so quickly that I could not focus on it the next time, thinking, “Oh no. It will be over too quickly!” And so I would make my mind busy with something else to ease the thought of losing that which I sought to carry with me. “Baseball season is coming soon,” I told myself. “We made the all stars last year. I wonder if we have a chance again.” As I stepped up to the plate with my blue helmet on, swung, struck the ball to left field, and ran like crazy to first base, the dirt diamond faded, and the grass withered. It was fall. The games were over and I was sitting in my room listening to Petra singing More Power To Ya. The little red lights flickered up now down. They bounced to the beat on my black equalizer, until I fell asleep on my bed. The curtains were swaying. I dreamt I was at Huntington Beach, California. “I love it here!” I was making a sandcastle. First, scoop the grains into a bucket. Pack it down hard. Flip it over quickly, but don’t slap it to the earth so fast that it breaks apart. “There is an art to this, and I have it down.” The towers of my castle were getting higher, and I dug the moat three feet away, towards the ocean, so that the water would not wash my work away the next time it ebbed closer. But as I looked away for a moment, and took a scoop of sand for one more tower, the wave fell on me. It slapped me to the earth till I was coughing the salt and sand out of my mouth. I sat up in my bed with a start, sweating. I hated that dream. The curtains were still swaying, and it was summer. I ran outside to jump in the pile of leaves under our cherry trees. “We sold all our cherries this year!” I would tell them. “We made enough money to go to Disneyland!” I played in the leaves dreaming about Disneyland. Pirates of the Caribbean was my favorite ride. I hated Star Tours because one time I got so sick to my stomach that I puked and felt terrible the rest of the day. “Don’t be a baby!” Katie said. “It’s just a roller coaster!” Shutup. I left my pile of yellow and orange leaves on my way to work. “The sun is a killer today,” my boss, Casey Taylor commented. It was. Almost 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix. “I gotta get outa this work.” I wrote a lot, and dreamt more. Usually at coffee shops. I missed those countries I visited. (In Russia a group of men kept crowding so close to me that I felt uncomfortable talking to them. But for some reason I enjoyed it because I felt like I was a part of them. In India I got food poisoning three days before we were supposed to leave. I passed out over the squatty potty at 3:am. They found me there at seven o’clock.) “No one here in Prescott understands me.” Maybe that was true. They had never been out of America. So I bought a plane ticket to China. When I arrived at the Minorities Institute, Mr. Chen said, “Nide bao hen zhong,” but it took me a couple months to figure out what that meant. Mandarin was difficult, but fun. “My life is so different than the average American boy!” I told myself that so I wouldn’t go crazy. I studied hard and thought a lot about you. There is a huge stack of used phone cards in my computer desk. They are wrapped in a rubber band. Sometimes I think they say something about my love for you, but I think funny things like that. I would dial and dial and dial, until finally something in the phone line would click and let me through to your voice. I melted then. Atop a mountain I said, “Will you marry me?” The answer made my arms tingle. So I kissed you a long time. And we would watch the sun set over Manila Bay, while Louis Armstrong sang What A Wonderful World. It was wonderful there with you in the snow. It was late for Kunming, but secretly I had hoped that it would happen so I could see the reaction on your face. I accidently hit you on top of your head with a big snowball. Norah Jones’s voice came from the other room, “Come away with me my love.” We kissed. After all it was our fifth month anniversary of being married.

Time is to me a strange thing. It merges and tangles into one long ball of thought, and I have a difficult time unraveling the string of events. No matter. I know that yesterday ended last night at midnight. I know that to be with you now is enough. And I can sense that even though we sometimes cannot figure out what will come next, my goodness, it must be decent!

The new blue curtains in our office are swaying. It is chilly outside, maybe about to rain. Can I tell you something that will be true throughout all of this strange thing that we call time? “I love you, Lorna.”