Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Dara Torres showed herself to be a class act when she helped a fellow swimmer at the beginning of her final individual race. The swimmer's suit had ripped, and Torres went over to tell an official about it and calmed the other swimmers down as they waited. She won two silvers on her last day of competition, the oldest female swimmer ever to medal at an Olympics. She said she would tell her two-year-old daughter not "to put an age limit on her dreams." Well stated from a gracious human being.
I loved watching the U.S. woman eight rowing team as they won the first gold for the U.S. since 1984. During the medal ceremony all eight were singing the national anthem as it played. Call me sappy, but that was an emotional moment for me.
Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement, and Bershawn Jackson swept the 400m hurdles for the U.S. Taylor thanked God for the opportunity, and Clement and Jackson said it was a blessing to win. All three seem to have their feet planted squarely on the ground in a place where many egos seem to be working overtime. I must mention the coach of the silver medalist in the women's pole vault. He reprimanded Jenn Stuczynski for her second-place finish, making it seem as if it were more about him than her. I felt so sorry for her.
And poor Nastia Liukens had to settle for the silver medal in the gymnastic uneven bars. She had tied with China's He Kexin for first place at 16.725, and a convoluted tiebreaking system gave Kexin the edge. I read the procedure online, and it seems quite arbitrary and somewhat unfair. Just don't ask Bela Karolyi about it. He said, "That makes no sense. They said they improved the scoring system. Look at this." His wife, Martha, the head coach of the U.S. gymnastics squad, had no comment. Liukens was gracious enough because she realized it wasn't Kexin's fault, but she looked as if she had just had the wind knocked out of her.
Still more to come.
On Sunday morning Joel posed with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber in his Veggie Tale outfit.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Two weeks ago a group of 17 students participated in the final program of Blessing Guam, an event designed to draw the churches together and encourage each other in their goal of reaching a diverse population (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Chuukese, Yapese, Palauan, American, etc.) for the Lord. It was an encouragement to all of us that we are not alone in this great task!
Friday, August 15, 2008
The opening ceremony was quite impressive, complete with the moving boxes that had people inside and 2008 drummers. I was a bit disillusioned later to learn that the fireworks display was superimposed and the Chinese girl singer was lip synching, but such is "show business," and the Chinese put on a good show. I wonder how much that program cost to produce.
Four years ago we cheered for the U.S. and Ecuador during the parade of the athletes from the different countries. This year we cheered for those two countries plus Guam and Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, where many of our students come from. We are becoming a more international family as time goes on.
Yao Ming and the boy hero Lin Hao led the Chinese delegation. Lin saved two of his classmates during the devastating Sichuan earthquake earlier this year that claimed over 70,000 lives. He may look tiny next to the statuesque frame of Ming, but I am sure that Lin has been a giant in the eyes of his classmates and now is in the rest of the world also.
Along with my joy I could not resist being saddened as well. Of course, China wants to put on a "good face" for the spectators. In the government's eyes, this includes silencing anyone protesting official policies. Voice of the Martyrs magazine reports that this year has brought about a huge crackdown on the Christians in China. One pastor's door was soldered shut, effectively maintaining him on "house arrest." When our brothers and sisters in one place suffer, we should all suffer. Christians in China are considered rebels. That puts them in a similar category as those who protest the government's policies in places such as Sudan and Tibet.Michael Phelps has certainly provided some drama for this 29th Olympiad. His first of seven gold medals (so far) in these games came when Jason Lezak overtook the French swimmer Bernard in the final stretch of the 4X100m relay. What emotion! And today when Michael outreached Serbia's Milorad Cevic for the win in the 100m Butterfly. Wow! It was great to see the mutual admiration that Phelps and Mark Spitz have for each other during a joint interview with Bob Costas.
We will continue to watch and enjoy the Olympics for the week that remains. Today Jefferson Perez of Ecuador obtained the silver medal in the 20,000m race walk. He won the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. I particularly like watching the track and field events. It brings back memories of my track days in high school and college.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
We participated in our first church service at Koror Evangelical Church. The church holds two services, one in Palauan and one in English for expatriates who live in Palau, from the Philippines, the U.S., Japan, and other places.
At Ngchesar we presented an action song (motions acted out while a song is playing) by Casting Crowns, "Who Am I?" Joel helped, too.