What Is Really, Truly Good

Jesse sent me this video and I just got a chance to look at it. It’s such a great message:

Note: you may need to click through if you can’t see the video above.

The video was created by Jonathan Collins, the same creative genius behind the Advent Conspiracy video I love so much1.

I love little reminders, like this video, because I’ll never grow old of needing to be reminded “how God calls people into his Church, how God transforms people in His Church, and how He asks them to respond;” and that pesky little “selfish belief that life is about us.”2

Sometimes I just need a smack in face, other times a simple creative reminder works just as well.


  1. which, incidentally, Jesse also pointed me to 

  2. Hint: it’s not 

Christmas Time is Here

I can’t believe it’s only 13 days until Christmas. I’ve turned on the snow on this site, apropos considering the temperatures we’ve been experiencing this week. I’ve also been working on my Christmas list. Honestly, I don’t feel there’s a lot I need right now. I’m enjoying not having “stuff” around and I’m trying to keep more stuff from coming in. Things I do appreciate include1:

  1. things that I will use (to be differentiated from things that you think that I’ll use)
  2. things that are home made
  3. things that are consumable (although this needn’t mean strictly in the edible sense

This is not to dissuade you entirely from gifting me something, just to make you stop and think.

The Advent Conspiracy also has an updated video, which I’d encourage you to watch especially as it’s what I’ll be doing in Haiti (a bit) and this time of year in general:
Click for YouTube Video

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying going to some Christmas parties and have several more to go to in the coming weeks. Compared with what I’d normally be doing this time of year (finals and driving home for Christmas), I’m grateful to be where I am and to be doing what I’m doing. And the New Years eve party (LEGO’s! What a grand idea!) should be fun too. I also get the 24th through the 1st off from work (paid!).


  1. but are not limited to 

Operation Water Engineering: A Mission Trip to Haiti?

For several months now, shortly after I saw The Advent Conspiracy, I have wanted to be involved in humanitarian/missionary projects to bring clean water to places that don’t have it.

Last semester (Spring 2009), I was part of a group at Merge (Flatirons Community Church) that was looking for opportunities for college-aged people to be more active in mission work. It was at that point that I started developing more passion for using my engineering skills to serve other people, specially with regard to getting access clean water.

A specific idea I had was doing what I’ll call “emerging technology transfer.” The idea is that we would take some form technology and extract the emerging technologies out of it to be put to use in different ways. For example, technology in a Toyota Prius, could be used to design a wind turbine where the blades would be made using the same composite technology1, which would connect to a generator that is based on the regenerative braking system. The same motor-generator system would also be used to power the water pump. Excess energy would be stored for later use in NiMH batteries ius. And for the cloudy days, the efficient gas-engine could be used. There are other issues, such as: will they be able to maintain this equipment? So I digress.

Convergence, the Young Adult Ministry at University Presbyterian Church, is going on a mission trip to Haiti in January to “come alongside UPC ministry partners Bruce and Deb Robinson as they serve the Haitian people through various community development initiatives, mainly through flood control projects.”2

From upcconvergence.files.wordpress.com:

We will be doing a variety of work, ranging from irrigation projects, rebuilding structures damaged during hurricane season, and more. We will primarily work on construction projects. If you have specific professional skills, we will inquire to see if they might be useful to the community. In addition, you will get to see how God has been working through the Robinsons during their time in Haiti.

As it turns out, I do have specific skills that could probably be useful. I have a passion for the project, I can get the time off, and I can mostly afford the trip (if I decide to go, I may ask for some fund raising help). I’ve also never been to Haiti before, which would sort of tack on a bonus country to my Travel the World goal.

But there’s still that hint of reservation…is this what I should be doing?


  1. I actually don’t know if such technology is used on the Prius, just assuming here. 

  2. http://upcconvergence.wordpress.com/mission-trips/haiti/ 

The Advent Conspiracy

Jesse Shoman pointed me to this quite a few months ago:
Click for YouTube Video

For a couple of years now, I’ve really dreaded buying gifts. It’s not that I don’t like giving, because I do. The part I don’t like is giving meaningless gifts just for the sake of giving something.

From www.adventconspiracy.org:

The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

If you watch the video (which I think is pretty good), they say that American’s spend $450 Billion on Christmas every year. I was a little bit skeptical of that number, but I did some research and for 2008, the National Retail Federation predicts that $470.4 billion will be spent this holiday season1. There’s also a footnote that reads, “NRF defines “holiday sales” as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Retail industry sales include most traditional retail categories including discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.”

Personally, I think the $450 Billion number is high, but I believe that the point is still valid.

1 Source: http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=573