University Presbyterian Church

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?

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  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/ 

Dateline: St. Petersburg, Day 3 – The 16 Kilometer Adventure

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
12 June 2009

I’ve been traveling for just about 10 days now; and it sort of feels like it. I’ve been nursing a couple of blisters, and I can’t seem to get enough sleep. I’ve also been fighting off some sort of cold for the last few days. Although I think yesterday was the turning to point to winning the war on terror my cold.

Last night, I did some investigating and plotted out what I wanted to do for these last couple of days. I made a list of the top three museums I wanted to visit:

  1. Popov Communications Museum
  2. Museum of Zoology
  3. Museum of Railway Technology

After having missed the Cosmonauts Museum, I made it my first priority to find the Communications Museum. I headed north and to the location where I thought the museum should be.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

However, I couldn’t find it. I circled the block, thinking maybe the location on the map wasn’t right, but still couldn’t find it. I pulled on the door for what I though was museum, but it was locked.

While still searching for the museum, I came across the post office. Figuring this would be as good a time as any, I decided to post my cards. This was an adventure in and of itself. I surveyed the scene (I wish I could show you a picture, but they don’t allow photography and there was a security guard on duty who most likely would have hassled me). Standing before me were 30-some windows, most of them closed, a few of them open. There was different writing above many of them, corresponding, I presume, to different postal functions.

I do the sensible thing and walk up to the window with the shortest line. I show the lady behind the counter my three postcards and try my best to indicate that I need some stamps. She points across the room, and I (like a well trained monkey at this point) mimic her gesture, making sure I understand where she’s pointing.

So I walk across the rather large room to the other side and repeat the aforementioned conversation, the gentleman looks at my cards and then points me back across the room. It’s takes a moment to process this before I realize I’m stuck in what appears to be an infinite loop.

I then had a flashback to about nine years ago when I used to spend quite a few Sunday mornings hanging out in the YMM1 office at University Presbyterian Church:
One morning, we decided to play a little prank on our small group leader, Brandon Lewis, who also happened to be an intern. The layout of the room was such that the office space ran along the outside perimeter with a table and a bank of computers in the middle.

Brandon happened to have a cordless phone at his desk (the only person in the entire YMM office with one, I believe), which I took and hid above the lowered ceiling tiles in the middle of the room.

My thinking went that Brandon would hear his phone ringing and think it was on the other side of the room. He would walk over there and listen for it again, only to hear it coming from the other side of the room. He eventually figured out the phone was in the middle of the room.

Perhaps God was attempting to humor me. In the middle of the large room is an open topped shop. I walk in, show the lady my cards, and get my stamps.

I walked out of the post office and decided to give finding this museum one last shot. There’s an upscale hotel near by and I ask the security guard if he speaks English, he doesn’t but another guy does. I show him the address I have for museum, and he confirmed what the map already told me. So I go back around and scrutinized the doors one last time.

This time, I see the note:

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

The note appears to convey information about the museum being closed for Russia Day on 11 June and 12 June.

At least I know where the museum is.

I decide that I should still go to at least one museum, so I head north again, across the Bol’shaya Neva river, to what I think is the Museum of Zoology, but is actually the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.

The line to get in is pretty long, stretching to the end of the block, and is made up of an unusually younger crowd. I figure that I’m here and might as well go in, so I jump in line.

Most of the museum was pretty bland with exhibits that I thought were pretty outdated. I was struggling to find why so many people wanted to get in. Then I found it, the First Natural Science Collections of the Kunstkamera. This room isn’t even on the same playing field as Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

After the museum, I strolled by the water front before making a dash to the Peter and Paul Fortress.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

Once I got to the fortress, I noticed a helicopter had landed. Rather curious as to what this bird was doing next to the fortress, I naturally went to investigate.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

As it turned out, Baltic Airlines was offering 15 minutes aerial tours of St. Petersburg by helicopter, a twin turbine Mil Mi-8 to be exact. For a mere 2000 rubles2, I too could enjoy the sights that millions of others had enjoyed before me, but in the air! How could resist? Honestly, it was a really tempting offer. For a helicopter ride, $65 wasn’t a lot of money (all things considered). However, in the end I decided not to do it. I didn’t really think seeing St. Petersburg by air would be that cool and it looked like all the window seats were taken. Besides, if I’m going to pay money, I at least want to be able to fly the thing.

I did decided to wait around for the helicopter to take off; and let me tell you something, I was nearly knocked off my feet! That thing creates one heck of a downwash.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

I wandered about fortress before exiting on the north side. I passed by the Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps as it was closing before doing a loop around the Zoo (on the outside, not the inside).

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

I had been walking for about eight hours at this point and my feet were about ready to kill me. My plan was to catch the metro at Gorkovskaya, however it turns out (after later research) that the station was closed.


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

I ended up walking another 2 kilometers to the Sportivnaya metro station, and my feet did up killing me. I did manage to get home though, having romped over 16 kilometers through St. Petersburg today.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

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  1. Youth Mission and Ministry 

  2. $65 dollars 

Shooting Salida

I went to Salida with my family this past Tuesday so that Brian could check out the church he would be working at as their Youth Intern.

While driving through town, we came across a set of abandoned railroad tracks. Having wanted to do some urban1 exploring, I took the opportunity to wander about.

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Salida, Colorado, United States

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Salida, Colorado, United States

Blue White Red
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Salida, Colorado, United States

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Salida, Colorado, United States

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Salida, Colorado, United States

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Salida, Colorado, United States

Calco Inc
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Salida, Colorado, United States

As always, you can see the rest of the photos on Flickr: Exploring Salida

As a side note: Brian will be working with Hilary Downs, who fellow UPC folk may recognize as the Ministry Coordinator for The Rock and The Edge back In The Day™. After graduating from Princeton, Hilary became the Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Salida. As Jeff noted, “Wow, small world… (or UPC is just that huge…).”

As yes, I love alliterations.

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  1. although I’m not sure I’d call Salida urban 

Earl is Leaving

I was talking with my Mom this week, she said that Earl Palmer, the Senior Pastor at UPC is leaving. Here’s the note he sent out:

Dear UPC Family,

These past fifteen years as senior pastor at UPC have been totally joyous and fulfilling because I love what I am doing! I recently shared with our church Session a new vision of a ministry that would allow me to serve God in teaching, writing and encouragement of pastors and laity in a more expansive way, both here in Seattle and beyond. The Session has endorsed this vision in which I will eventually move from my current responsibilities into a new and exciting mandate. While I continue in my role fully engaged as your senior pastor, the church will spend the next year conducting a search for a new senior pastor. Following the arrival of that new pastor, I will move into this ministry-at-large post under the auspices of a newly created Encouragement Foundation formed by members and friends of UPC and managed by a separate, independent board of directors who would shepherd me in this new ministry.

As you know I don’t believe in the kind of retirement that means disrupting the biblical rhythm of the Fourth Commandment, “six days thou shalt labor, one day thou shalt rest,” and ministry with people young and old is for me the most rewarding work I know. I feel great and my health is strong, but I know that patterns change throughout our life journey, especially as our chronological age moves upward. Since this year I will turn 75, Shirley and I have been praying and thinking about this age marker and in prayerful conversations with friends this new vision has emerged.

I look forward to this year ahead of ministry here at UPC as your senior pastor, and then Shirley and I are excited about the next era that opens new ministry opportunities as the Lord leads. For us, one of the best parts of this new era is staying right here in Seattle and continuing in our friendships with you, our beloved UPC congregation. Most of all our prayer for us all is that as we grow in age we will grow in grace.

Your Pastor,
Earl Palmer

Earl F. Palmer

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IHS

There are a combination of letters on a table that sits at the front of First Presbyterian in Golden that look like this:
Iota Eta Sigma
I puzzled over it for a while and finally asked Earl Palmer from University Presbyterian in Seattle.

One of the things I like about talking with Earl is that he just doesn’t give you the answer. For instance, Earl could have just said, “It means Iota Eta Sigma.” But no. He explained that it’s one of the Greek words for Jesus, coming from the Greek word Ιησους (Iesous) which translates to ‘Jesus’, but is often just shortened to Ιησ. To get from Ιησ to IHS, make the former all upper case letters: ΙΗΣ. Almost there, the last thing you need to know is that Σ is the letter Sigma. So, take the ‘S’ from Sigma and you have IHS.

Earl then went on to explain Χριστο (Christos) that means Christ (natch) and is often abbreviated to Χρ.

And finally, ΑΩ (Alpha/Omega) which refers to Revelation 22:13:
From www.biblegateway.com:

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

Here’s the site I used to lookup the exact Greek definitions/spellings of what Earl gave me: http://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/STRINDEX.htm

Wikipedia also has an article on the Christogram.

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Iain Torrance

Iain Torrance, chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and president of Princeton Theological Seminary, gave the sermon at UPC today and it was simply marvelous. What a great speaker. He’s also hip too! He recounted how on his way to Rome last week, he listened to Julius Caesar on his iPod, which he purchased from iTunes.

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What a day! / Senior Project: Day 1

Wow. This was one heck of a Tuesday. Starting at about 3, we starting receiving quite a bit of hail. And then the wind kicked up. We lost power at about 6ish. I went to go get my tux and I had to take 2 different detours because of trees falling and blocking the entire roadway. I was able to get my tux from the Mens Warehouse, and I have to say that the service I received was exceptionally excellent. The person helping me, Richard, was very helpful. They defiantly have will have my business again. So yea, tux is done, that just leaves corsage and transportation. So back is the power outage. I arrived home at about 8:30 to find that we didn’t have any power. The first thing I thought was Hmmm, fun. Then I realized AAAAhhhhhh no TV!!! I can’t watch 24! But if any of you know me, I usually don’t take no for an answer…at least the first time. So I hooked the inverter up to the van and ran an extension cord from the front of the house where the car was to the back of the house where the TV was. I plugged the TV and DirecTV receiver into the cord turned them on. And voila! It worked! So I got to watch the last 40 minutes of 24 and that was cool.

Now for the Senior Project. As part of the Senior Project, I am required to keep some sort of log of my work. I thought this would be a good spot to keep it. So here goes! This was the first day of my Senior Project. I arrived at about 8:30 and waited for a little while. I had neglected to find out what time Andy was getting there, so I headed up to UPC for about 45 minutes. When I returned about 10:30, I found Andy in his office. He outlined the plan for the next few days and then I got started. Today I was moving some of the work benches around to make the room more efficient. I also started working on assembling the server rack. I left at 12:30 to go to ballet at school.

Time:
Today: 2 hrs
This week: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs

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