Sunday, August 31, 2008

school is in full session

Ok, so school has been in a couple of weeks now. I've had a lot of people asking over the Summer 'are you going back' ? Yes, I did.

I am with the same class but with a different teacher. We have 9 kids, but can go up to 12. There are 4 kids from last year, including my little friend who is borderline autistic. He hasn't changed...

We also have a new little guy, can't be more than 30lbs, 5 years old. He likes to lick and eat everything. I mean EVERYTHING!. When we give the kids a worksheet to do, we have to keep an eye on him. As soon as he does the work, he starts to tear the paper and eat it. So we have to collect it fast. He is also a little tornado. He can't hardly sit for more than a couple of minutes, runs around the room. I feel like I am looking at the tasmanian devil running in circles.

But he is SO stinking cute!! That is what saves him... that and the things he has said about home. One day we were working on our speaking skills and my teacher had a book with pictures on it. She pointed to a picture of a glass bottle (looked like a milk bottle) and she asked him to say what it was. He said 'beer'. Then the other day as we were going to PE, he started telling my teacher that his dad drank beer from a BIG glass and gets drunk and then the cops come.

Now these words: beer, drunk, cops, are words a little 5 year old SHOULD NOT know. It breaks our hearts. So, we love him. He will get discipline, but he will always know we care about him.

The class is not much different than last year in terms of the kids being difficult. But I have a teacher that is a good match for me and we vow to stay consistant in the way the class is run and HOPEFULLY the kids will respond positively from it. I told her we have to stick together, there are more of them than us!!

My prayer is that I can be a difference in these kids lives. Also, I would like to be a witness to the teacher I am working with. I am not sure she is a Christian. Also, there are 2 other ladies that are friends with her that I feel I need to pray for. I don't want this year to pass by and me not take the opportunity to share Christ with them. This is not easy for me. Sure, I can 'live' a life that shows them their is something different, but I think I should do more than that.

Maybe it's the book I just finished reading. It was a small novel by Terri Blackstock called "The Listener". It was really convicting.

So, I am looking forward to what this school year has in store.

But it's also nice to have a 3 day weekend!!!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Final Olympics Update... for now

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, yes the fat lady has sung and it is all over, well at least for 4 years !!!

The Olympics draws to a close on a high note, just as it began 17 days ago, I am sure you enjoyed it on TV, in one way the time has zipped by, in other ways, it seems we have been here for ages. The photo today, speaks for it's self....... who's a happy boy ?

What a super way to end this world class festival of sports, standing amongst the world best athletes, in center field of Beijing's National Stadium, under the Olympic flame lighting the night sky.

Over the past three weeks I have tried to bring you a taste of the Olympics that is not shown on TV or in the press, much I have still to share with you, so once I get home, my feet back under the desk and clear some of what must be waiting for me, I will offer some more insights.

For my Chinese friends, I will show you the fancy seat your President got to sit in, did you know he has his own mini A/C unit under under his table, no wonder he can look so cool and calm, while the rest of us feel like we are in a sauna.....

Take care,


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Update #15

English almost American living in Macau, with Shi Lanka Delegation gets Beijing Olympic Medal

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, I pray all is well, you will guess from the photo's I was a very happy man, when I received my Beijing Olympic Participation Medal & Diploma today. No National anthem was played, no flag raised, no TV coverage, but your truly is just as proud to have been part of the most successful Olympics ever.... as anyone.

Well done China & BOCOG

warm regards,

ps: Every NOC athlete & official who participates in the Olympics get this sort of medal. Praise the Lord this is my second of these medals, the 1st from Atlanta 1996. Now I must think if I can I make it a 3rd from London 2012 ????? Only God knows !

What we woke up to on Friday

Fred & I were on our way out to work on Friday, when he said 'hey, Valerie, come check this out'. I go out thinking he had something wrong with his car... NNNNOOOOO!!
We saw this:

An armadillo! He was sound asleep after he tore up our front yard. I have never seen one in our neighborhood. Fred had the nerve to say 'scare it off' . He was out of his mind if I was going to mess with the giant rat! I just got in my car (after taking pics) and went on my merry way to work. It was gone by the time we got home. Fred is going outside right now to see if the little stinker came back. I doubt it, though. We were probably a 'Motel 6' to him.

Yuk! he was gross!!

A night of dinner & murder

I have been meaning to post about this but the Olympics have had most of my attention lately...

For the second time (in about a year?) The Ross' invited 3 couples over to a wonderful dinner and a game of 'murder mystery'. I have always wanted to play that, so I was real excited to be part of it. The only thing, you don't really choose who you are going to be. The first time, well, let's say, I was very 'friendly' with some of the other characters... how embarrasing! :)

So when Colleen called and said we were getting together, I stipulated I was NOT going to be the 'floosy' again... hehe So, instead, I became the 'religious fanatic'. Ok, not great, but better.

I was real proud of Fred this second time. The game is so out of his element, but he was pretty good with his character. And, for the record, I was the only one who guessed who the murderer was! I had no concrete evidence, just a gut feeling. But isn't that how most detectives work???

I love the couples we got to play with: Ross, Caddells, Moores. Now that we go to different churches, I am grateful we can still get together and keep our friendships strong. And, by the way, Wayne & Jan Moore are hilarious when they get into character!!

I hope we don't wait too long to do it again!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Update #14

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, hope all is well. Things are going well here, this morning it rained "cats & dogs" as I wanted to go shopping. Thus I decided to try the new subway line that joins the exciting very good metro system, to get the crowds of spectators to the main Nation Stadium and Water Cube.

At the moment this section (Line #8) has only 4 stops, but is free to anyone with games tickets, plus, of course, all the 16,000 athletes and officials also get it for the free. Plus we get the whole Beijing underground network too, pretty cool..

The new line goes north into what is now call the Olympic Green, a park that will remain for the benefit of all Beijinger's & visitors.

Photo to the left shows the new station platform, note the design copied from the Birdsnest, all platforms now have (or on the main system) will have automatic doors, keeps the aircon in the summer & heat in the winter, and on the platforms, not along the tunnels, also stops accidents on the line.

The other two photos show the interior views of the new trains.

My outward trip was fine, walked 5 minutes from the OV, took the new Olympic line, to the interchange station to get on the #10 line to find the shopping market I needed. However, on the way back, at the internet station, instead of changing platforms and picking up the new Olympic I was bundled out of the station, with the crowds, into the street, then forced to walk about 10 minutes around the block to go through a security check point......

Security is fine, I am all for it, but come on, throwing your citizens and visitors out in the pouring rain, making them walk alomost a kilometer, only to find yourself back where you started at least 20 minutes longer than moving from platform to platform when changing trains.... is far from smart.

Up to now I have only offered the highest praise, so to be balanced, I feel I need to air this grip. Of course, I know why some bright soul thinks it easier to do the security checks in a huge empty area of tarmac, than in the rail station. However they are doing these same checks all over Beijing in the subways, just where the normal trafic flow is......

Ok, I am back to positive mode.......

Last night I was privileged to see Usain Bolt, blaze into Olympic History, with his win in the 200m........ for an Olympic final, leaving the rest of the field for dead is almost unheard of, such was this new World & Olympic record run.. After being witness to his 100m final, when he did the same thing, most people were sure he would win, but not so utterly destroy the other runners...

Micheal Phelps move over, we have another super star on stage.

I am still in part shock, part very proud that my tiny little island can hold it's own againist such power house like China and the USA, and still keeping 3rd stat in the medal table........ GO UK.............

Take care, I wonderful what I can find to you good folks tonight. Yes, back to the Birdsnest, even the volunteer helpers in the Stadium, are asking me if I want my favorite seat..... he, he.

warm regards,


David sent out the update below yesterday morning and I didn't post it hear right away... not on purpose!! So don't be mad when I tell you that Fred won!

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, today I meet the young lady in the photo, can you guess her name ??? Will it help if I tell you she comes from Liuzhou in Guangxi, is 143 cm tall, and weights only 30kg. The first to tell me her name gets a prize.............

I am not a tall man in anyone's book, but she only reaches to my shoulder, and she was wearing a small healed shoe. We were both in the Olympic Pin trading center, she was giggling and having a great time. So I just had to ask for a photo.

Take care, I have a busy day, at 2pm to 4pm I will watch the Gym medal winners give a special presentation performance, then it's off to watch China play basketball at 4;30pm, followed be another evening in the National Stadium, our best medal hope is in the women's 200m semi finals, please check the TV at about 9:25pm tonight.......

warm regards,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Update #12: 2 in one day

I have to apologize. I should have made David's email available a long time ago for you guys to be able to contact him directly. Feel free! Val

Dear Family & Friends,

Good afternoon, good news our 200m runner cruised through her heats this morning, she won a bronze in 2004, so our best medal chance this time too. Her next time on track is 19.07pm tonight, this is the 2nd heat of round two......
I gave you a look at how pretty the National Stadium is at night, here are some photo's taken from behind the scenes.

This photo is of the main passage that circles the track under the main seating area.

The photo to the right is up on the 4th level, here are the private corporate boxes, the main Olympic sponsors rent these either by the day, or a few are for whole week of athletics..... As with the VIP Olympic family lounge, the only place's where alcohol is allowed..... sad!!!! Here you can see the red plastic film on the windows I spoke of yesterday.

This left photo is showing you the access from the hidden passageway onto the track. You can see the main seating through the tunnel. On TV you will see people & things appear on the track and vanish again, this is where it happens. The narrow railed off area along the left hand wall, is where the athletes come to get on track, this is near the 100m start, they leave the track near the 100m finish.

The last photo to the right is just before the medal winners and medal presenters line up here to march out in the public glare...

Now what shall I offer you next time...... if you have a question, please write and ask..

warm regards,


Olympic Update #11

It's getting hard to keep up with his updates, but they are so good!!!

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, hope al is well. I hope you enjoy this shot I took at 8:30am this morning, as I walked along the huge passageway under the stands & seating area in the Birdsnest. You will have seen these smart electic golf carts, and well drilled volunteers bringing out & collecting the hurdles etc.

Now you see what they enjoy best........ a good nap, after the lunch break, I can understand it, but 30 minitues before the first event starts..... What can you say, he, he.

Take care,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics Update #10: The Olympic Village

Dear Family & Friends,

Wow !!!! what a past few days, with my home land in 3rd place in the medal table, only China & the USA have more medals, the Brit's are over the moon, and yes I am very proud. Also for Michael Phelps wining 8 gold medals in the pool, then Jamaica winning gold in both men's and woman's 100m, which I was so lucky to see happen right in front of I sat in the Birdsnest Stadium.
But, today I will tell you a little about the OV (Olympic Village) which houses about 16,000 people, both athletes & working officials, the NOC Presidents & IOC members live in the 5 star Beijing Hotel right close to the city center.

OK, our building #A1, is part of what will be an apartment complex, all these units sold over a year ago.....

this is the view from my balcony, where I sit to write emails (I get Wi Fi from here) and enjoy the view.

Now lets take a look at my room, it has two beds, but I get it to myself, yes a very lucky guy,

this is my bathroom, quite a step up from my blue Refugee tent in Sichuan... and to my amazement the beds are nice and soft.

The last photo, is one of our security gates.

The village is incased in a 3 meter high fence, in fact two fences, one behind the other, about 2 meters apart, with a PLA guard every 40 meters, flood lit at night & supported by night & day vision cameras.... the safest place in town. On each gate, apart from the regular security listed below, we have several SWAT team guys, totting machine guns............

To get in, we must first pass a visual face & badge check, then they electronically scan our ID badges, then we go through airport style security, walk through doorframe type scanners, a separate one for anything you are carrying, then it's arm's out as we are wanded before we are free to enter.
Oh, I have a good story about security........ quite a number of the volunteer security, are PLA folk dressed as volunteers, no volunteers keeps there shoulders so far back, and is so unsmiling. Near the main dining hall, we have a crossing on the main East - West road that runs through the village, it is a dual carriage way, with a set of stop lights.

However, until it becomes an apartment complex, we only have electric buses that glide along at 10 kph, it's often faster to walk. And this main road is always 95% clear and empty. Well; we have a couple of these army guys dress as volunteers, and are trying so hard to get a very strong minded bunch of Olympians to not cross the road when the lights are red, but with a 100% empty road.......of course they are out of luck. .

I feel a bit sorry for them, as they are not use to people ignoring to their commands, they look so sad at no one listening to them... poor souls, they are just doing what they have been told.... " Welcome to a whole new world...."

OK, must dash, next time it will be night photo's of the Birdsnest & Water cube..

warm regards to you all.

Olympics Update #9 : More than Gold

Dear Family & Friends,

While we are all wanting our own folks to win, let us remember that a fair and honest struggle to do your best at anything is much better than being upset if you don't win Gold. The other day an athlete missed out on the Gold, and after the Medal presentation, he steped off the medal platform, he laid his medal on the ground and walked away.

Not only did he miss out on the Gold Medal, the IOC has cancelled his Olympic ID, gave his medal to the next athlete and have thrown him out of the Olympic village........... Now his country must also face the shame.... so sad.

Please check the photo below, it's an athlete who just got 3rd place, tell me if you think his smile, says he did his best and is thrilled with his Bronze medal. I took this photo of him here in the OV, I am sure he will not want to take it off for days... many have been known to sleep the first night after getting a medal, still wearing it around their neck....

Let me tell you a secret, the night I was elected the President of my local Rotary Club, I also slept the 1st night wearing my chain of office. Am I crazy, no just so thrilled that after several efforts, I succeded after my peers elected me to this high office.

We must all face uncertain times, find things are not as easy as we thought, but after we keep on trying hard, the sweet taste of success is such a wonderful reward. These things can sometimes take years, other hours or a few days, but the honest journey is the thing we remember.........

Warm regards,


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympics Update #8 (a quicky)

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, from another wonderful day in Beijing. Yesterday was the first day of the Athletic competition, and the skys were as thet say picture perfect.... don't take my word for it, check the skys both by the Birdnest and here in the OV.


You keep your promise..............

warm regards,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Read all about it!!

Andy has a friend, Joel. He was out of town and his friends decided to prank him. It took 3 days, 25 people, and who knows how many newspapers, but they filled his room up with wadded up papers. Andy helped out in the last 7 hours. The guys ordered pizza and even had the pizza guy throw in a wadded page. Everyone who helped out signed their names on a paper.
Joel wasn't so thrilled.
I thought Jason, Randy, Claude & James would get a kick out of this. Did he make you guys proud? :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympics Update #7 (though he says #5)

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, hope all is well, this will be my 5th Olympic report, trying to offer you something you don't see on TV or in the newspapers, they are full of who won the gold etc, so let me try to give the other side of the coin. If you missed a report, please let me know, as a few have not arrived ok ???

My photos this time are from the "Water Cube". I was amazed getting off the athletes bus, walking along the side of the National Aqua Center, just how huge it was, look at the people, then how tall this thing is....
Another shot is the diving platform, very pretty, and from what I hear works well too...

The next is a view you can get on TV, the audience seated, 8 swimmers in the pool...

Now look at the photo of the training pool, not open to the public view. It's like a busy pool during the school holidays. How they warm up ok, I have no idea...

This evening I just saw Michael Phelps swim his 100m Butterfly heat, his old 2004 Olympic record was 51.25 sec. so he took it easy the first 50m and was 5th at the turn, and then went up several gears to record a 50.87 sec. what can he do if he really tries....

Earlier in the evening we saw the heats of the Women's 800m Freestyle, that's 16 times up and down the pool, a long way to swim going as fast as you can. The British girl, Cassy Patten set a new Olympic record of 8mins, 18.55sec, beating the old record of 8mins 19.67. Guess who is rather proud, and being 9th out of 205 Countries in the medal count is very good for a tiny island full of strange folk.....

The past few days have been very interesting, from sitting in the VIP seats with the Sri Lankan Ambassador chatting & watching boxing, to attending a meeting of all Technical Delegates for the Athletics (Track & Field) that start tomorrow (Fri 15th) Our athletic coach does not speak much English, and as a past track athlete, judge & organizer of a UK state (province) athletic championship, I was next in line......

Add to this some three-hour in the Poly Clinic, with our badminton player, who suffers from breathing problems, but only when she gets a cold, and her medicine, contains a small amount of a banned drug. So she has to take a test to claim an exception.

Which she did back in Sri Lanka, but the doctor forgot to add the make of the equipment used and the strength of the test drug.... So she needed to be re-tested, however there was real concern, that if she took the test again, that if she was given a radmon drug test, she would be positive, and get banned not only from the Olympics, but everywhere for at least two years...

But, we got it solved ok, she player her match as her world ranking was 131st, she lost to a girl who was ranked 75th in the world. This may seem a bit sad, that she only got to play one game of 3 sets, and got knocked out of the Beijing Games. However she did write her name into the history of Sri Lanka, as the first woman ever to represent the country in this sport at an Olympics......

Just how many of us, would be very proud to be the first ever to represent your Country at anything, let alone the Olympics Games.

Just before I set off to cheer our swimmer in the mens 50 m freestyle, I had to take our two track athletes uniforms to the Sports Info Center, to have them photographed, thus insuring they complied with the rule #51.

Any trade mark on a garment is limited to a certain size. (At the weight liffing a liffer had masking tape stuck pver a offening trade markon his shorts) This is to ensure that if your company pours millions of US$'s in to being an official sponsor, someone else can not get the credit on a TV close up.

However, I think they have gone a bit crazy this time. On a visit to the any bathroom, be it in the village or any competion venue, all the American Standard white porciline, wash basins etc, have little white stickers over the name...... Why build all these brand new venues with a product you have to put a lable on....

Thanks for your letters and remarks, the photo of me with the torch yesterday, got the most emails.............. I wonder why.

Take care,
I'm starting to get real jealous!!! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Newsflash!


Crazy Englishman seen running along the Great Wall of China with the Olympic torch, and half the security forces chasing him....

Should anyone find him please return him to the Olympic Village, Thanks.

A Concerned Friend, ( he, he. )

David is having way to much fun! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics Update #6: Weighlifting

Dear Family & Friends,

Hi, this morning our Weightlifter, won his round at the 69klg class, so is in with a very good chance of a medal.... They have three rounds of 9 men in each round, one was this morning, one on Tuesday morning, the other later that day about 7pm.

Who ever scores the most points of the 27 athletes wins the Gold Medal.... our guy lifted a total of 292klg that is three times his body weight, his best up till now was only 280klg. Please pray this wonderful lift gets him a medal, we want Gold, but any colour is good

Take care,

ps: photo's show Chinthana Vidanage on his 6th and final lift. the other shows him, his coach, the National Sports Minister and the Chef de Mission with hat on the phone .

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Long Awaited 5th Update From Olympics

Dear Friends & Family,

I pray all is well as you read my 4th report from Beijing. As you will have guessed, the past few days have been both exciting and rather busy, so I say sorry for the slow issue of this report.

The rain held off to give us a super night for the grand Opening, as you will have noted, I draw the short straw and got to baby sit a Sri Lanka VIP rather than marching with the team. But God blessed me in Atlanta, so to get upset at not doing it twice is a bit selfish. The head of the British team tired to cheer me up and gave me a ticket to march with the UK team, but I need to carry out my duties fully. But it does make a nice keep sake.

Each person in the parade of Nation's needs ticket to first board the bus in the Village, then it is checked again in the waiting area, plus a third time, as you get ready to march.... security is great, but a bit crazy at times. Last night, I attend the Badminton, the coach & team chief sat at the side of the court, while I headed for the VIP Stand of Honor (a rotten job, but someone has to do it, he, he)

I had our NOC Chief de Missions assistant with me, we got her the ok, to sit with me in the posh seats, but while I went up by lift, she had to take the back stairs.... crazy.....

I my last letter, I told you about the reception & dinner in the Sri Lankan Embassy, the photo shows the National President, in black & red scarf, the Ambassador, tall & slim , also in black & beside him, my buddy the President of the S.L. Olympic committee, all on the grand staircase of the Embassy.

Another photo, shows part of the Chinese team, in the main athletes dining hall, another side you can not see on TV, thence the huge privilege I have of being part of the wonderful event.

Our Welcome to the OV went very well, I was amused at the way each volunteer hostess has her hair done, with the 5 Olympic rings, I also wanted this done, but they could not find enough hair for even one ring.... ahhhh poor David. But I did get to meet the CCTV9 presenter, from the Culture Express programme, who did the English for the Welcome, a photo with him to follow.

Finally in this letter, a very special time for me, a Christine Church Service in the OV multi faith center. They have printed a special New Testament, with the Beijing logo on the cover, plus I was given a very nice real leather bound full Bible in Chinese / English, marked inside in both languages " Free Distribution Beijing 2008"

The attendance was quite small, (the athletes have other things on their mind right now), however it was a very nice service, great Hymns, a great Sermon, a wonderful blessing, praise the Lord.

I must close, need to get ready to cheer on our girl swimmer tonight in the 100m backstroke, my first trip the the now famous Water Cube........

Take care, thanks you all so much for your prayers and good wishes,
warm regards,

Andy and Boston's 'More Than a Feeling'

Andy went to Youth camp for the first time a couple of weeks ago. He had a blast. One of the chaperones was the brother of our youth pastor. Zack is 19 and very good with video. He has made several videos for church as well as just for fun. You can find them on youtube under the name: djsacky.

Here is a link to a 'music' video he did with the guys in his cabin. It's pretty funny and if you watch closely, you can catch Andy here and there... the reason I didn't post it directly to the blog is because there are teen boys in boxers, so watch at your own disgression. (there's nothing vulgar) :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Blessings of Family

We interrupt the Olympics for this commercial

It's 5 minutes long, so you need patience. there is a cute part somewhere in the middle and you want to see the finale...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Olympics Update #4

August 7th

Dear Friends & Family,

Hi, it is now my 4th day in the OV, with the opening night tomorrow evening and the first day of competing on Sat. That day we will have two athletes, their sports, our flyweight boxer (ranked 8th in the world) and a lady swimmer. Hope that get some good TV time.

At 4pm on Sat 9th, we are scheduled to have our official welcome to the Beijing Olympics, the delegation, plus Sri Lanka's National President, the Ambassador to China etc will present ourselves to the welcome arena, for a welcome speech by the Chinese Mayor of the Olympic Village, the National Anthem will be played and some school children will welcome us with songs and music.

Ok, so what about yesterday, when I ran out of time to write. Well as you guessed a busy day. Morning was spent preparing things for the evening when the Sri Lankan National President would make a special visit to the OV, meet the OV Mayor, and have a long private chat with the delegation in our village accommodation.

Of course being a head of State, he does not arrive alone on a push bike, as you would expect, the entourage was bigger that we is allowed in for any country. Each NOC (National Olympic Committee) is allow 8 persons for a protocol visit, then we used our 6 per day guest passes and got close.

To make things even more stressful, his plane was due to land in Beijing at 13:20pm, but was 40 minutes late, and he was due in the village at 18:30pm.... Also on the same plane was the NOC President and our Secretary General, and the Government Sec. for Sport.. While the Embassy and local security folk swung into operation for the head of state, we had to ensure our two top NOC officials and the government minister had a car each and as they would all stay in different Hotels... we needed to make sure the driver knew where to take them.....

You know, the Olympic is much easier when you can sit back, turn on the TV and relax..... but this is really a wonderful experience. Sorry, I forgot, we also had our delegations Admin official on the same plane. He already had a pre-validated Olympic ID card, but guess what, as some 30% are, there was a problem. Guess who got left to sort it out, while out team chief got ready for the heavy guns to arrive. But, that's why I got offered this job, as they say in the USA " I have been there, and done that" so it was quite easy, 30 minutes later we were good to go.

OK, so we got through validation and registration, now we had to get to our village building.... guess what, the Olympic sponsor UPS, had a SUV waiting, they put the luggage in the back and we got UPS'ed to our quarters.... another first.

At 6:30pm on the dot, the National President arrived in a fleet of cars, out jumps the Chinese security guys, check all around, then allow the guest of honor to step out. The usual welcome, hand shakes, flowers etc. and then we were allowed to tag along at the rear.

After the visit to to the OV Mayor, the President motorcade lined up, and we were ushered in the passenger van at the rear, due to the one way system in the OV, it was a long route for a short journey, but the international athletes were amused and took photo's of us..... I almost felt famous... he, he.

The President came with his wife and two sons, and took the time (some 45 minutes) to meet with just 8 athletes and a few coaches, very few would offer that much time, as several different countries athletes who told us, "our President would never do that"

OK, I must start to get ready for this evening's Embassy Dinner, I will try to report on it tomorrow.

Take care, bless you for reading this far, of yes, I got asked about the air quality, it's not bad, certainly lots better than when I was in the city before...

The photos are from Peace Square (One world, one dream) with the two volunteers that look after our NOC President & Sec. General, and in a red shirt in front of the huge FuWa....... all in the OV.

fond regards,


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Olympics Update #3

Dear Friends & Family,

Ok, more news from the Olympics....... There was some of the GB team on my flight to Beijing, and more in the Olympic Village. But most are still in Macau doing pre-training.

They have a whole building here, waiting for them to arrive, four sections long and 9 floors high, someone has hung big GB banners on very balcony, looks great. Our team has two apartments on the 7 floor, and one on the 6th, of another building, as our team is tiny, just 8 athletes. We also have Sri Lanka flags on every balcony, but that's only about 7 rooms, the Brits have 76 rooms..........

The village seems to grow by the hour, as more teams arrive and start to settle in, I meet the Guam, Chef de Mission and their Judo athlete in the main dinning hall lunch time. Chatted with a head coach from Australia, this really is the place to be.... I wish I could bring you all in for a look around, but at least I will try to share the excitement as I see it happen.

On Thursday evening I have been invited by the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Beijing to join the rest of our Olympic team at a reception inside the Beijing Sri Lankan Embassy. The countries National President will be there too, he fly's in tomorrow, and is due to visit our Team in the OV at 6pm... , then he stays for Opening night celebrations in the Birdsnest on Friday, before heading home on Sat.

At 3pm today, I head off to the athletic trains ground with one of our team, she is a Javelin thrower, so needs to practice. That should be fun.

Take care, looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks, must dash duty calls....

fond regards,

2nd Updates from Olympics

So far there have been 3 emails from David and I thought it would be too much for 1 post, so I am doing them separately, bear with me!!

Dear Friends & family.
Here is my first letter from the Beijing Olympic Village

My plane from Macau was on time, but the airport in Beijing was very busy. After getting my luggage ok, I made my way to the Olympic family departure area. Lots of very willing volunteers, but poor English and no experience yet... but they are trying hard, bless them.

They got me a VIP car to drive the 30 kilometers from the airport to the Olympic Village which is near the Birdsnest Stadium. But the driver did not know where to go, so I was reading the part of road signs in English and telling him the right direction. !!! Must say it was nice to be driven in the Olympic lane, which was empty, while the other two lanes of the Airport express road was full of cars.

What was even more fun was seeing a car with China Military plates push out into the Olympic lane, which is not allowed, but normally no one dare question them. However; there is a new game in town, as out of no where a police car appeared, lights flashing and pulled over the PLA car.......... he, he.

When I got to the village, I had to register, & get my ID badge checked in the computer, then someone took my case and lead me a short distance to the building, where the Sri Lanka team are to live and we have our team office. So I am living in building 1A, selection 1, on the 6th floor, in room 1 B......... someone must think I look like a #1 man.......... he, he.

We can take the electric village bus, or enjoy a 6 minute walk to the main dining hall, we are also close to the retail shops, a place to get free Chinese lessons & hair cuts, (but not in the same room) and the team welcome area. Sri Lanka is scheduled for the morning of the 9th Aug. When we get our official BOCOG team welcome ceremony.

The Olympic Village main dining hall, is a wonderful mix of athletes and some officials from 205 National Olympic Committees, for example tiny Chinese gymnastic stars, not tall enough almost to see over the tables, sitting to your right and very tall basketball players to your left, everyone excited & thrilled to be here, this truly is the Olympic Spirit in full swing.....

On Tuesday (5th) I have been asked to act as a coach / manager for one of our athleles, we will visiting a training area, they just need a friendly face to encourage them, once you get to this world class level, it is as much a mind game as a special skill. I am looking forward to this, and will tel you about it in my next letter.

Take care, I am off to bed and I trust enjoy my first night sleeping in this Olympic Village, so far the beds seem quite soft, but only at breakfast time will I know for sure.

Take care, thanks for reading this far.................

warm regards,
David (Mr. #1)

Olympics News

I don't know how many of you get emails from David Steddall, so I thought it would be cool to post his emails here that give a first hand report of what is going on with the Olympics. David is there as part of the Olympic staff that is traveling with some of the athletes... he even promises some pics soon!

August 1st:

Dear Friends and Family,
Hi, I trust all is well. As you can guess I am getting ready to leave on Monday 4th Aug, for my 22 days at the Beijing Olympics, as always, God has blessed me greatly, with a VIP position (Olympic Attaché) on the National Olympic Committee Team for Sri Lanka.
The latest news is that Beijing will hold another dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony tomorrow (Sat 2nd) and then the final full dress rehearsal next Tuesday night (5th), which hopefully I can get a sneak preview off.... ! Who knows even a photo or two, but not to show until after the big night, don't want to spoil the surprise.

Once I arrive, I will start my regular newsletters to you all, giving insights and photo's not normal shown in the press.........

As you well expect, I am more than a little excited. I can already feel the excitement in China, the day after I received my Olympic ID card (which can also be used as a China entry visa) as I crossed over into Zhuhai, the immigration office was so excited, as I was the first person to use this card at this entry point, he took my ID card, stood up and waved it as he shouted to another officer, saying "I got the first one" he was very proud of that.... bless him. I suddenly became the center of attraction, with several immigration officer all wanting to see and hold it....
The Beijing Olympics really is the "Pride of the Nation" so how can I not look forward to a wonderful time full of exciting events and experiences.

I can not take you with me, but at least I will try to share what I can, as quick as I can...

Our team is quite small just 8 athletes, who will compete in 6 sports, we have 1 each in Boxing under 51 kgs, Shooting, men 50m pistol, a lady in Badminton, Weightlifting men 62 kgs class, plus two each in Swimming and Athletics.

We will have our best medal prospect Miss Susanthika Jayasinghe, carrying the Sri Lankan national flag into the Birdsnest on the 8th Aug. She is ranked 18th in the world for the 100m, and 20th for the 200m.

She was brought up in a very poor family in a small village, 60 klms from the Capital (Colombo) where a pair of running shoes cost more than the average month's wage.

Please remember if you can dream it, you can do it !

Warm regards,
Olympic Attaché
Sri Lanka NOC

Blog stealing

Well, actually, I asked permission. I have been randomly looking around at other blogs and have run into a group of moms that have really interesting blogs. They are living life in all it's hecticness of kids and husbands and find ways to acknowledge and praise God. They encourage me...
Anyway, one of the ladies posted a blog I thought was worth sharing with my little group. Feel free to forward if you wish...

Challenging PodcastFriday, July 25, 2008
i read an article a few months ago and then finally listened to the podcast a few days ago entitled "As For Me and My House" by Greg Harris. It was given at Bethlehem Baptist church and the purpose was to give a strategy for Fatherhood.
Here is the sermon to download and here is the article, but i've included a few of my favorite thoughts as well...

A Simple Strategy for Fathering
He suggested this simple, summary strategy for fathering
1. Get a life.
2. Include your kids in it.
That's it. If that doesn't feel like enough, here's his 3rd step: repeat steps 1 and 2.

How Should Children Be Treated Like Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior? Harris's suggestions:

* Sharpen them intellectually. Have dinner together as a family. Invite guests into your home that will enlarge your children's minds. Read.
* Straighten them out morally. Discipline them—if you can't, call the police. Seriously. Make sure they know that you care enough to keep them in line.
* Pay attention to the feathers on the arrow, their moral guidance system* Aim them at what matters. Don't waste ammo on trivial targets.
* Hold them back till their ready to be released. (This may create tension.) Don't over-protect, strategically protect.
* When they're ready, let them go with only your prayer and friendship left as an influence.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

He's a Texas boy now

Freddy made it to Austin. He starts training at work tomorrow. Here are some pictures of his departure.

His car was packed with the 'bare essentials'. Fred & I will be taking a trip in Nov. to take his (big)TV and some pieces of furniture.