Phoenix: 118 Degrees???!!!

First of all, I hope you enjoyed that video I posted of the newscaster getting violated by a lizard.  We have been watching that over and over and laugh out loud every time.  You can watch it a number of ways. Watch it once just concentrating on the sound the guy makes.

Watch it another time just focusing on his head.

Watch it another time and focus on the crazy motions of his hand.

Then watch it again and focus on the calm animal guy picking the lizard off of his suit as he laughs at him.

It's fun for the whole family.

Well, here we are in Arizona.  We visited our supporting church in Sun City on Sunday.  It was wonderful.  We spent quite a few hours after the service fielding a wide array of questions that they had about everything--including financial issues.  Their questions were impressive and important.  More churches should do this.  Grill us.  Good for them.  People should know what they are getting.

The night before we visited our friends Orin and Odetta.  Orin is 98 years old and doesn't look like he's a day over 70.  They are both extremely sharp and active.  I looked through a photo/story album of Orin's life.  It is amazing.  Owning a Model T Ford, surviving the Great Depression, working with his hands for decades---what a life.  Being able to know people in their 90's who are active and lucid is a 21st century phenomenon.  No generation in history has had so many people of such an old age, continue living such a high quality of life.  It means that these people are living treasures--full of history and wisdom.  It was an honor to listen to his stories.  And then I had Cajun food which was awesome.

This weekend, it got up to 118 degrees here in Phoenix.  That is the hottest temperature I have ever been in, in my life.  Of course Hong Kong feels hotter than this for 80% of the year because of the humidity, but it was something to have steering wheels hot to the touch, the pavement blindingly hot and bright, and feeling cool when it only got down to 100 degrees.

I had no idea that Phoenix gets rain somewhat often.  Tonight we got hit with a rain storm and a dust storm.  It was absolutely amazing to behold. I've never seen rain in a desert climate so that was a first for me.  To see it go from sunny and hot, to no visibility because of dust, and then heavy rain and wind in a matter of a few minutes was awe-inspiring.

This is my fourth time to Arizona and I just rave about it every time.  I love it out here.  It's surprising since everyone knows I despise the sun and think blue skies are lame and depressing.  So why do I like it out here???  I love the architecture, the Southwest motifs, the earth tones everywhere--even on street signs.  I love the Cacti and the beautiful jagged mountains.  I love the wide streets and the warmth of that over-rated, super lame sun.

And then there's Sedona.  Our first trip to Sedona was a few years ago when we took Marco to his first stream in nature.  I fell in love with the red rocks.  Yesterday we spent the day up in Sedona, hiking a bit (a Nachtigall outdoor hiking event usually lasts about 20 minutes and ends at McDonalds so don't get too excited), and finding some look out points.  And then buying a $65 golf shirt for $12 dollars at an outlet store!!!  I love America!!!!!

Today I met with the Senior pastor and missions pastor from McDowell Mountain Community Church. They are between the ages of 25 and 35.  There are some really innovative, exciting, fast-growing churches lead by these generations and it is always so encouraging to spend time with these emerging young leaders.  In general, Church of God congregations out here in the Phoenix area seem to be very healthy.

One final thing I love about Phoenix, Arizona and the Southwest is the Hispanic and Native American influence.  It's so palpable and I love multi-cultural settings like that.  We've been trying to eat as much Mexican food as we can before going back to the Mexican food wasteland of Berlin.

But the thing that really gets me are the mountains and red rock hills that seem to just spring up all over the Phoenix area.  I think those little red rock hills are SO COOL!!!

Tomorrow we head to my old stomping grounds of San Francisco---American's most beautiful world class city.  But I look forward to returning to Arizona in the future.  I'll post photos soon.  Not tonight.  We've got to go to the airport at 4:30AM tomorrow.  Who is the idiot who booked these early morning flights????