Go Cardinals!

Cardinals 7
Tigers 2
(Not televised in Romania, but I was up with a sick kid, so I followed the play-by-play on the internet starting at 3:30 AM)

Cardinals 1
Tigers 3
(What was that stuff?)

Cardinals 5
Tigers 0
(A convincing win in the first World Series game at the new Busch Stadium)

Cardinals 5
Tigers 4
(Good enough for a W. Only one more win to go)

Cardinals 4
Tigers 2
(That’s a winner!)

Grace and Peace

Missions Update

The following is from our e-mail update, sent this week to those who support us with their prayers and giving.

Dear Family and Friends in Christ,

“But the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5 ESV

The gospel contains both bad news and good news: The bad news is that apart from Christ we are dead in our sins, and cannot please God. The very good news is that Jesus took our place, taking the punishment that we deserved, so that by trusting in Him we can have eternal fellowship with God.

The gospel doesn’t stop there. God’s grace is as sufficient for us today as it was the day that we, by God’s grace, put our trust in Christ. Living in Bucharest forces us to be continually confronted with our inadequacies. Sometimes our weaknesses are in the area of culture or language—we don’t know where to go for something, or don’t understand a question some one is asking us. It is easy to fall back on “Imi pare rau, vorbesc putin romaneste” (I’m sorry, I only speak a little Romanian). At other times, we don’t feel up to the tasks that are before us, at school, church, or at home. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all and it is easy to get discouraged.

The Christian life isn’t all about God making things go smoothly for us. For the apostle Paul, his life was filled with persecution and hardships, but he was right in the middle of God’s will by experiencing these things. God continues to use our situations, weaknesses, failures, and even sins to remind us that His grace is completely sufficient for us.

“How does God in grace prosecute this purpose [of drawing us sinners closer and closer to Himself]? Not by shielding us from assault by the world, the flesh, and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstances, nor yet by shielding us from troubles created by our own temperament and psychology; but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to Him more closely.” —J.I. Packer, Knowing God, chapter 21.

We are pleased to be serving Christ on your behalf in Bucharest, Romania. Thank you for your prayers and financial support that make it possible for us to minister here at Bucharest Christian Academy and in the Romanian Evangelical Free Church.

Serving our Lord,
Kevin & Shirley

Grace and Peace

National Mole Day

Are you celebrating National Mole Day?

National Mole Dayno, moles are not mammals that make tunnels under your lawn, nor brown spots on your skin, nor spies working within an organizationis a celebration of the chemical concept of the mole.

So, what is a mole? Here’s my Chemistry textbook definition:

Mole: “quantity of a substance that has a mass in grams numerically equal to its formula mass; equal to 6.02 x1023 representative particles.”
Prentice Hall Chemistry, 2nd ed., p. 951

In other words, if carbon has an atomic mass of 12.011 (look on your periodic table), then a mole of carbon atoms has a mass of 12.011 grams, and contains 6.02 x1023 (or 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) atoms. This number is called Avogadro’s number.

National Mole Day is celebrated by chemists every year on October 23rd (10/23), starting at 6:02 A.M. Note that this was posted at 6:02 on 10/23! And how does one celebrate National Mole Day? Some do this by telling mole jokes. Here are a few:

  1. What is the best shot Avogadro has ever done on a golf course?
  2. Where does Avogadro stay when he is on vacation?
  3. What does Avogadro put in his hot chocolate?
  4. Which tooth did Avogadro have pulled?
  5. How does Avogadro write to his friends?
  6. What is Avogadro’s favorite Japanese sport?
  7. How many atoms are in a dish of guacamole?

Click on “Read the rest of this entry” to see the answers.

National Mole Day website
Wikipedia article

Grace and Peace

Continue reading “National Mole Day”

Population #3 — European Demographics

Being that we live in Romania, here are a few thoughts about European demographics:

  • The population of many Eastern European countries is declining. This is due not only to low birthrates but also to high emigration rates. Many young, educated Romanians, for example, desire to move either to Western Europe or to the United States. I have known people with college degrees who could earn more money picking olives in Spain than working a business job in Romania. So they move if they can.
  • Many of the countries in Western Europe that have positive growth rates are growing primarily through immigration or high birth rates of immigrants. France, for example, currently has a moslem population that makes up 6% of its population. These are mostly North Africans. Among the under-20 age group in France, the moslems make up 20% of the population. Projecting this into the future, France could be a moslem-majority country by the end of the 21st century.
  • This amplifies the importance of missions to Europe! Which continent has the lowest percentage of Evangelical believers? It isn’t Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, or North America. It is Europe! The churches here need to be strengthened. Europe needs to be re-evangelized, or there could be a repeat of what happened to Asia Minor. The land to which Ephesians, Colossians, and Galatians were written (Turkey) is now 99% moslem. Don’t let the same thing happen to Europe.

European annual growth rates — Wikipedia


Grace and Peace

The Orbitron

I just finished teaching about electron configurations and orbitals (quantum mechanics stuff) in Chemistry — you know, the 1s22s22p63s23p64s23d6 stuff. Well, maybe you don’t remember. Don’t worry about it.

If you do remember quantum mechanics, you’ll appreciate the graphical depictions of orbitals at The Orbitron, a gallery of atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals.

Even if you don’t remember your quantum mechanics, you can still appreciate the symmetry and order of God’s creation. (A quick review: an orbital is a space around the nucleus of an atom in which an electron is most likely to reside. These volumes range in shape from spherical to donut to… well, take a look).

3d orbitals

7g orbitals (I’ve never seen depictions of these before; they only exist for excited states, not for ground states)

Grace and Peace

Population #2

The previous post was about the U.S. population hitting an estimated 300,000,000 this week. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I read The Population Bomb by Paul Erlich back in the 1970s. Among its predictions:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…

The book was filled with apocalyptic forecasts, but almost none of Erlich’s predictions came to pass.

There are still plenty of “the sky is falling” prognosticators out there. But what does the future really hold, in terms of population growth? Demographers (those who study human population) observe that birth rates are falling, and that we likely will not have the nightmare scenarios of The Population Bomb. Instead, global population will likely hit a peak sometime in the mid to late 21st century, and then start declining. This will happen given current population trends; nothing radical needs to be done. As societies become more urbanized, and as people have more access to clean water, adequate nutrition, and health care, their birth rates almost always decline.

This graphic shows projected population growth through the 21st century:

Scientific American, “The Climax of Humanity” Sept. 2005

The medium projection is for population to peak at a little over nine billion in the latter half of the 21st century. Factors that will affect this include what actually happens to birth rates and death rates; as well as economic growth, which tends to reduce population growth.

Where will that population growth be? Much of it will be in Africa, while other parts of the world will see declining population:

Projected Population Change, 2005 to 2050

Region 2005 Population (millions) 2050 Population Estimate (millions) % Change
Canada 32 43 +34%
U.S. 298 395 +33%
Central America 147 210 +43%
Caribbean 39 46 +18%
South America 375 527 +41%
Northern Europe 96 106 +10%
Western Europe 186 186 0%
Southern Europe 149 139 -7%
Eastern Europe 297 224 -25%
Russia 143 112 -22%
Northern Africa 191 312 +63%
Western Africa 264 587 +122%
Middle Africa 110 303 +175%
Eastern Africa 288 679 +136%
Southern Africa 54 56 +4%
Western Asia 214 383 +79%
South-Central Asia (incl India) 1611 2495 +55%
Southeastern Asia 556 752 +36%
Eastern Asia (incl. China) 1524 1587 +4%
Japan 128 112 -13%
Oceania 33 48 +45%

Data from Human Population Grows Up, by Joel E. Cohen, Scientific American, September 2005, pp. 48-55

Grace and Peace