Friday, July 27, 2007

In New York...

Crap!!! I've gained 8lbs since I've been home!!!! I have to go back on the OptiFast doctor is going to kill me when I get back.

I'm sitting around waiting for Brooke to get into New York...Her flight has already been delayed 2 hours...

I'm happy to be home with my big, fat garfield cat...I'm thinking about going back to school this year. I have an appointment with a college next will be a BA degree in case you're interested.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

In Chicago...

I'm staying at Alex's brand new house!! I'm his first guest and I'm so blessed! Since I sold my car, I had to rent a car and they gave me a 2008 Chevy Impala!!! This car is sweeeeet!!!!!

I'm off to Indiana in the morning....

It's good to be home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm so restless tonight...Open letter to the pope

It's nearly 2am and I can't sleep. I tried praying. I tried worshipping. Nothing. Still restless. I went to write an email and the first thing I saw was the following article. It sent a wave of anger came upon me. Having grown up in the Catholic Church for 20 years, I have a right to comment on this. I don't know why this pope insists on creating disunity within the Body of Christ. I can't believe he has the audacity to say that the Catholic Church is the "only one church" that Jesus established. Futhermore, for him to claim that people of other denominations don't have the "means to salvation" goes against everything that Jesus came for!!!

Um, Mr. Holier-than-thou pope: Although our Bibles differ in terms of the addition of apocrypha in your Bible, the Gospel remains the same. Mr. pope, I highly suggest you take a look at the Book of John (yes, it's the 4th Gospel and it comes right after Luke). Two things stick out for me: John 1:12-13, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Second: The famous verse, John 3:16, 18, "For God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life...He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

So, my dear brother in Christ, for if you follow the Lord, we are family, you are dead wrong to judge and alter the condition for the salvation of others!! God said himself that one only need to believe in Jesus. He didn't say the condition for salvation is that you follow the pope or some other man who claims authority in Jesus' name. He says only believe in the Son of God.

Mr. pope, do you believe in Jesus Christ? If you do, then you are saved. I do, and therefore, I know I'm saved. Salvation does not come by works as the Catholic Church so often teaches us; it comes through faith. (And yes, it's true that faith without works is dead...but if Jesus changes your life, you don't have to keep your check list of works. If you have Jesus, it should come naturally).

Mr. pope, Jesus came to bring UNITY, not division!!! God desires us to be ONE!! Denominations mean nothing in the sight of God, don't you know this? Denominations were created by man. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of the nations." He gives this command to every follower, regardless of denominational affliation. satan is loving the division you're causing. he thinks it's great. And moreover, how many unsaved people look at this and say, "Oh look, the Christians are fighting again...."

Come on!!

Finally, since you seem to know everything about God and His design and plan for the "true church," perhaps you can answer some questions for me that no one in the Catholic Church has ever been able to answer. I only ask this because you claim that Jesus established only 'one true church,' the Catholic Church. Why is it you can make this claim, however, the Church doesn't seem to follow the laws and commandments given by God? There are so many that I can pick out, but the biggest one for me is the fact that God is a jealous God. He clearly, clearly states that we should not worship any god but Him. But yet, you pray to saints to interceed on your behalf. The Bible is clear when it says, that no one can go to the Father except through Jesus Christ. So are you equating saints with Jesus?!? When you pray, you are worshipping them. They're dead. They have no power. If you read Revelation, you'll find that they're worshipping God!!! They're probably so excited to be with Jesus, that they don't care (not to mention they can't protect you).

So, I don't get it. Do you pick and choose what you want to make to give credibility to your Church and hold people back from having a true relationship with God?

I know that God grants authority to some people (see God's calling for five fold ministry in Ephesians), however, I can't apologize when I say, I choose to follow Jesus and not a man. In the end, it will be God whom I answer to when I die, not you and not any pastor or leader placed in authority in my life. (This should not be read as rebellion as I am fully committed to a church and submitted to its leadership).

I pray for you and that God would give you HIS heart for the world and for just a select few. I pray that you would come to know the Lord's heart for unity among HIS people and not just yours. (I call them yours because YOU have said that one must follow the pope [the person of apostolic lineage from Peter]). Mr. pope, you are in an awesome position of leadership. I pray that you will use it to glorify God and bring many souls into the Kingdom.

(And I would seriously send a revised letter to the pope if someone could tell me where to send it to. I say revised because it is 2:30 am. We all know what happens when we write at 2:30 am).

Pope: Other denominations not true churches
Benedict issues statement asserting that Jesus established ‘only one church’
NBC News video

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 8:52 a.m. ET July 10, 2007
LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.

Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II’s ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been “erroneous or ambiguous” and had prompted confusion and doubt.

It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”

In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.

“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles.

‘Identity of the Catholic faith’
The Rev. Sara MacVane of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said there was nothing new in the document.

“I don’t know what motivated it at this time,” she said. “But it’s important always to point out that there’s the official position and there’s the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglican and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics.”

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed “churches” because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed “many elements of sanctification and of truth.” But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope — a defect, or a “wound” that harmed them, it said.

“This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an ‘internal constitutive principle’ of the very existence of a particular church,” the commentary said.

Despite the harsh tone of the document, it stresses that Benedict remains committed to ecumenical dialogue.

“However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive, it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith,” the commentary said.

‘Not backtracking on ecumenical commitment’
The document, signed by the congregation prefect, U.S. Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — a major ecumenical feast day.

There was no indication about why the pope felt it necessary to release the document, particularly since his 2000 document summed up the same principles. Some analysts suggested it could be a question of internal church politics, or that it could simply be an indication of Benedict using his office as pope to again stress key doctrinal issues from his time at the congregation.

Father Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the document did not alter the commitment for ecumenical dialogue, but aimed to assert Catholic identity in those talks.

“The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment,” Di Noia told Vatican radio.

“But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be.”

Military Action in Tainan

I took a nice long walk tonight. I was amazed by the Taiwanese fighter jets that pierced the sky tonight. Granted, I live right next to the military base, but I've never seen such action as I have tonight. A few minutes after I saw the planes, I noticed this characture of satan on a business door.

Are you ready for war?

I'm so glad I live in Taiwan.

China Executes Ex-Food and Drug Chief
Posted: 2007-07-10 04:21:24
Filed Under: Health, World
BEIJING (July 10) - China executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog on Tuesday for approving untested medicine in exchange for cash, the strongest signal yet from Beijing that it is serious about tackling its product safety crisis.

The execution of former State Food and Drug Administration director Zheng Xiaoyu was confirmed by state television and the official Xinhua News Agency.

During Zheng's tenure from 1998 to 2005, his agency approved six medicines that turned out to be fake, and the drug -makers used falsified documents to apply for approvals, according to previous state media reports. One antibiotic caused the deaths of at least 10 people.

"The few corrupt officials of the SFDA are the shame of the whole system and their scandals have revealed some very serious problems," agency spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China 's track record on food and drug safety.

Yan was asked to comment on Zheng's sentence and that of his subordinate, Cao Wenzhuang, a former director of SFDA's drug registration department who was last week sentenced to death for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty. Cao was given a two-year reprieve, a ruling which is usually commuted to life in prison if the convict is deemed to have reformed.

"We should seriously reflect and learn lessons from these cases. We should step up our efforts to ensure food and drug safety, which is what we are doing now and what we will do in the future," Yan said.

Zheng, 63, was convicted of taking cash and gifts worth $832,000 when he was in charge of the State Food and Drug Administration.

His death sentence was unusually heavy even for China , believed to carry out more court-ordered executions than all other nations combined, and indicates the leadership's determination to confront the country's dire product safety record.

Fears abroad over Chinese-made products were sparked last year by the deaths of dozens of people in Panama who took medicine contaminated with diethylene glycol imported from China . It was passed off as harmless glycerin.

Yan said she did not have any information about whether the Chinese manufacturer, Taixing Glycerin Factory, and the Chinese distributor, CNSC Fortune Way, had been punished.

"We will try to get more information from the department concerned and we will release it to you," Yan said. She wouldn't elaborate.

China admitted last month that it was the source of the deadly chemical that ended up in cough syrup and other treatments but insists the chemical was originally labeled as for industrial use only. Beijing blames the Panama traders who eventually bought the shipment for fraudulently relabeling it as medical-grade glycerin.

In North America earlier this year, pet food containing Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine was blamed for the deaths of dogs and cats.

Since then, U.S. authorities have turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint.

Yan said the food and drug administration was working to tighten its safety procedures and create a more transparent operating environment. The administration has already announced a series of measures to tighten safety controls and closed factories where illegal chemicals or other problems were found.

But Yan acknowledged that her agency's supervision of food and drug safety remains unsatisfactory and that it has been slow to tackle the problem.

" China is a developing country and our supervision of food and drugs started quite late and our foundation for this work is weak, so we are not optimistic about the current food and drug safety situation," Yan said.

Chinese officials have already said the country faces social unrest and a further tarnished image abroad unless it improves the quality and safety of its food and medicine.

The government has faced increasing pressure from its international trading partners to improve quality controls after a series of health scares attributed to substandard or tainted Chinese food and drug exports.

The list of food scares within China over the past year includes drug -tainted fish, banned Sudan dye used to color egg yolks red, and pork tainted with clenbuterol, a banned feed additive.

China has also stepped up its inspections of imported products and said some U.S. products are not safe.

In the latest case, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday that a shipment of sugar-free drink mix from the United States had been rejected for having too much red dye.

Last week, China 's food safety watchdog said almost 20 percent of products made for consumption within China were found to be substandard in the first half of 2007. Canned and preserved fruit and dried fish were the most problematic, primarily because of excessive bacteria and additives, the agency said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2007-07-10 00:53:42

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Prayer Request.

After speaking with my mom tonight, I'm quite concerned. Please pray that God will make changes quickly.

Someone tell me this is not true!!!!

Coney Island Astroland is closing?!? WHAT THE....?!?

You know what I'm doing in a couple of weeks. This is not fair. Not right. It should be made into a historical spot and not wrecked!!!! What every happened to it's glory days of the early 1900s?

Oh, yeah, crime, drugs, etc.

4 more days and I'll be home!!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

After one year...

someone asked me if I speak English!!!!

I ordered a drink in Chinese and the guy repeated it in English. He said it so fast I didn't understand him. He said it again...still had no clue. Finally, he said, do you speak English?

Good job, Nicole. The poor guy is probably beating himself up now!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I am blessed and highly favored of the Lord!!!

I went to Immigration....AGAIN!

The labor department in Taipei will not give me a work permit for my new job unless I turn in all these other documents (ei copies of my passport pages, letters of resignation from my former employers, etc). My new boss is dumbfounded as to why these papers are necessary. (EI., they're not needed and the labor dept already made the mistake by insisting I submit my W-2 equivilant from Taiwan...which I don't receive because I worked in the public school).

Anyway, I was told that I would only get a 2 week extension on my ARC. I then have to send my passport to Chicago, get a new resident visa, then get a new ARC and do the process ALL over!!! (This is what we have tried to avoid by starting the contract on July 14th). I was told the rules are the rules and you can't do anything about it. No extension beyond 2 weeks.

Obviously, this does me no good.

I went back to immigration with a copy of the letter from the labor department. I tried to explain what was going on, but the lady said, "I know. I know." She then asked if I still lived at the same address and I said yes. She turned around and said

I will give you an extension for ONE MONTH until AUGUST 14. And today, it's FREE for you.


So, when I return to Taiwan on AUGUST 14, I need to haul my butt from Taipei to Immigration in Tainan before they close at 5pm.

Praise God.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Entire Year in Taiwan was Worth It!!!!

Today was my last day of teaching. Summer English Camp is now over, which, by the way, was awesome!! If half of my classes were like this camp, things would be much different.

I know I've complained, whined, moaned, and complained some more. I received a bundle of cards today from students and one just brought me to tears. Truly, my time at my school has been worth it for me. This is the card from one of my 5th graders:

Cover: I love you!! (She even drew the ASL sign for I love you, which I taught them for Mother's Day).

Inside: "Dear Nicole, I'm sorry you are going to leave Taiwan. I have a lot to talk with you, and I want to thank you for your teaching me English and making me different. I'm a big girl now because of you. I love you, forever. Student Lily."

My words can't begin to describe how I feel when I read that card. Thank you, Lily. I needed to hear that.

I had a number of cards that were more of apologies. Several students believe that I am leaving solely because of them. This is not true. One broke my heart: "Dear Nicole teacher, Thank you for your teaching over the year. You will leave our school, but we are very unwilling. If time flow you are even willing that will teach English. If you can, we will be good students. If you can't, where do you want to go? I bless you...Your student, Angel."

You know, it's always the "good" students who take the blame for the rest. I really hope I'll have a chance to go back and visit. I truly will miss most of these students.

Ok, one last card. This kid cracks me up! His English is actually pretty good compared to others. But this is what he wrote: "Thank you Nicole says about America's information. I think America is a good city. Do you have any about America's picture? Do you have one for me? Ha...It's a joke! You is my special America's teacher. You teach me a new course. Can you go back to here? I'm Jackson. It's a love joke's student."

Nevermind the grammar...if you knew this kid, you'd picture him saying things like this; totally from the heart, but yet, so amusing!


In other news, I met with my doctor today and found out that he will be sending his child to the cram school I will be working at. He had nothing but praise for the school and said parents rate it the #1 cram school in all of Tainan. He kept saying how the quality is top notch and if I'm teaching there, then I HAVE to be an amazing teacher. WOW!! I am so blessed and now, I understand where my new boss is coming from. That helps so much! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

I want to take the citizen test now!!! *Pulls on mommy's pant leg.* Mommy, Mommy!! I want to be an American!!! (I have no life in Taiwan).

July 4th Special

Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?
You answered 100% of questions correctly. Here's your rating:

0-20%: Maybe you're still thinking too much about the Old Country.

25-40%: Mmmm. Do you really want to be a citizen? This kind of performance isn't going to impress those nice immigration folks.

45-60%: Not too bad, but you really need to break out the civics books again -- word is, the INS is looking for an 80 percent score.

65-80%: Hey, you may make a good citizen yet! Look at your wrong answers and a little revision should do the trick.

85-100%: Welcome to the United States! (And, truth be told, you know more about this great land than most Americans.)

Scroll down to see answers for each question. Also, please let us know what you think about the quiz. The feedback is appreciated.

1. How many stripes are there on the U.S. flag?

2. Who is the chief justice of the Supreme Court today?
John G. Roberts Jr.

3. In what year was the Constitution written?

4. Which of these is guaranteed by the First Amendment?
Freedom of the press

5. How many Supreme Court justices are there?

6. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?
The Bill of Rights

7. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
July 4, 1776

8. Which of the following amendments to the Constitution does NOT address or guarantee voting rights?
7th Amendment

9. What are the 13 original states?
Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, Maryland

10. What do the stripes on the U.S. flag mean?
They represent the 13 original states

11. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
The Preamble

12. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?

13. Which of the following is NOT one of the constitutional requirements to be eligible to become president?
Must have served as a governor

14. Who selects the Supreme Court justices?
They are appointed by the president. (NOTE: This is the response given on the official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site. The president selects the justices; however, they must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If they are rejected by the Senate, then the president must choose a new nominee, who, again, is subject to Senate approval.)

15. How many representatives are there in Congress?

16. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death"?
Patrick Henry

17. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
For religious freedom

18. Who has the power to declare war?

19. What INS form is used to apply to become a naturalized citizen?

N-400 "Application for Naturalization"

20. Which of these contains three rights or freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion

Sunday, July 01, 2007


11 months ago I came to Taiwan weighing 82kgs (181lbs). Today I weighed in at 68kgs (149.6 lbs)!!!! A difference of 31.4 lbs!!! Only 29 more pounds to go...

YEAH!!!!! YEAH!!!!! YEAH!!!!

I was due for a breakthrough.

I'm so glad that God is always on time. I received such a special gift today. I met a very annointed family from IHOP in Kansas City, Missouri. I had the opportunity to spend some precious time with these precious people of God. It truly blessed me (not to mention they're Americans)!! I had a little taste of America in Taiwan tonight.

This is the Hendrickson Family (plus some new Taiwanese friends). (See for more details). Please keep them in prayer as they will be ministering at a city-wide youth conference in Tainan next week.