I Need a Nap – Now!

1 09 2015

Back in the day when he was crossing the oceans by ship, Benjamin Franklin is credited with writing the following: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  If he were alive today in an age where long distance air travel is common, I think he just might add one more thing to his list of certainties in life – jet lag!

If you have ever done any long distance air travel, you will know what I’m talking about. You’ve left your home and have sat on a plane for several hours, crossing several time zones, and by the time you’ve collected your luggage at your destination, your body begins telling you that some things are out of whack.Jet-Lag-Asleep

Over a seven week period this summer, we had four such flights – two within the continental United States, and two between Hong Kong and Portland, Oregon. As is often our experience, it takes some time to recover from flying across the Pacific Ocean, crossing 8 time zones, and enduring the 11-12 hour flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. By the time we arrived at our final destination, Salem, Oregon – the local time was 12 noon, but our inner clock was telling us it was 3 am (the time in Hong Kong)!  All we wanted to do was sleep, but we knew we had to stay awake as long as we could, to try and get our bodies to adjust to our new time zone.  Each night it was a battle to stay awake as long as we could, and then hope we would sleep through the night, and not wake up at 3 or 4 am wide awake and ready to start the day!

It always takes us several days to fully adjust to being in a new time zone, but it’s different for each person, and for each trip.  NASA has estimated that you’ll need one day for every one-hour time zone crossed to get back to your normal rhythm and energy levels – which may explain why it can take us up to a full week before we feel we’re back to ‘normal’.

Different people have different ways of dealing with their jet lag – some take a pill to sleep during the entire flight, others try and adjust their sleep schedule ahead of time to match the time zone at their destination – there are all sorts of different methods that people try.

Recently I asked our world-traveling friends on Facebook for their ideas on how to get over jet lag. Included in the responses was this somewhat humorous reply – “don’t travel!”  There has been many a time when I considered taking that option!

But as I considered this, I quickly realized that if I didn’t travel … look at all that I would miss out on!  This summer, a good friend of ours shared her story of a short-term missions trip to Russia – with barely enough time to deal with her jet lag there before it was time to return home.  And yet, in the midst of having to deal with different time zones, sleeping schedules, and people speaking a foreign language, she was able to be a part of and see God at work in the lives of the people she was visiting.  Like her, we would not have wanted to miss all that we have seen God doing in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China over the past 26 years, just because of the ‘inconvenience’ of jetlag.Int'l Air Travel

We can tell you from personal experience, that no matter how many times you deal with jet lag, it never gets easier.  But if we just stayed put – if we never ventured out our door and past the borders of our city, province, state or country – we would have missed a great opportunity to see God at work in our lives, and in the lives of those he brought us into contact with. Even with all the jet lag we’ve been through, it has been worth it.

So the next time you have that opportunity to travel overseas – whether it’s as part of a short-term missions team, for leisure, or to visit friends, don’t let the certainty of jet lag stop you – you just might be surprised at what God has in store for you!

Until next time,

Joel & Debbie Chute


We know that it has been a ‘while’ since we last posted on our blog – thanks for your patience and your prayers for us during this time!

PRAY for positive relationships to be developed between students and teachers and parents at International Christian school this school year.  Classes began the middle of August, and students will have the opportunity in the next few weeks to join a discipleship group, led by faculty or staff.  PRAY that students who need this type of encouragement would be willing to step out to be part of a group.  Also PRAY that God would lead specific teachers or staff to become leaders of these discipleship groups.

Several different training classes are schedule to start up again the middle of September at numerous locations in south central China. These training classes are focused on training and equipping local believers to give leadership as lay leaders and pastors in this needy part of China. PRAY that those teaching these classes will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to clearly present their materials in ways that will strengthen and encourage these students.