Part of our presentations in the Philippines involves demonstrating the use of telescopes. You might say, “Well, that’s the Philippines.” But we have been on the banks of the Missississipi, on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains at overlooks in Virginia, in a Ugandan village, on the rooftop of a church in Haiti, and in several places in the Philippines. The experience people have is not much different in all these places. Most people have not looked through telescope optics. Even more rare: they have not heard people declare the glory of God in his created heavens as they see the heavens with optics. That is what we do…over and over and over again. The responses are almost always the same: excitement, smiles, a crowd at the eyepiece, and questions.
Even when the skies are cloudy, like they were three days ago in the Philippine, we set up the scopes at one end of a big hall, put pictures of a globular cluster at the opposite end, and a hundred people clustered around 5 little scopes to look, then look again, then look again to see what telescope optics present. At the end of the time I grabbed a bag of dirt and a little water to make a muddy mess before constructing a lunar crater. Dozens of teachers stood just a few feet away as I made the crater then moved a flashlight to represent the changes in sun position to show light changes on the lunar surface. The crater I made was a little larger than the examples below, which were made by children at a camp:
If they look at the moon after this exercise, you cannot keep them from their excitement if you poured water all over them. They grab paper and pencil and start following our directions to make their first lunar sketch of the real thing…looking for the same effects they saw with the clay model that they often make with their own hands.
The picture below shows another outing, where we talked about Psalm 19:1-4 and a few other scriptures before looking at a planet or two then a deep sky object. The young lady near the scope was part of a Chinese church, where we had been teaching about the Biblical worldview of the universe and some of the scenes in the New Testament. Her heart had been drawn to God, Who became very real to her as she went through a couple years around us. On this occasion she came with a number of friends on the mountain ridge, where we set up a couple telescopes.
The same thing happens in the Philippines. A child or adult sees us setting up and 20 minutes later we have quite a group. Then we start demonstrating what can be seen and sharing about the wonder of the created heavens–not heavens born out of some odd accident but designed, placed, and sustained by Jesus Christ by command. If my word is not good enough for that unpopular view, then read the first verses of John and Hebrews or venture back to the first chapter of Genesis. I count myself among many believing scientists or engineers that hold to this worldview and speak as we do: telling people that our precious Creator has a signpost in the skies to watch that speaks of His attributes, His divine power and majesty.
So as long as we have opportunity to visit people close or far away, we will probably be doing this. Everytime is a little different in terms of place and conditions but the rest is similar–regardless of culture or age the people who come.