Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ~Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Malaysia Holiday and Hong Kong Settling

Once again, I will share upfront that blogging has not been my strong suit in the past, but I'm going to try again. I know it's a relatively easy and accessible way to stay in touch and share stories with people near and far. 

It's been just over a month since I first arrived in Hong Kong and I figure it's due time to share a thing or two about my time here, thus far. Please enjoy some stories, findings and conundrums as told through pictures.:

Aerial view of Kota Kinabalu. 
I first flew to Hong Kong from Chicago on August 9th, but after about 30 hours in my new home away from home, I hopped back on a plane to visit my former home of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. This is where I served under the program Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) with the Lutheran church in 2013-14 It was an immense gift to see old friends, visit some of my favorite little spots (including the school where I served: Seri Mengasih Centre). and, of course. gorge on the food my belly had missed for just over a year.   

One of the classes at Seri Mengasih Centre in KK, Malaysia.

I was touched when the students at Seri Mengasih remembered me and really moved to see the progress many of them had made in a year! I was particularly impressed with the behavioral improvements of many of the autism students apart of the Kololo program

Shortly after I came back to HK, I left with the faculty of Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) for a retreat on Cheung Chau Island. Many Hong Kong locals visit this quaint place just south of Hong Kong Island for holiday. We were there to discuss the future of LTS and were later joined by the LTS student body for an all-school retreat. This was a great opportunity (and perhaps a bit overwhelming, at times) for me to get to know a lot of people. Pictured here is my LTS “family,” a small group of students plus two faculty members who join together once a month for intentional conversation and fellowship. It’s a great way to nurture a more intimate sense of community within the larger school. We are the family of “Kindness.” So cute, right? The members of ”Kindness" come from Myanmar, Indonesia, Hong Kong and USA - quite a diverse group!

This is one of the Burmese students at LTS, Mar Lar. We are sporting sweet headphones, because LTS is a multi-lingual theological institution. There are actually two “tracks” of courses at the school - one in English and one in Cantonese. That means the messages given at public gatherings like chapel, meals and - in this case - the school retreat are all translated. Most things are translated from Cantonese to English and vice versa, but Mandarin is sometimes thrown in the mix, as well. It’s a beautiful and challenging aspect of this place which can make things like worship very interesting; although, one of the speakers at the retreat shared a quote from Father Thomas Keating, which has really stuck with me: “Silence is God’s first language, everything else is translation.” Chew on that for a bit.

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