Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Post Post

First time to see the ocean..or see the sea...
It is now Tuesday, a little more than two days after Sarah Heins, Audrey, and I left our friends and teammates at Hong Kong International Airport. When we arrived a little before nine on Sunday morning, we knew we'd have plenty of time to check them in and get back to my parents' side of the city for church. However, their flight was delayed...by five hours.

Travel, let alone international travel, is not easy. Most of our team is not accustomed to being at the whims and wills of others - a.k.a. airlines - in order to travel. Most of us are not used to 15 hour flights. I don't think that's something that you ever get used to. It's something that you learn to embrace.

One of the defining characteristics of this team is that we've been able to sustain each other throughout this entire trip in order to make the most out of every situation. Whether it was nature or nurture or by the grace of God, every meal and every large assembly and every new meeting of people was treated as an experience to embrace and not a reason to complain.

Last night in Hong Kong (Star Walk)
Hannah Uden liked to quote Russel from "Up!" We'd be sitting on the top of a double-decker bus and hear a voice say, "Adventure is out there!" That's the kind of attitude that surrounded our group during the trip, and it served us well as we served others.

And when our time of service was over, we learned that adventures sometimes come to us...in the forms of five-hour delays and needing to rebook flights from Chicago to Kansas City after the flight landed in the States. (Time-zone complications. If I knew how to explain it, I would.)

As in everything else, the team took it like champs. Over two hours in line just waiting to check in the bags and the prospect of hours sitting in an airport weren't the reasons that tears were shed when we finally said goodbye. We'll just miss each other.

So now I'm sitting in at my father's desk in my parents' apartment, looking out across Repulse Bay on the south side of Hong Kong Island and musing about how different worlds are. This is true across the city as well as the ocean. We were told by some of the career missionaries during our dinner on Wednesday that they've had teams who come here and wonder why they had to travel all the way across the ocean and speak to the students about Jesus to realize that their neighbors at home need the Gospel just as much.

We won't all end up permanently overseas. We won't all live in our hometown in the USA for the rest of our lives, either. Still, no matter where we are int he world, we are missionaries to those around us in the way we act and speak and talk to people about Jesus. And career missionaries or not, we can take short term mission trips to keep reminding us of our constant mission at wherever home might be.

Saying goodbye to our hosts
Joel Scheiwe, one of the career missionaries in Hong Kong, said that he hopes that our experience in Hong Kong will be a commission to us as we move on with our lives. I pray that it will.

Thank you all for your support.


Give the glory to God.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

J-E-S-U-S Yes!

It finally felt like we had found a rhythm. We woke up and ate breakfast as usual and made our way down the step to great the students with enthusiastic waves and smiles. It was encouraging to see the waves and smiles that we received in response, even if the kids looked as tired as we felt.
The teachers have been urging the students of LCK to start conversations with us.  We love it because we know that they are just as interested to learn about us as we are interested in them. During the course of a short recess period, I had asked two boys, Harry and Terry, if they had walked to school or if they had ridden a bus. Both boys said they had come on foot. For some of the kids, it takes up to ten minutes to get to the doors of the school. Even so, others ride a bus for an hour before they arrive sleepy eyed to wave and smile and learn. We, as a missionary team, are blessed enough to be able to stay in a wonderful air conditioned room with more than enough amenities to keep us happy. All we have to do is walk down the stairs to start the school day.
Lydia, Rachel, Julie and I have had the opportunity to teach music classes. We learn songs like Alleluia/Praise Ye The Lord, So Much to be Thankful For and Father I Adore You. Two assemblies were held before lunch and we sang some of the songs a select few of the the students body had learned. It was great to see how much energy could be generated from yelling, "J-E-S-U-S. Yes!"  Later on, we were participated in some video taking. We informed "the audience" that if they wanted to learn English fluently, LCK was the place to go! Being camera shy was not an option. We loved it. By the time the school day wound down, we left to eat supper with the missionaries currently working in Hong Kong. We were able to see Uncle John and Aunt Susan (Mr. and Mrs. Mehl of course) and a few other teachers and church workers. We all had two helpings of ziti and salad. It was a cool evening so we went to the roof and took a picture with the skyline in the background. It was the end of a full but enjoyable day.

Audrey Mehl

The Mission House

This evening the team went to the LCMS mission house and met some of the missionaries that work in Asia and learned about all the work that is being done by the LCMS. Pasta and salad was served for about 20 people in the home of Joel and Iantha Scheiwe where missionary kids played with team members as everyone relaxed and enjoyed casual conversation. The sun began to set at about 7 pm and everyone went onto the roof to watch the city lights go on. By 7:30 everyone was back on the bus and headed back to the school.

Mrs. Wong's Wings

 His name is Jason, a 9 year old P3 student - or 3rd grader - here at LCK. A few weeks ago Jason's teacher asked his class who would like to host some missionaries for dinner one night during their stay here. He shot his hand up and said, "My mom is a great cook, we would like to have them over for dinner." Come to find out, Jason's mother, Mrs. Wong is a fantastic cook.

As soon as we arrived to their home which was on the 21st floor of a 26 floor building, the children, Jason and Bonnie, offered us water as we waited for the rice to cook. We were surprised to see that Jason and Bonnie had a baby sister who is 11 months old and not shy at all. She gave us lot of smiles and during supper; she giggled a lot.

Jason and his teacher had gone over some questions that we might have, and he said his favorite food was fried chicken wings. Can you guess what we had for dinner? Yep, you got 
 it, fried chicken wings. Yummy! :) There were many other things Mrs. Wong prepared for us as well, such as dumpling soup, tofu with beef, a vegetable similar to asparagus, and fish.  It was all so delicious!

After dinner Sarah H., Louisa, Hannah and I sat at the table with Jason and his teacher Mrs. Chu. He showed us his school books and talked about how someday he would like to go to America. We said we had lots of professors with kids his age he could stay with. He just giggled. He really wants to see snow, and I think Nebraska is the  
perfect state for him to see that in, or in Minnesota with Julie.

The Wong's were such generous hosts and it was a great honor that we were able to have dinner with them and meet such an amazing family of God. 

Peace and Blessings,
     Lauren Aufdembrink