Saturday, May 9, 2009

Prison Visit in Hong Kong #3

I know, I know, more than a little scary, this picture. But this is what they made us wear for our prison visit today. Well, not the sunglasses, but the mask. Charming, isn't it?

This is still Hong Kong, and threats of flu are taken very, very seriously.

But we still managed to have a great time. Today I initiated religious joke telling. My church group (who don't know me very well yet) warned me it wasn't going to work because "jokes don't translate well" but I fearlessly plowed ahead with an old St. Peter gem and I would just like to say I got a very respectable response. Yes it could be that they all felt sorry for me, but they laughed loudly and then we got volunteers among the inmates who promised to prepare to tell some good (clean!) jokes in the coming months. I suspect the occasions for laughter aren't overwhelming in the prison system.

Our topic today was prayer, and at the end of the session I asked everyone to share a specific prayer request with a partner. I asked my prayer partner (I'll call him "Alan") to -- yes I'll shamelessly admit it -- pray for the sale of our house back in Wisconsin... and Alan in turn asked me to pray for... somebody he'd read about in the newspaper who needed a rare kind of bone marrow transplant... and had the same blood type as he, Alan had. So his specific prayer was that he would be able to donate blood marrow for this guy.

I know his was an incredibly long-shot prayer... but I thought, well, that's what you call selfless. He wants to give his own blood to help a dying man. That sounds something Jesus would do!

And this reminds me that Jesus sometimes is crazily specific and literal when he says,

When I was in prison, you visited me. -- Jesus, quoted in Matthew 25:36

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