Monday, August 30, 2010

More new beginnings in Hong Kong

A butterfly in church! on stilts!
I think this big guy looks puzzled.  As do I, since I'm not 100% sure what exactly I'm going to be doing this semester in my several teachingjobs.
On the promenade in Tsim ShaTsui, looking towards Victoria Harbour
Lotus Pond Gardens at the Chi Lin (Buddhist) nunnery.
Here's a collage of pictures, all taken just in the past few days.  Seminary classes start up later this week, as do Lutheran Primary school classes and church activities, so stay tuned... join us in praying for direction & focus for ourselves and the schools and churches, and especially the people with whom we will be serving.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
                                                                           -- Galatians 5:25

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's good to come back to church!

This morning I read an interview with the author Anne Rice about why she has left the church.  Again. Maybe permanently.  She says there's just too much hypocrisy and conservative politics in the church. Christians have made a bad name for themselves and she doesn't want to be associated with "them".  Ms. Rice has a point, doesn't she? When people hear the word "Christian", their first thought is usually NOT good news! or grace!, much to our shame.

Just minutes later I read a blog post by my good friend David Couper, an Episcopalian priest.  He told about being on the way to church this Sunday, when he  received a message on his phone, telling him that recent test results showed that his wife's cancer had returned. With a vengeance, it appears.

At church, David was surrounded by love.  More than that, he was given God's Word with the promise of God's utterly dependable faithfulness in all circumstances.  (You owe it to yourself to read his blogpost.  Go ahead, click on the link above)

So which is it?  Is the Christian Church a good thing or a bad thing for those of us who want to be friends & family with Jesus Christ?

Ok, so here's how my weekend at church was: at both the morning service (at Union Church on Hong Kong Island) and at evening church (up the hill from my house at Tao Fung Shan) I saw light, and laughter, human kindness, and a divine perspective that we human beings really and truly are created by, loved and washed up by, and meant for, the Eternal One.

If only we could all look & feel like this when coming out of church!
I think Anne Rice has an important point, and one we "church-goers" can't ignore. But this Sunday, back in Hong Kong, I must say, it's good to come back to church!

18 Even when I am old and gray,
       do not forsake me, my God,
       till I declare your power to the next generation,
       your mighty acts to all who are to come.

    19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the skies,
       you who have done great things.
       Who is like you, God? 
                                       Psalm 71: 18-19

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Green Bean Pie, anyone?

The kid insisted at eating at a Hong Kong McDonald's this week so I decided it was my chance to try, at long last, something I've never seen at an American McDonald's, yes, a green bean pie!  And lest you think I'm making this whole thing up, here are the pictures taken by yours truly.

It was pretty good.  And yes, I ate every last sweet and gooey bit of it.

(I cannot, just cannot think of a Bible verse that goes with this scenario.  Any ideas out there? :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in hot, humid, crowded, but still beautiful Hong Kong!

Hi everybody, thanks to a lot of help from you all, including your ear-marked gifts to Evangelical Lutheran Global Mission, we are back in hot, humid, crowded, but very beautiful Hong Kong!!!  We spent nearly 18 hours of flying time, long, long, long, but everything went extremely smoothly after the little V8 juice mishap.

Our two college sons got up early to take us to the Green Bay airport in our old minivan... stuffed full of the 5 of us plus 6 huge bags (filled with necessities such as textbooks and kid’s books and somebody’s special shampoo which  can allegedly only be found in the USA) plus 3 maximum sized carry-ons plus Wilson (the cat who’s heading back to college, see previous post)  plus leftover groceries for the boys.... Anyway a big bottle of V8 juice fell out of the minivan as we opened the trunk and out gushed a thick red puddle, but mercifully, practically miraculously, only on the ground not on us or on our luggage!

Our flight arrived in Hong Kong exactly 2 minutes after our scheduled arrival (amazing, isn't it?), and our neighbor & colleague John Lemond picked us up at the airport -- it was so nice to see a familiar face as we arrived.

There was only one giant cockroach waiting for us in our bathroom, and he was already dead.  That, and lots of lizard droppings in the kid’s room.   Not bad for two months' worth of bug parties in a tropical climate.

I awakened at 4:30 this morning and at 5:00 I thought I might as well make a nice pot of coffee and do a little cleaning, only to discover there was NO WATER!!! Thank heavens we had water last night to take our much needed showers.

Two hours later, the water worked and the scrubbing could begin in earnest.

A quick walk to the mall reminded me of why I don’t like to go to shopping on weekends. 

We’re back in the crowds of Hong Kong!!!  Hot, humid, but still beautiful.  And come to think of it, crowds were where Jesus did some of his best work.

"As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him..."  Luke 8:43a

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time to Say Goodbye, Again!

It's time to say goodbye again.
Goodbye to that cat who goes back to his winter residence in Madison.
Goodbye to the Midwest American landscape.
Goodbye to our dancing boys. (Actually they are playing basketball in front of our house in the USA)
20When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Green Bay [Ephesus.]  (Acts 18:20-21)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Iowa Highways and Low days...

Drove 428 miles from Wisconsin across Minnesota and just over the Iowan border.

Admired the vast fields.

Were astounded at the new wind farms.

Looked forward to being back at our "old" parish (Bethesda Lutheran in Ames, Iowa)

Stopped at a rest stop.

The car would not start again.

Four hot, harried hours later, the car had been towed, our good friends had driven the 100 miles each way to pick us up and drive us to the church.

We arrived at Bethesda at 5:15, just in time for the 5:30 Saturday night service; the church was full, the music lively, the welcome was warm, the Spirit alive.

Three worship services, four dinners, about a thousand hugs,  and way too many servings of homemade cherry pie later (thanks Jean!) we were on our way again, fortified in many ways, and with a car that got us safely back to Wisconsin.

 Praise be to the LORD,
       for he has heard my cry for mercy.
 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
       my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
       My heart leaps for joy
       and I will give thanks to him in song.

                  Psalm 28:6-8