Monday, October 31, 2011

Planning for some jungle bedlam...

The posters are up, the kids are primed, and Thursday will be the start of our 
Big Jungle Adventure Truth English Bible Club
with local Hong Kong kids and some Chinese Mainland kids 
at Ma On Shan Lutheran Primary School.  
Some of them come from Christian homes, but many don't, 
and their English is, let's just say, minimal.
The question is, can fun, games, a good deal of chaos, songs, snacks, art projects, and those basic Bible Stories from the Old and New Testaments, somehow convey the essential truth that
the God of the Universe 
wants to be in relationship with kids of every nation, culture, and tribe, 
including very specifically, these kids, 
as well as you and me?
They are loved.  We are loved.  
Can we believe it?

This should be interesting.  Last spring we did it with two separate groups of  six or seven children at a time.  This year we have FIFTEEN P3 kids and SIX P4 "helpers". 
(We had decided as a leadership group that we wouldn't have helpers, given their pretty terrible behavior last spring, and lo and behold I was just given the list of participants from the official school list and it includes... six "helpers".)

So, who wants to sing a big round of:

"Who's the King of the Jungle?  WHO? WHO?
Who's the King of the sea (bubble, bubble, bubble)
Who's the King of the universe and
Who's the King of me???????

Stay tuned, I'm gonna try making some videos. Only maybe not the first week.

"...there is that great beast, which you have made 
as a plaything. "-- Psalm 104:26 Bible in Basic English

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is daily chapel too much or not enough?

Always an exotic, fresh flower arrangement, many with distinct symbolism. Not sure what the symbolism of this one is, but we're in the "liturgical growing" season right now, so I'm guessing... bloom and grow?! And swirl and dance in the Spirit?!

Beauty in the leaves, to and from chapel. This butterfly was as big as my hand.

Evening Prayer.
One of the things that's different for me in my new job at the seminary is the chance to attend daily chapel.  DAILY chapel?  Yup, and I'm enjoying it.  Full disclosure -- 30 years ago when I was in seminary myself, I did NOT attend daily chapel!  I thought that was for ├╝ber-religious  and/or those students who wanted to impress their worship professors.

Now, it's a break in my day... it's a chance to get out of my office and see the community. It's a chance to sing a familiar hymn with old, deeply poetic words, or hear a new song sung.

It's almost always a chance to hear the Word. And to pray.

Sometimes the short homilies are in English and sometimes they're in Chinese.  And sometimes they're in English but it might as well be in Chinese (ha, something my former parishioners may have experienced from time to time) but there are Bibles available, and if the translation on the headphones isn't so great, then it's a few extra moments to look at the Biblical texts for the week (we follow a fairly standard liturgical lectionary).

It's beautiful!

I go to the day chapels at ten o'clock.  There's also evening chapel at five-thirty, but I just glance in as I start the 15 minute "descent" down the mountain to our home.  Maybe in another 30 years I'll be attending evening chapel too.

I was glad when they said to me, 
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
 -- Psalm 122:1

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The view from my new office

The view from my (still new) office. (As of September I'm the Coordinator of International Student Affairs at LTS)
Yesterday monkeys were scampering across the roof but I wasn't quick enough with my camera

LTS, where Wayne teaches and I work (!).  From the balcony outside my office, I look down on the fishponds!
It's enormously cool to have a balcony outside one's office!

Rain, rain, and more rain this month.  But it's still beautiful, even in the rain.

A rainy day is a good day for a baptism.  Michael's Mom is in failing health and had been unable to even eat for several days... then she rallied for her Baptism Day!  What a day of joy at Truth Church in Ma On Shan! This is part of what it's all about, our work, studies, teaching at the Lutheran School of Theology in Hong Kong.

As I said in an earlier post - the best thing about my new job is the students!  This student, from Indonesia,  is finishing up a doctorate in Old Testament. He's on a scholarship from one of the German Mission organizations, and eager to return home after three long years of study at LTS. He looks mild-mannered, but if you put a saxophone in his hands, look out!  (I believe the same is true of his passion for God's Word!)

Let my teaching fall like rain 
and my words descend like dew, 
like showers on new grass, 
like abundant rain on tender plants.  
(Deuteronomy 32:2)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Memorial Service for Two Mothers in Myanmar

Monday we held a Memorial service for two Moms of students from Myanmar.  Our students don't have the money to fly home for the funerals, and in any case burial would have been almost immediate, they wouldn't have made it back in time.  So the International Student Fellowship of our Lutheran School of Theology held a Memorial service in our chapel, as evening fell. Our Chinese chaplains led the service and the prayers.  Our American English teacher read the scripture. And each of the two now motherless students rose up and paid tribute to their Moms, struggling in poignantly broken English to express their love and honor for them, as well as their heartfelt gratitude for the "mothers, sisters, brothers" who surrounded them on this sad occasion.

Both the Indonesian students (above... be sure to click on the video to listen to it!) and the Myanmar students sang songs of comfort, and together we remembered the words from Scripture:

 Isaiah 66:13 
As a mother comforts her child,
                           so will I comfort you;

from Matthew 12:49-50
    “Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (words of Jesus)

from I Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  
But the greatest of these is love.