Saturday, December 17, 2011

Waiting for Christmas....

Five weeks of Truth English Bible Club, count them FIVE long weeks. 

We went from this in October to
these in November

So here's the grand finale in December

Almost all of the kids came back every week.  They LOVED the crafts  and didn't want to leave. In fact I think we might be in trouble with the school because they were late for their bus back to China so often.  I think.  I don't actually know.  Sometimes it's good not to know.

You can't help but love these kids but they are ROWDY!!! Maybe, for just a moment, they contemplated the God of the universe who created jewels of all colors, and children with all kinds of interests, curiosities, and capabilities...  maybe, maybe.

So that's what I did on Thursdays these past coupla months. We had twenty-four kids enrolled, six adults, and bedlam.  It makes me appreciate my "real" job (or my paying one, anyway :) which is now with international seminary students, who are calm!  interested!  glad to be at school! and they don't jump on the chairs and tables (or at least not as much)!

from L to R: an American visitor from California, two grad students from Myanmar and one from Mainland China.

The 2 students from Cambodia have finally gotten their student visas after waiting and wondering for more than three months and have arrived!
bringing our Cambodian student population up to three!

Lao students huddled against the cold (55F) which seems very cold indeed when you've just arrived from Laos. But they're happy to be here anyway!

Who knows which of the things we work for are worthwhile, which are of lasting significance, which are worth our time and talents and treasures?  I love the season of Advent (Yes, we've got another whole week of it, folks!) because it reminds me, in the midst of the world's frenzy, that there's power and strength in toughing things out (for a season), waiting them out, watch and see, which things show signs of fruition...

"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God."
-- I Corinthians 4:5

And on a very personal note, did I mention the BOYS are arriving next week!!!!!!!    Waiting.... waiting..... oooh it's hard to wait!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My job is fun except when it's not.

My Coordinator of International Student affairs job AND my Mekong Mission Assistant Coordinator job is a lot of fun... except when it's not.

The not fun parts include excel spread sheets.  
I'm terrible at them.
Last week I was preparing in a frenzy for my first ever meeting with the Mekong Area "Network Implementation Committee" people who were flying in from Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and... Germany this week.  My duties included counting the number of Mekong area students at the seminary (28!), and reimbursing everybody for their airline tickets.  

So I was running around calculating exchange rates, converting Thai baht, Euros, and Hong Kong dollars into US dollars, ever so carefully counting out those greenbacks ... reminded me of my first job as a grocery store check out clerk.  Hmmmm. Some things don't change as much as one might have hoped....

Part of my nervousness is that I'm dealing with a whole host of expectations and different cultures in this job.  (For Saturday I was in charge of dealing with everything from giving reports on the academic presentations of faculty members who went to Myanmar to deciding what size bananas should be served for the afternoon snack- seriously, I got a phone call on Friday afternoon from the seminary President's secretary asking me about the bananas!!!!! Big ones or small ones?????....!!!!!!!! There is NOT a tradition of delegating decisions around here.)

But then I get to sit down with the students.  I talk with Rodion from Indonesia who's the first pastor getting a doctorate in something like thirty years. I talk with Sondang, also from Indonesia, dressed in a gorgeous beadwork dress.  Last week her church in Indonesia celebrated its 150th anniversary.... and over 100,000 people showed up for the event!

And then there's Mnai from Myanmar who has nine daughters to support at home. Nine. Daughters. Today one of the scholarship donors asked me if it was all right to give him a small extra gift for Christmas, because of his nine daughters.  Yes, I said. By all means. 

And there's the bishop from Thailand who was the first in his family to become a Christian. And he told the story of a witch doctor in the hill country of the Mekong, who is at the brink of converting.  And if he converts, then there are 300 of his tribes people who will be converting, too.  And the bishop and his  Church are scrambling to come up with some catechesis for these folks. (This is a novel challenge for the Lutheran Church to face... it's not the Lutheran Church as we usually know it from Germany, Scandinavia, or the USA!)

So it's amazing.  And maddening (when I'm dealing with those Excel spread sheets).  Occasionally, for a moment here and there, wonderful.
Wayne with a group from Myanmar.  Can you spot the American?

Stripes, zigzags, smiles

The Indonesians!

Can you tell where he's from?

Add caption

A future student... homegrown in Hong Kong!

I survived Saturday's meeting, by the way.  But I'm still not totally finished with the accounting for it...

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

               -- Mother Teresa

  “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones..."  -- Jesus in Luke 16:10