Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birds of the Table, Birds of the Air, Birds of Different Feathers...

This is our street -- come visit us sometime! It's been a busy time in the von Zychlin & Nieminen household... as you can perhaps tell by the lack of blog posts!!!

BIRDS OF THE TABLE - The end of November was filled with Thanksgiving themes... among other things, we introduced our three Cambodian students to the wonders of Thanksgiving turkey with a decidedly international flair at Union Church, where rice, sausages, ham and egg rolls supplemented the traditional turkey, stuffing and as my personal contribution and among my personal Thanksgiving favorites -- pumpkin pie!!! 

BIRDS of THE AIR On the way home from church we walked through the Hong Kong Park Aviary where Cambodian M.Div student Pisa got an up-close look at a fine feathered friend. Since the sermon topic had been "Consider the birds of the air..." it was a good way to continue the Sunday theme!

BIRDS OF DIFFERENT FEATHERS... [An old English saying, "Birds of a feather flock together" becomes subverted through cross-cultural Christians who embrace a whole variety of feathering types!!!]

Because Cambodia doesn't have a good system for theological education, we are hoping that LTS, as one of the preeminent seminaries in all of Asia,  can do even more in the area of "Forming cross-cultural servant-leaders, with a heart for local church ministries. (Okay, okay,  the "tagline" is a work in progress! Let me know if you have a better/shorter one in mind!)

To that end, our seminary teachers try to expose students to a variety of books, thoughts, ways of Biblical interpretation, and to a variety of practical experiences in ministry. For example, in his Crisis Counseling Class, "Dr. Wayne" recently took a whole group of students over to visit the "The Samaritans Befrienders Hong Kong" to learn about local suicide prevention right here in Hong Kong. For several of the international and local Chinese students, this was a very new and innovative idea for ministry. Besides the ministry itself, one student told me how eye opening it was to find out that those who serve as "befrienders" are volunteers, and most even pay for the privilege of undergoing the thorough screening and training necessary for those who would like to serve.

To further discuss Cambodian and Mekong-area ministries and the need for sound theological and practical education, we had... what else! Another of Wayne's Famous Pizza Dinners, with Cambodian, American, British, Hong Kong and Danish connections.  It does seem that pizza is truly and profoundly an "intercultural" food :)    (As is wine, which has the advantage of also being Biblical :)
Birds of different feathers...
feast together!

Cambodian inter-cultural servant-leaders
under construction in Hong Kong :)
So that takes you through November. Meanwhile I've also been preparing for a big meeting of the Mekong Mission Forum/Network Implementation Committee here in Hong Kong - a big name for a rather small group with a humongous task -- networking church ministries of the Mekong, with an emphasis on theological studies and Lutheran/ecumenical partnerships.   I was getting rather stressed out by the preparations (just ask Dr. Wayne, he'd be happy to tell you exactly how stressed out I was!) so it does me good to remember the sermon from the last Sunday in November...

"Don't worry!...Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" --  Jesus, quoted by Matthew 6:25f

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