Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Colours of the Spirit during Home Assignment in USA Churches

Home Assignment has been going well in the good old USA! We've been thrilled with the birth of our grand niece (first grand child of my late sister, Karin, first great-grand child of my mom)
Great Uncle Wayne with cutie pie,  Ella Luise
We've thoroughly enjoyed visiting over a dozen sponsoring churches in the USA... the Church is alive and well, our sharing about God's work in Hong Kong and the Mekong was celebrated with food:
Ah, the pie social. SO yummy!
We were treated to an old fashioned quilt making demonstration (LWR Mission quilts made by loving hands in church halls all over America, sent to wherever they are needed most in the world, as a "tangible symbol of God's love" within the global community)

And we challenged children (and adults) with a game of "Spot the differences/similarities" between your church and some of the churches we work with in Hong Kong and in the Mekong. For example, what are the similarities and differences between these three photos?

Wherever we are in "God's Big Backyard"
we are in awe of God's Spirit which brings new life in countlessly colorful ways...

but specifically, and dependably, and gracefully,

through Word and Sacrament.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

overdue post: Conference in Yangon, and waiting for 19 visas

This is a way overdue posting about the 2013 MMF JOINT THEOLOGICAL CONSULTATION in June
An annual event sponsored and coordinated by the Mekong Mission Forum (MMF)
 in co-operation with the Association of Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM)
 and the Judson Research Center of the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT)  

and which yours truly, that would be me, attempts to plan and coordinate from Hong Kong, together with some fantastic people from Myanmar...
2013 Theme: SUFFERING: Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: Walking with Those Who Suffer

Newly refurbished conference room... 
SO impressed by LTS alumnus Dr. Saw Christopher (Wayne's first doctoral student)
as he gives an insightful lecture on IDP's (internally displaced persons) in Myanmar. 
The chance to visit with the wife of a current LTS HK student - her husband is coming for a home visit this summer.

A total of forty-four  pastors, theologians, and seminary alumni took part in the Consultation, a majority from various regions of Myanmar, but also including international participants from Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and even as far away as Norway!

Informal fellowship time, meals, and even an excursion to the beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda allowed participants to talk, network, share concerns, and in some cases, clear up misconceptions.

Small group discussion proved enlightening, challenging, sometimes sobering.

We had invited a wonderful speaker, Rabbi Stanton Zamek from the United Jewish Congregation in Hong Kong. It was the first time for many Mekong participants to meet a real live Jew, not to mention a Jewish rabbi! Oops, except of course, for Jesus. Remember? Jesus is a real live Jewish rabbi, too.

Among the attendees at the conference was the woman in the center, who has been accepted at LTS Hong Kong for a one year diakonal ministry program starting in Fall 2013... which begins with orientation at the end of this month. However, we are waiting for approval of her student visa from the Hong Kong Immigration department!

Nineteen international students are awaiting visas. Yours truly has spent hours and hours and weeks and months (since January!!) organizing & filing papers for these 19 students, copying, scanning, faxing, telephoning, even going to the immigration dept. in person.

I am hoping, really hoping these 19 visas will all be approved in the coming two weeks. 

Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint. -- Isaiah 40:30-31