Thursday, January 29, 2015

Church Life over the Border in Mainland China

Last Saturday the Seminary faculty travelled into Mainland China.

It's a 15 minute walk, half hour train ride, then about a ten minute walk through customs, in order to travel from our home in Hong Kong to the great commercial center of Shenzhen.
Full Bible classes, held in an art center.
It was touching to see the eagerness and interest of the students at the Training Centre, their thirst for Christian education and their commitment to coming to classes all day, every Saturday for a whole year.
A toast with tea!

I've grown accustomed to having cherry tomatoes served as part of the fruit plate. They were delicious!
We were also touched by the hospitality shown wherever we went, and the evident pride in surprisingly large church facilities, which seem to be bursting at the seams every Sunday.
LTS Faculty with Mainland Chinese hosts in front of a huge Christian Church in Shenzhen,
which is said to host 9,000 people, spread over four worship services each Sunday.
Again and again we hear that there is a thirst for meaning and moral teaching in China. Outside an old church school which is being refurbished and turned into a museum (it's too small to serve its original purpose) we saw a variety of adorable kids playing. Hopefully the world we (together with our Chinese Church sisters and brothers) are working to help shape will be different, and better, for them.
Construction site.

Check out this little dude's haircut.

Cuties -- the image of the Creator!

These little guys were about to get in trouble for picking the dahlias. 
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.   -- Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lutheran Women's Biblical Life Conference in Myanmar

Catching Up on 2014... 


Oh Sing to the Lord, Oh sing God a new song!
For God is the Lord, and God has done wonders!

And sing we did! And wonders we have seen! Gathered by the Word, thirty-five women from all four of the Federation of Lutheran Churches in Myanmar took part in the Lutheran Women’s Biblical Life Conference  mid -November 2014. Hosted on the grounds of the historic Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Yangon, the event was co-sponsored by the Mekong Mission Forum (MMF).

Dr. Margaret Hunt from the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) challenged us to consider how God speaks to us today through women in the Bible. These were not easy stories:

Tamar, Lot’s daughters, the widowed Ruth, the five Zelophehad sisters. For each Biblical passage we asked: Who? What? Where? When? And then the big questions: Why is this story in the Bible? What does God want us to learn from this story?

Engaging with multi-media slides, works of art, song, small group discussion, and even a “Bible Bingo” game, participants  explored these fascinating, but in some cases little known stories of Holy Scripture. In addition, participants were invited to note how various women of the Bible offer clear examples of the Lutheran understanding of the priesthood of all believers, call and vocation, servant leadership, as well as the way in which God’s people are saints and sinners.

The women each crafted hand-sewn decorations for their “servant stoles” as a symbol of this priesthood we all share as sisters in Christ.

 I have to laugh at the way I look in this last photo (front & center!)  - like an exhausted old missionary lady!!! And I was exhausted, dealing with Yangon heat, traffic, logistics, language translation, financial reimbursements. I've since found out I was already suffering from a hyper-thyroid which affected my energy levels.  But it was a highlight of 2014, to be able to sit at the feet of my Myanmar and Australian (co-presenter) sisters and listen to their insights and encouragement to speak the TRUTH about what's happening in their communities, and plan for ACTIONS of GRACE, in Jesus' name. Wow!

 "The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; 
you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them."   
-- GOD, quoted in Numbers 27:7