Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tip of the Day

When you get money out of the ATM machine, make sure you take the money with you.

Yeah, unfortunately, I learned that lesson the hard way this weekend...bummer! :(

Some cows had the same idea of escaping the rain as we did!

Other than that, I had a great weekend. Yesterday was Maria's birthday so Beth, Maria, and I hiked out in Sai Kung. The rain added to our adventure, so despite the weather, we had a lot of fun. Although at the end of the hike, you need to catch a bus. It was by FAR the longest bus line I've ever seen in HK...probably like 200 people. Buses came every 1/2 hour, which meant we'd probably have to wait like 1 1/2 hours to get a bus. Since we were literally sopping wet and quite cold at this point, we decided to call for a taxi. Unfortunately about 2 million other Hong Kongers had the same idea and there were no taxis available. So, we stood by the road and waited for a taxi and ended up getting one about 35 minutes later. Doesn't sound too long, but I'm sure you would've laughed if you saw our greeting of jumping and cheering as the taxi pulled up. It was heaven-sent!

Post-hike on the boat ride back...just a bit wet!

We finished off the night with a dinner party at Maria's...then played Settlers! What a great day! I'm so thankful for such great friends! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Steps Away, Worlds Apart

One of the things that still fascinates me about Hong Kong is the whole idea of East meets West. Hong Kong is such a unique place, as the financial world meets local Chinese culture. I just got back from the post office tonight, which is about a ten minute walk from my apartment. It's located on the second floor of an old mall in a government housing complex. The park is often filled with elderly people sitting on benches either by themselves or with friends and talking. I always feel a little bit like a bird in a cage when I walk through there. I can feel their eyes and almost read their thoughts as they wonder what this "Western girl" is doing there.

It's so crazy that just a few steps away from my home lies such a different culture. One stop away is a huge, fancy mall, where just about the only thing you can buy there is make-up or jewelry...if you can afford it. I think I prefer the local (though a bit dirty) mall, filled with welcoming faces, and rich with culture. There's something kind of cool about going into the bakery and not having English translations under the Chinese labels. It makes me feel like I really am in Asia and not just China-town! :)

Those are my thoughts for the night!

Monday, April 13, 2009


What a great Easter break! I couldn't have really asked for a better unplanned weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

-playing every day by ear and having no plans :)

-sleeping in (teacher-style (8 a.m. is considered "sleeping in" for me!))

-going to Stanley Market & Beach with Maria

-BBQ night with the girls at Maria's house

-watching friends play ultimate frisbee/babysitting a very cute baby :)

-going to the flower and bird markets for the first time

-meeting up with a good friend from college (Kristin Erickson)

-making lots of progress on my support letters for Ghana

-baking strawberry bread

-being home to see the sun shine through my apt.

-a great Easter service and time of worship

-dinner with new and old friends

-reading & spending time with God on my balcony

-going to the beach today (and swimming out to those rafts that I've always wanted to go to)

-reading a good, brainless book

-catching up with family and a few friends

...Hmm...and now I need to go do all the things that I've avoided all weekend and are not to be included on my "highlights" list...i.e. US taxes! :) Maria & I at Stanley Beach after a day of shopping. We took a time out to read (and nap) on the beach! :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

From Asia to Africa...

It's been a great two years here in Hong Kong--full of tons of learning and loving, but as I prayed about whether or not to re-sign my contract this past December, I really sensed God moving me on to a new chapter in life. I didn't know exactly what this would look like, but I did know that when I heard or read about injustice or issues related to poverty, there was something inside of me that was stirred up. I literally could feel the desire to help and to love and to free these people welling up inside of me. It's then that I could feel what passion was; I couldn't deny that God was calling me to work with the less fortunate. This was a very scary thing, as new adventures sometimes are. There were many uncertainties, but I had to trust that God has given me these passions and desires for a reason.

Very early in January I accidentally ran across a website while searching for a different school that I had considered two years ago in Africa. I don't know that it was actually an accident, though, because as I began to read, I couldn't stop. The website was for Every Child Ministries (, a mission organization founded to care for the "forgotten children of Africa". One of their ministries is in Ghana, West Africa and consists of a children's home and school for street children, as well as kids from a surrounding village. These kids are often abused and/or abandoned; their mothers do not have the resources to take care of them. My heart breaks for these kids; they need a voice.

I was very excited about the opportunity to be a part of this ministry. However, of course, I had my own fears to overcome. I will try to keep a loooooooong story short, by leaving out many of the details and letting you know that in August 2009 I will begin teaching at Haven of Hope Academy in Ghana!!!

If you asked me if I was excited, I'd say, "YES". If you asked me if I'm scared..."YES." Sad (to leave HK)? "Yes." However, through this whole process, God has shown me time and time again what it means to trust in Him. I have no doubt that He will provide what I need. I had to learn the truth in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." There have been many things along the way that I have questioned or not understood, but I know that God's ways are higher than mine, and I just need to walk in faith that He is in control and knows best.

I know I can not be a Savior for these kids, but I no someone who can; His name is Jesus! I hope to be able to love them and lead them closer to their Savior, while helping them acquire skills that they need to succeed in life and escape the cycle of poverty that so many are in.

Missions is a team effort. Some are called to go. Others to give. And still others to pray. However, we are all a part of God's work somehow. So, if you get excited about this type of ministry, and would like to support me-- either through prayer or giving financially, please send me your address. I'd love to send you more information on what I'm doing and how you can be involved! :)

A Lesson on Love

Today I was confronted with a situation that really made me stop and think. The last two years of living in Hong Kong have provided many more opportunities for me to be the "Good Samaritan" than when I was living in small town America. If you're familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10, you know that a man asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life and Jesus replied by saying, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27) When the man asked who his neighbor was, Jesus told a parable about a a man lying on the side of the road after being beaten up. Two supposedly "religious" leaders (a priest and a Levite) passed him by, unwilling to help. Then finally a Samaritan (who were hated by the Jews) man, came and went out of his way to help this man. Obviously, this man was the neighbor to the one in need.

As I was walking with my roommate, Jen, to watch some friends play ultimate frisbee today, we passed a man on the side of the road. He was leaning up against a fence on the sidewalk, slouched down, and appeared to be sleeping; his arm was bleeding and he had a 10 dollar bill in his hand. As always, I felt an urge to help him, but soon my thoughts were overcome with fear and doubts and questions. How quickly I rationalize walking by, thinking he probably doesn't want my help, or, "I can't help him; I can't even speak Cantonese." So...I continued walking, but as Jen and I looked at each other, we knew we were both thinking the same can we just walk on by like nothing is wrong? Luckily, she said to me, "Is he okay?" So we walked back and I simply asked him if he was okay. He seemed to quickly "wake up" and responded that he was, in fact, okay. He got up on his feet and seemed to be very grateful that we asked.

I don't mean to share this story to point out how great I am or anything like that. Rather, I hope it can be a reminder of how Christ calls us to help those in need and to love our neighbors. I believe it's these simple acts of love that will bring Christ's Kingdom to earth. I was quite disappointed with myself; it's so easy to criticize the priest and the Levite man in the story of the Good Samaritan for being too self-righteous to take time out to help, but when I was confronted with a very similar situation, unfortunately, I responded in a much similiar way. If it hadn't been for my roommate's simple question, I also would've walked on by.

If Christ's people don't take the time to stop and love, who will?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gotta Love 'Em!

I decided after 8 months of curly hair, it was time for a change. So, I decided to get a straight perm. Four hours, 4 hair washes, 2 head massages, and at least 6 different aprons later, my hair was silky smooth! As expected, I received many comments from the kids, some of which are quite funny. They are always honest...I'll give them that much! Here are some of them:

"It makes you look so weird."
"What did you do to your hair?"
"You're straight hair makes you look strict..."
"I didn't recognize you. You look like a Mandarin teacher."
"I liked it better curly." (Gee, thanks....why didn't you tell me that yesterday when my hair WAS curly???)
"You look like a banana." (Hmmm....could it have been the banana shirt I was wearing? :))

Today after school I was approached by some of my 6th grade boys asking if I'd supervise them in open gym, so I decided to do is the weekend after all, and the grading can wait! I challenged them to some "Lightening", and it was so much fun. After that, I sat on the sidelines and observed as they played softball. It definitely brought back memories of those carefree elementary days playing kickball, basketball, and softball at recess! Oh, to be a kid again! Since I can't go back in time, why not enjoy the simple things in life when we're given the chances?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Trash 'n' Fashion

On Friday the Middle School Student Council had an event called Trash 'n' Fashion. The students in each homeroom had to create a costume made of all trash for their teacher to wear. We then gathered in the theatre and had a fashion show, complete with a proper runway, lights, the whole shebang... it was my fashion debut...first (and probably last) time on the runway! As you can see below, I was the "Statue of Neevelty"...above I'm with all the other wonderful sixth grade teachers!