Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27

Today was our last day with our students at Sharon Lutheran School.  Although we all started our day exhausted, our group of enthusiastic second graders gave us the energy we needed.  After our last bible lesson, we attended Sharon Lutheran's end of the year assembly where students showcased their many talents.  We watched students dance to a Korean pop song, demonstrate Karate skills, and listened to choirs sing songs in Mandarin and Cantonese.  Our California team even joined in on the fun! Sarah played a song on the piano, Kyle played a song on a saxophone, and we sang two of our favorite songs from our bible lessons, "Praise the Lord" and "This Little Light of Mine".  After the assembly, we had a wonderful farewell lunch with the staff of Sharon Lutheran.  Today was Judy's birthday, so we sang to her and ate mango cake in her honor. In the afternoon, we spent some time shopping around the Ladies Market.  We loved the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and haggle with local vendors.  After a short rest, we had dinner with Judy and Pastor Albert at our group's favorite restaurant: Shanghai Po Po.  Our last devotion with Judy was a time to reflect on our experiences in Hong Kong, and a time to refocus our energy for the coming days in Foshan.  Judy gave us a cross ornament for is to remember her by and a reminder to pray for all our missionaries.

If we are not able to update the blog in the next few days, it will be due to the internet restrictions by the Chinese government. Please keep us in your prayers for our safe travels and know that we are missing you all at home.

Our 2nd grade class for the day

The group with some teachers from Sharon Lutheran School.  They gave us a cross as a thank you gift.

Our fearless leader, Judy Newhouse and Pastor Albert.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26

Well all of the kids have written for the blog and Darlene wasn't up for it for tonight so I am going to take my turn.  First of all, the Kyle, Sarah, Jenni, Allen, Haley, Hunter, Carley, Jenna and Darlene have been awesome. To see them in action leading our English VBS has been a wonderful experience.  From the singing of songs, to presenting the story of creation to leading a craft has been a great treat for me as the DCE. While we hope that the kids we work with won't forget how God created the world, I know we won't.  Judy Newhouse is the missionary that we have been working with and she is incredible.  She has taken such good care of us, I couldn't ask for a better person to work with on this trip.

We have all been pretty healthy.  An upset stomach or some headaches have popped up but after some time in the air conditioning a drinking a whole bunch of water, the issues have been resolved.  The humidity to something here in Hong Kong and it has taken a toll on us at times.

Today it was an early morning again.  We caught the bus at 6:30 am and headed to Sharon Lutheran School.  We did our VBS presentation for a group of 5th grade students and then a group of 2nd grade students.  We had a wonderful lunch at a place in the mall that cooked our food right in front of us.  It was amazing to watch the guy!!  The afternoon was one of those once-in-a-lifetime occurrences.  We went to the Lutheran Elderly Home and worked with a group of about 15 elderly people.  We helped them make those Rainbow Loom bracelets that are so popular with the kids back home.  These elderly people were so excited so be making these bracelets.  It was just fun.  Then we got the opportunity to actually visit some elderly people in their homes and her their stories.  Jenni, Sarah, Hunter and I visited a couple that had been married for over 60 years.  He used to pull the rickshaw rides around old Hong Kong for his living.  It was a great story.

After a very crowded bus ride home, we had a great dinner near the school we are staying in and now it is time for bed.  We have another early morning ahead of us. - Jim

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25

Hello again!   Today, we got up very early to catch a bus at 6:30 to Sharon Lutheran School.   After an hour-and-a-half commute we finally made it.   Today we did our traditional VBS program with about 150 3rd and 4th grade students.   We had a great time working with the kids, and they seemed very excited to participate.   After several hours of VBS, we ate a traditional Hong Kong Meal for lunch.   We then took taxis to Martha Boss Community Center while it rained monsoonally.   While we were there, we did a version of our VBS with kindergarten kids.   These kids were very energetic and really enjoyed singing the songs with us, especially the songs with crazy actions.   We also brought the story of Creation to the community center, who had a fun time learning the hand motions to go along with each of the 7 days.   After spending more time playing with the kids, we traveled back to Siu Leun School.   Tonight, we all enjoyed a delicious dinner at a local McDonalds, before heading back to the school for devotions.   Now we ar all hoping to get to bed early tonight so we can get up and do it again tomorrow!


Leading songs with kindergarteners

Jenni and her crew of 3rd grade students

Jenna and Kyle with their 3rd grade crew

Selfies with Carley and kindergarteners

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday, June 24

After a rather late wake-up from pure exhaustion, the California team greeted the incoming students to begin the work for the day. It appears that post-Monday stupor and tiredness is ubiquitous across all borders, as many Chinese students gave us many lackluster high-fives and "good mornings" in greeting. After taking a little time to get our power up, our day went smoothly. The Creation lesson is clearly well rehearsed and runs like clock work. We worked with older children today at the school, thereby forcing our craft to change from simple, symbolic beaded necklaces to more complex beaded key chains, which they really enjoyed. Our work finished, we jumped aboard the wonderful  Hong Kong bus system and went to a lunch of various Asian cuisines at one of the local malls. Our hunger satiated, we met up with more high school-aged Chinese student who desired to improve their English and guide us on a sight-seeing tour. We once again used the Hong Kong transit system, this time adding a train to the mix. As a Valley Centerite, this public transportation was all new to me. I am very impressed by its efficiency and in awe of how long the train was we rode on. It's also a marvel to me how these students knew how to tool us around Hong Kong and navigate various train changes. Our sightseeing was a walking tour of various temples that the students had never previously visited as many detours needed to be taken and Google Maps conferred with more than a few times. Our tour ended early and we divided off into different after-activities. These ranged from dessert eating to Bow Ling (how it was written on a sign), which Hunter, Haley, Allen, and myself went to. Not only was it across the street from our living quarters, but it was American style AMF bowling. Hunter and I represented Team USA well, going undefeated in our bowling lane, continuing Team USA's wins over foreign countries on mission trips. Our dinner was filled with many Chinese dishes, all new to me and mostly new to the rest of us. We ate lots of foods that stared back at us, including goose, fish, and shrimp. Our tastes were definitely stretched with new foods, especially Sarah staring fear right in the eye and saying "Yum!" as she gobbled a fish eye, and an adventurous Hunter devouring his second eyeball and kissing a goose head (we have pictures and video, don't worry parents.). Our day tomorrow is an early one. A 5:30 a.m. wake up with an hour and a half bus ride to start our day. It will be a good one knowing that good ol' McDonald's is for dinner as our taste buds tire of the Chinese cuisine. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we reach the middle of trip where exhaustion becomes commonplace. Know we our having a great time filled with new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. We love you all.

-Kyle Stroud

Jenni enjoying her noodles at lunch

Jim and Darlene's team from today's sightseeing adventure.

Hunter kissing the goose head!  yuck!!

Sarah and Hunter's group from this mornings English class.

Most of the sightseeing teams!

Bowling with new freinds.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23

   Let me start by thanking all those who have been praying for us as well as God's hand that has been watching over us. Today was another fun adventure, we got to sing praises with 100 Chinese 3rd graders. We got to share the message of creation and the power God wields. After the morning work was done, we traveled up a tremendously windy road into the mountains to see the big Buddha. In order to get to the base of the statue we had to make our way up 256 stairs. Once we had reached the top, all of us gazed at the size of this metal Buddha and God's beauty that surrounded us. After we came down from the big Buddha, we had took a 40 minute walk through the wisdom trail. As most of us could agree, the highlight for today came from the cable car ride down the mountain. Even though we had to wait in a vary long line,  we all agreed it was well worth the wait. We were carried over the mountains, waterfalls, and ocean. It was a truly spectacular site to see. - Haley Beebe

The Big Buddha

Cable Car ride home

Haley and Allen's group from English Bible camp

The group on the Wisdom Trail

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 22

Life in Hong Kong is never ending sensory overload, each minute drowns you in its wonders and it forces you to embrace all aspects pertaining to the culture. The first 72 hours have made us all realize how 6,000 miles makes you truly understand how much the world truly has to offer in terms of how to live. Like take for example our church experience this morning. We arrived expecting it would be slightly different that the typical service at home, but it was a real change from what we are all so used to. It was entirely in Cantonese except for a single verse of "Joyful Joyful" so you can assume our confusion when trying to worship. When it came to the sermon, which happened to be 40 minutes long (Although Kyle insisted it was 39) was a real shocker. We had Albert who was the associate pastor translating the sermon for us, in a very broken manner but was enough to understand the gist of the overall service. Jenna and Kyle struggled to hear all this translation because Albert always had the looming threat of pastor glare if he spoke too loud and the funny part was Darlene and I would nod our heads even though a majority of the translation was inaudible. After Jenni and Sarah felt better than they did earlier this morning we were able to enjoy a Pizza Hut lunch followed by our Sunday School with the kids which was a longer repeat of our typical VBS. Which included the dreaded "Get Down" and "Hey Mon" which Allen and I can hardly handle after the several times we've sang them. With Sunday School ending we went across the street from some dessert with Pastor Albert, and I suggested the idea of giving him a piece of the sending cloth, which he instantly put on his head and said "Rambo". We headed to a mall which we instantly left to go to the tea shop which sounded closer than it was, because Judy asked us if we wanted to go after entering the mall but we ended up walking probably a good 20 minutes from the Air Conditioned mall and this walk was strikingly similar to the Bataan Death March during WWII. The tea was quite good but when looking for a tea pot for my mother I discovered it was way too expensive for my liking so we moved on to dinner. Keeping the current tradition of no disappointing meals this place was a great restaurant in which everyone enjoyed all it had to offer. It was not as adventurous as my eyeball the night before but the group as well as myself enjoyed every bit. We are going to the Big Buddha tomorrow which will be another great addition to our seemingly endless Adventure.

-God Bless,
The Boy in the Purple Robe (Hunter)
P.S. Jenni says she misses her Mom.

Sunday morning worship

Leading Children's church

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday, June 21

Today was a very exciting and busy day in Hong Kong. Everyone got plenty of sleep so we were all ready to roll with all the things we did today. The first thing we did was pick up the students from the school, 10 students, all girls. We all had to partner up and it was interesting learning all their names, like one of the girls was named Circle. The first place we went to was the Wong Tia Sin temple and it was raining the entire time we were there. It was interesting to see all the people praying outside and shaking their sticks and other things to find out if they would have good luck or bad luck. The architecture of the temple was beautiful and very breathtaking, I know we all thought it was pretty amazing to see it. After the temple we went to Stanley market which was very westernized and I actually got to eat a western meal which was great. The market was very cool with all the little shops and cool things you could buy, Hunter bought a robe that he loves and he is wearing everywhere and it is very funny. After the market we went to The Peak, that was my favorite part of the whole day. The Peak is the highest lookout point in all of Hong Kong, it is just beautiful and breathtaking and we all took tons of pictures. After the peak we took a tram down to the bottom of the mountain which basically went straight down. Our last place we went to with the students was on a short ferry ride which we all were just kind of wiped out by then so we weren't really excited about it. Then we got back on our bus and dropped the students off back at their school and we went and ate dinner together. The highlight of dinner was definitely seeing Hunter eat the fish eye. That was basically our whole day and it was very productive, busy, and fun!   - Allen Middlebrook 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday June 20th

After a long day of travel and not a full night of sleep, we were all a little reluctant to get out of bed and face the humid heat of the morning. Finally, in the morning light, the reality of where we are sunk in. We gathered for breakfast and prepared for the day ahead of us. School starts at 8, so we stood and greeted the kids and very quickly made some friendships. Some of the children were eager and fast to approach us, others looked at us warily and were shy when we talked to them. We introduced ourselves, and led them in songs such as "Hey Mon". After greeting, we led a group of two classes of 2nd graders in the story of creation, crafts, and songs. The first group was rough, but we managed. After we debriefed and devised a plan for a better experience. The second time was much improved, and we really enjoyed teaching and bonding with the kids. By then we were all tired and really looking forward to lunch. Our gracious hosts took us to a lovely Dim Sum lunch. We laughed over some of our inabilities to use chop sticks and the food was amazing. We ate a variety of buns, veggies, wraps, fried foods, and by the time we left, we were filled and happy. After we took a stroll around Butterfly Beach, a cute park/ garden around the block from the beach. We also explored a mall, which was full of colorful advertisements and nose-wrinkling smells (never take Kyle shopping, he knocks everything over, multiple times). We went to Judy's favorite dumpling place and ate pork and yellow curry dumplings and drank delicious passion fruit tea for dinner. We ended our night with devotions. We are all ready to sleep! -Jenni

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We have made it to Hong Kong!!!  We are at the school where we will be sleeping and doing our VBS.  Met Judy Newhouse who is the missionary who works at the school.  Very nice lady.  It is very hot however so we are happy the rooms are air conditioned.  It is almost midnight so we are headed to bed.  The kids will write more tomorrow about our day. - Jim
We have made it to JAPAN!!!  It is about 5:30 pm on Thursday, June 19.  Most of the group slept a little on the plane but not alot.  We are about to board the flight to Hong Kong so our next post will hopefully be from Hong Kong.  PEACE