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day 1

May 23, 2008

i realize as i write this, i don’t remember thursday (yesterday) at all. i remember getting on a plane in atlanta wednesday night, getting to san francisco, and getting on a plane bound for asia, then waking up friday morning 3 hours away from my destination. i lost a day somewhere, but boy, did friday make up for it.

today began with a couple of miracles, first, i was able to find both my luggage AND my golf clubs. second, my traveling companion–jl–found his as well. before we left the airport we both realized how much favor God had just given us. we arrived in asia, were reunited with our bags, and were on our journey.

as we walked out through customs, we were greeted by his parents and were taken through the streets of hong kong. first time for me in a right hand drive car and driving on the left hand side of the road. i must admit, while we’ve been doing it for almost 18 hours, i’m still a little unnerved every time we turn right or left.

our first stop was literally about 10 minutes down the road where doc turned off the main street and went across a bridge that was definitely NOT made with cars in mind. we drove up a winding road when i heard, “mike, get your camera, your boys are going to want pictures of this.” we saw MONKEYS. that’s right, real live monkeys out in the open. they were just hanging out on the side of the street. all of this before 8:00 AM!!

we arrived in Kowloon rather quickly to an unbelievably muggy and smoggy sky. we put our stuff down, grabbed showers, and headed toward KIBC (Kowloon International Baptist Church) where doc pastors. i got to meet a few of the people at the church and then we got to see an amazing sight–amrah (a mongolian) who rode on a train with his friend for 3 days from mongolia, just to come to hong kong–do a couple of traditional mongolian dances. one about a horse running and the other about movement. he spoke absolutely ZERO english, and his friend the translator (i can’t remember his name at this time) spoke enough to get around. the dance was for the kindergarten at KIBC and was awesome.

after the dance show we went to lunch at nomad’s–a mongolian bar-b-q. imagine the looks on the faces of the people when we walk through the door with a man dressed in full mongolian dancing attire. needless to say, we all asked him how the food was. we wanted to know if it was authentic mongolian or not. funny how we take things for granted in the states. on the bar-b-q bar was a bowl full of “US” eggs. they had to label them as US eggs to let everyone know they weren’t from China.

after lunch and eating too much, i noticed some things about Hong Kong. It’s an eclectic city. i had lunch at a mongolian restaurant, with 2 mongolians and 3 texans. there was an ad for a mexican beer company “sol” on the table, and brittney spears was playing on the intercom. everyone in the restaurant was either from india, america, china, england, australia, or somewhere else. what a true melting pot. when we got ready to leave a southern girl offered to take our picture…how ironic to get southern hospitality in a place where they don’t have sweet tea but do have fresh octopus.

then we went back to the flat for a nap, a shower, and off to funeral street.

that was the most horrific and mind-blowing thing i had ever seen. if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought you were walking into a 5 story bank building with marble floors and concrete ceilings. you would have been quickly greeted though to the sights and sounds of something very different. you would have immediately noticed the paper houses, cars, clothes, and literally everything you can imagine (ping pong paddles and balls, money, etc). this was all designed to be burned at the funerals. somewhere along the way, someone thought it would be a good idea to burn paper houses, cars, and the like, and have them waiting on the people who had just died. i couldn’t get to the bottom of whether this was a daoist belief or buddhist, but the reality is that there were many people there who have put their hope and trust in the thought of an afterlife where you need a paper mercedes or gold paper shoes.

on down the hall was another funeral complete with buddhist monks chanting and singing their songs for and to the dead. their incense permeated the air and my heart skipped a couple of beats as i realized that not everyone believes or thinks like i do. many of the people there had chosen to follow something other than Christ, and others had thought maybe Christianity needed some more help. funny tip if you ever go to a funeral in Hong Kong–the Christians wear black and the buddhists wear white. don’t know why, just know that’s what happens.

after dinner i had the unbelievable opportunity to have dinner with alvin, see ray, thomas, and dorothy (i’m not even going to attempt to hit their surnames) at the Kowloon Cricket Club. alvin, thomas, and dorothy are ALL opthamologists and see ray is a family practitioner…all just a little big of over-achievers. alvin and dorothy are writing a textbook on eyes and thomas has just started his own practice. both couples have special needs children. they are both early in their journeys. alvin and see ray have a son (2) who has been diagnosed with learning disabilities and is “slow” developmentally. thomas and dorothy have a son (2) who has in the last 6 months been diagnosed with autism. they are all struggling with how to deal with their lives, their families, what the community and culture think, and how they should handle things. i had the opportunity over an incredible 4 course meal to share with them my own personal journey…my STORY.

they asked questions–questions i would NEVER be asked in america, and they wanted hope. they came to the table tonight looking for someone to genuinely be concerned about them and what they are going through. i pray that i get to be in contact with them again. they have all 4 been greatly influenced by what God has allowed them to walk through. i pray they are faithful and they have a support system of believers that come around them and love them at their church and in their community.

now, i’m laying on the bed, ready to go to sleep, but my mind continues to race. i don’t know if i will sleep for a while, but i know i need to try.

God bless!

One Comment leave one →
  1. c.w. goad permalink
    May 23, 2008 10:22 pm

    Praying for you back in TN. You don’t know me but we’re brothers in Christ.

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