Wow, we've been back for a month and not told you much about our trip to Hong Kong and China. Sorry - partly due to being away on holiday for two weeks and partly due to spending time thinking through all that has happened. Here's a brief run-down:
In Hong Kong we attended a 5-day "Gateway Camp" with 1,000 others for input in loving God and bringing joy to his heart. Our focus was on China and also preparing us for the next step of our trip.
Our UK group of 28 travelled on to a large city in southern China to do "cultural exchange" and demonastrate parts of British culture. Scottish dancing, an English tea party, and football (soccer) skills was what we felt we could bring. You might be asking what the point of all that was - what did drinking tea have to do with our faith?!!
The dancing drew people as they saw something completely different from their usual experience. After we danced as a team, we invited our audience to come dance with us and we taught them the steps. How cool to dance with a Chinese person - and there are some VERY good dancers in China!
Next we served tea the "proper" way - with PG tips tea brought with us, milk and sugar, and scottish shortbread. SO different from the normal cup of tea in China, but that wasn't the powerful part. For centuries Western nations have come into China and demanded to be served by these people; because of this a barrier has developed between us. The tea itself wasn't our focus but it was a way for us to serve the Chinese people, humbling ourselves and honouring them. We were ploughing the ground so the seeds that will come can be planted.
The football was a means to get together with people without competition but to enjoy a kick-around.
I was so proud of Elisa again and again as she applied herself to all we are doing. She adjusts quickly to other cultures and made lots of friends within our big team.
The week we left for Hong Kong there was a medical crisis in the family of our team leader, preventing him and his wife from coming on the trip. It was awful for them, and a huge challenge for those of us who did go who had to take on lots more than we had expected. Everyone learned so much, learned to trust God more, and I have a much better idea what to do next time around.
Thank you for your prayers for us while we were away. Elisa has already begun a little piggy bank to save up for next year's trip!