Sunday at River Grace

Greetings, O ye followers of the Malone team's progress through Hong Kong and China!

T-minus two days until we board our Canadian Argo and set off on the 14 hour Odyssey back to the good 'ol U.S. of A!

Today was quite a day, folks. We started out with a kind of sociological sampling of  a couple neighborhoods of Hong Kong. In one area, we observed a group of protesters roughly equivalent to the "Occupy Wall Street"/"99 Percent" movement in New York. These people were literally camped out (in tents) on the open bottom floor of a local bank which has apparently been engaged in some shady dealings with the citizens of Hong Kong (a.k.a. Hong Kongers). It was eye-opening to realize how global these financial troubles can be.

We also had a bit more time to explore the local mosque and city park area. Apparently, goldfish around here are HUGE! So there's that...

Around noon, we had the opportunity to lead worship at a local establishment of organized religion. Kristen led and I sang backups and harmonies and such. We also had some awesome instrumental contributions by Emily on guitar and Cameron and Sam on drums. Kristen then wowed us and the rest of the congregation with an outstanding rendition of Laura Story's song "Blessings".  After all that, Dr. E. blessed us with the Good Word, talking about the story of Jesus raising Lazarus and paralleling that to how we accept calls from on high in our own lives.

After an intense multicultural banquet provided by the church, (Folks, we're talking New York-style pizza, McDonald's, Indian, and traditional Chinese food...yeah, we haven't eaten poorly on this trip.) we had a phenomenal opportunity to talk with some of the women of the church. The congregation is largely composed of Filipino women who have come to Hong Kong to be maids.  Their stories of faith within their work environment and culture were touching, as well as slightly heartbreaking. Two of the women my group talked to are separated from children and relying on family members to raise them. On top of that, many of the women work roughly 80 hours a week (5 days; 16 hours/day), so this service on Sunday is their one escape from employers that often mistreat them for miserable wages. Some of the women say they don't even get fed while they're working.

The incredible thing in all of this (and if you read nothing else, get this) was their attitude. Like so many others on this trip, they've been able to see the glory of God in a light we in the West don't often appreciate. These ladies are living difficult lives, but their attitudes are so positive and faithful its ridiculous. We could learn a lot from them, and I think most of us did. They were truly incredible women to associate with.

Beyond that, we went to a local market (the Jade market) and some of us got borderline assaulted by shopkeepers trying to get us to name prices for things we couldn't afford or didn't want. So that was weird. Then after a bit, we had some Grade-A Mediterranean food from a joint called Ebenezer's (I think I may have a new favorite ethnic cuisine) and then walked back to High rock and here I sit, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and sipping a surprisingly good Coke with Lemon. Life is good, and when you see examples of how life could be and see people emerging on the other side with a smile, life seems a whole lot better. It's been a long day, but a good one, all the same.

That's all for now, I'm signing off!

Keep us in your prayers and thoughts...Take care...Go Tribe...God Bless!




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