Thursday, September 01, 2005

From bacon to bai/ tsi\

This post reports that the Carters are alive and well, having traveled from St. Paul to Spokane through Asia and Hong Kong to Chennai, Tamil Nadu (state), India. Future posts will describe our life and mission in India. This post discusses transition.

"Bacon" in the title refers to the first part of our transition, our welcome in Hong Kong. The Carl Hanson family took us in around 8:00 am on August 11, with bacon and eggs for breakfast. What a welcome treat after an "all night" flight. (We saw the sun go down on Tuesday and come up on Thursday, given the international date line.) By Saturday transition seemed "complete." We had gone farther in Asia and eaten local foods with bai/ tsi\ (that's the best I can render the sound, with rising and then falling tones), a vegetable something like small heads of lettuce, cooked in soups. Had I been able to get the photos to work for this blog, you would have seen a shot with us in the Hanson apartment eating bacon, and then a shot of our noodle restaurant cook preparing that soup a couple days later. (Those of you who know that I have resisted going to China because I was concerned about the variety of foods can imagine the Lord laughing in his heavens, not least as I "transitioned" to eating fried wasps one night. With the local plum wine they were not bad.)

You could mark our transition also by the ability to cross streets. What a victory it was! It's kind of like polite dodge 'em. There are pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, cars and busses passing from side to side, not exactly in lanes or with street lights, and you chart a path between them. The only thing I (Rich) have been hit by was a crow once we arrived in India. We made all the street crossings safely.

Hong Kong and Asia were good transition because we met missionaries in Hong Kong and teachers of English in China. We saw significant service learning at Hong Kong International School and a clinic being built by help from the Concordia Welfare and Education Society. We understoond more clearly both the work of the Church and the challenges of a dynamic country. We were immersed in ways of thinking, eating and crossing streets that had never crossed our minds before. (Miriam was brave enough to try a foot massage that begins with VERY hot water and goes on to pressure every bone in your foot.) We met faithful people, cross cultural and local sisters and brothers in the faith from whom we could take encouragement as we go. The Buddhist temple across from our hotel in one city reminded us of why we have come for this year, to celebrate and serve with these brothers and sisters.

We appreciate your interest and your prayers. By the next blog I may have the photos working again so that you can "see" the work here, both in the seminary in Chennai where I will teach and in the world around us.

God's blessings.
Rich and Miraim


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