I’m updating quickly. Wow, what a week it’s been! I got to Hong Kong Saturday night, slept, then went to church on Sunday and not long after came right to the Breakthrough Camp. A lot of the leadership content and how to be an authentic person material is mostly old for me thanks to America’s aggressive school regimen of “self-esteem” and more importantly, my immersion in church where I’ve come into leadership positions. So… not all of it was relevent…plus, my Canto is onl 75% good for understanding, and my Mandarin is only 33 (maybe now 40%) good for understanding…. luckily my group knew enough english.
We did a lot of interesting activities… we had to fill these huge PBC tubes with water cuz they had a floating ball w/ a puzzle piece in it, but the tube had holes! And not only that, our water supply was limited, so we had to use the holes of the finished tubes to use our water conservatively.
We also did an exercise where you drew a color out of a bag; your color represented your social class. Red was the best, yellow second, green third, and black last. I happened to go up and pick us a green… so we were w/ the black group and had to work real hard for our food that day, crossing this grass space by stepping on bricks and picking up certain cups with either food items or disabilities (pretend to have a broken arm etc.) so we had rice with soy sauce while the red group had a good good good meal… but the most important part was later, where we had to build a simulated “village,” where all 12 groups, regardless of what color, had to build a hut/house/shelter out of some bamboo stick thingers, newspaper, some cardboard, a few trash bags, and tape. The catch: green and black were outside, while red and yellow had raised levels of shelter (roof over heads… and air conditioning). We wree outside… and based on points from a previous activity we had to gather materials. The red had the greatest point advantage (we could get 1 point for their every 3 in some cases…) and they got to draw first.. and took almost everything. mean ppl. thankfully the stuff was divided up with the help of some discussion people (each group could send one delegate) and we got stuff to biuld. But halfway through, suddenly they turned on sprinklers and dumped these huge tubs of water on us from the balconies above! Man, that really messed us up…. newspaper and water make a weak structure… and then they kept turning on the water every so often. Our house failed. We managed to fake it’s secureness by holding it up with our heads and hands while lying under its too-small frame. As soon as we got out, it collapsed. The point was, that as a global village, we failed. The reds, yellows and a couple greens did fine, but most of the other greens and hte black team failed. And what I got most out of it was the fact that a red team guy said this during a whole-camp question period, “I know you’re all mad cuz we took so many… but we really weren’t trying to be mean or anything, we took so much so that we could share it with you!” If you ask me, that’s a bogus, stupid and small-minded answer.
But. I would’ve done the same thing. I wouldn’t have said all that garbage about “sharing” when it just…. well if he meant it, he needs to rethink himself. But I understand why he took all that stuff. How often do we take more than we need cuz we always figure, “more is better than less?” In fact, if you look at hte whole thing, the green people are like… the poor, maybe in Africa or something. We have fewer materials, get bad food, work in hard conditions, and get hit by disasters. I said this, one of my most profound thoughts of the whole camp: “even if everyone had been nice enough to give each team and equal share, that still wouldn’t be enough. Because the greens and blacks are in such harsh conditions, they need more.” Imagine that, an American living with less than a starving family in Africa, and that’d be fair. I hope you get what I mean. The point is, it sounds ridiculous, cuz according to our world standards, it is. The idea that a poor person should get more than I get is absolutely proposterous. Yet that’s what they need. In order for that house to weather the 6-gallon flood and sprinklers and hoses, they need MORE than the “richer” more “civilized” people need.
On Wednesday we went into the city, into Yau Ma Tai which is considered a poor area of Hong Kong. We were to take pictures and eat at a local place and find something profound, seroius. Wiht our $20HK per person for lunch, we were left ovr with $14 after a full lunch and after talking/interviewing some of the local ppl, including the elderly and poorer, we bought 6 oranges and gave them to people who we thought needed them. It felt good, cuz some of the people who took them… they didn’t smile, but their eyes REALLY lit up. If you’ve ever heard the expression “sparkling eyes,” I know that I saw it twice, one from an old man sitting on the steps in the shade, and one from a beggar in a park who didn’t seem to be able to speak.
Another day, our leaders imitated Jesus and washed our feet. Though the camp’s ont Christian, it’s highly evangelical since the Breakthrough organization is Christian. The camp accepts all kinds of people, and many of the people from China (mainland) aren’t Christian, but somehow, in Hong Kong, using Jesus or Paul or people’s personal testimonies about Christ passes for “non-religiously affiliated” within the limited bounds. In America, there’d be lawsuits and pointing fingers everywhere. Funny that yah? Many people cried at the feet-washing, the fact that OUR group leaders (adults with the title of Mentor) would was OUR feet, we the campers… it was too much for many. I’ll admit I cried too, but not because I was shocked by this (I’m used to the idea of servant leadership…. though I’m not really good at exercising it…) but because I felt a terrible kind of…. empathy for the large number (seriously, maybe 1/4 cried) of people who were so shocked by God’s love. But many don’t understand the experience… someone from Shanghai in my group said she noticed that the exercise made so many people “sad” when I honestly tihnk and almost know that it’s the hearts of people crying out in surprise at the love that is exhibited in Jesus. That same day, we went up to a mountain. I and the three guys in my gropu had to carry a gallon of water each in addition to our own stuff. When we got to the top, we spent 3-4 hours alone, in solitude, and except for a few sillies, in SILENCE. We were allowed to talk to ourselves, but not the other people. I spent a long itme thinking, then had this sudden…. buliding sort of inspiration, writing writing writing through tihs exercise sheet that talked about my feelings of the camp, about myself, about my life, about my dreams and passion in leadership or service.. and I had to finally in the end write a letter to myself, talking about my growth this week and limitations, and most importantly, write myself a commitment of things I should do and things that I should remember. It was really good. I spent time praying for people too, in our church, from CTY, from school… many things. We got back late.
Today we performed a…. skit (some did songs, dances, narrations, etc.) about sometihng we learned. WE talked about hope in injustice. A person coulnd’t find a job even though she tried REALLY hard, and was forced to become a beggar. A passerby immediately labeled her as lazy and spat at her. Another passerby couldn’t be bothered and just threw some kinds in hopes of stopping the beggar. But the third guy, even though he didn’t have the resources himself, purposely sat down to understand (point 1), and then communicate (point 2) with the beggar. He then worked very hard point 3)and brought some people who could hlep, and eventually the beggar was able to get a job. We said that these 3 attributes are IFs, and only if people apply them regularly can there be a fight against injustice. It went pretty well.
I also …. went and did something stupid. There happened to be this girl, Hong Kong moved to the UK, who was pretty good-looking, and happened to also be kinda quiet… wihch I think is something I like. It at least proves the girl isn’t…. ditzy and silly and ridiculous like… so many girls can be… so … every once in awhile I’d glance over when the lecture/talks in Mandarin were too difficult to understand… and then, very bravely (and stupidly), I went and wrote her a little note, telling her what I thought of her, and noting how dumb I was cuz I’ll NEVER see her again, and also leaving contact info just in case she’d want to, platonically (and I mean that seriously) keep a correspondence. And I put it in the envelope with her name. Each of us got an envelope so that people could write us notes and comments… and she read it… and responded. I think I was flushed… it turns out she’s kinda shy-ish… and was “surprised by your ‘letter'” which is kinda funny. She actually gave me hre e-mail!*score* and is also a Christian which is really cool. No, I don’t plan to have a long-distance overseas girlfriend or anything. I really only felt like being… a stupid silly teenager, and went and did something fun and… kinda ridiculous
Ok enough. We have a late lights-out tonight and some of the Cali ppl I met here are also awesome, and most are Christians. I hope to find some of them and rock to some worship songs for awhile.
Holy is the Lord, God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord, God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory!
– Chris Tomlin