Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fake Update #3

Working on another update... sorry it's taking FOREVER. Seth, Kyle, and Robert left for Thailand yesterday because of complications with the Macau visa, so I have alot more free time and the place to myself until I leave. It will leave plenty of time to catch-up on the blog. Thank you for showing some remote interest, and I hope to see you all very soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Macau Update #2 (11/16-20/09)

It's been really hard to get any time to write any updates. I don't even have much time tonight, but here's a try:

1) General
Here' s an old video the guys threw together here in Macau to introduce to the people who were following their establishment in Macau where they are staying. This is where I'm staying with them:

There's been a few changes since they made this video a month ago, such as that they have hot water now, and that it's a little messier (to be polite!). I'm staying in Robert's room on the floor there with some blankets and an inflatable ground pad I brought just in case I needed it:

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2) Catch-up
Monday (11/16/09)
I walked around with Robert and checked out Macau, and it's very diverse culture. Later that day we celebrated Kyle's birthday at a missionaries' high-rise apartment. Here's a video up to the end of this day that I threw together on Wednesday, and a few photos of the party (The video dates read that the footage is updated until the 17th, but that's not true. I wanted to get in all the footage up till that day in this video, but didn't because I just don't have the time. I want to finish the song with more footage later. The slideshow at the end is Sunday and Monday as well):

The 3 missionaries and the 2 Timothys

Tuesday (11/17/09)
THANKSGIVING! Prayer in the morning with Rusty, Tim (a wonderful man who has come alongside Rusty here locally to help him with the church. A deacon/elder if you will...), some of the church's flock, the 3 guys, Jen, and myself. That was about 2 hours as we prayed for needs within the church, and did a mini Bible study which was very open-ended but so good out of Acts. Then Rusty and his assistant Tim took us 5 out to lunch at a very authentic Thai food place where I got the best curry of my life! Did some more money exchanging at a bank, and relaxed until Thanksgiving dinner later that night at Rusty's apartment. Kitty (his wife) cooked a mean feast which was very American - turkey, mashed potatoes, applesauce(homemade because they don't have any here), ect. and brownies ^_^

A greatly cherished memory representing a joke make about boogers! Yup.

It was such a blessing to be able to just relax with his family which included 4 children. Just to converse for hours, tell jokes, get to know one another, and have genuine fellowship.

Wednesday (11/18/09)
Jen, Seth, and I left early in the morning packed up for 3 days of traveling. Rusty picked us 3 up at the guy's apartment, and dropped us off at the Macau harbor to go to Hong Kong! In Hong Kong we had 3 objectives: to visit a missionary from America named Wylan who is currently going through cancer and kimo therapy, in order to give her winter clothes that she didn't have; To deliver about 150-200lbs. of Christian audio material for children and adults (sermons, Bible studies, ect.) to Christian Bible smugglers for Bible courier work (which we bought all the way over there in LARGE bags; and lastly, to look into a potential business for the 3 guys here in Macau - power-washing. In Hong Kong they had power-washing supplies Seth was interested in learning about.

Another reason why we went to Hong Kong, was to on Friday go into mainland China via Bible smuggling! There, we would meet with a man named George who owns multiple businesses in China. He trusts Seth and they have been friends for a while now. Jen and Seth prodded at possible job opportunities so that they could obtain Macau residency with a business visa which is better than visitor's visas. (I believe that's how it worked...).

We were able to lug the heavy products to a man named Al who we met in Hong Kong after a long and very uncomfortably queazy boat ride. We were able to get from the boat stating to the heart of Hong Kong where Al's hotel room was via subway. 81 years old, for the past 18 years he had been smuggling Christian material into mainland China and hand-delivering it to God's people in China where it was requested. He is an independent courier without any organization sending him. In his hotel room I had the amazing opportunity to interview him with my video camera! I quickly placed the camera onto the dresser with children's Bible DVD's meticulously placed underneath it to frame him properly in the shot haha. After we lost 200lbs, we hopped back onto the subway and got settled into our apartment many miles away. The apartments were provided by Christians, who facilitate rooms for short-term missionaries for about $15 USD/night to simply pay for expenses and cleaning. Much nicer than Macau's pad for sure. Our day was coming to a quick end as dinner at a japanese restaurant, and boba tea for dessert settled in our tummies.

Thursday (11/19/09)
My first "American" breakfast which consisted of two pieces of bread called "french toast" and two stripps of bacon. They eat pretty lightly for breakfast here, Seth said. The hot lemon tea soothed my throat as it felt raw. I had come down with a pretty heavy cold and was trying to keep myself together as we were following through with our plans for our time in Hong Kong/China. We hopped onto the subway after breakfast and met Wylan - delivering to her the warm clothes she needed, and taking the summer clothes she didn't need anymore for storage. This skinny, short, humble Asian woman had such a beaming face. You could see the light of Christ through her eyes. We had the opportunity to pray for her and ask for God to comfort her as she walks in the path He has for her. She didn't look like she had my sniffles, none-the-less cancer...

After meeting with her, it just so happens Seth and Jen knew where we were. A district of Hong Kong that I forgot the name of where all fake products were sold haha! I was able to buy new leather converse for $13 USD, a beanie for $5, gloves for $4, ect. It was so fun bartering and working on those skills. By this point though I was very achey all around my hips and up my spine from the cold, and was having alot of trouble being myself. They both were asking me to be sure to mention at any point to go back to the apartment, but I decided to stay until Seth got his power-washing objective accomplished.

He left Jen and I to rest while he took care of business. 45 minutes later, and a faithless ingestion of 2 advil, I was able and willing and desirous to travel to see the light show across the river which separates Hong Kong in half. It was really pretty as we arrived by subway to the pier's edge overlooking the other half of the entire city! Lasers and lights, all programmed to music, entertained tourists and locals as Seth and I bit into our Micky-D's dinner. Tired and ready for bed, the three of us took the subway home. After meeting a missionary who was just in for the night named John and politely spoke with him until he was ready for bed, we all passed out. zzzzz...

Friday (11/20/09)
(okay getting pretty tired now so I need to hurry)
Woke up sicker, met with a Bible courier organization. Was educated about the facts in China and their need for Bibles and the laws of them, ect. Was handed 1.5hours later about 150lbs of Bibles in a roller bag and shoulder bag. Seth, Jen, another experienced courier named David, and myself took the train to the Hong Kong border where we walked the Bibles into the Chinese boarder. Then, Seth, Jen, another David, and I dropped them off in a specified van owned by a Christian man who would ship them out elsewhere. SUCH A RUSH! (The speedy version cuz i'm tired & sick & need sleep... ask me later!!) From there we took the Chinese train to a hotel where we met up with George. He took us out to lunch and he didn't end up being a good solution to Seth's needs, and wasn't an answer to Jen's prayers. (Ask about this later for sure too!!) So we got a taxi back to the boarder, walked back into Hong Kong, took the train to the harbor. Missed our boat and literally begged the ticket manager for another ticket for the next boat, got on the next boat for free (Praise GOD!), and were picked up by church members of Horizon Macau and dropped off to the place that I can call home: the guy's apartment.

* * *

So as you can tell, not a day wasted! My prayer has been answered thus far! Please pray for Jesus to continue to give me strength and to sustain me as I press in to the good work He has for me to do here in Macau. Big day tomorrow of interviews and traveling back to China with Rusty for visits to secret home churches in Christian unfriendly areas. We should be back in Macau later tomorrow night. Please be in prayer for those things too! He is so good... Goooooood night!

P.S. there's a video i'll add to the top of this post later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Macau Update #1 (11/15/09)

My Provider has been noticeably with me wherever I’ve been thus far! It’s incredible to see His hand move right before my eyes on this trip. Through many circumstances He’s shown His love and favor for His children as Jen Chen and I have been traveling. Even before the trip began, unknown variables were met with satisfaction such as the ability to bring every single gift people had given us to send out for the people here in Macau into our four very large bags, with one of the bags even totaling 81lbs!

Even before the bags, to give testimony to His omniscience, He decided to have Jen be the person whom I’d be traveling with. He knows I’m completely ignorant with anything having to do with traveling (ex. “How do I buy tickets? How do I know if cameras are allowed into Macau, and what size? What kind of money do I use out there?” ect.) and I saw right before my eyes in the HSE hallway Jen Chen cross my path asking if and when I’m going to Macau to see Rusty. She had the same destination, and same time-period of traveling, same heart to aid Rusty and all of the people of Horizon Macau. Why should I be surprised? We have the SAME GOD!!!

When we touched down in Macau from Tai Pei, Seth Aguilar picked us up at the airport and we all headed straight over to the bachelor pad. With rain drizzling, and thick grey clouds covering the city, Macau was at an unexpected 55 degrees. It usually doesn’t get that cold until late December! It’s so interesting how the city is constructed too. As we drove to Horizon Macau, I noticed the city was very densely populated. There were high-rises (at least 15 stories tall) everywhere, with the shops/grocerystores/ect. on street level, and maybe up to the second story. These aren’t business buildings though, or clean offices like I’m used to seeing in San Diego or that I’ve been immersed within while my family visited New York City. From any point in Macau, there is always multiple high rise apartments blocking your view from any direction, and sometimes the sky itself above you is not to be found!

We dropped by the apartment to unload our gifts to the guys that we brought from San Diego from ourselves and their family and friends. After getting settled a bit, Jen and I were escorted on foot by Seth about 6 blocks away to the church. Horizon Macau is nestled within the Fai Chi Kei district, which means “chop sticks”, (given it’s name because beggars would sit on street corners with a bowl and pair of chopsticks, begging for food to be put into their bowl to eat) and is wedged at the foot of a common dirty 20 story apartment building. As we approached, I noticed children from the neighborhood were playing soccer outside of the church, and a group of gamblers were casting their away their hopes no more than 50 feet away. There in front of the church, we met up with Rusty, and other people who have come along side Rusty in leadership named Tim, Pete, Pete’s wife Kathleen, and all of their children along with other church members.

Horizon Macau is at the base of these tall apartment buildings, just behind that tree

By this time it was noon, and after quick greetings and a brief discussion of Jen and my travels, off to lunch we went! Rusty decided where to go, and he lead us to a busy and noisy family-style tea house a few blocks away where we immediately were served a verity of dim-sum! Oh my... so yummy...

As a part of the culture in Macau, restaurants offer boiling water in a dish at your table so you can dip and rinse any bowls or chopsticks you are provided with to sterilize them, mainly because of the different viruses that pass through China. Seating about 16, we all had a lovely lunch being introduced with each other and fellowshipping in Him. Along with new smells, sights, teas, tastes, and cultures, I got to try an interesting dish as well: chicken feet!!! Bones and all (no skin), they weren't my favorite, but weren't half bad either ;)

We soon walked back to the church, where everyone commenced the weekly Sunday school (because it was Sunday in Macau, being 15 hours ahead of San Diego), and we had fun with the kids. I was able to get some great footage of Rusty’s children leading worship, and Kitty teaching the little ones about Jesus and His simple yet profound love for each person on the earth. After sunday school, Rusty, Jen, Tim and I got to really speak in private as they told Jen and I what things would be looking like roughly over the next few weeks. I enjoy their company very much - wonderful men of God. They toured us around the church where we learned of their neighbors who are into witchcraft and such, and gave us a better picture of the confusion of the culture’s views toward the deceased within their family, and the food offerings they make to them. Incense filled each alley we walked down as Rusty explained how the ground god needed daily sacrifice, and how the heaven god operated too. So much confusion with these people... so much


Jen and I went our separate ways. She was staying with Pete & Katz apartment, while I crashed with the guys in their very small 3 bedroom apartment. I was so whipped out by this time from jet lag, that the only way I could function was the energy provided from being in a completely foreign environment. My mind still raced and body still worked hard to stay awake as it was in survival mode. Pretty funny to see my reaction to a new place, but so much fun! I really enjoy just fully embracing a new culture, asking questions, and figuring things out within it.

I was able to make it until 7:30pm Macau time before crashing on the inflatable ground pad I packed. And praise God! I didn’t have a blanket and Robert Stacy (another missionary from SD) brought home a comforter randomly from the church just in case he’d need it sometime! I got to pass out from sleep deprivation knowing God had my back and would take care of all my needs :)

It rained very hard that night, and I didn’t wake up for 12 hours. Day 1 was so blessed!

Random Info:

+ The guy’s apartment:

- 3rd story

- 3 bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, kitchen, and balcony

- Hot water shower, propane heated

- About 350 square feet

- They haven't moved in fully with anything because they might not be able to stay in Macau for technical governmental reasons (unfurnished)

- Propane stove

- I’m crashing in Robert’s room

+ They use toilet paper used for everything, including napkins (they’re poor!)

+ Cover your mouth while using a toothpick

+ Rain is very uncommon in Macau, but overcast weather isn’t

+ Currency: USD 1:7.8 Patacas

+ Budism/Taoism most popular religions by far

+ Incense stands are built in front of most homes/stores for ancestors

+ Traffic is on the opposite side of the road

The book of Ephesians has been blessing me alot on this trip so far. Please pray I can be used for more than a video's production - that I can be appart of God's work here in Macau. And also, as always, for wisdom.

..::Ephesians 1:22-23::..