I don’t wake until 7am. It’s fasting day, so I skip breakfast as the meal where I can abstain without affecting my fellowship with others. Class on World Religions starts at 9am and runs until 6pm, with breaks at 10.30, 12, 3.30, and 4.45. We have lunch at 1-2pm. The class is more alert than they were last weekend – we have one pre-Christian in the group of more than 50 students. As we go through the world religions and their belief systems and values, I am struck again by the uniqueness of serving a personal God who takes interest in his creatures. There is nothing else like it in the imagination or inventions of mankind.
A group of 6 women take me out for homestyle Hakka noodles and a “Michael Jackson” (ice cubes, cincan black jelly strips, and soya milk which is their ‘black white’ drink). We barely make it back to the class in time at 2, but the rest of the sessions go well. I forget how sore my feet are from standing 9 hours until I crawl into bed at night.
It is a thrill to see how involved the students are with the information. They end the day by sharing how they came to faith in Christ. I hear later in the evening that the reminder of Christ’s rescue and how he changed their lives was a good wrap-up: someone told them the story which they tell to others.
Helen, husband Edmund, and friend Michael take me to dinner at Delicious (where I had the great chicken curry on Tuesday.) Helen orders a Vietnamese Salad of cucumbers, green apple slices, romaine lettuce, chicken, sliced onion, and peanut sauce as a shared appetizer. The main course is a lamb shank, basmati rice, and a yoghurt cucumber salad, which Helen and I split. The dark flavors of the lamb blend with the homemade ginger beer (non-alcoholic). Helen divides a scrumptious chocolate cake slathered in chocolate sauce and ice cream between three of us.
Then she takes me from her restaurant to her clothing store next door. She started a partnership with another gal thirty years ago. When the partner moved on, Helen bought her out and began to sew garments on contract. She now has her own design team, factory, and a very successful retail chain. The clothes, designed for plus-sizes (size 8 – 20? USA sizes) are classic designs, beautifully tailored, and coordinated to mix and match. She credits God’s favor for her success.
I get upstairs just in time to barely turn around to leave again at 8.30pm. This time it’s off to meet the youth leaders – 25 of them who head up the youth group at Calvary. I’m supposed to talk about how they can lead their peers: all I can think of is what made me look up to others my age. Things like a strong sense of purpose, passion, and living in the moment with a yes to God. The only question is how to encourage the quiet youth who attend meetings.
I’m prompted to ask the group to pray with me: they call out names of those students they serve, then call out the name of the leader sitting next to them, then call out the names and characteristics of God. We cover our concerns and praise the One who is True with the simple exercise. Pam takes me home around 10, but I’m too tired to do anything but write. I’ll pack in the morning since I have to take my bags with me for my last obligation, a talk to youth on how to prepare for college.