January 31, 2006—

Hong Kong. A city of intrigue.

This day began with weather shining down, not from the gods, but from the one true God. This was an answer to prayer, as Dr. Chen had been informing us that people in Hong Kong would be less likely to attend a seminar in cold weather. God has continued to show himself omnipotent, answering prayers and supplying blessings in amazing ways.

After another wonderful wisdom search this morning, the team headed out on the mighty town. Lunch was the next item on the menu for the day. The travel was by way of bus, with a quick and steady driver at the helm. His skills in the fine art of driving in this complex city became apparent right away as we twisted and winded through the labyrinth of streets. No one else on the roads seemed to care that he was driving on the wrong side of the road, so none of us said anything about it to him directly.

Conversation was smart and brisk. The team seems to get along wonderfully, with everyone mingling and making new friends. To date, there have not been any dreaded signs of "cliques" or the like.

A noble band of eaters

The Ladies Market in Hong Kong

We pulled up to the Hakka Hut restaurant in grand style. Filing out of the bus, we must have looked like a bunch of hungry students on an international ministry trip; which, ironically enough, is exactly what we were. The Lee family treated us to a divine dim sum lunch with approximately 16 dishes of various vibrant colors and vivacious tastes. This is just a vague estimate of the number of dishes, as it quickly became an impossible task to get a true count. All present were apparently anxious to try new and somewhat scary delicacies. Perhaps they were just trying to be good guests, but they were nonetheless rewarded with an array of innovative, pleasing concoctions from a kitchen far from good ol' America.

After lunch we boarded the MTR subway. Downward into the belly of the great city we went; each step bringing us ever closer to the sprawling, twisting immensity of inventiveness that makes up the underground rail system. It is a clean system of trains, each rushing off to their respective destinations. Darting here and there and everywhere, the locomotives are only too happy to transport the millions.

Arriving at our particular destination we trudged up stairs and re-entered the real world. Our duty was to shop. This was a task approached with admirable fortitude and dexterity by most of our undauntable crew. Into the "Ladies Market" we went, pushing through outrageously heavy crowds of people celebrating the Chinese New Year's Day. The hoards of people were evidently not too lethargic from the previous night's fireworks shows over the fabulous Victoria Harbour. On the contrary, they pushed and bargained their way into the new year right alongside of us… Very close alongside, in point of fact.

In far off lands, one must always prepare to eat the shocking—perhaps even the disgusting. However, our dinner happily did not require the inner-adventurer in each of us. Pizza Hut here is a bit different than the ones Stateside. But it is certainly familiar enough to make you feel as if you might be back in the fair land of our birth. Our table got exotic with a Hawaiian pizza. Exciting indeed.

Another jovial jaunt through the subterranean ways brought us to our dock… Our ferry dock, with embarkations across the storied Harbour. Over choppy waves we drifted through the night air. There was either an almost imperceptible bit of fog, or the scene was so enchanting that it only seemed so. The myriad of neon lights blazed steadily on the shoreline, ignoring our fate on the high seas. Alas, we pulled into dock safely.

Getting off of the bus back at our abode, I was trying to think of the last time I felt so lucky (i.e., blessed) to be among a group of fine, upstanding people. It will likely be many miles and memories into the future before I have such a day again… Then again, with another week and a half to go on this trip, perhaps it won't be so long.

So long...

—Jeffrey Steinbach Jr.