February 5, 2006—

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11

I was thinking about this verse as we boarded the plane this afternoon to fly back to Taipei. This is the verse that Rowan shared with the team in Cool Down on Friday night! He reminded us first that we are Overcomers because of the work of the cross, because of the testimony of Christ's work in our personal lives, and when we are willing to "love not our lives" (whether it be normal lives, jobs, friends, vacations, etc.) and be obedient to what Christ has called us too, even unto death (though thankfully none of us experienced that this week)! It was an awesome time in Hong Kong. We saw God work there! We saw this verse demonstrated on the teams, in the Large Groups, in the adult seminar and in our personal lives. It was an amazing experience to be a small part of the work that God is doing among the people of Hong Kong.

Our flight back to Taipei was relatively uneventful—except for the 1.5 hour delay of our flight. None of us minded though, because Dragon Air rewarded us each with a $75 (approx. $10 American) food voucher that we could use anywhere in the airport because of the inconvenience. The catch to the vouchers was that though we could use them at any restaurant, they would not give us any change.... so the strategy began. We set out to see just how much food we could finagle out of each voucher. By combining orders and adding on various Ice Cream Sundaes and extra drinks, we used every dollar possible and then took the remaining vouchers to Starbucks! :) I think Starbucks was a bit overwhelmed as we all paraded in with about $500 (approx. $65 American) in vouchers to buy coffee! I even convinced them to make a Breve Latte which isn't on their menu. I just had to explain to them how to make it since they had never heard of before!

Goin' to Hawaii


These vouchers especially came in handy for me, because due to a rather intriguing discussion about our one 44lb bag limit as we were packing for Hong Kong, I had told Rowan that if he could pack all that he needed for the week-long trip into only his guitar case (complete with guitar) and his backpack, I would buy him as much coffee as he wanted the whole week! I didn't really think he could or WOULD do it, but as I walked into the hotel lobby to board the bus for the airport on Monday morning, there sat Rowan with only his guitar case and backpack! A brief moment of panic shot through my mind as I realized what I had potentially gotten myself into!!! Thankfully, Rowan chose not to exploit the privilege—though had the terms been reversed, I dare say I would not have been so kind! *Grin*

Flying back into Taipei was like flying home! It felt very similar to the feeling I get every time I land back in the US after a trip out of the country! We boarded our Hosanna bus and headed back to Friends hotel and to the beef noodle place across the street for dinner. Don't ask me how, but Kennan, Tim B. and Luke managed to get lost crossing the street to dinner. All you friends and fans out there—don't worry, they made it eventually! Those of us who had enough energy went to the Shi Da night market nearby, while some of us headed back to the hotel, unpacked and went to bed. I admit, I was part of the latter group. I was pretty much a walking zombie by that time!

We appreciate your many prayers for all of us. Many of us on the team are still not feeling well due to colds, congestion and various other illnesses and we're all really tired! We have a day of rest and relaxation tomorrow before the Taipei seminar starts... so that will be good for everyone. I'm sure this will be just what the doctor ordered. As a group, though we're tired, I know we're excited to see what God will do this coming week! I'm reminded of what Jim Elliot said: "Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God!" We're living to the hilt! Stay tuned to see for updates on how God is working this week!

—Kristi Cook