Sunday, October 13, 2013

You Can Find Me in the Club...

The Mariners' Club that is!

In my past updates, I have shown you about my job over here in Hong Kong. However, I would like to dedicate this post to the place I call home, The Mariners' Club.

The Mariners' Club entrance. The building itself was constructed
in 1967, and it is the only building in Hong Kong that is Smurf blue. 

The Mariners' Club is a hotel built specifically for international and locally-based seafarers. Essentially, when a crew member is about to begin a long 8-month contract they are flown to Hong Kong and put up at the Mariners' Club the night before they head to sea. The rates are cheap for seafarers at just under $100 U.S. per night, and with that night stay they also gain access to our bar, dining room, swimming pool, bowling alley, and chaplain services. Pretty sweet deal!

St. Peter's Chapel in the Mariners' Club.
A very peaceful place for reflection. 

The Bridge Bar. Seafarers can stop by for some free internets, some
delicious food, or an ice cold beverage.

The bowling alley. I threw a perfect game here once,
 but no one was around to see it.
The swimming pool! 

I live in a room on the third floor of the club and from what I have been told, it is very big for Hong Kong standards. It's a small suite with two nice big windows, an air conditioner, a coffee table, a mini-fridge and an unplugged television that used to play terrible Cantonese television shows. I also have my own bathroom which is clutch. Given it's location and comfort, I don't think I could ask for much better than my room here in the Mariners' Club.

Mom, I made my bed! 
But wait, there's a history behind this place! Actually, a very long history. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Sailors' Home and Missions to Seaman here in Hong Kong. In a month, the Club is holding a gala in celebration of this anniversary, as well as to raise money for the mission's new launch.
One of my jobs since arriving here has been to help out in any way possible with this event. Last week I helped design the Gala brochure, the rough draft of which can be seen here:

Work in progress. 

The night is going to be a lot of fun. There will be a presentation by former director of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Dr. Stephen Davies, who has also been commissioned to write a history of the organization's storied past. There will also be an auction during the event, as well as a number of speeches by the event sponsors.

Caption reads, "Sailors' Home & Mission to Seamen, 40 Gloucester Road, Hong Kong,

The Dayspring II sometime after its commission in 1919. 
The Mariners' Club has played an important part in the lives of thousands of seafarers who have passed through Hong Kong over the past century and a half. It is a really neat to call such a place home, and to be a part of such a rich history. Digging up the past has lead me to reflect on my own legacy. Will a picture of me be buried one day in the Mission archives only to be found at the 300 year anniversary? Will someone dig up my blog on that old thing called the internet for some primary documents about life here? I sure hope so.

What else have I been up to?

  • I recently joined the YMCA here in Tsim Sha Tsui! Exercise has always played a huge role in keeping me focused, happy and healthy. I have becoming addicted to running and listening to podcasts, so if you know of any good ones - fire away. 
  • I sang with the choirs of St. Stephen's and St. John's Cathedral at the consecration anniversary concert for St. John's Cathedral. It felt so good to be a part of a choir again.
  • I got a Hong Kong driver's license which I have been using to drive to our Mariners' Club facility in Kwai Chung and local hospitals. Just like in England, people drive on the left side of the road here. This has been incredibly hard to get used to. Also, people drive like maniacs, which I am learning to do as well.
That's all for now. Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for checking in! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Cathedral Connection

This is an article I recently wrote for the newsletter of my church, The Cathedral of All Souls.  I will be writing a new blog post soon but I figured this might tide you over until then. I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful autumn in North America. Keep an eye out this upcoming week for an update and some photos. 


Hello from Hong Kong! Much to my disbelief I have already finished my first month as a missionary with the Young Adult Service Corps. Time is flying, however I am making a special effort to soak it all up.
My work here with the Mission to Seafarers is going quite well, and even in my first month of service I feel like I’ve already made an impact on the lives of many seafarers.
Most mornings, I find myself out in the anchorage of Hong Kong, climbing aboard massive ships which are waiting to unload cargo at the port. The men on board these ships are from all over the world but most of them hail from the Philippines, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Romania and mainland China. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they have one thing in common: they are all lonely.
Since starting my new position, I have often found myself at a loss for words. How can I connect with these seafarers? What wisdom can a 24-year-old bestow upon a 40-year-old seafarer who hasn’t seen his family in months? It has been challenging to minister to a demographic so different than I, however I have found that the most effective way of doing so is by merely being present.
What does it mean to be present? Sometimes it involves just listening to a seafarer talk about his children. Other times, it is sitting at the bedside of a hospitalized seafarer talking sports or politics.
It is easy to overlook the sacred of being present. It might be easy at times to think that such work is meaningless. However, it is important to realize that if I’m not present for these seafarers, then who will be present for them?
I think about Jesus when I am being present with these seafarers. What if Jesus had thought that just being present was beneath him? What if he had told those struggling with leprosy that he was too busy to cure them? Those dying of hunger and thirst that he just hadn't the time? These thoughts have carried me throughout some emotional days at sea.
I am incredibly proud to be serving in Hong Kong as your missionary for the year, and I cannot thank the All Souls community enough for supporting me. I look forward to sharing my spiritual growth with you in the coming months. Until next time, I leave you with this: Who are the “seafarers” in your own life? And how are you being present for them?

With every best wish,

Will Bryant