I hope each of you have had a blessed holiday season. Mine here in Hong Kong has been excellent - full of family, great food and fellowship. This year marked the first time in my life that I was not in Asheville, North Carolina for Christmas. It was a little sad to be away from home, however I was extremely thankful for the Hong Kong "family" that I have made here.
I doubt I will ever forget where I spent Christmas of 2013. Christmas Day was spent out on the water delivering presents to seafarers out on the waters of the South China Sea. Reverend Miller and I had a great time playing Santa Claus, yelling "Ho Ho Ho" and singing carols to bewildered seafarers on the intercom of our small launch. Throughout Advent the mission has delivered over 7,000 wrapped gifts to seafarers. The gifts are items that are extremely useful - clocks, bumbags, flashlights and wallets. While not life-changing, I think the mere of act of receiving a present means a lot to these lonely people at sea. The reactions upon receiving the small gifts were priceless.
|Rebecca and I packed hundreds of bags for seafarers this Christmas season|
|The Rev. Stephen Miller sends up a bag of presents on Christmas morning.|
While I missed my true family on Christmas Day, I was fortunate enough to see them soon after. My mother, father, brother and sister-in-law were all able to come visit and experience my life in Hong Kong. Fortunately I was able to take a few days off from work and show them the sights of the city. Having my family here was very humbling, as it made me realize how blessed I am to live in a place as vibrant and beautiful as Hong Kong. Their visit also made me realize how much I have matured since I last saw them before I departed on my mission. August 2013 seems like a lifetime ago!
|Enjoying a sunny day up on Victoria Peak|
|Cheesin' in front of the Big Buddha|
|Tour on top of a double decker bus|
|Craig being a mutt at the Chi Lin Nunnery|
I cannot thank my family enough for traveling all the way out here to visit me. While we missed one brother and sister-in-law that remained in the USA, it was revitalizing to see some familiar faces from home. To quote one of my favorite songs, "Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name." I love you all.