10 March 2012

Cheung Chau Retreat

Thursday afternoon I went with fellow missionary Joy to Cheung Chau, an island south of HK Island (still part of HK) for a couple of days of rest and relaxation.

L to R: Joy, Me, Sandra, Dave,
Christina, Penny, Linda
After a 30 minute ferry ride we walked to Bethany Ministries, a retreat centre for missionaries serving in Southeast Asia. We walked through part of the town and then down along the beach, then finally up a paved path (and I do mean uphill) until we reached Bethany. We were greeted by Sandra, one of the ladies who runs the place, and she showed us our rooms. We spent an hour or so getting settled before heading to the lodge for a family style dinner with the other guest there at the moment and the rest of the staff. The food was delicious and I had several helpings!

No Cars!
The next day I got up bright and early for breakfast then wandered off down one of the hiking paths. Hiking paths are paved in HK so they are easy to walk and are clearly defined. However, as I walked towards the coast I noticed off to the side a rock with Chinese writing on it and an arrow pointing down an un-paved path. Curiosity got the best of me and I made my way down, wishing fervently that I had done some research on what kind of snakes may or may not be lurking in the undergrowth.

My curiosity was rewarded, however. I came upon a rock formation that I scrambled up and had a view of the bay. Gorgeous. I sat there for a long time, enjoying the solitude, meditating, and praying. It was just what I needed.
Continuing down the path I came to a marker with writing on it (again, couldn't read) and followed the arrows until I came to a cave of sorts. Really it was just some rocks set upon each other with an area underneath that you could retreat into. There was writing all over the walls but I couldn't read any of it so I just took photos. (A friend and further research reveals that this is Lover's Cave, and the rock I had been sitting on for so long used to have a statue of the Monkey King on it.)

I went back to Bethany for a while and caught up on Internet Stuff. In the afternoon I headed back out to walk down the Mini Great Wall, snapping photos and praying for my camera battery to last. I got some great photos! It was beautiful and I enjoyed the fresh air and just being out in nature. I will never take for granted long walks in the woods again!!

Mini Great Wall
In the evening after supper we had a time of worship with the staff and other guests. We sang songs and prayed together and shared experiences. Overall it was a nice time, if a bit different from the liturgy and formality I'm used to as an Episcopalian. But, as they say, different strokes for different folks. "Where two or three are gathered, I am there." (Matt 18:20)

I was a bit sad to be leaving this wonderful little paradise on Saturday, but we had to get back for a volunteers party at St. John's. There are so many interns and volunteers with the Mission right now, and we come on different days and may not know each other, so we all had a get together to introduce each other. A few of my friends were there, Kyle and Sammie and Alexandra, and we went for coffee/frozen yogurt afterward and hung out for a while.

It was so lovely on Cheung Chau that I decided to go back during Holy Week. Our time there was a little chilly and rainy, so I'm hoping for better weather in April.

Grace and Peace,

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