Being on the campus of Victoria University the past seven days, I've heard many different languages. Our program shares space with camps for kids from all over the world. At meal times, its much more likely to hear a language that is foreign to me than my own native tongue. I've been told that Canadians value multiculturalism. This is evidenced when I've walked around the city. On the way to the coffee shop, art museum, live music, or even the quest for poutine, many languages are spoken by pedestrians on the street.
This morning, I was blessed by attending two services at Toronto Chinese United Church- one in English and one in Cantonese. It was the first time I've participated in worship in one of the (many!) languages spoken in Hong Kong. During coffee hour, I spoke with a young woman who was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 5. She was able to share some of her own insights about Hong Kong. I don't know that anyone from Toronto Chinese United Church will ever stumble across my blog, but if so, I'd like to extend my thanks to the congregation for the gracious and hospitable welcome I received.
Orientation is going well. I believe we're building a wonderful community here between newbies (like me!) and more seasoned veterans of mission. I know I'm learning a lot by listening to the stories of my fellow YASCers as we embark on our separate journeys together. I've enjoyed spending time with my three lovely suite mates from the ELCA. During the day off yesterday, I went with a group of orientation participants to Niagara Falls. Between the actual training sessions and extracurricular activities, I'm pretty tired and feeling a little under the weather (which may be evidenced by the picture I posted from this morning!) Will you please pray for me and for all the participants, facilitators, and denomination staff as we head into week two of orientation? Pray for our strength, health, positive attitudes, and a continued openness to God's working in our lives. Thank you so much, friends. I really am excited that you're participating in this journey with me!