Monday, May 19, 2008

MCC Retreat
We hosted the MCC SE Asia retreat this year in Vientiane. It was fun to get together with the 40 other MCCers and kids to learn more about what MCC is doing in each of the countries and to learn more about Buddhists who are working for peace in the region.

We stayed at a big hotel in downtown Vientiane and it was an interesting experience to be a tourist in our own town. We saw a side of Vientiane that we hadn't seen before just by being there around the clock.

One highlight of the retreat was singing together. We brought all the blue worship hymnals we could find in the 3 countries and sang for hours. It may sound boring to some people but after years or months of attending churches where the songs are unfamiliar or the singing on the poor side, it was great to sing with people who know the familiar songs and who can SING!

Erik and Conrad took care of these two young boys during the sessions by playing games like Monopoly and building a castle out of Lego.

One day we divided into two groups and my group visited 3 MCC partners near Vientiane. First we visited Katelin's kindergarten class and watched them perform some songs they had been working on.
Our next stop was the Lao Disabled Women's Development Center, where we had a tour of the facilities. They also sang a song for us. It was called "Thank you"and the director had written it for a previous occation.

After lunch at our house and a stop at the MCC office, we went to a community center where were were warmly welcomed by about 60 children who danced for us and put on a fashion show where the constumes were completely made from recycled items. Bubble wrap, paper, bags were all used creatively by the kids and adult volunteers to make great outfits.