It’s hard to believe but my year of missionary service in Hong Kong is swiftly coming to a close. By the time this is newsletter is published, I will have less than two months left!
Mission work has been extremely rewarding lately as I have finally reached a level where I feel truly confident in going aboard container ships and talking to seafarers. I now know the right questions to ask, the lingo of the seafarer community and the problems that most seafarers have while out on contract. I feel like I am doing my best work at this point, and making the most impact out on the water than at any other point during my mission.
Just this past week, I had the honor of leading a prayer session on a massive container ship, the CSCL Melbourne. A crew member had recently passed away on board, and the captain had phoned the Mariners’ Club asking if someone could come pray with the crew. Going aboard and praying with the crew was an incredible experience. Sure, I went to help these guys cope with the death of a friend, but I think the ship visit had a much more profound influence on me. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.
For the past few months, I have been thinking hard about what to do when I return from my year of service. Should I come home and start work? Or should I continue to travel and serve the church? Well, I’m excited to announce that next year I will be serving the church in Rome, Italy, with former WNC priest, Rev. Austin Rios, at St. Paul’s Within the Walls - Rome’s only American Episcopal Church.
What will I be doing in Rome? Good question! I will be working as an assistant to the church’s Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, which helps those seeking asylum from war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East. I will also operate as the parish assistant for the cathedral, scheduling acolytes and helping to organize church functions.
This will be second year of missionary service with the Young Adult Service Corps, and like my first year, I will need to raise a little money. It will cost $8,000 to fund my year of work in Rome but I have already raised $6,700! If you would like to help fund to my trip, please send an email to me at WilliamSmithBryant@gmail.com for more details.
While I love Hong Kong, I often dream of the day that I will return home to Asheville. Right now, that day is July 31, 2014. On Aug. 10, I will be preaching at all three services at the Cathedral, and will also give a small presentation during the adult coffee hour. I look forward to telling you all about my trip in person, and showing to our congregation how the spirit and love of All Souls spread as far as Hong Kong, China, in 2013-14.