Giving Tuesday! How to Double Your Impact!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and wonderful memories!

Okay so this is a very last minute post for an event that starts in about 24 hours.

Multiply Your Impact_250 x 250-rev3

#Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the holiday season. This event will begin at Midnight December 2nd till 11:59pm Easter Standard Time that will be 1pm December 2nd till 12:59pm Hong Kong Time.  The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries Advance will be matching the first $1 Million USD donated through their website umcmission.org on Giving Tuesday. The Earlier you donate the more likely your donation will be matched!

Giving Tuesday 2014 banner

 

The Mission for Migrant Workers is an organization that serves migrant workers in Hong Kong by providing them with social services and empowering them to advocate for their rights. They provide legal assistance, free seminars, literature in multiple languages, and run the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, a shelter for those in need. The Mission for Migrant Workers does everything it can to provide a supportive community to those who have left their homes and families to work in Hong Kong.

The link to Donate is: http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/14241A

This video shows how to give to the Mission for migrant workers step by step:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjpEXfxrUGQ&feature=youtu.be

Giving Tuesday 2014 banner

 

On Giving Tuesday you can donate to my Missionary account that helps to support the Global Mission Fellows program I am apart of.  It helps to fund other young adult missionaries who help to fight the injustices in the world.  Within my class of missionaries we have people working with Migrant Worker Rights (this is what I work with), Enviornmental issues, Disaster relief,  helping refugees, helping orphans an troubled youth, teaching children, working with an organization that works for truthful communication in the Columbian government and conflict resolution in Israel. Your donation to my missionary account not only goes to help with the costs of sending me as a missionary in Hong Kong but also goes to help fund all of the Global Mission Fellows.

The Link to Donate is: http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Kauffman–Beth

 

Thank you for your consideration!

Many blessings to you and your families in the holiday season!

— Beth —

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Work and play: Midterms in Japan and wonderful vacation

On Your Mark.. Get Set… Maybe Go…

Leaving for midterms was a bit hectic the day before we were supposed to hop on a plane to Japan we had a moving truck coming to pick all our furniture so we had to disassemble several pieces of furniture including a lofted bed.  As my roommate and I were taking the bed apart, push came to pull and I had a metal rod hit me pretty hard to the point where my roommate insisted I go to the hospital. All of this happened less than 36 hours before we were supposed to hop on the plane to Japan. For about 8 of those hours we were at the hospital getting checked out and a CT scan.  This all resulted in diagnosis of a mild concussion, 3 sets of medicine and the most unbelievable part the price $100 HKD (roughly $13 USD). Luckily the doctor also cleared me to fly which was one of my main worries.

With an hour and a half to spare we left the hospital to meet the moving van that was coming to pick up all our furniture to be donated to a great organization called CrossRoads.  CrossRoads is the organization that donated a lot of furniture to us when we first moved into our Apartment. After some help from our amazing associate Pastor Mary Beth (who refused to let me do any work due the concussion) we got everything moved with time to pack and get a quick nap before our fight in the morning.

*Note we moved so if you are planning to mail anything please ask me for the new address as I cannot get the mail from the old one

Mid-Terms

The Mid-terms of my Global Mission Fellow class was in Osaka, Japan. We met in mid October discuss what we all have learned in the last year. Luckily now-a-days Midterms no longer means and exam or a 20 page papers. It does however still mean being stuck in a plain room with florescent lighting for hours at a time. We spent most of our days in conference rooms in the YMCA in Osaka. The main goal of mid-terms was to regroup and discuss the last year of work we have been doing at our placement site. How we can continue to grow in the work we are doing.

We also had discussions about we will be doing in the 3 months we will be working when we get back in our home context.  My goal is to go a gift basket ministry that I will be able to expand on in a later post, I don’t want to jink it just yet.  Others are working with training, other projects, working with their conference or Itinerating about their experiences.

We had speakers come and talk about the issues that japan faces today.  Many off the issues have to do with the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima and Racism.  It was really eye opening to hear the issues that effect the people in japan from the people it effects.

The last full day that also happened to be my birthday.  We got out of our fluorescent light, white walled room and got to explore! While we had nights to do some exploring and reconnect with the other missionaries, it was really nice to have a day to see some of the amazing sites of Kyoto.  Kyoto has so many sites to see that are breathtaking!  After seeings some temples that are beautiful sites to be seen, we then did some touristy shopping.

I got two great surprises, a pair of chop sticks with my name engraved on them from Hikari who is one of the missionaries in Japan who helped to host us and a slice of cake from several of the people in our class.  I also got sang Happy Birthday like 3 or 4 times throughout the day one of which was very public in a crowded train station. It was an unforgettable birthday!

Midterms

LET THE FUN BEGIN

VACATION: Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo By Train

Universal Studios/ Harry Potter World

Several of us went to Universal Studios Osaka.  This Universal studios is one of the few (so far only Orlando and Osaka soon to be in Hollywood) that has Harry Potter World! Most if not everyone in the group was just so excited to go to the park and experience the very realistic setting of Harry Potter World. The  It was awesome to get on rides that remind me so much of my childhood like Back to the Future and Jaws. I really enjoyed spending time with several other global mission fellows outside of the mid-term and training setting.

Universal1

Hiroshima 

I honestly don’t have many words for this experience.  The peace park in Hiroshima is honestly so moving.  There is a building that has been left in its destructed state as a symbol why there should never be a another atomic bomb used.  The peace park has memorials for all the innocent people who died the day the A-bombs were dropped. There is an Angel statue for the students who died, an origami bird for all the children who died which inspires several origami works of art for peace that are on display, there is also a bell to ring for peace and there is a museum (sadly we didn’t have time to go through the museum before we had to leave to catch the train). The war game of who has the biggest most destructive weapons wins is not always what is best for the world, this was such an amazing experience to see why peace is so important.

Hiroshima1

Disney Land Tokyo

I have now checked 4 (Florida, California, Hong Kong, and Japan) of the 5 (soon to be 6 Disney parks once the one in Shanghai is built) Disney Theme Parks off my bucket list. We went to Disneyland Tokyo on the day before Halloween and we went Disney Sea Tokyo on Halloween.  It was so awesome to see all the Halloween decorations and the Día de Muertos theme of Disney Sea was just amazing to see.  I honestly had such a great time! Disney Sea is such a unique feel compared to the other Disney parks I have gone to. There was a the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Atlantis, many others and the all important Tower of Terror! I really do feel so blessed to have this ability to not only travel but experience these parks that remind me of home.  And I really hope to cross off the rest of the Disney parks one day, Paris and Shanghai.

tokyodisney

This much needed vacation refreshed me to go back to work. Mid-terms showed me how blessed I am to be placed in a site that fights the injustices I plan to fight against in the future.  I am very excited to see what the future holds!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Blogs to Come but Here is a Sneak Peek

I apologize for not having posted a blog post in quite some time.  I will try and have a couple new posts up in the next week.

I have been very busy between work and a great weekend trip the Philippines. Which I am very happy to say was an amazing trip for so many reasons that I will have a post and many photos to go with it!

There has been some worry about the Occupy Central protests they have not affected me  and as far as I can tell there aren’t any immediate concerns for my safety where that is concerned.

I will be moving to a new apartment soon thankfully! My roommates and I have had several issues with our current apartment and our land lord so in about a month we will be moving.

My roommate and I were lucky enough to get donated tickets to Disneyland Hong Kong!  It was great to be able to see what Hong Kong Disney was like compared to the Disney land and world in the USA.  It was significantly smaller, but just as magical. 3 Disney theme parks down, 2 to go!

Yesterday we had an event called “Give Care to Caregivers” it is a great event that the Mission for Migrant workers puts on a few times a year.  It brings in many sponsors who give free services to the migrant workers in Hong Kong. These sponsors donate their time in the form of massages, chiropractic services, blood pressure and blood glucose checks, Chinese medicine and a few others.

Here are some pictures to tide you all over till I can write out a proper blog post.

blog post

About the occupy central movement:

http://www.scmp.com/topics/occupy-central

http://www.thenation.com/article/181591/why-hong-kongs-occupy-central-movement-has-beijing-very-very-scared#

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Update on Erwiana!

We have been happily surprised by the amount of positive press that has surrounded Erwiana’s case.  Erwiana has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people! http://time.com/70820/erwiana-sulistyaningsih-2014-time-100/ this is incredibly exciting knowing that the issues that migrants face are being seen on a global scale!

 

Erwiana recently came to back to Hong Kong to help the Hong Kong Police with her case.  She saw Doctor after Doctor and meeting after meeting, however still managed to stay positive and stand up for herself.  I had the distinct honor to meet Erwiana and know how truly amazing she is.  This is a woman who was first in her class in High School, she speaks Indonesian Bahasa, English and Cantonese.  She was in Hong Kong to try and save money to become a doctor.

When Erwiana walked into the room to the dinner party we were having in her honor with volunteers of the Mission for Migrant workers, other clients of the MFMW and other organizations who have been supporting her she went to every single person in the room shook their hand and thanked them for their support.  It was wonderful to see how humble and kind she is, but also seeing she is a young woman with her entire life ahead of her.

Seeing how while Erwiana is strong and standing up for herself with the help of the the mission behind her she is giving strength to other clients.  The passion in the room as she spoke encouraging words seemed to have a encouraging impact on everyone in the room.  It is so inspiring to see strength in someone who has endured so much pain and seen the worst in humanity.  My prayers are with her as she continues to fight for justice while her case continues on.  Please keep Erwiana in you prayers for her case to result in justice and for the bright future I am sure is meant for such an amazing young woman.

Image

A Photo from the Dinner party with Erwiana, her Father, and her friend who has helped her through the case.  In the photo is also MFMW interns, volunteers, clients and members of organizations supporting Erwiana’s case.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dealing with Death Half Way Around the World

A good friend of mine died this week.    I haven’t known how to deal with this fact.  I am a very private person and rarely enjoy sharing my feelings.  However I think this is an important part of a missionary experience and should share it.  This was one of my greatest fears knowing I couldn’t go home in cases like this.  I will be watching from the sidelines while friends of mine go to his funeral and grieve in their own ways.  I however fear that it won’t ever feel real.

I got a message from a friend on Friday morning (my time) telling me about the death. It was very sudden and and unexpected. looking on facebook I saw it had been at least 12 hours probably longer between my seeing the message since it had happened or at least since people had started finding out.  It was then another 4 hours till I was able to find out what happened from friends who were beginning their grieving process.  I cried to begin with, but then went into shock, unable to fully accept that this had happened.   I felt numb for the next day and a half.

Many times when I am trying to distress I play this silly mindless game called Candy Crush, many of you may know what it is, but for those of you who don’t its a computer game and it has episodes and each episode has about 10 levels.  To unlock the next level you ask facebook friends to help and you need 3 friends that are also playing the game to unlock it, It shows the picture of the friends that helped. Well Saturday night I broke down seeing his picture having helped me unlock the last episode I’ve been working on. We hadn’t really talked since my first month in Hong Kong.  We talk about what I’d be doing and how things were in NC and he promised to buy me my first Burrito when I got back to the states.  He told me crazy stories of when he visited Hong Kong a few years earlier. Other than that we just had a couple how are doing conversations and said happy birthday to each other on our respective birthdays in between the last 5 + months.  This is what sent me into my break down.  Because while I felt horrible I hadn’t messaged him all the times I meant to, we had been playing a game together for the entire time I was here and that was comforting in a way.

A little about my friend.  I wont name names nor say how he died for these are not the details I want to focus on.  He was one of the most unique people I ever met, yes I know we say that about everyone who dies, but he truly knew how to take over a room.  This caused us to butt heads often.  We are, or I guess the proper tense is were, both strong personalities and when we were in a room together it often got heated. But he and I had some of the most honest conversations, a few of which centered around these amazing burritos that I may never be able to find, because he was always the one who drove and the place always seemed to appear out of nowhere.  He knew how to make everyone feel special it was this incredible skill that touched every friend he ever made.  We enjoyed bon fires, parties, sitting on porches and sharing meals together.  Looking back he was a much bigger impact on my time in NC than I realized, especially considering he didn’t go to Pfeiffer and I didn’t see him on a daily bases like I did many people at my small university.  He started out as a friend of a friend that I fought with constantly and became a friend who always pushed my to follow my dreams and had a inspirational quote on hand for any situation.

On Friday In memory of him I convinced my roommate to go with me to a Mexican place for burritos.  It was the only way I could think of to deal with it on that day.  Please pray for his family and friends.

I apologize that this probably seems scattered but most of it was written at 5:30am after 2 nights of no sleep. I will probably edit it later.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Justice For Erwiana!

Some of you may or may not have heard or seen news reports about the Indonesian Domestic helper who was tortured by her employer for 8 months and then sent back to Indonesia with $70 HKD ($9.02 USD) after she could no longer work because she had been beaten so severely. Many prominent news sources have been reporting on this issue such as CNN, BBC, and Time I have included the reports to give an idea of how serious this issue has become.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/20/world/asia/hong-kong-maid-indonesia/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25821311 

http://world.time.com/2014/01/16/hong-kong-employer-may-have-tortured-second-indonesian-maid/

This has also been found to not be a one time occurrence there have been reports of at least one other maid that worker for the same woman.

 I have seen other reports listing as many as 5 women who have been scared to speak out until now.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1410402/torture-employer-linked-alleged-abuse-five-different-hong-kong-maids

These women received threats against their families back home in addition to the pain they had inflicted on them in her home.  They were told if they spoke out she could have their families killed back in Indonesia.  Also there were few opportunities to ask for help even when every time the employers would leave they would lock her in the home.

This is where the Live IN policy for Hong Kong is being questioned, the studies by The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) and Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) have shown that since the Live In policy was adapted verbal, physical, and sexual abuse has gone up.

A 2012 Mission for Migrant Workers survey found that 18% of migrant domestic workers in the city had been physically abused. – Time Article

Hong Kong’s Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) released a study last year based on interviews with more than 3,000 foreign domestic workers. It found that almost one third had no proper accommodation within the house. – CNN Article

A significant portion of the time the living accomedations do not match the standards that are promised in the contract.  Many domestic helpers share rooms with the children, this makes their job 24/7.  Other times the domestic helper may be forced to sleep in common rooms of the house such as the living room, kitchen and bathroom.

“Some even sleep in unsuitable spaces such as the bathroom, toilets, veranda, corridor, kitchen and storage rooms, with only makeshift beds on top of ovens, cupboards or bathtubs. There are foreign domestic workers that are forced to share the room with young adult male members of the household,” according to the study.

MFMW director Cynthia Ca Abdon-Tellez told Hong Kong media that the government requirement that maids must live with their employer meant they had nowhere to run when they were abused.

She said the decision should be left to the employers and the maids whether they live together.

– CNN Article

When a Domestic helper is forced to live with their employer it makes it very easy for the employer to take advantage and make them work long hours.  In my case work with the Mission for Migrant workers the shortest hours I have seen by a helper has been 8 am-10:00 pm that is 14 hours of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and taking care of children as well as anything else they are asked to do such as decorating for holidays.  I have had other cases where they start at 5 am and are not allowed to sleep until 12:30 am,  and yet they are expected to preform their daily duties everyday on just 5 hours of sleep. If the domestic helper was allowed to live out of the home they would be able to work a set number of hours.  This is also an issue arising out of the Justice for Erwiana case that the Hong Kong government should set working hours to cut down on exploitation.

Justice for Erwiana in Hong Kong has had two protests one at the Agency Erwiana worked with in Hong Kong Indonesian Consulate on Thursday Jan 16th for which about one hundred people attended. The large protest/ March/ Rally held on Sunday January 19 had over 5000 most of which were Indonesian and Filipino Domestic helpers, but there were also many local and NGO groups who came out to be in solidarity. There were dozens of news organizations ready to film as we chatted “We are Workers, We are Not Slaves”, “Stop the Violence!”, “Justice for Erwiana”  and “Justice for all Migrant Workers” as well as holding signs reading “abolish the 2 week rule” ( this is a rule that says 2 weeks after termination of contract the worker must leave Hong Kong, this is problematic because the worker does not have time to either find a new job or file a case if the they are owed money or have been abused) “End the Live In policy”, “Stop overcharging” (this is a huge issue with Migrant workers who are charged outrageous amounts by agencies that can amount to 3 to 7 months salary), “Prosecute the employer and the Agency”, and of course “Justice for Erwiana”!

We can only hope that the Hong Kong government will truly help Erwiana get justice from the employer who ruthlessly beat her and the agency that cared more about the money they could receive from Erwiana staying in that home, than the person behind the money. I hope this case can show the law makers the vulnerable position domestic workers are often put in and use this as an opportunity to create laws to protect them. I ask that you please pray for Erwiana’s recovery and strength during a difficult time as well as for Justice.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Holidays in Hong Kong

Let me start by saying I have never been one to get home sick.  When it come to going to camp as a kid I never had the tearful goodbye, really nothing more than see you in a week (or however long the camp was).   When My family dropped me off at College 3 states and 10 hours away there wasn’t much more than a hug and “see you at Christmas Break.”  Now this does not mean I do not love and miss my family.   However with technological advances it never really feels like I am half a world away.  I can see my family and friends on Skype or Facetime and Facebook and Texting applications make it easy to see and stay in touch.

I haven’t spent Thanksgiving with my family in 4 years so it was normal for me to not be home and just “phone it in” although this year that meant staying up with nearly 4 am!   However Christmas was rougher than I expected.   Everyone here was going through the same thing whether it be the other missionaries or the migrant workers, they are all away from their families during the holidays.   There were Christmas parties and Candle light services just like home but it felt weird not to be around my family.  I Facetimed my family around 1 AM and and got to be a part of the present opening it was the closest possible thing to being home.  It was great to see everyone, but it’s not the same as sharing a meal (man do I miss sweet potato casserole and cranberries) and catching up with my family.   I am very thankful for family and friends who have sent gifts and cards halfway around the world (literally, some that are still showing up).  It has been great to feel the love and support from friends and family.  I also appreciate everyone who donated on Giving Tuesday to the advance.

New years was interesting being that it isn’t a huge celebration, because here January 1st isn’t New Years they celebrate Chinese new year.  Because of the large Expat community there are new years celebrations and a small fireworks display put on by the city.  I had a great New years day with members of Likha having a barbecue and taking a hike.  It was nice to get out of the city and see the beauty that Hong Kong has to offer.

I have heard though that Chinese new year is a huge celebration for about 3 days.  I look forward to seeing what Chinese New Year is like.

Fotor0106165025

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized