Having been preparing this for 3 weeks, sleeping late every night for the past few days, we had our Mandarin Bible Fellowship Christmas mission today, in the morning starting at 10:30am at the Macauley Theatre. The title of the mission is "The Myth of Christmas", and we are trying to set up a theme that explains what Christmas is really about - it is definitely not about that fat old bearded guy wearing red coat, nor is about giving presents, family reunions, shopping, etc. We tried to explain that Christmas cannot be spelt without CHRIST.
Anyway, I did not sleep until 2:00am this morning to prepare for the powerpoint presentation for this event (actually done using OpenOffice.org's Impression, but these days everyone calls them "powerpoint presentations"). We went to uni, where the event is held, at around 8:45am. The door to the Macauley theatre did not open until 9 'coz that's the time we've booked. After a while trying to set up the theatre - we have encountered our first problem - the data projector in the lecture theatre does not work! I am pretty sure that we have used it one month ago with MBF's annual review event, but how come it stopped working now! While waiting for other techies (Tim and Hajime) to diagnose the problem, I tried to rush back home to print out the required presentation slide onto transparency paper. However, after I arrived home, ran up the stair, inserted the transparency into the printer, and turned on Vivian's computer, I found that I still left the monitor cable in the lecture theatre, attaching to my notebook! That was a big Doh in my head, and I have to rush back to the theatre to get the cables. Drive driver drive. Sharp Turn. Stop. Here I am at the uni again, and Jack is already there waiting to pass the monitor D-SUB cable to me. Grabbed it from the car window, shifted into reverse gear, three point turn and then went all the way back home again. This time I finally managed to print out all the required presentation slides onto transparency. Thanks to the technology (or the lack of it), we have to go back to the "old method" again.
Never mind - by the time I rushed back to uni with transparencies and extra program outlines on my hand, the meeting is just about to start. I am chairing today, but Grace and Judy are doing some ice breaking games before the welcome message. We have relatively good turn up today - around 60 people came I reckon (including the already regulars and partners). Luke Wong, who was the speaker of the day, came a bit late but he also brought two new friends, who just came from Shanghai a few months ago. We had some singing, a skit on the birth of Jesus, where Jack as Joseph and Virginia as Mary. Then we have Bible readings from Matthew 2, a short talk by Luke, question time, and a prayer at the end. Well, we did sing a couple of times in between, and thanks must go to Joel and Daniel from ESF to come and help out. We finished everything by 12:30pm, and then have lunch afterwards.
During the lunch time, I had opportunities to talk to quite a few people on the subject we have looked at today, i.e. the significance of Christ in the Christmas message. I also shared 2 Ways to Live with 2 guys but did not really get a response from them. Amazingly at the end of December, a lot of Chinese students are still around campus instead of going back home for holidays. However, it also helps us to create opportunities to evangelise.
How successful would you rate this Christmas mission? It is a success because the gospel has been taught, which is the most important part of the ministry. However, there are certainly some area that requires improvement. Making sure the projector is working - it is obvious. It is also difficult at the beginning when the new comers came and got directed to sit in the lecture hall by themselves, because the welcoming team is busy working outside. Originally I wanted everyone to wait outside so people will have chances to chat with each other. It will be good if people can spot new comers and be willing to chat with them. The 2WTL game at the end of the "show" is also pretty difficult to implement. I think I need to think about a strategy to get everyone to hear the gospel explained in a mission event.
Anyway. I am tired and I am trying to install the new hard drive to replace the broken one caused by the electricity outage as a result of the Sydney bush fire a few days ago. Until next time... Update 23 December 2002: I think it is good to go back to this blog entry to conclude the things I have learnt from this mission. I had some rest on Sunday, and we have discussed this mission with the other leaders and co-leaders in MBF. I'll probably get some feedback from Luke as well, as he is much more experienced than all of us in running mission/evangelistic programs.
First of all, it is encouraging to receive a card from someone, a non-Christian, who came to the meeting. She thanked this event for letting her to know the true meaning behind the Christmas celebration. Well. At least someone has actually got the messsage. :)
However, none of the new comers who came on Saturday actually came back to our church meeting on Sunday. In some sense it is disappointing, but I think we will have quite a lot of work to do this week. From the reply slip, we have quite a few people wanted to do Investigating Christianity with us, i.e. more calling/meeting up this coming week.
The next big evangelistic event will be in O-week 2003. I think it should give us enough time to prepare for that, which usually brings in lots of new contacts. We'll see.