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:: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 ::

Airlifted to Hong Kong... or not?

A real adventure awaited me while on a trip to Latvia (Former Soviet Union) during the summer of 2002. I was with the Xtreme Team, a short-term mission trip set up like MTV's "Road Rules."

There were rarely two nights in a row where we slept in the same place. During our second week, we biked over gravel roads (loose sand, really) for three days to get to a church camp on the Russian border.

The camp opened with a night of singing and a bonfire. A couple of other missionaries joined us, and we quickly discovered that they didn't know how to roast sausage over the bonfire. Being a helpful sort, I assisted one Irish missionary in making his sausage, which we then shared. He spent the rest of the night with an incredibly powerful stomach bug - which erupted on 45 minute intervals.

I didn't think any more of this until 4 days later, when we had moved on to Tallinn, Estonia. All of a sudden, while walking around downtown (old town) Tallinn, miles from where we were staying, this stomach bug hit me. Hard.

Less than 24 hours after arriving in Tallinn, we were on the hydrofoil to Helsinki, Finland. While this wasn't nearly as disastrous an experience as it could have been, I was uncomfortable for the whole 45 minutes on A BOAT while nauseated.

I spent the entire next day recovering. After that, I was fine. I really enjoyed the rest of the trip - seeing Lithuania and Sweden as well as Latvia, Estonia and Finland. It is a trip that I will not soon forget.

When I got home, I met with some people from my church. One of the first things they asked was, "How was Hong Kong"?

Thinking that there was some confusion, I said, "I was on a mission trip to Latvia. Was someone from this church in Hong Kong?"

The response was even more confusing than the first question: "But weren't you sick and airlifted to Hong Kong?"

Evidently, the church's "Prayer Chain" ministry, where people call down a "chain" of people relaying prayer requests had had a minor breakdown. Somehow Tallinn, Helsinki, hydrofoil and stomach flu had become so jumbled in the literal game of "telephone" that the story became Hong Kong and airlifted.

No, I was not airlifted from Latvia to Hong Kong.

:: Matt 12/22/2004 09:34:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
Do any of them have maps?

Great story. Chinese whispers at it's best.
Nice blog and well written. Your story is the ultimate game of telephone. :) Humanity facinates me, and perhaps most of all, how the body of christ operates when one of their own needs them. God bless and happy holidays.
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