Hong Kong 2013

This blog will explore the travels and misadventures that Todd experiences during his 3-week teaching trip to Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Institute for Christian Counseling.

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Todd Bowman, PhD

Todd is the coordinator of the Sexual Addictions Treatment Provider Certificate Program at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

Hit the ground running

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Well, one thing is for sure: when visiting Hong Kong, you have to hit the ground running or get swept away in the chaos. We are staying on the Kowloon side, which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. So far, we have witnessed or expereinced cabs being snatched (from us as well as from others) by folks with too much hurry and not enough social conscience, elevators crammed into in the most uncomfortable of ways, and even hotel shuttles where British and Austrailian tourists have been pushed out of the way by mainland Chinese tourists desperate to get as much shopping into their vacation as possible. One learns quickly to adapt and survive in such an environment; for example showing cabbies your hotel card BEFORE entering the taxi, rather than once you are speeding down the road. 

The same breakneck pace has defined my teaching experience here in Hong Kong as well. Teaching from 7 - 10:30 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night certainly takes its toll, but the students are warm and eager to learn. On Sunday afternoon I delivered a translated seminar on Sexual Addiction for over 50 individuals at the Hong Kong Institute for Christian Counselors that was well received. Many of the pastors and counselors in attendance communicated their appreciation for our willingness to discuss such a problematic issue so openly. Their consensus was sexual addiciton is a deeply concerning issue in Hong Kong culture that is fueled by similar dynamics faced in the West: accessibility, affordability and anonymity. Additionally, the church in Hong Kong, per the report of those in attendance, has remained largely silent on the issue. As Mark Laaser suggests, "Silence is the greatest enemy of sexual health."

In spite of the hecticness, we were able to escape to historic Stanley Market on the south side of the island and enjoy the local flavor for awhile on Monday. More shopping and relaxing today and tomorrow, then hopefully Macau island on Thursday morning until Friday morning. This week will build up steam quickly. Teaching again Friday night, two conference presentations on Saturday afternoon, teaching Saturday night, Sunday afternoon Sexual Addiction undergraduate class begins, and another lecture for the Assessment class on Sunday night. Adapt. Survive. Hit the ground running.

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Leavin', on a jet plane...

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"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go." Ok, at least all of the physical details of travel have been checked, double-checked and accounted for. Carry-ons are loaded with snacks and assessment materials. Dress slacks and ties have been dry-cleaned and meticulously placed in the checked luggage. Lectures have been developed and all my devices have a full battery. For all intents and purposes I am ready to travel. With that being said, the line from John Denver's haunting ballad that seems to stir the strongest emotion in my this morning is "Already I'm so lonesome I could die." Ok, not in some melodramatic, woe-is-me, fashion, but more specifically as I think about my two boys, Ethan, 5, and Graham, 3. The greatest blessing I have ever received is my family, and the love that Rebekah and I share for our boys. They aruly are the apple of my eye and the object of so much of my affection. The uncomfortable truth that I have wrestled with in the past 48 hours centers around the fact that I often place more faith in my abilities to raise, protect, comfort and nurutre them than I do in commiting them to the Lord. For whatever reason, I have faith that the Lord will do that for me in every way, but the solid rock becomes sinking sand with the thought of not being there for them and trusting that the Lord will meet their needs, protect their hearts and grow their faith. In many ways, this letting go will be a first of many: kindergarten, driver's license, college, etc. The call to serve in my life has always come with some corresponding sacrifice. As I step into this most incredible of oppotyuinties to use my gifts to serve the Body of Christ, I simumtaneously surrender the fear that I have clung to for so long in my life by trusting that whatever may happen, good, bad or otherwise, that my children are entrusted to the unsurpassed love and affection of their heavenly father. There is no better place for them to be.

As for now, off to the airport, onto the plane and then Tokyo and eventually Hong Kong.

Catch you on the flipside...

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The power of turning, revolution or rotation. As I reflect on the 19-day journey of teaching and speaking I will do in Hong Kong, this word has taken on a more personal meaning for me. The world of physics and magnetics is a far cry from the internal verticity I find myself enduring in recent days. I have noticed a subtle, yet growing, shift in myself during the hecticness and excitement of all this busy year has entailed. From speaking engagements to book writing to managing SATP and beyond, the tectonic plates that are my personal and professional identity on have undergone considerable movement. There is a rotation of perspective and belief that I am keenly aware of as I a prepare myself for what I trust will be an envigorating, challenging, rewarding, demanding, thrilling and taxing whirlwind of a trip. As of now, my greatest insecurity lies in the two presentations I will conduct at the international SOCIAL MEDIA 2013 conference, one titled "Social Media as a Gateway for Internet Addiction, Sex Addiction and Other Addictive Processes", and the other titled "From Geek to Sheik- The Role of Online Education in Training Counselors and Other Service Professionals". As I step into these moments of stress and uncertainty, I will be forced to believe in the essentials of my faith more completely. And what is more terrifying, I will be forced to believe in myself in a different way. In the face of these dynamics, I am reminded of the words that guided me through the peaks and valleys of ministry while directing the Oklahoma State University Nazarene Student Center:

Iasiah 41:8-10

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

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About This Blog

OhBehave is the outreach blog of the MNU Behavioral Sciences Department. In matters related to Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice you will find information and updates geared to keep students and professionals abreast of the latest research, professional developments, and important trends in each field. As we seek a life of purpose, the material presented in this blog is meant to enhance and deepen our understanding of people and our world so that we may intentionally reflect the grace and peace of our creator.