Lawrence Tong and his family are back from furlough in Singapore and China. In the ship’s office, that means one important thing — lunch! Lawrence is a great cook, and when he’s persuaded, implored by everyone around, he consents to preparing a team lunch, whether for a few or a crowd. Last week it quickly became a crowd, when the team members, spouses and offspring found out Lawrence was cooking.

Curry was the main menu item, with lots of rice to soak up those wonderful juices. One pot featured beef, another chicken. Both included vegetables and both were delicious. Of a kind and considerate nature, Lawrence didn’t add the spiciest (i.e., hottest) spices to the pots, he provided side dishes of those. Just to look at them was enough for me!

A cool green salad and ice cold watermelon rounded out the adult menu, while the younger kids who didn’t partake of curry enjoyed good old fashioned hot dogs.

Furloughs for missionaries are times when they visit family and supporters back home as well as rest up a little, taking some time along the way to recharge their batteries, physically and spiritually. Lawrence’s furlough, however, was only partly a time of rest.

For several weeks, he and several friends took part in relief work in the China earthquake region. A special emphasis was on helping to restore – actually building back from scratch – a school that had been demolished. A report about this is included on the Carolina Connection pages of the OM Ships website, www.omships.org/carolina.

We’re all glad the Tong family are back. Hopefully we can “munch a bunch of lunch” with Lawrence’s special dishes again soon.

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