Hey everybody! This is Jake and Max and we just want to thank you all for following us on our journey and we wish you could all experience what we're living each day!
Today began very early with a 6:30 flight from Kunming to Zhongdian (Shangra-La). This new place is much more to our liking as we've finally gotten out of the big city and are now in a more rural setting. We've made camp at a hostel/loft homestay that's called "The Compass". This establishment is just a small part of the Compass organization that follows the BAM (business as mission) ideology. It is a cohesive organization that is engaged in multiple principles. Business (café, lodging, consulting, etc.), Church (disciple and leadership), and homestay (the people who are involved in this program all live together). Essentially it is a social entrepreneurship platform that trains people as leaders of Christ. We sat through an hour presentation of The Compass' business model and it was truly spectacular (Compass BAM Presentation photo). We couldn't stop thinking about how we could adopt this model and do the types of things The Compass does in America.
After the lecture, we headed to the worlds second largest Lamasery - where Buddhist monks practice (Lamasery photo).
We expected to just observe this structure but were surprised to be invited for tea inside the home of a monk who is long time friends with David, one of our guides. We sat and drank for 2 hours (Gathering wisdom with the Monk photo) and Max and I each presented him with some spur of the moment gifts: a Wartburg Orange from me and an American football from Max. He was humbled with these gifts and as we left he requested a picture with all of us....to be taken on his smartphone (Gunga La Gunga photo). It was an absolute unreal experience and one you can not truly appreciate or understand how surreal it was unless you were lucky enough to be present. We were all visibly stoked the entire time and it was one of the highlights of my life. After that we toured the Lamasery and all of its intricate details and glory. We somehow managed to make our way up the roof of this structure that sits on top of a hill (view from the top photo). What an amazing view of the countryside and tree covered hills that surrounded us.
Later in the day we ventured around the city and walked through the market where all of the towns people go each day for their food because they don't have refrigeration. Smells ranged from exotic spices to fish well...really well... past their freshness date. I would assume that this market would not meet American health standards. As we continued to walk I realized how small of a world we live in. Besides being able to e-mail our friends and family each day, we had the pleasure of running into Dampa, who is one of the 3 doctors that the SCF has put through medical school. To think that in a country of over 1 billion people this would take place makes us all feel so small (Dampa photo).
Tomorrow we will have the pleasure of sleeping in for the first time this trip. This is something that Max and I are extremely thrilled about and we will for sure be taking advantage of this opportunity. We will be taking a hike to roughly 14,000 feet (we're currently at around 10,000) and we hope to meet some nomadic yack herders and enjoy some yack butter tea.
Once again, thanks to all for following us on this enlightening journey.
~~Jake Arlyss Raecker & Max James Hawkeye Raecker~~