Finally I know the amount we got for the WYD fund raising after several months of hard work. Each person will get roughly $500 from St. Paul in check. The group leader had keep tracked of the number of hours spent by each person, and in total I had spent about 40 hours. This translates into hourly wage of about $12, about 50% higher than the minimum wage at McDonalds. Although I still think it doesn’t worth the effort to raise money for myself, but the extra $500 will definitely help my bottom line of this trip. I think I will contribute this money to my new camera. I hope 2.5Gb of flash memory shared between me and Pat would be enough for 3 weeks in France and Germany.
I am very exhausted today. After the auction dinner last night, I have to get up early at seven thirty this morning for another fund raising event, car washing at St. Paul. I think the word volunteer work or WYD promotion as a more appropriate description. The money we made today is nothing comparing to last night. We worked for the whole morning, and only washed 30 cars while people were attending the mass. Divided up the donation we got and the man hour we had spent, it is about the same as the minimum wage at McDonald’s. It could a team bonding event, but we are already seeing each others too often. St. Andrew is a pretty small church, the mass is not even half full, and most attendants are seniors. I worry that the church may get close when those old folks pass away. I didn’t fall asleep during the mass, probably it is because my body was still in working mode in between the car wash. Instead of listening to the homily, I was think about the idea of car wash as fund raising in general. Car washing is the most inefficient fund raising event I had participle so far, the return simply doesn’t justify the hard work. However I can see the other side of this event. It give the kids some outdoor exercise, working really as a team instead of having separated roles, and it seems always fun to play the water hose. I guess I’m too old for all of that and the manual work is too demanding. The worse part is I can’t stand the dirts on the car once I start cleaning it. The people should only get what they pay for, not the as my own car type service. Thus we end up spending a lot more time making the car really clean than doing a supposedly half hearted job. Yet, I think car washing could be a good idea for teenagers trying to do something together. If I have kids, I’ll encourage them to suffer in at least one of those events. Out of all these fund raising events I had went through, I start to appreciated the value of higher education. It is a good lesson to learn how the less fortunate people make their living in the hard way. I think it is just immoral in the society let people do all these lowly works. In my ideal world, all these unrepresented tasks should be taking care of by robots and computers. Humans are left to work on the most important and most value-added jobs, the advancement of science and technology.
I was being a sales last week and I became a waiter this week. Tonight is another fund raising event for the World Youth Day. It was an auction dinner. I don’t really like this idea when it first proposed because it takes too much work. Indeed there are lots of preparation work to get the sponsors and tonight is really tough. I had never been a waiter before in my life, and I’m sure I don’t want to be one ever. I am originally assigned to take care of the drinks counter, which is probably the most easy job, all I have to do is sit there and hand out pops. Some girls are assigned to serve coffee and tea, they have to walk around and refill the guests. It turn out that is much more demanding than expected as the pot are quite heavy and people drinks alot. In order to give a good service, I end up helping out the girls to bring water, coffee and tea to the tables. The guest even thought I am actually the one who is responsible for their cups. Walking back and forth on the floor, remembering who wants what kind of drink is not fun, and worse I have to wear a smile all the time even though I hate pouring drinks. Comparing to the clean up after the dinner to restock the dishes, stack the table, this brainless manual labor seems much easier, at least I can keep my brain activity to the minimum. The Bible said thou shalt serve others, I seriously doubt the practicality of that teaching. Serving others and pretend to be graceful is one thing, but serving others with a true heart is quite different. I can understand the professionalism in the exchange of service and rewards. But who would truly serve others and why would they want to do that? Other than having intangible rewards return spiritually, there really make no sense to serve others. Helping your friends or be kind to a stranger once a while with no commitment are honorable charities that give you a good feeling. However serving others full time are beyond all reasons. Even thought those are mostly harmless nice people, their actions don’t follow logic and are unpredictable. Thus they have the potential to become very dangerous lunatics.
Today I spent almost the whole working on Worth Youth Day fund raising again. All those fund raising events taking too much of my time, and the amount we get back really won’t justify all the effort. Anyways, we are selling lots of stuffs in St. Mary after masses. I’m taking care of selling the T-shirts. Pat designed the T-shirt, the light color one looks pretty nice, but the dark color one don’t turn out too great. The T-shirt selling system is very confusing, so I end up have to run up and down stairs a lot to get the color people want to buy. I guess we sold almost 200 hundred T-shirts over the weekend. Since the T-shirt are donated by someone, all the money go to the WYD team. In a few weeks, we have to distribute the T-shirts, I can foresee it would be more chaos than today. From today’s experience, I know I would never want to be a sales, especially clothes sales.
I went to the 2nd faith formation session held by the Vancouver archdiocese for everyone who is going the World Youth Day. The topic is on prayers, presented by the Youth Ministry director and the newly ordinate deacon Anthony. Claymoo make a funny presentation, he make analogy of prayer to cell phone plans. Staring with the most basic plan cannot place out-going calls, can only able to listen incoming calls occasionally. One level up can only call 911 in the case of emergency. A higher level gives you unlimited minute on a weekend morning, but cannot place call during the weekdays. A better plan includes some minutes over the week and the best plan gives you 24×7 unlimited access but could cost quite some sacrifice . He put it in a very funny way, sorta like a salesman getting people to upgrade their cell phone plan. This kind of trick always works in preaching by trapping the audiences’ mind into pre-defined categories. I wonder in this analogy, what if I say I want to switch the carrier? Bro. Anthony talked about penance, and use his boring talk as an example. As a result I didn’t sleep in his talk this time, and offered all the boredom to God as my penance. Still, I don’t understand that why God wants penance in the first place. What good can my boredom brings to God?
Today is the first faith session organized by the Archdiocese of Vancouver for everyone going to the World Youth Day. Out of my surprise, everyone form our parish team went to the session, and we were probably the biggest group there. The session start off with ice breaking function, which it’s a good way to know more new friends that you may have to depend on in Koln. During the event, the MC tricked me to think that I have the chance to meet the new Pope representing Vancouver. I was over joyed and jumping up and down, then really let down after knowing it’s just a gag. The event is followed by a sharing from a guy, Paul, who walked from Vancouver to Denver as part of his pilgrimage in 1992 WYD. In his talked, he mentioned about how he learn the lesson of surrender to God and have to react upon surrender.
The 2nd part of the message about reaction to God enlightened me most. Usually the message about surrender to God stopped after the first part, only saying you have to listen to God and be glad on whatever he gave you. I never agree with the idea of predestination. It happened during his trip to Denver, when he and his friend rested in a national park and to prepare their spirituality, it was raining non-stop for the whole week. At first they pray for good weather, later they realize the heavy rain must be God’s will, so they started to accept it. They vowed to take everything God gave them gracefully without a question. After a few days, they finally able to start a fire to get warmth, somehow the wind just suddenly change direction and blow all the smoke to them. They try to accept the smoke at first, but realize they will be choked to death if they don’t move. Here the lesson of surrender to God take a new turn, after surrender and accepted what had happened is not enough, you also have to give a response to God. Suffering itself is only a mean to an end. The key is to find out what God really prepared for you, so you can skip or shorten the suffering part. Blindly take suffering as a gift per se is plain silly.