This July (06), Luong and Lisa Ho will be traveling to Ireland/ Northern Ireland to volunteer at Corrymeela (a Christian Reconciliation center in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland). Please check out updates of our experiences and journeys.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Hos at home

As I promised... one last post on "Hos in Ireland". I realized this blog has a limited life as long as we keep leaving Ireland. Maybe we should do something about that. Well, I did, I created a new blog. The "Hos at Home" blog. That way, no matter where we are, you can always find us! For now, we're in Ohio.

Golf tryouts were held, tournaments have started. Lisa is preparing for a weekend with incoming freshman in the woods as the "Kitchen Mom" for Fresh X (a wilderness program provided by Student Involvement and Ryan Carlson, Director of Wilderness Ministries). Lisa camping? Seriously, Ireland must have changed me in some way, or at least made me more comfortable with outside toilets.

Come on by our new home at We'd love to have you sit and stay a while!

God Bless,
Luong and Lisa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Sunset at Corrymeela

The Hos are no longer in Ireland... we're back in Ohio. It's truely bittersweet. My body and my heart are still in Ireland (we're in bed by 10 and up at 6). I don't think we could have anticipated what a challenging transition it would be. Pulling into Delaware, Luong exclaimed "My stomach hurts! I have never connected physical pain with emotional pain before." I needed to remind him and myself, that we are blessed with wonderful lives, but we also felt like we were leaving so much behind.

The expeirence was a glimpse into something bigger. Through friendships, volunteering, the scenery, and the culture we learned how vast the world is, and how limited our lives are in good ol' Delaware. Visions were cast, dreams were dreamed, and some plans have been made. The challenge is to go for it and not get "bogged" (no pun intended) in our routines and comforts back home.

The first vision is to keep giving our lives away in our free time. God has given us both wonderful careers in which we have summers off. I would hope we never spend another one in Delaware (which means mom and dad may be dog sitting for some time to come ;-). Next summer we have plans to return to Ireland with a group of students from Linworth United Methodist Church in Columbus. They are wanting to do a 3 week study into the conflicts and reconciliation work in N. Ireland. After that, many of you know we have had the vision to adopt. We are starting the process of picking an agency with the hopes of traveling to China in 2008 to adopt. Finally, it is Luong's dream to teach English in China, so we are looking into opportunities for the coming years to spend a summer in China teaching. We would appreciate your prayers for each of these endevors.

Thanks to all who have visited the blog and commented. It's been a great way to stay connected. I will be back for a final post in the coming days with a link to our picture site.

God bless!
the hos (in Ohio)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Last Day...

It's our last night in Ireland. There are really no words to describe how we feel right now. Not ready to travel, not ready to leave, but somehow ready to be home. In many ways, we feel home, just minus a few important fixtures... Family, friends, Woody, ice cubes, our own kitchen... ya know :-).

If I had the words to describe our emotions, I would, but I don't. So here are some images of what we're leaving behind.

Luong hitting a ball off Fairhead on the Atrim Coast. A dream come true. "Hey, Scotland- FORE!"

The River Liffey in Dublin

Our friends, the Stockmans, in Ballycastle.

Glendalough, County Wicklow
The presence of God, everywhere...

and of course, SHEEP!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Americans sighted in Dublin... Ireland!

Late breaking news... there are Americans in Dublin! Actually there are Romanians, Russians, Africans, and Chinese too! You may have a hard time finding any Irish. Dublin is bursting with tourist and new arrivals of immagrints from Eastern Europe and Africa. I can only imagine what New York looked like 100 years ago. Of course, there wouldn't have been a McDonald's or Burger King (there are two of each on the same street here!).

We arrived yesterday and have walked ourselves to death. We're trying to save some $$ at the end of trip, so we've been mostly window shopping. The $$ is stronger against the Euro than the pound (up north), but we still have Luong's green fees (over $200) to pay on Saturday. No complaints though, the smile on his face is worth the $200!

I'm really sorry about the lack of pictures. I'm not sure if it's our connection or Blogger, but I'm having problems loading them. I will try and create a link to an online photo site and post it asap. Check back later!

We're meeting our buddy Mike (an OSU student studing in England this summer) tomorrow to tour the Guinness factory. Luong had so much fun at the Bushmills Wiskey tour, I can only imagine what tomorrow will be like :-). Guys, you know how much I love Ireland, well Guinness has made Luong an even BIGGER fan of Ireland than I am!

Love you all so much, and we really cannot imagine being home in just a few days!

The Hos

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back in Ballycastle

Blogging is challenging at this point. We left Corrymeela last Friday and headed off for Belfast. Lovely time at the cleanest hostel I have ever stayed in. Unfortunately, it had a bit too much taste of the culture. Our room overlooked the Royal Pub (an infamous Loyalist bar) the night before a big parade. The people spread out into the street most of the night, then the street cleaners started sucking up the bottles at 5:00 AM. Rough night.

Marian (from OWU) stayed in the hostel with us, so we went exploring in the rain on Saturday, our first real taste of Irish weather. We visited the Botanical gardens and the Ulster museum. Great time actually. The parades started in the afternoon (parade season runs all summer here, the ones on Saturday were just a smaller version of the ones we saw on July 12th). While walking around we ran into Eileen and her boyfriend Mike (Eileen was a volunteer at Corrymeela with us, from Boston). She finished the week before us and was staying in Belfast for the week. We literally just ran into them on the street. Thus supporting my Brake genes- I can run into someone I know in any city in the world! (two hours earlier we ran into a woman we met at the cafe the night before!- crazy. Anyway, we spent Saturday evening with Marian, Eileen, Mike, Katie, Pauline (two more volunteers from Belfast who we phoned to meet up with us). It was quite a good time.

Speaking of running into folks, the gentleman who sat down next to me at the library computer bank, is a fellow named Ken who I meet earlier in the month just walking around Ballycastle. So we're back in Ballycastle. Staying with our friends the Stockmans. Steve stayed with us when he spoke at OWU the last two years. We are so glad to be staying with him and to finally meet his family! Yesterday we went to the Bushmills distillery, where Luong sampled everything they put in front of him :-). I enjoyed a Diet Coke ;-).

Tomorrow we head down to Dublin for a couple days. I'll try and update there and add some pictures if I can!

Take care,
The hos

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Time Off

Hey all! Week three has met us with all sorts of challenges we didn't expect. Luong is working with a family group from North Belfast. They come from an area of intense conflict. For example, one of the mums told Luong yesterday that there were kids rioting on their street at that very moment. It gave new meaning to the idea of respite. Because they come from such a rough situation, their behavior is difficult to manage. Both the children and the parents are very demanding and disrespectful to the volunteers. We have had some volunteers spit on, cursed at, and hit. It has been beyond challenging. Luong is drained every night from the energy it takes to manage all the kids and demanding parents. Still, in reflection last night, he encouraged all of us with his new appreciation of what it means to be a servant. To always be a student and see the lesson in every encounter. He shared that, "even though these parents discipline their children very differently than I would, they still love their kids just like I do". He plans to hang a picture of their neighborhood on his wall at school so that he will always remember these families and their situation. Amazing.

I've been on arts and crafts. Right now, I have the morning off. It's been great "crack" (not the drug- it means "fun" here!). We basically provide activities for the kids along with decorating for special events. It's makes for a very fun and very hectic day! I'm working with Katie and Marcus (both from Belfast), Aisling (from Alberta, Calgary). Katie has been with us since we arrived and we have grown fairly close, so I cherish the opportunity to spend our last week together. She's a sweety.

We're done on Thursday, final celebration on the beach Thursday night, and then on to Belfast on Friday. After this week, we're looking forward to time off, but not quite ready to leave this place. Wendell Heximer said it best in his email today, after being here, home will never be the same.

God bless.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cool pics from Vojtech

View of the "House". the main building at Corrymeela.
Our home for the last week.
Sunset over the "dell".

View above Corrymeela looking across the bay to Ballycastle.

View of Ballycastle at night (probably about 11:30 PM)

More views from the road and beach.

Week Three

Week two wound down in the same "spirit" as week one at the Central pub. Good times had by all. For the first day in a week we had some rain and the temps finally dropped below 70. I know I shouldn't complain, but it's pretty hot without shorts! Luong has played two rounds of golf in the last 24 hours. He didn't lose too many golf balls, but he did wreck his golf shoes. He'll have to get a new pair... awww, poor Luong ;-).

This week we welcome two family groups from Belfast with a total of 50 children under the age of 16- YIKES! The interesting thing is that this will be what they call a "cross-community" week. Each group come from across the peace wall and they haven't met or interacted before. We will have some programming to facilitate interaction, but the intention is not to merge the two groups. Should be interesting. I'm hoping to be on arts and crafts this week with Katie, a good friend I'm met while working here. She's a college-age student from Belfast herself. We will our have job assignments tonight.

I forget if I mentioned this before, but my IPod died. It happened when we plugged it into someone elses laptop and it erased all of my music (700 songs!). I have the library saved at home, but I could be facing two weeks without my music. For those of you who know me well, you know that losing my access to music is not good. I live on a steady diet of music. But alas, Nile came to my rescue and downloaded almost 500 new songs! With plenty of U2 to make me happy ;-).

Blogger isn't working right now to upload pictures, but when it gets back online, I'll include a post of pictures from Voteck (pronounced voy-ta). He is a forester from the Czech Republic, but should be a professional photographer.

PS Could you pray for my knee? I tore my ACL 12 years ago, had surgery, but it's acting up. Not good.