News from Hong Kong
(Sep - Nov 2020)
Therefore, I exhort first of all that you make supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone,
for kings and for all who are in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life
in all godliness and honesty.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2 Modern English Version).
PANDEMIC? PEACE? PARADOX?
Dear friends and family
Life is certainly filled with both flowers and frenzy, dreams and panics, bright beginnings and abrupt endings. As we unite in prayer around the globe during this sobering year of 2020, may we press on to know Christ in his death and resurrection; gain wisdom from the questions and paradoxes of daily life; and 'lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty'.
The political unrest in HK, which started peacefully in June 2019, caused months of physical violence and social trauma, crippling the economy and tourist industry, and downgrading HK's standing in the world as a free and safe financial hub. Since July 1, 2020, the freedoms as allowed by the Basic Law have been curtailed by the introduction of the National Security Law (NSL). Though the new law brought a sudden halt to the public violence, it has also silenced opposition and diverse views. Several key leaders have been arrested retroactively for allegedly subverting HK's laws, which are subject to the sovereign state. Please pray for those in authority, that they would keep humanity and people's livelihood at the forefront, and govern with fairness and integrity.
requires heightened discernment and brings new learning opportunities. The NSL has major implications for politics, education, media, freedom of speech, religion, etc., so all sectors of society need fortitude to navigate a way through the abrupt changes. Pray for continued religious freedom in HK;
that churches would be a spiritual compass pointing to God's sovereign reign over creation; play a meaningful role as 'a conscience' for peace and social justice; provide refuges of prayer, healing, solidarity and courage during these times of disillusion; and learn from the steadfastness of believers in China.
1 An SCMP article highlights views of prominent HK church leaders of various denominations:
Thank you for praying for Rod's eventual return in mid-July after home assignment; Joshua's return from the UK in mid-July after months of lockdown and exam stress; Mikaela's emotional and financial needs; Judy's coordination of Lam-matters; and our eventual reunion as a family in early August. It was a trying time, but all panned out well.
All masked up, we've returned to office routine, church gatherings, dining in restaurants, etc. To date (Nov 7), the HK statistics are: 5,362 cases; 107 deaths; and 5131 recoveries. Though the numbers are low compared to today's global statistics (49,823,452 cases; 1,251,269 deaths; and 32,380,268 recoveries), a fourth Covid wave is expected as we enter the winter season.
PRESSING ON (ROD)
Borders between HK and China remain mostly closed; and where allowed, the 14-day quarantine in HK remains in force. In addition to being at the office most week days, Rod continues his cross-border ministry via Zoom two evenings a week. PTL! The Monday group, hosted by Mr. J who is based in HK, now has 12-14 regular participants, an increase of 3 newcomers. Pray they would remain committed; many are facing struggles at work and in family relationships. One member has asked us to pray for her decision, whether to remain in SZ or return to her hometown in Guangzhou to take care of her elderly parents as their health is deteriorating. PTL! As of October 25, the Meilin English Fellowship across the border has been given permission to gather for Sunday worship. Please pray for new leaders to emerge as they start up after a nearly 10-month break caused by the pandemic
Upon return to HK, Rod’s dental problems resurfaced, requiring root canal treatment, an extraction, and a permanent bridge to be fitted on Nov 11. Praise God for the dentist’s expertise and generosity (
). Rod's left eye has also needed urgent treatment for 'retinal vein thrombosis with congestion', which already caused scarring and blurring of his vision. The waiting list at a public hospital is 6-8 months, too long given his, age, and family history of diabetes type 2 and glaucoma. The ophthalmologist recommended urgent surgery (Oct 24); the second is scheduled for Nov 27; and the third toward the end of the year. Please pray for Rod's vision to be restored, and that the insurance company will cover the exorbitant medical costs (including hospitalization). Each surgery costs HKD 25K (R54K/USD3.2K). PTL for generous gifts received totaling HKD 14.6K (R32/USD1.9K). Staggering to think that the total cost of the surgeries is equivalent to 5 months of our rent; necessary though for 'where there is no vision, the people perish' (Prov. 29:18)!
'Mika' passed her PGCE, University College London (distance learning); and was upgraded to an M.A. in Education (2 modules and a thesis, a 3-year programme). PTL! After sending out her CV, last week she started a floater position at local high schools, teaching extra-curricular English classes twice a week. The lessons are bilingual, so she is improving her Cantonese vocabulary and relishing the creative outlet. Please pray for a part-time teaching or consulting position at an international school that provides coaching and mentorship, as part of the practicum for her Master's studies. Her expertise is English grammar (across various curricula), and is experienced in teaching English as a second language to local students. Mika is the English Language Consultant and editor of Mr Loo's books, owner of Greenwood Press.
Cantonese Part Two Allegorical Sayings
was published recently, the first was in 2017. May her linguistic skills and life experience be used by God to impact students and their families.
Thank you for praying for Josh's need for employment after graduating in Law (University of Warwick) this past July. PTL! Shortly after returning to the UK on Sep 6, he interviewed for a paralegal position at a friend's mom's law firm in London; and is on a 6-month contract, which started on October 19. His employer will decide on a longer term contract and possible salary increase at the end of the 6-week probation. The first 2 weeks threw him into the deep end, testing his legal aptitude and academic skills. As it is a small firm, he has been given a lot of responsibility, is gaining invaluable experience, has his own office, and is working well with the small team (his employer and 2 other colleagues). The UK is now in its second lockdown, so he will be working remotely until further notice. He is temporarily staying at a friend's apartment in London, and will be scouting around to rent a room closer to his workplace from January next year. Please pray that he would be sensitive to God in this new chapter of his life.
Hotspots such as the Chinese University (CUHK) and Polytechnic University were danger zones during the protests. Libraries were shut most of the last quarter of 2019, and reopened briefly after the protests; then shut again for most of this summer because of the pandemic, and eventually reopened in Sep/Oct. University campuses remain closed to the general public. The youthful vibrancy has disappeared and campuses are eerily quiet. The disruptions affected Judy's research progress, so she is glad to have access again to several libraries.
She finally submitted Ch. 2 of her PhD research in early October -- a huge weight off her shoulders -- as the Literature Review is the most laborious part of the research. She has only 1 year left to finish 3 core chapters, plus the Conclusion; therefore her plan is to complete a chapter every 3 months in order to submit by end Nov 2021. Please pray for clarity and energy to complete Ch. 3 by end December (Hudson Taylor's
Union and Communion
); also for the university to grant her a bursary for 2021.
PROVIDENCE & PRESENCE
Throughout this year of economic downturn and forecasts of gloom and doom, our financial support has remained consistent, with every supporter sending in regular contributions. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your faithfulness and kindness. May you be convinced of God's loving presence in life's extremities.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor principalities nor powers,
neither things present nor things to come,
neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39, Modern English Version)
With love and blessing,
Rod and Judy
November 7, 2020