Summer 2019, Hong Kong
I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea. “Do not close your ears, to my cry for relief.”
You came near me when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
(Lamentations 3:55-57 NIV)
Dear friends and family,
Summer greetings from Hong Kong! This usually peaceful city has become a hotspot of protests in the three months since the HK Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, proposed the Extradition Bill, also known as the Fugitive Offenders Bill. It was introduced when a HK man murdered his girlfriend in Taiwan, then fled back to HK where he was later arrested. However, he could not be tried for murder, as HK does not have an extradition treaty with Taiwan. If enacted, the Extradition Bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in countries or territories that do not have extradition agreements with HK, including mainland China and Taiwan. Opponents of the legislation fear that it would place HK residents and visitors under the jurisdiction of mainland courts (which are controlled by China’s Communist Party); and would apply not only to criminals, but to political dissidents as well.
Photos online at: bbc.co.uk; cnn.com; scmp.com; straitstimes.com
The bill has ignited massive protests across the city, frequently ending in violent clashes between police and protestors, and between rival communities (the so called “white shirts vs black shirts”). The mass action has disrupted public transport, air travel, etc. For safety reasons, many shops have closed during the protests causing a downturn in the economy, according to some business sources. Many protestors and pro-democracy politicians are not in favor of the Extradition Bill, and are demanding a total withdrawal of the bill, the resignation of the Chief Executive, an in independent investigation into the police force’s brutal response to the protests, for the protestors to not be regarded as ‘rioters’, and for the release of those unlawfully detained. Such prolonged unrest inevitably affects families and has tragic consequences. Five young people have already committed suicide. For a more detailed report, see Mikaela’s blog (about a 15 minute read); and feel free to forward it to any interested friends: https://mikavelli.com/2019/08/08/hong-kong-protests-2019/
Thank you for your enquiries and concern. We and our colleagues and friends are safe so far. The public is generally informed well in advance of the protest schedule so that we can avoid the danger zones. We have also been given the option to work from home instead of going to the office in the event of any danger. Please join us in prayer for constructive dialogue between the government and the people, meaningful solutions to the impasse, justice and peace in HK society – and a good and substantial outcome for the future of Hong Kong. Many Christians and churches have been involved in the protests, and playing an important role of prayer and action. Now for a few personal news and prayer items:
1. Home Assignment We are looking forward to seeing you on our next home assignment (HA). As Rod will have a minor surgery on December 13, 2019, it is a little tricky to arrange a schedule that fits the whole family. It has been over 20 years since Mikaela celebrated Christmas in South Africa – and Joshua has never – so this year will be special to be with extended family as the last Christmas of the decade. They will work around work and university schedules. Our dates are subject to final approval by our Sector Leader: Judy: December 17, 2019 to February 3, 2020 / Rod: January 17 to April 18, 2020. We will inform you as soon as dates and flights are confirmed. Meanwhile, please diarise and spread the word around so that we will be able to maximize the short HA.
2. Rod (cross-border ministries)
Rod continues to travel weekly on his 3-yr tourist visa. PTL! Please pray for: his two preaching appointments at a government registered church (August 18 and 25) – for clarity and wisdom in his preparation for these messages.
weekly meetings with three study groups, and once a month during school terms at a school assembly. Please pray for vigilance especially in light of the recent clamp down on religious instruction in China.
to be ‘wise as a serpent yet gentle as a dove’ at immigration counters at the border crossing. Officers have stepped up their questions and asking for more detail, like: ‘What is your purpose for visiting?’; ‘Who are you visiting or where are you staying?’; and ‘How long will you be in China?’ (Rod travels on a visitors’ visa) Miss F, a member of Monday evening group, Ms F has just returned to nursing after being out of the profession for 10 years, and is on a steep learning curve to adapt to the modern technology, staff dynamics, and patient and hospital demands. She asks for prayer to adjust to her new environment and cope with the staff. Ms Y, also of the Monday evening group, is in a demanding job with much pressure. She works for a foreign company where bilingualism is a great asset; however, she has a difficult boss and works with a team that undermines one another’s performance in jockeying for top positions.
3. Judy (PhD research)
Praise God that her research trip (April 8 - June 11) to SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London, was productive. She collated a lot of material from the ‘Hudson Taylor's Papers’, China’s Millions, and other CIM sources. The Hudson Taylor Trail in Barnsley, Yorkshire (May 18-20) brought the research alive, especially the various biographies on Hudson Taylor. Please pray for Judy as she works on Chapter 2 (Literature Review), in hopes of completing it by end of September. Much discipline and grace needed!
On her long-overdue 3-week holiday in the UK (Apr 8 – 30), far from the madding crowd of HK, Mikaela completed her first assignment for the PGCE course (Post Graduate Certificate in Management and Leadership) – a long-distance program through the University of City London (UCL). She was especially encouraged by a meeting with a professor from UCL who affirmed the relevance of her cross-cultural approaches in education. Not long after her UK trip, she was overjoyed at the news of her first class pass for her assignment/course work in April. It motivated her to excel in her exam on May 21; amazingly, she was just one mark short of a distinction. PTL! After a year of praying for a sponsorship, God has graciously provided a gift of GBP2,000, which will cover about 70% of Mikaela’s second semester tuition (August – January). Please pray that she will be affirmed and transformed by God’ lovingkindness, and be able to use her writing and research skills for the glory of God and to the benefit of cross-cultural educational insights.
5. Joshua Even more reason to be thankful! Joshua obtained a 2:1 (first class pass) in second year Law, scoring best in Contract Law, which was the most challenging of his three exams. The good results motivate him to apply himself even better in his third year at Warwick, and to look forward to graduation in July 2020. Back in HK this summer, he has been blessed with a summer tutoring job, which will cover his airfare and provide a buffer for his third year of study. Furthermore, upon his return to the UK on August 30 he has secured a 2-3 week internship for a company that produces an online database for law students. For a second year running, Joshua will be their ambassador at Warwick. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance and protection as Joshua commences his final year on September 29 – and rejoice with us that 60% of his tuition will once again be covered by a generous sponsorship. Deo Gratias.
Yours in Christ,
Rod and Judy Lam
August 10, 2019
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness;
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:22-25 NIV)