Lamslink April 2022
LamsLink – Lent 2022 “..that he or she would act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b)
Dear Family and Friends,
During this season of Lent, may we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, especially as we watch the horrendous images and awful atrocities of the war in Ukraine. We cry out for justice; that good will prevail over evil. We pray that the stony hearts of the Russian aggressors would be softened. May the war end soon through peaceful negotiations. Easter is coming soon; oh, may the liberating power of Christ's Resurrection bring restoration to the suffering! The month of April is a celebration for our family; also a time to express special gratitude for God’s immeasurable grace and your valuable companionship along our journey of life.
Mon, 04: our 30th ministry anniversary in HK/China (arrival in 1992)
Wed, 06: our 37th wedding anniversary (Johannesburg, 1985, on the former 'Jan van Riebeeck Day')
Wed, 20: Josh's 24th birthday (born in HK in the Year of the Tiger, 1998)
Below we share a few updates, and thank you in advance for your prayers:
1. COVID MANIA (FEB - MAR) In Dec 2021, HK boasted fewer than 4,000 Covid cases. However, since the rapid surge of Omicron in early Feb, over 1.16 million infections, and nearly 8,000 deaths were recorded (as of Apr 01). This is the highest exponential growth in a 3-month period for any advanced city in the world! With only around 4,000 positive cases reported yesterday, and under 200 deaths, infections are on the decline. We’re grateful that by the end of 2021, we had been fully vaccinated (3 jabs). Please pray for the government's efforts to control the pandemic; for medical personnel and care givers who are overwhelmed by the fifth wave; and for society as a whole suffering financial loss, suicidal woes, psychological strain, etc. As a relief measure, the government will issue each HK citizen over the age of 18 with another round of e-vouchers, which can be used at retail stores. Starting this week, HKD5,000 will be disbursed; and over the coming months, a total amount of HKD10,000. Deo Gratias! This is good news in the darkness! By the end of the week, over 3 million households will receive an anti-epidemic gift package containing 10 KN95 masks, 20 rapid antigen test kits, and 2 boxes of Chinese herbal medicine.
2. HK CHIEF EXECUTIVE ELECTION (MAY 05) It is not clear if the CE, Mrs. Carrie Lam, will stand for another term of office. Her 5-year term has been dogged by the 2019 extradition bill and violent city-wide protests; in 2020-2021, by the pandemic and the abrupt introduction of the National Security Law; and, in early 2022, panic caused by enforced mass testing and ambiguous lockdown information during the critical fifth wave of the pandemic. Please pray that the person 'chosen' by a select group of representatives from the community would be a wise leader -- in touch with reality on the ground, peoples' livelihood, etc. Concerns have also been raised recently when two prominent UK judges resigned their seats at the HK Supreme court, citing the erosion of freedoms, etc.
3. SECTOR CONFERENCE (APR 09-10) Do pray for this time of CONNECT, to be held again over Zoom for our colleagues in different parts of the world. Some are still unable to return to the field because of pandemic restrictions. Last year our Sector had 65 members and 40 children, but numbers have dropped to just over 40 members and 30 children. Several have either resigned, moved to other fields, or returned to their home countries.
4. ROD, the discipler Since March 01, the PRC government introduced a crackdown on the use of online means for religious gatherings. Our SZ studies have not been directly impacted, PTL! The Monday evening group changed their internet platform by re-routing via a VPN. The leader (currently residing in HK) was recently interviewed by a church in the UK for a pastoral position, where he used to attend as a student in the mid 1980’s. If accepted, Mr. J, his mainland Chinese wife, and their 4-year old daughter, will leave HK by the end of the summer. The Tuesday evening group has been stop-start these past few months, as several members have had to adjust to the impact of Covid on their livelihood, including a recent city-wide lockdown in SZ. Rod is grateful to a mission colleague who is helping to mentor the group once a month, as she is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. She is also taking them through a survey of the OT, and Rod the NT.
5. JUDY, the PhD candidate Please pray for Judy’s timeline and tight schedule. She is working 7-8 hrs/day, 6 days/week; currently refining the first 4 chapters (by May 31), then has the third core chapter and Conclusion to complete (by Oct 31).
6. MIKAELA, the teacher and writer May 17: Mika will write her exam (4 th module, Masters in Education and Leadership); then register for her final year (thesis required); aiming to graduate in June 2023. The closure of learning centres during the pandemic has put her out of pocket, so we are struggling along to help her. Please pray that she will find more private tutoring and teaching opportunities after schools resume in-person classes on April 21.
7. JOSHUA, the paralegal PTL, Josh is enjoying his new paralegal position at a prominent law firm in London. He has read over 11,000 pages of legal documents since Feb 14; is working with a team on a high profile case; and the trial could take about 15-18 months. Please pray that his contract will be extended after the initial 6 months; also that he would land a full 3 year training contract in order to qualify as a lawyer/barrister.
8. PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICATION After submitting an initial application to the HK Housing Authority (HA) in Dec 2021, we had to re-submit because of several inaccuracies that needed to be corrected. The HA notified us of receipt on Rod’s birthday (Apr 01), PTL! Now we wait and trust, as the queue to rent a public house is 5-7 years!!!
9. PRISON VISITS One of the SA women we visit in a local prison is a remarkable testimony to God’s grace and mercy. She has a charming personality and an outgoing spirit, so relates well to the staff and inmates. Ms. F recently contracted Covid, with mild symptoms; and is relieved to be out of isolation and able to receive visitors. After daily tasks in the prison workshop, she devotes her free time to her studies (Bachelors in Sports Management). All her assignments are hand-written and she does a manual count of every word!!! She is excelling and excited to graduate in Jan 2023. Certainly redeeming the time until the end of her sentence in Nov 2025
Journeying together in love, light and life,
Rod & Judy April 2, 2022