LamsLinks, Summer 2022
LamsLinks, Summer 2022
The Church of Jesus Christ of Present Day Saints
You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.
Because I live, you also will live.
Dear Friends and family
Warmest greetings from Hong Kong! After a long, hot and humid summer, with heavy rains and occasional typhoons, we are looking forward to Mid-Autumn Festival (Sep 11-12), the favourite festival and season for many people in HK. We thank God always for your faithfulness in prayer and valued partnership in the Gospel. Daily we are humbled by the loving kindness of present day saints (those near and far), who make special sacrifices to sustain our ministry and bless our family.
The last eight months have been very, very trying -- on many, many levels -- so thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your untiring support! What a wonderful consolation that we are not left as 'orphans'. The Triune God is present in the midst of earthly reality, meeting our every need, filling the deepest spaces; and, through the still small voice, assuring us that we not forsaken. How have these recent months been for you? It is heartening to stand in solidarity, sharing in the richness of life in Christ. Many families are troubled by immense challenges, including unemployment; every country is battling with unprecedented social, political and economic crises; our planet is crying out in agony. We find assurance in the following quote: 'This is a singular comfort, that all things come to pass, not according to wicked men’s counsels, but according to what God determines' (George Gifford).
Thank you so much for reading our updates, and remaining steadfast in prayer:
1. HONG KONG
25 years since the return to China, HK installed its 6th Chief Executive (CE) Mr. John Lee, on July 01, 2022.
Beijing’s man of choice received 1,416 votes (out of the 1,500 select group of voters), and is the first CE with a police background. He was sworn in by President Xi, who came to HK especially for this event. The same day, the first typhoon #8 of the year was hoisted, though Typhoon Chaba did not blow us away! Vowing to consolidate the ONE COUNTRY - TWO SYSTEMS policy with new initiatives over the next five years, Mr. Lee has his work cut out for him. The strict policy on the opening of the borders was a top priority! Subsequently, mandatory hotel quarantine has been reduced to 3 days, plus 4 days at home.
Mr. Lee also made particular mention of young people, and is seeking to build their (national) identity; help them to thrive (not just survive); develop a more positive outlook on HK; and create new stories of HK for the wider world. Since the beginning of 2020, emigration estimates have climbed to 133,000 -- including the loss of a skilled workforce -- compounded by the reputation as one of the world's most expensive cities (at least, from an expat perspective due to high rental prices): https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/world-most-expensive-cities-2022-intl-hnk/index.html
On a happier note, at the end of July, we were invited to the 35th year anniversary of Reacher Church, Tsimshatsui.
Formerly known as Lok Wah Church (situated then at Lok Wah Housing Estate, Kwun Tong), we served there for a brief period (2000-2002), ministering to students and young adults. What a joy to see several of them now married with young children, and in key leadership positions in the church. Many people still remembered us, and recognised us behind the masks! (Standing in the middle is Pastor Cheng, who supervised us at Lok Wah; she continues to serve at Reacher as senior pastor). People have matured in their faith, and the church has remained steady. Yet, healing is needed as people are still hurting from these last three years of turmoil: painful protests, political challenges, and pandemic restrictions.
2. ROD'S MINISTRIES
The ministry continues to flourish.
Since January, nearly 30 people have attended the meetings, even though some have moved on to other ministries; others are taking care of elderly family members; and one has left to study an online Bible college course. While some have grown and matured, others have struggled with ill health and even threats on their lives. Pray especially for Mr. and Mrs. E, who oversee the management of the housing complex where they reside; their reputation is being smeared and their lives are under threat. A group in the complex are trying to extort millions of CNY from tenants' funds in the Trust, even hiring a lawyer to advance their cause. Please pray for Mr. and Mrs. E, that their legal evidence will be sufficient for the court.
Please also pray for Mr. and Mrs. J. who have accepted a call to pastor a church in the UK, and have applied for their visas. Please pray for (1) the approval of their visa application; (2) their plans for departure within the next three months; and (3) a replacement for Mr. J who has been leading the Sunday afternoon group.
The progress on Rod’s vision has been steady since his eye surgery in DEC 2020. The pressure in his left eye has reduced from 27 to 14, and most of the infection has cleared. More scans will follow this week; and possibly cataract surgery before the end of this year.
4. JUDY'S PhD RESEARCH
By Nov 23, the final manuscript needs to be submitted to UFS for final checking, before the Nov 30 deadline! This research on Hudson Taylor's spirituality is fresh and fascinating, based mainly on his own writings (not on popular literature); and will hopefully bring new knowledge and innovative methodologies for contemporary readers. With less than 3 months to go, please pray for Judy's health, energy levels, good sleep, adequate exercise, clarity of thought -- and a supernatural ability to write faster!!! She is feeling rather overwhelmed!
5. MIKAELA (HK)
Over recent years, Mika has edited the English translation of a trilogy of Cantonese Sayings,
authored by Mr. Lo. In July, she received a copy of the third book (attached pic). After almost 7 years of freelance work and private tutoring, she has recovered sufficiently in order to begin a fulltime English teaching / Curricula Development at a learning centre on SEP 01.
Please pray for her adjustment to strict hours; good working relations; and also energy so that she might continue her M.Ed studies (distance learning programme University of City London), planning to enrol for the 3rd year in FEB 2023.
6. JOSHUA (LONDON)
Josh continues to enjoy work as a paralegal at a reputable law firm in London. In July,
his current contract was renewed till April 2023.
Please pray that his applications for a training contract will be successful, which will provide funding for graduate studies and eventual licensing as a solicitor.
Given the current global situation and decreasing ZAR exchange rate, we were concerned
that our support this year would range between 80-85% (the lowest in over 10 years!). To
our surprise, God led a good HK friend to enquire about support for ZA members working
in restricted regions (Creative Access Nations); and, at the end of July, we received
USD5,000 (HKD 39K/ZAR80K) toward our support. Hallelujah! Similarly, we trust that
God will provide for Mika's fees for her enrolment in FEB 2023, an amount of GBP 3,000 (HKD 30K/ZAR 63K), which she cannot afford at this point in time.
8. PRISON MINISTRIES
The two SA ladies we visit at a local prison in HK are well cared for and enjoying their studies. Both have about 3.5 years left of their sentence. Do pray for Ms. F, who has to increase her vitamin B and iron supplements for anemia, as well as take antibiotics for fungus which started on her one foot. A few weeks ago, her grandmother passed away in Johannesburg, which is a big blow. She was very close to her grandmother; thankfully, she was able to chat with her telephonically on her monthly calls home just days before 'Ouma' passed.
9. THE WAY FORWARD
Do pray for our leaders to make wise decisions concerning our HK operations; the viability of retaining a ministry presence here; the best use of office/property; and how to ''reimagine' future ministry in a rapidly changing HK.
We anticipate an update in September, and will keep you posted.
10. HOME ASSIGNMENT (2023)
Our HA in South Africa is tentatively planned for APR-JUN 2023. Lord willing, this would coincide with Judy’s graduation toward the end of April at UFS, Bloemfontein; and Rod’s mother’s 90th birthday end of June, in Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha. We look forward to seeing you all again, and will update you as soon as the dates are confirmed.
Finally, we leave this note of encouragement and assurance:
'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well'.
(by Julian of Norwich; also cited in T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets).
In fellowship and friendship,
Rod & Judy
They are all doing a great work to reach people for the Lord. So they need all our support and prayers!