Cheng Ting Kwok
Last summer, three classmates and I had our practicum at the office of the Legislative Council member, Dr Hon Fernanado Cheung Chiuhung.1 We tried to commence a dialogue of missionary in the public sphere for eight weeks. With their liaison and arrangements, we were able to serve various groups of physically-challenged, such as those having muscular dystrophy, the autistics, and the mentally-challenged, and their caregivers. We served at three schools including the Haven of Hope Sunnyside School, Wai Ji Christian Service and Hong Chi Pinehill School, where we walked together with the students, residents and parents as caregivers.
We are grateful to The Lord that the summer practicum broadened my horizon of what mission is about, in particular ecclesiology. I experienced that mission can be expressed through preaching the Gospel, and at the same time through action by walking with the people, letting them feel the love from God. During our visit to someone with muscular dystrophy, we arranged a small worship service at his home. My experience tells me that wherever there are believers gathered in the name of the Lord, regardless of the number, there is the church. When serving the autistics, my limitations of being a neat freak and my fear of not knowing how to communicate with them had been “forced” to be overcome one after another by the Holy Spirit.
Getting along with the physically-challenged and their caregivers allowed us to reflect profoundly on the value of life in the eyes of The Lord, which does not depend on whether he/she is “normal” or the contribution of one’s productivity. On the contrary, their mere existence is their value in the eyes of the Lord. We should not see them with a predefined mindset. I remembered when we worshiped together with the autistics, though they did not worship the same way as us, they use unique body movements or even shouting to worship God. Their passion in worship is much intense than us. I saw God’s goodness and love following them closely. I deeply feel that the Lord cares for them and will never leave them. Even if they are in great difficulties, the love of the Lord has always been there.
Our summer practicum concluded with a perfect note, the dialogue with Dr Hon Fernanado Cheung. He shared with us his faith and his views of the church. While we worked together, he felt that the mission of the church is not confined by the four walls of the church building. Many ambassadors of the gospel will put the mission in action in different public spheres, changing his perception of the church. As for me, I am reassured that the church can be more responsive to the needs of the public area with diversity, especially through participating in social services to practice the mission, so that the society not only “hears” the gospel, but also “sees” and “feels” that the gospel is in the society.
By the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the most precious thing of this summer practicum is the teamwork and fellowship among the four of us. How I wish more people of the Kingdom of God will respond to the needs of the disadvantaged with God's heart! They are the children of the LORD and our neighbors. It is our responsibility to care for them and speak for them in where we stand.
1. Dr Hon Fernanado Cheung has been dedicated to advocating for better policies for the vulnerable for many years.