New Arrivals and Poverty Alleviation Ministry
Mission to New Arrivals
Facing the rising sentiment in Hong Kong of the tensions between people in Hong Kong and Mainland China, the new arrivals, whom my organization mainly serve, are labeled as “locusts.” They are perceived to have taken away local public housing, university places and social welfare, eroding the core values of Hong Kong, and even converting Hong Kong into communism. Having these tensions in my heart, I asked my organization why we have to keep on serving the new arrivals? When our life path crosses with them, however, I rediscover myself and understand more about the will of God our heavenly father in this time.
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:34, ESV)
From the experience of Abraham, Isaac and Moses, the ancestors of Israel, the slaves in Egypt, the exiles under captivity to the Christians of the early church, their wandering lives might have been the plans of God. He might want His people to live in solidarity as sojourners, under the tension of mercy and judgment, lay down the pride that they have been taken for granted, to learn the true meaning of grace, and no longer be workers of the vineyard. Only when we realized how poor we are that we can sincerely care for the poor. When we discover that we ourselves are also foreigners, then we know how to treat the new arrivals who have no power, no economic resources, no network, or even no identities.
Lay down the pride, understand the meaning of grace
I recalled that in an open forum with local pastors, I heard from a sister-in-Christ who was a new arrival from Mainland China. Having experienced family violence, depression and being abandoned, she was asked, “If you could choose once again, would you come to Hong Kong?” “No!” The sister replied without hesitation. Yet, after a while, she said, “Through this dark valley, I can know God and experience His grace. In this sense, this might be the best option for me!” Many new arrivals at the grassroots level have a pure heart. They take care of their families and serve in the church and society wholeheartedly, sharing gospels with family and friends here and even back in their homeland. I met another sister-in-Christ who was also a new arrival. Even if she was living in poverty, she brought the pastor and members of her church to her home town and shared the gospel there. She even offered her own home which was inherited from her ancestors to be the meeting place. She has witnessed the grace of God both in Hong Kong and Mainland China. She indeed became the key to the gospel!
The strength in their weaknesses and their desire for life nourished my poor in spirit. I saw in them the likeness of Christ and grace. They extended the territory of how I understand the kingdom of God. I discovered the hidden wholeness of God in this time, the blessing that are in disguise.