二○一八年九月二十二日／九月二十三日 Click here for English version
Rev. Ning Doh Chuan
Dear brothers and sisters of NPAC:
Peace be with you! When this letter is written, I have flown overseas to help my daughter settle down for her studies abroad. Here, unfamiliar with the place and the people, we really feel we have to start everything anew. We have a lot to learn, a great deal to adapt to. This is despite all the preparations that we have made. Our situation echoes what happens to the newly arrived in Hong Kong who speak Putonghua. They also have a lot to adapt to. The difficulties my daughter and I are experiencing are exactly those that face the new arrivals who start their university education in Hong Kong this month.
I recall a respected senior couple who took a university student to attend our church’s Putonghua worship service last Sunday. I was much encouraged. All along, I have witnessed how, with love, parents of the host family program help students from the Mainland adapt to Hong Kong schooling and life. I also recall a young man among us who accompanied his fellow university student to attend the Putonghua worship service and meetings all the way through baptismal class to baptism. There is also a couple who, having met a Putonghua-speaking friend at a dessert café, accompanied her to attend the Putonghua worship service until she was baptized. The entire process took three years.
In all of this, I am grateful to God for the love and commitment of all those involved, whether they are familiar or unknown to me. I am sure the Lord Jesus is pleased with their work. The Lord Jesus accompanied the disciples on the road to Emmaus and resolved the deepest trouble in their hearts so they could recognize Him. Likewise, these brothers and sisters today have followed His footsteps. They walk with the non-believing Putonghua-speaking friends and bring them to the Lord.
Today, the Lord Jesus makes a life-giving invitation to our Putonghua-speaking friends through our reception of them. If you look around – in your social circle and workplace, it is quite likely that you will find many Putonghua-speaking friends. Language and cultural differences between the new arrivals and us may hinder our approaching or getting to know each other. But these friends from the Mainland may be God's invitation for us to genuinely care for and help them. Gradually, their interest in faith may be aroused and the ensuing questions and answers will follow.
This requires our attention to the Putonghua-speaking friends around us, and taking the initiative to approach and get to know them. Our Putonghua may not be very good and can be an obstacle in approaching them, but the act of communicating with them in Putonghua is itself a message of care and love. Had the Lord Jesus not taken the initiative to approach the disciples and stepped into their itinerary, how could the disciples have recognized the Lord?
When I studied in theological seminary, I put in the column "Preferred church for internship" these words: "One that can make me love church." I was arranged to do my internship at NPAC. And it was your love for and acceptance of me that enabled me to settle down here and to serve the Lord with you since then. Let us keep up the good work and pay attention to and receive with love the Putonghua-speaking friends around us so that some day, we may be able to bring them home to the Father.
Having received much grace and love through you,
Pastor Doh Chuan