二○二○年六月十二日／十三日／十四日 Click here for English version
Mission Training during the Pandemic
Rev Kenneth Chong
As the coronavirus situation gradually eases in Hong Kong, the number of new confirmed cases worldwide still amounts to 100,000 every day. May the Lord have mercy on us to contain the spread of the virus soon. During the pandemic, we have been subject to all sorts of inconvenience, social distancing and lack of supplies. We have actually experienced what our missionaries often face in their mission fields!
Hong Kong is efficient, convenient, and its pace of living fast. We are all accustomed to it. The Hong Kong government and the judiciary have stopped their services at the height of the pandemic, so have the private sector services such as banking. That results in inconvenience for Hong Kong citizens. In fact, that is what missionaries in the mission fields often face, too. They need to spend the whole day queuing up at the bank, wait several months for government responses. They face serious traffic jams and disruptions to public transport schedules…
In the past few months, Hong Kong citizens needed to stay home most of the time. Many employees worked from home. Churches and many other organizations suspended in-person meetings. Banquets and mass gatherings were canceled. Inter-personal contact was reduced to a bare minimum. People feel lonely, especially those who do not live with their family. This, too, is what faces our missionaries – they often have to tackle solitude. Our missionaries say goodbye to their homeland and their beloved family and friends to serve on mission in the mission fields. In the mission fields, they are strangers to the environment and the community. They hardly understand the native language and have to adapt to a remote culture. They often feel very lonely. Although they are in contact with the mission teams and the local people they serve, most of the time, they find it difficult to have someone who could share their thoughts and burdens. Their work will be affected if loneliness is not overcome.
Earlier this year, we were worried about a shortage of face masks and there was the rare scene of scrambling for toilet rolls in the supermarkets in Hong Kong. Ours is actually a blessed place. It is one of the few places on earth with minimal natural disasters and we always have what we need. We have not really experienced any shortage of supplies until the current pandemic. Not so for our missionaries who serve in places in poverty. They have to carefully calculate the resources they spend each day. Some even face frequent power outage and water cut problems. Besides, missionaries also need to raise enough funds to provide for all their needs on the mission fields. In the past, there have been instances in which missionaries – however good they are – have to abandon their mission fields because of a lack of funding.
The coronavirus situation allows us to understand more about the difficulties of our missionaries. They have a calling from God to spread the gospel in remote places. They greatly need our support. May God move us to care more for our missionaries and more often pray for their needs.