二○二○年八月十五日／十六日 Click here for English version
A Worry-free Meal
Rev Yina Chow
Where do you have lunch usually?
A cleansing worker, Sei Mui, said, "I like to eat under shelter. If I cannot find one, I'll eat in the park or in the garbage room." She was eating from her lunchbox under the scorching sun a meal she prepared at six o'clock that morning.
To meet the needs arising from the pandemic, our church opened up the Side Hall of the Main Church and the Living Stone at the Truth Center from July 30 through August 4 as lunch and rest stations. During the five-day period, we served renovation workers, technicians, security staff, postmen, electricity company employees, white collars, foreign domestic workers and others in the neighborhood. Most of them were new to the church. Under the social gathering ban, we could only assign a small team of co-workers and deacons to serve the visitors. Many enthusiastic brothers and sisters also volunteered to help.
At the end of the first day's service when we were sanitizing the tables and chairs, a brother told us that his company offered to provide disinfectant coating for Living Stone for free. He even showed us a video explaining what he would do and completed the work the same evening! Thank God for His timely provision.
As the location of the rest stations were little known, we sent small teams to visit neighboring parks, construction sites and workers eating in the streets, inviting them to eat at church. We also left location maps with some restaurants. We are grateful that some people responded and started to get used to eating at church, and seemed to feel very much at home. We would administer hand sanitizer to their extremely dry hands, offer them a bottle of water and watch them sitting down to eat. Before they left, they would carefully put the empty lunch boxes into the garbage bags. Some others would give thanks sincerely, “Thank you all, and wish you all the best at work!” I, too, am grateful. What we did was nothing big. Basic dignity, a chair, a table to eat, hopefully a worry-free lunch. They are our neighbors and friends!
We extended invitation to many at lunch – some sitting on the steps of the church building, some construction workers on their way to the garbage station, delivery men of minority ethnicity at the side of the street, some young people eating as they walked… Some of them responded with surprise, some as though in embarrassment. One politely declined, "So kind of you, but I have to finish this quickly and get back to work." Some others were moved and dropped by our rest station. When we helped a senior worker with his umbrella in the rain one day, he shyly ran away. But I saw that he still held the gospel tract in his hand. I pray that one day, he will be able to join us in the heavenly banquet.
Jesus has likened salvation to a banquet in heaven. But many people decline the offer for one reason or another. Today, the doors of the church are open, but still, many do not know or would not come in. It is my hope and prayer that the NPAC Family will grasp the opportunity to go out with compassion and bring the sheep back into Jesus’ sheep pen. One restaurant worker knows where we are: "There's a church above the MTR station!" May our neighbors get to know the Lord Jesus Christ who gives the bread of life and a life of peace and joy that is also worry-free through our church!