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值此階段的疫情，你有著怎樣的心境？暫撇開擔憂、抑鬱，甚至糾結於打不打疫苗等較為負能量的事，我想談談在今年 3 月結束了一年任務的「愛‧延續」抗疫小組，或許，在海量的信息中你沒曾留意到它。
疫情中，不少人都想做些或貢獻些甚麼，更遑論領受了要愛人如己之誡命的基督徒。分享防疫物資，是比較容易進行的事。北宣同工們一開始就領受了肢體的愛心捐贈；同工們也總動員，包裝、預備防疫物資，謹慎、有序地將其分送給有需要的肢體、鄰舍。但，疫情所帶來的影響，遠非送一兩次物資就能解決，究竟我們還能做些甚麼？於是，去年 4 月成立了「愛‧延續」抗疫小組，小組協調、統籌福利部、家庭服務中心原有的、或因應疫情而新增的項目。
我已是資深同工，但因著此小組，能有機會多些認識並參與北宣對社區的服事。疫情期間，北宣通過與不同機構進行的食物援助，分別服事了十幾、二十個家庭；情緒輔導熱線，也有肢體使用。但，我們推出服務，坐等別人使用，受服事的數量很有限。比如「兒童在家學習支援」，接受網上義補以及到中心上網做功課的孩子，都只有個位數。再比如，因應港府去年 7 月 29 日凌晨起禁止堂食，我們開放教會給街坊入內午膳，服事人員要做的，不只是待在教會，更要四出派單張、找到有需要者，7 月 30 日也才能有 28 人使用此項服務。
Seeing Jesus Behind Pandemic Poverty
Rev Libby Wang
How do you feel at this stage of the pandemic? Setting aside worries, distress and negativity about whether one should get vaccinated, I wish to share on the year's work of the "Love Shared" initiative that concludes in March this year. The group may have escaped your attention amid a high volume of messages.
During the pandemic, many people wish to do something or make some kind of contribution, not to mention Christians who are given the command to love others as ourselves. A relatively easy task was to share anti-pandemic resources. As we had received a wealth of donated materials from brothers and sisters out of their love, all NPAC staff were mobilized to package and prepare the materials and to carefully and orderly distribute them to needy brothers, sisters and neighbors. Nevertheless, the impact of the pandemic could not be tackled by one or two such distributions alone. What else could we do? The "Love Shared" initiative was set up in April last year to coordinate existing ministries of the Welfare Committee and the Family Service Centre as well as new pandemic-related resources.
Though I am an experienced staff, participation in the group has given me the opportunity to better understand and take part in NPAC's community ministry. During the pandemic, we teamed up with various organizations to provide food to some 20 families. A counseling hotline to offer emotional support was also set up and used by some brothers and sisters. However, the response to the services offered was not as anticipated and the number of people served was limited. For example, only a few children took part in the "Home Study Support Program" that provided tutorial service online or onsite. When the Government banned dining in at restaurants from the midnight of Jul 29 onwards, we opened up the church premises for neighbors to have lunch. Our coworkers did not only wait at the church but distributed tracts to look for those in need. It was only then that 28 came and used the service on Jul 30.
Caring for our neighbors is intertwined with spreading the gospel. It is like what Jesus said when He likened the Heavenly Kingdom to a king who went out to invite people to attend his son's wedding feast. But when some invitees felt they had something more important to do, they declined the invitation. Meanwhile, Jesus, the Word, became flesh and lived among the people. Crowds of help seekers and truth enquirers poured in. No promotion was needed. I have to admit that I have not been incarnational enough, and have to find out brothers and sisters’ needs through a questionnaire on the work situation of NPAC congregants. In the process, I was touched by those who were suffering from reduced income but who still wanted to make offerings to support others. The impressive amount of supermarket vouchers we received are brothers and sisters' willing offerings, which we tried our best to give out to the needy through different channels.
Jesus said: "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me" (John 12:8). If we have Jesus in our lives, we will take the initiative to get in touch with our neighbors to care for them and find out their needs instead of not knowing how to help when their needs arise. For sure, it is never too late now that there is the awareness of the need to care.