An Overloaded Clinic in Lebanon

[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] LEARN A LITTLE MORE

 

Written by: Edward Lai

 

The pandemic makes us realise the importance of having a sound medical system, which does not only require sufficient medical personnel, but also a stable supply of medicine.

 

Lebanon has been identified as a priority country in the United Nations’ COVID-19 GlobalHumanitarian Response Plan.

 

As the country that has the highest per capita proportion of refugees in the world, Lebanon has taken in 1.5 million Syrian and 200,000 Palestinian refugees, who currently make up more than 30% of the country population. The exponential growth of refugees in Lebanon has put the already fragile medical system under pressure. The outbreak of COVID-19 further places enormous burden on its medical services, brining them to the verge of collapse.

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When the Pandemic Never Goes Away – Implications on Poverty Alleviation and Socioeconomics

The World Health Organisation has warned that COVID-19 may never go away. This means that there may not be an end to the fight against this disease. If that is the case, how can we adapt the strategies of our international poverty relief programmes to make them more effective in helping the destitute? Do we need to change the economic development pattern which has long been taken as “normal”? As part of the Christian community, how should we continue to care for the poor and defend their dignity?

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THE SPECIAL LETTER FROM CEDAR | MAY 2020

Dear friends of CEDAR,

 

This coronavirus pandemic has brought about lots of reflections. Pray that you and your family are well under the pandemic, and God continues to lead each of us to be the salt and light in this time of darkness.

 

Thank you so much for your generosity towards the needy over the years. I am writing to inform you that, after 4 years of service, I will be leaving CEDAR in mid-May. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the vulnerable around the world alongside you. As my calling is ministering to the impoverished, I believe our paths will cross in the future. 

 

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An Urgent Expectation & Appeal from Frontline Service Organisations to the Government

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2020 ] PRESS RELEASE

 

Below are the fronline service organisations’ demands to the HKSAR Government, as stated in press release on 18th February:

 

  • Delivering masks to every student

  • Cracking down on price-gouging vendors

  • Creating short-term and part-time job opportunities

 

Issued by:

 

1. The Industrial Evangelical Fellowship (工業福音圑契)

2. The Society for Truth and Light (明光社)

3. The Urban Peacemaker Evangelistic Fellowship (城市睦福團契)

4. CEDAR Fund (施達基金會)

5. China Alliance Press (宣道出版社)

6. Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement (香港教會更新運動)

7. Mission to New Arrivals (新福事工協會)

8. Family Value Foundation of Hong Kong (維護家庭基金)  

 

Full text of press release in Chinese: cedarfund.org/press-0219

 

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I Decided to Return and “Give”

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2020 ] BLESSINGS BY OFFERING

Written by: Gloria Li (Pastor, Western District Evangelical Church)

 

Evening, Friday 7th February

 

I had just one box of masks left at home, which was to be shared between my domestic helper and I. We were counting down the number of our masks and mentally preparing ourselves to reuse them when our stock ran out. The two batches of masks that I had ordered in early January, as shown on the computer, left Japan a long time ago, which meant that they must have already arrived in Hong Kong. Did that mean they had been “hijacked”? While waiting for the delivery, there were rumours that masks were banned from entering Hong Kong due to the anti-extradition law protests. So, I was quite concerned. (Editor’s notes: With regard to the rumours, the Hong Kong Customs clarified on 28th January that surgical mask is not included in the lists of controlled / prohibited items, and that the Customs would not hinder importation of such product into Hong Kong.)

 

However, this morning I decided to give two masks and HK$50 as Lai See to the two cleaners on the street. I was thinking, the minimum wage in Hong Kong is HK$37.5, but as outsource workers, these cleaners may not even be protected by this regulation! Isn’t it a tragedy that in Hong Kong the minimum hourly wage does not even pay for a box of masks? Even though I barely had enough masks at home, sharing with others was a shot at wealth equality.

 

Under the present circumstances, having the protection of a mask when we go out to work is fundamental human dignity, and sharing our masks with others paints a beautiful picture of the sharing society. Should I contract coronavirus because I do not have a mask to wear? I have faith that God will look after me for remembering the poor in His name!

 

I decided to share my worries not because I wanted people to give me masks! I still believed in the Hong Kong Post and I would wait for the delivery from Japan. By sharing how I learned to have faith, I hope to encourage others to lend a helping hand to the needy. I believe that the situation with the coronavirus in Hong Kong was an opportunity for us, as Christians, to take actions to share what we have with others.

 

Morning, Saturday 8th February

 

The next morning, on my way to church, I saw two cleaners opening up a manhole to treat some sewage. With my hand firmly pressed on the masks in my handbag, I asked myself, “To give or not to give”? I had already walked past them, but I decided to turn back and “to give”!

 

Everyone was under so much stress, the masks were just a small gift to show my support to the needy.

 

When I got to the office, there was a huge parcel waiting for me. I was overjoyed. It was a great and abundant gift from God. I immediately thought of CEDAR’s mask donation campaign, and I promised myself that I would share my gift!

 

Glory be to God.

 

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Serving beyond Your Ability

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2020 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive)

 

Over the past nearly 30 years, CEDAR has participated in over 100 relief campaigns and the most touching thing for us is seeing the disaster-stricken victims help each other. They do not worry about what will happen to them next, instead, they make every endeavour to help those around them. Even though they barely have enough for themselves, they still try to help others, which is not an easy thing to do. This spirit of selflessness is a grace from God.

 

In the Bible, the Macedonian churches are an exemplar of selflessness. In 2 Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul described how the Macedonian churches served the poor Christian believers in Jerusalem. Back then, there was a great famine in the land of Palestine. With that and the long-standing religious persecution, the Christians in Judah were living in extreme poverty. Therefore, when Paul was preaching, he encouraged churches in other places to lend a helping hand to the churches in Jerusalem. The Macedonian churches were among those who responded to Paul’s appeal.

 

After Macedonia was defeated by Rome, the region became very poor and the local churches were in extreme poverty, and were facing a “very severe trial” of religious persecution (v. 2). Even when they were unable to fend for themselves, the churches in Macedonia still made donations to the churches in Jerusalem. They even urgently pleaded with Paul for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people (v. 4). Therefore, Paul testified that they gave as much as they were able, and ‘“even beyond their ability”’ (v. 3), which is the kind of attitude of serving that is pleasing to the Lord.

 

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has made people in Hong Kong feel helpless, worried and even frightened. While we rely on God to face challenges during this long and arduous period, we can also learn to practise the spirit of serving “beyond our ability”. Sharing your stock of masks with others is one example. Apart from the needy in Hong Kong, people in other countries also need our care and services, especially our neighbours in mainland China – one of the places most severely affected by the coronavirus. We cordially invite you to pray for them, and find ways to show them your care. If everyone serves “beyond their ability”, we will still be able to experience the joy and grace from God during this difficult time.

 

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