[ ‘SHARE’ Nov-Dec 2013 – Life Impacting Life ] TAKING ACTION
Author> Fanny Lee, CEDAR Club Committee Member
After going to the Bangladeshi poverty relief trip in 2003, I often asked myself how I could step out of my comfort zone and be more connected with the world. Surely life is not just about working hard and having fun? What should I do so that I ‘look out not only for my own interests but also for the interests of others’ (Phil. 2:4)?
Also in 2003, some Christians who went to CEDAR’s exposure trips set up ‘CEDAR Club’; they came from different churches but were all willing to use the bible’s teaching as their basis to see the world, learn about poverty relief works and actively care for the world. I am grateful for being a member and through CEDAR Club’s sharing and visits understand more of poverty relief.
It might be understandable that I knew little about poverty in faraway places, but I also had little idea about the weak and marginalized in Hong Kong! So I set out to see for myself the local needs first. Since then, I have followed CEDAR to visit groups such as new immigrant families, street-sleepers, former drug addicts and Choi Yuen Village residents; listening to these people helped me understand more fully their situations thereby reflecting on any injustice in the social system.
Six months ago, Mr. Pong Yat-ming shared on how he worked against the mainstream, and afterwards I researched the topic and discussed with friends, and as a result we grouped to carry out countering actions. It was an unforgettable experience, because I realized that it was simply not enough to merely know about the poor – after knowing in the head and feeling with my heart, I have the urge to share with others, and I feel the drive to do something practical.
Indeed CEDAR Club is a special platform; it helps me start with knowing facts and feelings and then move onto emotional involvement and practical action. I hope more people who care about the poor will join us, starting with understanding and exchanging and then go onto practising and spreading the message of poverty relief!
[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2013 – Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame ] TAKING ACTION
Author: Simon TAM, banker
Since 2010, I joined CEDAR’s ‘Walk in Love – Visit Low-Income Families Programme’ and with a partner regularly visited two new immigrant households; we cared about their situations and gradually friendships were built. They trusted us and shared their thoughts and feelings with us, and they often made soups to share with us.
One of the women we visited had arrived in Hong Kong three years ago but rarely went out. We took her to view the Christmas decorations and for dinner at a fast-food restaurant; it was rewarding to see her enjoying the evening with us. She once lost our phone number and after intensive efforts she finally reached us. She anxiously told us how we were the only friends she had in Hong Kong and losing our number was like losing a friend. We were very touched realising how much we meant to her.
We also visited a single-parent mother with two children, on social welfare and living in a partitioned room. We supported her through listening to her and praying together. Once, we took the family to a local restaurant to celebrate a birthday – their simple enjoyment gave us much joy. The mother also called us when she encountered problems and we would encourage and pray with her.
Over three years of visits we worked hard to practise Jesus’ teaching that when we did to one of the least of the brethren, we did it to Him.
When I shared my experience with friends, some said they would rather give a donation than paying visits to these families. Although low-income families are poor and need the government and society’s material assistance, they also need care, companionship and dignity. My low-income friends may not be educated or eloquent, but they have a simplicity that surpasses that of many upright persons amongst us.
CEDAR’s Programme has ended but we continue to visit them as friends. The wealth-gap in Hong Kong is widening, and we Christians have a duty to help and care for marginalised groups to show Christ’s love.
‘To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ is not just an empty talk but a practice throughout life.