Written by Clara Chiu (Head of Partnership Development)
We thank our Father for how real His help is. The Lord has boosted our staff’s morale through the Barefoot Walk when society’s sentiments are low, and offertory levels are trending down.
Preparation for the Barefoot Walk usually takes a whole year. This time, we started to prepare the Barefoot Walk as early as 2020. Before COVID, we were in talks with Abounding Grace Baptist Church to co-organise the Barefoot Walk and agreed on the route in Tsz Wan Shan. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced a delay in the activity, and it was not until 2023 that the two organisations could join hands to make it happen. We are incredibly thankful to the church pastor, staff and brothers and sisters for all their efforts. Due to their hard work and partnership, the Barefoot Walk had a tremendous launch this year, kick-starting at the church. It also afforded participants an excellent venue for the anti-trafficking experiential activities. Rev. Ng Chi Hoi was kind enough to promote the event among his congregation and fellow churches… Everything speaks to their loving hearts for CEDAR and the poor, and we’ll forever be in debt.
We were all a bit hesitant about the post-pandemic re-launch of the Barefoot Walk, for we were unsure of CEDAR supporters’ response and willingness to rope in friends. At every prayer meeting and staff meeting, we would ‘report’ the number of registrations and volunteers to the Lord, praying that the Lord would move people to join. We are very thankful that more than 340 have registered and 297 have turned up (including some multi-year participants!). Thanks also go to participants who waited patiently for their turns to take off, delayed due to police restrictions on public rallies. On the other hand, there were 107 volunteers taking part (some of whom immediately said ‘yes’ when invited, and they then reached out to get their friends to volunteer, too). It’s really more than we could ask for. Our Lord has showed His graces by preparing our fellow companions to work together for the need
Besides Abounding Grace Baptist Church, their ‘neighbour’, Diamond Hill Baptist Church, also actively supported the Barefoot Walk. They sent volunteers, lent us resources and venue, and co-organised the second human trafficking experiential activity. Their pastors and members volunteered to play human traffickers who would exploit the participants. This is not easy for someone used to the way of the warm and cosy faith community. Thankfully, we have a group of CEDAR volunteers who are veteran ‘bad guys’. They and the new Baptist volunteers were crucial to the two experiential activities that allowed participants to not only understand human trafficking but also step emotionally into the shoes of victims. This is what affords participants a three-dimensional experience of human trafficking.
Of course, we have many more supporting organisations and volunteers whose enthusiasm and encouragement have become our motivation. We cannot thank them enough.
Although not being a key member of organising the Barefoot Walk, I have been helping mobilise churches and supporters and invite sponsors and volunteers. Throughout all these, I have seen how God’s grace has opened doors for us – with every registration and every commitment to promote, sponsor and co-organise. Such no-second-thought commitments are just heart-warming.
‘“Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty’. (Zechariah 4:6)
‘Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.