Written by: Maylin Hartwick (Leader of Harmony Baptist Church)
When one wants to reconcile with oneself, God’s intervention is indispensable as God transforms the life of a person. In the past few years, CEDAR has witnessed many encouraging testimonies of its partners. We saw how God healed the brokenness in the lives of the poor and exploited.
Harmony Baptist Church (HBC) is a friend of CEDAR. Like CEDAR, HBC is active in mobilising local believers to care for refugees, asylum seekers, domestic workers, and victims of human trafficking here in Hong Kong. Maylin, a leader of HBC, is going to share with us stories of women they have served and how God has intervened in their lives.
At Harmony Baptist Church, we know we have to focus on this important fact: We need to be serious followers of Jesus. We probably can’t do big things for God, but we can do little things with a LOT of love and a LOT of perseverance because of His Love for us. We focus on one precious soul at a time and pray that we would lead them to the knowledge of the One who is Mighty to save and to rescue them. It’s easy for us to look at people around us and think they are different than us, but we must discover the similarities we share and see how we all are desperate to belong, to be loved, and to be accepted.
Reaching Out into the Dark
Eva* was a young, insecure, and shy girl who started working for a company and was pursued by a persistent young man. After a few weeks, his mother started wooing her too and eventually she succumbed to the fervent romantic advances of this seemingly wonderful man. She had two children with him before she found out that she was not the “legal” wife. This wonderful man already had a wife and children before her and now those suspicious work travels made sense. In desperation to support her two children, she became more vulnerable to deception and she was trafficked into one of Hong Kong’s girly bars. During one of our Lost and Found outreaches, she desperately grabbed one of our church sister’s hand and said, “I want to leave this work, but how can I?” It was desperate prayers that bonded our team together to plead with God to rescue this woman from her plight. Eva was carefully led to see God’s plan for her life is to look to Him, not to change her poverty, but to see God’s purpose for her life is to glorify Him. We praise the Lord that He miraculously intervened in her life and helped her return to the Philippines and her children. Please pray for the many in Hong Kong who are in very similar situations and for those ministries trying to help them.
Compassion – Embracing Suffering
Rosie* came to Hong Kong as a domestic worker hoping to provide for her family back in the Philippines. This single mother of three already experienced sexual, physical, and mental abuse. She cried out to God on her first Sunday off that God would show her where to go in this new and confusing city. God heard her cry and she met someone from Harmony Baptist Church a few minutes later which started her journey to knowing God. She did not realise how much she needed God’s help until the grandfather in her employer’s house started sexually harassing her. She would come to church shivering from trauma until the day when her employer agreed to come and met Pastor Chris and I. She terminated her contract and God graciously provided a wonderful employer. Now, she worries for her three children who are being cared for by her parents. She is learning to trust God to protect her children from being abused and mistreated by their grandparents. God is to be trusted and Rosie continues to glorify and trust God through her suffering.
However, the beauty of when someone comes to realise that God can be trusted is that they rise from victims to victors! We are not here to tell people that when they come to trust and believe in Jesus that their circumstances will change. No, we are here to journey with them and say, “Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” He came to die, to save, to serve; and as followers, we also ought to take the risk to love, die to self, and to embrace compassion, “being willing to suffer with others” as Christ did.
In an effort to further reach out to people in desperate need, HBC is prayerfully seeking for God’s providence to open a shelter for women at risk soon. A group of concerned members of the church have also started a craft business – Lost and Found, to help support anti-trafficking efforts. For details, please visit http://www.facebook.com/hklostandfound
*Names are obscured