Finding My VoiceJuly 27, 2009
The first time I lived in Hong Kong was 1986. I studied at a local university for a year and volunteered teaching English part time in a Christian vocational school. Classes at the vocational school were large, around 40 students per class, which is average for Hong Kong. I tried to be creative as possible – I remember teaching them to sing Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" with some success. But for the most part, teaching in Hong Kong was frustrating. The students were bored with English lessons and I didn't feel I was very good at the job.
I hadn't been in front of a classroom since that time. Then last year, I got an invitation from the HK Church of Christ in China to lead a class on English communications for ministers. The idea was to give their clergy more confidence in using English to lead prayers, give devotions and even to preach. While most ministers use Chinese in their daily work, they have many opportunities to use English – with international visitors, at overseas conferences and for further study. It's definitely a necessity in the ecumenical world.
After 15 years in English communications at Hong Kong Christian Council, I realized I do know something about this field. I wouldn't call myself an 'expert' but I have a passion for excellence in communicating the Word of God, whether it's in the pulpit, over the radio or in a magazine.
So, I accepted the invitation. I called the course "Finding Your Voice", with a double meaning. The participants would learn how to express themselves in the best English possible. But even deeper, Christian communication is really about training our Voice to carry the Word of God from one heart to another.
The workshop was a wonderful experience. The participants were an interesting mix of new seminary graduates and seasoned pastors. I was greatly impressed with their enthusiasm and talent. We had a lot of fun together. The course was such a success that we repeated it this spring with a new group of ministers.
In May I got another request. This time it is was to teach an English class for young adults who would be hosting a regional Christian conference this summer. Though the content was different and the class much larger, I still felt a sense of joy in watching the students discover their own gifts. They are great ambassadors for Christ and the Hong Kong Church.
A decade after the 1997 handover, Hong Kong is working hard to remain competitive and relevant on the world scene. Language skills are a big part of that – whether it's using Cantonese Chinese for Hong Kong, Putonghua Chinese for mainland China, or English for the rest of the globe. Young people in the work force are expected to be competent in all three. In such a challenging environment, Christians cannot afford to fall behind.
I hope to continue offering English workshops for the Hong Kong Church according to the demand. Whatever course is offered, my goal is always the same – to bring out their unique voice as Christian professionals with experiences and perspectives that only they can share. As they get their message out to the world, surely they reveal the depth and breadth of God's spirit at work in their lives and in the body of Christ.
What a blessing!
In the peace of Christ,
Judy Chan is a missionary serving with the Hong Kong Christian Council. She is responsible for communications for the Council. She is also in charge of ecumenical radio broadcasting ministry, English publications and ecumenical partnerships in Hong Kong and overseas.
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