Missionary Stories

They Will Know That We Are Christians

Old Testament: Exodus 1:8–2:10
Epistle: Romans 12:1–8
Gospel: Matthew 16:13–20

God of life and of love, may the meditations of my heart, of my mind and of my spirit be acceptable and pleasing to you, and may they faithfully express the wisdom you have given to each one of us. In your Son’s name, we pray. Amen.

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“Break the Silence” – Hong Kong’s #Me Too Moment

For the past five years, Hong Kong Christian Council has been one of the few local Christian organizations willing to talk about sexual harassment in the church. As you can guess, it’s not a popular or easy topic to tackle. 

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Democracy and Diversity: Lessons From 27 Years in Hong Kong

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m writing this annual letter to you at about 30,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific on my way back to the United States for six months to speak in local churches, seminaries, universities, etc., about the work of Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) with the youth of Asia to build and nurture a movement that promotes peace with justice, or just peace, in the region. It’ll be my last journey like this one as I’ll be retiring on Aug. 1 after working for more than 27 years with several regional organizations in Hong Kong—Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and most recently ICF at the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY). This letter will be a bit different from my past letters to you as I not only want to share some of my recent work but also offer some reflections of what more than two decades of living and working in Asia have meant to me.

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Competing Ideologies

Since February, I’ve been on home assignment in the United States, speaking about the work of Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) in Asia and preaching in local churches. My travels have taken me to Ohio, Colorado, the state of Washington, Montana and Wyoming. I’ve also attended Global Ministries meetings in Cleveland and Indianapolis and took part in the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C., where a focus of our advocacy with the Senate delegation from Ohio was the current immigration crisis in our country and the uncompassionate way it’s being addressed.

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Walking with Refugees

June 2018

Dear Friends,

What a difference two years make.

In 2016, the Hong Kong Refugee Ministry Group published its first refugee pastoral care handbook in Chinese and English. The aim was to get more churches interested in serving asylum seekers and refugees in the community. Since asylum seekers in Hong Kong come primarily from South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the cultural gap with local Chinese presented a significant barrier.

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Winds of Change

It is winter in the south. Winter in the tropics is not decorated with snow or below-zero temperatures, but rather cool winds and beautiful sunshine graces the Pacific. For the people of the Pacific, especially in the south and central Pacific, winter is a time for celebration. This is because from November to April we have our cyclone season. During this time, we have excessive rainfall and floods, lots of landslides and rough seas resulting in many of our seafarers going missing at sea. In the month May our winter begins, and with it, gentle sunshine for cultivating new land and planting our yams and other root crops essential to the diet of Pacific islanders. It is also nice to have the cool breeze of the tropical Pacific lowering the heat.

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"Finishing the Work"

June 2018

Dear Family and Friends, new and old,

Time is moving quickly! In one month, I will leave the Philippines and return to the U.S. What an adventure it has been for me. Right now, I'm feeling a mixture of emotions including relief, fear, sadness, and nervousness about my next steps.

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Celebration of Life

Teruko’s funeral was like no other. She called it a “Celebration of Life” Her dream was to build a “blended community.” She wanted to bring people together from all walks of life, and to witness the birthing of something new. She had choreographed her own farewell party. She wanted us to wear bright dazzling colors, instead of the customary black mourning clothes. The rainbow was to be the symbol of our blended-ness. So there we were, all six-hundred of us, crammed into the limited space at the Aoi Church in Kyoto. We were there, not only to celebrate her life, but to celebrate life itself. At one point during the service, we joined in a responsive reading called “The Confession of Life." Death will not have the last word. Darkness cannot overcome the brightness of the love that we share. Pain, suffering and loss will not forever cloud the vision of hope that binds us. Together we declared our belief in LIFE, and the enduring power of God’s love for all living things.

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Eighty-eight Souls Lost in the Vast Pacific Ocean

The churches in the Pacific are standing beside the people of Kiribati (an island nation in the northern Pacific, south of Hawaii) in a very trying and painful moment in their maritime history. On January 18 the ferry MV Butiraoi (pronounce pushy-rah-o-ee) left the island of Nonouti (pronounce nor- nor –oush-ee) for the capital of Kiribati Tarawa. The ferry was carrying 72 adults, 13 high school students, and 10 elementary school children. None of the children survived the ordeal.

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Learning in the Philippines

Dear Friends, new and old, and Family,

I hope that you are doing well! I'm Lauren and I would like to invite you to learn about my journey here in the Philippines.

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