Coming to the U.S. for home leave always brings mixed emotions. On the one hand, I have to leave behind my work and family in Hong Kong. On the other hand, I get the chance to reconnect with my work and family in America. That’s the reality for mission co-workers who live their lives in two continents on opposite sides of the world. It’s a privilege and a journey of discovery.
Since being back in August, I have traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast and to many cities in between. I have visited churches of all three supporting denominations – the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Presbyterian Church. On every occasion, I continue to be grateful for welcoming congregations, lovely host families, and the chance to share how together we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in this day and age.
One of the most striking things to me is that the problems facing Hong Kong society and the church are so similar to those in this country as well. Over and over, people have come up to me and said, “You know, we are facing those same things in America – divisions, polarization, conflicts. And we needed to hear your message that the church has to be united in Christ and by Christ in order to bring healing in the community.” I thank the Lord that we can connect through our stories, not only in pain and suffering, but also in the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The other thing that has been impressed upon me during this itineration is how God gives us so many opportunities to care for each other. Often it’s been through meaningful encounters with a church member or a new friend in the U.S. Other times it’s been through messages of encouragement back and forth from Hong Kong. Even the routine tasks carried out while being on the road for four months bring unexpected moments of grace. Through it all, I continue to see God’s goodness in providing us what we need to get through the day.
As I keep saying to myself and others, God brought me to America to teach me things I couldn’t learn in Hong Kong. And when home leave is over at the end of November, I trust God will send me back to Hong Kong with new energy and spiritual wisdom for the next term.
I close with a message I heard in the children’s sermon at First Presbyterian Church Green Cove Springs, Florida. Their teacher held a small globe and pointed out where they were living. Then she spun the globe around to China to show them how far I had come to be with them that morning. And her message was that we are all on mission for God, whether we are called to go to the other side of the world or to be right where we are in our own neighborhood. There is so much work that needs to be done everywhere. So let me again thank you for your support of our mission in Hong Kong, China through Global Ministries. Your hospitality, financial support, and prayers truly make a world of difference to millions. May God bless us all in the great privilege of being followers of Jesus Christ and in the amazing journey of discovery in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Judy Chan serves with the Hong Kong Christian Council. She is responsible for communications for the Council. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.