Witnessing in Hong Kong and beyond
Church members gather in a school auditorium, singing worship songs in both Cantonese (the mother tongue for most people in Hong Kong) and Mandarin. The Chinese languages share a script that contains thousands of characters. Through the internet and the globalization of church music, people who can’t read the script can now find a translated version of the songs to understand and sing along.
While many churches in the region abandoned online services as pandemic restrictions eased, Agape Mennonite Church in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, continues to record and stream their services on Facebook.
“Some of our members have moved overseas in recent years. Sometimes they join our Sunday services so they could worship in their own language, and they join our Zoom Bible study too,” says Esther Choi, Global Youth Summit delegate from Hong Kong.
As the population of Hong Kong ages, the church is also affected: some church members are not physically able to come to church. “Making our worship services available to them is our way to let them know that we remember them and are praying for them,” says Jeremiah Choi, the congregation’s pastor and MWC regional representative for Northeast Asia.
“He made no distinction between us and them,” says youth pastor Leung Tak Kwan, preacher of the day, quoting Acts 15:9. While the passage counsels not to discriminate against the Gentiles (who have received Christ but not followed the Jewish traditions), the same advice pertains to who are those too ill to take public transport to church, are in hospital or simply miss their friends after leaving Hong Kong.
Regardless of location or physical challenges, with virtual services, the Word of God and the fellowship continue.
Hong Kong is facing a challenging period: government restrictions on religious activities may increase; an exodus from the working population leaves some industries with staff shortages; and church members are divided regarding politics.
But those at Agape Mennonite take comfort from lyrics they sang that morning, Won’t Give Up:
Afflictions may come, we won’t grow weary.
Wasting away, we will not lose heart
All these troubles one day soon will pass
Eternal glory will be our reward
About MWC national member church: the Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong
The Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong consists of three Mennonite congregations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China that is home to 7 million people. Following Mennonite Central Committee relief work with mainland Chinese refugees in the 1950s and North America mission workers starting in the 1960s, the church was officially established in 1985.