How Social Distancing Brought Us Closer
Four years ago after my baptism, I joined the Ngau Tau Kok Monthly Elderly Home Visitation hosted by Hope of the City. At the time, my father was diagnosed with end stage lung cancer and the doctor had said any infection would take his life. I was overwhelmed and scared not knowing how to deal with this news. My father was a stern and strict person, and though he did a lot for our family, our relationship with one another wasn’t good. I thought that by enrolling in this home visitation program, it might bring some light into my own situation.
One of the households we visited was the Sze family. Sometimes, I would share my visits with my dad to seek his advice on what topics to talk about that would encourage the family. One of Mr. Sze’s favourite topics was sharing about his hometown, Fujian, where tea is well-known. Mr. Sze loved giving out small packets of tea he had received from his relatives to different people. His wife was kind, and a few months into our visitation, she was baptised along with her daughter and grandson.
I would bring the small packets of tea I had received to my father and it would soften his heart. I enjoyed the home visitations to the Sze family and I felt my relationship with my father begin to improve. Miraculously, my father not only survived through that winter, but he lived two more years. I was grateful God had answered my prayers. However, the cancer began to act up again and I didn’t want to see my father suffer any longer, so I turned to God in prayer. I knew that what my dad needed most was not life but salvation. I desired to be with him in heaven someday, and God was good. My father received Christ in the very last hour of his life. Praise be to God for His grace and miraculous work in my father. This home visitation program did not just change my family but also the Sze family.
After a year following my father’s passing, Hong Kong was experiencing the impact of social unrest, commotions, helicopters, and tear gas which caused a lot of stress for so many of us. Surprisingly, our relationship with Mr. Sze’s family grew as we sent messages more frequently through the phone. While visits and outings continued, Mr. Sze’s family started getting tense and would grieve about his meaningless life and his loneliness. In our visits, Mr. Sze would vent to us about how troublesome his family members were and we would listen and show empathy. We prayed, but his circumstances would not change, and I could not help but wonder if we were waiting for God to act or if God was waiting for us to act.
When the protests seemed to have phased out, the Covid-19 pandemic took us by surprise! It was Lunar New Year and Mr. & Mrs. Sze were stuck in China unable to get back. Eventually when they finally returned home, they were, again, stuck in their small flat. It felt as if we were in a war zone, surrounded by protests, viruses, work, money, conflicts… like invisible bullets bombarding us every day. When our home visitations were suspended, we could only check in with the elderly over the phone. But Mr. Sze still continue to grieve and complain. Actually, for these few years, we had been sowing the seed of Gospel to Sze but he had never shown any interest. I couldn’t help but think if my continued passive empathy was doing any good for him. I missed my father’s advice but what I long for more is my Heavenly Father’s counsel.
One day, while talking with Mrs. Sze, her daughter cuts in. She was struggling to admit her hatred. Was not she and her mom Christians, why was God doing nothing? So, I proposed a special visit where we would bring Mr. Sze the Gospel but he would have to be alone in the house without any distractions. They agreed and so I made a PowerPoint presentation about Evangelism Explosion which I had learnt in Island ECC and we took turns to present the Gospel page by page. Surprisingly, Sze accepted God and agreed to follow us to recite the statement of Faith. I didn’t think we could finally reap after 4 years of sowing. I then invited him to pray. By his prayer I was assured God really did a wonderful thing!
A few days later, we held a small online meeting to follow-up. Posting encouraging scriptures, asking Mr. Sze out for tea break, and reading the gospel of Mark bit by bit on the phone every day were things we came up with. We have just finished the reading, but I believe God is not finished with His work. He calls us to be bold and courageous, to bring His light and hope to others. In spite of all the uncertainties we have now, I understand how blessed it is to have God in our life!