Visiting Hong Kong in 2018 with my wife, after Cape Town in 2017 and previously being missionaries in Botswana and Zambia 2009-2011, was something I always hoped we could accomplish. I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the Hongkonger culture. This ethnographic post is my story from the 2018 Face-to-Face Advance with my Leadership and Global Perspectives (LGP) class. Personal interest, new knowledge, practice, and application are the key themes I will reflect on and show examples of learning synthesis.
The people that God put before me were the source of my greatest personal interest. I instantly connected with Nana Lam’s Chinese accent, big smile, and genuine reflection of Christ in a Communist environment. Following Nana on our field trips outside of the security of the Panda Hotel felt like we were all a bunch of small baby ducklings following their mama across streets, into alleys, and down escalators into the belly of Hong Kong to travel on the underground railways. The best part of our conversations with Nana was sharing Christ and talking about her hopes and dreams for her Christian ministry. We presented the Armor of God (AOG) coin to her and could tell right away that she connected with the message behind the coin, the message of wearing Christ as the full armor of God that Paul described in Ephesians 6:10-18. We were now spiritually connected in a common ministry cause, to successfully defend against spiritual attack while advancing the Kingdom of God.
Sharing the AOG coins (Hong Kong contextualized) with members of LGP 7, 8, and 9 during the 2018 Advance energized my call, cause, and challenge. During the next 10 days the Holy Spirit presented numerous chances in a variety of situations to share the AOG coin artifact to help others both understand and withstand the evil schemes of the devil. Overall, I felt much more at ease arriving at the 2nd year LGP advance and quickly reconnected with my Elite Eight cohort. I love my 8’s!
On Day-2 of the Advance Dr. Jason Clark challenged LGP 7-9 students to learn how to measure their leadership. He said the “spirituality of measuring” is about knowing how to initiate, move forward, and measure what is growing in your ministry.  I really connected with his statement, “Being a leader in not the same as the measure of what happens. They are related, but they are not the same.” I had an ah-hah moment when Dr. J described how our individual ministries are like an “emulsion” that must be shaken-up to create the right ministry mix and spiritual consistency. My goal is to add Christ into my ministry emulsion and like Dr. Clark says, “How well do we participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ?”
Pierre Bayard and Linda Elder are two previous LGP authors that influenced my 2018 Advance reflections the most. Elder helped recharge my critical thinking practice, GFU staff and HK ministry speakers stretched my doctoral strategy, and local Hongkongers inspired my global leadership viewpoint. My emotional responses to the Advance lectures and presentations ranged from awe, distress, irritation, and identification. Bayard’s techniques on connecting multiple books, authors, and ideas helped me manage my reactions by maintaining a bird’s-eye viewpoint, reading around the issues, and maintaining a peripheral watchtower over the Advance.
My cross-cultural leadership experiences in Hong Kong included vertical living, Cantonese Baptist church with United Nations style translations, and Saint Stephens Society with addictive victims recovering in a Christian environment full of love and grace helped create in me moments of focused reflection, questioning, problem solving, reasoning, and communicating.
Since the 2018 Advance I started practicing what Dr. Clark calls “mapping.” He says maps can superimpose and overlay images, changes, progress, and provides a “partial interpretation on how to get from here to there.” I think this image of the Walled City is a good example of how the seeds of ministry planted by Jackie Pullinger and her ministry team at St. Stephens can change the map for Hong Kong. We shared over 200 HK AOG coins with Pullinger’s volunteers to use in their ministry. Please pray that the message behind the coin help holds back the dragon and provides the recovering victims of addiction find ways to withstand and overcome the schemes of the devil. The AOG coin ministry is my lived theology that give me map overlays to look at, relates to, and interprets the spiritual world. During the next two years with LGP8 I pray for spiritual wisdom, discernment, and courage to help Christian leaders both understand and withstand spiritual warfare, so they can prepare their congregations to do the same.
The Advance confirmed to me that the AOG artifact, message, and application to both understand and withstand spiritual warfare works. In just a few days, the AOG coin ministry message to put on the full armor of God was shared with LGP 7-9, staff, support, and a local ministry in Hong Kong. See a few below in the photo who are now wearing the full armor of God. Each life touched tells a “I wonder” story about someone who received the AOG message and HK AOG challenge coin. Where will God move next?
My post briefly focused on how the 2018 Face-to-Face Hong Kong Advance influenced my LGP interest, knowledge, practice, and application. In short, I am ready to be “observational” and extend the “touch” of Christ to those in need. Lord, please help me “initiate and procreate” my leadership in and through you as my goal to know God and reflect Christ continues. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10).
Bayard, Pierre. How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. Kindle ed. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2010.
Elder, Linda, and Richard Paul. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Kindle ed. Tomales, CA: The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2009.
Pullinger, Jackie. Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens. Ada, MI: Chosen Books, 2007