LGP Stories

Personal Stories from DMINLGP

VE Colleen Batchelder Hong Kong

Written by: on January 21, 2019

 

Introduction

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”[1]All of us have mulled through this question and dared to live a life of significance. We count the risk and drudge through the barriers that separate us from our victory. However, we bravely face trials because we know that there’s the promise of success around the corner – we understand that perseverance births purpose. As I stepped off the tarmac, I was greeted by a new Hong Kong – a culture that was facing the genocide of their traditions, customs, language, culture and freedom. Martin Luther King captured a nation and revealed his heartbeat through his deceleration, “I have a dream…”[2]He had a dream of equality because he had hope for humanity.

Transitions envelope nations daily – political upheaval and unrest face thousands of countries and dare to shake their foundation. However, individuals march because they have hope – they fight because they can hear the sweet sound of victory around the next battlefield. You see, the possibility of failure is always overshadowed by the pressing hope for victory – it keeps us in a stance of hope even in the midst of uncertainty. However, when failure becomes inevitable, people lose their ability to hope – they lose their ability to dream. As I came close and listened to the stories of Hong Kongers, I saw individuals without identity – I saw hearts without a home.

New Knowledge and Synthesis

Newport encourages us to make moments for deep work. He believes that you should, “Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.”[3]Hong Kong dared me to come close – to hear the cries, know the stories, understand the heartbeat and forever leave changed. Hong Kong challenged me to turn my attention away from my immediacy and be transformed by their influence.

Three years ago, I fell in love with this beautiful city – the people, the chaos, the language and the food. However, this year, I mourned the death of a city. I saw their scars and heard their fears. Similarities still encircled the people of Hong Kong, including rental costs, pressure to perform, lack of affordable housing, job scarcity and continuous pressure from mainland China. However, there was a sense of finality as I scanned the room – a sense of hopelessness.

When I first experienced Hong Kong, the Umbrella Movement was celebrating its first anniversary and Hong Kongers were excited to see what would occur next. However, as I spoke with some of the locals about the event, there was a sense of shame that overtook their countenance – a sense of grief that overshadowed their forced smiles and hospitable greetings.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post:

According to recent polling, public confidence in the “one country, two systems” rubric fell from 77 percent in 2008 to just 40 percent today. Furthermore, 40 percent of respondents identified themselves as “Hong Kongers” as opposed to “Chinese” or “Hong Konger and Chinese.[4]

During my time at the Vine Church, God revealed to me that Hong Kongers were being pressed; however, they are being pushed to the grace and freedom of Christ. I scanned across the vast array of every nation bellowing their praise and saw a generation of believers who were determined to rise from the ashes and stand in faith. In the midst of uncertainty, political upheaval, and transition, hundreds gathered together to lift up the name of Jesus.

Mainland China is marching into Hong Kong and demanding their allegiance; however, Christians, especially those in their twenties and thirties are rising up and standing firm. They know what’s coming, yet they still stand. According to Matthew Schmitz, columnists for Catholic Herald and senior editor for First Things Magazine revealed that, “A Catholic Church in Liangwang, China was demolished on Tuesday by government order. The altar and sacred furnishing were also destroyed.”[5]Protestant and Catholic churches are being bombed, closed and threatened by the Chinese government. This is why it was so powerful to hear the loud echoes of these young Hong Kongers praising God in the midst of upheaval. They know what’s coming and the trials that will befall them. However, their love for Christ has only become stronger.

Praxis

Frederick Buechnercoined the phrase, The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”[6]I feel called to Hong Kong – I feel called by the people, by their needs and by the Holy Spirit to kneel in prayer and stand in support. I’m currently working with Ellison, from The Vine Church to bring LOUD Summit to Hong Kong in the near future. We connected that Sunday and both of us were in awe at what God was doing. He prayed that morning and God kept giving him the word, conference.When we met at church, we were both amazed at God’s orchestration.

I’ll be reaching out to Nana and interviewing her for LOUD Conversations Podcast. My goal is to create an online community for young adults in Hong Kong that will encourage them and equip them as the governmental changes ensue. I will be working with The Vine and other churches in Hong Kong to form a community of support, prayer and resources.

Conclusion

Jess Yi, photographer and presenter, spoke with authority and drew us into her world – a place that was quickly changing and transforming before her eyes. She shared her sorrow and challenged us to see Hong Kong from her perspective. In a room filled with multiple races, ethnicities, languages and backgrounds, Jess asked us to remember her own culture. As I look back on my experience, my hope is that the culture, customs, traditions and voices of Hong Kong would be forever etched in my memory. I pray that it would be remember even when the coming changes threaten to erase its existence.

 

 

[1]“Robert H. Schuller Quotes,” www.goodreads.com, accessed October 14, 2018, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/73915-what-would-you-attempt-to-do-if-you-knew-you.

[2]Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have A,” www.archives.gov, accessed October 14, 2018, https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf.

[3]Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016), 191.

[4]Daniel W. Drezner, “Hong Kong Is Being Hit Hard by Weather and Politics,” www.washingtonpost.com, September 20, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/20/hong-kong-is-being-hit-hard-by-weather-politics/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bec7a6398a6c.

[5]Matthew Schmitz, “www.twitter.com,” https://twitter.com/matthewschmitz/status/1020485733025447937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1020485733025447937&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww1.cbn.com%2Fcbnnews%2Fcwn%2F2018%2Faugust%2Fchilling-china-takes-extre, July 20, 2018, https://twitter.com/matthewschmitz/status/1020485733025447937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1020485733025447937&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww1.cbn.com%2Fcbnnews%2Fcwn%2F2018%2Faugust%2Fchilling-china-takes-extre.

[6]“Frederick Buechner Quotes,” www.goodreads.com, accessed October 14, 2018, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/140448-the-place-god-calls-you-to-is-the-place-where.

 

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About the Author

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Colleen Batchelder

I speak at conferences, churches, companies and colleges on intergenerational communication, marketing, branding your vision and living authentically in a ‘filtered’ world. My talks are customized to venue needs and audience interests. My passion is to speak with organizations and bridge the intergenerational gap. I consult with companies, individuals, churches and nonprofit organizations and help them create teams that function from a place of communication that bridges the generational gap. I’m also the Founder and President of LOUD Summit – a young adult organization that presents workshops, seminars and summits that encourage, empower and equip millennials to live out their destiny and walk in their purpose. When I’m not studying for my DMin in Leadership and Global Perspectives at Portland Seminary, you can find me enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.

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