By Global Mission Fellow Hollace Chai (Ace)
Hello all! Wow it has already been a month since I came to the Philippines. Today when we were reviewing the history of Harris during the anniversary service, I felt so grateful for God’s wonderful work here, as well as his lead to bring me here to get this share of joy and happiness from Harris. After a month, I really feel at home, to be here surrounded by fresh air, smiling girls and lovable staff. The past month has been very fruitful and which I want to share with my church and my friends. And I wish all of you are having a refreshing semester break with your families and friends.
In this message, I would like to share something about some cultural difference I experienced here that has opened my attitude. The place where I come from, Hong Kong, is a hustle and bustle city. People walk in great speed. We seldom wait. We manage our schedule, plan ahead for hourly activities, and have most control of our lives because of resources that are so readily availablee due to the convenience of the transportation, infrastructure, and social facilities. Some people say Hong Kong is a nice place for work, but not for living. I actually quite agree. We have a kind of workaholic mentality, for example, people are proud to be busy, occupied, multi-tasking and efficient. We always expand our 24- hours a day into double and multiple ways. We often say this term: time is money. And therefore, a lot of citizens sleep less and overwork, trying to seize every opportunity to work or to find entertainment. In Hong Kong, many shops open 24 hours a day. It is so hard for people in our city to stop, wait, and think.
So, when I came here, I first felt strange and even odd to tackle things with huge gaps of time – sometimes due to weather, traffic, lunch break, or merely waiting for somebody. But from time to time, I began to appreciate this unpredictability of life, noting that these gaps are actually gifts from God that can help us look more at surroundings, engage with people, and have daily surprises. Here, we are never unprepared, but at the same time, we are not fully planned. We can provide spaces for God’s work to be done and fulfilled when we do not perceive full control of our time. Like the story of Samaritan, busyness can actually be an unhealthy signal leading to selfishness and negligence of people in need. When we are so sure about one thing ahead that we have to do, we may ignore the greater signs that God has shown us. As the Bible says, we gain strength from stillness. It is good that now I start to admire the beauty of stillness. It is also a good tuning for me ahead to keep my mind open to the future learning here. Looking forward to seeing you after I come back from language school one month afterwards!