Angels in Hong Kong

05 Nov, 2014 | Hong Kong
OM International
OM Hong Kong?s Companion Ministry aims to bring the love and compassion of Christ to societys forgotten and despised.
How do women end up in tiny brothels, their dreams dashed, their futures dim, their souls drained? There are as many stories as there are women, but there is ultimately one redemption for all: forgiveness and power to change, which comes from Jesus Christ. That journey most often begins with a companion to guide along the way. That’s the heartbeat of OM Hong Kong’s Companion Ministry.

Many women in mainland China hold to a fantasy of marrying men from Hong Kong who will guarantee them wealth, freedom, luxury and security. Reality is different: their Prince Charming seldom delivers and cultural incompatibilities are enormous.

Divorce is widespread, and with it, great shame for these women who legally cannot return home. They are forced under great financial burdens to care for their children and to send money back to their parents. There is little other work that will provide for this burden. A waitress earns one-third to one-sixth the income of a sex trade worker. For some, it is ‘just business’ as they invest their income in property, insurance, stock markets etc. But for most, the shame of such ‘work’ keeps them from seeking an escape.

Lily* has been divorced twice and has four children. Three of them live with her parents in mainland China; one lives with her in Hong Kong. The ministry team was at first surprised to hear Lily confess her faith in Christ. She regularly attends a church but would never be able to talk about her life or past. She seldom dares to pray, out of her shame. She felt that her financial burden was insurmountable and that she had no options.

The team would meet with Lily to pray together and urge her to seek God for help to be free from her work. Six months later, she left the sex trade and now works as a housekeeper. Clearly she cannot earn enough to meet her obligations, but she is trusting God for her future.

Lily’s story holds promise but also tough realities. Financially, her savings will run out—what then? How can she hold steadfast to her escape from her past? Spiritually, she leads a bi-polar life, attending a church and yet never being able to confess and be delivered from guilt and shame. She calls those on the Companion Ministry team ‘angels’ for bringing her hope. And she encourages women everywhere to pray for women like her.

Ministering to society’s forgotten and despised is tough, costly, stretching—and worth it. While the Companion Ministry needs women from anywhere who speak Chinese, the answer lies within local churches, where there are tens of thousands who could choose to step out in faith and love these neglected women.

Pray that their eyes would be opened to love ‘the least of these’ and that the church in Hong Kong will become known for its compassion, care and commitment for sex trade workers who otherwise have no hope.

Prostitution is not ‘the world’s oldest profession’. Worshipping and reflecting God is. It is time for God’s people everywhere to help these women return to the latter.

 

* Name changed

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OM exists to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.


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