Hong Kong and Macau
Many of you will know that the country of China is deeply opposed to Christianity; in recent days more stringent laws have been passed to monitor religious activity. Hundreds of house churches have been closed, Christians have suffered severe persecution and children have been forbidden from attending church. All of this has made it impossible for Revival Movement Association to ship Gospel literature directly into China.
However, nothing is impossible with God and back in 2007 China Tourist Ministries was established in Hong Kong and a year later, its sister organisation, Blessed Journey, was established in Macau. Their aim is to distribute colourful bags of literature to tourists from mainland China who visit Hong Kong and Macau on holiday. Of particular attraction to these tourists are the many casinos, as gambling is forbidden on the mainland.
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory and former British colony in south-eastern China with a population of 7.2 million. Macau is a former Portuguese colony and is the gambling capital of the world. In 2006 it surpassed Las Vegas as the world’s largest gambling centre in terms of revenue. Both of these regions were returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but still retain comparative freedom so for the past number of years, Revival Movement Association has worked in partnership with China Tourist Ministries in both these regions, printing in particular the Gospel of John, “Pardon and Assurance” booklet, “Meet the King” and a selection of other tracts and booklets. These are then shipped out in six containers each year with each container holding approximately 200,000 copies of each item with a total weight of 22 tonnes of literature. Since its inception in Macau, China Tourist Ministries has distributed 4,600,000 bags; 150,000 Bibles and has followed up 46,000 people who expressed an interest in becoming a Christian.
On 21 November, David Megarry and Heather Mercer had the privilege of taking a team of nine people to work alongside China Tourist Ministries in Hong Kong and Macau. This was the first time Revival Movement Association had sent out such a team. The team members were Stewart Todd, Trevor Brown, Meredith Patterson, Adeline Jobb, Hasan Nas, Matthew Millar, Andrew Skelly, Emma Aiken and Victoria McDowell (ages ranging from early twenties to mid sixties).
The team was warmly welcomed by Aquila and Priscilla who co-ordinated their visit while they were there. The team’s main involvement was in making up the bags and then accompanying team members to various locations to distribute the literature. They were also involved in encouraging CTM staff through joint prayer and praise sessions as the staff of CTM have had a tough year with bereavements, sickness, etc. They devote every Wednesday morning to prayer, praise and ministry as you cannot be effective on the streets unless you have first encountered the Living God for yourself. The third area of witness was visiting the homes of some people who had come to know the Saviour as a result of reading the literature.
On the first day, the team travelled to Macau by ferry. Accompanied by members of Blessed Journey, they stood at the border crossing with China and in a matter of hours had distributed 3,200 bags with very few refusals. The border crossing is a busy place with thousands of people crossing each day - some who live in China but work in Macau, the many tourists who visit and Macau residents who cross into China to buy goods which are cheaper there. As the team members distributed the bags, they greeted people with the words “Yesu aigne” - “Jesus loves you!”
On the second day the group were back in Hong Kong and split into two teams; one team went to the Star Ferry pier and the other team went to Mong Kok train station where people cross back and forth into China. The CTM workers are very enthusiastic and before distribution begins they have a time of singing and praying in the open-air. This in itself is a powerful witness. The response in Hong Kong was not as good as Macau and there was competition from the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a Chinese cult. Nevertheless, 1,500 bags were distributed by one of the teams during a morning and 18 people requested follow-up that day.
Life in Hong Kong can be difficult. People have to work well into their 70’s because the rental price of property is so expensive. Indeed 60-70% of a person’s income goes into paying for their accommodation. This is in high-rise apartment blocks with families living in one small room with a toilet, small kitchen area and sleeping area. Very often life can consist of working and sleeping. The children, even young children, attend school from 8.00 am until 4.00 pm and then have a couple of hours’ homework in the evening.
This pressure leads to a very high rate of suicide amongst primary and secondary school age children. Life can be joyless and that is why many of their faces are expressionless. CTM hope that the bags of literature will open people’s eyes to their need of a Saviour.
It was a special pleasure to visit families who have come from mainland China and have come to know the Lord through the literature. One of the ladies visited lives on the roof of a high-rise building. There are six little illegal dwellings there. Her husband has left her and Mrs Chan lives with her daughter and son-in-law. Her son is a drug addict. Victoria and Adeline considered it was a real privilege to pray with this lady for the salvation of her son and a resolution to her housing problem.
Matthew, Emma and Heather visited Annie who has difficulty sleeping and concentrating. She has become a Christian and works part-time for CTM packing the literature into the bags. Outside the doors of the neighbouring apartments were little shrines seeking good luck from the residents’ ancestors. Again it was a privilege to pray for Annie and commit her and her husband to the Lord.
It was also a joy to meet Aquila’s grandmother. Aged 103, she trusted the Lord for salvation a few months ago and was baptised two weeks before the team’s visit!
CTM receive letters from people in mainland China who have been blessed by the literature. It is a big thing for Chinese people to write because generally they are people who keep their emotions to themselves.
All in all, the team’s visit was very beneficial to team members who had become familiar with the ministry of Revival Movement during their times of preparation for the visit, but then had the opportunity to see firsthand the literature being used and appreciated in another country. The CTM members also appreciated the visit and the help given both practically and prayerfully.
In terms of literature distributed, in Macau this year Blessed Journey has given out 600,000 bags up until the end of November (67,800 in November alone). In Hong Kong they have distributed 805,026 bags to the end of November (94,400 in November alone - 20,000 up on October).
A particular thrill for the team on their arrival home was to receive a message from one of the members of CTM. Stewart Todd had prayed with an elderly lady at the Star Ferry terminal. This lady has since begun attending the church of one of the CTM members. We trust that she will come to know the Saviour.
Quotes from team members:-
Stewart Todd - “Thank you for a great trip to Hong Kong. That team of Christians that we worked with were a great inspiration to us all. An unforgettable memory!”
Trevor Brown - “It has been great getting to know the work of RMA and then having the privilege of going out to the front line and being involved in distributing the literature.”
Heather Mercer and David Megarry
It is the intention of RMA to take further teams to work alongside China Tourist Ministries in Hong Kong and Macau. The trip will last for 10 days, will cost £1,250.00 and will take place during the middle two weeks of April 2019. Please contact us if you are interested.