From Hong Kong to the Philippines // 從香港到菲律賓

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Philippines-to-hong-kong

從香港到菲律賓 – 體驗兩地和兩代的愛 / From Hong Kong to the Philippines – Experiencing the love between two places and two generations

在823人質事件後,開設了「香港愛! 我們仍然愛菲律賓人!」的Facebook專頁,數以千計的菲律賓人加入表示感激;在接著的星期日,二十多位年青人到中環送上祝福咭,向在港的菲律賓人表達愛,結果這個行動成了菲律賓的國家新聞,觸動了許多人的心。神一步一步的帶領,將簡單的祝福從香港帶到菲律賓,更將我們八個來自不同堂會、不同學校的年青人都帶了過去……

歸二零一零年十一月,嘗試到旅行社訂機票時,

「麻煩您,我想訂今年十二月十九至廿四日來回馬尼拉的機票,約十位乘客。」

「這日子去程航班很滿呀!而且請留意現在馬尼拉仍然掛有黑色旅遊警示!」

「嗯… 知道的。謝謝您。」

知道有警示、有風險,但更知道那在我們裡面的,比黑色旅遊警示更大!

出發:回家

出發當天,班機延誤了,兩位當地教會「Cathedral of Praise」(COP)的牧師就在馬尼拉機場等候了我們一個多小時。晚上十時半,我們終於抵達,一出閘便看見他倆以非常親切的笑容迎接我們八個從香港而來的小伙子,替我們搬行李,載我們到住宿的地方。那場景,就像見到久違了的家人一般。

我們這一代,許多人都是在菲傭姐姐的照顧下長大,您或您的兒女也是嗎?與當地一些年青人相聚時,言談之間有幾位提起他們的母親正是在香港工作。我問其中一位姊妹,「妳媽媽到香港工作多久了?」「二十二年。每年就只能在聖誕假期見一見面。」她今年二十三歲。

菲律賓從來就是跟我們如此貼近。823人質事件後,有人解僱菲傭、有人指責在中環聚集的菲傭姐姐,難道真的要如此劃清界線嗎?諷刺的是,營營役役的香港人似乎已漸漸將事件淡忘之際,一些菲律賓的牧者、在馬尼拉的警察或一些當地居民仍然懷著沉重的心情跟我們說「對不起」,盼望我們能夠度過傷痛。正當我們要求菲律賓給予一個交代、道歉的同時,神也給我們的牧者並整個團隊一個醒覺:我們實在受了菲律賓許多年「理所當然」的祝福,也許是時候反省一下自己的驕傲,謙卑地跟我們的家人說一聲「多謝」,說一聲「我愛您」。

可能是最沒有計劃的探訪

出發前,我們六日五夜的行程表近乎空空如也,只填了早上的位置:早餐和敬拜禱告。僅有的預備就是在當地派送的聖誕咭和小禮物,並希望到黎剎公園(823人質事件發生的地點)禱告。而透過牧者的搭橋鋪路,COP的一位牧師了解到我們好想向他們表達愛和復和,就悉心地給予我們不同的建議。結果,整個行程表的每一個細節我們都經歷到神親自的預備。

抵達次日,那位牧師帶了我們到黎剎公園,一片很闊、很開揚的草地。我們一邊行一邊問神我們要怎樣祈禱,直至我們看見兩個紀念碑:紀念1977年葛培理佈道大會(Billy Grahm Crusade)和2006年葛福臨佈道大會(Franklin Grahm Festival)。上面寫著,兩次佈道會均有數以萬計的人回應接受耶穌基督成為個人救主,並願意將生命交給神。我們又走到公園的中央,有一個菲律賓人物雕像,牌上記述了他的故事—-一個在十七世紀前赴日本宣教並殉道的故事。這個神大大作工、大大得著榮耀的地方,卻成了流人血的地方,使「愛」從兩地之間溜走。我們深深感受到要在那處認罪禱告,並要宣告復和、宣告復還這地方人民的喜樂、宣告復還神的榮耀,甚至是比先前更大的榮耀。

牧師又帶我們參與COP的大學生聖誕派對。他們為我們的緣故,特意將整個派對改為以英語進行。當我們連他們的名字也未記得時,已經被他們的愛和熱情所感動。我們人生路不熟,他們就在探訪期間常常與我們同行,打成一片,如同一人地經歷祂的「神蹟奇事」。

神感動他們帶我們去一個收費式兒童遊樂場。那裡十分熱鬧,從年幼到年長的人都有,我們分開小隊,向不同人送上笑容、擁抱、聖誕咭、小禮物,說聲「我愛你」、「神祝福你」,說聲 「Maligayang Pasko」(菲律賓語的「聖誕快樂」)。期間遇見一採訪隊,該記者表示他們正正就是在採訪關於人質事件,所以想訪問我們。我們心想:怎會有人走到兒童遊樂場採訪關於人質事件?不過深知道在神的手裡並沒有「湊巧」。我們致電給香港和COP的牧者,整個團隊同心禱告,彼此引證後便接受採訪。我們並不知道這個採訪將會帶來怎樣的影響,但深信只要我們將神所交附的一小塊拼圖砌好,神就會使萬事都互相效力,叫愛神的人得益處。

我們每天隨著不同的牧者和這群年青人,參與教會服侍、探訪家庭、到住宅區和商店食肆送上小禮物、為他們禱告、去馬尼拉警察總部與警察一起查經等等,我們深深體會到一件事:神帶我們到這個國家,並非叫我們「慷慨地」將愛或饒恕帶到這裡。事實是,在每一個我們接觸到的菲律賓人身上,即使只是在Jeepney(當地非常普及的交通工具)上的乘客,我們都更深地認識到何謂愛。

「從來沒有人見過神,我們若彼此相愛,神就住在我們裏面,愛他的心在我們裏面得以完全了。」(約一4:12)

早在出發以前,神就讓我們經歷祂的愛。

這次探訪,從預備到出發,從出發到回程,有許多位願意委身成就我們的夢想的上一代,包括我們的父母和牧者,提醒我們、協助我們、與我們一同承擔,甚至為我們「包底」。他們的擔心和提醒,我們還曾經驕傲地以為是上一代「攔阻」我們踏出信心的一步。很感謝神沒有讓我們自以為是地繼續向前衝,祂教導我們將頑梗叛逆的心轉向我們的父母。結果,在出發前我們可以坦誠分享、認罪禱告,並在探訪期間每天分享最新消息和需要,好叫我們有強而有力的遮蓋。感謝神,讓我們真實體驗兩代的愛和同行,亦感謝一位為我們守望的您!願一切榮耀予我

們的阿爸父!

After the 823 hostage incident, there was a Facebook page called “Hong Kong love! We still love Filipinos!”.  Thousands of Filipinos joined to express their gratitude; the following Sunday, over twenty youngsters gave out greeting cards in Central, showing their love to the Filipinos who resided in Hong Kong. This action became a piece of national news in the Philippines, touching many people’s hearts.  Through the step-by-step guidance by God, not only simple blessings were brought from Hong Kong to the Philippines but also us – a group of eight young people from different churches and different schools…

November 2010, we tried to book air tickets through a travel agency:

“Excuse me, I want to book tickets to Manila on December 19th and returning on the 24th for about ten passengers.”

“Flights are really full on these dates! And please be aware of the black travel warning that is still currently placed on Manila!”

“Yah… I know.  Thank you.”

We knew that there was a warning, there were risks, but we also knew more clearly that what was inside us was bigger than the black travel warning!

Departure : Returning Home

On the day of departure, the flight was delayed.  Two pastors from the Filipino church “Cathedral of Praise” (COP) waited for us at the airport in Manila for more than an hour.  At 10:30pm, we finally arrived.  Once we went into the arrival hall, we saw their very warm smiles welcoming the eight of us from Hong Kong.  They helped us with our luggage and drove us to where we were staying.  That scene almost seemed like a reunion of long lost family members.

Many people of our generation were brought up by Filipino maids; you or your children included?  At gatherings with the local young people, some of them mentioned that their mothers were working in Hong Kong.  I asked one of the sisters, “How long has your mom been working in Hong Kong?” “12 years.  We only see each other once a year during the Christmas holiday.” She is 23 this year.

The Philippines has always been very close to us.  After the 823 hostage incident, some people fired their Filipino maids and some accused the Filipino maids who gathered in Central.  Was it really necessary to draw such a line of division?  Ironically, while the busy Hong Kong people were slowly forgetting this incident, there were some pastors in the Philippines, Manila police or some local residents who said with a very heavy heart “sorry” to us, hoping that we could overcome the pain.  While we demanded for an account and an apology from the Philippines, God was providing our pastor and the whole group with a revelation: we had been “taken for granted” a blessing from the Philippines for many years; maybe it was time to reflect on our pride and humbly say to our family “thank you” and “I love you.”

Perhaps the visit with the least planning ever

Before we departed, there was nothing on our agenda for this 6-day trip except for the morning: breakfast, worship and prayer.  Our only preparation was the Christmas cards and little gifts to be given out when we get there.  We also hoped to pray at the Rizal Park (where the 823 hostage incident took place).  Through the connection and communication by the pastors, a pastor at the COP understood that we really want to express our love and reconciliation, so he thoughtfully gave us various suggestions.  In the end, we witnessed how God had personally prepared for us every single detail of our entire agenda.

The day after our arrival, that pastor took us to the Rizal Park, which was a very wide and very open lawn.  While we walked, we kept asking God how He wanted us to pray until we saw two monuments: in honor of Billy Grahm Crusade 1977 and Franklin Grahm Festival 2006.  The monuments recorded that there were tens of thousands of people who responded and accepted Jesus as their savior and were wiling to give their lives to God at each of the festivals.  We walked to the middle of the park.  There was a statute of a Filipino and the sign below it described his story – a story about someone who went to preach in Japan and was martyred in the 17th century.  This land, where God had done great work and was greatly glorified, became a land where people have shed blood, causing “love” between the two lands to slip away.  We deeply felt that we needed to confess and pray at the place of the incident and announce reconciliation, announce the restoration of joy to the people of this land, and announce the restoration of God’s glory, which became greater than it was before!

The pastor also brought us to the COP university students’ Christmas party.  Because of us, they purposely used English as the language of communication for the entire party.  Even when we were struggling to remember their names, we were already so touched by their love and warmth.  As we were not familiar with directions in this foreign city, they often joined us during our visit and we all became one, as if we were experiencing His “miracles” as one single unit.

God guided them to bring us to a paid playground.   It was very lively there.  There were many people, from kids to the elderly.  We split  up into small groups, giving different people smiles, hugs, Christmas cards, little gifts, “I love you,” “God bless you,” and “Maligayang Pasko” (which is “Merry Christmas in Filipino).  During this, we met a team of reporters.  One of them told us that they were just reporting about the hostage incident so they wanted to interview us.  We thought: why would someone interview about the hostage incident in a playground?  But we knew that this was no coincidence in God’s hands.  We phoned Hong Kong and the pastors at COP and prayed as a team, sharing our testimony before we accepted the interview.  We did not know what effect would this interview bring but we believed that as long as we put the little piece of jigsaw puzzle that God has given us in the right place, God would then cause everything to work together, benefiting the people who loved God.

We followed different pastors and a different group of young people every day, participating in the servicing at churches, visiting families, giving out little gifts at residential areas, shops and restaurants, praying for them, joined the policemen at the Manila police headquarter for a bible study etc.  These all made us realize one thing: God brought us to this country, not for the purpose of asking us to “generously” bring love and forgiveness here.  The truth was, from everyone whom each of us had encountered, even the passengers on Jeepney (a very common local public transportation), we learned more clearly what was love.

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

Long before we departed, God had already let us experience His love.  During this visit, from preparation to departure, from departure to our return, there were many members of the previous generation who were willing to work towards fulfilling our dreams, including our parents and the pastors: to remind us, to help us, to share the burden with us and even to underwrite for us.  We had once arrogantly treated their worries and reminders as a blockage from the previous generation to our first confident step forward.  We were grateful that God had not let us self-centeredly rush forward into the unknown.  He taught us to redirect our rebellious hearts back to our parents.  The result was that before we departed, we could honestly share our feelings, confess and pray and share the latest news and needs every day during our visit, so to let us have a strong and powerful shelter in our parents.  We thank God for letting us experience the love and unity between two generations and we thank God for always looking out for us!  May all glory belong to our Father God!

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