One of the greatest things about the Vine Church in Hong Kong is there ministry among asylum seekers. Hong Kong is a hub, so many people come here without documentation having, for whatever reason, fled from their native country. They get put in detention, released, but wait while there case is assessed in the hope of being able to go to another country on refugee status. One guy at church, a Kiwi, decided one day to do a prison visit to some of them. This opened the door, as on release, he came to church. Now there are over 350 of them at the Vine. They have mid-week services for them; African, SEAsian, and Nepalese. I had the privilege yesterday of preaching to over 100 of them.
It is astonishing how hungry they are for God. NZ is a spiritual wasteland compared to them (if comparisons are fair). We are cynical, skeptical and reticent spiritually. Whereas they pray with genuine fervor, pouring their hearts out to God, worshiping without restraint, crying out to God in joy and suffering, we sit back and critique the music and the preacher.
I did a sermon on Mark in which I led into Mk 1:14-15 with an account of a world of war and vying for power. I talked about how this was Israel's history as well. I then talked about Messianic expectations, Caesar and how the whole world was based on power through force, status, wealth etc. I then went through Mark talking about how Jesus turned the world upside down. The received it with great joy. I was blessed.
Instead of a prayer session, we then had a question and answer time. It was amazing as the Africans asked me questions about sin, the Spirit, God, Jesus, sexuality, alcohol and more. It was a privilege and honour. I could have talked with some of them into the night. They are so hungry for God, so desperate for him.
It made me think of NZ. We need to rediscover our passion. It can't come through engineering, it must come through the Spirit. I believe it will start with repentance for our attitude. We are not fervently living the Christian message. We have lost our desperation. We are in a poor perilous spiritual state, we need to rediscover Jesus.
The stories they told me we horrendous. One man had seen his father cut in pieces, his 6 sisters and brothers murdered. He had escaped. He had got into Uganda and from there to Hong Kong. He is a brilliant young man, 21 years old. I mentioned Jesus' forgiveness, and he said that he had forgiven the man who had come to his family and apologised!!!!!!!! He is hoping to go to Moody College in the USA if he can get asylum and a means of transport. A friend from Uganda will set him up.
These men and women are bright. There are great leaders among them. they need training. The need people who will sit with them and guide them. They are hungrier than any Christians I have ever seen in NZ.
God is doing great things in the Vine, in Hong Kong, China and Asia... Praise the Lord. Let us western Christians get on our knees, repent of our faithlessness, our reticence, our fear, our prayerlessness, our cynicism, our skepticism, and rediscover the passion of Christ. Only then will the things we dream for start to happen. Come Holy Spirit.