Pray for Hong Kong
May 20, 2018
Due to the cancellation of the Mainland China trip, I was able to spend more time meeting and listening to pastors and church leaders in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is an affluence city and the number of millionaires is steadily growing. However, this is only one side of the story. Many Hong Kong people see the tremendous growth of their assets, but mainly counting the rocket-growing real estate they own. The average real estate price has grown to about US$2,560 per square foot. It means that a 1,000 square feet apartment (and actual accommodation area is 80% after minus 20% shared area like the space of the elevator) costs US$2.56 million! This is why Hong Kong has become the city of the world’s most unaffordable housing, way beyond Sydney, Vancouver and New York. Yes, there are super rich multimillionaires in Hong Kong and they are mainly owners of businesses and company executives. If you are startup professionals, you are facing much difficulty to buy an apartment especially that you have to first pay 20-30% deposit to apply for a mortgage. Using the same example above, you need to pay a 30% down payment of US$768,000, or for a more humble apartment of 500 square feet US$384,000 before you set aside your income to pay the monthly mortgage. How about those who already have an apartment (very few Hong Kong people owe a house) which is the situation of the majority middle class of the city. They are the lucky ones but if they have children, they then either expect their adult children to stay with them even they get married, or they sacrificially offer to provide their retirement assets to help their children to pay the down payment of their apartment – and quite a struggle if you have several children to help. “We are struggling with this reality! We work the whole life to contribute to the society and now our children see no hope for their future!” – a common frustration I heard during my visit. It is even more staggering that 20% of residents of Hong Kong live in poverty! The Hong Kong Government has increased different kinds of relief programs to help the situation. NGO and churches like our partner the American Baptist Mission Hong Kong Swatow Baptist Church Community Service Association (ABMSBC) has expanded the Food Bank and outreach programs to help the grassroots community.
IM Executive Director/ CEO Sharon Koh came to Hong Kong the last week of May. I arranged meetings for her to listen and dialogue with pastors and church leaders. Sharon also visited the ABMSBC community and youth center and the Moon Lok Kindergarten. We also visited the Amity Foundation Hong Kong office to learn the development of their programs in Mainland China. We were privileged to meet with Mr. Hong Ping Choy, the Managing Director of the New World Construction Company, which is one of the big four construction companies in Hong Kong. Mr. Choy is a Christian with special calling and vision. He has developed a Family Caring Circle in the company to provide Christ-like care for their staff and workers, and those of their contract companies. Sharon and I were touched by their genuine heart to love, and their enthusiasm and creative mind to find ways to meet the needs and to raise the life quality of their cared community. I have been in the WhatsApp group of the Circle and I provided a conflict transformation training to their members in this visit. I also provided a life and ministry strategic planning training for the pastors of the Celebrate Life Baptist Church and their network churches.
Pray for Hong Kong and the churches. The churches served the city in very difficult time in the 1960’s and God is calling them to do the same. Pray for God’s wisdom how IM can be faithful partner with them in this journey.
Top picture: Meeting with Swatow church leaders.