Western Territory team experiences Army in a different culture.
by Christin Davis –
A summer service corps team of five—sent from the USA Western Territory to Hong Kong—experienced the breadth of Salvation Army ministry during their six-week stay.
Arriving in mid-June, the mission team spent time visiting elderly homes, schools, street sleeper shelters and corps, both to share and to experience Christ’s love.
“The team has adjusted themselves, becoming Hong Kong people,” said Divisional Commander Major Tony Ma, who coordinated the team’s visit. “They have demonstrated Christian witness in many atmospheres. For me, their mission has been well done.”
The team conducted meetings at elderly centers in Kam Tin, Kei Lok and Hoi Fu—relating God’s power and love with residents.
The William Booth Secondary School welcomed the team for interaction in English with students of varying levels.
“The students were eager to learn about our culture,” said service corps team member Kari Kilwein. “This being my first trip out of the country, I enjoyed sharing my life with them and hearing about theirs in exchange.”
The team ran a five-day English day camp at the Army’s Chan Kwan Tung Kindergarten with over 100 children, ages 3-6, focusing on God’s creation.
“You have to be ready—with cultural barriers and language differences—you have to be ready for whatever is put before you at that present moment,” said team member Meghan Desplancke. “We learned to be flexible and always ready to serve.”
At the Kowloon Central Corps, the team participated in programs for teens, junior soldiers and women, women’s camp in late July, and the corps’ four-day summer camp for 50 children ages 6-12.
The camp focused on teaching and encouraging conservationism and protection of our world, and included field trips to Hong Kong’s Wetland Park and Ocean Park.
“Pollution is a hot topic in Hong Kong,” said Joyce Yuen, a soldier at the Kowloon Central Corps and one of the camp’s organizers. “We want to help these kids realize the creation of God is good but is easy to destroy—protecting it is much harder but must be done.”
Service corps team member Jackie Raihl said, “Salvationists here are passionate and relentless in their effort to better the world around them.”
While in Hong Kong, the group also participated in the commissioning and ordination ceremonies, the tenth anniversary of the city’s hand-over to China, the third anniversary of the Hong Kong Island East Corps, an Army joint schools graduation, the Chan Kwan Tung Kindergarten graduation and the Shek Wu special education school graduation.
“There’s a strong sense of family at the corps in Hong Kong,” said service corps member Nikole Lim, “I felt very much a part of that family.”