After my graduation in 2015, I decided to offer my first year of work life to God by serving in the North East Chinese Methodist Churches as a part-time intern. And now, I am still here – working full-time in Durham.
In the past few years, the Durham church has grown steadily from 12 members to around 30. We have run Chinese Christian student fellowship, Alpha, Bible study, discipleship training, youth tutorial classes, youth fellowship, Sunday services, and occasionally some Chinese events! My wife Gisela and I have had students over for meals. I have enjoyed spending time in fellowship with friends, taking part in Christian events and preaching regularly in local Methodist churches. I have developed a routine; a way of life that I am used to.
But suddenly, there was the pandemic, followed by lockdown. Everything began grinding to a halt. It was a time of disconnection for me when Christian gatherings were not permitted. It was a time of distress for me as I felt, sometimes, that people in public were engaging with me differently because of my ethnicity. It was also a time of distraction for me, as the new security law sparked protests in Hong Kong, where my friends and family were affected by it hugely.
Christians say that ‘God is with us’, but how can we be sure of this? During lockdown, I began doubting the goodness of God. I also realised that the love inside me was fading away. The further away I wandered from God, the less God’s love filled my life.
One day, a friend sent me a video clip about prayer, and a sentence hit me: “A Christian without prayer is a weak Christian; A church without prayer is a weak church.” The sentence snapped me out of my daze. God is always with me, but the question is, am I with God? I cried out to God and said sorry for focusing on what I was doing rather than on people, and on Jesus. Having a strong personal relationship with Jesus is the most important element for me as a Christian. It is the intimacy with Jesus that I long for, not merely Christian practice.
Fortunately, no Christian is to struggle alone. I am grateful to have Gisela and my faithful friends as we support each other in our faith journey. They add fuel to my passion and it is a joy to take part in running events online and to share about Jesus with others.
This is an exciting period in which I am learning to serve and be served, to love and be loved in a fresh way, and hopefully in God’s way.
Rocky is the Stand-By-Me Project Coordinator for the Methodist Church in Durham. He supports the Chinese Fellowship in the North East, offering student ministry and church community for the Chinese communities of Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Durham. To find out more about Chinese Fellowship in the Methodist Church, click here.