Youth + Community
By Rev Andrew Tsang
July 9, 2023
What does “Youth + Community” make you think of? Youth and community? Or young families testifying the Lord in the community? We all care about society. But is it good enough just to care with the heart? Is there enough direct contact with the community? Shouldn’t believers give more thoughts to understanding and considering the needs of different people in the community? All along, the young adults of the NPAC family have the needs of society at heart. Rain or sunshine, they have visited the underprivileged in the community during the pandemic! Nevertheless, at the mention of young families, many previously dedicated believers would suddenly become silent. Young couples are like the slashie. They play various roles as working young adults/ministry leaders/parents/children, etc. They are subject to immense pressure in life explorations and struggles. Moreover, society has extremely high expectations for parents. How then could these young couples have time and energy? Still, this is not necessarily so!
Care begins with seeing and empathizing. It is just like the good Samaritan in Luke 10 who “when he saw him, he took pity on him.” After that, he “went…bandaged…put…brought…took out denarii….” He also promised to reimburse the innkeeper for any extra expense he might have. Jesus turned the question from the expert in the law “Who is my neighbor?” into “Who was the neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” That was to help the expert in the law understand that the one who takes the initiative to be merciful to others is a neighbor. Then, Jesus told him: “Go and do likewise.” One night, I went to buy something just before the mall closed. Not only did several aged salespeople not rush to close the shop but they even proactively introduced the products to me and patiently found out the differences among the products. The Heavenly Father reminded me that the most basic care begins with one’s own community or circle.
Young families live in their community every day of their lives but the pressure from society causes the accumulation of a lot of emotions. In busy, pressing lives where survival of the fittest and consumerism is everywhere, we easily lose patience or even become unfriendly. But if we slightly relax with the Lord’s help and treat those we meet every day with benevolence – the building’s security guard, the cleaner, the delivery man, the waiter, what a beautiful picture it would be! A little more understanding and a little more smile would enable the community to feel the difference of the Heavenly Kingdom. During a recent lunch out with my two children, the lady owner told us a lot of stories about her two children. That gave us an opportunity to care for her. Just like caroling on Christmas Eve, young families can bring their children to participate in the community visits of the Community Witness Department. In doing so, the whole family will be serving together, and the children will learn about the needs of various sectors. The entire family will “see” and there will be no need to wait for short-term missions for the family once every few years.
Some young couples intentionally walk with the young people who newly arrive. They take time from their busy life to serve as their mentors in another district to care for them and guide them. Some other couples make good use of their homes and receive visiting students together with their children, giving them the warmth of a family in a foreign land, even receiving the most precious gift of life. How precious this gift is! Who says young families can hardly have the heart or capacity to do something? They can somehow put God-given gifts to good use. Counting on God and with creativity, they can go the extra mile and let others encounter the Lord in the community!