Last week, I was in Yuen Long for a banquet celebration and was at a loss after getting off the train - I was not sure where I was and where I should go. I was surprised as this is the place I had spent five years doing my secondary schooling, though some 40 years ago. It was here I spent my youthful days, and now I am a stranger!
by Kevin Chiu, Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Hong Kong
The thought of "being a stranger" leaves me somewhat nostalgic and reflective. I often feel like a stranger, especially in my work. Every time I went outside to visit a poor community or an area struck by disaster, I found myself in strange places - remote villages in the mountains in China or Tanzania, orphanages in Myanmar or North Korea, drought-hit famine districts in Ethiopia or Somalia, clinics serving malnourished babies in Kenya or Afghanistan, refugee shelters in Uganda or Lebanon, slums in India or Bangladesh, etc. No matter how many times I visited, I never got used to them - I never felt at home out there. In most situations, I felt small and irrelevant and helpless and terrible. I felt like a stranger and wanted to go home.
Providence however sees it fit to put me "a stranger" in many strange places for the past 22 years. Though found awkward and inadequate most of the time, I have kept moving on. I am grateful I did. It has been uncomfortable but amazing! Providence has provided abundantly for the journey with amazing people and timely support.
One such support is the old prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, written over 800 years ago:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that
I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Thank you for your partnership and support in this amazing journey of "a stranger".