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How Do We Serve the Community?

In this article “We don’t believe in the term ‘superhead’ – the disadvantaged don’t need rescuing”, Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis charity and academy chain, wrote:

Oasis does not believe in a culture of “them” and “us”, “hero” and “rescue”. This shallow rhetoric, which sadly still creeps into the language of some educationalists is, for all its good intentions, rooted in the same soil as “poverty porn”. It leaves people feeling disenfranchised and has the power to stigmatise whole communities.

At Oasis, we often say that we never come to do things “for” people, which patronises them. Or “to” people, which disempowers them, but always “with” people – only this will empower them. We are not the hero who rides in over the hill to turn things around.

This remind me of how we serve the community — “with” people. We reach out to the community, work with them, joy with them, and live with them. We become friends. We welcome strangers to the Church. We visit families and invite them to the Church. We listen to their stories. We share our stories.

I often ride bike in the village.  When the tire was deflated, I took the bike to Mr. Lin’s shop and said to him “Can you inflate the tires?” He always help with a smile on his face. He never asked me for a payment. My wife and I walked after dinner, and this family invited us to their home and we chatted for hours. Our neighbor had a good catch on his deep-sea fishing and he gave each of us a big fish. Villagers brought their fresh vegetables, fruits, sea foods to us as gifts. They returned our hospitality and we felt we are a big family — this is the simple life in the village though we have different religious “believes”. When they have problems or troubles, they come to the Church asking for helps and/or advice. They love to send their children to Sunday schools and special events at the Church. They love to come to “Hope Cafe” for free coffee, cookies and enjoy chatting. This is a beautiful village with kind, generous people though most of them are poor. We teach the children and the youth. We help the families in many ways. However, we remind ourselves that it’s God’s grace to have us lived together and God lives with us.

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