Report on the Meetings with Jackie Pullinger-To
From the 19th to the 22 of March, 1998, we were blessed to have Jackie Pullinger-To and her team minister to us at 4th (Presbyterian) Church. Her team included both volunteer workers from Hong Kong and overseas, as well as a few who were in the drug rehab program at St. Stephen’s (the ministry she and her co-workers have started). They all were on the ministry team, laying hands on the rest of us, as well as giving some word or tongue as the Holy Spirit gave the prompting.
In fact, one of the first noticeable features of the ministry, during the worship time, was some of her team getting up to give words. Jackie, when it was her time, got up and explained that according to I Corinthians 14, everybody has a prophecy, or a psalm, or a tongue or an interpretation. She applied this not only to her team, but also to us. Perhaps we wouldn’t all have the chance to give it before the whole group (there were about 300 of us there), but we could give them as we ministered to those standing near us with their hands out in response to various words.
Other things received during the four days of meetings are the importance of ministering to the poor; and a new refreshing look at the fruits of one’s labour over many years of time.
Jackie believes that every Christian must be directly involved with reaching out to the poor — meaning: people with needs which they are unable to help themselves, such as addictions, abject poverty, victims of child abuse or spouse abuse.
Everyone always tells her, “Well Jackie, that’s your ministry!”
Her answer is, it’s really not normal for a person like her to have responsibility for 300 drug addicts. If every Christian family would reach out to one small group, or even one other family, the gospel would go forth with much greater speed and effectiveness. This would fulfil the love commandment as inferred by I John 3:17: “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
She gave an example of a believer in India, who used to travel daily by train to his place of work. On the way, he had to spend five minutes waiting at one platform while changing trains. There, he felt prompted to sit near a group of shabby looking men in one end of the platform and pray. After a few days of this, they began asking him why he sat there. It turned out that these men were drug addicts who slept under the railway platform with their families. His involvement with them led to his waiting a little longer to catch a later train, and later, arriving on an earlier train so as to spend that much more time with the poor families. He would bring along medicine and food to give them daily. The result was that the whole railway platform full of poor families eventually turned to the Lord. This was simply the work of one man, who happened to be a pastor, but on his own time, while changing trains — not that of a giant charity fund.
As for the fruit of one’s labour, we have been trained to judge our ministries by the number of converts, or the number of members that come to our church. Supporters of mission work seem to always demand visible fruit to show for all their giving. Missionaries and workers are thus tempted to emphasise what fruit they have seen, sometimes out of proportion to what actually exists. It was therefore refreshing to hear Jackie, who has seen more fruit than most, actually tell us that there are times that there is no fruit; but when we are diligent to what God has called us to do, in God’s time — whether that time is while we are still at work in the field, or long after we’ve departed — fruit will come. Don’t judge the work by how much fruit presently exists.
Where We Are Now
By Jackie Pullinger-To
“The Lord can always be trusted.” Lam.3:23
As you know we were requested to leave Hang Fook Camp on November 10th and right up until September we were promised and were half expecting the Government to provide alternative accommodation. By mid September it was clear this wasn’t coming and so we had to make arrangements to disperse.
This meant that our 150 residents (including many old dogs, old & young cats, a goose, and lot of pigeons etc.) had to find apartments, hostels, old people’s homes and so on to disperse people all over Hong Kong, Kowloon and the new Territories. It was a very good exercise and good practice for the future and very dramatic. Of course, there were difficult things like our office filing! – as accommodation in HK is very scarce and very expensive, to find a place for files and old records was difficult. So we have some files stored in a airport cargo terminal and some in the new Portland Street office, which makes life interesting.
We are using our Portland Street premises for all the essential administration and paper work (which is equivalent to the P O Box address as follows: St. Stephen’s Society, P. O. Box 71099, Kowloon Central Post Office, Kowloon, H.K.). Adjoining this we have another room where small meetings up to 100 people, can be held. Everyone else we have squeezed into first stage houses, hostels, we’ve rented some village houses and in co-operation with the New Territories and the Hong Kong Vineyards (which are our church offshoots), we have rented quite a lot of apartments which the church people are helping us with.
Therefore, the exercise has been good because it’s involved co-operation between church people, and the fruit has been healthy. It also means that everyone is very careful now about electricity and water, and because we were down to praying for toilet paper, they are using their own money, some are even taking shorter showers and thinking about walking long distances instead of taking the underground trains. All of this is what I’ve been sharing and teaching on for years and with the loss of a big centre it’s meant that people have taken more responsibility for their own groups and lives.
However, we still need places for people to live. With nearly 300 residents coming off drugs or looking after those coming off drugs in our residential houses, they need training, encouragement, supporting and housing. As well as that we are continuing on a regular basis to do outreaches, feeding the poor, the old people, street sleepers, etc…
Right now all our places are full of people so there is nowhere for them to meet and fellowship.
We have a continuing need for accommodation and slightly larger venues for people to meet. We also have a need for stable Christians to stand in times of stress to be able to administrate, encourage, train and facilitate the teams that are venturing into missions.
Update January, 1997
During Christmas all our churches, Help Mobile and outreach teams were involved with over a 100 parties and outreaches in the streets. Instead of 10,000 people coming to Hang Fook Camp to eat, we went out and had parties all over the place – in the streets, under flyovers, in parks, in old people’s homes, in individual homes and in our different meeting rooms. There was a lot of wonderful fruit. Scores of people came to know Jesus and there were healings and deliverances. Many people said that it was much better this year because they felt more personally involved than when Hang Fook Camp organised everything. We are now coming up to Chinese New Year when there will be a lot more parties and outreaches again.
We are praying about more church planting this year and we will definitely be viewing India as a place for permanent teams and mission as well as China of course and Mongolia and other Asian countries. Just recently, I went to Anaheim to have an “Asia Mission Summit” meeting with other Vineyard leaders who are interested in Asia and that was wonderful. I’ve also just been to Pattaya, Thailand, to meet with Walter Heidenreich’s group. They have 60 people all over Asia. Hong Kong is in the geographical centre of an area (the 10/40 window) where there are still the most poor, hungry, homeless, people and children in the world and we know that this is why God has raised us up. The need is so great we just want to be certain where we should concentrate our efforts.
It will also be a very significant year for Hong Kong this year when HK will be handed over from British rule to China. At the moment the British Government are talking to us about granting us some land before the handover but that means we need to think about building. We have never been involved with building our own homes before but it looks like this may be the next step to what God is moving us to do and His provision for us for a place. We’d be very grateful for your prayers.
In her book, Chasing the Dragon, Jackie Pullinger tells of being called by God to Hong Kong to work amongst the prostitutes and drug addicts living in the notorious walled city. Though fearful for her own safety, daily she would try to make contact with people who lived in some of the worst conditions one could imagine. But after six months little had been achieved and despair set in.
She agonized about it for days. “If God has called me to be here why aren’t people responding?” One morning she realized what was wrong. She’d been telling people that God loves them and that Jesus loves them and wants to forgive them but she’d not been loving them in any practical way. She needed to go and be as Jesus, with them. The next three months she spent, “soaking herself in scripture and prayer – and being drenched by the Holy Spirit!”
Her new and very practical approach yielded a remarkable response. Providing food, shelter and healthcare, visiting prisons, speaking up for victims, these became the ingredients of her everyday life. The situation was so transformed that even the drug barons watched out for her safety. She’s still there and so is the church that grew from her work but the Walled City isn’t. It was demolished ten years ago.