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Aspiritual home T

oday, David Lin leads Bible study for Chinese migrant workers in London. But when he was growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, he wasn’t even a


Lin did think the books of the apostles were interest- ing during Bible studies at his Anglican primary school and then Roman Catholic high school. “In Hong Kong when parents want their children to get a good education they send them to church schools,” Lin explained. “My parents are not Christians.” Yet it wasn’t until after he had graduated from a Hong Kong university and gotten a job at what is now Asia Lutheran News, a publication of the Lutheran World Federation regional office for Asia and Singapore, that he became a Christian, at age 23. Today, Lin belongs to London’s Chinese Lutheran, a congregation of the 2,745-member Lutheran Church in Great Britain. As a congregational leader, he highlights the plight that many Chinese face as migrants. “Chinese migrant workers … come to the church looking for a place they can call home. Some are curious about Christianity so [they] join Bible study groups, and indirectly we provide diaconal work,” Lin said. Chinese immigrants in Britain come from many dif- ferent backgrounds and have differing circumstances where they now live, Lin said. “Some of the people who come are migrant workers, some are over-stayers. We [also] serve other categories of Chinese: students, pro- fessionals or exchange scholars,” he said, adding that the latter group can be very helpful in supporting other migrants.

“Some of the students are Christians of a few genera- tions from China,” Lin added. The congregation also includes, without judgment,

Bible study participants who come from very different perspectives. “Others might only have knowledge about communism and Maoism,” he said. “Some of them feel a void in their hearts because so-called communism is

Chinese Lutheran Church is opening the Bible to migrant workers in London

By Peter J.M. Kenny

kind of fading in China. That is because of economic development where materialistic thoughts occupy center stage.

“After staying in [a] Bible study group they get con-

fidence because we show Christian love to them and see them as people.” There is a “tea fellowship” time just before Bible study begins, easing new participants into the group and introducing them to other activities the congregation offers.

Bible studies, as well as worship, are conducted in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. “We provide a spiritual home for the people away from home,” he said. “We don’t question their status. We do not ask if the names they give are genuine. We pro- vide an ear to listen.” The importance of the listening that Lutheran and other churches do was something Lin realized when he first became a Christian. “[I realized] it is no use to just sit in the church without receiving people in need so that we can act like Christ,” he said. It’s what motivates him today to work with migrant workers from China, he added.

Lin earned a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University, thanks to an LWF scholarship. He also studied Lutheran theology while working for Asia Lutheran News.

In 1994, the London-based World Association for

Christian Communication called on him to help coordi- nate regional communication and development projects in the Asia and Pacific region. It meant uprooting his family—his wife, Phoebe, and their two children—from Hong Kong to London. Yet Lin continued to follow

Adapted from a Lutheran World Information news release written by Kenny, a freelance writer from Switzerland. 28 The Lutheran •

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