Thursday, August 12, 2010

the walled city

Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. From the 1950s through the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use. In 1987, the Walled City contained 33,000 residents within its 6.5-acre (0.03 km2; 0.01 sq mi) borders. In January 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City. After a long eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994.

Jackie Pullinger began ministering in Hong Kong in 1966 at age 22. The early years of her Hong Kong ministry are chronicled in the book Chasing the Dragon.

Some of her later work is described in Crack in the Wall. Both books are well worth reading.

We make all sorts of excuses why ministry won't work under certain conditions, or we will complain about lack of resources (financial, buildings, people, whatever), but then stories of people like Jackie remind us that it is all about being available to be used by God to love people.

That doesn't mean that ministry isn't hard, that we won't be taken advantage of, that it will cost us - it simply means that that is God's problem.

I wonder if we didn't care quite so much about reputation, how much more the kingdom of God would be demonstated in our cities and towns. All cities and towns and the neighbourhoods within them have issues and difficulties - in some places they are more hidden than others. In those places, we need to be praying that God will open our eyes to see - not to condemn - but to seek how we can be God's people in the midst.

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