Why I Went to Hong Kong

Hello there!  I hope you’re doing really well and enjoying this sunshine! Isn’t it just GLORIOUS! That aside, I realise it’s been some time since I’ve posted on here. You might have seen on my Instagram that last month I took a trip to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks. I shared a few snaps while we were there, but I wanted to properly explain why we went and what we got up to, so if you’re interested, carry on reading! This wasn’t a holiday, but a trip to volunteer with the St. Stephen’s Society, a charity that provides a safe environment to drug addicts, ex-gang members, victims of abusive relationships and people in vulnerable situations. The charity was founded by Jackie Pullinger, who travelled to Hong Kong when she was 22 as she felt called to help people and the 50 years that she has been there, she has played a significant role in changing Hong Kong’s society. We spent most of our days based at one of the St. Stephen’s Society’s centres, which has houses for men and women of all ages. It’s not a typical rehabilitation centre as we would know it- it doesn’t provide medical intervention but instead focusses on helping people recover by building relationships. The houses live as a family, eat meals together, work together and go through the highs and lows of life together. As you can imagine it can be an intense environment, and sometimes there are arguments and fights, but they love each other like a real family and work to overcome these conflicts. These men and women come to St. Stephen’s Society not only to overcome addiction but also because they want to find out more about God. In our time there it was incredible- and hard to believe- that  so many of these people had before been unsuccessful in their attempt to come off drugs at other rehab centres, but had been healed from withdrawal pains and addictions when they’d been prayed for. Some of the helpers for the charity had themselves come through the houses and wanted to help other people after their lives had been transformed. Many had been high up in triad gangs, in and out of prison all their adult life and addicted to various different substances. As you can imagine they had been sceptical of Jackie and the concept of being healed from such strong addictions by a ‘God’. Some threatened her and laughed at at the thought that an addiction that had consumed their life could be broken by some far off figure. But when she had explained and prayed for healing with them, they had been healed. I’m not gonna lie I had been nervous to go to Hong Kong, it’s somewhere I’d never been before and we didn’t know exactly what we’d be getting up to. But meeting these people and spending time with them was a big eye opener for me. My faith is something I haven’t shared much on my blog, but is an important part of my life. I believe that there must be something bigger than the bubble I live in and everyone should feel loved and accepted. No prejudice, no requirements and no exceptions. Living alongside these people, hearing stories about how their lives had changed with the help of the society and seeing the love they had for each other was massively humbling. I can get so distracted by what’s going on in my week, things I want to get done, having time to chill, catch up on Netflix and scrolling for dayssss on Instagram. These aren’t bad things but it was really refreshing being in a totally different environment. It was pretty surreal too, it was my first time in Asia and trying to communicate with some people who spoke very little English was a bit of a challenge! But I realised that you don’t need to have big conversations, but it reminded me of the importance of caring for one another by just being there and being alongside them. Hong Kong is definitely somewhere I want to go back to, it was extremely hot and humid but powerfully beautiful too. We spent most days working with the charity but got to see different parts of Hong Kong here and there, and on our day off we took a ferry trip to an island called Sharp Island and went swimming at Half Moon Bay-it was epic. We don’t have many photos we can share of St. Stephen’s Society, but I have are photos taken on our day off and when we were out and about in the city, which I’ve used for this post.  I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, if you’d like to find out more about what we did then please comment below! See you very soon, Emily James I like to call this to double dab  no filter- hands down the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen!