A Personal Faith Journey

Could I share a thought prompted by a wonderful reflection from the St Martin’s Contemplative Walk? Angela Sheard talked of her experience when deciding on ordination. My own experience is miniscule in comparison, but still sits with me.

Where is it set?

This part of my journey is set on a cold, blowy, very wet Hong Kong day in February in the 1990s. Rain was pouring through the upper windows in the chinese school where we worshipped on Discovery Bay, creating puddles on the parquet flooring. (We weren’t allowed a church building on the island community.)

Where is Discovery Bay Church?

Discovery Bay Church, as it was then, was a sister Church of St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong Island. Based in Discovery Bay, Lantau Island. It was a multicultural and multi-denominational church, and quite rightly including bilingual services in Cantonese which were always packed. We met at the SKH Wei Lun School on Discovery Bay. For whatever reason, even though many of our children studied at the International School, we couldn’t meet there.

We met in the school hall

We met in the airy school hall. Which was hot in summer and cold in winter. I say winter, when the temperature dropped to 6°C. After the service we would gather for refreshments at the outdoors canteen area. Enjoying the variety of edible delights brought by the parishioners. It was a family affair, with children tearing around and parents eagle eyed and in swift pursuit ensuring they didn’t launch themselves into a storm drain. Hurriedly handing their coffee and cake to a friend as they set off at pace. It was a large concreted area, with a steep drop at the far end.

A Missionary and their team visited our church

The amazing Jackie Pullinger and her worship team were visiting the mission church on one particular Sunday. We were very blessed by that, and myself in complete awe of being in her presence. (Still pinch myself.) Having lunch with her after the service at a church attendee’s apartment, made me consider what her thoughts were on us comfortable expats. I was generally pretty confident, but that day not confident enough to strike up a conversation. Just smiles.

Following her message about her mission work. Her team moved amongst the congregation. My in-laws (and faith rocks) were visiting from the UK were there too.

Why did they move among the congregation

During the service the worship team moved around and through the congregation praying with and for people. Laying on hands. They knew their stuff. They approached me and asked if I would like to be prayed over and to receive the Holy Spirit. The asking, no pressure. Love that.

I was quite a young but very active Christian, but was afraid. I was afraid to let go further to God, even though actually being in HK was a miracle in itself. With me busily thinking was I ready for a whole Holy Spirit quenching. But instead I said please pray for my family. I still wish I had said YES!! I was ready & in the right place.

Nazareth Companions have given me many perspectives on this

Today, I went to the Nazareth Companions to share this. As the whole experience has replayed through my mind for many, many years. Had I failed? Well, apparently not. Firstly I feel the Nazareth Companions is an opportunity God is giving me to not say no. I am so thankful to St Martin’s-in-the-fields, Trafalgar Square, London and the Companions for broadening my faith path again. Which years of Chronic Illness has tried and failed to stunt.

What perspectives were proffered

Much was said today which really gave me food for thought and a great deal of peace. Much of which had never occurred to me. Firstly it was so encouraging and loving. But the most thought provoking was that had I considered that the Holy Spirit was already present at the time? Well I guess I had. And that what I thought I had missed I hadn’t. Actually no. But I felt I must have looked like I was in need of a top up perhaps. If that really is a thing, which I’m really not sure it is. And deeper thoughts were shared which helped a great deal.

I came away from the conversation today feeling loved, reassured, and heard. And changed. It’s amazing to have a place to discuss faith in such an open and embracing non-judgy place. I have missed that more than I can express. I seriously feel that I am being mentored.

Closing Thoughts

God never ceases to astonish me. Had I recovered from this currently ongoing relapse, now in month six. I wouldn’t have discovered Nazareth Companions and would still be continuing with my patchwork faith life, but yet still finding peace. I now have renewed direction and fellowship. I cried tears of sheer joy today, and they haven’t stopped yet. I seriously am receiving an absolute saturation of the Holy Spirit.

What an Advent. God is good all the time.

Have a blessed Advent. May you know the peace and love of His presence.

Penny signing off

3 thoughts on “A Personal Faith Journey

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