Campus Frontline: The Fractured Journey—Sharing by Students of the Inter-College Internship Programme (Issue 481)

Rony Tse, Staff, Inter-College Department
tserony@fes.org.hk


This summer season was a time of gathering and scattering. Some students chose to stay behind, accepting the impact of reality and faith, and asking questions about the meaning of life and mission. Why should we still live out our mission? Let’s hear the heartfelt stories of some of our students.

 

The Heaviness and Lightness of Divided Lives

After meeting the Catholic community and knowing some atheist friends, I decided to take part in the Cool Water Programme and continue to broaden my faith by getting involved in the community through action. Those who persevere in their search in God are often like people who dream, who see many contradictions within themselves, who feel the tears on their faces, and who, in this way, see that God IS DOING GREAT things for us.

 

The internship at Christian Concern for the Homeless Association has helped me to understand the beauty of living together. “Living Together’ breaks down the boundaries of faith. When I tried to enter their lives, my physical presence was a form of ‘here and now’ for them. In their eyes, I was indeed in front of them. I was walking towards him, looking into his eyes …… But I also have a feeling of disconnection. Listening to the responses of many elderly friends, I really felt the ‘weight of their lives’. As the pain from reality is so real, the ‘tabernacle of God on earth’ instantly lost its connection with the reality of their situation. And this inner tension is where one is at the most real position in life, I would even call it the peak of reality, no longer stagnating in the emptiness of one’s own life, but being empowered in God to carry the weight and lightness of life.

 

Such conflicting emotions have driven me to respond to my elderly friends with love in action, and at the same time to question love, “God! Are you among us?” How could this happen? I hate my own internal doubts, but that makes us feel what life is really about! It was like an elderly friend saying to me, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you! Thank you so much for being here to talk to me!” It was like the joy of Zacchaeus when he heard Jesus speak to him in the past.

Goldfish under Oppression
Participant of Please Give Me a Cup of Cool Water—Poor-caring Internship Programme 2021

 

A Shattered Journey of Faith

I remember how excited I was before my internship, finally having the opportunity to meet fellow believers, anticipating to discover the core of my faith and thinking seriously about the space between Christianity and the needs of humanity. However, I remained in silence thoughtfully for a long time after the internship. My faith was definitely shattered more deeply and thoroughly, and there was indeed a lot of thinking bubbles still floating around in the “space”. It is certain that what was once a feeling of excitement has grown into more mature and complex emotions.

 

Maybe I am still broadening my horizons, or maybe the internship has been a pretty intense experience. I used to laugh that every time I went out of Cheung Lee Building, it was a different world or I was a different person. But thanks to the existence of this space, various interpretations of Christianity and the Gospel are allowed to intertwine in a richer and more colorful way, even if they keep colliding and fail to reach a conclusion. Being in this so-called ‘space’ is a witness to different perspectives of faith, which in the end do not actually hold anything, but are continuously nurtured and catalyzed. For example, we can see in a broad perspective the historical development of Christianity in this part of the world, the movements and changes that have taken place, and what is and is not yet the fruit of what we are experiencing today. What kind of time are we standing in? Witnessing the process of demolition and reconstruction, a sense of certainty that “it’s time to shatter” emerges.

 

In this space, without a pastor or a preacher, without answers or self-censorship, I became the one to re-examine my faith. Although I have heard of ‘one person, one faith’ for a long time, when the concept was presented in the midst of numerous discussions, I could not help but tear it apart, rethink and reconstruct it, and witness how faith enables each person to respond to the most unique struggles of life. When the process repeats itself, the internship is no longer about gaining something, but about creating a driving force and a more solid determination to continue the search on the invisible journey of faith.

Emily
Participant of Evangelical Students Internship 2021

 

The Unknown Preachers of the Literature

One morning I woke up from sleep to find that I had become an intern in literature. In my drowsy state, I felt the stillness of the publishing house, which was too quiet and could lead to immediate depression. Occasionally, excitement and resentment cut through the quiet space. The staff shared their beloved designs with each other like kids, and their ages didn’t stop them from having a pure heart of a child. The editorial team is quiet, but their hearts are burning. The only way to break the silence is to delay their work. The work of publishing is not only about design and editing, it is also about liaison, distribution, marketing and promotion, all of which weave together to create a beautiful knot.

 

It takes a lot of work to produce a book, but often the only names remembered are those of the authors and the book’s titles. The co-workers involved are unknown and do not seek to be known in the world. Publishing, whether commercial or Christian in nature, must have a cultural mission, otherwise people would not devote themselves to the sunset industry. With no name and no profit, Christian publishing is more like a dead end. Seeing believers being labelled as ” Christards” and still feeling superior almost makes one want to report them as having lost their God-created brains. Christian publishing has persisted in its efforts to transform the minds of believers into a brain that can see the richness of faith.

 

Brain transformation is not only a matter of courage, but also a matter of wisdom in overcoming obstacles. The ‘electronic’ and ‘reading culture’ are the long-term enemies of books. However, books have not yet lost the battle because other media have yet to replace their function as complete discourses. In the future, how to survive in a fast-paced society will determine the life and death of the sunset industry. The times bring new challenges, especially in the Chinese-speaking world, Christian books face a distinctive challenge. In the end, everything makes sense when books are read. Please read a book when you see these words!

Billy
Participant of Literature / Multimedia Internship Programme 2021

 

Namelessness, scattered fragments and disconnection are the hallmarks of our times as well as the nature of life. While unbearable lightness and heaviness remains, only in the Lord peace is found. May we all walk together with our students.
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