Inspired by compassion
Every so often (and perhaps not as often as I'd like), I am moved profoundly by persons whose lives exude compassion and tireless solidarity with those who are trodden under foot. Yesterday was one of those days.
Annaliese has been a mission worker with the Chinese Rhenish Church, Hong Kong Synod, since 1974. She and her team provide holistic care for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. Arriving (mostly) from Indonesia and the Philippines, these 280,000+ women leave their families and homeland in order to make enough money to provide a better life for their children and extended families. Little do they know, however, what they are signing up for.
Grossly underpaid and extremely overworked (14 hour days and 1-2 days off per month); frequently verbally abused and sometimes physically and sexually abused; lonely and homesick: a small percentage of them make it to Annaliese's door. Here the arms of Jesus (i.e., of his body) are spread wide open to them, offering individual care and counseling, art therapy, language and computer courses, financial support, paralegal assistance, shelter, and connection to others who treat them with empathy and dignity.
Listening to Annaliese, I couldn't help but wonder how she maintained her own well-being, how she didn't succumb to compassion fatigue or burnout. Whatever the answer is, it surely involves this: she is participating in Christ's ongoing ministry of compassion and healing, liberation and reconciliation. And as a result, the body of Christ is built up and the world (including those of us on this trip) sees God's love in action.