by Lam Hiu Fan, Fanny, HKSCM ExCo
After joining the WSCF School for Ecumenical Leadership Formation (SELF) Programme in Manila, Philippines on 4-28th October, I developed a firm commitment to the Ecumenical Movement. During the SELF Programme we understood the history and development of the Ecumenical Movement, studied different issues in the globe context, studied the Bible with an ecumenical perspective and learned practical leadership and movement building skills. What impressed me a lot in this experience was the exposure program to Mayantoc, a local village in the southern part of Luzon island and the bible studies we did every morning in the program.
The exposure to farmers village in Mayantoc was so interesting. We walked in the muddy fields for almost 3 hours to experience the daily life of the farmers. It was my first time to walk in the fields and I fell down several times while keeping my balance! Although we were tired and all muddied during the walk, this was the time we listened to the farmers’ story. In their stories, I realized that there are many suffering, poverty caused by struggles between the land owners, the tenants and lease-holders. I was surprised that this kind of system, the feudal land relationship between landlords and tenants still exist in the world. I realized that I was very naive of the realities around me and I seem to know very little about my world. Living in a wealthy society like Hong Kong is very different, sometimes I forget about my neighbor’s situation and their suffering. In Chinese, we have one sentence to describe this realization: our happiness was built on others’ pain. I confess that somehow I am part of this system.
The first two bible studies were led by Rev. Revelation Velunta, a theology professor from Philippines. As part of our training, He gave us a new perspective to study the Bible. Necta, WSCF Regional Secretary, reminded us that we had to lead the succeeding bible studies after the exposure programs. I became anxious and nervous about this. I wondered HOW and WHY because I don’t think I can lead and also had no idea on how to lead a bible study. Though we were formed in group, I was still nervous in leading the bible study in the beginning. Finally, my anxiety slowly disappeared as I gained confidence and enjoyed it very much because in our bible studies, everyone was equal and we shared the same concept of ecumenism. This experience really made me feel Jesus is with us and the oppressed people. The bible study made me feel our GOD, our faith was so concrete that I never had before.
SELF was a great time to meet SCMers from Asia-Pacific region and share our lives and movements together. This is my second time to participate in AP programme but I still think that though we came from different culture, we are not strange to each other. We have the same faith in ecumenism that touched me so much and made me become a Christian since I became an SCM. But I still have many questions of my faith journey. I know it is a difficult way to walk in an ecumenical journey but that’s my choice. The choice that I want to work with our GOD.