Dave and Cindy Aufrance have been missionaries in Hong Kong for just over forty years. They are from Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region and serve under One Mission Society (formerly known as Oriental Missionary Society).
Here is how Dave and Cindy responded to the questions I sent out to missionaries and national church leaders:
- It has affected Hong Kong in many ways. Most churches are now doing live broadcasts rather than meeting together. Though our church, RiverGrace, had only had two Sundays since the end of January when we did not meet, we don’t know how long that will last. We have not allowed face-to-face meetings due to the current surge of the virus in HK. We are trying to connect our people through Zoom and other formats as well as broadcasting our service on Facebook Live and YouTube. Nearly half of our people have not been able to come, even when we still did meet. Also a growing concern is the economic downturn that is still to follow. With companies closing, unemployment rising, and travel bans (we have many internationals in our church), it has made it difficult for us all.
- As I indicated above, with the ever-changing situation, It’s hard to try to connect with our brothers and sisters when it can only be done electronically. The Connect Groups where our brothers and sisters can receive more personal care and attention, have not been able to meet. We are trying to learn how best to keep in touch, continue showing care and concern for those in the church. Also the stress of so many unknowns and not being able to plan well when the situation changes regularly. Many of our congregants are domestic helpers and their employers do not allow them to go out and/or they have limited access to wi-fi (some not at all) and they often do not have private rooms to use their phones…so it is very hard to stay connected in “real time” broadcasting.
- Learning how to do the services live through the internet will help us keep in touch with our brothers and sisters who have left Hong Kong. Quite a few of them have come to faith when they were at RiverGrace and feel a special attachment to our family here. Though it’s a challenge, we are needing to call others to step into positions of leadership or helping in various ways when others are not able to attend or return to their countries or go to work in other countries.
- As Cindy and I have been in transition, and looking to retire and return to the States in July, it has made it very difficult to plan and carry through. I was supposed to have a stent put into my abdominal aorta in February. It is enlarged and has a dissection. The surgery was scheduled for February 14, then the 28, and now postponed indefinitely. Again, it’s due to the virus and the hospital only doing emergency surgeries at this time. I really need to have the surgery done here because all my medical records are here, we have no doctors lined up in the States, and we would have the learning curve of working with Medicare when we got home, and possibly needing to do the tests all over again. (Note: The surgery is now scheduled for Friday, April 3.)
- Pray for Pastora Irma that if God wants her to return to Hong Kong as a pastor that he will make that clear to her. She finishes her contract in April and returns to the Philippines for a period of time while she applies for a regular work visa from a visa for being a domestic helper. That can be a challenge with the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
- Pray for Pastor Tommy Hui who is now already the senior pastor of RiverGrace as we transition out. Pray for God to give him the wisdom and strength, and inspiration in leading the church forward.
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