In 2003, after much prayer and consideration, Pastor Steve Fischer and his family moved to Hong Kong to become missionaries. After directing a Bible school in the Philippines, they saw the need to get Bibles and Christian materials to believers in China.
“Since 2003, we’ve led thousands of people across the Hong Kong/China border carrying Christian materials and taken in 50 tons of Bibles and Christian materials that have been distributed in almost every major city in China,” says Fischer, who has ministered in orphanages, homes for the elderly and leper colonies. When the new Chinese government began to crack down on religious activity in 2016, however, they blocked Bible downloads, closed underground churches and kicked Christian organizations out of the country.
Fischer then focused attention on their newly relaunched church, Faith Family Church in Hong Kong, and it began to grow. In fact, by the end of 2019, they had the largest Christmas outreach Sunday in their church’s history. Pleased that nearly 60 children regularly attended on Sundays, church leaders looked forward to continued growth in 2020. Then the Coronavirus outbreak hit, and the school closed where they held their portable church services.
“We considered cancelling our church services until this [outbreak] passed, but [then our staff] had a God idea,” says Fischer. On Feb. 2, the church hosted its first Faith Family online-only service, and over the course of the past several weeks, they’ve seen the children’s engagement climb. According to Fischer, now that children are at home in a semi-quarantine situation, their boredom makes them even more interested in watching the live Sunday kids service.
“Some are even inviting their school friends, who don’t have much to do and are willing to check out this new ‘church thing,’” says Fischer. In the 90-minute service, the 20-minute kids church segment is the highest-viewed portion.
They have now had five Sundays of online church and their online views have grown five- to tenfold. Fischer is pleased to see such a positive response given that many people in Hong Kong make themselves a slave to the constant pursuit of money, which can negatively affect the family unit.
“The one thing we’ve discovered the Hong Kong Chinese love more [than money] is their children,” says Fischer, noting that parents are eager for their children to receive the character building that comes with learning the gospel.
“The most fulfilling thing in our ministry is seeing someone who is steeped in the love of money, actively following Buddha or completely unfamiliar with Jesus come to know him and begin to grow spiritually,” says Fischer. “Hong Kong is the only religiously free city in China, so it’s like a lighthouse shining the gospel into China.”
Fischer imagines that people in Hong Kong are even thirstier for God’s voice now that they are faced with this scary outbreak.
“Our church members are finding great strength in the Scriptures and sharing their faith with others,” says Fischer. “There is much fear in the city, and understandably so when a person has no God to trust in. But the outbreak actually created a perfect opportunity to share hope and peace to those who are living in fear.”
To promote family togetherness, church leaders encourage parents to watch the kids church segment Bible Adventure episodes with their children. In addition, parents are given a challenge card every week to complete with their children. Both resources are from Life.Church Open Network, which equips pastors and church leaders with free resources, training and apps to grow their church and reach more people for Christ.
“Making the whole online service a family event brings parents and children together, which is comforting at a critical time like this,” says Fischer, who notes that such unity makes parents even more committed to bringing their children back to church once the outbreak ends.
For the latest ministry update regarding the Coronavirus situation, click here.
Faith Family Church has established a Coronavirus Relief Fund to help those who have been the most negatively affected by the outbreak at FaithFamilyHK.com/relief/