Many angels in my life from different nations

Jo was born in Hong Kong and has now returned there. She was very involved in Church and You Dao activities in Shanghai. Her husband has become a Catholic as did her father just before his death.

A view of Shanghai Street in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong Photo: Michael Elleray distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license

I’m a cradle Catholic who studied in a Catholic school. At the age of 28, I got married. My husband was not a Catholic at that time, so we were not married in the church. We raised our children without any religious environment.

Our family moved to Shanghai as my husband got a job there. Our children started to go to International school, and I was relieved to see an escape from the rigid education system of Hong Kong. The children were happier and so was I. I started to enjoy my expat community by going to tennis, golf and calligraphy class with friends. The children were doing well in school, and we are a happy family.  I helped in school whenever I was needed. Many friendships are made through the community.

I was asked to help in various church charity activities and started to attend mass more often. I occasionally joined their rosary prayers, and I attended a Bible Study Fellowship run by the Christians community. I have been trying to live by the biblical guidelines of faith, love, repentance and forgiveness all my life but find forgiveness really hard. In the retreat, I listened to the talks which also reminded us of many ups and downs in life but that we need to learn to let go of hurtful experiences in the past.

There is an amazing story about the healing of my brother-in-law in Australia. I told many people about this amazing healing through many prayers. Deep down in my heart I know there must be a reason for this. I was asked to be one of the speakers of the following Emmaus retreat in Shanghai. I thought I would talk about his healing. What amazed me was that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I poured out my grudges inside me.  After the talk, I find peace in me, and I am not afraid of former conflicts in the family. I guess I simply accepted what had happened and trust that it is God’s will for a reason.

In Shanghai, there were lots of fund-raising events run by volunteers, and I was impressed by those who sacrifice their time and put their efforts into many meaningful events. I always wanted to do something like that, but somehow I didn’t commit to anything as I put my family in the first priority.  When You Dao opened a centre near where I lived, Qing Pu district, I jumped at a yes to serve as a volunteer. All I needed to do was to spare an hour or so with the migrant children by teaching them English with songs. They all seemed to be happy and most importantly I enjoyed doing it as the children, and the helper made it such a welcoming scenario. I talked about it to many friends and my calligraphy students. More volunteers came by, parents and children offered their expertise, and the migrant children were happily learning different things over the weekends like cooking, dancing, drumming, playing & acting and many more activities. The You Dao Centre even provided homework guidance to the children by university students. Their grades went up, and that was most rewarding for the volunteers. In return, the children showed appreciation, and it was indeed a beautiful experience of give and take. 

Father Warren is one of the founders of You Dao, and he invited me to join the team as an Executive Director.  At first, I hesitated, but my husband encouraged me to take the challenge.  I was lucky to be guided by many experienced board members, and Father Warren would patiently lead me and introduced connections to me, but the work was difficult. I could hardly find time for my son, nor my husband. I couldn’t sleep well at night, and the moment I was awake, many of the You Dao matters surfaced. I could not give up my tennis and calligraphy teaching as these people gave me the support of what I was doing.  Twenty-four hours a day was never enough. My staff helped me, but a lot of times they would challenge me and give me a hard time. I spent a lot of the time in front of the computer. But in the end, I found my way to help, and I gained lots of respect of what we did, and I am willing to help in many ways even though I am in Shanghai no more. God has put many angels in my life, family and friends from different nations, I feel His presence in me.

We repatriated to take responsibility of caring for our parents although in the interim my own parents have passed away.

May God forgive my sins and lead my children to His path, the way He wills it.