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RiverLife Weekly #42: Embracing Internationals This CNY

When I was an overseas student in Singapore, I would look forward to going back to Sabah during holidays. However, there was one year when I did not go back during Chinese New Year (CNY). Fortunately, that year, Aunty Mui Lan invited me and my international student friends over to her place to celebrate CNY. It was a simple gesture, but for us, her place felt like a home away from home.

When families gather during CNY, it is especially hard for those who are away from family. Usually, many make plans to go home to celebrate CNY with family but not this time. Due to restricted travel, our international friends remain here, separated from their loved ones.

Being away from one’s family and homeland is hard enough on ordinary days. Special holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Day and CNY sometimes deepen the sense of loneliness and longing for home. These holidays often reinforce the sense that they are foreigners.

Leviticus 19:34 teaches how we should treat the foreigners in our communities: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” 

Simple acts of hospitality are a great way to express love. Offer to host an international to make their CNY experience a memorable one, even if they are not Chinese and don’t celebrate CNY. Dinah and I have made plans to host internationals this CNY, and I believe there are other RiverLifers who are doing the same. If we look out for one another, it is possible that no RiverLifer will be left to spend the festive season alone.

Consider inviting an international to join you for CNY celebration.

RiverLifers can host an international to celebrate CNY with their family; or connect an international with a RiverLife host family. It will be a fun experience and make the celebration even more memorable and meaningful for your household! It also has the potential to start or deepen cross-cultural friendships that can continue even after CNY.

Hosts can consider a variety of options such as welcoming internationals to a special meal with our family, joining home visitation, trying traditional cookies, receiving hongbao, or watching a Jackie Chan movie together. In any case, what is important is to embrace each one with love; and to love others as we love ourselves.

Who’s invited to your home this CNY?

Hosting might be intimidating for some or a little awkward at first, but it can be rewarding. Inviting a newcomer into our homes is not only a thoughtful way to love and serve, but also an amazing way to learn about the world and make friends. Try it – you may find that hosting an international livens up your celebration, and reminds us that we are family!

*Remember to follow public health guidelines on CNY visitations.

 

Pastor Ben KC Lee

When I was an overseas student in Singapore, I would look forward to going back to Sabah during holidays. However, there was one year when I did not go back during Chinese New Year (CNY). Fortunately, that year, Aunty Mui Lan invited me and my international student friends over to her place to celebrate CNY. It was a simple gesture, but for us, her place felt like a home away from home.

When families gather during CNY, it is especially hard for those who are away from family. Usually, many make plans to go home to celebrate CNY with family but not this time. Due to restricted travel, our international friends remain here, separated from their loved ones.

Being away from one’s family and homeland is hard enough on ordinary days. Special holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Day and CNY sometimes deepen the sense of loneliness and longing for home. These holidays often reinforce the sense that they are foreigners.

Leviticus 19:34 teaches how we should treat the foreigners in our communities: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” 

Simple acts of hospitality are a great way to express love. Offer to host an international to make their CNY experience a memorable one, even if they are not Chinese and don’t celebrate CNY. Dinah and I have made plans to host internationals this CNY, and I believe there are other RiverLifers who are doing the same. If we look out for one another, it is possible that no RiverLifer will be left to spend the festive season alone.

Consider inviting an international to join you for CNY celebration.

RiverLifers can host an international to celebrate CNY with their family; or connect an international with a RiverLife host family. It will be a fun experience and make the celebration even more memorable and meaningful for your household! It also has the potential to start or deepen cross-cultural friendships that can continue even after CNY.

Hosts can consider a variety of options such as welcoming internationals to a special meal with our family, joining home visitation, trying traditional cookies, receiving hongbao, or watching a Jackie Chan movie together. In any case, what is important is to embrace each one with love; and to love others as we love ourselves.

Who’s invited to your home this CNY?

Hosting might be intimidating for some or a little awkward at first, but it can be rewarding. Inviting a newcomer into our homes is not only a thoughtful way to love and serve, but also an amazing way to learn about the world and make friends. Try it – you may find that hosting an international livens up your celebration, and reminds us that we are family!

*Remember to follow public health guidelines on CNY visitations.

 

Pastor Ben KC Lee

Posted On

February 9, 2021

Posted By

Pastor Ben KC Lee
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