According to the government’s statistics in 2022, there are currently over 330,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, of which Mathy, Melba, and Eden fall into this category. They have spent many years in Hong Kong and some of their experiences have been unpleasant. Eden and Melba did not have good relationships with their first employers, while Mathy was deceived and exploited by her friends and the work agency, leaving her feeling depressed and worried. Thankfully, they have encountered The Salvation Army English Speaking Corps that they have found a familiar community in a strange land and gained support in faith.
TSA English Speaking Corps is the only Corps (church) in the Hong Kong and Macau command that uses English as their primary language. Their officers are appointed by TSA International Headquarters from the Philippine Territory and most Soldiers (church members) are female domestic helpers who came from the Philippines. For Mathy, Melba, and Eden, the English Speaking Corps is their second home and has given them much spiritual strength and directions in life.
Mathy first attended the Sunday service of the English Speaking Corps because of an invitation from her Christian friend. “The then Corps Officer Major Peralta preached the word of God to me and I allowed Jesus Christ to come into my heart and take control of my life”, she shared. She then became a Solider, found peace and joy, and also learned to forgive those who hurt her. On the other hand, Melba gained a deeper understanding of the religion. As Melba grew in grace and in knowledge of the Lord, she gained strength and was very grateful that her family in the Philippines also came to know God because of her testimony. As for Eden, she admitted that she was inspired and strengthened. “There were sometimes arguments and misunderstandings in the relationship with my employers. But eventually we could reconcile and forgive each other. This is the secret to maintaining a long-lasting relationship”, she explained.
Having endured unpleasant days in the past, they are now living a much better life with the support of Corps members. They have all found great employers and have each worked for them for over 20 years. Mathy had even invited her employers to join Corps events. She now believes that she receives more than an income in Hong Kong, but also self-confidence and peace in Christ.
Melba’s current employer sees her as part of the family and encourages her to enroll in Cantonese class. The two elders of the family also teach her to read and write basic Chinese. Whenever they go on a holiday trip, they will always bring souvenirs back for Melba. Their love for Melba even extends to her family by giving her extra pocket money so she can buy gifts for her family when she visits them back the Philippines.
Eden has built a trusting relationship with her current employers. Due to anti-epidemic measures, her employers could not come back to Hong Kong for now. But they have entrusted Eden with their home, belongings, mails, and bank accounts. “They have left me alone in her house for 2 years now, still they provide for my daily needs and my monthly salary. I am vey happy and blessed to have employers like them,” she shared.
Looking back when they first arrived in Hong Kong, everything was new and unfamiliar. They had anxieties, doubts and felt lost. Fortunately, TSA English Speaking Corps has become their beacon of light, soothing them with the guidance of God and leading their ways in Hong Kong, their home away from home and a breathing space where they can find peace and support.