‘It is not easy to describe my feelings towards the Corps (Church), because it has always been a part of my life.’ In 1956, the young Law So-fong moved to Chuk Yuen resettlement area with her family after their home experienced typhoon and fire. The Salvation Army Chuk Yuen Corps reached the Law’s family while doing relief work in the area, and it was the beginning of the lifelong connection between So-fong and the Corps. Not only in the Corps So-fong learnt about God, but also with the Corps she created many treasured moments and memories.
Growing up in the Corps
When So-fong, a soldier of William Booth Corps, looked back, she found her life filling with memories with the Corps. Since she was young, the officers of Chuk Yuen Corps have been very kind to her family; when the family was short of food, the officers even bought food at own expense for them. In addition, the Corps was the place where the young So-fong would go to take refuge whenever there was typhoon and the family feared their squatter hut would be damaged. At that time, So-fong went to the Corps with her mother and attended Sunday School, but as she did not know much about God, she only experienced the presence of God for the first time when she was in P.6. ‘My father just passed away at that time, and soon after my mother’s health suddenly made a bad turn, her weight dropped drastically from 120 pounds to 60 pounds. One day, after visiting her in the hospital, on the way home when I was waiting for a signal to cross a road, and I felt a surge of fear. I looked up to the sky and said, ‘God, I already lost my father, I do not want to be an orphan that soon, please cure my mother.’ Later, my mother recovered gradually and her weight returned to normal. I realised God really listens!’
The Corps has been with So-fong all her life. From becoming Junior Soldiers, joining the youth fellowship and songster brigade, distributing leaflets with other brothers and sisters on Lung Cheung Road, inviting passers-by to evangelical meetings, amalgamation of Chuk Yuen Corps and Tsz Wan Shan Corps and setting up of William Booth Corps, serve in the church… all these are important memories for her. In the Corps she has built up faith and connection with God, so she grew up with an optimistic attitude, ## for she knows she can seek God when she faces difficulties in daily life or at work (as a social worker). The caring from Corps members has also been her great source of support over the years.
Walking with cancer
So-fong was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was just about to retire after decades of busy work. When doctor brought her the bad news, her reaction was so calm that it surprised the doctor. She was calm because she knows life is in good hands with God. After knowing the news, Major Alice Tam, Corps Officer of William Booth Corps, has stayed in touch with So-fong closely and offered her consolation. To treat the cancer, So-fong first received targeted therapy, then chemotherapy and later electrotherapy. During chemotherapy, due to low immunity level and medicine effects So-fong had many side effects such as diarrhoea, itching skin and skin irritation, and the serious oedema in her left arm and tense shoulder muscles confined her movements so much that it gave her an intense feeling of helplessness. After the chemotherapy, So-fong’s doctor suggested her to have a breast removal surgery, but she was hesitated about such suggestion. Major Tam and Auxiliary-Captain Jeanette Chan (R) encouraged her to seek guidance from God so she asked God to guide her to a veteran doctor. Later she was able to find a senior consultant doctor and received a clear answer from that doctor whose diagnosis was that there was no need to do the removal in her case.
Since So-fong has opted not to do the removal surgery, she was scheduled to do radiation therapy (electrotherapy). She listened to the advice from Major Tam and a sister in the Corps who is a nurse to apply aloe vera and lotions to the area receiving the treatment, and kept skin intact during the course of treatment. However, the diarrhoea that she had every time before the therapy session has made her nervous and worried. To relieve her tensed emotions, she would sing hymns, pray and recite scriptures during every session and she kept a grateful heart for each successful treatment. For all that time she was grateful for God’s keeping and often counted the unlimited grace of God, giving thanks to God for His healing, caring and keeping.
Like being at home
Currently, to suppress the cancer, So-fong still needs to go to hospital for targeted therapy once every three weeks. Knowing she needs to visit hospital regularly during the pandemic, pastors of the Corps sent her high protection masks and reminded her to keep mask on during the hospital visits. So-fong has never stopped attending church meetings even during her treatment. Every time she attends the Sunday Holiness Meeting, Major Tam will prepare a seat with soft cushion for her, which warms her heart so much. Brothers and sisters in the fellowship and Corps often send her care and encouragement, and they also pray for her health. So-fong feels they are like family and she is never alone in her journey of fighting cancer.
For So-fong, knowing God and growing up in the church matter a lot to her. She cannot imagine what her life would be without God and her church life. She guessed she might become a pessimistic person filled with anger and without a direction. Without life in the Corps, she would not have so many people who give her warmth, care, support and love, something would be amiss in her life. ‘That’s why I’m really thankful for God has chosen me when I was in my mother’s womb. Knowing God is my lifelong blessing, whereas life in the Corps is part of my life. This connection is truly a blessing to me.’
More stories: https://salvationarmy.org.hk/information-centre/publications/army-scene/?lang=en