Kenya Spur Afrika 2021 - Chinatown

While passing through Melbourne’s Chinatown on Friday, some ‘Season Greetings’ signs were visible, with the Chinese characters ‘恭喜发财’ (a congratulations, or wish, for the arrival of prosperity).

I have heard that such an expression of wish for personal wealth is not a particularly religious, or ‘Christian’ form of greeting at Christmas time. However, such a desire is perhaps a fair representation of 19th century Chinese immigrants to gold-rush Victoria. I imagine very few would have considered Melbourne or Victoria their true home. Perhaps they considered Australia merely a place to gain fortune and provide for their loved ones back in China before returning to their ‘true’ home in the glory of a New Life.

Into these displaced lives came Christians of Chinese heritage, setting up Wesleyan and Anglican churches which are still on Little Bourke Street today. These churches passed on the Good News to those of Chinese heritage, trained pastors to plant other churches and sought to address the many social difficulties which faced the Melbourne Chinese Community.


The Kenyan school children we will visit in Kibera and Kisumu are also, in a sense, ‘displaced’. Kibera is an informal settlement (‘slum’), families have almost all migrated into the slum and certainly don’t want to stay there. Children and families in impoverished rural Africa also often long for a better life, perhaps in the slums of a larger city.

Spur Afrika seeks to help provide for the deep longing for a New Life by, among other things:

  1. Provide support for education
  2. Address social issues of poverty and gender-inequality
  3. Support for the experienced hurt and needs of the spirit.

Mark 10:43-45 (“whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”) calls for those who have power – or privilege – to submit themselves to the benefit of others, perhaps particularly to those who have less.

Like those 19th and early 20th century Chinese pastors, I hope and pray we are ready to (as empowered by Him) lead, encourage and serve those in need.

Spur Afrika trip 2021-2022 posts

David Fong
David Fong
Lead doctor, Kensington site, coHealth

My interests include sustainable development in low-resource populations, teaching and the uses of monitoring and evaluation in clinical practice.