Updated: Mar 17
Missionary to America: Rev. Richard Law, China
In 1841, to end hostilities, the Chinese ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain. In the late twentieth century there were many Chinese desperate to leave. For over a century this created tension between the two countries. In 1984 an agreement was reached to return the island to China. The date set for return to China was July 1, 1997.
The next thirteen years saw millions of Chinese leave their homes, their schools, their businesses. Some came to Wollaston, Massachusetts. The town of Wollaston is named for Captain Richard Wollaston, an English sea captain who brought immigrants from England to the Boston area. Now, new immigrants, immigrants from the other side of the world, were arriving.
Leaving Hong Kong was not the hardest part for twelve year old Steve Law. Rev. Richard Law, Steve’s father, was a pastor in Hong Kong and his mom was a teacher in a Lutheran school on the island. Many Hong Kong migrants settled in the Boston area. Some of those faithful had been members of Lutheran churches in Hong Kong. Wollaston Lutheran Church was in the bull’s eye.
Hong Kong Immigrants in Boston
What should a church like Wollaston do? Should they reach out to the new immigrants? Wollaston, a part of the Boston region, wanted to mirror the demographics of its neighbors. Pr. Adolph Wismar prepared the way for outreach to the new immigrants. To be serious about reaching the immigrants they needed a missionary. In 1989, Richard Law received a divine call to leave Hong Kong and serve as a missionary for Wollaston Lutheran Church. His family followed.
The tough part for young Steve Law was learning to live in America. Steve, popular in his home country, was bullied by classmates who spoke English better than his broken English. Language was not the only problem. American individualism clashed with the more communal minded Chinese. This is what other immigrants from Ireland, from Italy, from Mexico, from Nigeria, from Germany have had to face. The church was Steve’s refuge. There he heard familiar hymns, language he knew well, and then he heard a divine call, a call to serve the Lord. Pastor Steve Law became the pastor of Wollaston Lutheran.
Do Good and Share Jesus
One question every church should ask is “What difference would it make if our church just disappeared; here one day, gone the next. Would anyone in the community notice?”
In the video interview Pres. Dan Gilbert asked Steve Law “What should a church do?” Pr. Law replied, “Do good and share Jesus.” This is precisely what Wollaston Lutheran is doing.
The church gave part of their land for the construction of a high rise senior citizen apartment. On the other end of the spectrum, Wollaston Lutheran purchased land near the Wollaston train station and built a child development center. Both are continuing witnesses to the love of Jesus as they do good and share Jesus. Weekly Bible study classes and worship services are held in the apartment building for Christians living in the apartments; meals on Chinese holidays and exercise classes bring a wider group together. Children from the day care center participate in Wollaston’s Vacation Bible School each summer. Meetings of local Asian organizations are held in the church to give neighbors a voice to the local government.
The Church’s banner proclaims, “One Family, under God.” They could add, “Doing good and sharing Jesus.” Just what a church should do.
Watch the entire interview with Steve Law
Are you a loving neighbor? Intro video