Before joining MSI in 2003, I had worked in many different areas, like nursing, project management, administrative and personnel management etc. In my job I had to dialogue with people every day. Misunderstandings arose if I was not careful with the communication content. Even if I did understand what people meant, at times I did not know how to reply to them. My learning through some short courses on ‘communication skills’ were evidently inadequate.
Since I joined MSI, I often need to care for the local staff and visit scholarship recipients or the sick. Seeing how stressed they were concerning their unknown future, marriage, studies, finance, job and illness, I wished I knew some basic counselling skills to help them. I have always wanted to take some psychological counselling courses taught by Christian instructors. However, our short visits in Hong Kong and too expensive or lengthy courses prevented us from doing so.
With the epidemic outbreak, many MSI colleagues were unable to return to their sites. We are thankful to the headquarters’ timely arrangement of the counselling courses by Dr. Lam. During the course, he continually reminded us of our position as counsellor. We were not there to resolve the problems of those we are helping, but to walk alongside them in searching for the most appropriate remedies to their complicated problems. I used to talk non-stop about my rich life experiences and successful stories thinking that these would encourage and help others. Obviously my incessant talking did not work; in counselling more talking and less listening is indeed a taboo!
When Job in the Bible faced extreme pain in his life, his friends gave many reasons for his sufferings. Job said to them: ‘If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom……” (Job 13:5-8). Pray that with these counselling knowledge, we can use them to ‘care for’ many, and to listen well in the ‘heart to heart talk’.