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Seven new soldiers find a spiritual home at Perth Chinese Corps



The seven new senior soldiers stand by The Salvation Army flag – Lizhen Zhang, Lai Fong Chan, Jinxia Sheng, Ann Li, Mark Owi, Jessica Zhang and Soen Yin Chen.
BY ANTHONY CASTLE

 

Membership at the thriving Perth Chinese Corps, located in the heart of Chinatown in the city, was boosted when seven senior soldiers were enrolled during an inspiring service on 10 December.

 

The corps’ first enrolments in two years, the event saw first-generation migrants committing to faith and service in their community.

 

Esther Ong Ng has been the Congregational Leader at Perth Chinese Corps for over eight years.

 

“We serve the Chinese community here in Perth, with programs running throughout the week,” explains Esther. “I conducted eight classes of soldiership preparation, or what we also call discipleship classes for those who’d become part of our community. We covered the basic doctrines of The Salvation Army and the basics of what you need to know as a believer.”


Esther Ong Ng, Congregational Leader at Perth Chinese Corps

Multiple community groups meet in the corps building and utilise the space. The corps helps people meet the challenges of migration and negotiating the language barrier.

 

“We reach out to a lot of the unchurched, perhaps 80 people per week,” Esther says. “Some of them come through the social programs, connecting people with lawyers, migration agents, helping people to fill out forms, giving them advice. We have different community groups here, choirs, people making use of the building.”

 

Migrant students connect with Perth Chinese Corps regularly. There are Sunday meals after each service and small groups where first-generation migrants can come and connect, as well as a table tennis program.

 

“We started the table tennis here three years ago,” Esther explains. “One of the people who just became a soldier had come through table tennis. He was the first to join us for it, which led to faith conversations, being at the corps for three years, and now soldiership.”


Most newly enrolled soldiers have been actively volunteering with the corps for some time. Soldiership is an affirmation of faith and a commitment to the community, but it’s also a reflection of the home that people have found with The Salvation Army.

 

“Two of the soldiers shared their testimonies on the day, with one of them saying they found a home here,” Esther says.

 

“Soldiership can bring that pride of belonging, wearing the uniform, being part of the community. There are all these Chinese migrants, far from their homeland. They’re coming to a foreign land, so a feeling of home is something important.”


Worship at Perth Chinese Corps is always a vibrant experience.



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