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The City of Darkness, an excerpt from The Mind of a Missionary

In this 1915 map of the Hong Kong and Kowloon area, the walled city of Kowloon is marked “Chinese Town” in the upper right.
Image: Wikimedia Common

Locals called the place by its alternate name: the City of Darkness. “As I began to know it better,” Jackie Pullinger said, “I learned how true this name was. The Walled City was a place of terrible darkness, both physical and spiritual.”[vi] Jackie’s first visit brought her through a narrow gap between outside shops where she started down “a slime-covered passageway.”

An aerial view of the Kowloon Walled City and the neighboring village of Sai Tau Tsuen village in 1972.
Image: Ian Lambot / Wikimedia Common

“I will never forget the darkness and the smell—a fetid smell of rotten foodstuffs, excrement, offal, and general rubbish. The darkness was startling after the glaring sunlight outside,”[vii] she later reported.

In 1966, Jackie arrived in Hong Kong by boat. Her heart brimmed with great aspirations, for the British missionary had come to make a difference in the world. Jesus called her, and the young woman responded. Thus, she expected to witness great breakthrough, changed lives, and ministry “success.” Little did she understand the extent of the pervading darkness of her new mission field; her naiveté would be challenged on every level.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2019

About the Author: David Joannes is the founder and president of Within Reach Global, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary and The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.

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