Yay Sisters: Charlotte Ooi, a student and community activist in Hong Kong
Welcome to Yay Sisters!
When I started The Yay Project (with YAY = You Are You), I felt God show me that it would be all about helping US celebrate our God-given design. So far the blog and IG has been mostly about my personal walk though community has always been the goal. I am so interested in seeing and celebrating the God-given design and unique journey of each and every sister. Then a few weeks ago, as I was giving thanks for having the opportunity to do this through The Yay Project, I felt God gave me the idea for Yay Sisters.
The goal for Yay Sisters is simple: learn about and cheer on fellow sisters all over the world!
While we might live different lives in different locations (e.g. I've met amazing, amazing women in South Africa, India, Singapore, Australia, the Netherlands, US, Canada and more) there’s such a beautiful, powerful, almost instant connection when we share our love of God. Let's marvel and rejoice at how God is moving and being glorified over the world. And now amidst the current pandemic … I pray that these stories will provide extra encouragement for women everywhere to stay close to God’s heart and step into their God-given purpose.
With that said, thank you to my friend Charlotte for going first! Charlotte, or Ching Ching as her family and church friends (including me) call her, and I go to the same church but actually met on Instagram. In 2019 God was moving in both of our lives, encouraging us to share the gospel online, so we connected online and then I enthusiastically ran over to her at the snack table after service one day to say hello. Her heart for evangelism is so inspiring as is her work with Lighthouse.hk (one of the few, if not the only, bilingual Instagram accounts dedicated to encouraging youth during the Hong Kong protests). Read on below and, if you feel led, please leave encouragement / a prayer for her in the comments.
Name: Charlotte (Ching Ching) Ooi
Location: Hong Kong
Hi Ching Ching! Please tell us about yourself.
Hey everyone! I’m Ching Ching. I’m currently doing my Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling at the University of Hong Kong.
I love spending time with the people I love: Jesus (of course!), family, friends, and meeting new friends. As an introvert, I used to hate meeting new people but I realized after entering uni that my way of making new friends is just different from others. I enjoy spending one on one time with new friends to make sure they know I want to be intentional with this friendship. And with old friends I love spending both one on one and group time with them.
I love watching period dramas, listening to music (country music, worship songs, etc.), reading books, and having spiritual conversations with random people and the people I love.
My future aspirations are kind of up in the air but surprisingly I like it like that. I used to be a big planner (I planned out what university I wanted to go to 3 years before I had to decide haha), but I realized that God’s plans are better than mine so I’m excited to see what he has in store! The only thing I know is that I really, really want to help orphans and kids who need a safe home. If I get married, I would love to adopt and do foster care. But since I can’t predict that, I’m working towards equipping myself to help these children through NGOs or perhaps the church.
I’m still unsure about a lot of things, but it’s all good! God’s got it in his hands. All I need to do is obey and keep my heart aligned with His!
How did you become a Christian?
I was born into a Christian family but feel I never fully experienced God until 2014. That was the year my mum was diagnosed with cancer and my parents’ marriage was struggling. It seemed like the two things I feared most, death of a parent and divorce, could actually become reality.* During that time, I felt that no one understood what I was going through. Not even my sister. And I thought that my friends didn’t care as they rarely asked how I was doing (though looking back now, I think perhaps they just didn’t know what to say as we were all very young). So the only person I could talk to was God.
In that season, I started journaling. I’d address each entry to God and really let out all my thoughts and feelings. The song You Are Holy by Michael W. Smith was also very impactful for me during this time. Nothing crazy or dramatic happened but it was in that season that I truly began to build my relationship with God. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how much joy I had during that time. Although my home life was a mess and it was heartbreaking watching my precious mummy suffer, God still somehow gave me joy. Back then and still now many people tell me that when they see me they see joy. I see it as a testament of God’s goodness in my life. He could have left me to deal with my problems alone but He loves me and was by my side through it all. And He still is.
What’s your favourite way to experience God?
I don’t know if I have a favourite way to experience God. Whenever I experience God ... those moments are my favourite! But I think music helps me articulate my love for God and also some of my struggles. God often speaks to me through different songs.
What does celebrating your God-given design mean to you?
To me, celebrating my God-given design means to recognize my identity in Jesus! That might sound cliche but it’s true. A year ago, my friends and I went to watch The Lion King in the cinema and wow… I cried. There’s this one scene where Simba finally realizes his identity as Mufasa’s son. Before this moment, he was filled with shame because of his past mistakes. But after he heard his father tell him that he will always be his son and to always remember who he was, his whole posture changed. He claimed his rightful identity. This scene brings me to tears every time!
Recognizing that I am a daughter of God gives me confidence and strength. Although I still struggle with fear and shame, knowing Who I am from and Who loves me changes my posture from one of wallowing to one of confidence. I no longer operate out of a posture of defeat but out of the knowledge that there has been and will be victory through Christ!
How do you hold onto this when times are tough?
When I’m struggling with my fears, I remember that I am His daughter and He loves me. Knowing that He loves me dispels all other fears/shame/guilt/etc.. E.g. when I worry about what people think of me, I think “well, so what if they may POTENTIALLY think this about me? Jesus loves me! What He says about me is the only truth. If He wants to convict me about something, He will and I will obey!” I’m learning to differentiate between my own voice or the enemy’s voice and my Jesus’ voice.
You’ve recently started Lighthouse.hk. Please tell us about your mission!
What sparked our mission was the Hong Kong protests in 2019. Our first posts were mainly about the protests and wanting to bring encouragement to HK people, but now we post about our relationship with God and how he’s impacted our lives. We want to allow people to want to get to know God if they don’t know God and for them to want to know God more if they already know Him!
How did Lighthouse.hk get started?
One day I was on the phone with my best friend and we were talking about what God had been doing in our lives. Then she suddenly and enthusiastically shared about how she and her friends at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology were thinking about starting an Instagram account to encourage and to introduce people to God during the Hong Kong protests. When she asked me if I wanted to join the team as the English writer and translator, I very excitedly said yes! After I joined, my sister and another one of our best friends joined too.
We were all tired of feeling like we weren’t able to do anything about the situation. So we came up with the idea of doing something that would please and glorify God during those dark times. Altogether our group is now made up of seven girls whose hearts are devoted to sharing about God’s love and light.
What is one thing God has taught you while working on Lighthouse.hk?
I’d say the number one thing I learnt through Lighthouse.hk is humility! Sometimes I can fall into the trap of thinking that people will experience God specifically through me or my words. Yes, people can experience God through me. But when this thought comes from a place of pride, it’s a definite no-no. God will move where he wants to move using whoever he wants to. It’s not because of me that people are touched by God. God chooses to partner with me in my posts to bring people closer to Him. And it is because of God that I have anything to write about in the first place! Without personally experiencing the greatness of his love, I would not have these testimonies of His work in my life. I’m so happy to be a part of my Father’s plans and purposes!
Can you share more about your vision for Lighthouse.hk moving forward?
When we started the account, my friends and I mainly wanted to reach those who had not yet experienced God. At this moment, our main audience is Christians. Although we are so happy and grateful to be able to encourage fellow believers, we really want to bring light into the darkness (i.e. those that do not yet know Jesus). This is in line with our vision verse: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
And now with the coronavirus… In light of everything that’s happening we really want to bring joy and peace to Hong Kong people. We want to let them know that although things are scary, we have hope in Jesus! We want to show people that with Jesus we have nothing to fear! We can’t really control the whole situation so might as well surrender it to God. We just hope that we can help people find some light in all this darkness, e.g. find a new hobby, spend more time with family, spend more time with God. I pray that we won’t be known as the generation of the coronavirus, but the generation that seeks God’s face and desires to bless others!
How can we pray for you?
Thanks for asking! I’d love prayer over my fear of what people think of me. God has already brought so much freedom to me in this area but I believe that Jesus promises complete freedom through His death and resurrection! So I want that COMPLETE freedom! Fear has prevented me from doing so many things and I’m not going to allow it to have power over me anymore. That’s partly why I started my YouTube channel hehe.
*Thankfully, my mum has recovered from cancer (Praise God!). And my parents are continuing to work on their marriage with prayer and greater intentionality. Sometimes I still become frustrated that there hasn’t been complete restoration in our home but I’m learning to surrender it to Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace and I can’t imagine a single day in my life without Him.
Ching Ching’s Favourite Things
Bible verses: Psalm 27, Psalm 23, Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11
Worship songs: When God Ran by Phillips, Craig & Dean, Extravagant and Goodness of God by Bethel Music
Ways to worship: Getting off the bus one stop early to listen to worship music and look at the stars while walking back home
Food: Chicken (it’s the way to my heart)
Beauty product: Rosehip oil … I love massaging it into my face
Piece of clothing: My navy blue A-line skirt from UNIQLO because it makes me feel like a maid or cook from the olden times (I love period dramas!)
Place: Probably Park Island in Hong Kong, I enjoy walks around the island with family or just me and God
Connect with Ching Ching
YouTube: The Salad Diaries
Blog: The Salad Diaries