Dim Sim Evangelism
If you could hatch a plan to be a powerful witness to our nations biggest political power brokers would you: (a) Run for Parliament in a major party, (b) start or join a Christian lobby group, or (c) open a tiny Chinese restaurant?
Portia Yeung took option (c) although she didn’t quite imagine what the consequences would eventually be. 15 years after opening Portia’s Place in inner-suburban Kingston after the passing away of her husband, Portia is entering into a new era of her life having been described as more than just a restaurateur, but also as a moral guide and provider of emotional succour to our modern political leadership.
She receives flowers on Mothers Day from Julia Gillard no less and it was her Chinese takeaway that was reportedly ordered by the PM as her very first meal after taking office. Dennis Shanahan wrote a feature on Portia in The Australian paying tribute to her empathy, understanding, discretion and equanimity in her dealings with some of the nations top political powerbrokers.
Portia is a Christian (who attends a Baptist church) and her new life will potentially involve missionary service on the China Tibet border after studying theology in England. Her restaurant was effectively a 3rd place for many including politicians, who found more than just dim sims at Portia’s Place. Portia’s pastoral presence obviously spoke volumes for her to be featured in such glowing terms in our national newspaper. During the life of the restaurant part of the profits have gone to establish two schools in Tanzania.
This is missional/incarnational living at its best, or whatever buzz words you want to apply. This is the potential of a humble life speaking with perhaps far greater credibility and effectiveness than many more direct options of making representation that Christians could choose when trying to impact politicians. Granted Portia did not make a contribution on matters of policy (which is where lobbying has its place), but her quiet yet significant daily witness reflected her faith well and as a result she has made a very big impression.
You can listen to an interview by Louise Maher from ABC with Portia here.