6 Days of Hong Kong

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Dear Family and Friends

Ok … let’s try this again.  My last blog was super short, didn’t make a whole of sense, so I’m hoping this one will.  Are we still tired?  Yup!  Our boys have been sleeping on average, 8 to 10 hours every night since we’ve been here.  Summer Camp, long nights have definitely been part of the slumber! Here we go … a short / brief recap of this past week.

Aside from landing in Hong Kong which was quite eventful we, as a family, have had an extremely busy time.  We still don’t have a cell phone number, working on banking, and basically using our school’s wifi.  Hoping to get on the rest of the stuff tomorrow – which is Saturday – or at least next week.

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We began the week with a super welcome from ICS with breakfast … which was basically everyday for our whole family and new faculty.  Monday we had to obtain our HKID cards.  This was quite the experience.  Surprisingly, not a lot of paper work, however, there were so many people at the “office” that both Gloria and I were a bit overwhelmed. Later that day the school treated us to Dim Sum and we ended the day with laptop distribution.  For all my NGP / Durham peeps … this is the way to do it.  Every teacher gets a laptop.  Thankful! That evening, again, ICS treated us to some KFC dinner!!  Not exactly Chinese but still hit the spot!

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Tuesday through Thursday was basically the same … breakfast, devotions and then some kind of in-service regarding school philosophy / motto, tech, school tour, lunch, Elementary School time, a tour of City One, Mah On San, Sai Kung, Tsim Sha Tsui, more eating and some shopping.  It was most definitely busy.  Our boys were troopers too!  They spent the entire day at Camp and then were still able to come out on our evening excursions!

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Today … is Friday in Hong Kong.  Today was a bit different.  We had our morning routine, however, we then took a bus ride to somewhere in Hong Kong, landed at a spot called Crossroads (check out their website: https://www.crossroads.org.hk).  I think some of you will find this interesting and perhaps something to get yourself involved with.  At Crossroads, we were educated about poverty, and other issues that exist in our world.  This is not new.  For those of you who know me, I have always had a heart for reaching the lost.  The director spoke to us about being the hands and feet, making a difference.  We were put through a simulation of people living in the slums.  Our task was to make paper bags.  There were of course restrictions, some structure, however, at the heart of it, was for us to have some empathy to those who live in these conditions.  It was difficult at times.  I would say that all of us were impacted.   I had to “sell” one of my kidneys for money, and Gloria was sold to the landlord to be his second wife.

7 billion people live on earth.  3 billion live on less than $4US a day.  Our challenge was simple: what are you going to do?

One of the reasons, Gloria and I decided to come to Hong Kong was this.  How can we be salt and light to the community here in Hong Kong?  What ministry can we plug ourselves into?  Remember, it’s only Day 6 of being in Hong Kong, however, God is slowly showing us the reality of Hong Kong.  There are slums, homeless villages in HK.  We need to move.  We need to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Friends, don’t get too comfortable.  We were both reassured of our calling to Hong Kong today.  Not only will I be teaching, discipling kids / families every day, there is also an opportunity to serve the people of Hong Kong.

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Our prayer is that we continue to focus on the Lord, be available to do whatever He’s asking of us.  We know that He has plans for us, for our boys … it’s only the beginning!

You are loved!

Open Letter … Harvest York

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Dear Harvest York!

8 years ago we stepped into Harvest Bible Chapel York.  With some encouragement by friends who were attending Harvest Oakville and London, we decided to make the long drive from Brooklin to Markham.  Haha.  “Someone” in my home said it was a long drive for church, yet we shopped at Foody Mart once a week.  Hmmmm …

We are glad that we did.  We visited once, and that was it!!  We never stopped coming.  After a few Sunday’s I was asked to audition to be part of the worship team, and what a joy it was to serve alongside those who had a passion for worship.

Although we were part of the core group at Harvest Durham, we attended York regularly for more than a year.  During that time Harvest York, you poured into us, you encouraged us, we made many friends, and continue to have great relationships at York.  You loved us tangibly and we are super thankful and grateful.

During that season, Gloria was pregnant with Timothy, had some complications and required emergency surgery.  I was at a lost in terms of who to contact, so I contacted Pastor Paul.  Like a shepherd, he prayed for us and encouraged me at that particular time.  Pastor Paul also called me and asked me where I was …. and eventually he showed up at the hospital to be by our side.  Both Gloria and I will never forget your love and genuine care!

Fast foward to the present … we continue to be encouraged by those at Harvest York.  It was a pleasure for Gloria and I to serve at AWANA, to have our boys part of AWANA for 2 years, developing great relationships, more importantly seeing them grow in their desire to serve and love the Lord, as well as having our boys attend Harvest Summer Kids.  Your love for kids is evident.  Your passion to share the Gospel is obvious! Thank you for pouring into our boys.

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When we shared that we were moving to HK, we were overwhelmed by the love, support and prayers by many at HY.  Thank you to many – it’s been a joy to attend Harvest York.  We started our time at York and Gloria and I both decided that we would end our time in Canada at Harvest York.  I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see one another again.  We are trusting in the Lord for great things to come in the days and months and years ahead!

“Harvest York, you will always have a special place in our hearts.  Every time we come and visit, it’s like coming home.  We are always welcomed by you.  Your love is evident.  Our boys love being there!  Thank you Sue for praying with me today after the service.  Thank you Pastor Paul for your warm and kind words.  Words cannot express how we truly feel about HY.  It was very difficult for me to leave … and I haven’t stopped crying.  Dan has to type this for me.  We love you all very much!  We will be praying for you. ~ Gloria”

Thank you for your heart for missions.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your leadership.

Harvest York … You are loved!

 

An Open Letter …

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Dear Harvest Durham Family

We can’t believe how fast the time has past since we launched the church.  So much has happened!  At the beginning there was only a handful of us.  We would worship at Harvest York every Sunday for a year, we had our very own Durham Small Groups – 2 to be exact.  Some of us were single, getting married, or recently just had kids.  It was very different, that’s for sure.  We can still remember meeting for small group in Ajax which eventually led to meeting in the basement of one of our dear friends.  At the time, we didn’t even know Ian.  I met Ian at Sunset Grill in Ajax one day to discuss our possible involvement with Harvest Durham – one conversation which led to many opportunities to serve the Lord.  We are thankful.

From our time in the basement we would see the core group grow, knitted together with a common bond to see a church that would Proclaim the Word of God Unapologetically every week.  We would go through video series, had a time of worship, and break out for prayer.  Ian would show up from time to time via Skype and eventually actually be present in the flesh.

Fast forward to open houses, meetings, Servant Leadership Team, memorizing the entire book of Colossians, more meetings, laughs, driving around Durham looking for a location  – Donald A Wilson Secondary School, which would become our eventual home for Harvest Durham.  Before launching, we had our transition from the basement to Pickering Christian School … that was exciting.  I can still remember when the sound equipment arrived, the banners were made and put in place.  Some of you who are reading this will remember those days.

I remember praying for a location, that God would draw His people to His church, that God would provide drivers for the trailer, prayed for people, prayed that God would provide finances, etc.  Firmly believing in the power of Prayer. Over the past 7 years, its amazing to see how God has provided.  He is faithful.

Over those past 7 years, we have experienced a sweet joy in serving our Lord.   Both Gloria and I had the privilege of serving in Harvest Kids in various roles, thankful for the opportunity to launch Harvest Kids Summer Adventure, hosting lunch in our home for new comers, Party with the Pastor, Pre-Service Prayer, hosting SG training at our home in Brooklin, Praise and Prayer Nights, looking after Assimilation, working with some pretty amazing people – some who are still at Durham as well as others who have left. Being SG leaders over the past 7 years was both a season of trials and growth.  There were years when it was super challenging as well as times of sweet fellowship.  I also had the joy and still do, leading men through Systematic Theology.  Meeting with men once a week to discuss Theology and Doctrine.  These were and are still some real good times.  At one point we even included a small workout session! One of our highlights during our time at Harvest Durham was the opportunity to travel to Nepal.  The initial trip with Ian to Nepal was definitely memorable.  Our trip to Chitwan, the church in the mountains, experiencing church and how our brothers and sisters would Lift High the Name of Jesus in worship! It will forever be etched in my memory.  The second trip to Nepal was just as memorable.  Gloria was able to join me, and the team that I had the privilege to lead.  We had our challenges, however, lives were changed … and we can see how the Lord continues to mold lives as a result of being in Nepal.  We would love to bring our boys to Nepal one day, Lord willing.  One of our desires as a family is to be able to bring our boys on missions trips with us one day – soon.  We want to in-still in our boys the importance of Sharing the Good news of Jesus with boldness! 

We share all this, not to put the spotlight on ourselves, but to show how good and faithful our God is.  He gets all the Glory!!

On Sunday, our SG hosted a farewell party for us.  It was a really sweet time with friends, talking, laughing,  spending time together, eating pizza and for some of us who stayed long enough, we even had dessert pizza!!  It was soooo good.  Thank you SG!  It was such an encouragement to the both us.  We will miss you all dearly.  It was our pleasure to have hosted and to have led our group.  The growth that we have seen in each of you is amazing!! May you continue to strive to be more Christ-like!

Harvest Durham … thank you for the past 7 years.  Thank you for the joy and privilege to be able to serve alongside each of you.  It has been a delight to walk with some of you.  It is our intention, to continue to walk with you while we are in Hong Kong.  We will continue to pray with and for you.  Distance should not hinder us from praying nor from encouraging one another.

For those of you who are new to the church, those who have committed to HD … may we encourage you to continue to Worship, Walk, and Work for the Lord.  Never make it about yourself.  Don’t serve because you want some kind of recognition.  Serve because you love the Lord.  Serving should not be a task or feeling you’re going to work – you are serving the King of Kings.  If you’re not serving, what are you waiting for?  Get off the bench!  Church is not a spectator sport.  Get involved.  If God can use us, He can use you as well.  Be available.  Be humble. Be ready.

Continue to love one another … not just in words, but in action.  When you say, “I will pray for you,”  – do it!  When you offer help … go and help.

Sunday was our last Sunday at Harvest Durham.  We will be back to visit – realistically, in  2 years. You will be missed.  Our prayer for you as we leave in about a months time is that you would remain steadfast.  Praying that your love for one another would abound more and more – people are hurting, marriages are crumbling – life is real.  Praying that you would actually live in Uncommon Community.  Praying for a sincere desire to go and make disciples.  Praying that you would have a heart for Missions.

It’s time Harvest Durham.

You are loved!

 

 

There is a Purpose …

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Happy Tuesday friends.  This past weekend we spent the weekend with some really sweet friends.  We chatted about the future, the days and months ahead and the anticipation of what God is going to do.  Sometimes my mind can spin and often goes to far off distant lands of dreaming.  If you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big! We serve a big God!  I’ve shared my life verse before, “Commit your way to the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart!”

As I looked around on the weekend, I realized that we all had a common bond, common goal … and the fact that we were all leaving within the next couple of months.  There is a reason why our friendships bonded the way it did.  There is a reason why we are leaving at this time.  There is a purpose.  I truly believe that God has a plan for all us. A greater plan in God’s design.  Perhaps God is calling our family to Hong Kong to be missionaries.  Maybe He is putting into place and plan for us to plant a church.  If you’re one of the many people who have asked us, “Are you going to plant a church?”, please pray and seek the Lord if this is part of His will for us.

We often go through life without any real purpose.  We live our lives doing the same thing over and over again.  Some of us are caught up in the rat race.  Others are trying to “keep up.” As Christians we are told to “Make Disciples” … we are commanded to “Go”.  I often think and have asked, “How many of us actually listen and obey God’s words?”  What is God’s purpose for our lives?  The answer is simple, to give Him much glory.  However, there’s more to it than what we demonstrate in our lives.

And so, we “Go.”

This past Sunday, I was again, reminded of the calling … “To the ends of the Earth.”

If you’re reading this, and you’re not sure … perhaps, the one thing you should be praying about / asking God is “Lord, where do you want me / my family to be?”  For some, it could be next door, and others … it could literally mean … to the nations.  Be available to do God’s work.  One thing I’m confident about, God does not ask people to “Stay.”

For others who are reading this, maybe God is calling you to Himself.  You may not even have a relationship with God.  Perhaps you’re not aware of His love for you.  The fact that God would send His son, Jesus, to take your place on the cross.  He bore God’s wrath so that we may have life.  God loves you.  He desires to have a relationship with you.

Friends … are you living life with purpose?  Seek the Lord today.  Ask Him.  Be bold.

Don’t let people or material possessions hinder you from doing God’s work.

 

You are loved!

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