2018 … what’s next?

Happy New Year friends!  

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It’s been quite a while since we have shared with you on our Blog and what better time than now to update you with what’s been going on with Team Wong.  

For the past month we have continued with our galavanting around Hong Kong, going to different restaurants, sites and eventually ending up at the Happiest Place on Earth!  Yes, Disneyland!  We love Disney!  It was definitely our happy place.  

As we approach New Year’s in a couple of hours, there is much to reflect on.  There is much to be thankful for.  There is much to consider.  

2017 has been a year of change in our family, if you haven’t guessed already!  Haha!  As I reflect back on what God has done, what He is doing, it’s amazing that we’ve lasted Hong Kong as long as we have.   

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Our time in Hong Kong has been challenging in many ways.  We continue to look for a church that we can call home.  I believe that God is working in my heart with regards to this.  Not sure what the lesson is at this moment, however, I do know that I need to be in the Word consistently and be praying more fervently.  Our Family Worship during  this season of life has been way too sporadic, and that’s my fault for not leading better.  This indeed is an area of my life that I need to work on in the New Year.  

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As for fellowship is concerned, our SG is growing closer to one another.  We continue to study the book of Colossians and hope to be done soon, however, the time spent digging into the Word together has been meaningful and it’s a joy to lead, even though there are days when I feel so inadequate.  I think the fact that we all (with the exception of one member) have a Harvest Bible Chapel connection has bonded us quickly.  We actually call ourselves Harvest Hong Kong (unofficially) but our love for the Word and Worship that we have all experienced at Harvest Brampton, York or Durham bring us together like family.  

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I have appreciated my time teaching at ICS.  The faculty, leadership are encouraging and I absolutely love my class.  My students are so much fun!! Every year, students have given me a number of different nicknames, ranging from Wong to Wongy to Mr. W and now, Mr. Ping Pong, Mr. Kapong and Mida Wong … haha!  There is a family / community feel at ICS which has made the transition so much easier.   Thank You ICS.  

We are also thankful for our 7th Floor family here at ICS as well.  Doing life with friends who are going through exactly the same thing has been a comfort, knowing that we are not the only ones who struggle with life here in HK. God indeed has been faithful.  

My reflection of 2017 does not just start and end with our time in Hong Kong.  I can still remember the lead up to our departure.  Last minute decisions that had to be made, getting together with close friends “one last time”, Malachi running back into our home on July 21 taking a “last look” brought tears to our eyes … and still does when I think about it.  Moving on!!  

Our ride to the airport with our dear friends, the conversation that I had in my vehicle, and I’m sure Gloria in hers.  Our Small Group hosting a farewell party for us, we were super appreciative!  We miss our friends.  We miss Harvest Durham.  We miss good, solid preaching.  

IMG_2510More recently, I had the opportunity to touch base with some staff members back at Norman G. Powers.  Do I ever miss teaching at NGP!  I miss the “off comments, jokes” that we shared, certain staff members who use strong adjectives, the relaxed environment, Friday Treats!! NGP, I do miss all of you dearly!!  Let’s Skype in soon!!  

Finally, to close out the year 2017, we were thankful for the many visitors that we had from home.  It was so special for us to spend time with Vivian, Gabby, Samuel, one of my best friends Dennis and more importantly, my Mom who came to visit and stayed for 6 weeks with us here in Hong Kong.   We miss our friends, but definitely miss our family.  We were able to create new memories with my Mom, our boys spent valuable time with their Grandmother and it allowed us to have meaningful dialogue with one another.  Malachi and Timothy especially miss their Uncle Duncan. We are looking forward to having more visitors in 2018 and to be given the opportunity to grow in our friendships and relationships.  

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So what’s next?  Well, as a family we desire to be in God’s Word more consistently with much regularity.  We will continue to seek the Lord with regards to church.  Praying for much fruit with my Grade 4 class.  We look forward to developing strong relationships with our new friends here in Hong Kong.  Praying for our Small Group – to grow in our love for the Lord.  Pray that we would use our time wisely as we mentor / disciple others.  

2018 will continue to be a year of change, a year of growth, a year of dependence on the Lord.  

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As a family we just finished looking at Psalm 121.  “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth … The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”  We learned that God is our helper.  He never slumbers nor sleeps.  He is our shade.  The Lord keeps us.  What better way to enter the New Year than this?  To be reminded that the Lord loves us.  That He is faithful.  He will never leave us.  May we continue to look to the hills when we find ourselves struggling and to know without any doubt, that our God is there to help, encourage, support, love us.  May we continue to lean into God daily.  Praying that 2018 would be a year that our love for God would grow.  

Friends, we miss you.  It was a difficult Christmas season.  Thankful for His provision.  Thankful for His love.  Don’t be strangers … we would love to hear from you.  May we all have a desire to Know Him more this upcoming year.  

You are loved!

5 months … in Hong Kong

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

“I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry.”

“I delight to do your will, O my God, your law is within my heart.”

“Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me.”

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.”

“Wait for the Lord and keep His way.”

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Friends, these are words that keep coming to my mind.  Depending on when you read this, 5 months ago, our family left our home in Brooklin, Ontario and made the early morning drive to the airport for our family’s relocation to Hong Kong.  I can still remember that early morning when dear friends of ours came to pick us up, packed the truck with our belongings, Malachi running back into the house to take a “last look” around.  It was difficult.  Tears are forming even now as I write this and recall that morning.  I think Timothy was in a daze and still trying to figure out what exactly was taking place.

Five months into living in Hong Kong and in some sense, home in Canada seems like a distant memory.  We have made some really good friends here in Hong Kong, living in Uncommon Community with others, and we are learning what “Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me,” really means.  God is faithful.  This morning with my Grade 4 class, I reminded them that “God is the ultimate promise keeper.”

My mom is currently visiting us in Hong Kong, and we are thankful for that.  Our boys are excited to see their Mama (Chinese for Grandmother), and I’m thrilled for them – new memories, time spent with loved ones.  Now we need my brother to come and visit as well!

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Many of you know that coming to Hong Kong was our response to God’s leading, His prompting and our desire to be obedient to His calling.  The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.”  Our desire is to remain faithful, to delight in His ways … even though sometimes we’re not sure what that looks like.  We pray, we are seeking.  We believe that God is doing something, that He is on the move.  God has placed certain people in our lives to be our friends, prayer partners, people to lead, to disciple, to mentor.

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Last night, I had the opportunity to have a quick 10 minute conversation with a friend back in Canada, and it was encouraging and refreshing to hear of his story and what God is doing in PEI.  It almost seems that we’re living parallel lives, just on different islands!!  I’m excited to see how this all unfolds – God’s timing is always perfect.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” In the midst of a busy life, busy country, busy culture, we do our best to be still and remember that He is God.  I am continually learning to “Wait for the Lord and keep His way.”  My prayer is that I can say, “I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry.”  Friends, I’m learning.  God is growing something new in me.  By nature, I’m not patient … I think I’ve shared this before.

Five months.  Wow!  It’s been pretty fast.  One desire does remain though … “I delight to do your will, O my God, your law is within my heart.”  This is our desire.

Pray that this blog entry would be an encouragement to you as well.  Trust Him – no matter the circumstance you find yourselves in.  God is in control.  He will direct your steps … when you delight in His ways.  Wait patiently for Him.  And remember that God is faithful and He loves you unconditionally.

I wonder what the next 5 months will bring?

Friends,

You are loved!

Lessons from James … again …

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Hi friends … it’s me again … I know I said that Gloria would be blogging this time around, however, it’s been a bit crazy over here in Hong Kong.  Promise.  She will be blogging soon.

A few Blogs ago, I shared from the Book of James.  Our family just finished James a couple of evenings ago … which is good.  There’s so many lessons packed into such a small book … and I’ll do my best to succinctly share some of the lessons from James that I’ve been personally learning.

James 1:19 says, “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” … during our time of transition, this has been somewhat challenging and difficult, especially toward our boys. It’s more been “quick to anger, quick to speak, super slow to hear” … there have been moments where I would rather forget and pray that my boys would not repeat my words or actions.  The Lord is working on this area of my heart.

James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”  Wow … it’s been a huge blessing and responsibility to be able to teach my class God’s Word every single day.  I need to hold God’s Word high, but importantly, ensure that what I’m teaching is sound doctrine and Biblical.  In our short time here in HK, we have come to notice and realize that although there are many churches, sound doctrine is not something that we see nor hear.  Biblical teaching has been a challenge as well.  In having some meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues, the positive, is that many also see this, have a concern about it, and do have a genuine desire to see people grow in the knowledge and understanding of who Christ is, what the Bible teaches.  We are leading a Small Group every Wednesday and starting this weekend, Gloria and I will be leading another Small Group with some of high school students whom we’ve come to know and dearly love!  Pray that we exposit the Word correctly … handle the truth with much grace, mercy and love.

Chapter 5:7 … “Be patient, therefore, brothers …” Let’s just stop there.  I think God is working on this particular area of my heart as well … be patient.  I’m really not a patient person … I like to get things done, quickly, efficiently.  I’m praying about this one.

Chapter 5:13-20 … this section mentions the word Pray / Prayer 8 times.  I think it’s safe to say that’s it’s important … a real good reminder that we need to be in prayer – in trials, thanksgiving, when sick / ill, for one another, fervently in prayer for something / someone.  What does my prayer life look like right now? Who / What do I often pray about?

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So much to work on!  And so, we continue with our transition, we continue to put forth our best here at ICS and in HK.  We truly believe that God is working on our hearts, pruning us, preparing us for the work of the ministry. Preparing us for something down the road!

Friends in Canada, we miss you … Friends here in HK, thank you.

You are loved!

Direction … Clarity

IMG_5064.jpgFriends … it’s Wednesday evening, here in Hong Kong, which makes it Tuesday morning back in Canada.  Hallowe’en has come and gone and I loved seeing some of pics on FaceBook of our friends back in Canada!  Good times.

Our boys experienced a different level of ‘trick or treating’ this year – literally.  They went to a couple of rooms at our current place of residence and that was it.  I don’t think they really minded at all, which was encouraging.  They didn’t rake in pillow case after pillow case like they’re used to, but that’s ok.

In our last Blog, we shared about some of the struggles that we continue to have, what we’re praying for, and we are thankful that you are praying with us.  One story that we didn’t share with you occurred a few weeks ago now.

After our Family Fun Day at ICS, our family went for a quick dinner.  On our way to the MTR station, we witnessed a father scolding his son, publicly. We stayed to watch.  What we saw was disturbing.  The father was reaming his son out, aggressively approached his son, motioned his hand to smack him.  I yelled at him to stop.  He looked at me with surprise.  He didn’t know that I knew Chinese.  The man eventually did slap his son across his face, kicked him and threatened him continually.  Gloria called the police.  I approached the kid and asked him to walk away to safety, the father yelled obscenities at me, although I didn’t even know it until later.  I did finally speak up and spoke to the man in Chinese … to his surprise.

How did this end?  I had the opportunity to share Christ with the kid … and in Chinese.  That was a God thing.  Really.

The police did come … not sure what happened after though …

Why am I sharing this story with you? Well, we are learning that this type of behavior in Hong Kong is quite common.  Father’s in Hong Kong seem to be missing the point.  Many are absent in their children’s lives.  It’s so sad and unfortunate!

Where does Team Wong fit into all of this?  If you know me or our family, something is always brewing.  God has been faithful to us during our time thus far.  We know that He has a plan for us.  We are remaining firm despite not having a home church.  Our family is trying to be as consistent as we can with Family worship.  Small Group is helpful as it really forces me to dig into the Word and to share with our friends.  As we’ve been praying for direction and clarity, I was reminded by a good friend, that it seems like we’re both in a fog, or as my friend said:

“It’s like there is a plan or specific direction, but I’m blind to what it is.”

Yup … this is so true.  There is a sense though, that we are coming out of the fog.  God has definitely placed a desire on our hearts to disciple young people here in Hong Kong.  Team Wong will be starting a Life Group (aka Small Group) in a couple of weeks for some of the youth at our school.  We are also praying  intentionally for the launch of our home church … also probably in a couple of weeks.  God is moving.

More recently, like two days ago, I went to Starbucks for a meeting with a good friend here.  Shared some of our frustrations …  and he said to me:

“It may seem that God is stirring something in your heart.”

And this too is true.

So much more to share friends.  Gloria will be sharing the next few Blogs.  Would you continue to pray for and with us as we seek the Lord for better clarity and direction.

Trusting Him with all things.

You are loved.