Living Life in Hong Kong

4 years ago, Team Wong left home, Canada, as we knew it. It was a tearful departure. We left our family, friends, and community. Little did we know that we would still be living in Hong Kong. Since that initial day, our family has grown in so many ways. 

Malachi has become quite an accomplished drummer. Recently, he received his G6 Trinity Music Exam results with flying colors. He is a member of the Youth and Adult Worship band at church, plays in the Youth Worship Team at school. He has picked up piano and working on his G4 ABRSM.  His love for the Lord and willingness to grow are evident. Malachi is becoming a fine young man.

Timothy is entering G6, Middle School, can you believe it? For the past couple of years, Timothy has been enrolled in Hip Hop Dance and completed his G6 Dance Requirements. Recently, he began Alto Saxophone lessons. We’ll see how far he goes with this. 

And to top it off, doing our best to fit into the community and culture, both of our boys have been attending a math tutor center once a week for the past year.  Socially, they are doing well, making friends, engaged with different people all the time. 

As for Gloria, she is involved with Young Lives Hong Kong, a ministry with a focus on young single mothers. Her schedule is quite routine, and yet rewarding, where she spends time mentoring and shepherding young mothers. All those years of small group have paid off.  On top of all this, Gloria continues to look after our family, ensuring that we eat well, taking care of our home, and meeting with other ladies for tea, lunch, and mahjong. 

I’m still teaching G4, and loving every minute of it, especially now, since we’re on Summer Break. The past couple of years have been difficult, but if you know me, bring it. Love the challenge, look forward to the changes, trusting God through it all. Health-wise, doing my best to hit the gym regularly, run at least 5 km, 3 times a week. 

Much has changed for Team Wong over the past 4 years. The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” He’s still working on us and we continue to lean into Christ, continue to listen to His voice, continue to trust in His sovereignty over our lives. 

So 4 years ago, we left home for Home Kong, however, another milestone in our lives … on July 23, 2005, Gloria and I were married. 16 years seems like a short time relatively speaking. Throughout those years, much has happened. Have we experienced 16 years of amazing marriage and constant daily happy moments? Of course not. We have struggled, argued, drove each other away, ignored each other; however, we have seen God’s faithfulness in our lives, we have experienced God’s love and have seen a transformation of our relationship with one another. Coming to HK was a much-needed jolt for our relationship. I had mentioned before that we had several counseling sessions, and for that, I am grateful. God continues to mold us, continues to teach me how to love Gloria, how to shepherd my family better, with much grace and love. For goodness sake, my Chinese name is 加恩, which means, “more grace”. I need to definitely work on that. 

And so, 4 years of living in Hong Kong, 16 years married to a loving and forgiving wife, 2 active and growing boys … what’s next? God only knows. Friends, I’ll update you later with any new or exciting news as we continue to do and live life here in Hong Kong. 

Thank you to those who have continued to keep in touch with us. It truly means a lot to us. Don’t forget to follow us on IG too.  Till next time.

You are loved.

It’s a New Year

We are days away from celebrating Chinese New Year. This is the year of the Pig. Doesn’t sound too flattering, yet the Pig is usually associated with
wealth and prosperity in the Chinese culture – so they say.

Recently, our family travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand for our Christmas vacation. It was a much needed time to get away – to wind down, to re-focus and to spend time with our family – away from the busyness of Hong Kong. We were indeed thankful. Some of you followed our daily posts on IG or Facebook, however, our pictures did not do justice to the sights and smells we experienced. We spent the bulk of our time in the Old City of Chiang Mai, experienced the Saturday and Sunday Market, drank a lot of coffee, had street food, ate fried chicken on more than one occasion and we really didn’t want to come back to Hong Kong.

Part of being an ex-pat and living overseas truly allows us the opportunity to travel and to experience different countries and cultures. We are thankful that our boys enjoy the journey and the adventure.

We are now approaching the 2-year mark of living in Hong Kong and counting down the days until we get to go home, to Canada, for the summer – yes, only for the summer. Team Wong will be returning back to Hong Kong for another season. We have been praying and seeking the Lord with this matter, and truly believe that God is not finished with us here. There were definite hiccups along the way, however, God is in control. He is the one that leads and directs our steps, no one else, no matter who they think they are.

Recently with my Grade 4 class, for our morning devotions, we went through the book of Esther. It was such a good time of reading and digging into the Word, as much as we could, at their level. We did take home a few nuggets:

  1. We need to be humble, like Mordecai and Esther
  2. Hold true to our convictions.
  3. God is in control over all circumstances.

So what? How does God’s truth guide our lives here? We need to be faithful to what God has called us to do. We truly believe that God is asking us to share the Gospel here in Hong Kong. God has allowed us many opportunities despite some of the hurdles that we have faced.

I also believe that by being here in Hong Kong, we have seen God at Work – in our own lives, but also with those who we have connected with. If we had stayed home in Canada, we would have missed all that we are experiencing. And so, we look forward to another season in Hong Kong. We wait with anticipation to all that He will do, and continue to do.

In the meantime, Chiang Mai is now a recent memory but we’re awaiting for our time in Penang, Malaysia as we celebrate CNY!

Learning to Listen

I tell my grade 4 class – especially a few boys –  okay, let’s be honest, most of my boys, that listening is a skill. They’re not quite at the stage of understanding what this actually means nor do they understand the application of it.  It’s quite frustrating.  Teachers, friends, parents, you know exactly what I mean.

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The Bible recounts for us a story about a boy named Samuel (1 Samuel 3).  He was placed in the care of Eli and God calls him several times.  Each time God speaks, Samuel responds by saying “Here I am, for you called me” thinking that Eli is the one calling. Eli in his wisdom instructs Samuel how he ought to respond if he hears his name again. God, indeed, calls again a fourth time, and Samuel responds by saying, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

As we pray and seek the Lord regarding the direction of our family, I need not only to hear … but listen.  Listening involves action.  So many times we hear but so little of us respond properly, so little of us respond properly to God’s voice.

We have shared many times that living in Hong Kong is a struggle.  It’s not easy.

Grocery shopping basically takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.  Gloria needs to walk from our village to the MTR station, take the train for about 45 mins to her destination.  By the time she finds what she’s looking for, going through the crowds with her cart, it’s quite exhausting.  Oh, it would be easier if we had a car, but we don’t.  Thankful though, for the times when friends give her a ride and go shopping together!  You know who you are!!

The list could also include: hot weather in the summer, Mosquito-Pa-Looza every day,  pushing and shoving, lack of personal space, rude people that we encounter daily, the crazy amount of people who smoke, the constant grind of people walking, moving at lightning speed because they don’t want to miss a train, bus, tram.  Crowds.  Enough said.

Hong Kong is a love – hate relationship.

Are we complaining?  No, it’s just reality.  Are there aspects of Hong Kong that we love?  Absolutely.  However, this is Hong Kong.

And so … how do we hear God in the midst of all this crazy?

“Be still and know that I am God.”  

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Sometimes the question is: How do we be still?  Where do we find peace in the midst of chaos?  So much for desiring to leave the rat race.

What is God saying to us these days?  What are we hearing through the noise?  Are we even paying attention?

What about you?  What is God saying to you lately?  What do you hear in your noisy world?  Are you paying attention to God?

And so , we continue to pray.  We continue to seek the One who led us here to Hong Kong in the first place.  We continue to be in His Word.  We desire to be obedient.  Pray that our motives be pure.

Samuel was obedient and God used him for His glory, for His purpose.

Will continue to share with you our journey as we do our best to put Christ first in our lives.

You are loved.

Typhoon Mangkhut

Hong Kong just endured one of the biggest and severe typhoons ever recorded.  In sixty years, Hong Kong has only recorded 15 T10’s … the equivalent of a Category 5 Hurricane. We’ve only been in Hong Kong just over a year now, and have experienced 2 T10’s.  This time, it was a little different.  Living in a Village Home, the outcome was, well, let’s just say adventurous.  I went out for a quick walk just to “feel” the wind and rain.  Luckily, I only stayed for a short period of time, mainly because I got scared!  When I returned inside, within 15 minutes, things were flying around. First it was just a box that landed in our “yard,” and finally we had pieces of someone’s roof that landed on our outdoor table, then the rest of the roof in front of our place.  Crazy!

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We were really fortunate that nothing major was damaged, nor did I get impaled by anything sharp or flying.  As for our boys, they were a bit scared, nervous, anxious – but thankful for Google Play and they were able to watch Coco!  Haha!  It was still indeed, a unique experience for our family to go through.

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I was reminded during this ordeal that God is still in control.  He is Lord of all.  Scripture doesn’t tell us that He is Lord of some … BUT All.  He knew about this typhoon. He knew which tree would be uprooted.  He knew that I would venture out to take a quick video.  God knew.  This was not a surprise.  Typhoon Mangkhut did not just appear.  God’s power was definitely on display.  In life, we often go through many storms.  It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.  Storms, trials, circumstances … whatever word you would like to use, will come, it’s how we respond.  With Typhoon Manghkut, we stayed inside.  The people of Hong Kong stayed inside.  Despite the power of this typhoon, the death toll is at a minimum.  People stayed close to their home.  Some even built forts in their hallways to stay safe.  I really have to ask myself though, “How do I respond in the midst of storms, trials?”  Honestly, in this season of life in HK – not good.

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I need to remind myself that God is still in control.  I need to remind myself to stay close to “home.” God knows the struggles that I would go through.  God knows who will encourage me.  God knows what my future holds.  God knows.  I need to take comfort in that.  I need to trust Him again.

As for clean up, the process has already begun here in HK.  We didn’t have school the past 2 days, which was much needed for all of us.  The same can be said of my own heart.  The clean up is beginning again … it’s never ending … always a process.  In my last blog, I asked, “God, why do you have us here in HK?”  … I think I know the answer …

Friends … you are loved.