According to goodtherapy.org, coping means: The strategies people often use in the face of stress and/or trauma to help manage painful or difficult emotions. Coping mechanisms can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being. I am not overly stressed at the moment, although as the year winds down, there is so much to do. I don’t have any real trauma or pain. Personally, I have some coping mechanisms, such as running and waiting to watch Obi-Wan on Disney Plus. Other strategies include eating out, discovering new coffee shops in Hong Kong, hiking, and spending money when I don’t have any.
We have about 10 more days before Summer Break begins. I can’t wait. It has been a very challenging year on many fronts, yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching this year and spending time with my students. It has been rewarding at times too. This Summer Break will be just as difficult for us, probably, mainly me. People have asked how I’m doing. My response: “Coping.” This doesn’t seem to be the most appropriate answer, especially when I know that God is in control and that He has my life in His hands; however, this is my response. “Coping.”
As some of you may know, we cannot go home to Canada this summer. This is what I am coping with. I am not “stuck” in Hong Kong, but I have a strong desire to be home this time around. I miss my family, friends, and familiarity with Ontario. My boys wish to sit in Tim Horton’s, eat a Boston Cream Doughnut, have a Frosty at Wendy’s, and simply be in a wide-open space.
Am I thankful for what we do have? If I may be a bit transparent? Yes. Sort of. We have plans this summer, and we will probably be quite busy. What I need is to orientate my heart, once again. Be reminded of God’s provision. Be reminded of God’s faithfulness. I will update again sooner than later.
I really don’t know much about sailing. As a young child, my only “real” experience was going on canoe trips to Algonquin Park, learning how to portage, setting up tents and campfires. I distinctly remember one occasion when was a youth leader we took a group of youth for their annual canoe trip in the summer. This particular night, at the beginning of the trek, I was paired with an in-experienced kid, small and not physically strong. So, as you may guess, I would do the bulk of the paddling. The only thing was, a storm was on its way, the waves were already lapping into our canoe, and there was a chance of our canoe tipping in the middle of the lake. Thankfully, we did not and made it “safely” to our destination. Did I also mention that it was late evening, the sun was beginning to set, and we just had to paddle hard, fast and follow the rest of the group. My only other “sailing” experience? Having fish and chips at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
I was reminded of this recently because of what we are currently going through. Last night, we were caught off guard by the latest news regarding how Hong Kong will battle omicron. Numbers are high by Hong Kong standards, hospitals are overrun, patients have been sleeping outside, babies who have tested positive are separated from their parents, the youngest being 11 months old. So the latest news? School is cut short, and we will have Summer holidays, now listen, in March / April instead of June / July. I’ve done Christmas in July, but never in my 20+ years of teaching have I had Summer in March. As I write this, International School leaderships are having a meeting, and we are hopeful that some of the new restrictions do not apply to us. This, too, is tragic because Hong Kong literally has a two-tiered education system. Maybe I’ll write about this another day.
Thankfully God’s word speaks to this. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 4:35-41, we read the story of how Jesus calms the storm.
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down, and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!””
In this passage, Jesus suggests to His disciples to get into a boat and sail across the lake to “get away” from the crowds. These men are experienced fishermen, they know the waters, they know how to read the weather pattern, seasoned men who have been in numerous storms. In verse 37, a furious squall appears, and the boat is swamped. The men must have been doing their best to remove as much water as possible. They must have relied on their prior knowledge and understanding to overcome this particular situation. And what was Jesus doing? Sleeping. In panic mode, they wake Jesus up and question His care for them. Jesus gets up, rebukes the wind and says quietly, “Be still,” and IMMEDIATELY the storm dissipates, and everything is calm.
The disciples and Jesus had a destination to get to; unfortunately, the storm “came out of nowhere” and uncontrollable factors for the disciples. Their compass was thrown off, not sure if they had a steering wheel, and other boats were with them. We don’t even know what conversations were had on those boats, but I can imagine they were not highly positive.
Our current predicament parallels this example. Our school started the year as normal as can be. We interacted with our students, collaborated in groups, ate lunch, recess twice a day, etc. – and then BOOM, we get hit with Omicron, tighter restrictions, LeaveHomeSafe App, and then we are told that Summer is now moved up to March. I feel for those who are leaving Hong Kong at the end of the school year. I feel for those who have already bought tickets to go home and visit family. There must be a huge disappointment on their part. And then there are some families who are desperately trying to leave Hong Kong immediately. There does not seem to be an end to this madness. There does not seem to be a life ring at the moment. There’s nothing, for so many, to hang on to. Thankfully, as followers of Christ, we can hang on to Him, even if it’s by a thread. Not only is Christ our life-ring, but He is also still Lord of the storm. The storm that His disciples experienced, did not come unaware by Christ. He is Creator. He is omniscient.
My compass is off. My emotions and ability to think straight today and yesterday are not balanced. I don’t know where to steer anymore, and so I need to learn to hand over that to Jesus. Please don’t even ask where we are headed. I would say, “stay the course,” whatever that may mean. I have other boats with me as well – my family. We need to head in the same direction. Christ is our sail, He is our strength. Jesus calmed the storm for His disciples and the sea became still. This storm that we find ourselves in, cannot last forever. Jesus, if we allow Him to, is with us in our boats, if we allow Him, give Him the steering wheel. Jesus will calm this storm too. After all, He is Lord. He is the King of Kings. May we not live in fear, may we not doubt but rather live out our faith and continue to be obedient to what God has called us to.
Well, another year has come and nearly gone. Another year of pandemic. Another year of challenges – yet, there is so much to celebrate. The goodness of God has been evident time and time again. As the worship song goes, “All my days, I’ve been held in your hands” is truer as each day passes. Team Wong is extremely thankful for His faithfulness, how He has “led us through the fire,” and our only response ought to be, “I give you everything, ’cause your goodness is running after me.”
And so, some highlights of 2021, and we’ll start with our boys.
Malachi entered G9 at International Christian School. He continues to do well in his academics and school life. He completed his G8 Trinity Music College of London Drum examination. We are still waiting for his results. In this writing, Malachi is practicing for his G4 Trinity Music Piano exam in a couple of days. At church, Malachi had the privilege of playing drums for Christmas Eve services at Island ECC and remains an integral part of the Youth Worship and Adult Worship teams. He has served alongside YWAM and took part in his first worship video. As parents, we are delighted to see his involvement in the life of the church and youth group. Malachi has also taken up a new hobby – photography. Hopefully, in the new year, he will have the opportunity to showcase some of his works!
Timothy is now in Middle School or Grade 6. We can’t believe that he’s turning 12 already this year. Time flies. Timothy seems quite the popular kid at school, making friends with basically everyone. Academically speaking, his results are pretty surprising, considering he is working on his Master of YouTube at YouTube University. Timothy took a break from his Alto Saxophone lessons but will resume in January. He was also on the U12 Boys Basketball team and enjoyed playing with his buddies. Timothy has grown up quite a bit and has become independent. He goes to Youth Group every Friday on his own, has dinner with friends occasionally or visits his favourite establishment in Hong Kong – McDonald’s.
This past year Gloria continues to thrive serving with Young Lives. Hopefully, we can share more with you later; however, she meets with moms every Wednesday and Thursday and has committed her time with them. On other days, Gloria spends time with the women she has met, going for lunch, coffee, or playing Mah Jong. She is definitely living the life. This past year, she enrolled herself in a course and looking forward to doing more in 2021. We are so thankful for her, making sure our home is comfortable, grocery shopping at local wet markets, and researching which restaurants we should visit and areas to explore.
One sweet note to end the year 2021, my mom is here visiting us for Christmas / New Year and Chinese New Year. It has been so so good to have her here with us. I’m amazed that my mom continues to lavish love on our boys and that their relationship is as strong as ever. The love of a mom/grandmother can never be underestimated. We are indeed thankful that she saw fit to endure two weeks of quarantine just to be with us, spend time with our boys and have extended time with the family.
And finally me. I continue working at ICS with a fantastic team, and my G4 class has been outstanding this year. They work diligently, focused and super flexible, especially when I forget that I’m leading worship for Chapel, and they jump at the opportunity to help. I joined BSF for the first time, and I’m enjoying the time thus far. It’s good to be with like-minded men who want to be in the Word, yet I so dearly miss my time with men from home when we went through Systematic Theology. I’m still involved with Young Life, and I meet up with a young man once a month and have enjoyed our conversations. He has a bright future ahead of him, and he loves God and talking doctrine! I began serving at Island ECC with Kid’s Club (G3), and it’s a blast working with different kids on Sunday mornings.
Team Wong continues to explore Hong Kong, not as much as we have in the past, probably because we have exhausted our list of venues, but do not fear, Gloria has more on her list of places to visit and eat!
We are thankful for how God continues to pursue us, continues to provide and sustains our family in this extraordinary time and season of life. To end, “all our lives, You have been faithful, all our lives You have been so so good. With every breath that we are able, we will sing, of the goodness of God.”
Friends, happy new year to you all. May you find favour with God, experience His faithfulness and goodness in your lives. Stay strong and keep your eyes on Christ in this upcoming year.
The weather outside is gloomy. It’s dark. Wet. Another T8 (typhoon signal 8) is upon us. Unfortunately, this typhoon came a bit early for some of us teachers. We probably would have preferred the typhoon to arrive during school and not on staycations or cruises. However, I won’t complain because I am thankful for the time to relax, stop from our usual school routine, work, lessons, and more school, work, lessons. At times, change is good for us. Change is much needed when we are still trying to figure out what the heck is going on in our lives. Change can be positive. Some of our good friends have seen changes in their lives. Some of our friends have recently become parents. Some have lost loved ones. Others find themselves in a season of uncertainty. As I look out the window, the weather pattern has changed even as I write.
We have been living in a time of change over the past 20 months. I won’t even go into it anymore because I think most of us are tired of it. So what’s on my mind lately? Quite a bit. I have been praying, and the word “change” has come up more than a few times. I do have to wonder what the Lord is saying to me. Do I need a change of heart? Do I need to change my perspective on life? Do I need a career change? Is it time to move on? Where? Back home?
Recently with my Grade 4 class, we went through the book of James – this is something that I have done for the past few years. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Do you notice anything from this passage? It says every good and perfect gift comes from God, who does not change like shifting shadows. God’s character is constant. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. I said to my class, what would it be like if God’s character changed all the time? It would be brutal. One day He forgives; the next, He punishes. We would constantly be living in flux, living in fear. The other aspect is that God provides good and perfect gifts. God has provided us with much over the past five years. Don’t get me wrong, and I am most thankful that He is faithful. Grateful that He sent His son to die for my salvation. Grateful that He has chosen me to be His own. Thankful forgiveness. Thankful for the material possessions that we have. For my family, for friends.
As we enjoy the remaining few days of Fall Break 2021, I will remain hopeful. I will continue to hold on to the Lord, trust in His sovereignty, trust in His plans for my family and I. If I can trust God for salvation, I can certainly trust Him during this season of my life. And most of all, trust in a God who does not change like shifting shadows.
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.
The apostle Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal for the prize for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 3:14 ESV), and what is that goal he is talking about? I believe that Paul is talking about salvation. He is reminding the church at Phillipi about their role in his ministry, that “He who began a good work in them, will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.” I believe that we all have goals. Some of our goals may be minute, while other goals may be lofty and may present a challenge. There are days, when our goal is simply to find space for our belongings. Where do we put our backpacks, how does Gloria prep for dinner with limited counter space, how does one teach online during a pandemic, how do we successfully pull off Secret Santa with my class? Just a few challenges / goals we have.
This Christmas, we bought our boys a number of gifts, one of which was a trumpet for Malachi and a Tamiya RC 4×4 Racing Truck. The latter is going to take us some time to figure out with Timothy. The goal is to finish by the end of January so that he’s able to drive it around our village. If I were to put my teacher hat on, I would say, it’s the process that matters not the end product, but my dad hat will say, persevere, buckle up and work through the challenges and get it done.
Paul says that he “presses on toward the goal,” notice that he doesn’t look back, have regrets, or slows down – it is constant, forward movement, there is momentum. I believe that there is an urgency on Paul’s part to reach this goal, get there at all costs, no matter what the situation or circumstance. Mind you, he is writing this letter from jail. This past year some have experienced quarantine, others had the wonderful pleasure of experiencing political unrest, others, are still on the rollarcoaster ride of online teaching, face to face, back to online, back to face to face. And then others are on lockdown for the second or third time. I think you get it. And yet, through it all, God has been, and continues to be faithful. This is who our God is. This is His character. God began a good work in you, in me, in our family. God is not finished with us yet.
As for our family, some reflections on what God is doing in our lives.
Timothy. Timothy began the year in Grade 5 (yes, you read correctly) online for 6 weeks. In school, he continues to grow and mature and he is learning the value of hard work. Because of covid, there is no after school activities, however, he has picked up the Alto Sax at school and he’s been taking Hip Hop Dance lessons for the past year. Timothy is being more tech savvy, maybe too much. Our son has so much energy, constantly thinking, constantly talking. What a joy it is to watch him grow. He’s definitely enjoying life to the fullest.
Malachi, is now in Grade 8 at ICS. Who would have guessed? Recently, Malachi completed his Grade 6 Trinity College London Drum exam. He continues to excel with his Trumpet at school, and we bought him his own instrument this Christmas. Hard work is paying off. Malachi continued to be involved in Island Youth and was playing on the Youth Worship team again this year, until covid restrictions were put in place. He is becoming a young teen … along with all that entails with that. Pray for us! We are so proud of this accomplishments.
Both of our sons are learning to adapt, to be flexible and definitely more resilient this year – experiencing political unrest, online / face to face school and now covid. Lessons you cannot learn when life is “normal.”
For Gloria, it’s been quite the year. 2020 has been challenging and yet a blessing at the same time. Gloria has been involved with Young Lives, Hong Kong. She has been given the opportunity to mentor a couple of young mothers. She has also been blessed with the opportunity and privilege to serve alongside such an amazing team. Around mid September Gloria experienced a health scare, which caused us to pray more, read more, depend on God more. The medical staff was so concerned that they asked to get an MRI done immediately to rule out any possible health issues. As a result of this situation, we truly experienced God’s love and care, as well as the love from friends here and back in Canada. Back in March, Gloria and I attended Marriage Counselling which helped reset our relationship and marriage. It brought to light areas that needed to be looked at, areas that need to be worked on. We are by far from being perfect, but by God’s grace and goodness we will continue to grow. And more recently, Gloria has been provided with extra time to spend with some women and to cultivate deeper relationships with those in her circle.
As for myself, well online teaching / learning has provided an unique opportunity for myself and the boys to have extended time together. We go to school together, have lunch, snack and usually go home together as well, unless our boys have a lesson. Online teaching has provided me with professional growth, to expand my wings a little, take some risks, and to push myself. I would say that, covid has provided the best professional development as a teacher, and for that, I am grateful. I still struggle with knowing where to serve at church, and whether we participate in a small group, however, I do meet with a couple of men each week, and for that, I am thankful. Living in Hong Kong has shed some light on areas of priorities, and how me ought to manage our time well. As a father and husband, I need to continue to trust in the Lord, lean into Him more and realize that I have so much to work on. Pray.
Friends, 2020 certainly was a challenging, exciting and unpredictable. The one constant that remained? God. He is sovereign. God is always good. God is still on His throne. He is the author and perfector of our faith. I truly believe that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Christ.” As we enter a new year, I pray that as a family we would continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. To be reminded daily, to pick up our cross. Pray that we would humbly accept what God is calling our family to, and that we as individuals, would listen to God’s voice as He leads us, as He shepherds our family, and as He continues to grow in us. Growth takes time as we have learned over the past 4 years of living in Hong Kong. God is not done. God is still at work. May this encourage some of your hearts today.
It’s been a while since I’ve written and much has happened. If I can even recall, starting back in January, our family made a trip to Penang, Malaysia. We were fortunate that my mom was able to join us in Penang, and we shared some memorable family moments. It was a sweet time of roaming around, having Baskin Robins ice cream, did some sight seeing, had an insightful history lesson – Timothy was so engaged and to this day, recalls random facts that were shared. Definitely ate a lot, however, more importantly being able to get away from the busyness of life. Gloria and I were also privileged to have a photo shoot by a wonderful photographer in Penang. It was quite the experience!!
Fast forward to May and we find ourselves counting down to Summer Break. In less than 30 days, we will find ourselves back home! We can’t wait. Summer can’t come soon enough … is an understatement. The crazy thing is, this means that we have now been living in Hong Kong for two years. It’s hard to fathom that time has blown by so quickly. Two years. Two years ago we were packing our house up. Two years ago, we were saying our good byes to dear friends. Two years ago, and we were going on an adventure. An adventure that we didn’t know where it would lead us to.
Two years later, and I still have questions. I still struggle with “Why?” I think, at times, I tend to over think, over analyze and over everything. On the other hand, our boys during this time have grown so much. I don’t necessarily mean physically, although this is true. They have become more independent, more confident of themselves. Malachi has grown in his love for God. The opportunities afforded to him to serve using his musical abilities is amazing! Timothy continues to grow in his understanding of God’s word. It’s quite awesome hearing him talk and having mature conversation about God’s word during our family worship time.
Gloria and I have also been challenged during our time here. And yet, God is faithful. He demonstrates His love and grace and mercy on us each day. Thankful for His provision. Thankful for His leading. Thankful that He is our Shepherd. Has it been easy? Not at all. Have we been stretched in our marriage? Absolutely, however, through it all, God is there. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us.
What have we learned during our time? I’m sure some of our friends will be asking us this when we’re home this summer.
First, we need to be obedient. God has called us to Hong Kong for a purpose. Maybe it’s to love on the people that He’s surrounded us with. Perhaps, to take the opportunity to shepherd my class each day, to share the Gospel with students at my school, or maybe to live a life of contentment. Whatever the reason, we need to continue to be obedient.
Second, we need to remain steadfast. James 1 says to “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” This is challenging in that, living in Hong Kong is difficult. “Count it all joy when you face various trials” (James 1:2, ESV).
And finally, well not really, but one other lesson – God answers prayers. As a family, we have seen God at work. We prayed in our first year that God would provide a friend for Timothy, and He did … the first day. We prayed that Malachi would get the support he needs academically, and we were blessed with an amazing Grade 5 teacher plus a wonderful Literacy Coach. We prayed for a place to live in our second year, and God answered our prayer exactly. We prayed for a piano, and God provided one for us – yes, we found it by the garbage dump, but He did answer our prayers. We could actually go on and on and perhaps pray even more.
Two years. We’ll have to take some time to reflect more during this summer and we can start a series of Blogs on lessons learned. Canada here we come!!
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.
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.”
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.
About two years ago I applied to International Christian School Hong Kong. Little did I know at that time, we would be here on a 2 year contract. At first, it was a “let’s just see what happens” decision. I actually didn’t think that I would be hired, nor did it ever cross my mind that perhaps the Lord would be calling our family to Hong Kong.
That process was, stressful, taxing, frustrating, rewarding, sad, a sense of excitement … an emotional roller coaster. And now we find ourselves in a similar situation. It’s contract year … already. We’re now praying, once again, for God’s leading in our lives. This time it’s a bit different. We’re here in Hong Kong. Our family is starting to build some really good relationships. Gloria has some solid friends that she hangs out with.
Timothy wants to go home when he finishes Grade 5, and yet, there are days when he cries and tells me that “Hong Kong is the worst country I’ve ever been too.” That’s heart breaking to hear, as a parent. Malachi on the other hand is having a great time, although he does miss home too. Both our boys miss our house, their own bathrooms, our backyard.
And then there’s the guilt trip that I have as a dad. My boys will never know how to use a lawn mower, will forget how to shovel snow, build a snow fort, experience Fall, going out for Hallowe’en, and what about getting their driver’s licence?
Recently we had friends come and visit us. Our time together was sweet, meaningful and memorable. Malachi and Timothy were so excited to have their friends here too. The four of them just picked up where they left off. That was special. I appreciated our time to talk, to have a friend who truly knows me, knows my heart, a friend who has gone through thick and thin together.
We were able to share with one another, the struggles we were both experiencing, here in Hong Kong, and in the US. We were able to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to carry one another’s burdens. Appreciated the fact that we could talk things through. I miss that.
And so … we have a timeline to make our decisions on whether we sign again or we move on. Moving on though, does not mean coming back to Canada … sorry friends. We would appreciate your prayers though, that we would be a peace with whatever decision we make. That God would be given all the glory that is due Him. That we would be wise in our choices.
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!
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.
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.
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 …