So Much to Celebrate

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.

You are loved.

Lessons You Cannot Learn When Life is “Normal”

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.

So much growth happening.

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.

Brothers forever.

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.”

Growing up.

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.

Opportunities are endless.

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.

One of my favorite pics this year. You can write the caption.

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.

Happy New Year from us to you.