Three Going on Four

3 years ago our family embarked on a journey and adventure of a lifetime. Little did we know at the time that we would be in for a treat. July 22, 2017 we left our home in Ontario with the help of dear friends of ours who picked us up around 1 am in the morning and drove us to Toronto International Airport. I can still remember my friend having to pull over on a side street before we even reached the 401. I was a wreck and it was causing too much stress for my friend who was driving.

I questioned whether we were doing the right thing.

I questioned whether God was actually leading us to Hong Kong.

Three years later going on four … we are still living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has become our home and this particular year has challenging. 2020 will definitely go down in the books.

Dumplings from a restaurant in Wan Chai

We have endured Hong Kong protests, a pandemic – and it’s not over, changes to the place where we call home, online school, online church, the list goes on and on; and yet, we can see the hand of God weaving and moving, in our family.

I no longer question whether we did the right thing.

I no longer question whether God was actually leading us to Hong Kong.

Our conversations with our boys no longer mention, “When are we moving home?” “I hate Hong Kong.” “Hong Kong is the worst place ever.” Our conversations now sound like this: “Can we go to Thailand for my birthday?” “Dad, can we go to 7-11 on our own?” and this summer, “Please go on a bike ride and please don’t come back for at least an hour.”

Went to Blendit to buy some amazing bagels.

Over the past 3 years, I have learned to adjust my expectations, personal goals and ambitions. As a family we have found a good rhythm … I believe. We truly enjoy exploring Hong Kong, looking for good eats, that unique coffee shop, visiting different locations – we now have our favorite spots, experiencing the diversity that Hong Kong has to offer and even learning some of the local history. We have developed good relationships with people in our village, we know the names of dogs better than their owners, we have good friends – not only with faculty but families in our area and school too. Living in 700 sq feet is also not that bad – at least we don’t have to worry about what our next home reno is going to be.

Gloria is involved in Hong Kong Young Lives ministry and really enjoying her role. She meets or had met (prior to the pandemic) with single moms once to twice a week, mentoring young moms. Gloria was also part of Hope of the City, a ministry at our church that ministered to local families needing support. Malachi continues to be involved at church at Island ECC and being part of the youth worship team. Timothy is still young … his time will come. As for me, still struggling as to where I fit in at church, however, I do see my ministry at school. Thankful for the many different opportunities to share the Gospel – not only with my students, but with parents and the community as well.

God is at work. God is doing something in my life – in the life of my family. God is healing wounds and hurts, God is bringing our family closer than ever before, God is transforming us into His image day by day. He is teaching us to trust Him more. He is teaching us again and again that He is faithful. As a dear friend always said, “God is the ultimate promise keeper.”

I have been reminded that God has chosen us. We belong to Him. I am constantly reminded of who I am and whose I am. I belong to Christ. He indeed has a plan for my life, my family.

Sai Wan Beach

Thank you friends for praying for and with us. Thank you to those who go on Google Hangouts, Whats App or Zoom with us. Those moments are precious. As we consider what our potential next steps are, we continue to hold fast to Him. There’s really no need to stress or be anxious about it … God already knows, He has prepared something for us … like I’ve said 3 years ago, our responsibility is simple – be obedient to what He’s asking of us.

Till next time family and friends. We miss you all. Friendship is not bound by boundaries or how far we are from each other. See you soon.

Please know that You are Loved.

#fear

When I was a young child, I was always afraid of the dark. Going on late night hikes into a forest would always freak me out. My imagination would go into overdrive.

I am also fearful of heights, so please don’t invite me to go bungee jumping, rock climbing, go up the CN Tower and any tower for that matter. A couple of summers ago, my family and I were serving at Guelph Bible Camp for Youth Camp. One of our off campus events took us zip lining and let’s just say, that my friend and I jumped off and screamed most of the way down. Good times for sure.

“HK taxis by the Star Ferry”

We are now currently into the 4th week of our online school. Yes, you read correctly, 4th week – with another two to go, and potentially more – actually just heard that we will be online until Easter Break – let’s be realistic. Our experience in Hong Kong for the past month has been interesting to say the least. We experienced a shortage of toilet paper. Face-masks were sold out. People would line up for hours just to be cued for a possibility of buying face-masks. We heard stories of people lining up early in the morning to purchase toilet paper. There was a real fear in people. Many people are still fearful of going outside these days. The weather has been amazing and yet, some have not gone out of their homes in the past 12 days. I would go insane. And yet, this is the reality of those living in Hong Kong, Wuhan and other parts of China because of Covid-19.

Fear also takes the form of racism. International borders are closed. Flights have been diverted. I’ve read how racism has reared it’s ugly head in Canada and in the US. Here in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, Mandarin speaking people are not welcomed into restaurants, resorts or cruise ships. What’s going on? It seems that fear elicits different reactions, from different people groups.

“view from Lion Rock”

What does Scripture say though? How should Christians, those who follow Christ, ought to respond when panic, when fear invade our lives?

Recently, I’ve been doing some reading and reflecting on God’s Word. Allow me to share a few of those passages and consider what Scripture says about fear.

Psalm 34:1-4 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord, let the humble hear and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is is the light of my salvation, whom shall I fear?”

John 14:27 “Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you.”

Philippians 4: 6, 7 ““Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God.”

Isaiah 41:10 … “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

These are only a handful of passages that speak into the issue of fear. We could look at parables, and other examples of individuals who faced fear and how they were able to overcome. The common denominator though in the passages that I looked at was, Jesus was always there. Christ does not leave us in times of desperate need. We are reminded over and over that Christ is still on His throne. We are reminded that Christ is still ruling, He does not sleep nor slumber. God promises to be with us, to never leave us nor forsake us. There’s no need for panic. There’s no need to line up to purchase toilet paper or face-masks. When we take matters into our own hands, it’s really a reflection of our hearts. It speaks volumes. It shows how much we actually don’t trust God. We don’t trust God to provide for our needs. We don’t trust God that He will move and act on our behalf. We don’t trust that He will answer our prayers. It demonstrates our level of commitment to Him. James tells us that “trials are a test of our faith.” Trials will come. It’s not IF they come, it’s WHEN they come.

Fear may be defined as,”an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” Spurgeon defined fear as “a natural disease.”

“Do not be anxious.”

“He answered me.”

“He delivered me.”

“For you are with me.”

“For I am with you.”

So, how should we respond? Not just with Covid-19 but with anything that may come our way.

  1. Remember that God commands us to “Fear Not.”
  2. Remember God’s promises “for I am with you.”
  3. Remember to come before God’s throne “Let your requests be made known to God.”

God is in control. God continues to be at work. We need to trust him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart … ” It does say trust with some or part of our heart, it says ALL.

“family photo sans face masks”

May we, in times of need, continue to run the race, run with endurance, keeping our eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith.

By the way, there’s a lot of toilet paper in Hong Kong now.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, be patient, wait on the Lord. He knows what He’s doing.

Friends, you are loved.

Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos

About 6 months ago, my family and I made a much anticipated trip back home to Canada. It marked 2 years of living in Hong Kong. 2 years of living in a city that challenged our family daily. 2 years of working at International Christian School. 2 years away from our family and friends. It was a long 730 days away from a place that we called Home.

It was also 6 months ago, that Hong Kong, our new home, under went some major turmoil. Politically speaking, the people of Hong Kong were angry, upset, frustrated with the direction of the HK government. Unfortunately, 6 months later, the unrest has not stopped. In fact, I think Hong Kongers are more angry and determined to “fight for freedom” than ever before. They are fighting for what they believe in. Fighting for their convictions.

Over the past 6 months we have observed: 2 million people peacefully marching the streets, HKongers holding hands in peaceful protests, we have also seen the destruction of malls, shops and much more. We have observed the MTR being flooded, vandalized. We were even asked to leave a MTR station recently. There’s graffiti everywhere – our boys vocabulary has increased, so has mine! People are being arrested, tear gas every weekend, and now almost every day, riot police, chanting at 10 pm, the singing of Glory to Hong Kong. The list could potentially go on and on. And the question remains. When will this all come to an end?

If last the couple of days is any indication, then the end is not in sight. November 11 was not a good day. November 12 evening, was a terrible sight. November 13 … today, we went out to do some grocery shopping, “just in case.”

3 years ago, when we came to Hong Kong, we questioned God. We asked, “WHY?” Up until this past summer, I still asked “Why? Why God? Why did you bring us to Hong Kong?” Over the past few months, I believe that God is answering our prayer … “For such a time as this.”

Our family has settled much better this year. Our boys are experiencing a better year at school. Timothy has found some good friends. Malachi continues to grow in Middle School. It’s challenging for him and for us, however, he’s making some gains – now only if others could see how much he has grown over the past few years.

The book of Esther, if you are familiar with it, is a story of how Esther was brought out of her home country into a land that she was not familiar with. Because of her beauty, she became Queen. During her time, the Jews found themselves in a difficult situation, where certain individuals wanted them wiped out. God used Esther to save the Jews. It’s a story of God’s sovereignty. It’s a story of God’s faithfulness. Now obviously, we are not equating ourselves to Esther, however, the circumstances of her life, do somewhat, sort of parallel our journey to Hong Kong.

We have seen God’s faithfulness over the past 3 years. We know that God is sovereign and that we are here in Hong Kong because of His plan for our lives. God has used both Gloria and I over the past few years. We are truly thankful for the little moments as well as big moments where God has given us the opportunity to shepherd and to disciple others. And yet, in the midst of much chaos these days, even as I write, we do find peace. Peace in knowing that Hong Kong is where we ought to be. Peace in knowing that God is with us. Peace in understanding that God has us here to grow, to mold us, and to shape us into His image.

Dear friends. Hong Kong is in turmoil. Parts of Hong Kong looks like, sounds like and smells like a war zone … but God is at work. He is still on His throne. God never sleeps nor slumbers. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is the ultimate promise keeper. God is faithful.

Do keep us in your prayers. Please continue to pray for Hong Kong. More importantly, please pray that people would come to know Christ. That many would have a relationship with Jesus. That God would continue to use our family and many others for His Kingdom.

You are loved.

Donuts, Food and Life

Well friends, it definitely has been a while since we last posted anything and to try and catch up would be almost impossible.  Our family has settled more in Hong Kong and trying establish some better norms; however, that too poses difficulties.  I’ll share more in another Blog.

Let’s talk about Malaysia.  Our family took a long awaited trip to Malaysia during our Spring Break.  Long awaited because it’s been a desire of ours to travel and timing, of course is everything.  And so, our family embarked on our first ever overseas trip.  Follow #travelingthewongwayhk on Instagram for more pics of our time in KL, Malaysia, plus other trips we plan on taking … including this summer!!  We are going to …

Malaysia is such a beautiful country.  We experienced the sites, the sounds, and of course the food.  For this particular Blog, Malachi and Timothy will share briefly some of their thoughts and favourite places and foods!!

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Malachi’s Top 5 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Memories.

1. Twin Towers – One of my favourite things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was going to the Petronas Towers because I didn’t know if I would ever see it! Also, I like that we found Wendy’s. I had a cheeseburger that tasted like home.

2. KL Aquaria – The second thing that I liked was visiting KL Aquaria. There were some fish that I have never seen before. It reminded me of the aquarium in Toronto, Canada.

3. China Town – When we were there, there was a big storm that flooded some parts of the road. Besides the flood, we had some yummy food such as Laksa. I also got an Ice Watch.

4. Central Market KL – At Central Market, in order to go to the toilet, we had to pay 0.50 RM. I had mint ice cream.  My parents also bought me a wooden keychain that had my name in it.

5. Bird Park – Lastly the Bird Park was super cool to see birds fly all over the place. It is the largest free-flying places that birds can fly. We saw peacocks, owls and some weird bird that made sounds that sounded like a computer.

This was a very a fun and memorable time in Malaysia!

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Life in KL, Malaysia by Timothy Wong. 

Our family was in KL, Malaysia for 10 days.  We went to Chinatown to have Laksa.  Laksa is very yummy.  We also bought some Beef Jerky and it was juicy.  We stayed at Ambassador Row and Hotel Suites, and the beds were very, very, very comfy.  I also celebrated my 8th Birthday in KL!! For my birthday, I had Dominoes Pizza!!  While we were at KL, we visited KL Aquaria.  There were people feeding the sharks and fish.  I loved KL and I would like to go back some day.

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Friends, there you have it.  Our family did enjoy ourselves quite a bit in KL and have already talked about visiting again.  This time we will probably go to Penang.  Thanks for joining us, for reading our Blogs and staying in touch.  If you’ve ever been to Malaysia, we would love to hear about your Top choices in Malaysia.

We will be posting a Vlog sometime soon on our YouTube Channel: Going the Wong Way HK as well.  Stay tuned!!

We’ll do our best to post / blog once a week … getting back on track!!

You are loved.