Sailing. What do I know?

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.

You are loved.

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.

Change

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.

You are loved.

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.

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.

A lot going on …

Today is February 1, 2020.

A lot has happened in the past 31 days.

Protests, political unrest, police brutality continued in January however, not as intense as it was back in October and November. Once the Poly U incident subsided, I think everyone took a step back – not to mention about 7000 people have been arrested.

And now, as we enjoy our Chinese New Year holiday, we were supposed to go back to school this upcoming Monday, February 3; however, Hong Kong extended the return to school until February 17. But as of yesterday, February 17 has now become March 2 … and possibly longer. This is all because of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Our family, when we moved to Hong Kong, did not anticipate any of the experiences that we are now enduring. Our boys have seen things they should never been exposed to at such a young age – riot police, smelling of tear gas, graphic pictures, political unrest. And yet, there is a contentment in all of this. It is good for our boys to go through these circumstances. They have grown in many ways.

And now, our boys are experiencing coronavirus – well not literally. This virus has been extremely deadly in China, and now, as you all know, has spread around the world. We wear our masks everyday when we go out, to protect ourselves, and yet we know it’s more of a comforting thing. Who knows if wearing my N99 or N95 mask actually helps. At least if someone were to cough or sneeze on me, I will be somewhat protected.

In the midst of all the troubles that we see around us each day, where is God? He’s still here. God is still on His throne. Isaiah 66:1 says “Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?” He is still in control. Our God has not left us, He is not sleeping, taking a vacation. God is still here. And yet, we see panic shopping every day. Face masks are no where to be found. Disinfectant is all sold out. Rice is sold out. Instant noodles are off the shelf. There is no peace. There is no joy. There is no control.

So where does our joy come from? Our peace? Our sense of security? It’s quite apparent that in Hong Kong, at least from our experience, people crave control. People here want to know what’s going? People want the desire to control problems, situations, circumstances. As believers, we need to be reminded that we find all of hope, joy and control in Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the one that shepherds us daily. We need to find our security in Christ and not on a face mask.

I’ve been reminded lately, that there is a purpose and reason behind everything. God is using His people here in Hong Kong for His kingdom. A good friend of mine, recently said, “I’m focused on asking myself, what is God telling me to do.” Such a good word and encouragement. What is God telling me to do in such a time as this? Are we to bail and leave? Is God asking us to stay for kingdom purposes?

One thing for sure, we are going to look back one day, and see God’s hands weaving this tapestry together and we will be worshiping Him more and more.

Meanwhile, please continue to pray for Hong Kong. Pray that we stay healthy and not contract corona. Till later 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.

Two years …

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!!

Thank you Steven Yam Photography. Check his work out!

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!!

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!