Direction … Clarity

IMG_5064.jpgFriends … it’s Wednesday evening, here in Hong Kong, which makes it Tuesday morning back in Canada.  Hallowe’en has come and gone and I loved seeing some of pics on FaceBook of our friends back in Canada!  Good times.

Our boys experienced a different level of ‘trick or treating’ this year – literally.  They went to a couple of rooms at our current place of residence and that was it.  I don’t think they really minded at all, which was encouraging.  They didn’t rake in pillow case after pillow case like they’re used to, but that’s ok.

In our last Blog, we shared about some of the struggles that we continue to have, what we’re praying for, and we are thankful that you are praying with us.  One story that we didn’t share with you occurred a few weeks ago now.

After our Family Fun Day at ICS, our family went for a quick dinner.  On our way to the MTR station, we witnessed a father scolding his son, publicly. We stayed to watch.  What we saw was disturbing.  The father was reaming his son out, aggressively approached his son, motioned his hand to smack him.  I yelled at him to stop.  He looked at me with surprise.  He didn’t know that I knew Chinese.  The man eventually did slap his son across his face, kicked him and threatened him continually.  Gloria called the police.  I approached the kid and asked him to walk away to safety, the father yelled obscenities at me, although I didn’t even know it until later.  I did finally speak up and spoke to the man in Chinese … to his surprise.

How did this end?  I had the opportunity to share Christ with the kid … and in Chinese.  That was a God thing.  Really.

The police did come … not sure what happened after though …

Why am I sharing this story with you? Well, we are learning that this type of behavior in Hong Kong is quite common.  Father’s in Hong Kong seem to be missing the point.  Many are absent in their children’s lives.  It’s so sad and unfortunate!

Where does Team Wong fit into all of this?  If you know me or our family, something is always brewing.  God has been faithful to us during our time thus far.  We know that He has a plan for us.  We are remaining firm despite not having a home church.  Our family is trying to be as consistent as we can with Family worship.  Small Group is helpful as it really forces me to dig into the Word and to share with our friends.  As we’ve been praying for direction and clarity, I was reminded by a good friend, that it seems like we’re both in a fog, or as my friend said:

“It’s like there is a plan or specific direction, but I’m blind to what it is.”

Yup … this is so true.  There is a sense though, that we are coming out of the fog.  God has definitely placed a desire on our hearts to disciple young people here in Hong Kong.  Team Wong will be starting a Life Group (aka Small Group) in a couple of weeks for some of the youth at our school.  We are also praying  intentionally for the launch of our home church … also probably in a couple of weeks.  God is moving.

More recently, like two days ago, I went to Starbucks for a meeting with a good friend here.  Shared some of our frustrations …  and he said to me:

“It may seem that God is stirring something in your heart.”

And this too is true.

So much more to share friends.  Gloria will be sharing the next few Blogs.  Would you continue to pray for and with us as we seek the Lord for better clarity and direction.

Trusting Him with all things.

You are loved.

Moving Forward

Dear Friends.

We’ve officially passed the 2 month mark of living in Hong Kong.  Yes, only 2 months.  The past 60 odd days have seemed more like 730 days.  In our last blog, we had mentioned and shared some of the struggles and trials we have endured, and to be quite honest, there’s more than what we had shared.  We do need your prayers – for our transition, our boys, our marriage – we are thankful to many who have partnered with us to pray and to keep us accountable.

IMG_7773.JPG

I am reminded though of what the apostle Paul writes in Philippians, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  What is that goal?  To know God, to be more like Christ.  To mature in our faith, be sanctified.  Our eyes should not be on the temporary, nor be short sighted.  And so, at times, we must move forward, with intention, with a goal in mind.

It’s been 2 months and our family has yet to find a church to call home.  We have visited many churches in Hong Kong – from Anglican to “Evangelical” to Charismatic – and still nothing.  I am confident though that the Lord did not bring us to Hong Kong to be frustrated, tired, to be lacking in Christian fellowship.  I do work at a Christian school, so there is a level fellowship.  I teach Bible and my class has morning devotions everyday, and so, I am in the Word.  Our family is back to having Family Worship as consistently as we can, and yet, we are still missing a piece to our puzzle.

IMG_9777.JPG

We did start a Small Group here in Hong Kong.  This is an answered prayer.  We call this our Harvest Hong Kong Small Group. Serious.  No joking here friends.  Our Small Group comprise of people who have attended Harvest Durham, York Region and Brampton.  We also have a member who attended a church in the Nashville, TN, area.  We just like the name because of our desires, like mindedness toward Scripture.

Prior to leaving Canada, many people have asked if we were coming to Hong Kong to plant a church.  Our answer was always, no … however, we were and are always open to the possibility.  The longer we are here in Hong Kong, the intentional conversations that we’ve been having with friends, the reality of launching a home church is becoming more real.  In fact, home churches in Hong Kong is the way to go for many people.  This is definitely a mind shift from what we are used to back home in Canada.

Our prayer at the moment, to be wise with our decisions.  Praying for discernment and direction.  Launching a home church takes work, launching a church also takes a lot of work.  Do we have enough people for a core group?  I would say Yes.

IMG_9774

My prayer is that the people of Hong Kong would truly desire to have a deep meaningful relationship with the Lord.  That there would be a church that believes in Fervent Prayer, Bold Preaching, and Passionate Worship. We pray that a church in Hong Kong would be Intentional in Purposeful Disciple Making, Courageous Evangelism and be a Strategically Church Planting church.  Some of you know where these characteristics come from … and I’m so excited for the days, months and years to lay before us.

Would some of you join us in prayer, petitioning before the Lord to move in ways that would have great Kingdom impact here in Hong Kong?

God is at work friends.  Trusting Him to bring everything to pass, in His perfect timing.

You are loved!

When Trials Come …

IMG_9064

Hi friends,

It’s been a while since we’ve last posted.  We are well.  Life in HK has been really busy with teaching,  making connections, going out to eat, shopping, looking for a church (which is another blog to come in the near future) and building relationships.

Last night, our family finally returned to doing Family Worship.  There have been “consequences” as a result of neglecting our precious time.  I’ll be honest, the busyness of life in Hong Kong can easily suck you in.  The pace of life, the weather, you name it.  And so, last night we began to read James.  It didn’t take long after we started to read that we stopped.  James 1: 1, 2 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” And STOP.  As a family, we talked about what trials are.  We shared that it’s like a test.  Team Wong has gone through many trials in our new chapter.  We’ve only been in Hong Kong 8 weeks.  That’s. All.

IMG_8510

It was a sweet time to hear Malachi and Timothy share.  We talked about our trial of moving to Hong Kong, our boys miss our 4 bedroom home, the space, their own bathroom.  They miss their bikes and having the freedom to just go outside and play road hockey with their Uncle Duncan.  To be able to see their grandmother on a regular basis – thankful that my mom will be coming to Hong Kong in November.  Gloria misses driving and going to buy groceries once a week, sometimes once every two weeks.  Here in HK … it’s more like every other day, sometimes it’s multiple times a day.  I do miss my NGP family, colleagues, inside jokes that we share.  We sure miss our Harvest Durham family – SG, Ian’s preaching.  Harvest Family, don’t take it for granted.

So as a family, we are going through trials of various kinds.  We are encouraged though.  Thankful for the people in our lives, those who live with us on the 7th Floor at ICS, colleagues – now friends who are supportive, who prayed and pray for us.  God is faithful.

James didn’t start his letter by saying, “when you face trials of various kinds”, no he started by say, “Count it all joy, my brothers …”.  Wow.  This is where it matters.  We shared with our boys, that “Count it all joy” is a matter of the heart.  Malachi shared that “count it all joy” means – we need to be thankful.  Are we thankful?  Absolutely.  God has provided for us, more than we could imagine and we are confident that He’s not finished.

IMG_9024

As we continue to seek Christ, serve Him here at ICS, we do have a number of prayer requests:  Pray for discernment regarding opportunities to lead / go on missions trips, finding a church to attend, pray for insight and wisdom in terms of what ministry we should get ourselves involved with – intentional discipleship / mentoring, Bible Study, outreach … the list goes on.  It actually does.  No jokes.  Pray for our SG that we started leading … a couple of weeks ago.  It’s good to be back at it.

IMG_8364

Friends, we miss you.  Continue to love the Lord with all your heart.  We are also praying for you as well.  James ends by saying, “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” This is our prayer, we we would continue have our eyes on the Lord.  That our walk with the Lord would remain firm, that we would continue to be more like Christ.

Till our next Blog.

You are loved!

Thinking out loud …

IMG_8510

Friends … well it’s Tuesday night, almost 10pm as I’m writing this blog.  Today was / is Gloria’s birthday as she turned 25 again.  We went out for dinner at a local restaurant in Tai Wai which is a few MTR stations away from where we are in Shek Mun.  As a family, we thankful for Gloria and how she continues to faithfully love, comforts and encourages our family.  During this season of our lives, she has tirelessly worked hard at making sure we are all well adjusted, that our boys have enough to eat, and often times than not, goes out multiple times to buy groceries because our boys are eating way too much!

Thank You Gloria … we love you!

IMG_8591

It is also the eve of Typhoon Hato.  Many of us are hoping that it lands, hits, comes, rains, on Hong Kong.  I’m liking it to the equivalent of having a “snow day” in Canada … but that never happens because the Board that I used to work for never really cared for the safety of the teachers.  That’s another blog.  So … we wait for the rain and the high winds to come.  Will blog about the experience if it does come!

Well, as I’m sitting here thinking about what to share with you all, a couple of things do come to mind.

First … we have now been in Hong Kong for a month.  Yes … 1 month.  Many of us share the same sentiment, which is, it feels like we’ve been here for a year.  A lot of things have happened, challenges, new friends, relationships, new colleagues, learning multiple streams of media, cultural differences and adapting to the weather.

IMG_8546

Second, and perhaps the most challenging aspect of living in HK … is looking for a new church family.  We have not exhausted our search, however, it is becoming more difficult to find a church community that we can call home.  The churches that we have visited have sincere people, a love for the Lord from what we see, great worship sets at a  couple of churches, but, we have yet to find a strong Bible, Exposition preaching church.

Friends back home, be thankful for what you have.  Be thankful for Ian, for his faithfulness in preaching the Word every week!  Pray for him.  Encourage him.

As for us, it is our prayer that we find a church that preaches the Word of God unapologetically, a church that lifts high the name of Jesus, a church that firmly believes in the power of prayer.  We would appreciate your prayers as we continue to seek out a church to call home.  Are we concerned?  Not at all.  In His time, we will be connected to a strong Bible believing church. I’m confident that the Lord did not call us to Hong Kong to see us flounder in our walk.

And so … time for some much needed rest friends.  We are enjoying ourselves here in HK.  Both Gloria and I have been given the opportunity to encourage many people, inside my class (side note: going through Philippians with my grade 4’s, we pray at the beginning of the day and we also end the day with prayer, we have worship in class, etc.) and with Gloria being able to encourage other women.  Thankful for the opportunity to serve at Harvest Durham which has enabled / prepared us for this season of our lives.  Also thankful for our time at Harvest York and serving at AWANA which was so timely as we prepped for our time here in Hong Kong.

Stand firm in the faith.  Be faithful.  Be obedient.  God is at work friends.

You are loved!

A Day in the Life of the Wong’s

Friends,

Apologies for not posting yesterday as it passed by pretty quickly!  Haha!  We are settling in much better, trying to create new routines that work for all of us … but definitely a “work in progress.”  So, as I’m writing our blog, our boys are both on some tech doing homework / watching YouTube, Gloria is out doing some discount grocery shopping!! Here’s a glimpse to our daily lives – at least during the week.

IMG_7995

6:00 am – Dan tries to wake up

6:15 am – Dan is awake, family still sleeping, Dan tries to get ready for school

6:30 am – Dan is downstairs in his classroom, prepping for the day.

7:35 am – staff devotions; Gloria and boys are probably getting ready to come downstairs.  Next year, we will have to wake up even more earlier and take the MTR to school

7:50 am – I have to pick up my class everyday, EVERY day from their line and bring them up 6 flights of stairs to our classroom.  No wonder I’ve lost weight!! Haha!!

8:00 am – school starts … not exactly sure what happens in our boy’s classes all day so here’s my day … generally speaking … start the day off with devotions, today we did Worship, other days we are reading Philippians, we had sword drill on Tuesday. After devos, usually have social studies – recess – Chinese class / my prep – or music / still my prep … then we have math. After we all have lunch.  This pass week, I’ve been having lunch in the cafeteria with my students. It’s a blast!

IMG_8420

*This was my lunch today at school.  The school cafeteria does an amazing job each day!*

Once lunch is over, I usually have Writer’s / Reader’s Workshop … PE and Art is mixed in the afternoon schedule.

3:10 – school is over … phew!

3:30 – I’m assisting our U20 Girls Volleyball team (thankful to be back at it!); boys usually go and swim!

5:30 / 6 pm – Volleyball is over, swimming done, and we have dinner (M-Th at home); weekends eating out.

8:00pm – boys in bed … lights out @ 8:30pm

8:30pm and on – catching up with email, working on my class website, responding to student emails – yes my Grade 4’s email me – and yes you are reading this correctly or even WhatsApp- ing students. It’s not Canada folks! This is also my personal time for reading my Bible, watching online sermons, and spending time with Gloria unless she’s out shopping or spending time with other women.  Gloria usually does her reading in the mornings when everyone is gone.

We also use this time to FaceTime family and to communicate with dear friends back at home.  Our desire is also to start inviting people over for dinner and to get back into some discipleship with the people we are developing relationships with!

Lately, we’ve been going (trying to) be no later than 11pm.

IMG_8178.JPG

That’s basically our day friends.  Malachi is in Grade 5 Instrumental Band, playing the trumpet, just like his dad!!  This week, I’m planning for worship at our chapel time!  It’s a blessing to be able to sing with my students in class and a privilege to lead worship at ICS for ES (Elementary School).

As for Gloria, watch her Facebook videos! Haha!!

We are thankful for being in Hong Kong.  This is where God has called us to be. God is faithful – in His provisions, encouragement, bringing people alongside of us who are likeminded!  More to share hopefully in the upcoming months friends.  It’s 7:34 pm and almost time for our boys to get some sleep!  Till next week!!

You are loved.

 

First Couple of Days of School

b5cc9dd0-768a-4020-b7cb-b8df2fb3aa46.jpgWell friends the first couple of days of school have come and gone and … WOW!!!  Thankful for the journey that God has brought us through and He is continuing to grow us into His image more and more.  Let’s start from the first official day of school.

The day started with the ES (Elementary School) students in the upper gym.  Thank goodness there’s air conditioning.  Parents were every where … swarming the kids and it seemed like the paparazzi was there!!  Parents taking pictures after pictures, angle after angle.  It was crazy!!  I have never seen nor experienced anything like this in my life!

After the kids were settled, we had a time of worship … sang a couple of songs.  That was sweet!!  Once we were done, the parents were asked to make way so that kids / classes could leave the gym.  It was like the Red Sea was divided …. again … haha!!

School in Hong Kong is quite different.  There’s an expectation from parents and students to excel, be successful, to be the top, number one.  Because of this, there is a high level of stress, on our students.  If you know me, seen me teach, I’m completely the opposite!  One of my new colleagues and friend said, “he’s the most chill teacher on staff.” Haha!!

My class is great!  Love the kids already!!  Some are eager, others are focused, and the rest seem to be high energy, but lots of fun!!  I did do some teaching with them yesterday and today and find that they work at an incredible pace.  I asked them to read … they cheered and read 1/2 hour without any issues.  Instructed my class to write the definitions to a couple of words (one was schema) and they did so without hesitation.  Doing a writing piece about their summer vacation, one student asked “will I be graded on this?”  On the same piece of writing, one of my girls wrote so well, with much descriptive words, clarity and organization … I was like “and this is only the second day of school.”

As a teacher, I’m definitely on my “A Game.”  No choice and no complaints!  It’s super refreshing. Thankful for my experience at NGP which has prepared me for this.

The best part though … being able to teach Bible.  I start everyday with Morning Devotions.  Decided to start the year by going through Philippians and teaching my class how to do an Inductive Bible Study.  This morning, we went through Chapter 2:1-16, highlighting every time they saw Christ, God, Jesus, Savior, etc. in those verses.  What a sweet time to be able to open God’s word each day!!

Friends, Hong Kong is where we are meant to be.  We are thankful how God has continued to demonstrate His faithfulness.  His provision and love for us.  We are praying for big things … Why?  Because we serve a big God!!

If some of you who are reading this and pondering what the Lord is asking you to do: one word of advice, Obedience.  Obey Christ.  Follow Him wherever He may be leading you.  One thing we know for sure.  If we had stayed in Canada, we would have missed out on everything that God has done in our lives during the last 3 weeks here in Hong Kong.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  

Don’t miss out friends.

Keep in touch.  Would love to hear from you.

You are loved!

6 Days of Hong Kong

IMG_8059

Dear Family and Friends

Ok … let’s try this again.  My last blog was super short, didn’t make a whole of sense, so I’m hoping this one will.  Are we still tired?  Yup!  Our boys have been sleeping on average, 8 to 10 hours every night since we’ve been here.  Summer Camp, long nights have definitely been part of the slumber! Here we go … a short / brief recap of this past week.

Aside from landing in Hong Kong which was quite eventful we, as a family, have had an extremely busy time.  We still don’t have a cell phone number, working on banking, and basically using our school’s wifi.  Hoping to get on the rest of the stuff tomorrow – which is Saturday – or at least next week.

IMG_8067

We began the week with a super welcome from ICS with breakfast … which was basically everyday for our whole family and new faculty.  Monday we had to obtain our HKID cards.  This was quite the experience.  Surprisingly, not a lot of paper work, however, there were so many people at the “office” that both Gloria and I were a bit overwhelmed. Later that day the school treated us to Dim Sum and we ended the day with laptop distribution.  For all my NGP / Durham peeps … this is the way to do it.  Every teacher gets a laptop.  Thankful! That evening, again, ICS treated us to some KFC dinner!!  Not exactly Chinese but still hit the spot!

IMG_8015

Tuesday through Thursday was basically the same … breakfast, devotions and then some kind of in-service regarding school philosophy / motto, tech, school tour, lunch, Elementary School time, a tour of City One, Mah On San, Sai Kung, Tsim Sha Tsui, more eating and some shopping.  It was most definitely busy.  Our boys were troopers too!  They spent the entire day at Camp and then were still able to come out on our evening excursions!

IMG_8089

Today … is Friday in Hong Kong.  Today was a bit different.  We had our morning routine, however, we then took a bus ride to somewhere in Hong Kong, landed at a spot called Crossroads (check out their website: https://www.crossroads.org.hk).  I think some of you will find this interesting and perhaps something to get yourself involved with.  At Crossroads, we were educated about poverty, and other issues that exist in our world.  This is not new.  For those of you who know me, I have always had a heart for reaching the lost.  The director spoke to us about being the hands and feet, making a difference.  We were put through a simulation of people living in the slums.  Our task was to make paper bags.  There were of course restrictions, some structure, however, at the heart of it, was for us to have some empathy to those who live in these conditions.  It was difficult at times.  I would say that all of us were impacted.   I had to “sell” one of my kidneys for money, and Gloria was sold to the landlord to be his second wife.

7 billion people live on earth.  3 billion live on less than $4US a day.  Our challenge was simple: what are you going to do?

One of the reasons, Gloria and I decided to come to Hong Kong was this.  How can we be salt and light to the community here in Hong Kong?  What ministry can we plug ourselves into?  Remember, it’s only Day 6 of being in Hong Kong, however, God is slowly showing us the reality of Hong Kong.  There are slums, homeless villages in HK.  We need to move.  We need to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Friends, don’t get too comfortable.  We were both reassured of our calling to Hong Kong today.  Not only will I be teaching, discipling kids / families every day, there is also an opportunity to serve the people of Hong Kong.

IMG_8092

Our prayer is that we continue to focus on the Lord, be available to do whatever He’s asking of us.  We know that He has plans for us, for our boys … it’s only the beginning!

You are loved!

Open Letter … Harvest York

4B5084DC-34CA-4275-916B-86469EEF2DCB

Dear Harvest York!

8 years ago we stepped into Harvest Bible Chapel York.  With some encouragement by friends who were attending Harvest Oakville and London, we decided to make the long drive from Brooklin to Markham.  Haha.  “Someone” in my home said it was a long drive for church, yet we shopped at Foody Mart once a week.  Hmmmm …

We are glad that we did.  We visited once, and that was it!!  We never stopped coming.  After a few Sunday’s I was asked to audition to be part of the worship team, and what a joy it was to serve alongside those who had a passion for worship.

Although we were part of the core group at Harvest Durham, we attended York regularly for more than a year.  During that time Harvest York, you poured into us, you encouraged us, we made many friends, and continue to have great relationships at York.  You loved us tangibly and we are super thankful and grateful.

During that season, Gloria was pregnant with Timothy, had some complications and required emergency surgery.  I was at a lost in terms of who to contact, so I contacted Pastor Paul.  Like a shepherd, he prayed for us and encouraged me at that particular time.  Pastor Paul also called me and asked me where I was …. and eventually he showed up at the hospital to be by our side.  Both Gloria and I will never forget your love and genuine care!

Fast foward to the present … we continue to be encouraged by those at Harvest York.  It was a pleasure for Gloria and I to serve at AWANA, to have our boys part of AWANA for 2 years, developing great relationships, more importantly seeing them grow in their desire to serve and love the Lord, as well as having our boys attend Harvest Summer Kids.  Your love for kids is evident.  Your passion to share the Gospel is obvious! Thank you for pouring into our boys.

82ED04D9-7297-43BA-8ED5-66E966A4A0C8

When we shared that we were moving to HK, we were overwhelmed by the love, support and prayers by many at HY.  Thank you to many – it’s been a joy to attend Harvest York.  We started our time at York and Gloria and I both decided that we would end our time in Canada at Harvest York.  I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see one another again.  We are trusting in the Lord for great things to come in the days and months and years ahead!

“Harvest York, you will always have a special place in our hearts.  Every time we come and visit, it’s like coming home.  We are always welcomed by you.  Your love is evident.  Our boys love being there!  Thank you Sue for praying with me today after the service.  Thank you Pastor Paul for your warm and kind words.  Words cannot express how we truly feel about HY.  It was very difficult for me to leave … and I haven’t stopped crying.  Dan has to type this for me.  We love you all very much!  We will be praying for you. ~ Gloria”

Thank you for your heart for missions.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your leadership.

Harvest York … You are loved!

 

An Open Letter …

ocalvary1

 

Dear Calvary Family

Calvary is where it all started for me.

As I take some time to reflect and to think of my walk with the Lord, everything really comes back to the ministry and commitment of those at Calvary Baptist Church.  I was first introduced to Calvary way back when the church was at Centre and John.  Some of you will remember the church building, the side door, gravel parking lot, the creepy bathrooms on the bottom floor, Sunday School, and some of us were even part of the “Time Tunnel” … my first introduction to being in a musical.  Bring back some memories?

I was also one of the kids that was impacted by the Bus Ministry.  Every Sunday, I was picked up at 52 Park Road South.  Thank you to those who drove the bus, to those who picked me up.  Some of those individuals became friends over the years.  Because of this ministry, I was also introduced Day Camp.  Growing up, we did not experience the same lifestyle that we currently do.  I was fortunate enough to attend Day Camp every summer due the generous hearts of Sponsors.  I never did meet or find out who sponsored me to attend Day Camp, however, thank you.  You played an integral part of my upbringing.  Day Camp will be forever a memory … in fact that’s where people began to call me Chilly!!

Fast forward to Stockades / Battalion, Youth Group, FEB Central Winter / Summer Retreats at MBC / Muskoka Woods, SNACS, eating ice cream with two others in the gym storage, getting Baptized, Quebec Missions trip, Worship leading, B.A.S.I.C., His Kids, teaching Sunday School, Jr. High events, car / sound rally’s, progressive dinners, Missionary Conferences – my favourite was always the kids version, VBS, Urbana (this is definitely another Blog). These were and are some of my most memorable memories.  There are so many stories to share.

I am thankful for the life long friendships that were formed over those precious years.  It’s amazing that most of us still have some kind of contact with each other – either via Facebook or some kind of social media.  This past weekend, some of us were able to spend a couple of hours together.  It was such a meaningful time.  Let’s not wait another 20 years to get together again!! We should never take for granted the friendships that we have, nor the ministry at Calvary.

I am also grateful for the men who poured into my life.  Growing up without a father figure, many of you stepped up and walked with me, guided me and loved me as your own.  I have so many memories of Canoe trips, going to a Jays game, picking us up in Stony Creek because of a car problem.  There were men at the church who I looked up to and yet they didn’t even know.  Thank you.  In part, I have become who I am, because of your willingness to be used as an instrument of God.  .

Calvary,  thank you for your faithfulness in sharing the Gospel, your desire to serve the Lord and for your heart for Missions. “To know Him and to make Him known.”  And so, as our family begins a new chapter in our lives, this is our desire – to know Christ more and more and to Make Him known to those who live in Hong Kong.  I was asked by a colleague: “Are you going as Missionaries?” Not officially.  Will there be a missions minded intentionality?  Yes. Growing up, it was a desire to be in full time ministry.  It was a desire to be a Youth Pastor at one point.  I have always wanted to attend seminary.  It was always a “not right now.”  As I consider what we will be doing in Hong Kong, it’s amazing to see how God is moving and working.  “It’s time to go.” I will be in full time ministry.  Given the opportunity to disciple kids every day, being involved in other ministries … plus other opportunities that we are praying about.  It is always about God’s timing.  “His ways are not our ways.  His thoughts are not our thoughts.”

Our desire is to do the work of the ministry.  To see lost people saved, saved people matured, matured people multiplied.

Thank you Calvary Baptist Church. Thank you for instilling in me a heart for Missions.  Thank you for equipping so many people over the years.  Thank you for “being steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, … know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Keep in touch and who knows, maybe my family will end up on your Missions board one day!!

You are loved!

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter …

IMG_7213

Dear Harvest Durham Family

We can’t believe how fast the time has past since we launched the church.  So much has happened!  At the beginning there was only a handful of us.  We would worship at Harvest York every Sunday for a year, we had our very own Durham Small Groups – 2 to be exact.  Some of us were single, getting married, or recently just had kids.  It was very different, that’s for sure.  We can still remember meeting for small group in Ajax which eventually led to meeting in the basement of one of our dear friends.  At the time, we didn’t even know Ian.  I met Ian at Sunset Grill in Ajax one day to discuss our possible involvement with Harvest Durham – one conversation which led to many opportunities to serve the Lord.  We are thankful.

From our time in the basement we would see the core group grow, knitted together with a common bond to see a church that would Proclaim the Word of God Unapologetically every week.  We would go through video series, had a time of worship, and break out for prayer.  Ian would show up from time to time via Skype and eventually actually be present in the flesh.

Fast forward to open houses, meetings, Servant Leadership Team, memorizing the entire book of Colossians, more meetings, laughs, driving around Durham looking for a location  – Donald A Wilson Secondary School, which would become our eventual home for Harvest Durham.  Before launching, we had our transition from the basement to Pickering Christian School … that was exciting.  I can still remember when the sound equipment arrived, the banners were made and put in place.  Some of you who are reading this will remember those days.

I remember praying for a location, that God would draw His people to His church, that God would provide drivers for the trailer, prayed for people, prayed that God would provide finances, etc.  Firmly believing in the power of Prayer. Over the past 7 years, its amazing to see how God has provided.  He is faithful.

Over those past 7 years, we have experienced a sweet joy in serving our Lord.   Both Gloria and I had the privilege of serving in Harvest Kids in various roles, thankful for the opportunity to launch Harvest Kids Summer Adventure, hosting lunch in our home for new comers, Party with the Pastor, Pre-Service Prayer, hosting SG training at our home in Brooklin, Praise and Prayer Nights, looking after Assimilation, working with some pretty amazing people – some who are still at Durham as well as others who have left. Being SG leaders over the past 7 years was both a season of trials and growth.  There were years when it was super challenging as well as times of sweet fellowship.  I also had the joy and still do, leading men through Systematic Theology.  Meeting with men once a week to discuss Theology and Doctrine.  These were and are still some real good times.  At one point we even included a small workout session! One of our highlights during our time at Harvest Durham was the opportunity to travel to Nepal.  The initial trip with Ian to Nepal was definitely memorable.  Our trip to Chitwan, the church in the mountains, experiencing church and how our brothers and sisters would Lift High the Name of Jesus in worship! It will forever be etched in my memory.  The second trip to Nepal was just as memorable.  Gloria was able to join me, and the team that I had the privilege to lead.  We had our challenges, however, lives were changed … and we can see how the Lord continues to mold lives as a result of being in Nepal.  We would love to bring our boys to Nepal one day, Lord willing.  One of our desires as a family is to be able to bring our boys on missions trips with us one day – soon.  We want to in-still in our boys the importance of Sharing the Good news of Jesus with boldness! 

We share all this, not to put the spotlight on ourselves, but to show how good and faithful our God is.  He gets all the Glory!!

On Sunday, our SG hosted a farewell party for us.  It was a really sweet time with friends, talking, laughing,  spending time together, eating pizza and for some of us who stayed long enough, we even had dessert pizza!!  It was soooo good.  Thank you SG!  It was such an encouragement to the both us.  We will miss you all dearly.  It was our pleasure to have hosted and to have led our group.  The growth that we have seen in each of you is amazing!! May you continue to strive to be more Christ-like!

Harvest Durham … thank you for the past 7 years.  Thank you for the joy and privilege to be able to serve alongside each of you.  It has been a delight to walk with some of you.  It is our intention, to continue to walk with you while we are in Hong Kong.  We will continue to pray with and for you.  Distance should not hinder us from praying nor from encouraging one another.

For those of you who are new to the church, those who have committed to HD … may we encourage you to continue to Worship, Walk, and Work for the Lord.  Never make it about yourself.  Don’t serve because you want some kind of recognition.  Serve because you love the Lord.  Serving should not be a task or feeling you’re going to work – you are serving the King of Kings.  If you’re not serving, what are you waiting for?  Get off the bench!  Church is not a spectator sport.  Get involved.  If God can use us, He can use you as well.  Be available.  Be humble. Be ready.

Continue to love one another … not just in words, but in action.  When you say, “I will pray for you,”  – do it!  When you offer help … go and help.

Sunday was our last Sunday at Harvest Durham.  We will be back to visit – realistically, in  2 years. You will be missed.  Our prayer for you as we leave in about a months time is that you would remain steadfast.  Praying that your love for one another would abound more and more – people are hurting, marriages are crumbling – life is real.  Praying that you would actually live in Uncommon Community.  Praying for a sincere desire to go and make disciples.  Praying that you would have a heart for Missions.

It’s time Harvest Durham.

You are loved!