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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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!

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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.

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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!