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!

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.

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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!

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*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.

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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.

 

Open Letter … Harvest York

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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.

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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 …

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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!

 

 

 

 

Thankfulness …

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Friends

We are really down to the wire, and it seems like life is just ramping up!  If you come to our home now, you will notice that all of our furniture, except for our beds, are gone.  No more dining table, breakfast table. Our couches are gone … even the ones that our SG  loved so much!  Bookshelves, books are gone … everything.  Sold my guitars, guitar stands, garden tools, some of our camping gear, kitchen stuff, clothing, you name it.  And yesterday, a bit on the emotional side of things, our piano left.  It was picked up by a local piano moving company  and headed toward a music studio.  This was by far the most difficult to let go.

In our home, we have been doing our best to teach our boys to be thankful.  I would think, that most of us understand what it means to be thankful; however, it’s the practicality of living it out that is usually most difficult.  In our North American culture, we seemingly desire or want to accumulate.  We buy a house to fill it with stuff.  We buy more because our neighbours have more than us.  We move to a bigger home, just to get a pool.  Then we forget that we need more things to accommodate the pool.  It’s always one thing after another.

We do appreciate the minimalist movement.  Less is more.  I also think and would say that it’s Biblical.  Scripture tells us “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  This is pretty clear – seek first … seek what?  The kingdom of God.  It doesn’t say seek a bigger property, seek a better job, seek more wealth, nor does it say seek more material possessions.  So why do we constantly try to keep up with one another?  This isn’t even a Christian thing.  It’s a human condition.  We are not content with what we have.  I would say, we are not thankful.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteous … then what?  and all these things will be added to you.  Are you seeking God first?  Is He first in your life?  Do you pursue Christ like you pursue a career change?  Are you just as passionate about Missions like you are about getting a John Deer, pool, new car?

Scripture also tells us that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  What do you treasure?  Are you storing up your treasures here on earth?

Thankfulness is heart issue.

And so, in our home, as we continue to prepare to leave for Hong Kong and our boys see our couches leaving, piano gone, beds soon to be given away … our prayer is that our boys will come to an understanding that we need to be thankful for what we have.  None of this belongs to us.  It belongs to God.  He is the one who has entrusted to us our possessions.  It’s on loan.  When it’s gone, we should never complain.  Be thankful that the Lord has allowed you to have what you have.  At the end of the day, you can’t take it to the grave anyway.

So what?  Our proper response is to give thanks.  Give thanks with a grateful heart – lyrics from the old Sunday School song.  Ultimately, give thanks that God gave us His Son, to take our place on the cross.  He died so that we might have life.  He died because of His love for us.  Would we strive to live a life, worthy of our calling – which is to make disciples.

Maybe it’s time for you, your family to re-evaluate what your priorities are.

What do you seek first?

You are loved.