We always give thanks to our Living Lord and God for calling us to serve Him for the growth of His Kingdom through evangelism and equipping Christian leaders in Southeast Asia and China. Actually, our family has been blessed abundantly. We had opportunities to prepare ourselves for these ministries both in academics and church contexts in the United States. Academically, we had trained under several great professors on biblical exegesis and practicality; while we lived in the States, we had seen and lived among those individuals and congregations who practiced God’s love and wisdom in their daily lives. Many of those faithful people have become the models of our ministries and lives. What we had learned and experienced, we now are exercising in our daily lives and ministries. Praise the Lord!
Stephen is teaching Greek
The past month, we spent most of our time equipping Christian leaders from Myanmar with a biblical emphasis. Every one of the Wongs is exhausted after two months spending time with these leaders. Stephen spent 6 hours a day from Monday-Friday consecutively for the past 4 weeks, while Mary took care of all the needs. Becky, Nick and John were taking turns in teaching English every evening. At the moment, we will be off this teaching ministry for some time until the next group's arrival at the mid of September or early October, 2014.
Besides evangelism, equipping Christian leaders is our focal ministries whether at the church or seminary (AIS). We believe that equipping the church leaders emphasizing on biblical studies is essential for church growth. Our vision is to see the church leaders rooted with the Word of God so that they will be able not only to lead God’s people through His Word, but also to live like Christ. It is in fact a full joy to see a group of Christian leaders tirelessly, for two consecutive months, study God’s Word during the week and practicing what they learned at churches during the weekends by teaching and preaching. We have confidence this is the way, in fact the only way, to make church growth biblically. As the Bible says everything, except God’s Word, will fade away like grass. We are humbly serving our Living God and Lord by giving His Word to His servants so that they will be able to lead His people according to His Word. It is a joy to see, for instance, Moses preached God’s Word at churches during the weekends and taught and sang songs that he composed according to what he had learned in the classes. Moses graduated from Myitkyina University and is now a preacher at his village-church at Jamanee. He is also a Bible teacher at one of the Bible colleges at Myitkyina; the capital city of Kachin State in Myanmar. He took his teaching time off for two months and would go back and teach what he had learned here at his college. It is also a joy to see Prissila, the only female students of this group from the central Myanmar, Mogok, Mandalay division, who carried out the Great Commission to the lost people all the way to China. She spent most of her time in the past year in China to evangelize to nonbelievers and teach children and women believers in China.
During our class on 1 Corinthians, we had found that the context of Corinthian churches was much like the context of the Asian churches. Both the Corinthian and Asian churches are a highly competitive society, with people vying in business, in politics, and in social status. Both thirst for honor and hungry for public recognition. Both are accustomed to cultural value and honor which they embedded from their society. They brought their standards of what is honorable and valuable with them into the church, and have not yet abandoned them in light of their encounter with the crucified Jesus Christ. Both are struggling with similar issues; for instance, idolatry, meat that is sacrificed idols, adultery, division, misusing the spiritual gifts, resurrection, etc.
We also have found that the worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God are incompatible. The former one belongs to this age, the evil ones, the flesh, the natural world and it cannot recognize the Lord and that which belongs to God. On the other hands, the wisdom of God is spiritual, mature, and possessing the Spirit. Therefore, the Corinthian and the Asian believers are vulnerable to preachers who themselves still live by worldly wisdom and promote themselves based on worldly standards or norms. So, please lift these students and their ministries up in your prayers so that they would be faithful and stand firm in God’s Word.
Left to right--Mary, Prissila, Amos, Sergius,
Solomon and Moses at Hui Ko Church
Moses is preaching
Moses and Solomon are singing a song that Moses
had just composed
The team leading Sunday service at Nam Roo Church
Underneath are brief expressions from our children:
Looking back at the past months and realizing how God is gracious and has been merciful in my life. He has given me new chances and opportunities since my times of painful sickness. Due to the fact that I am now seizure-free and healing as I go. I thank God every day, and being comforted at His presence in my life. So this past summer, I had the opportunities to help my parents in ministries by teaching English to the Christian leaders from Myanmar and to the neighborhood children from kindergarten to 6th grades. I know that it might not mean a lot, but I think it is a few ways of giving back to God what He has done in my life.
Both groups are very friendly people and eager to study English whether in grammar, listening skills, reading skills, and also speaking skills. I had the pleasure of providing new knowledge to them. Of course, while teaching, I provided some fun and games to them to keep them from sleeping, which thankfully, they didn’t. I Thank the Lord for giving me those great experiences in teaching English. I realize that wherever they live, how old they are, there’s nothing wrong with learning. Please continue to pray for our ministries that many people can see the glory of God, and how He is greatly working in our ministries reaching the needs in people’s lives.
Becky is teaching English to neighborhood kids
The month of July was filled with many blessings. The leaders from Myanmar were awesome! I felt like I grew spiritually along with these leaders that came to study here at the seminary. The leaders from Myanmar, especially the guys, and I bonded a lot in the past couple of months. We shared stories, we shared in fun times, and we shared in working to plant rice. We practiced worship songs together, we helped lead several church services in the churches in the mountainous villages, we started evening soccer games at a local elementary to help promote a good environment for neighborhood kids to come and play.
During the time that the students were here, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with them on their English. English is a very important language for the Myanmar leaders to learn because the majority of the classes taught at the seminary are in English. Although teaching English is awesome, I didn’t do that too much because Becky and John are actually taking over in that department. Before the Myanmar leaders returned to their homes, I was honored to administer a Spiritual Gift test to the five of them. They all were really thrilled to get their results and to discuss the results with me. I encouraged them to use their gifts when they returned to Myanmar, and they said they will.
After they left last week, the house became a bit quiet. We miss them, but we all know that we have other ministries to attend to. Even though they went back to Myanmar, John and I will still go play soccer when we can with the kids in the neighborhood because the kids seem to really enjoy playing soccer with us. We can hear the kids yelling, “They’re here! They’re here!” when they see us down the road. Although we miss the Myanmar leaders and the two busy months, we are glad to have a week to relax and have some family time before God gives us another awesome task!
Nick is giving words of encouragement to
Hui Ko Church
Throughout this month, it has been a great pleasure in helping teach English to the students from Myanmar. As my family, the students and I had traveled to different churches in order to enhance our teaching skills, it has been wonderful having these people be a part of our family as I cherished all of the times we went through together. A couple of days had passed since they finally departed homeward- bound and suddenly it started getting very quiet. Recently, I myself have been going through tough times as I had to take on more responsibilities of becoming an adult. Although these “jobs” were weighing me down, I took the time in order to ask God for strength and guidance through these times. I feel like God is using this time in order for me to have a closer relationship with Him and to put away my pride and independence in order to give God the glory.
John joined in a special song
The last couple of days have been a lot of fun because the majority of the family, besides Isaac, is on break. Since it is raining season, there are not many places to visit. There are flash floods that have already occurred in some areas. We have had a lot more time to spend together as a family by watching movies and playing games. Stephen has time to watch his favorite movies; he has gone through several 60s-70s cowboy movies. Mary is enjoying her gardening and sometimes just hanging out at the mall with the children. Isaac is at school, learning three different languages: English, Thai and Chinese. And of course, he is speaking Lisu at home.
Isaac and Stephen
We always appreciate your faithfulness in prayers for our family and ministry in Southeast Asia and China. May our Living God and Lord bless you abundantly.
In Christ Alone,
Stephen and Mary