Monday, January 30, 2006

Too young to care

We received Erich's identification documents in the mail recently. One of the more funny pieces of identification was his Care card (provincial health insurance) which, notably, asks the bearer of the card for his signature. How exactly is a 6 week old baby supposed to sign his own Care card is beyond my comprehension. :)

Well in fairness, there is an attached sheet that notes that a "spouse, guardian or other responsible adult" should sign the card for someone who is unable to do so. Whatever happened to the term "parent"? Has it become the latest victim of political correctness?

Friday, January 20, 2006

What's in a name?

There is just so much to think about when having a baby. One of those things was what to name our newborn son. A name is so integral to one's identity that this seemingly simple task could not be taken lightly.

Photo: Self-portrait with my son Erich. (The beauty of having a mirror in the house...)

After massive searches on the Internet, and browsing through countless name books at Chapters, we decided on Erich. For those who are interested, we've documented some of our thought process.

Anatomy of a name: Erich Günther Yin-Shun (言信) Ng

Some people have asked why the distinctly German name. As you may know, Karen's step-dad, Hans Stein, is German. But since Karen is the offspring of her mother's first marriage, there would be no biological nor namesake lineage. We wanted to honour Hans in a way that would undeniably acknowledge the role he plays in all our lives. Thus, we decided to spell our son's first and middle name the German way. (More on why we chose "Erich" specifically later...) Moreover, we also decided to name our son Günther because that is Hans' father's name.

Why Erich? Back in university, Karen and I were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, Erick Wong. Since our son probably wouldn't be here had it not been for his introduction, we thought we'd name our son after him. (Psst...He's also an incredibly smart genius - completed his Masters in Mathematics by the time we were finishing our undergrad... so we're secretly hoping that some of that intelligence might rub off on our son if we give him the same name :-))

Yin-Shun. Early on, we had asked my [Jonathan] mother to come up with a list of Chinese names. We wanted our son to retain not only his Chinese heritage but we wanted the name to reflect his faith. One of the things Karen and I had been praying for our son was that, like King David, he would grow up to be a man after God's own heart. We wanted his name to reflect that. In Chinese, yin-shun (yán xìn in mandarin) has a double meaning. The word "" means the spoken word. For Christians, the Lord Jesus was often referred to as the spoken Word or God's Word revealed (John 1:1). The word "" has the meaning of faithfulness or trustworthiness. Hence, our son's Chinese name has the meaning of proclaiming God's faithfulness but also it's a reflection of Erich's own spoken word - i.e. what comes out of his mouth is to be trusted.

So there you have it: the etymology of our son's name.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A tribute to the late Mr. W. Stein

I first met Mr. Stein (family friend) at his daughter's baptism at North Shore Alliance Church. His daughter (with whom we are friends), had recently accepted Christ. It was very joyous occassion in which, I am sure, all of heaven must have been rejoicing to see her public declaration of faith.

Mr. Stein struck me as a very down-to-earth individual. My wife and I soon made conversation with him. We were of course trying to practice our very limited command of the German language! He told us his life story about how he had emigrated from Germany and about the hardships he faced as a young individual trying to practice his Christian faith. It was fascinating talking to him, and it occurred to me how universal the love and bond of Christ is to all of us. Here was someone I hardly knew, yet I felt like he was truly a brother in Christ.

A few months later, we met again, this time by his hospital bed. We had known for some time that he had cancer, but it wasn't until this visit that we realized the extent to which it had spread. Although we did not know him all that well at the time, both Karen and I felt compelled to visit him and to pray for him. Now one would expect in such a scenario that we were the encouragers, and he the encouraged, but it was during this visit that, oddly enough, we felt encouraged by him! To this day, I cannot put my finger as to why, but I believe it has something to do with the incredible attitude that he had in the face of adversity. Not many people are able to be so content, high-spirited and full of humour when faced with terminal illness.

Thank you, Mr. Stein for being such an encouragement to Karen and myself even in the face of your own adversity. It was an honour to have known you, and to have been your friend. I am sure that the legacy that you have left behind through your wife, your daughters, and your friends will have an incredible impact on this world for Christ.

To the family and friends of the late W. Stein: May this favourite hymn of ours be an encouragement to you.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, It is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet,
Though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, It is well,
It is well, It is well with my soul!

My sin, Oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Oh my soul!

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so! It is well with my soul!

It is well, It is well,
It is well, It is well with my soul!
Mr. W. Stein went to be with the Lord the morning of January 10th, 2006.