Friday, May 30, 2008

Let's play ball!

It was "bend it like Erich" day as we went out to Panorama Park in Deep Cove to play some ball with Erich. He really enjoyed watching daddy and mommy kick around the ball and catching it.

Why did we go all the way to Deep Cove just to play ball? Well apart from discovering a new park, we were headed there to have a fun outing for Karen's birthday. Ever since trying one of the doughnuts from a shop called "Honey's doughnuts" in Deep Cove, her mouth has been watering to munch on of of those delicious perfectly textured doughnuts again she requested to go there for lunch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All aboard at the Vancouver International Children's Festival

One of the advantages to living so close to Vanier Park is the availability of good cultural shows. From Bard on the Beach to the Vancouver International Children's Festival to the man flying kites on Sunday afternoons, Vanier Park is a great place for Erich to be exposed to culture.

The weekend of May 19th, we took Erich to the children's festival. Despite it being a rather wet and soggy day (particularly disappointing after a long string sunny days), Erich had a blast.

We visited exhibits where he could work with clay, or play with various unconventional sound instruments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big impact for little man

Our family took a well needed get-away to Seattle this past long weekend. It was part birthday gift to my wife (she got to go shopping) and part opportunity for me to spend some male bonding time with the little guy. So we booked a hotel in Seattle, and headed down there right after small group last Thursday.

Friday morning, I took him to the Museum of Flight. He fell asleep on the way there, but when he woke up, he could not contain his excitement! He said, "hehe, Daddy! Airplane over there! It's the airplane musemum!"

What really amazed me though was when we went to see the airplane park. Situated in the "parking lot" was Air Force One and the Concorde. As we were walking up to the Concorde, he said excitedly, "Daddy! It's the Concuarde!" Now that was astonishing. He had only seen the Concorde once before (the last time we went to the museum), so for him to recall that must have meant that the first visit had a big impact.

Here's a photojournal of our Concorde visit:

In front of the magnificent bird. The Concorde is really quite an
elegant plane to look at from the outside.

Better watch that maximum weight per step!

The inside of the Concorde is actually quite small. My head was close to
touching the ceiling, and Erich appreciated that it was more his size.

Erich looking up at the belly of the Concorde.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Little things matter: to encourage and to be encouraged

The Ng family had a very busy weekend. In addition to Ruth Chan's memorial service, we also celebrated our friend Renee's 40th birthday. Then on Sunday, our church was involved in helping out with the BMO Vancouver marathon. As if that weren't enough, we also went to the Vancouver Christ Church of China to hear Annie, one of Karen's relatives (and our friend) give her testimony.

Amidst the busyness though, one common theme stood out: little things matter. Some examples:

How could Ruth have known that a little known thing she said to me two decades ago would serve to encourage me and possibly many others at her memorial?

How could Karen and I have known that answering Annie's recommendation for a church years ago would lead to her coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ? (which in turn served as an unexpected encouragement to us when we heard her testimony!)

I also didn't realise that handing out gatorade and cheering on complete strangers by name at a community event I once despised and grumbled at (because of the inconvenience it caused me) would be so fulfilling and so encouraging to others in my community.

Even Erich soon got into it as he helped hand out water and gatorade to marathoners.

Little, seemingly insignificant moments in life matter. Encouragement, particularly when spurred on by the Holy Spirit, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant matter. We may not see or reap the results of what we we are called to do for years, but God does. Our job is just to obey his leading and his prompting.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tribute to a mentor and family friend

I first met Mrs. Ruth Chan in 1984, when my [Jonathan] family moved to the lower mainland from Fort McMurray, Alberta. My family attended church at Richmond Chinese Alliance where Ruth was a grade 6 Sunday School teacher and was one of the adult leaders in junior worship.

Auntie Ruth, as we used to call her, was always keen on building relationships with the youth she mentored, and I am sure she prayed earnestly for each one of us. One day, as we were getting ready for singspiration, I distinctly remember her coming up to me, and saying something to the effect of "you should think about leading singing one day too." I don't entirely know what motivated her to say this - perhaps she had been praying for me, but I do remember shyly shrugging it off at the time. I was very much a quiet, shy person at the time. (Little did I know of course how God would begin to change me and use me in the coming years!)

At a gospel camp put on by the same church, I rededicated my life to Christ at the age of 15. Several years later, I went to univerisity, and my family moved. Meanwhile, Ruth and her husband Sam, after having studied at Regent College were commissioned to be COCM missionaries in England for four years.

It wasn't until 1995 (the year I met Karen) that I would reconnect with them. At the time, both Karen and I felt God leading us to Christ Church of China in Vancouver. To my great surprise, Ruth's husband Sam was pastoring there, and serendipitously, Karen's childhood pastor was also pastoring there at the same time. As it turns out, both Sam and Ruth finished their term in the UK in 1992 and returned to Vancouver accepting a position as pastor of CCC.

Pastor Sam and Ruth would continue to be an influence in my life. Pastor Sam baptized me in 1997, and officiated my wedding in 2002. Ruth continued to mentor women, and often shared her experiences with us through the career fellowship called "Faith fellowship".

It wasn't until Karen and I were called in 1998 to go out to Coquitlam (CCCC) that I began to feel the full impact of what God had done through their ministry. Though I never realized it at the time, hindsight provides me with a view of God's faithfulness in answering prayers of those before us. At CCCC, we were mentoring youth in grade 6, and indeed, I was called to lead them in singing praises to God.

Ruth fought a courageous battle with cancer this past year. She died peacefully and went home to be with the Lord on April 21st, 2008.

Today, Karen and I went to say our last goodbyes to Auntie Ruth. It was a bittersweet moment - one that cannot be described adequately in words. Though we both miss her dearly, we know that she is finally at home, resting with the Father and free at last of her failing body.

As she leaves the world, it was more than evident the impact and legacy that she left behind. Streams of people, young and old, unified as one because they were all affected by her and her husband's ministry poured in one by one to honour, comfort, show support and to say "until we meet again in heaven". I can only imagine what God has been able to do as a result of her dedication to demonstrating Christ to others.

Ruth, thank you for your dedication to following Jesus and for demonstrating his grace toward even the youngest of believers. You looked beyond the surface of who I was, and saw instead the person God could transform me to be. You prayed that a new generation of godly leaders could emerge from the people you influenced, and I am very grateful for that.

That is truly a life well lived, a life lived with purpose and a legacy left for the next generation.