從十五週年的一句話說起: 『主耶穌給我們的責任是艱巨的, 但主給我們負擔必定是我們所能承受得來的, 讓 我們能在十五週年立下更高的理想, 更大的志願; 讓我們珍惜從前, 努力面前, 向著標竿直跑…』。第一個服事的五年很快就要過去了, 首先感謝天父上帝, 我主耶穌基督與聖靈, 每一次當我陷入服事低潮的時候, 因著神的支持,幫助和激勵, 我可以一次又一次克服不同的挑戰。 更感謝已退休的宋榮祐牧師及宋師母對我默默的支持, 鼓勵和代禱; 沒 有 他 們回應天父上帝的召喚, 我也不知道多倫多華人門諾會是怎麼樣的? 沒 有他們的牧養, 我亦不會成為門諾會的一份子.
五年前蒙天父的恩寵及聖靈清楚的引領, 我 決 志 承 接 宋 榮 祐牧師牧養的工作, 也開始摸索前面當走的路。記得投身服事的初時, 我致力服事社區的草根階層。他們大多來自中國或第三國家, 說 的是普通話或不純正的廣東話。天父給予我很大的力量, 叫我用愛心服侍這個群體, 與他們一起面對生活上既大且複雜的難題 。 就如保羅所說的:『只是願意我們記念窮人, 這也是我本來熱心去行的』 (加拉太書2:10)。就這樣, 我與一群有承擔和有愛心的弟兄姊妹, 風雨不改的把這些新朋友及他們年幼的子女接載到教會來, 讓他們認識主耶穌基督, 叫他們得著神的恩典。 今天, 每當兒童故事時間, 講台前總坐得滿滿的, 一個個天真無邪的小面孔, 開開心心地聆聽著兒童故事。我心裏會好奇的問天父, 當中可有幾個將會是明天的傳道人或牧師呢?
在過去五年中, 靠著神的恩典, 不少家庭在教會的幫忙下從憂愁中看到曙光, 更開始了他們屬靈生命的旅程。但令我難過的是, 這些新朋友的流動性非常高, 當他們的難題得以解決後,他們有些會選擇不再來教會, 而他們的子女也因此而被剥奪親近上帝的機會。 在這些事情上, 我感到十分傷心及無奈。感謝神, 每當我感到乏力的時候, 神都會透過衪的話語來扶持我和激勵我, 好讓我 重新得力, 再一次投入事奉中。在開始服事教會的首兩年, 教會經歷了不同的挑戰及不穩定; 部份弟兄姊妹回流香港,又或因在服事上意見不同而選擇離開,對教會都造成一定的影響。感謝神, 因衪的緣故, 麥城門諾會行愛堂仍然留下一班忠心耿耿的弟兄姊妹, 堅守崗位, 遵行神的教導, 用衪的劍和盾牌去繼續這場屬靈的爭戰。我們在二零零八年十二月訂下了一個短期目標, 就是 “三年五十人 ”。 這個目標不單是指有五十個人受洗加入教會, 而是他們都願意委身服侍我們的主耶穌基督。 這似容易 ,卻是極大的挑戰, 因為這是改變人心的工作, 是我們看不到即時果效的工作。
今天, 我們教會人數的增長仍未達標, 但我們弟兄姊妹都知道, 我們『不是倚靠勢力, 不 是 倚 靠 才 能 乃 是 倚 靠 我的 靈方能成事』(撒迦利亞書4:6)。目標已定, 我們弟兄姊妹會同心恊力為這目標而努力。向外傳揚主耶穌基督和平的福音, 教會增長與培養屬靈領袖是加東門諾區會服事的方向, 亦是麥城門諾會行愛堂服事的理念; 我們在各項事工上都貫徹這三大守則。教會弟兄姊妹都願意擺上自己, 參 加加東門諾會所舉辦的各項課程; 他們亦不斷擴闊接觸社區各層面, 透過不同渠道讓更多人認識主, 同時也藉舉辦不同活動讓社區認 識門諾會。
麥城門諾會行愛堂的弟兄姊妹建立了非常緊密的團隊精神, 他們在服事上彼此配搭; 在事工及個人上, 彼 此代禱 。教會每三個月舉辦 一次 總動員的祈禱會, 為著教會的一切懇切禱告。我們要達到 “三 年 五十 人”的目標與信心 是不會動搖的。 雖然今天教會的人數離我們所訂的目標相距還遠, 但我仍看到主與我們教會弟兄姊妹同在,我們就不會感到氣餒, 就如羅馬書5:3-5說『不但如此, 就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練; 老練生盼望; 盼望不至於羞恥, 因為所賜給我們的聖靈, 將神的愛澆灌在我們心裏』。今天, 我內心仍有很多的擔子, 也欠了很多福音的債; 願 意天父幫助我和弟兄姊妹達致所訂下三年五十人的目標。更求天父使用我們教會把失喪的尋回。 在教會二十週年記念中, 盼望我們不要只停留在過去, 而是努力面前, 向著我們所定的目標前進。最後我要感謝神, 賜我美好家庭, 太太與兩個兒女 過去一直對我的愛與支持, 願意他們繼續與我一起在這神家品嚐事奉的甜美。阿們!
I wanted to start my sharing with a statement from our 15th anniversary: “God gives us big and difficult challenges, but which must be bearable to us; let us set up higher goal and bigger dream/wishes in the 15th anniversary; value what had been done and let us keep focus on the goal and wins the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
As my first 5 years of service comes to a close. I would like to thank our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. HE supported me, comforted me and inspired me every time when I was depressed spiritually. I also wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to our retired Rev. Soong and his wife Mrs. Soong who always encouraged me and prayed persistently for me. Without their responses to God’s calling, I wouldn’t know what the existence of the Chinese Mennonite in Toronto meant; also, without their pastoral care, I wouldn’t be a member of the Mennonite community.
I decided to be a minister after Rev. Soong 5 years ago when I was called by God and I was looking for the right direction for which I should go. I decided to serve the grass-rooted Chinese-speaking group in our community. This group of people mainly came from China or from the developing countries. They usually speak Mandarin or non-proper Cantonese. Thank God, HE empowered me to serve them with great love. I worked with them to face the toughness in their daily lives. It was just like what Paul said in Galatians 2:10 “All they ask was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Because of this, a group of caring and committed brothers and sisters from our church worked hand-in-hand with me to serve these new friends.
Every Sunday, no matter the rain or snow, we drove them and their young children to our church, giving them the chance to know about Jesus, to listen to HIS words and to have God’s grace rained down on them. During the children story time, I saw so many innocent and happy faces, sitting in front of the stage. I was curious to ask our Lord if there would be anyone of the children becoming a pastor in the future. With God’s grace, there were a couple of families coming out from despair as they found hope in God. With our continuous care and sharing the good news of God, they began to search for God and started their spiritual journey. However, something made me sad was the high turnover rate of these families. When their problems were solved, some of them would choose not to come to the church again; their children were exploited of the chances to know more about God. For this, I felt sad and frustrated. Thank God, HE used HIS words to encourage me, so that I could be refreshed and set off again in my ministry.
In the first two years of my ministry, the church experienced some challenges and unsteadiness. Some of the brothers and sisters returned to Hong Kong and some of them chose to leave because they held different opinions in the church ministry; whatever the choice was, it inevitably impacted the church. Praise the Lord, a group of loyal and committed brothers and sisters chose to stay and continued to strive toward the desire of our Lord. In December of 2008, the Board Council and I set up a goal of “having 50 new members within 3 years”. The goal is not simply to have 50 new persons joining the church but to have all of them committed to serve our Lord. It seems easy but is actually a big challenge because it needs to change the ideology of people and very often, we cannot see the immediate effect of our efforts.
Today, we still haven’t reached our goal but all of us knew that as Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” says the LORD Almighty. Extending the peace of Jesus Christ to the community, the growth of the church and the forming leaders is the mission statement of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) and Markham Chinese Mennonite Church (MCMC) of which has been the direction of our ministry. Our brothers and sisters are willing to commit fully to serve our God. They participated in different seminars and courses that were organized by the MCEC; explored ways to widen their contact with the community; and used different approaches to enable people in the community to learn more about Jesus as well as the Mennonite.
In MCMC, brothers and sisters had established a very strong sense of teamwork as well as always collaborating very well with each other in ministry. We also pray persistently for each other. We have a whole-church praying meeting every 3 months after worship. Although the goal of “having 50 new members in 3 years” seems to be challenging, it will not change our confidence to make it work because we all know that God is with us. As said in Roman 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”.
Today, I am still having a lot of challenges and have tasks to be done; but I pray that God will help us to attain our goal of “having 50 new members in 3 years”. I also pray that God will use our church to ‘find the lost’. The 20th anniversary is today and I hope that we do not remain in the past but work hard for the future to achieve our goal. Lastly, I need to thank my God for giving me a wonderful family. In the past years, my wife and my two children who have been offering me tremendous love and support. I pray that they will continue to serve with me in God’s ministry and taste its sweetness. Amen!
Servant in Christ