Incidentally, I’ve retrieved from my archives the following writing of about 18 years ago (1996). Trials of life in the past decades flashed back. Now, on reflection, our faith in Jesus Christ can only be a blessing, which we cherish, is the sovereign grace of our Lord, that He selected both my wife and I to be the children of God. I wish to share our storey with you and hope you’ll also receive the grace from the omnipotent God. (Note: This immigration storey has never been published till now.)
I recalled 18 years ago, one Christmas evening, we (a family of three) leaving behind relatives, friends and my established career, and the homeland of Hong Kong, landed at the Toronto International Airport. We arrived at a country completely new to us. I only learnt about Toronto in my school days some 40 years back, but nothing like that which we were going to experience later. We had a very warm welcome at the Immigration Counter—the friendly atmosphere greatly encouraged and assured us to face new challenges: new lives, new neighbours, new friends, new work, and so no.
Three months elapsed. I considered myself fortunate to have found an appraisal job in a firm, which offered me an initial annual salary of $16,000.00. Though the remuneration was much less than I used to earn, the position gave me ample opportunities to learn and see the country as I was required to travel around to carry out valuation assignments, quite often out of town. While I was away from home, my wife had to be left by herself at home most of the time. Our son then was about 12 had become independent and adaptable easily to his school life. His detachment from home was felt all the more.
A few months afterwards, I got a better-paid job in one of the leading banks as a Lease Negotiator. You may think at this point that everything turned out fine for us. But something was unnoticeably wrong. Phobia as a result of loneliness deeply affected my wife before even we had realized to what extent our family was poignantly disturbed. Doctor’s advice seemed to become useless. The more medications prescribed for her the further deterioration was her health. We were completely desolate—not knowing what to do next. As a result, we migrated back and lived in the same district where we left–the clock was put back.
Over a long period of ten tedious years and having been to many doctors, my wife gradually recovered her health. We started to re-visit Canada every year for a few consecutive years. We wanted to try out again whether we could adapt to the Canadian way of life. We concluded that Toronto was too cold and it might bring back unhappy memories. Vancouver is like Hong Kong in its geographical settings and the weather is mile. In the end, we chose to live in a high-rise in Metro Town. We so accustom to high density living that we favour easy access to shopping, restaurants and other facilities. Convenience complementing with accessibility are the prime consideration as we’re aging.
Soon I got a job which fitted in with my working experience and professional qualifications. We bought an apartment, a car, and all necessary things. However, we were not living at all happy socially. My wife flew back to Hong Kong twice in the first year, and we thought we had made the same mistake when we returned to Canada again. While she was staying in Hong Kong she phoned me complaining that she didn’t seem to feel like or fit into the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong any more than that of the quietness of Vancouver.
We discussed at length balancing all pros and cons as to whether or not we should be residing in Canada. Finally, we concluded reluctantly that she ought to come back to Vancouver. Then we agreed that I had better quit my job to allow more time to help my wife to establish herself here. I was thinking of introducing her to a social group and, perhaps to some volunteer works merely to get her busy.
Then I learnt about the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. at Coquitlam. We joined the Senior Group there. She made new friends, became very active in their weekly meetings, volunteered works, and paid visits to an old aged home monthly and helped the senior bingo games and Christmas parties and so on. Having participated in volunteer works and community groups activities, we began to live a more meaningful and happy life. But there seemed something still missing deep in our hearts. We knew not what. “Why there is no joy in us?” We pondered.
About the same time, my wife chanced to encounter a senior Christian lady in the medical clinic, where both of them visiting. She right away introduced my wife to the pastor in a local church in China Town. In the following week, I accompanied my wife at Sunday worship and Bible class.
In the grace of God we believed into the Christian faith and were baptized in 1993. We’ve been living a new life ever since. Life has become meaningful and purpose-driven. We abide by Jesus Christ: we participate in church worship and fellowship meetings; we pray for God’s guidance, we learn to care and love, and proclaim the gospel to others, God permitting. “O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” (Psalm 84:12.) We always give thanks to God for our salvation and guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Should you read about this story, I hope you will believe early into the God we trust for his guidance and providence. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7.)
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewed by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior… (Titus 3:4-6.)
God’s grace is adequate for every situation. Let’s pray, heavenly Father, have mercy on us, especially those who do not know you or have not believed on you. But I know Lord; you love us all the same. Give us the grace to repent with contrite hearts and to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ at the Cross. In Jesus’ name, amen.