Amazing Grace

Looking back to the year 1999, when I was attending an English congregation in another church, I first came to VCLC at the Dunbar church as part of my Mother-In-Law’s choir. My Chinese Bible knowledge was non-existence as I have not listened to Chinese sermons. I was a working mom with a very busy life, so I was very
much a “Sunday Christian”, enjoying the fruitful work of others. God seems like a distance relative, just like my grandparents in heaven. I know He is a living God and a very loving God, perhaps because of my Chinese name (恩照) which was taken from the hymn Amazing Grace, I always felt God’s grace is always shinning upon me and God will always love me just the way I am.

As a new comer to VCLC back then, I was warmly welcomed and that year because of late planning of their Summer Conference, they needed more people to attend in order to meet Cedar Spring’s quota, so I decided to go explore the Summer Conference as Rev. John Kwok was the speaker and the topic seemed interestingly enough. But unbeknownst to me, this turned out to be a pivotal point in my serving life. I am usually very cool headed and have never responded to altar calls, but to my own big surprise, when Pastor John called for commitment to serve VCLC, I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to stand up without any kind of hesitation! But yet I don’t even belong to VCLC! From then on, I learned to serve God and others in His church. God wants us to serve rather than be served; we should serve wherever there are opportunities and needs; although sometimes it may mean getting out of our comfort zone.

I remember I started with photocopying and folding the weekly bulletin and then working with mostly the different youth groups which seemed more play than work! We began the English ministry about 10 years ago. Mrs. Lillian Kwok lead us on a mission trip to Panama in 2005, then in 2007, along with Pastor Sam and a
few other leaders, I was confident enough to lead a group of about 20 young people to serve in an orphanage in China in over 100o heat in mid-July in a rural setting! The memories we have will stay with us forever. It was humbling to see the young children without parents, yet living happily with gratitude for simple food and
shelter and opportunities to learn. For many of the children, their whole possession fit into one suite case. We played Awana games with them, and we brought recorders there to teach the children to play hymns. I am sure it was beautiful music in God’s ears. It was funny when Wilson learned to tune the piano on-line with
a pitch fork! The highlight of that trip was having the whole school of about 200 children and staff singing a praise song with all the actions to (讚美之泉) with us in the school yard for the Government educational dignitaries. It was a little risky as public evangelism is not allowed in China, but we truly felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit flowing in our hearts. I am also certain that the children will remember the groups of Christians that came every summer to care about them and to tell how God, our heavenly Father, is our greatest love of all.

Another memorable moment at VCLC was our previous building project at Hudson Street, we fought a wonderful battle at City Hall equipped with our own full scale presentation with diagrams seeking for a change to church use in an industrial building that did not have enough required parking stalls. By Amazing Grace, we received the change of use approval that afternoon with great proudness, but because of our lack of an unified heart, we lost our offer in one week’s time to another business offer as we hesitated in our own ways. This humbling experience is a great lesson that we need to learn to walk in God’s will.

There are many joyous time and sad time that we experienced together over the past 15 years, yet we must learn that God only want us to obey His will, just like in the article of P.U.S.H., we are here to strengthen our mind and soul to Pray Until Something Happens, when we look back each day, we would have strengthen more. Although we have experienced changes with our pastoral leaders in past years, but there was not even ONE day VCLC suffered from having no pastor. Furthermore, each year our donation offering is always sufficient for us.

Now under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Owen Leung, we also experienced the Amazing Grace of the final approval of the development permit at our Granville Street church site, it is very amazing for the city to approve this new church zoning with so many new housing developments in Vancouver. With such a high Asian population in the South Granville area and with its proximity to Richmond; I trust with the Lord’s willing, this is our new mission field. We shall put our faith in God and P.U.S.H. forward for the next 15 years, may we experience more abundance of our God’s Amazing Grace in our own new church.

This is a quotation from the article of P.U.S.H. It is a great reminder for myself to look up to the cross always…

“At Times, when we hear from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants. What GOD ACTUALLY wants is just simple OBEDIENCE and FAITH IN HIM. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but KNOW that it’s still God who moves the mountains.”

Cathy O’Young