Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Testimony To The Saving Power of Jesus Christ

Pictured here is Brother Harry Tang. 

Harry Tang is the embodiment of 2 Corinthians 5:17  " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

Harry was born in Viet Nam in 1951to Chinese parents. For the first half of his life he lived in Viet Nam and Taiwan, and a short time in Hong Kong.  He came to the Greater Toronto Area about 30 years ago.

Harry is typical of many of the multiplied thousands of Asians who have immigrated to our northern neighboring country of Canada.  He is polite, hard working, respectful, raising his family and "minding his own business".  He was not a deeply religious man but he lived his life by a high moral code.  A few years ago, Harry's wife passed away leaving him with two sons to raise.  He was what we would call a "good man", but yet there was something missing in his life.  He was searching for something that had eluded him for nearly six decades.

Seven months ago, Harry's life changed forever.  It was then that he had been confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the efforts of Pastor Jolly Ampong and the members of the All Nations Baptist Church plant in North York, Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area.  North York is a large city within itself and it is heavily occupied by Asians in general, Filipinos in particular, and Orthodox Jews. 

God had brought Pastor Jolly and his wife, Mary Jane, to this place from their native island of Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines.  Jolly had earlier planted a Southern Baptist Church in Manjuyod in the province of Negros Oriental.  It was only natural that he would feel the same calling for church planting, although he was in a very different place from his native tropical land.  In October, 2013, ANBC Toronto will celebrate their second anniversary.  I have been invited to bring the message at their anniversary service and I hope to be able to do so.

Like all church plants - anywhere - ANBC Toronto has faced challenges, as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission, and plant a vibrant Southern Baptist Church made up of folks from different people groups.  Thus far, it is primarily and ethnic Filipino community of believers, but Brother Harry is an example of how they are seeking to reach out to all of the ethnic groups in thier city.  It is a huge challenge, but Jolly and Mary Jane are people of great faith.  Their training by SBC missionaries in the Southern Baptist Seminary in Davao, Mindanao, and thier love for the Lord and for lost people, have prepared them for the task.

This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, along with four other members of Westmoreland Baptist Church, I was privileged to spend time with this young but growing congregation of believers.  Brother Harry Tang shared his testimony with us and I was once again moved by the simple yet profound testimony of one who had been spiritually dead, but had found abundant life in Jesus Christ.  Harry now tells of witnessing to his two grown sons, and other Chinese friends of his.  His demeanor is one of joy and love and new found grace through faith in Jesus.  In just a few weeks he will be married to the church secretary, and they will begin their lives together, as members of this young, "Purpose Driven" church, telling others of the abundant life they have found in Jesus Christ.

I am thankful to be the pastor of a church who has chosen to support the work of ANBC Toronto, through our financial giving, through prayer, and through personal participation.  We are in the beginning stages of planning a church wide mission trip to Toronto in the coming months.

The Greater Toronto Area consists of more than 6 million people.  It is the fourth largest metropolitan area in North America and has very few evangelical churches. 

I encourage all readers of this blog who know the Lord, to pray for Jolly and Mary Jane Ampong, ANBC Toronto, for Pastor and Mrs. David P. Smith and the Vine Church in Mississauga, Ontario (whom we also spent time with last week) and the work that they and other SBC church planters are doing in that great metropolis.  Toronto is a big place.  Pray big for the Lord's work there!

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