From obstacles to joy
My path to rebirth in Christ
Author: Angela Hung
When I got pregnant, I started taking parenting series and workshops because I did not have parenting role models. After getting baptized in June 2014, I took “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” with Elder Shawn Zhang and Catherine Zhang in 2015 and “Age of Opportunity” in 2016 and was motivated to take up two positive changes:
- Even though I knew I was a new Christian and didn’t know much about the Bible, thanks to Jean and Tony Chow, Jeremy Tan and Kenny Lee, I learned alongside my children by volunteering in their Sunday worship.
- We also started one hour of daily family devotion time. All three of us grew in faith in Christ as we saw God remove every obstacle year after year.
The one-hour daily family devotion time continues today, eight years later, and my children see abundant fruits of the spirit in me and happily serve together as a family.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Love replaces disappointment and violence
I married the first man I dated, whom I met at 19. Over 15 years of marriage, three marital counselors could not resolve a myriad of problems, which got much worse after our children were born. Shortly after the divorce in 2013, a restaurant waitress I met for the first time recommended that I go to Peace Fellowship’s Christmas gathering. We were embraced by loving fellowship, and we started coming to ACCCN in 2014. Susan Huang from Peace Fellowship brought my children (1 and 3 years old) and me to Elder Ting and Liza, and they soon formed Spring Fellowship to help other single-parent families. I found a community of loving Christians in both fellowships.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Joy replaces depression
I had been on an antidepressant since I was 19. In 2017, I quit the antidepressant cold turkey one day because God knows my needs and I can hold onto Him closely. I had switched three brands of antidepressants, five psychologists, and psychiatrists over the years, but I had never found any peace in psychoanalysis for the past traumas. Another pivotal moment was “How People Change” with Carol Hsu (Pastor Zhang’s wife) in 2018. The course helped me avoid being reactive to constant berating from my children’s father that continues to this day 10 years after the divorce. We thank God every day for the abundance in our lives and love the encounters we have in Him. I have found an inner peace as I spend each morning and the end of each day with the good Lord, recalling all that He has done for us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Peace replaces abandonment and separation
My parents gave me away to an orphanage and left me in Taiwan when I was born because I was a girl and they wanted a boy. I flew alone from Taiwan to meet my parents in Thailand at 9 years old for the first time, leaving behind my maternal grandparents who raised me. I was selling women’s clothing on a pushcart in the markets for my grandparents as soon as I knew how to walk and talk, helping to support my mother’s six sisters who were in universities or technical colleges. I was uprooted from the life I knew overnight with one letter from my parents. They forgot about my arrival, and I waited past midnight at the Bangkok Airport, crying my eyes out, not knowing how to find them. I remembered that their letter had a logo, so I showed it to an immigration officer, who was able to find their company in the telephone book. From knowing more and more about God’s character, I learned to be dead to sin and alive to Christ by forgiving my parents, thereby enjoying the present by letting go of the past trauma.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Patience replaces pride
I was proud and impatient with people who could not comprehend as quickly or deliver as thoroughly at school and at work. After I moved to Thailand, I was working full time for my parents’ business translating and signing exclusive distribution agreements with suppliers in Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic and doing trade shows all over Southeast Asian countries. My parents thought I could achieve anything since I was president of many clubs, played on many school teams, took all available AP exams, and graduated at 15. I enrolled in Cambridge University as a French major in pursuit of my parents’ dream for me to become the first female president of Taiwan. Since 2000, I have been a CPA and worked for many top companies. From parenting, I learned to listen. From serving in the children’s ministry, I learned to be patient. Being able to listen and be patient enabled me to become a leader in my current employer. I was applauded for building a specialized CPA team of 60 in the United States and 60 in India, generating $35 million in implementation revenues for the company. When I spoke at a 3,000-person Parent of the Year Gala amongst the Fortune companies for winning my company’s Mother of the Year Award, I boldly proclaimed God’s amazing abundance in our lives. As the national leader for three of the firm’s employee network groups, I share the gospel to the thousands of employees and interns I mentor and tell how following our Lord helps me achieve work-life integration.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Kindness replaces rejection
When I first moved to Thailand, I was enrolled in a Catholic international school fourth grade ESL class. When a classmate wanted my pencil case and everything inside it, I refused because it was the first time I had ever had something new (I had one toy and hand-me down clothes from my six aunts in Taiwan). She exacted revenge by forbidding everyone in class to talk to me or play with me until we graduated fifth grade ESL class. Because I was lonely, I taught myself Chinese by writing letters every day to my grandparents using a dictionary because when I left Taiwan I could write no more than 100 Chinese words. I continued writing letters to my grandparents in Taiwan until my grandmother passed away when I was 13. When I serve in children and youth ministries, I pay attention to the ones who are alone, who are new to church, who are not like others. Christmas 2022 was very special because we saw the parents of Josh Deng, a new Sunday school student that Connor and I frequently talked to, get baptized. We saw how children could lead to positive transformation in their parents.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Goodness replaces self-centrism
Thanks to Spring Fellowship’s Pastor Chi and Ping, I was blessed to go to 1 Peter Fellowship to lead a praise and worship team for children’s ministry starting in August 2019. When the pandemic broke out in January 2020 and the church moved online, 1 Peter youths, including both of my children, and I taught the bible to 1 Peter children on weekly Zoom meetings for over two years until the church reopened. I found a home with many God-loving brothers and sisters who serve our church family together: nine serve in the children ministry, three in children’s praise and worship, four in youth ministry, seven in adult ministry, and five in choir. In 2023, we also have eight new coworkers serving in these ministries. 1 Peter Fellowship has grown to more than one hundred persons, including more than fifty children and youths. Our brothers and sisters often share parenting challenges and successes to raise God-loving children living God-centered lives in accordance with Godly knowledge.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Faith replaces fear
The kids and I started from scratch after the divorce with one mattress on the floor, a dining table and three chairs, and a futon as a sofa and kept to minimum essentials to pay off debt from the divorce and three years of divorce legal expenses. Connor and Audrey were the first to get to daycare and last to go home. I changed jobs every year in search of a better work-life balance as a single mother. I continue to face different challenges at work or due to my ex-husband. As a single-parent family, we have experienced many encounters with God over the years that strengthened our faith. This fall quarter 2022 was my first time serving in the youth ministry because my son, Connor Chan, moved up to seventh grade. I love reconnecting with youths, now in grades seven, eight, and nine, whom I taught in children ministry. In every class I love to share a little bit of my personal testimony to remind them that the pursuit of worldly success does not guarantee success or happiness in life. My experiences have helped others open up to me, and I share how God has transformed me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Gentleness replaces worldly pursuit
Thanks to Ding Nan and Gary Zeng from 1 Peter Fellowship inviting me to be a featured guest speaker in Catherine Zhang’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” class, Catherine invited me to co-lead in an “Age of Opportunity” class with them. I have learned how to better facilitate and lead Chinese Bible study through subsequent teacher training in adult ministry. I had quit Cambridge University, and I quit after two days at Harvard University to give the full refund to my older brother, a freshman in in Drury University, and went home to help my parents rebuild their business when it nearly went bankrupt during the Southeast Asian financial crisis. At 18, I bought a one-way ticket to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting, then earned an MBA in three years while working four on-campus jobs as an international student. In the past few months, when I had opportunities to become a chief financial officer and chief accounting officer for large public companies, I prayed for God’s provision and guidance. Today I prioritize staying faithful to the Lord in all aspects of my life: serving in the youth and children ministries, being steadfast to my children, and working for the glory of God.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eye and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
One of the most dramatic miracles we have experienced was God sending a bass to protect Connor from a six-foot copperhead snake when we were tubing in Helen, Ga. We know God is omnipresent and omnipotent and there is nothing to worry or fear about. Connor, Audrey, and I had the most memorable celebration for Connor’s 13th birthday on January 1 during the winter retreat. I am thankful that I could spend four days there as Audrey’s counselor, thinking about God and listening to God. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, at 44 years old I will witness 13-year-old Connor and 11-year-old Audrey get baptized and commit to Christ for an eternal life with our Heavenly Father and not the wealth of this world.
Romans 12:2-3 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Author: Angela Hung