Catherine Lo

When I was pregnant with my son, Sze Ka, my dream was that he would be smarter than my husband. When he was one year and three months old, I resigned from my job and stayed home to take care of him. I discovered that he was with special needs. When he was two years old, the test results came out that he had autistic tendency and was hyperactive. I suffered from insomnia. I slept for one to two hours and then cried through the night for years. It took the energy to look after ten normal kids to care for him. He would not quiet down for a minute. How much tears do I have to shed? How could I endure seasons after seasons? I collapsed both emotionally and physically and was suicidal throughout those years.

Upon immigration to Canada, I read an article that there must be a Creator for this immense universe. I started going to church. Later I heard a message on Ecclesiastes from Dr. Thomas Leung and I read it many times. The explanation in this book of the Bible about life is so true, far better than any of the philosophical books I have ever read. I began to search for the true meaning of life, read the Bible and pray.

One night I was very sad and depressed about my son’s behaviors. I opened the curtain in my bedroom and prayed, “Oh God! My son is an autistic kid. He cannot communicate with us. It is very hard to teach him. I feel very painful in my heart! People in the world do not acknowledge you. Are you as heart broken as I am? I heard God answer me. “Yes, I am!” 

I read the Bible and it taught me that there was no need to worry about tomorrow, just do our best for today and it will be fine. Children are the inheritance that God has given to parents, who are like stewards. We just have to try our best to help our child. The fears that no one would take care of him after we died was gone. I began to sleep for three hours, four hours and eventually up to eight to ten hours each night. I am more relaxed now when I can sleep more. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” From a very unhappy person, I have gradually found peace and joy in Jesus! Praise the Lord!

When I received my Diploma for High School completion in Canada, I was still a part-time bank teller. I prayed to God for many nights for a full time job. Then I heard God telling me, “I have a job for you. You do not have to look for it any more!” I heard this for many nights and thought that it was my imagination. So I prayed to God, “If it is you, please show me!” It felt like electricity going through my body. I was doubtful and asked again, “I am not sure, if it is you Lord, please show me again!” I felt the same electrical shock going through my body, just like what happened when I put my little finger into the electricity socket when I was small. When I woke up, I told my husband. He said, “You have been running around to look for a job for many days already. You better stop and get some rest.”

Later I got an interview at a bank. After a few days, they called me for a second interview. I thought, “If I got $18,000 per year as a teller, I will be very satisfied.” A few days later, the personnel manager of the bank phoned me. She said they would hire me in the Safe Deposit Box Department. It was four thousand dollars a year more than the salary of a teller and was a more senior position. So I happily started to work there.

As I had to take care of my son and my health had not been good , I felt very tired at work. But I still tried my best. After working for six months, I heard from God again when I prayed to him at midnight, “You will get a promotion!” The next morning when I woke up, I told my husband about this and said, “Promotion? It will be great if I can pass my probation and do not get fired.” But half a year later, my supervisor told me, “There is no need for you to stay in the Safe Deposit Box Department, you are promoted to a more senior position.” After discussing about this with my husband, I decided to accept the offer with a raise of a few thousand dollars more.

As the new position required a lot of over-time work till 7:30 pm, it kept me very busy and stressful. My husband asked me not to stay over-time. It is very difficult for me to do so as there was really a lot of work to finish. I found his request to be a bit unusual. Then I realized my husband got Leukemia. We hugged and cried as if our marriage would end soon. Over ten times I prayed to God and said, “Lord, you know I am not able to bring up my son alone. I am a person with quick temper”. Finally I heard God said, “You asked and I will give you!” The voice was very loud as if it was coming from heaven and echoed in my ears for many times. I woke up and told my husband again.

The doctor planned to have bone marrow transplant for my husband, Lemuel, and asked for tissue matching among his siblings. His older brother, Marcus, and younger sister, Ophelia, were in Canada, and both of them were a match. I was thankful that my Mother-in-law have six children and thought all of them must match that for Lemuel. But actually his three siblings in Hong Kong and America were not a match.

Before the transplant, Dr. Lipton at Princess Margaret Hospital said both brothers were still young with good health; the success rate should be fairly high. I was a very nervous and worrisome person but after hearing this remark, I was full of hope and enthusiasm. Praise God that in spite of the difficult and windy road, eleven years had passed by, and the situation is improving. Even Lemuel is weaker after the transplant, at least his life was saved.

I learned in Job 1:21 that: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” I do not care that much about success or failure now, but have gained the joy and peace in my heart. My son has also kept improving in his condition.

Albert Ng

It is every parent’s dream that his or her child can lead a successful life. We are no exception. When Philip, our older son was born in October 1984, I had a satisfying job with good income. I thought that I was going to sail through life effortlessly and began to have a happy family. However, things did not turn out as I thought. We noticed that Philip had some abnormal twitching when he was six months old. We and our family doctor did not think that it was a concern. The situation had become more severe. After a series of tests, Philip was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He had to take medication to control the seizures. We were told that he might have to suffer from seizures for the rest of his life. In addition, he might never be able to sit up or walk. There was a list of what he might never be able to do just like announcement of death penalty for us. We felt hopeless and helpless. We tried to live our lives as usual, but we had no joy. My wife and I often got into fights.

In May 1990, happily but fearfully, we welcomed our second son, Jason. After a series of tests, it was confirmed that Jason was a perfectly healthy boy. That was a sign of relief for both of us and we started to put our hope in this new life.

In the summer of 1992, we were on our family trip driving long distance to Vancouver. Kitty’s sister lent us an audiotape, which was a testimony of a medical doctor and her son with Autism. Since we were trapped in the car for a long time, we finished listening to the tape but I did not pay much attention to it. When we came back from the trip, Kitty’s sister invited her to church. Kitty started taking the two boys to the church in cabs. In 1994, Kitty was baptized. I was still using different kinds of excuses not to go with them. I thought that I had everything in control. All I needed to do was to make more money. I did not need the church and I don’t believe in God. Looking back, I knew I had made a big mistake and I was like a lost sheep. As noted in Matthew 12:26, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” But God had not given up on me. I knew that it was hard for Kitty to travel in cabs with the two boys, so I started going to church with them in 1996. On Easter in 1997, I was baptized. Therefore, Easter means a lot more to me as I was born again on the same day. Hallelujah!

Amazingly, shortly after Kitty had gone to church, Philip had fewer seizures. Therefore he was allowed to reduce his medication. Currently, Philip does not need any medication and have not had any seizure for over ten years. Without the side effects from the medication, Philip has regained some of his ability to learn. Although his intelligence is still behind, he can at least walk and climb up stairs. It has lifted a big load from our shoulders. Hallelujah!

The first church we joined was a small church. As Jason grew older as a quiet boy, he did not get much support from this church with very few teenagers. We worried that his spiritual development will be affected. Also we were the only family with a child with special needs and there was no support in this area for us. We learned that RHCCC offered a very good youth fellowship, and so we left our old church and join RHCCC. Soon afterwards, Jason settled well and made a lot of new church friends. Currently he serves on the Worship Team for the Youth Sunday Service. He is now more open and joyful. Hallelujah!

By the introduction of a sister, we got to know a brother serving in the SPECIAL parent support group and was invited to the group. In the beginning of 2006, we joined the SPECIAL gathering for the first time. Ever since then, we have been actively participating in the meetings. Later we started to serve in this group as a core leader responsible for providing care and support to a few other families. This Parent Support group is led by a caring and loving pastor, and has the support of other pastors. We are most thankful to the brother and sisters who act as caregivers for the parents as well as those who look after our children. They could have enjoyed their own life. But they sacrificed their weekends and come to church to watch our children while we are in the monthly SPECIAL meeting. Their willingness to serve and to love the “special” children and care for us as parents with “special” children is a great reflection of the unconditional and unending love from our Heavenly Father. May He reward them and bless them abundantly.

The joy in our hearts grows when we continue to serve. It is my desire to spread the good news to all my friends, especially to those with children with special needs. I will share God’s love with them and encourage them to accept Jesus as their Savior so that the curses are turned into blessings.

 I thank God for our children. They have parents who love God to love them, they have not give up on their children just as God does not give up on His children. May God’s kingdom be expanded, the good news spread to the end of the world, all the peoples be saved and His name be glorified. As noted in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God’s grace is too beautiful

Kitty Ng

I am a mother of two boys. Philip, my elder son, is 23 years old and he suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy. Jason, the younger one, is 17 years old.

Before I came to know Jesus, I had low self-esteem and was always withdrawn. I experienced a lot of failure at school including demotion and being expelled from school. I started working before I could finish my secondary school education. I was always seeking the value for my life. I thought that marriage could bring me out of the “slump” in my life. In 1983, I came to Canada and got married. But sadly Philip was found to have Cerebral Palsy when he was six months’ old. He depended heavily on the medication, but still suffered plenty of pain brought on by the seizures. I watched him suffer and felt so helpless. I cried and cried daily and became numb to my feelings.

Due to his illness, the progress of his learning was really slow. He could not sit up until he was three years old. I could not help but worry about his future. How many more years could I stick around to teach and take care of him? I spent my days in fear and sorrow.

In 1990, Jason was born as a healthy boy. He did bring joy to our family. However, it also meant that my burden in providing care to the family got even heavier.

In 1993, my month-in-law came to live with us. We had problem getting along and our relationship was tense. I was living under pressure and in pain. With my sister’s invitation, I started going to church with the boys, with Philip in wheelchair, riding in cabs for the handicapped.

God touched my heart with His love. In 1994, I repented and accepted Jesus as my Savior and got baptized. I had started praying for Philip’s pain and asked for God’s healing. Amazingly, it was about this time, Philip’s seizures started to happen less frequently. Doctors began to cut down his medication. By the end of 1995, Philip was totally off all medication and had no more seizures.

Praise God for healing Philip’s seizure and for curing the pain in my heart. As my gratitude towards God, I sold my jewelry, including those I got for my wedding, and offered all of them to God on Christmas day in 1995 with the approval of husband, who was a unbeliever then. I decided to let Jesus to lead me for the rest of my life. God has blessed my whole family. With God’s grace, my relationship with my mother-in-law was becoming better and better. We learned to accept each other. In 1997, my husband accepted Jesus followed by my mother-in-law in 2000.

In 2005, God led our family to RHCCC. We joined the SPECIAL parent support group and have experienced love and mutual support. The ministry is well supported by the church. The commitment and care from the pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ have revealed God’s love to us. I am thankful and happy to be part of and serve in this group.

In October 2005, Philip turned 21 years old and was officially out of school or any government funding. I had to take care of him on a full time basis. I got worried and exhausted. Thanks to God, in my devotion and God used His Words to encouraged and remind me: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23. I felt all my burden were gone. I surrendered to spend my days taking care of Philip willingly and joyfully.

In October 2006, the government started a new support program. Philip was accepted into this program. Now he goes to the Day Program twice a week, which provides him with one-on-one support and joined different activities including swimming. 

Praise God that His grace is so beautiful. He always provides a way for me wherever I go and whatever challenge I face. He turned me into a positive and cheerful person because of His love and I am His precious daughter. I have also found the best gift for my sons – God’s love and the hope of eternal life.

Philip is still severely challenged. Physically, he has grown up to be an adult but he is still like a baby who needs to be cared for. Life is full of challenge and requires a lot of hard work – it is bitter. However, with God walking by our side, life becomes full of peace and joy – it is sweet. As it is written in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

May those who are heavy burdened come to know Jesus and walk with God, which will bring the biggest blessing of all. 

Raymond Poon

I have been serving in the Special Needs Sunday School Class for a few years. Throughout these years, God has taught me many lessons through the children, their parents and the coworkers. I have learned to totally rely on God’s guidance and strength each Sunday as I step into the classroom. I have learned that each of the children has his or her unique and lovable personality. I have learned from other coworkers how to show love and patience to the children even when they don’t behave as expected. But most of all, I have learned from the parents who have shown their unconditional love and patience towards their children. Thank God that I can be a part of this rewarding ministry and I hope to see more brothers and sisters serve in the Special Needs Ministry too.

Testimony of “Walking with God”

Peter Sen

I found love in distress

My wife died of cancer four years ago. I brought my sons, ages 7 and 11, back to Canada. My older son is autistic. He is non-verbal and needs round the clock personal care from others. That was the lowest point in my life but praise the Lord that I found His love when I was in distress.

I got to know God’s love

Then God provided me with the opportunity to hear the good news. It helped me to reflect on my life. As noted in Micah 6:8 “…O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you God”. The biggest difference that sets Christian apart from other religions is “Love” and “Mercy”. Because of this “Love”, I accepted Jesus as my SavioUr and my Lord.

I learned about God’s love

In the past few years, I learned about God’s love. I learned how to appreciate the strength of others and accept their weaknesses, rather than criticizing their shortcoming. Take my sons as an example. Even they are facing different challenges, I learned to appreciate them, and not to focus on their inabilities. In spite of being autistic and non-verbal, my older son has a kind heart. He likes to be around people. He always wears his smiling face. Therefore a lot of people really like him. My younger son has big round eyes. He is an honest person. People like him a lot, too. He also has good memory and strong math skills. All of them are gifts from God.

I decided to fulfill God’s plan for me

I pray everyday and am learning to walk on the path God has set in front of me. Thank God that He has always been walking by my side and opening new path for me. I started to serve the community as a volunteer. I hoped that God would use me to help other families with members with disabilities. I wanted to help them to find the appropriate social support from government or other organizations. My long-term goal is that they can have a choice to live their lives with dignity and with independency. I know this is a difficult task and is almost like walking across the Red Sea.

I will walk the rugged path courageously

I was invited to speak at an opening ceremony of a mainstream organization. I represented the parents of children with disabilities. The Minister of Children and Youth Services was in the audience. At the beginning, I did not want to accept the invitation because I did not have public speaking experience and I was not familiar with politics. Why didn’t I let other people do it? After praying for several days, I decided to go. When I first got up to speak, I was very nervous. However I was burdened to speak for these families as the services for people with special needs are lacking substantially. I started talking with my trembling voice. After a while, I became calmer. Then I started speaking from the bottom of my heart. I had the courage to say all that I had to say. After my speech, the Minister came to me and thanked me for speaking for the families. Other people also came to give me encouraging words. They also asked me about the family group that I represented.

God will make a way

If we commit all of our hearts and efforts, God will certainly provide us with a way and give us strength. He cares for us and is always with us. As noted in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Thank you Lord for leading more people and more organizations to serve and support our volunteer work. Before I go to any meeting or any interviews with media, I always pray for God’s guidance and submit the meetings in His hands. I pray that God will provide me with wisdom so that I can share God’s love with others through the volunteer work I am involved in.

And I pray:
May our work testify our God.
May God’s love reach every family.
May more people join us to support those with disabilities.
May our community become more inclusive and more loving.

Never give up

Stephen Wan

I have been serving in the Special Needs Ministry for two years. I was most touched by, not the children, but their parents. I found they are full of joy every time when they drop their children off at the Sunday Special class. I wondered, “How can a family with this challenge still be full of joy?” Having served in the ministry for the last two years, I realized that the key is exactly what Jesus has taught us – LOVE.

The environment can affect these children easily. When their emotions are fluctuating, it is fairly difficult to keep them under control. There were times when I felt discouraged and I thought I have not done a good job. Therefore I have thought of leaving this ministry. However after I have calm down, I realize all l have to spend is an hour or so with these children once a week. If this is affecting me to want to quit, what about their parents? I have really not done much as compared to them. Because of love, they take care of their children 24×7. I learned from these parents to treat these children as my own and use my best effort to help them. Then I have the joy to continue serving in this ministry. I pray that God will give me more love to serve them.

Sometimes I ask God why does he allow “autism” to occur on earth. His words come to me: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.

What we know is indeed limited. Three years ago, my daughter was 3 years old, and all of a sudden, her left body became un-coordinated. She could not ride a bike and had hard time walking up the stairs. She could not even use her left hand to put on her mittens. After assessment by four doctors at the Sick Kid Hospital, they could not find out what exactly went wrong with her and did not know how to treat her. She needed support for her daily routines. The church, my fellowship and my cell group were all praying diligently for her. After seven months’ continuous prayer, she recovered amazingly. No specialist could explain it. But God knows everything. Therefore “do not give up”.

After years of training and treatment, Carly Fleishman, a 13-years-old girl in the States, has learned to use computer to communicate with others. She wrote this message: “I would tell them never to give up on the children that they work with.” Possibly this is what every autistic child want to tell their parents and their therapists, and also an encouragement for us as caregivers.

What we can do is as limited as what we know. However what I can offer on a Sunday is to spend a couple of hours with these special children and let their parents worship God without disturbance and without worrying about their children. I believe that this is pleasing to God.

I was touched by the booklet of testimonies prepared by the SPECIAL group three years ago. A year later I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned to serve in this ministry. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share with you in this Volume 2 the joy that I have gained from the service. I pray to God that through these testimonies, more brothers and sisters will be inspired join us to serve in this meaningful ministry.

Sufficient Grace

Florence & Donald Wong 

As parents of an autistic child, we are challenged in many ways while raising Justin. The uncertainties surrounding his future have been emotionally draining for both Justin and us as his parents to say the least. But with each unique situation we face, our Heavenly Father has patiently shown us His perfect will behind it all. At times, in the mist of frustration, it is difficult to understand but God’s promises have been the source of our strength and his unfailing love has been the source of comfort.

 Justin will be turning 13 this May. Reflecting back over the years, whether in times of despair, frustration, or in times of worry free and happy moments, we have felt God’s comforting hand consoling and guiding us. We are yet again reminded of God’s promise given in Deuteronomy 31:6, “… for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you”. Truly God is faithful as we continue to experience His presence and guiding hands in our daily lives.

We have also seen God’s love through the love of the Special Needs Sunday School teachers. Each Sunday, the mood and behavior of each child can be unpredictable. The teachers not only comfort the children from their distress, but also assure the parents so that we can have a carefree worship time in getting closer with God. This group of teachers, week in and week out, has continued to interact with our special needs children. The love and care from the teachers provide the children with the opportunity to hear and experience God’s unconditional love. Many other brothers and sisters have shown us the unconditional love of God through their actions of love and support. One of them is Pastor Irene. Under her untiring support and leadership in guiding the Special Needs Parent Support Group, every child and family have deeply experienced love and care.

We have found emotional and spiritual support and have seen God’s love within the family of God. Although new challenges awaits us, we hold on to God’s promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Postscript

Dr. Milton Wan

This February (in 2008), Aurora got acute pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. After twelve days, she passed away. She finished her life of 26 years. We did not anticipate her sudden departure. The grief that Renee and I experienced was much deeper and lasted longer than we thought. It was difficult for me to take it when people tried to comfort us saying (although I knew that they did not mean harm), “Now that Aurora is gone, perhaps it is a good thing, at least your burden will be lightened.” Is it true? It may be true in terms of the daily routines in the days to come. However, emotionally Aurora has left us with a deep black hole. It is so deep that our emotion has fallen to a point so low that even surprises us.

Two months have gone by, however, whenever we hear her name or see her pictures, we start crying again. Finally Renee has figured out the reason for this emptiness in our hearts. Aurora was a 26 years old “big baby”. Intellectually, she had never grown to be an adult. She did not have the ability to survive or to live independently. She was totally dependent on us emotionally and this also prevented us from helping her to be independent. She was different from a normal child, who started to become an independent individual at the age of three or four. When they grow older (especially during adolescence), they gradually keep their emotional dependence away from their parents, who have no choice but to let go. As for Aurora, we did not go through this process. The dependency of a normal three year old has lasted for 26 years for us. Now if a three-year-old child passes away, it certainly means a lot of pain for the parents based on the loss of their close relationship developed within three years. But for us, we are talking about 26 years! The emotional interdependency and 26 years of bonding is now being cut off. Our hearts are broken! The face and the voice of this 26-year-old baby have been imprinted deep down in our lives. Up till now it seems that Aurora has not left us, she is still dear to our hearts.

On the second day after Aurora passed away, I looked out the window and saw the sun shinning on the snow left from the storm the night before, I wrote a letter to my dear daughter. Here is what I wrote:

See You Again, Aurora!
(1981-2008)

My beloved Aurora,

At age 26, you should have been full of youthful vitality, balancing romantic love and an exciting career. But in the midst of this festive season, the Lord called you back to our home in Heaven. 

I remember the day when you, at two and a half years old, suddenly had a seizure and scared the living daylights out of me. All I could do was to hold your tiny body close to me. Then, yesterday, I sat by your bed and watched helplessly as you struggled to draw each breath. For the past 24 years, I have repeatedly asked this question: if some people were born to suffer all their life, what is the meaning of their living?

Then I thought of the life of Jesus Christ. Was He not born to suffer? Didn’t He die in the most painful way imaginable? I decided to remain silent.

Once, at a meeting with some seminary students, I was asked to name three theologians who had had the greatest impact on my life. I listed Hudson Taylor, the great missionary who founded China Inland Mission; and then, the Chinese theologian, Watchman Nee. But to everyone’s surprise, I concluded by saying, “The third person is my daughter, Aurora, who is severely mentally challenged.” Yes, my Aurora, in the eyes of this world, you were a handicapped person who couldn’t even pick up a pencil to draw a circle. Yet God deliberately chose you and brought you into my life to teach me valuable lessons that I could never have learned from all my doctorate studies.

In the ancient East, a wise man once told his students, “Today I’m going to introduce my teacher to you.” Everyone was anxious to find out who was the great teacher of this bright and knowledgeable man, but the wise man only took a small piece of stone from his pocket and said, “This is my teacher.” While all his students were puzzled, the wise man continued, “One day, when I was in a hurry on my way to deliver a lecture, I suddenly felt a sharp pain under my foot and found a pebble in my sandals. I stopped and got down on my knees in order to take it out. As I stopped and looked around, I suddenly discovered how beautiful the scenery around me was. A little white flower next to me caused me to realize how brilliant life could be. Previously, I had rushed along on this path, but this tiny pebble caused me to pause on my way, and gave me the opportunity to take a good look at life. Now you can see why this tiny stone turned out to be my teacher!”

My dear Aurora, you’re the small pebble in my life. When I was searching for fame and status, the difficulties and challenges you brought to my life and your physical weakness compelled this ambitious father to stop and reflect on his life again and again. Only then could I learn to understand the hurts of people and appreciate human dignity. Thank you, my dear child! You brought me back from going astray in my pursuit of success and achievements. Your genuine smiles and your tears without pretense constantly encouraged me to live an authentic life. Whenever I think of your pure and simple life, I remind myself: do we really need sophisticated entertainment in order to live a life of joy and contentment? Thank you, my child, you’re my great teacher! 

Aurora, I have always believed that you were an angel, a suffering angel, sent by God – though you suffered so much in this world, your beauty and purity never changed. Now that you have fulfilled your mission on earth and returned to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. My girl, your daddy is very blessed – for he has had the honor to take in an angel! 

I can’t stop missing you. My heart is broken. But when I think of your smiling face in heaven, I can smile too! 

Daddy  
(2008.02.12) 

Stan Yip

There was a report by CNN this past April on Autism Awareness. The statistics showed that 80% of the couples with special needs children end up in a divorce. This is very sad. Indeed, there is a lot of tension in the families when they have to take care of a child with special needs. They are constantly confronted with numerous challenges: children’s emotional and behavioural problems, costly treatments and therapies, battles for limited government funding and conflicts resulting from different parenting styles. It really exhausts the parents emotionally, physically, financially, etc. Tension is built up constantly, setting the stage for divorce.

As Christian parents with Jesus Christ in our lives, we have to face the same challenges. With the uncertainties of our children’s future, there are bound to be times when we feel depressed and vulnerable. But the difference is we can always go back to God for His comfort. He loves every one of us, including our children with special needs. Although the sky is not always blue, just as depicted in the poem “Footprints”, He is always there to carry us through the difficult time. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

You may find it impossible to “rejoice in the Lord always” as commanded in the Bible. But the Bible carries on and says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

For the past eight years, I have personally experienced God’s amazing love and care. He did not give up on me even when I was weak. In the Summer of 1999, I was deeply depressed and even thought of ending my own life. God used a tape with Dr. Philemon Choi’s testimony to shake me up. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior in the psychiatric ward. After a few months, my wife also became a born-again Christian when we were attending a marriage camp. The Pastor and his wife honestly shared with us their experience that touched our hearts. God then sent us a counselor who had helped us tremendously. She also has the experience of taking care of her nephew with autism and she can totally relate to our struggles. This simply could not be a coincidence. It was indeed God’s grace.

Two years ago, I relapsed into depression. I could not pull myself off from the couch. I did not have the energy to do anything and couldn’t even sing praises to God in worship or fellowship. It was such a heart-wrenching feeling. I was blessed to have my prayer partner who kept praying for my healing during these days of darkness. Amazingly, after attending the “Louis Program” with my wife, I was totally released from the depressed mood that very weekend. I could be back to church with a thankful heart to worship God. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah! We have to learn to always count God’s blessings so that we can remain faithful with God’s promise during difficult times: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Dear friends, if you have not known the Lord Jesus Christ, I sincerely invite you to come and talk to our pastors. God is waiting for you. If you have special needs children and you think their lives are worthless and meaningless, you are totally wrong. God has a unique plan for every one of us. It does not matter whether we live a long life or only for a few short months, it is our eternal lives in heaven with God that matters. There you will find no tears, no sorrow and no sickness. Although to this day I’m still not able to communicate with my son the “normal” way, I truly believe that he will have perfect health in heaven. We will be singing praises to worship God together. Isn’t it beautiful?

 May God’s blessings be with each family who has children with special needs. Amen.

Linda Chan

The scene of Erin screaming, yelling and throwing a huge temper tantrum the first time we took her to the SPECIAL gathering is still fresh in my mind. Erin even scratched Pastor Irene’s hand while she was trying to calm her down. With my heart broken and my eyes filled with tears, I had no choice but took her home.

Back then I did not know God. I dreaded every day while I took care of this constantly screaming and yelling girl. Taking Erin to Sunday School was a very challenging task. Thank God that the brothers and sisters from the Special Class are loving, supportive and patient. I believe every teacher in the class has experienced Erin’s tantrum and I am very sorry about this. However they have never given up in helping Erin. God’s love has been revealed through their perseverance, never-ending love and continuous prayer.

Then I joined the Louis Program and was deeply touched by the faith and the determination of Yolanda Wong in training and supporting her son with Autism. At the end of the program, I accepted Jesus as my Savior and started to learn how to pray.

God also touched the life of my husband, Alan, and opened his eyes and his heart. He saw Erin’s progress and found it so amazing. The way she longs to go to church every Sunday morning is unbelievable. He decided to return to God and let Jesus manage his life.

Now we are living every day full of God’s grace. We are active in church activities, such as cell group and Bible study. We enjoy the sharing, the support and the care amongst the brothers and sisters in Christ. Erin can sit quietly during our Bible study and watch the other children play. This is something we could not even dare to imagine. This is definitely a miracle. We believe that God is and will always be with us wherever we go and whatever situation we have to face. He will not forsake us. He will carry us through.