Aline Chan

My Dear Son,

A few years has passed since you learn how to do mathematics, and understand what phonetics is all about.  There are “hiccups” in schooling as we understand how the communities around you are also in the process of learning how to help you learn best together with us all.

Walking beside you in these few years – I have struggled to grow and learn how to support you and your sister’s schooling needs. I know that our Lord is our refuge and strength, and He is always with us when we are in trouble.

As He takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, He knows that I am too weak to go through it alone.  He has sent wonderful angels such as the teachers who help to guide you in one-on-one learning settings. They also help you join with your friends in play and learn how to have fun in class.  They always reassure us time after time that “you can do it!” just like the rest of your peers when we are having doubts.  Their professional techniques coupled with their undivided love towards you made us humble to learn and focus on how to uncover your potential!

Our church caregivers and class teachers never stopped in believing you could remember all the Bible songs and verses. They dashed to tell us when you knew the Lord had parted the Red Sea for Moses. Your teachers are one in a million and they always demonstrate kindness and love towards you. They try to get to know you better even though many of them do not have children with similar challenges such as yours.

Our Lord has also sent us a wonderful cell group who models for us what “better together”, growing in prayer, love and God’s Word is all about! The aunties whom you name “marshmallows” and the uncles whom you name “mushrooms” are always there to treat you as one of their sons. I could never stop giving praises for your little brothers and little sisters from our church communities who often share candy with you, a pat on your back or stopped to say “hi”. That always brought a glow to your eyes and a smile on your face.

I have many areas of inadequacies – our Lord provided your father to complement my weakness.  With the help of your father’s family, your wonderful grandmother, your lovely aunts and uncles – there is always support to care for you and your radiant sister.

One day, I hope that you can thank our Lord in your own words, “..If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Cor.1: 6-7.

With this strength in Him, our family will learn how to walk along side other families in the SPECIAL group. We hope that we will know how to model to others the wonderful things God has done in our lives. We want to help guide others to learn, give families comfort in distress. We want to build a wonderful and loving home for you to find refuge and strength. Our partnership is with the Lord! 

There is always hope in the Name of the Lord…I cannot do it alone.. We are “Better Together”!

May God be glorified.

His love is everlasting.

Your Mom

A Challenging Special Needs Ministry

Edward Chu

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31 NIV

When I look at our ministry in the Sunday Special Needs Class, we just feel like the apostle Peter who walks on the water. 

When Jesus says, “Walk,” he walks on the water. When Jesus says, “Come toward me,” he comes toward Him. 

Praise the Lord; we have faithful brothers and sisters, just like Peter. They follow Jesus’ calling to serve in the Special Needs Ministry.

With the loving hearts of the brothers and sisters in the Special Needs classes, parents can worship God whole-heartedly and know that their children are in safe hands.

Serving in the Special Needs Ministry is challenging; we do not know what the classroom will be like every Sunday. In the sunny good days, children can follow the routines such as singing, listening to the Bible stories and doing the crafts; but in the stormy bad days, the whole class can become chaotic simply because of a child’s unstable behavior. Sometimes we may even have doubts about our program; does it really work? Can we bring these children to God? Just like Peter, when he saw the wind blowing, he panic and began to sink.

God’s faithfulness will never let us sink. The Bible says Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught Peter, and didn’t let him sink. Similarly, when any of us feels downhearted, God will use other team members to encourage him or her. Through the regular discussion, training, praying and sharing, God has built a very strong bonding in this ministry team. Praise the Lord, His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Is it possible that people can walk on the water? Yes, it is true. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus did and Peter did. God calls and asks you to serve in this challenging Special Needs Ministry, get out from your little boat, follow Jesus and walk on the water. Start with your “little faith” like Peter; you may not be completely successful; but you will experience God’s holding you through the wind in His almighty hands.

Peggy Kam

Time really flew by swiftly. My family has been coming to RHCCC for ten years. I am thankful that I could join both Phase II and Phase III expansion celebration and was able to witness God’s great and wonderful work. I experienced His presence in my life. He walks with me and carries me through every tough moment that I have had. He cares for me and grants me the hope of eternal life. He also provides me with good church leaders, and brothers and sisters in Christ. They always pray for me earnestly. My God, I am thankful to you.

My three children have been growing in Christ as well. They are under the care and guidance of their Heavenly Father. I submit them totally to God and have the peace in my heart. I just do my part as a good mother in bringing them up.

My eldest daughter has graduated from university and is looking for a job. My second daughter is also growing up healthily. She always helps me take care of her little brother. She loves him dearly. She does everything wholeheartedly, including her study. Milton has also grown up a lot. He has improved in his behavior, academic study and other areas of learning. I thank Pastor Irene and the Sunday Special Class teachers and helpers. They always try their best to teach and care for these children with special needs. Regardless of the weather, they come every Sunday morning to lead the children to worship God, to study the Bible and learn the truth. I sincerely appreciate and thank them for their dedication and support.

The Rainbow in the Valley of the shadow of Death

Andrew Lee

It was no ordinary winter for us in the year of 1998 when the doctors diagnosed that my younger daughter was autistic. I felt like falling into the valley of the shadow of death. I had not accepted Jesus then, and at this time of sorrow, I blamed God and asked “why me?”. In those days it was like living in hell. Then a brother in Christ spoke to me and touched my heart with God’s good news, and I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. It has now been a few years since I joined RHCCC and got baptized. In the process of conversion, I learnt from Bible studies and worship preaching about the meaning of “the way”, “the truth” and “love”. 

Ever since the beginning of time, there is really nothing new under the sun. Changes are in matters of life, but “the truth” is unchanging. There is a time for everything, a time to be born, a time to die and a time for the four seasons. Whether it is human beings, birds, animals or plants and flowers, each has its own pattern of life that no one can change. Each individual life, no matter it is that of an ordinary man or an emperor, can both be fantastic and troublesome.

Even though I am saved, God has not answered my prayer for my “cup” to be taken away just as He did not take it away from Jesus. It is because He has His own plan for me. Nonetheless, He has given me three precious gifts. Love – I learn that He will send angels to help me at the appropriate time. Peace – He taught me to “let go” and not to worry about gaining or losing. Courage – I have the courage to live on and fearlessly face all kinds of difficulties. The outcome of success or failure does not matter now. With an obedient heart to God, I just have to try my best to face the challenges.

Through these extraordinary experiences, I learn to be strong and courageous. I am still weak at times. However by God’s almighty hands, I can stand up from the fall and start all over again. This is how I can find the rainbow in the valley of the shadow of death. All of this is to fulfill God’s purpose in my life.

Anthony Leung

I once heard from a very respectful Pastor speaking at the church that when our Lord Jesus told his disciples not to hinder the little children coming to Him, it was because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. The Pastor then explained to us that under normal assumption, the disciples of Jesus would not have stopped any children if they were cute, clean and well behaved. The disciples most likely had stopped those children from getting close to Jesus because they were dirty, noisy, not good looking, exhibiting weird, uncontrollable and even unpredictable behaviour, or generally perceived as ‘different’ from a ‘normal’ kid. From Luke 18: 15-17 we learned that Jesus continued to tell his disciples that ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ 

These children are ‘special’ because Jesus commanded us to be like them in order to enter His kingdom. Was it because of their weird appearances and behaviour or their unpredictable character?

I started to engage myself in the Special Needs Ministry six years ago. Looking after people with ‘special needs’ was not new to me because I have been doing a similar kind of job since my family migrated to Toronto 18 years ago. From this teaching of Jesus, I began to view my work as well as my ministry in the church from a different perspective. I am no longer seeing the people that I am helping or serving as ‘people in-need’, but I start to see them as the ones who will help me enter into the kingdom of God. I am seeing them as ‘Jesus’, the one who holds the key to His own kingdom, and not just treating them as my ‘clients’ or ‘students’.

I cannot claim that I have done much for these children and youth coming to our ‘Special Needs’ class. However, I can say that I have learned a lot from them through serving them every Sunday. I’ve learned from their ‘innocence’, ‘genuineness’, ‘straight-forwardness’, ‘sincerity’ & their ‘sensitivity to God’. Only at this stage I finally realize why Jesus told us in the Bible that unless we were to become as one of these children, we could not enter into His kingdom and it is very, very true!!!

I do hope that you could join me to serve ‘Him’ in this ‘Special Needs’ class and be able to have this ‘key’ to enter into the kingdom of God. 

God Bless!

Charlene Leung

My older brother Matthew Leung has Down Syndrome and he is one of the greatest influences in my life. He is loving, caring, talented in music, loves to swim and play basketball. Growing up with Matthew was not exactly easy but it helped to build my character. Through him, I can see God’s work and love so clearly.

Ever since I was young I knew Matthew was “different” and that he required more attention. If things didn’t go his way he would throw a tantrum and sometimes my parents were forced to give in. I thought it was completely unfair and I became very frustrated. It was hard for me to accept and cope with my brother’s needs. I would always think, “Matthew thinks he’s king of the world! He always gets what he wants! That’s not fair!” When I was upset I would blame God for “ruining” my life but by His grace I gradually understood the situation and learned to care for Matthew.

When I grew older I faced a different kind of challenge. My friends went out more often and sometimes I couldn’t join them because I had to take care of Matthew while my parents weren’t home. I was mad and upset that I had to miss out but God granted me the maturity I needed to put others before me. Now, when my friends ask me to go out and I have to take care of Matthew, it’s become much easier to explain and accept why I can’t. Sometimes I find it hard to tell my friends that my brother has Down Syndrome. Some people aren’t sure how to respond or act around him. It can be awkward but generally, people are nice to Matthew. Although it’s not always easy to have Matthew as my brother, I love him dearly.

It’s amazing to see God’s work and love for His children in RHCCC. Our family started coming to RHCCC when I was about 5 years old and Matthew wasn’t very social in his Sunday School class. Many mornings, it was a struggle to get him into the classroom as he felt uncomfortable but in time it slowly got better. His helpers and teachers were very patient and caring which helped comfort Matthew in the unfamiliar surroundings. God worked through members of the church to create a Sunday School class for children with special needs in September of 1998. The Special Sunday School class became a place where my brother felt very comfortable. The helpers became his friends and today, he acts as a big brother to the younger children. Over the years I’ve seen many positive changes in my brother since he has been in the Special Sunday School class. Now he has taken on responsibilities, shown leadership, become more sociable and happier. The Special Sunday School and S.P.E.C.I.A.L (a support group for parents) keep growing in numbers. It’s amazing to see the Special Needs Ministry of RHCCC grow because it shows that more families have found a place where their children can learn and worship God in an environment made just for them. 

I’m very thankful that God has brought Matthew into my life. Through Matthew, God has developed my character and allowed me to serve Him. My parents always do their best to make sure both Matthew and I are content. They always tell me that they’re thankful God brought me into their lives and Matthew’s life which is really encouraging. No matter how hard life gets, God is always there and will never give us something we can’t handle. He has a reason and purpose for everything. There is a reason Matthew is my brother, there’s a reason each parent was given their child. I’ve witnessed and experienced God’s love, mercy and grace in my life, my family, Matthew and the church. God loves all His children; He cares for every single one. The world may see my brother and others special needs children as weak, but God uses the weak to lead the strong. 

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.