Though We were
Separated for a While
As summer fades and gives way to autumn, a sense of melancholy sets in with the changing season—the blue sky turns greyish and the rain returns to remind us that it is the “wet coast”. And yet, fittingly, I am reminiscing my years in Richmond Chinese MB Church (RCMBC) in this Thanksgiving season with a heart filled with gratitude to the Lord.
1990 family photo
It was exactly thirty years ago in 1990 that we began worshipping at RCMBC when Rev. Stephen Chan called us in Abbotsford and invited us to attend the first Sunday Service of the church. It was a journey of 71 kilometers one way and with a 14-year old son and a 10-year old daughter; it was not an easy decision. But we felt God’s leading to join not only Rev. Chan but a group of like-minded brothers and sisters who were committed to uphold the truth of the gospel (hence the Chinese name of the church).
As it turned out, we have received more than what we bargained for. It was on June 2, 1991 that I heard my call into full-time gospel ministry as we were worshipping in the then Fireside Room. Yes, God could still call me in a different setting, but He chose to call me in this very place and it was very special to me, because in the decade preceding my call, I learned so much from Rev. Stephen Chan that has molded me into who I am as a pastor—the emphasis on good exegesis, the seriousness of preparation for each sermon and the boldness in presenting God’s Word without compromise.
Although in God’s mysterious ways, I was led to pursue my internship in another church, and since then God gave me the opportunities to serve in a Canadian church, and would later lead me down south to serve at Chinese Christian Mission of USA. At the time, not only did I wonder what God was doing, and Rev. Chan also felt bad about my departure. But as it turned out, the experience in a Caucasian setting and among missionaries had not only pushed me beyond my comfort zone, but had also prepared me to serve Christians in the marketplace through the Total Growth Ministry and to compose a 5-Year Devotional Guide to disciple believers who are serious about drawing
close in God in prayers and through the Word.
What’s more, as Paul told Philemon about the departure of Onesimus
from him that, “Perhaps, the reason he was separated from you for a
little while was that you might have him back for good…” (Philemon 15),
I have been so honored to be able to come back to RCMBC after an
absence of 24 years to serve at a critical juncture of the church in spite
of my poor health.
Although I am retired now, I will continue to pray for RCMBC and I am
particularly thankful that you continue to partner with me in the ministry
of Total Growth.
May God continue to use RCMBC as one of His golden lampstands that
shines brightly in this dark hour in human history, as we eagerly await the
return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Paul Chan
Among first group of RCMBC members in 1990
Senior Pastor during 2016-2019
2020 family photo