God’s Mercies in a Troubling Year
We ask Marcus and Audrey Ng how they are growing in their walk with Jesus and the church despite a difficult year of not being able to gather.
Hi everyone, Audrey and myself (Marcus) have been attending Grace Baptist Church since late 2019, and have grown very fond of all of you. We're still getting to know you guys and Covid has made that slightly inconvenient. We thought sharing a little more about ourselves in this letter would help you guys get to know us, and to know how you've blessed us in little or big ways.
1. Can you share how church has been for you last year?
Audrey and I will always remember how the church received us with so much warmth. We were surprised that people even knew we were new, and it was a simple lesson in teaching us how hospitable the church can be. Many would share that the church wasn't "always like this", and it was such an encouragement to us that a 60-year-old church still presses on to respond to the gospel. We’ve also received some help for our wedding from some members whom we had not personally met then (thank you Eugene!)—just another way the church has blessed us.
Church has also been restful, and a place of great joy. There are many mornings where we wake up feeling a great sense of gratitude that God has brought us over to GBC. We've been very hungry for healthy teaching of God's Word and were thankful to find a church with many teachers and members who sit under the authority of God's Word. Audrey and I have just started a Care Group in the East Coast, and we are looking forward to growing with our new friends.
Marcus and Audrey with their new CG in East Coast.
2. How have you grown in Jesus individually and as a couple through the year's events?
Besides the pandemic, 2020 was also a year of other significant events, especially for Audrey—settling down in GBC, graduation to working life, moving from her parents’ place to my parents’ place, and of course, GETTING MARRIED. The many fears that surfaced when Covid hit revealed many sinful patterns within ourselves, and we're very thankful to share that the pulpit ministry, Church Matters, Equip and “coming out of Covid” (Thank you Ps Ian, Ps Eugene, Ps Ollie, Caleb, Nehemiah, Bibianna and the YA team!) had all been significant in providing constant gospel truths in our lives, and opportunities to respond to them.
Dinner with other church members!
When preparing for marriage, we went through a book (Catching Foxes) with Ps Eugene and Claire (Thank you!), and it was such a helpful ministry for us in having clear godly anchors not just in our marriage, but our own lives. We learnt about the joy of being image bearers, and Christ that models and helps us in doing so—this has grown to be a truth we rely on, rest in and remind each other often in our daily life.
God has used the generosity and hospitality demonstrated to us by Grace to lead us to repentance for our selfishness. We pray that we will bear the fruits of His love, to put others first, to look outwards to the rest of the body and avail ourselves to serve their needs. Pray for us in this area, as we learn to love those around us, in all its personal discomfort or inconvenience.
Grace has been a place where we learned how to be clear and steadfast in convictions, yet tender and humble. Audrey and I were/are not very good at that and needed help in learning how to be winsome. This was modelled for us by several friends we've met in Grace and we are very thankful to see good, winsome stewardship of God's Word. Pray for us in this area as we continue to love God's Word, encourage others in the Gospel, and not fall into Pharisee-esque behaviour.
3. Can you share one lesson you have learnt that you will do well to remember in the event there is another pandemic.
God is merciful. The reality that a virus can take so many lives, and yet, here we are—me writing this, and you reading this, both alive and able to respond to the gospel. This is God's mercy. We learn from Luke 13 that we're not alive because we are less of sinners, or others gone, because they were more wicked. Luke 13:2-3 says,
And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Instead we are told that we are alive, so that we may repent—this is God's mercy. Jesus teaches repentance as a good response to calamity. God is merciful to use every earth-halting-eye-opening-life-disrupting tragedy to remind us that we are not in control, and to reveal the idols that have deceived us otherwise.
The next time trouble comes, may we remember that our merciful God is in control, that there is an urgent need to preach the gospel of repentance, and this world is not our home.
Audrey and I have been very blessed by the congregation and fellowship of the lovely people at GBC, and hope that our growing affections for the church reaches you. God bless, and see you all sooner than later.