Reaching out in Hong Kong
By Janet Walker
"Many people are coming to First Assembly of God in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and being saved by the power of the gospel,” says missionary Benjamin Sun, the church’s pastor. “It’s exciting to see the power of God in action!”
Siu Wah, an idol worshipper for many years, visited First Assembly on a Sunday night a few months ago. After hearing the gospel preached, she opened her heart and received Christ as Lord and Savior. Hungry for the Word of God, she attended church faithfully.
Within a short time, Siu Wah led two of her sisters to Christ. One sister, Siu Sum, was also a devout idol worshipper. For many years she had suffered from serious insomnia and used various kinds of medication to help her sleep. Recently she testified, “Since I accepted Christ into my heart, I have slept peacefully every night.”
When Pastor Sun and another staff member went to Siu Sum’s house to remove the idols, they shared the gospel with her husband and led him to Christ. Siu Wah, her two sisters and brother-in-law were among 41 new believers baptized in water at First Assembly in December. About 80 believers were baptized last year.
Pastor Sun, senior pastor since February 2006, followed retiring pastor John Ip, who served the church for many years. Sun and his wife, Fanny, AG missionaries since 1985, were born in Hong Kong.
First Assembly began in 1929 as a small street-corner mission. With a vision for growth, the congregation purchased land in 1953 and built a large church in Mong Kok, a growing area of Kowloon. Today the church is in a vital location to proclaim Christ to the masses. It averages 700 in weekly attendance, plus 400 more who meet in six branch churches.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Approximately 7.1 million people live on less than 25 percent of its 422 square miles.
After two decades as missionaries working with theological training in Asia Pacific, Benjamin and Fanny Sun believe God has led them back to Hong Kong to help win the lost and train and equip disciples at First Assembly.
“The Suns are experienced and gifted missionaries,” says Ron Maddux, regional director for Northern Asia. “Being born in Hong Kong gives them insight that enables them in their effectiveness as missionaries to this strategic city.”
The Suns first met as teenagers at a local church in Hong Kong. After high school, both came to the United States to further their education at colleges only a short distance apart. They even attended the same church. In his last year of college, Benjamin sensed God calling him to full-time ministry. A short time later, he and Fanny were baptized in the Holy Spirit. After they married, they enrolled in seminary.
After completing postgraduate degrees in 1974, the Suns served at two AG churches in California where Benjamin gained pastoral experience. In the early 1980s they learned of a critical need for teachers at Ecclesia Bible College in Shatin, Hong Kong, and applied to AGWM for missionary service. Since 1947, Ecclesia has trained hundreds of pastors for service in Hong Kong and other regions.
The Suns ministered at Ecclesia from 1985 to 1993. During that time Benjamin was also general superintendent of the Hong Kong Assemblies of God for three years.
Because of their theological training experience and keen cultural insight, in 1994 the Suns were invited to serve as Bible schools coordinator and regional Bible schools consultant for the Asia Pacific Education Office (APEO). In 2000, Benjamin was named director. APEO is a service agency that assists about 95 Assemblies of God theological and ministerial training institutions throughout Asia.
“Seeing hundreds of Bible school graduates trained and now serving effectively where God has called them is a highlight of our missionary service,” Benjamin says.
Under the Suns’ leadership, First Assembly’s stated mission is to be Spirit-empowered and life-giving, to train and mobilize people of God to serve dynamically in the marketplace, and to become a strategic partner with Ecclesia Bible College in training emerging leaders.
As First Assembly’s senior pastor, Benjamin also supervises the church’s six branch churches, elementary school and two kindergarten programs.
“Benjamin has earned the respect of the missionary community and his national co-workers, a tribute to his ability to effectively bridge two cultures,” says Keith Kidwell, area director for southeast Northern Asia.
In its 78-year history three pastors have preceded Benjamin Sun at First Assembly: Mattie Ledbetter (1929-1945), Harland Park (1945-1971) and John Ip (1971-2006).
Benjamin believes as First Assembly continues to engage in missions, it will be enriched and empowered to make a greater impact for God in the world.
JANET WALKER is an assistant editor of the Today’s Pentecostal Evangel World Missions Edition.
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