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 (Manna 95: Time to Reflect: Our Life)
Growing as a Family in Evangelism
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Alvin and Sabrina Leung—Newcastle, UK

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we share our personal experience of serving in the evangelistic ministry as young parents of a three-year-old daughter and a baby on the way.

Before marriage, we were already involved in our local evangelism planning group (EPG), particularly in Outreach and Events, which includes planning events such as gospel tea and evangelistic services, and Follow-Up, which involves setting up truth class curriculums and supporting truth-seeking friends in different ways. In the beginning, we joined the EPG work without much thought. But the more involved we became, the more we realized how important this work is for the church's growth. Not only is it the great commission given to us by our Lord Jesus, but we know that the apostolic church grew in strength and might because the believers preached wherever they went (Acts 8:4–8). As members of the end-time true church, every part does its share to cause the body to grow (Eph 4:16). Because of this, we feel a real sense of responsibility and duty to fulfill God's instructions. Furthermore, seeing the church's needs and the lack of human resources in this area also drives our zeal to do this work. Our experience in serving God is that the more you do the work, the more your heart grows towards those matters. So, even if you are in a new stage of life, your heart and love for the matters of the church do not change—as long as you continue to keep God as the priority. Although there may be new needs to focus on, such as your relationship with your spouse or parenthood, you do not develop tunnel vision and only think about your own needs and your family's needs.


Before we got married, we became aware of a trend: married youths would step back in attending certain church activities and holy work, which would continue as the family grew. We resolved before tying the knot to continue attending fellowships and participating in church works. We give thanks to God as we are not alone. Most of our close friends also made this resolution, and we observed good examples of other married couples doing the same. Collectively, we were trying to break this trend.

When our family grew, we understood we would face new challenges. But with good role models around us, we knew that however difficult it may be, it would not be impossible to serve Him. We both shared the mindset that if God had blessed us with children, it would not make sense to step back from church work. Instead, we should serve all the more as a family because children are a blessing and should not be seen as a hindrance to our faith. However, nurturing and supplementing this mindset with prayer is essential because, even with the best intentions, our strength is not enough without God's strength to maintain this heart.

Sabrina: Before our daughter was born, I would pray for God to help us and give us the strength to continue our faith and service to Him after our daughter arrived. I was worried that no matter how good our intentions were, the reality could be different when we became parents. I prayed that God would help me to prioritize Him because I was worried that my priorities would change—even during pregnancy, my mind would be occupied with planning and preparing for the baby's arrival, so I knew I needed God's power to do this. Thank God, when there is a willing mind, He helps us complete the good work (2 Cor 8:10–12, Phil 1:6). The key to balancing holy work with having a young child is a heart of willingness. Where there is a will, God will make the way.


That being said, it is not always easy. Some things have had to give because of the timings of certain activities. For example, attending youth fellowships in the evenings with a baby is a struggle. However, there are certain things that, as a family, we could not compromise, especially in upholding the Sabbath. So, we are committed to attending the Friday evening Sabbath service. When we were child-free, this was relatively easy, but bringing children to church in the evenings presents its challenges. Sometimes, our daughter had not napped or was acting up, and we were tempted to stay home to livestream the service. However, we know that we need to come before God to honor the whole Sabbath day—not just for an hour or two or when it is convenient for us to do so. It is a commandment from God and must be upheld (Deut 5:12). Therefore, we wanted to instill in our daughter from a young age that we go to church to keep the Sabbath day. Even though there have been times when she was tired or playing up at church, we can already see that she understands what the Sabbath is and what we should do on the Sabbath. We thank God for this and pray she can continue building on this understanding.

Balancing family life and church life does require more effort and planning from both parents. For example, if we intend to be in church for the whole day, one of us wakes up earlier to prepare the meals while the other gets our daughter ready and dressed for breakfast before we leave for church. Doing this means we can spend a whole day in church, so losing a bit of sleep does not feel troublesome or burdensome. A shared calendar is a great tool to help us organize our church work schedules. We can see each other's workload and meetings and work around each other's schedules. Of course, we still discuss our plans for specific days and try our best to give each other time to cultivate and attend activities without distractions. Although we may not be able to participate in as many church activities as before, it is essential to make the most of what we do attend, not "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," as it allows us to be encouraged and stirred up to do the good work (Heb 10:24–25). For example, our local church has a tea break sharing after Sabbath services where members share about their week. We have been encouraged by many of the youths sharing about preaching to their friends and colleagues, which stirs us up to strive to do the same.

Alvin: In recent years, I have been involved in the broader works of the EPG. I have been exposed to other areas related to the ministry, such as design, literary ministry, training, and encouragement. There have also been opportunities to serve on a national level, assisting in the English-speaking national evangelistic services, which take place online. The workload may increase, and we may be fatigued, but we should remember that we serve by the grace of God. We do not solely look at the results but give thanks for the chance to sow the seed and participate in the commission.

Sabrina: We serve God to the best of our abilities, in the capacity that we have. I have primarily been involved with follow-up works over the last few years, which include maintaining contact with the truth-seekers and building a rapport with them when we see them in church. Again, this was easier to do before we had children as we could take our time to speak with visitors and give them our undivided attention. It is a struggle to do this when I am taking care of my daughter, and I cannot sit with the truth-seeker in the chapel and speak to them. However, my experience has reminded me of the importance of working with coworkers to support the truth-seekers. My coworkers can do more where I am limited, and vice versa. We do not use our physical limitations as an excuse but strive to do our best, with what we have, to serve God and adapt to serving in different ways. For example, when I could not accompany the truth-seekers during service or tea break, I took the opportunity to attend the truth class with them and be more involved in this aspect of their journey. With the support of my husband, who took care of our daughter and all her needs during the truth class, I could be fully present and worry-free. It was initially intimidating, but thank God for the wonderful opportunity to speak more about the doctrines with our truth-seekers.


As we sail through life, we will inevitably face new challenges and barriers at each stage. However, we can look toward Jesus, who always gives us an excellent example to follow. In John 4:3–4, He left Judea in the south and departed to Galilee in the north. But He needed to go through Samaria. It was considered a Gentile land, and the Jews often traveled around Samaria to avoid going through it. But Jesus needed to go through Samaria. Why? He was determined to break through this barrier to preach to the Gentiles. While in Sychar, He preached to the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:5–26). Even though she put more barriers before Jesus, He broke through each one. You're a man, I'm a woman. You're a Jew, I'm a Samaritan. You worship in Jerusalem, I worship on this mountain. Whatever barrier she threw at Jesus, He was determined to break through it to preach. We can all learn to have more determination, like our Lord Jesus. Whatever barriers we face in life, we can break through them to fulfill the evangelistic ministry committed to all of us.


We often forget to preach daily because it is not at the forefront of our minds. However, if we surround ourselves with like-minded brethren, talk about the evangelistic ministry more often, and hear how others preach, we will naturally preach in our daily lives. For example, a member shared how they use festive holidays as an opportunity to talk about their faith. Simply answering, "No, I don't celebrate," closes the door. But saying, "I don't celebrate because it's against my faith," opens the door to sharing more. Some may assume that we do not participate in festivals because of our ethnic or cultural background, but actually, it is because it is contrary to our faith. That is the key message we should share with our friends and colleagues.

Alvin: We sometimes need to be brave and open our mouths to speak. We cannot bring others to know Jesus if we do not say anything. We need not be afraid of how others see us. When the opportunity arises, we frankly and openly tell them we believe in Jesus and go to the True Jesus Church. For example, sometimes, I play football with people who do not know Jesus. Sometimes, they ask me to play at the weekend, but this would conflict with the Sabbath or church activities scheduled on Sunday. I will tell them that I cannot because I have church. Over time, the more I repeat this, the more curious they are to find out about the church I attend. It creates an opportunity to raise awareness of the one true church and Jesus Himself.

Coupled with the consistent Sabbath routine, we are trying to instill this "no-shame" mindset into our daughter. Growing up, we often place barriers—such as feeling "awkward"—around sharing our faith with non-believers. Admittedly, this is something we battle with ourselves. However, we want to ensure that preaching is normal for our daughter and there is nothing awkward about it. When she asks if she will see a particular person at church—a non-believer or someone who does not often go to church—we encourage her that, though they will not be there today, she can invite them to come in the future. Thank God she is aware it is almost Sabbath when we pick her up from nursery on a Friday and that we are going to church. She has even chastised us when we forget to switch the car radio off in preparation for the Sabbath. Her nursery teachers tell us that she informs her friends and carers, "After nursery, I go to church." We hope, in these small ways, she can build up the courage and the practice to preach in her daily life.  

Undoubtedly, there is a lot more we can do for the evangelistic ministry. Not only is it related to the salvation of others, but also our own salvation since we have been charged to preach to the ends of the world. If we ignore this commission, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:14b). If we take one moment to open our mouths bravely, the effect could be eternal. God has put eternity into the hearts of men (Eccl 3:11), and we need to help others reach eternity through the wonderful gospel of Jesus.

May all glory be unto Christ! Amen.

Author: Alvin and Sabrina Leung
Date: 11/01/2023