My name is Aaron Tang. I was born and raised in Hong Kong till my early teen years. Although I have a Chinese heritage and background, my parents always say I am Americanized and have very little understanding of the Chinese culture. But in school, my friends only saw a Chinese boy who probably is good with math and know Kung-Fu.
My journey of knowing Christ took several years with many cultural collisions and through many Christians in my life. My very first exposure of God was through the Catholic elementary school I attended in Hong Kong. However, I didn’t give much thought on what the school was teaching. At about the same time, my mom dedicated all her kids to Buddha. In times of trouble, I would pray to various gods for help. I prayed to Buddha, Virgin Mary and even to the true God out there, whoever he is. I was very confused with who was real.
My next encounter with Christianity was in college. I picked up my very first Bible on campus. There was an off-campus Bible Study group every Friday, which I was drawn to because of volleyball afterward. From the Bible Studies, I became familiar with the story of Jesus. From there I was exposed to the idea that Buddha is not god. This motivated me to read more about the various religions and begin to ponder on who is the real God. At the end of my sophomore year in college, I took a Coop job in CA. God gave me a Christian manager who brought me into his home, and encourage me to read the Bible. I also attend the Sunday Worship and a Friday Night Bible Study at a local church. While in CA, I attended an evangelical conference. I do not remember much of the conference except vividly seeing the speaker described how Jesus died on the cross for all my sins. My sins can be forgiven, all it takes was for me to accept His gift. At that conference, the Holy Spirit moved me to receive Jesus Christ as my personal savior.
Things were not smooth sailing after I become Christian. My new found faith came into conflict with my past. After I became a Christian, I was so ecstatic that I called Karyn, who is now my wife, and she was very happy for me. The next person I called was my mom. She was furious because according to her I belonged to Buddha. After a heated argument, she hung up on me and didn’t talk to me for several months.
The second challenge came when my grandfather passed away. Traditional Chinese culture requires the bowing to the death, the burning of incenses, the burning of fake money and other things to the deceased. It also included Buddhist chanting during the funeral. The First Commandment in Exodus chapter 20 says, “You shall have no other gods before me”. Being the only Christian in my family and extended family, I didn’t know how to deal with this situation without showing disrespect. Should I go with the flow and alleviate any tension during the time of mourning? I couldn’t bow to others besides the one true God. After some prayer, I told my parents of my decision. Their response was not what I expected. My mom instructed me to inform the funeral server that I was a Christian upon the beginning of the rituals. On that day, I did exactly that. To my surprise, when my aunt heard what I told the server, she quickly returned the incense and claimed that she was a believer too.
Another lesson I learned was trusting God with money. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was fully immersed in the telecom bubble. I rode the wave at its peak and dove into the abyss. I was laid-off when our second child was a newborn and a few weeks after 9-11 we closed on our new house. It was a hard few months, but God showed up again and provided us with enough money to take care of ourselves and still support a Christian missionary friend.
God has revealed his faithfulness to me many times since becoming a Christian. He shown me I can trust him completely no matter the circumstance. The God of the Bible is the only true God. He takes care of us as we follow after him, trusting his ways are best. Isaiah 45:5-6 has encouraged my walk with God on many occasions:
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
Apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
Though you have not acknowledged me,
So that from the rising of the sun
To the place of its setting
People may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Please come talk to me after the service if you have any questions or if you would like to know more of what God has done in my life.