Pastor and author Francis Chan has just moved to the Sham Shui Po neighborhood in Hong Kong with his family. The Crazy Love author announced last year that he and his family decided to become missionaries in Asia after taking a trip to Myanmar. Now, Chan is sharing something extraordinary God showed him as he was packing up belongings from his home in California.
Chan says he ran across a folder containing pictures of his birth mother while packing. The pictures show his mother nearly 70 years ago as she was living in Hong Kong. Chan’s mother, who died while giving birth to him, was a believer and was active in ministry work. Some of the pictures Chan came across included the location the picture was taken. Chan said they were taken in the same neighborhood he was considering moving into and doing ministry.
“It was confirmation of God’s goodness,” Chan said. The evangelist believes him finding the pictures was God’s grace telling him, “you’re on the right direction.”
The neighborhood Chan moved to with his family is called Sham Shui Po, located on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. He was originally drawn to the location because it is home to a lot of the Hong Kong’s poorest residents. He also has a couple friends who are already doing ministry there–one planting a church and the other working with the poor. One of these friends offered Chan some office space to use in the neighborhood, but Chan said he was still trying to discern God’s will on the matter when he ran across the pictures of his mother.
Chan speculates that God may be answering his mother’s prayers of wanting to make an impact on Sham Shui Po by sending her son there all these years later.
Francis Chan and Family Move to Hong Kong
In November, Chan announced he would be moving his family to Asia sometime in February 2020. Sharing his update with GodReports.com, Chan explained why he had made this decision:
About two months ago, I was walking through a slum in Southeast Asia. I went from hut to hut with a translator, sharing the gospel with people who had never heard about Jesus. The more I shared the gospel, the more alive I felt. It’s a completely different experience sharing with those who have never heard versus sharing with those who have already chosen to reject Jesus over and over. The more I shared my testimony coupled with the gospel message with these unreached people, the more I thought about how I wanted to do this with the remainder of my life. When I considered the need and opportunity, I knew I wanted to be based in Asia.
I also have an opportunity there to work with the ultra poor (living off less than 50 cents a day)—to bring relief, share the gospel, and plant churches among them. When I compare that opportunity to things I currently do in the States, the Kingdom profit seems much greater overseas at this point of my life. While I think I will occasionally minister in the US, I plan on being based in Asia for this next season of life.
It wasn’t just Chan who was eager to move. Apparently his whole family (including two married daughters and their husbands) felt the call to go, too. In fact, Chan says they felt that call nearly 10 years ago while they were visiting Hong Kong. At the time, they didn’t want to go back to the U.S., but Chan felt God had some work for him to do in the States before they could move to Asia:
As we were searching for an apartment and school in Hong Kong, I believe the Lord spoke to me. He made it clear that there were two things I had to do in the States before I could go anywhere else: He wanted me to display a different picture of Church and a different picture of marriage/family.
In my study of scripture, I saw a goal for Church and family that was radically different from what most American Christians envisioned and enjoyed. It has taken longer than I expected, but I believe I have completed the work I was supposed to do. Over the past 7 years, I have written two books—one about marriage and one about Church. More importantly, I have tried to live those messages out, giving those around me an example of what I wrote about.
The books that Chan refers to are Letters to the Church, which he published in 2018, and You and Me Forever, 2014.
Chan was born in 1967 and was raised mostly by relatives as he was growing up. After his mother died, he lived with his grandmother in Hong Kong until he was five. Then his father moved back to the U.S. and married Chan’s step-mother. Unfortunately, Chan’s step-mother died when he was nine and his father died three years later. Despite an incredibly difficult family situation marked by tragedy, Chan’s youth was filled with support from church family. He came to know God personally in junior high and high school.