- 81 years old
- Date of birth: Dec 10, 1930
- Date of passing: Jul 27, 2012
|For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)|
A memorial service for Pastor Gary was held on Aug 11, 2012, 4 pm, at Sunset Church (3638 Lawton St, San Francisco, CA). Thank you to everyone who came and for your remembrances of Pastor Gary's life. Donations can still be made to Child Evangelism Fellowship of Macau. Send donations to CEF, Inc., PO Box 348, Warrenton MO 63383 and designate the check to CEF of Macau Field Account #AM00
Hallelujah! I have found Him/ Whom my soul so long has craved!/ Jesus satisfies my longings/ Through His blood I now am saved.*
These words sum up the heart of Pastor Gary N. Wong, beloved husband and father and grandfather, pastor and friend. He entered into the presence of Jesus on July 27, 2012.
Pastor Gary was born in China on December 10, 1930. He emigrated to the United States in 1941 and lived with his aunt and uncle in Portland, OR. He attended church with school friends and accepted Christ as his Savior while in high school. He was set to go to Oregon State University to major in engineering. But as the Lordship of Christ became a reality to him, he decided to attend the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and committed himself to a life of serving God and proclaiming the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Gary completed his bachelor's degree in 1953 and entered Talbot Theological Seminary. He interrupted his seminary education in 1956 to accept a call to San Francisco Chinese Independent Baptist Church, working as the church's youth director with Pastor Chee Wu. In San Francisco he met the woman he would ever after call his sweetheart, Flora Lee, a missionary to the kids of Chinatown with Child Evangelism Fellowship. They were married in her hometown of Sacramento on September 7, 1957.
In 1966 Pastor Gary left a fruitful youth ministry to serve Chinese Independent Baptist Church of Oakland, a church full of youth and young families where both Gary and Flora's gifts and passions were put to good use. Pastor Gary was ordained in 1972 and served as assistant pastor with Pastor Philip Loh. When Pastor Loh left in 1975, Pastor Gary was called to lead CIBC Oakland. He studied hard to aquire Chinese language skills that he used to maintain the unity of the church family as he served both English and Chinese-speaking church members.
In 1981 the newly-formed Sunset Chinese Baptist Church invited Pastor Gary to lead the English-speaking congregation. Sunset Church later invited Pastor Gary's son, Steve, to be their youth minister in 1984 and the two had the joy of serving together for five years. In 1990 Pastor Gary stepped down from leading the English-speaking congregation to focus on ministry to seniors, a ministry he shared with his sweetheart even after his retirement in 2007.
Pastor Gary's sweet spirit and passion for sharing the Gospel never waned. Even after being hospitalized he was known to the hospital staff as a cheerful and uncomplaining patient. And whenever he could he let them know of his trust in the Lord Jesus.
May [Christ's] beauty rest upon me/ As I seek the lost to win:/ And may they forget the channel,/ Seeing only Him.**
*"Satisfied", by Clara Teare; **”May the mind of Christ, my Savior”, by Kate B. Wilkinson
"We had known Gary and Flora for many years. When we decided to attend Sunset, they were the first ones we saw. It was always good to see them and talk to them each Sunday. We miss seeing them at their old spot on Sundays."
"Thank you for allowing the Light of Jesus to continue to shine through the memories of Pastor Gary on his anniversary of "ForeverMissed". Pastor Gary was intentional and prayerful in his pastoral and hospital visitations - a reflection of his shepherding heart."
"I've thought during this past week about what a wonderful Dad he was, patient and gentle and always ready to listen. I remember being a grade schooler and waking up in the middle of the night. I'd wander out of my bedroom and find my Dad at his desk, probably preparing a sermon or Bible study. We'd talk briefly and I'd go back to sleep. Those were tender moments that I treasure."
"Pastor Gary (and wife Flora) were my first mentor pastoral couple at CIBC-Oakland. They shined with the freshness of a newly married couple, though married for many years . As ministry partners, they demonstrated team relationship in serving the Lord. As a pastor, he hd the heart of shepherd as he met people and proclaimed the Word. As a person, he was humble, thoughtful, and compassionate. I treasure his life in my life back then, later at my ordination, and even now. God is Good, and He gets the Glory!"
""Absence made the heart grown fonder". This is true of Pastor Gary.
Also, as time passed, we tend to turn our memories into a romantic
reminisce. This is also true with Pastor Gary from days at CIBC."
"I'm sad that Grandpa died. The last day I saw him, I recited Bible verses to him. He clapped for me when I was done with my verses. We sang for him. When I saw him, I always gave hugs to him.-- Jasmine Wong (6 years old)"
"We were sad that Grandpa was sick. When we came over to his house, we sang songs to him, and he smiled and clapped for us. We sang "How Great is Our God" and "Jesus Loves Me." When we came to San Francisco, we always ate dinner with him. He greeted me with a hug.-- Isaac Wong, grandson (8 yo)."
"We believe that our angels from God were Pastor Gary and Flora. Pastor Gary was instrumental in cementing our faith in Christ, and Flora led our children to know the Lord."
"Pastor Gary was a Godly example and encourager that touched and changed lives for eternity."
"Pastor Gary was most influential in my decision to enter the ministry. He and Flora were our best friends at CIBC Oakland where Gina and I came to know the Lord. Pastor Gary's love for the Lord was so very evident and his commitment to serve the Lord was infectious. I believe we were the first couple Pastor Gary married. What a blessing to have had such a great and loving Pastor."
"Pastor Gary will always be a mentor to me and Mary. He and Flora have been constant reminders that God is good, and His Gospel must be shared with all... young and old... all cultures... all languages. It was his ministry and persistence that led my parents to Christ. Pastor Gary's love, counsel, smile, Dagwood jokes, and presence will be missed... but then there's Heaven ahead."
"Pastor Gary was the first English Pastor at CIBC. We will always remember what an example he was in exhibiting his quiet humble spirit and an attitude of Christ first. Also he exhibited how a husband should love his wife. But most of all how he exhibited his love and relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Harry & Anna Inn"
"Pastor Gary's passing to me is like the passing of a faithful spiritual grandfather. I've never served with him or under him, But I've long considered him very much a mentor 1) His "surprise" hand-written letters and calls to me (the ONLY soul to sent a letter to my seminary mailbox, EVER) greatly spurred me on. 2) He was a mentor to my mentors. I quest to finish well as Pastor Gary did."
"I felt so honor to serve together with Pastor Gary at Oakland-CIBC for several years before the Lord led him to the Sunset Chinese Baptist Church. He was a very humble and a total commitment to the Lord. He mentored me when I was the " new kid on the block " while I started serving at CIBC as the Cantonese Assistant Pastor. He set a very good role model for me to follow."
"I have known Pastor Gary and Mrs. Wong as a young Christian at CIBC Oakland. Pastor Gary was a man after God's heart, with a radiant smile, loving heart, gentle and caring spirit to us. Pastor Gary and Mrs. Wong were instrumental in leading my parents to Christ at Summit Hospital in 1983. Thank you, Pastor, for your love for God and others. I will see you at our reunion in Heaven."
"Pastor Gary Wong was an outstanding living example of everything that is God honoring and Christlike in the term, "servant leader." I followed Pastor Gary in serving as a pastor at Oakland CIBC and later again serving at Sunset CBC as an interim pastor. I hope and pray I will follow his example in being a true "servant leader." Praise God for Pastor Gary's decades of faithful service."
"The Lord's words "Well Done! Good and Faithful Servant, enter into the Joy of the Lord" are heard by Pst Gary. Indeed, the joy of the Lord radiates from his infectious smile. I count it a privilege that he was part of my ordination ceremony. His sermon still rings in my ears as he gave the charge to the congregation at CGBC that they "pray, praise, pay - the shepherd of flock." Thanks."
"Pastor Wong was a very patient teacher of Jesus. Right now, he's probably joyfully doing cart wheels in front of Jesus or teaching tennis to one of the Apostles. How wonderful is that! Unimaginable. I can hear Jesus say to him, "Well done Gary, my faithful servant. Welcome home.""
"Pastor Gary and Flora were (and are) an important part of my spiritual life. He counseled my parents a couple times. And later, Pastor Gary shared with me that both my mother and father accepted Christ into their hearts.
Barbara (Wong)(Saeli) Lipps"
"When the Lord brought me back into fellowship with Him in my college days, I joined the church family of Sunset. Pastor Gary was my pastor, who loved, taught, counseled, and baptized me. What a faithful servant of God and an example to us all. As we can all attest, he's left a legacy. His son, Pastor Steve, reached out to me and invited me to serve the youth. I'm a pastor today."
"My family is eternally blessed by Pastor Gary as he and Florence are the ones to introduce my grandma to Christ the Lord days before her going to meet Him. I have no doubt that Pastor Gary was a man who walked in close communion with God and was led by Him in all his days."
"I've known Pastor Gary since I was a little girl at CIBC. He was a tremendous encouragement to my father when he started pastoring at CIBC - Pastor Joseph Tong. Both Pastor Gary and Flora welcomed my family into the church and into their lives and this has been something that I will always remember Pastor Gary by. He had a loving and encouraging spirit that I will miss. See you in heaven!"
"Pastor Gary had a heart for the youth, as he organized the Young Teens Fellowship at Oakland CIBC. His bilingual talent inspired us to ask him to officiate our wedding 27 years ago, and he still had the love to minister to senior citizens when he stepped down from serving at Sunset. Such that, he ministered to my uncle and aunt who later accepted Christ. He will always be special to us"
"Pastor Gary was such a model of a humble and faithful servant of the Lord. We are grateful for his ministry through the years, especially ministering to seniors in the Bay Area. We know he entered in the presence of the Lord with joy and a wonderful commendation of "well done" from his Lord. Our prayers are with his family."
"When Pastor Gary and Mrs. Flora met my mother, Mrs. Pearl Chen Lin, they became friends. Even though my mother belonged to another church, they ministered to my mother when she became ill. When my husband and I started coming to Sunset, it was always a joy to see them on Sundays. We are going to miss his smile each Sunday, but happy to know that he is with the Lord now."
"What a day of rejoicing it will be when we gather at the river in the presence of our Lord and Savior. Pastor Gary honored God by living honestly before us. His humility and quiet service spoke loudly of a strong Christ-like person. He leaves us wanting to serve God by serving others. Thank you for the living devotional you leave behind."
"My wife (Virginia) and I first met Pastor Gary in 1979 at CIBC, Oakland. Later we got to meet Flo and found them to be such sweet couple serving together in the Lord. Thank you Pastor Gary and Flo. We look forward to seeing you again later on."
"Such a kind and loving heart. We look forward to meeting Pastor Gary soon!"
"Pastor Gary was instrumental in my starting out in Christ. He will be missed, but the tremendous legacy of this Christian gentleman will live on in so many of us."
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