Twenty years ago, my husband Dean and I were pastoring a satellite church plant in Hong Kong on an island called Discovery Bay.
We had gathered a diverse group of people in one of our house churches — a good mix of new and established believers. People were coming to the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
But within this group, there were also some very established missionaries. They had ministered in Hong Kong for several years, and were without a house church so they joined our small group.
They were faithful servants of the Lord, but did not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. They saw the Holy Spirit as only “the Comforter,” and they often disagreed with the way Dean and I ministered.
There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that warns evil times can suddenly fall upon us:
12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them. (Ecclesiastes 9:12 NASV)
And that is exactly what happened to our small group when we received news the one-year old daughter of the Kwan family, Jocelyn, was suddenly critically ill. Dean and I were close with the family as we had two daughters around the same age, Victoria and Isabel, who were “toddler friends” with Jocelyn.
Within 24 hours, Jocelyn’s body had mysteriously shut down. She was on life support and things did not look good.
Dean and I did the only thing we knew to do – we called out to God.
The hospital had a special room for the parents of critically ill children. It was a respite room, but I called it the “death room.” We spent days in this room praying with the Kwan family and believing God for Jocelyn’s healing
This caused an uproar among those in our House Church who believed healing was something God only did at a particular time in history and He no longer moved in the same way today.
They were adamant that we should be preparing the Kwans for the death of their child. They said doing anything less was building a false hope and grossly irresponsible.
Even the doctors were preparing the parents for the inevitable.
Despite the opposition, Dean and I continued believing for this little girl. One night, we were praying with the parents in the “death room” when suddenly the dad fell to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit and came up speaking in tongues.
Despite the evil times that had befallen them, the parents now knew God was moving.
The very next morning, the doctors told the parents the stunning news that little Jocelyn had dramatically improved overnight. It was happening so quickly; they were taking her off the machines that just a day earlier were keeping her alive.
But there was also some bad news, the infection that had gripped Jocelyn’s body had eaten away one of her lungs. It was gangrenous and would have to be removed.
Again in the face of much opposition in our house church, Dean and I told the parents we were believing for their daughter’s complete healing. Despite the miracle that had already happened, the opposition was now so severe; it threatened to divide our small work.
But, Dean and I knew that our God heals, restores and redeems, so we kept praying.
The doctor scheduled Jocelyn for surgery. On the day of her surgery, the surgeon took one last x-ray of her lung. The lung, that was gangrenous and needing to be surgically removed hours earlier, was now completely whole – without even a scar on the lung tissue.
The doctors were dumbfounded when they relayed the news of the cancelled surgery to the Kwans.
So, today, in Pok Fu Lam hospital in Hong Kong there is a file that has Jocelyn Kwan’s name on it that simply says “Unexplained Miracle.”
No matter what you are facing today, we need to have confidence that when God is for us, who can be against us.
But Jocelyn’s story doesn’t end here, nearly twenty years later it incredibly intertwined with our lives one more time.
A couple years after Jocelyn’s miraculous healing, Dean and I moved back to Canada having spent the better part of a decade in Hong Kong. Around the same time, the Kwans also left Hong Kong and moved to Switzerland. Other than the occasional Christmas card, we lost contact with them.
Our families grew and changed. We had another daughter and the Kwans had three more children.
Today, both Isabel and Victoria are attending McGill University in Montreal — Victoria is in her third year and Isabel is in her first.
Isabel was profoundly impacted this past summer by the youth trip she went on with members of our church. It ignited a passion in her for the things of God and she desires to see God move and wants to be a conduit for that move.
She went to McGill believing God had her there for a purpose.
Graduating from high school, Isabel received McGill’s highest award of scholarship and the university placed her in a residence reserved for the “brainiacs.”
After receiving the news, she mused “I’m pretty sure I don’t belong in that category but I know God has me there for a reason.”
She went to the school with a strong vision to see her dorm room used as a “healing room.”
What she didn’t anticipate was coming face to face with Christians who didn’t believe in God’s healing power or the workings of the Holy Spirit.
She laid up her plans but it all seemed to be road blocked. But the Bible tells us that though we have our plans, it is ultimately God who directs our steps:
The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASV)
Despite opposition and apathy, she continued to pray and prophesy over people. But this wasn’t met with the enthusiasm she had envisioned. On her phone calls home, she would ask, “What Bible are these people reading because it sure as heck isn’t the same Bible I’m reading.”
Isabel didn’t realize there were Christians who didn’t believe the same thing she did. During that first week at school, she understood that her primary mission field was now to Christians.
So, there was Isabel in McGill with great plans, but she would quickly learn it was God Who was directing her steps
During the first week of classes, universities traditionally hold Frosh Week. For many students it’s an excuse for a week-long party. Wanting to honour the Lord with her decisions – Isabel took part in “Fish Frosh” which is the Christian alternative to drunken festivities.
On the first day of frosh, Isabel headed on to the streets of Montreal with her new Christian friends for Frosh activities.
As her group was walking down a major street in downtown Montreal, a young Asian girl runs across the street and asks if she could join them.
She explained, “I’m sorry, I was late for my group, can I just join in with your group?
Isabel, being the friendly girl she is introduced herself:
“Absolutely, hello I am Isabel Gagne.”
The girl replies “Hello, I am Jocelyn Kwan.”
Yes, totally randomly, in a university with 40,000 students, the Jocelyn God healed in Hong Kong, the Jocelyn we haven’t seen for almost 18 years runs across the street and the first person she meets is Isabel.
We had no idea what Jocelyn was doing much less that she was now attending university in Canada.
Isabel in the midst of lamenting that no one believed God heals, now has a living, breathing, documented MIRACLE as a friend and co-labourer in Christ.