For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. – Psalm 37:28
When it comes to accolades, Dean Wong, a member of the Hong Kong Church of Christ, has an impressive list.
Even before graduating with honors from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Dean came out on top at the school logo design competition, winning a scholarship to study sculpture and sketching at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. Later, upon graduation, Dean took first place at the “Television Broadcasting Games Design Competition.” Now Dean runs his own theming design and production company. His work has appeared in museums, exhibitions, theme parks, and parade floats around Asia. He was recently awarded an “Outstanding Chinese Leader in Asia” title.
Dean is married with two children. And as if all these personal achievements weren’t enough, Dean’s family was awarded “Hong Kong Happy Family” title several years ago.
Behind the applause and accomplishments, Dean and his wife Karen know only too well the challenges and struggles. However, through them all, Dean and Karen have been making spiritual decisions again and again, finally seeing incredible blessings from God.
After graduating at the top of his class in 1990, Dean and his classmates began a design company. Several years later, the Asian financial tsunami hit and the company fell on hard times. Instead of laying off staff and closing its doors, Dean developed a computer robot model, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, and took it to the IAAPA Asia Expo in Singapore.
The robot was well-received and the company began production in China. It was a common practice to give bribes to ensure smooth and prompt delivery of manufactured goods. As a young Christian, Dean decided to take a stand for righteousness. He not only refused to give bribes, but also refused to “entertain” business partners in order to obtain favors. One time, Dean’s robots were held up in China. It looked like Dean was going to have to pay a penalty to his client. But it just so happened that the construction of the theme park where the robots were to be installed was also delayed. Dean not only did not have to pay the penalty, he also did not have to pay to store the robots.
“When you know and decide to do what’s right, God will show himself to you,” Dean said.
Faced with difficult situations, Dean has continued to uphold his integrity. During the SARS crisis in 2003, many of his company’s projects had to be canceled. They were on the verge of bankruptcy. Dean and his wife Karen prayed and asked God to send them new business opportunities. At around the same time, large casinos were being built in Macau. One casino company came knocking on Dean’s door. This could have been the opportunity to turn the company around, but the couple felt it was against their consciences to be involved with anything promoting gambling. Karen said, “For seven consecutive months, Dean didn’t draw any salary, though he made sure that the staff were paid. Every time these casino companies came knocking on the door, it was a great struggle to turn them down. We would pray that opportunities like this would not come our way.”
The couple prayed every night for God to carry them through this difficult time. God eventually blessed them with a business opportunity from an international theme park. The company once again rose from the ashes, growing faster than before.
Just when the company was getting back on track, Dean and Karen’s family faced new challenges. At two years old, their younger son Ian was diagnosed with autism. Karen remembered, “Ian cried uncontrollably whenever he saw strangers. He deliberately banged his head on the floor. His language, muscle coordination, and social development were all delayed. On top of that, it seemed like no intervention or training was helping him. Every time we went to the doctors, we left extremely discouraged.”
Karen decided to face the challenge with a positive and grateful attitude. She took courses in child development and volunteered to help kids like her son. “We are grateful that our older son is fairly independent so we can focus on helping Ian. Going through this with Ian is helping me to grow personally,” she said. Karen is grateful that Ian has had very supportive teachers. Their family was so inspiring to the community that they were awarded the “Hong Kong Happy Family” for their positive and can-do spirit.
Today, casino companies are still knocking on the door. Even though many of the casinos have become more like family theme parks, Dean still does not want to get involved with such business opportunities. Dean and Karen are more faithful than ever before in choosing to do what’s right. God has blessed their company, marriage, and family as they continue to persevere in righteousness.
Translated by Anderson Leung and edited by Elexa Liu.