Regies remarkable journey: From bleak childhood to global mission
By Tianna Haas | international
Regina “Regie” Wang’s passion for helping people participate in God’s global mission starkly contrasts with the trauma of her childhood.
A childhood of darkness
Growing up in the Filipino city of Bulacan, Regie lived in a community with just a smattering of churches.
Regie said: “Back then, there were maybe 10 church plants in the area but not many yet. Because this was a time when Christianity was sort of starting to take off.”
On top of this, Regie’s home environment was steeped in darkness and devoid of love. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was affected by depression and physically abusive.
When her mother’s twin sister invited the family to church, her parents showed no interest, but they had no objection to their 10-year-old daughter going.
Regie said: “In the Filipino context, if you go to church and it’s a programme, you get a bag of goodies – there’s a bag of rice, canned goods – so, my parents were okay with me going.”
She continued to attend the special church programmes for two years but realised her involvement was shallow. Gradually, through the nudging of the Holy Spirit, Regie’s curiosity started to grow.
She said: “I felt ashamed for going for events, and I really wanted to discover who this Jesus is.”
"I really wanted to discover who this Jesus is.”
Regie's response was to take part in a two-week vacation bible school (VBS) – little did she know this would be her turning point. When her teachers reflected Jesus' love and explained the gospel, she confidently accepted Jesus as her saviour.
Her own step of faith influenced her mother, and she decided to follow Jesus a year later. Regie and her mother were baptised together the year after that.
A ministry of light
While she still faced many of the same challenges as before, she now clung to her purpose in Christ and found a loving family in her church.
Regie first began serving in her church’s music ministry, but she was eager to serve wherever she could, including door-to-door evangelism. At only 14 years old, she wanted to abandon her studies and work full time for the Lord.
Regie’s pastor advised her to finish her education and wait for an appropriate time to embrace ministry. She held off on pursuing a ministry focus and hit a road block – a period of rebellion.
However, the Lord drew her back during university and finally opened her first opportunity to live out her calling. She served as a campus evangelist for the Joy Student Foundation at the University of the Philippines for three years.
During her evangelism work, Regie began developing a passion for every nation to know God. Her interest was sparked by stories about the spiritual condition of people groups in other countries.
At a student gathering, Regie heard Psalm 84:4-7:
"Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”
Regie said: “The speaker was calling for those who would be willing to go on pilgrimage, bringing hope to a desolate and hard land.”
With a willing spirit to go, Regie soon found herself travelling to East Asia on independent mission as an English teacher.
Regie tried to settle into her teaching role in East Asia, but the arrival of a new teacher, Tim, became a disruption.
Regie said: “He arrived much later than everyone else in the faculty. All the classes assigned to me were given to him, and I was moved to a lower teaching grade. This made our first meeting not so great.”
Their first meeting was an undoubted bump in the road, but Tim redeemed himself when he started a prayer meeting for foreign teachers. Regie witnessed his heart for the lost, but the two parted ways: Regie to teach in one part of an East Asian country and Tim to teach in another.
When they returned, their enthusiasm about God’s work created a bond.
Regie said: “We found ourselves not coming across anyone else willing to listen to the exciting things God did during our trips.”
Their blossoming friendship led to love, and Regie and Tim got married in 2007. They now have two children, David and Natalie.
The Wangs continued to minister in East Asia as a couple, but Regie intermittently returned to the Philippines for medical reasons. Her visits allowed her the chance to stop by her home church and university campus. There, she began to encourage and train others to join God’s global mission.
Inspiring believers to share the good news of salvation was a joy for Regie, and she asked God to supply her with a job centred on mobilisation.
This request was tucked away when Regie and Tim determined it was time for them to leave East Asia.
Regie said: “Visas were getting harder to get. We also wanted to join an organisation, so that we could serve more effectively.”
They chose to move to Canada, Tim’s home country, but Regie’s non-resident status prevented her from finding employment.
Their search for an organisation and Regie’s desire for a job was cut short when Regie stumbled upon SIM in a surprising way – through a friend of a friend’s recommendation at a local YMCA. This casual encounter led to volunteer work with SIM.
Now, after four years of working in several SIM roles, from donor relations to university engagement, Regie serves in the Greater Toronto area focusing on mission mobilisation. She informs colleges, seminaries and churches about the need for mission work.
Regie primarily reaches out to diaspora churches – communities of believers living outside their country of origin – and she connects them to places, near or far, where God can use them.
Regie said: “A lot of it is educating people about what opportunities are out there and walking alongside those that God is already calling into specific ministries. So, my role is basically just walking with people and telling stories.”
As Jesus continues to heal the brokenness of Regie’s early life, he is helping her raise up mission workers of the future – a wonderful testament to his saving grace.
• God to raise more workers through Regie's mobilisation efforts.
• Regie to continually seek opportunities to communicate the vision God has for the nations in the Greater Toronto Area churches she serves.
• ways for Regie to share with and support others who have a similar burden for the nations to know Jesus.