We often find ourselves in places we never thought we would be. God uses situations, people, and circumstances to direct our paths as we search for purpose. For Dr. Raymond Leung, his life of unexpected turns is a testimony to God’s unwavering love and pursuit of His children.
Raymond was born in China but quickly left with his mother for Hong Kong. Life was tough. For them, leaving a Communist society also meant leaving a wealthy family behind. Raymond’s mother was not equipped to provide for him. The only job she could find was carrying concrete bags on a construction site for fifty cents a day. As a two-year-old boy, Raymond lived with his mom on the streets under a stairway. Each day, his mom would go to work and leave him to fend for himself. “Somehow, I never got lost or hurt and made it home every night,” recalls Raymond. He didn’t know it then, but God’s hand was on his life—even before He knew God.
Over the next few years, Raymond’s mom saved enough money for them to go to America seeking a better life. They arrived in Los Angeles and lived in the basement of a home. Being a United States citizen, Raymond’s mother went to work in a factory, and he went to school, where he struggled for the first time in his life. Back in Hong Kong, he was a straight-A student. In America, it was a different story. He would get into fights at school as his peers would mistreat him. He did not know the English language but knew he was a smart young man. On top of this significant life adjustment, it was still just Raymond and his mom—no other family was around.
only God can help you
Raymond wanted to be successful. After all, his mother had come to America, so he would have a chance to be prosperous. One day, his mom gave him $1.00 and told him to go down the street to a local church. His mom’s co-workers at the factory had told her, “Only God can help your son get better.” The church down the street was the First Chinese Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California.
“Only God can help your son get better.”
God was at work, and Raymond’s life was soon to change forever. In May 1966, he met Eugene Wilkerson, who taught a Sunday school class for students his age. Summer camp was coming up, but Raymond could not afford the $15.00 to go. Eugene, knowing the impact camp could have on a young person’s life, stepped in and paid for Ray to attend. At summer camp, Raymond heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. He was compelled and moved by what he heard. That day, Raymond became a new creation in Jesus Christ, and his life has never been the same. There was an immediate change in his behavior and relationships. He was no longer disrespectful to his mom, and his grades improved. His homeroom teacher even said, “This can’t be the same kid.” The Gospel changed him, and he wanted to dedicate his life to the God who had pursued him. As a high school student, Raymond began serving at the church in various capacities.
a New Path Forward
After graduating from high school, Raymond received a scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he majored in chemistry. While in college, he continued to mature in his faith and started a Bible study in the dorms. In 1976, he was accepted into medical school at the University of California-San Francisco. There he also started a Bible study while performing six years of residency in the field of surgery. While attending medical school and being in leadership at the Chinese Christian Fellowship, he began dating a fellow medical student named Monica. The couple married in 1982.
In 1986, Raymond and Monica moved back to Los Angeles. Dr. Leung started a private practice in surgery. As a Christ following, bilingual-speaking surgeon, he desired to serve low-income Chinese-speaking patients. He fulfilled this dream for the next thirty years of his life. In the midst of this, his family started attending the First Chinese Baptist Church again. Dr. Leung served as a Sunday school teacher for young adults and served on the membership committee at the very place that meant so much to him as a young boy.
“I Want Everyone to Know the God of the Bible”
In 2010, Raymond and his family started going to church at Calvary Chapel Sun Valley to be closer to home. It was here God opened Raymond’s eyes to another way to serve the Kingdom of God. One Sunday, Raymond heard a speaker from The Gideons International for the first time. Raymond was so motivated by the mission of this Association that he immediately joined as a member and was excited to partner in God’s work with Gideons and Auxiliary across the globe.
A month later, while reading the pages of a Gideon newsletter, he read the name “Eugene Wilkerson” in the obituaries. Dr. Leung was filled with emotion as he recognized this as the man who introduced him to Jesus and made way for him to attend summer camp. Eugene Wilkerson, a Gideon, invested in the next generation. Dr. Leung now had the opportunity to do the same.
Why did Dr. Leung join The Gideons? “I want everyone to know the God of the Bible. I’m a living example of God taking care of His people—it doesn’t matter your past; God can change you. I want to share the Scriptures with people in all languages,” he says.
“I’m a living example of God taking care of His people—it doesn’t matter your past; God can change you. I want to share the Scriptures with people in all languages.”
As a Gideon, Dr. Leung has joined other Gideons in Scripture distribution opportunities, served in various local leadership roles in the Association, and shared with congregations how God uses His Word to impact lives all over the world.
Dr. Leung retired in June 2019, and he and Monica moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to be near their daughter and two grandchildren. In this new season of life, his mission is the same—to introduce people to the God who pursues His children. “God is so good to me; He prepared the way out—even before I knew Him,” says Dr. Leung.