Hoa Stone: God’s plans are greater

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Hoa Stone (far left) with members of the Company of Grace community.

God’s plans are greater than our plans.

Hoa Stone arrived in Australia in the mid 1970’s. Hoa had lived the first eight years of his life in an orphanage just outside Saigon in Vietnam. After South Vietnam fell to the North Hoa was among many from the orphanage evacuated to Australia.
He was adopted by a Christian Anglo-Australian family in Adelaide, South Australia and began a new life. Their hope was simply to provide a safe and supportive space for their son to grow and flourish.
He remembers the first four or five years as the happiest of his life. But by the time he hit his mid-teens Hoa was beginning to wrestle deeply with the events that had shaped him: never knowing his parents; living with polio; learning a new language in a foreign country; being ‘the odd kid out’ at school and subject to teasing and bullying; losing his brother and best friend to an asthma attack.
Hoa’s life began to spiral out of control. His adoptive parents tried to love and support him as best they could, but their son was rejecting them, their faith and everything about his Australian life. He was, by his own reckoning, lost.
Hoa found himself in the centre of the drug, alcohol and criminal subculture of Adelaide’s seedy underbelly: life of cash, dealing, violence… and death.
At just 21 he planned to take his own life. But God’s plans are greater than our plans.
In his despair Hoa cried out to the God of his adoptive parents. In the midst of his pain and his trauma he felt the peace of God and sensed healing in his spirit, though not his body.
This conversion led to him re-engaging Church life, heading into theological education and becoming an ordained Baptist Minister in 1997.
In 1998 Hoa headed back to Vietnam, sensing a call from God to serve his birth people – most especially those struggling with physical disabilities.
From here he set up the Company of Grace, an organisation that is expressing the love of Jesus by providing education, vocational training and rehabilitation for disadvantaged children with disabilities. He is passionately committed to ‘Creating a Brighter Future’ for those with whom the organisation works.
God’s plans are greater than our plans.
Fast-forward 15 years to 2013 and the House of Grace was flourishing under the leadership of Hoa and with the help of Australian Baptist Churches. It would have been easy to continue to manage the ministry, but God’s plans are greater than our plans.
A couple of months ago Hoa married Miss Pham Thi Hien. He also began handing over to the local leadership that he had been developing for several years.
Over the past month one of Hoa’s young leaders, Mark Pham has been sharing his story in NSW Baptist Churches. Hoa has taught Mark English (with a brilliant, very Aussie accent!) and shaped him into a godly and capable leader.
Australian Baptists can continue to support Hoa’s ministry through a specific Global Interaction project, details of which are available from: www.globalinteraction.org.au/HoaProject.
We invite those who have been supporters of Hoa to take up this opportunity to continue to support the work of the Company of Grace through this project. We congratulate Hoa and Pham, and the Company of Grace, and pray God’s blessing and grace upon them and those with whom they minister. We give thanks for the past.
And we remember: God’s plans are greater than our plans.

By Andrew Palmer
Director, Global Interaction
NSW and ACT Baptist Churches

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