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 (Manna 13)
In Loving Memory of...
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In Loving Memory Of…

It happened twenty-five years ago. One summer afternoon a postman delivered a letter. It was from a nursing school in the United Kingdom. You have been accepted in their school and that you must obtain the necessary travelling documents before the September term. You were happy then to hear of the delightful news and were anxiously getting ready to go. However, father had a different plan for you. He wanted you to go to Taiwan to study theology with the hope that you would be able to teach the children when you return. There was hardly any children’s classes then. The Theological College in Taiwan had just started a three-year theological course for the first time. You offered yourself to the Lord submissively as advised by father.

After three years you had successfully completed the course. On your return, you did not know what to do because you did not expect some church leaders against full-time preachers as hirelings. Therefore, in the beginning most of your work was confined to a few churches in the Northern Region. You also refused to accept the allowances given by the church except reimbursements for transport expenses. You were not discouraged despite the odds against you. On the contrary, you ungrudgingly helped the church, taught the children and visited members and delivered sermons. We thank God for giving you the perseverance during those difficult times. We also praise the Lord for helping you go through the period of trial until the early seventies when more preachers came forth to serve the Lord. It was not until then that your services were appreciated and you were ordained a preacher.

A few years later, with the blessings of the churches in Malaysia and Singapore you were sent to serve the Indonesian churches for one year. There, perhaps because you could not adapt to a new environment (for the inhabitants in the PontianIslands were still depending on rain water for consumption). You con­tracted a strange disease. As a result you returned home and were admitted to the PenangMissionHospital for treatment. After an operation you were much distressed. We were a bit worried about your illness. But the doctor who treated you assured us that it was quite natural for you to be upset. Later, you came to understand that it was the gracious Lord who had granted you a complete rest and you kept thanking God for it.

In 1974, mother was called to rest with the Lord. You were very sorrowful. You felt guilty because you had no chance to talk to her before she passed away. But who can blame you for it? You were always on the move, travelling from one church to another. But father comforted you and said mum had departed in peace. Because in the morning she was still doing free-hand exercises with our relative from Thailand before she collapsed and went into a coma. And she passed away on the same evening. She did not suffer any pain at all. Then you accepted it as the will of the Lord.

Whenever you were home for a brief period you would always play the role of Martha and every member at home, young or old, was your honoured guest. You would serve each and everyone with delight. The allowances you received were small but you would cut down on your food and clothing expenses in order to save some money to help the needy. I am deeply impressed. Indeed, you believed that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

I also remember you telling me of the days you spent in the seminary. One day a deacon brought you all visiting. You passed by a convent and saw many nuns there. This deacon said to you, “These nuns offered their whole lives to God without getting married. Their devotion is worthwhile of our emulation.” You said that you had understood him. He meant to say that if you could be like the nuns it would he well for you. Was this the reason you chose to remain single to serve the Lord?

Eight years ago the churches in Malaysia and Singapore sent you to the seminary college in Taiwan again to take up a one-year course in religious education. While you were there, you wrote to me three times encouraging me to dedicate myself to God. I must confess that your three letters had moved me to serve the Lord. For this I give thanks to God for your encouragement and prayers. When I think of your prayers I could not help but give thanks to God again. When our younger sisters fell sick you would pray for them in tears with fasting. Because of your long prayers your two knees had callouses. Some biblical commentaries say that the callouses on James’ knees were as thick as the camel skin due to long prayers. I would say that yours were no thinner than the cow skin.

Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower, and withers; he flies like a shadow, and continues not.”

Though I understand that even the best concert must have a finale, and the life of man is like a sojourner, I really do not expect you, my dear sister, to depart so soon. You have ended your 22 years of service to the Lord, in fact 25 years (three years in the seminary), just like that. The value of a man’s life is not measured by the length of his stay in this world. Some have come into vanity and have gone into darkness. Others have stayed a long time in this world and yet they have passed their days meaninglessly. It is a waste. As for you, though you had only lived 50 years, you lived a meaningful life. You knew the eternal God to whom you also had offered yourself. Preacher F. M. Che wrote your epitaph thus:

“The beauty of a grain is not its golden husk but its sacrifice and its new life.”

Oh, my dear sister, we were companions in our heavenly pilgrimage. You were also a good helper in my ministry. Now that you have left me, I feel that I have lost a source of strength - the strength that can find no substitute! Oh, Nyuk Lin, my precious sister, I cannot help but hold you always in my bosom.

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