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 (Living Waters 1986 Spring)
For 14 Years
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John Lo

This article is written in memory of Sister Hsi-Hwei Lo whom I was married for fourteen years under the blessings of the Lord. While I share with the readers many wonderful vivid recollections, I thank God for His mercy and grace.

Under God's Care Since Her Youth

Hsi-Hwei was born in Taipei on March 16, 1947.  Taiwan was under martial rule and it was difficult to find an obstetrician.  Thank God, she was born naturally without any complications.  She grew up in a devout Christian family.  She received much influence from her parents, hence was able to lead a life loving God and men.  She diligently served the Lord and was abundantly blessed by Him.

Hsi-Hwei was afflicted with a number of serious illnesses when she was young.  She suffered from polio at the age of three and, for six months, was unable to walk.  Medication was futile.  Although she was very young, she knew how to rely upon God.  After three weeks of fervent prayers made by many brothers and sisters, her polio was completely healed one day when she saw the crucifixion of Jesus in a vision.

Jesus told her to stand up and walk; she was made whole instantly.  In the same year, she was afflicted with diphtheria.  Not only did she lose her voice, she experienced respiratory difficulties, Her attending physician thought her case was fatal.  However, she was heated overnight by the Lord because of the importunate prayers of her family.  At the age of seventeen, she once again became severely ill.  She was quite downcast after she had suffered for some time.  One day, the Holy Spirit inspired her and she was able to interpret the spiritual tongue of a pastor who was praying for her.  She heard a voice saying "You told me you love me" repeatedly.  She was greatly moved by the love of God and, as a result, her faith became much stronger.  She recovered shortly after.

Loved by Her Brethren

Hsi-Hwei was full of compassion.  She was easily approachable and affable.  One of her distinguishing traits was that she was able and willing to listen to complaints with inexhaustible patience.  She never failed to offer encouragement and consolation to whoever needed it.  To those who were sick, she offered love unstinted and prayed for them with sincerity.  She was always willing and prepared to offer assistance.  Many sisters and brothers cherish her warm friendship.

From Acquaintance to Marriage

Her family moved from Lotung to Taipei in 1964.  During the days in which she worshiped and served God, she fully demonstrated her virtues of love, godliness, and joy.  She had four close friends in Christ with whom she sang hymns, prayed, and worked together for the Lord.  Hsi-Hwei gladly joined them in the work of religious education and often visited students and their parents.  They traveled to places as far as Keelung, Tungyuan, Chungli, and Taoyuan to assist evangelical efforts of the ministers.  She left behind her beautiful footsteps for others to follow; it was her faith which created a great impact upon me. I prayed constantly in the hope that God would help consummate our marriage.  Thank God for His wonderful grace and guidance.  We were wed in holy matrimony on December 18, 197 1.

Companion on the Heavenly Journey

I received much care, comfort, encouragement, and help from her in -my faith and daily life during the past fourteen years.  When we were just married, I was a poor student then.  Despite the hardships, she worked tirelessly to support our family expenditure.  Even when we had only $8.00 in our checking account, she managed while giving thanks to God.  After I graduated, God prepared for both of us appropriate jobs through our prayers.  Our financial condition improved somewhat.  She never once forgot the great love of God.  She attended services regularly, worked for the Lord diligently, and offered generously out of her gratitude to the Lord who had shown much grace to her.  She was willing to sacrifice her material comfort and followed me to serve the Lord.  Thank God!  In 1978, a vessel as unworthy as me was chosen by God to become a full-time minister.

Although our financial situation remained stringent during my seven years ministry, she never once slackened in offering tithes.  She lived through countless lonely days during my missionary trips, particularly when I was sent to Europe and Africa.  Praise the Lord' She drew herself even closer to God while alone.  She received much comfort and joy from her prayers and Bible reading.

Saved by the Lord's Grace in An Auto Accident

In March 1983, a car driving at a speed of 45 M.P.H. hit Hsi-Hwei directly from driver's side when she was going to work.  Because she was in a small Japanese car, the impact was so great that her car was pushed nearly 90 degrees to the other side of the road.  Minutes after this happened, five vehicles, two paramedics and three police, arrived at the scene.  Because her car was so badly damaged and there was no way she could be rescued from the door on the driver's side, they had to get her out of the car from the rear door.  The window glass was shattered into countless small pieces.  Thank God for His divine protection!  Her face did not receive a single cut.  Only a few fragments of glass were found in her newly curled hair.  Upon arriving at the hospital, more than two dozen X-rays were taken.  No fractures were found.  She testified later that when her car was hit she felt there was a protective shield which absorbed the incredible impact.  After I took her home from the hospital, we knelt before God and prayed together.  She wept bitterly.  In an attempt to comfort her, I said: "Do not be afraid!  Our Lord Jesus has already delivered you." Her reply surprised me.  She said: "I am not crying because I am frightened.  Rather, I feel God love me so much.  He has once again saved me!"

Giving Thanks in Affliction

Harsh tribulation came to us in May 1984.  Our faith was subjected to the most demanding discipline.  Her doctor informed her that she had a cancerous tumor.  Several times she walked through the valley of the shadow of death during a period of twenty months.  The rod and the staff of the Lord comforted both of us.  She had even a stronger desire for the words of God and the hymns during her illness.  I might add that Hsi-Hwei received many gifts from the Lord.  She was an accomplished organist and always sang hymns to praise the Lord.  She loved to sing in the choir and sang all four part well.  During her illness, she still played hymns on a small portable electric organ with her feeble fingers and singing in tears of gratitude and importunity.  Every time she experienced sharp, agonizing pain, she would sing loudly....... Jesus Christ healed my sight, once was blind, but Hallelujah now I see!...... I am moved to tears whenever I think of this scene.  However painful, she would struggle to attend church service whenever she experienced any slight improvement in her health.  Many a time, I must carry her on my back to the church to worship God.  For nearly twenty months, she daily cultivated her spirit and offered sustained prayers in depth.  She became increasingly closer to the Lord and was filled with peace, joy, and hope.  Whenever pain attacked her, she would pray and shortly the pain disappeared.  Brothers and sisters everywhere throughout the world prayed for her with supplication, particularly those who reside in Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States and offered many fasting prayers for her.  Many families in Southern California even took turns during many weeks and months to prepare dinner for just Hsi-Hwei and myself.  A number of sisters, furthermore, came from long distances to take care of her by her bedside.  During the most recent Spiritual Convocation, dozens of youths and adult members fasted for her, including some children.  Even the ten-year olds would pray in tears while they fasted.  Hsi-Hwei remembered deeply such boundless love and affection in her heart.  She thanked God for this repeatedly in her bed.

She realized fully the ultimate meaning of human existence during her most painful moments.  Life is but a piece of floating cloud which vanishes momentarily.  It was the will of God that she rest from her labor and enjoy the blissful Kingdom of Heaven.  She transcended death and had a strong sense of hope of entering into God's Kingdom.  Once during a prayer, she cried bitterly.  I tried to comfort her afterwards.  She told me that was the first time she genuinely felt that Jesus indeed was crucified for her own sake.  Without His death she would not have any hope for eternity or heavenly rewards.

Hsi-Hwei also learned an important lesson of love from the sisters who tenderly cared for her during her illness. She discovered that she, too, had many weaknesses.  She resolved to dedicate herself fully to serve the Lord for the rest of her life.

Work for the Lord In Affliction

Hsi-Hwei found great delight in working for the Lord since her youth.  She always enjoyed testifying for the Lord and preaching the gospel of God's grace.  Many came to accept Christ as their Savior because of her testimonies.  She volunteered to assist with the religious education in some remote churches in the mountainous region in eastern Taiwan.  They were spiritually edified by her loving kindness.  She would take every opportunity to evangelize, even when she was dining at a restaurant when she was ill one day.  During her periods of hospitalization, she would witness to whichever nurse or in-patient who came close to her.  Once, a patient walking in the hallway, heard the beautiful hymns sung by Hsi-Hwei and a sister came into her room and said: "I have unmistakably seen God in you!" Hsi-Hwei, again, preached the gospel to this patient.  Indeed, she did not receive the grace of the Lord in vain.  The entire congregation grew in love during her tribulation as a result of her illness.  The value of the wonderful work she performed for the Lord during her last two years far surpassed that of all the combined work previously done.  I trust her reward in Heaven is great!

The Last Will

Hsi-Hwei did express her wish during the most critical moment of her life.  She wanted very much to worship God and serve Him in His Temple daily and to help nurture the faith of the young members of the church.  She was determined to travel with me to Africa for the expansion of the Lord's work.  She was even willing to be stationed in Africa with me.  Her only regret was that she was unable to repay the love of her parents who sacrificed much for her because of her poor health since early childhood.  She made it clear before her death that the entire amount of her pension accumulated during the past six years of her employment was to be offered as funds for the mission in Africa.

Resting Peacefully in the Lord

Hsi-Hwei was once again admitted to the hospital due to her inability to take food.  She was called to rest in peace at about 3:00 a.m. on January 10, 1986.  Prior to her departure, a number of brothers and sisters saw visions and had dreams in which they witnessed the divine revelation during the year end spiritual convocation last year.  A brother saw two angels came to bring her back to the bosom of Jesus, and a sister saw in her dream that Hsi-Hwei was busying herself serving the Lord in glittering white raiment.  These testimonies gave much consolation to her parents and surviving family members.  Our Lord has prepared for her a most beautiful country and home.  She has laid down all mundane burdens and is presently sleeping peacefully in the loving arms of God.  May our Lord reward her according to her labor.

Some Reflections

God has refined her into pure gold and made her perfect through this severe trial and tribulation so that she could meet the Lord in peace.  As for myself, I received much discipline in my faith, love, patience, and prayer.  This tribulation has also undeniably benefited the entire church.  God intended that we repent, sanctify ourselves, and prepare ourselves to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is indeed true that "In everything God works for good with those who love Him." (Rom 8:28) I deeply thank God for having assisted me in taking this bitter cup for my own benefit (Ps 119:71).  It might very well be true, that since Hsi-Hwei's health was not good, God called her back home before the tribulation of the last days (Is 57:1,2).

Her departure is but moving from one place to another - from the world to Heaven.  God indeed loved her by bringing her home to enjoy all the spiritual wealth and joy in the Heavenly Home.  Hope we shall all meet her there one day.  Many vivid memories during the past fourteen years of married life have all come back to me since her departure.  My tears have not stopped.  How much I wish to be given an opportunity to repay a fraction of her tender love and care.  I am more resolved than ever to serve the Lord faithfully so that I may accomplish her last will.  I pray that our Lord will record all my past, present, and future labor, if any at all, onto her account in Heaven.  Oh, Lord!  Please comfort the members of her bereaved family and greatly strengthen the faith of all brethren who loved her so profoundly.  Yes, even a happy banquet has its end.  Oh, Lord, may we all meet one day in the HeavenlyKingdom where we shall never part again.