Grace upon Grace
Tay Hian Siak—Singapore
This testimony is based on the one given by the late Tay Hian Siak in
April 2007. Uncle Tay, as he was popularly known, was born on October 16, 1925
and was baptized on December 17, 2000. In January 2006, Uncle Tay was diagnosed
with terminal lung cancer.
In this testimony (delivered by his son, Tay Teck Kiang, as Uncle Tay’s
voice box had been removed), Uncle Tay recounts his conversion and the grace he
received. Although his physical time on earth was running out, he fought a good
spiritual fight. Although cancer had taken away his voice, he wanted to “speak”
straight from his heart to, in his own words, “share with [everyone] some of my
miraculous experiences after coming to the True Jesus Church.”
ENTERING THE FOLD
I joined the church at the age of
seventy-five. Actually, I had long wanted to be a Christian but often dropped
the idea because of the Ten Commandments. Whenever I thought of the words,
“Thou shall not do this and that…” I remembered that I had done this and that
before and I felt I was still going to do this and that! I had broken so many
commandments; I did not even dare to go to church.
However, after I retired at the
age of seventy, I gave serious thought to going to church. I had wasted so many
years and time was running out for me. I decided to visit my son’s church to
have a look. Not long after I made that resolution, my son actually invited me
to attend a special service at the True Jesus Church in Adam Road. This was in
I continued to attend services
after that, as I enjoyed the singing and found the people very friendly. In
addition, the air-conditioned chapel was nice and cool! After about a year and
a half, I was baptized along with my friend, Eddie, who had been regularly attending
services with me.
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
For a period of time after I had
started attending services but had not yet received baptism, I could hardly
concentrate in prayer. Whenever I closed my eyes to pray, all sorts of images
flashed through my mind and distracted me. Doubts assailed me as I wondered if
there really is such a thing as the Holy Spirit.
So many members were praying in
tongues, but it seemed impossible for me to receive the Holy Spirit. I wanted
to be in the midst of the flock, but I felt like a lost sheep because I still
did not have the Holy Spirit.
I started wondering whether my
failure to receive the Holy Spirit was because I did not know the right way to
pray or the right words to say. One day, a deacon said, “If you do not know how
to pray, just say, ‘Hallelujah’ and your prayers will be answered.”
I was happy and surprised to hear
that. How did the deacon know that I had been looking for an answer to this
question? From then on, I just said “Hallelujah” during my prayers, and I was
no longer distracted by images in my mind.
After baptism, I resolved to
change and avoid sin. I knew that receiving the Holy Spirit would help me, but
I had not received it even after praying for it for more than one year prior to
Two days after my baptism, during
the prayer at the Tuesday evening service, I suddenly began to speak in
tongues. I was trying to say, “May God help me”, but before I could finish
saying the words, I couldn’t control my tongue anymore.
Tears of joy filled my eyes as
warmth flowed from my head to my shoulders. I was ecstatic. I knew I had
received the Holy Spirit. It was a wonderful feeling that I had never
experienced before. I was so happy that I could not sleep the entire night!
Despite my joy and excitement, I
wasn’t entirely confident that I had received the Holy Spirit. When my wife was
not at home, I decided to try and see if I could still pray in tongues. When I knelt
down and prayed, the tongues came easily. I needed no further proof that I had
indeed received the Holy Spirit.
RENEWED AND STRENGTHENED
Receiving the Holy Spirit changed
my life. I used to be a very critical person, but I gained the strength to
change this characteristic. I used to gamble, sometimes staying up until
midnight. I also attended dinners organized by idol-worshippers to commemorate
the Chinese “Ghost Festival”. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I
stopped gambling and attending gatherings during pagan holidays.
I was amazed that I was able to
cut myself off so abruptly and absolutely. I faced a lot of criticism from my
friends due to my decisions. Losing some of these old friends saddened me, but
God provided a few hundred new friends—my brothers and sisters in Christ.
In June 2004, I was diagnosed with
throat cancer. The recommended treatment for me was a major eight-hour long
operation, followed by thirty radiation therapy sessions. Surgery comprised
removing my voice box and opening a small hole in my throat for breathing.
I was shocked and worried after
learning of my diagnosis and treatment. For a few nights after I learned the
news, I lay wide awake thinking about this. During one sleepless night, it
suddenly occurred to me that I should just pray to God and let nature take its
course. After all, there was no alternative.
I prayed day and night and
subsequently was able to sleep more peacefully. Moreover, I was able to accept
what was happening to me. After all, good things must come to an end, and we
have to live with “the days of darkness” (Eccl 11:8).
On the day of my surgery, I was
worried and anxious. The idea of reciting Psalm 23 came to me, and even though
it was something that I had only seen in a movie, I decided to try to calm
myself this way. I repeated Psalm 23 over and over until I was anaesthetized.
When I woke up, I was delighted to
find out that the surgery had gone well. I immediately prayed and thanked God
for His mercy. I also had a wonderful feeling that my faith in God had grown
much stronger. After two weeks of recovery, I was discharged from the hospital.
It was then time to start my radiation
therapy. I thought it would be a breeze, but the doctor warned me that I might lose
my appetite or develop a bad sore throat. Hearing this did not worry me because
I knew that all I had to do was pray hard to God with all my heart.
As it turned out, I really had no
problems taking my meals. My doctor was extremely surprised that I was fine and
did not experience severe side effects from radiation. I thank God for hearing
my prayers and allowing me to complete six weeks of radiation therapy with only
some mild side effects.
After completing treatment, I
rested at home for four months before I started attending church services
again. I wept during the first few prayers because I could no longer pray out
loud in tongues. I also missed singing hymns with the rest of the members,
which I had enjoyed very much. But still, I was very thankful for the mercy of
I resumed a normal and active life
after completing my radiation therapy, and I only needed monthly check-ups. I
continued to play table tennis at church every Thursday, and went out like any
other healthy person. I spent the year 2005 much like I had before my cancer
diagnosis, but with an increased awareness of God’s love and mercy and a more
STEADFAST THROUGH TRIALS
In January 2006, I was told that cancer
cells had spread to my lungs. Although I was prepared for this possibility, I
did not expect it to happen so quickly. For the next three months, the
oncologist gave me oral chemotherapy medication. But because it was ineffective,
he told me that I would have to undergo intravenous chemotherapy.
To make matters worse, a cataract
was affecting my eyesight. So on May 8, 2006, I underwent eye surgery prior to
commencing chemotherapy treatment. During the operation, a blood vessel in my
eye burst, which caused a blood clot that affected my eyesight. The surgeon
said it would take at least six months for my eye to recover completely.
Amazingly, when I went back to see
him two weeks later, he told me that my eye was completely healed. He, a
non-Christian, said, “Your God must have heard your prayers!”
My intravenous chemotherapy treatment
started on May 15. Each session involved a blood test followed by one and a
half hours of chemotherapy injection. I was scheduled to undergo eighteen
chemotherapy sessions, but after the fifteenth session, the oncologist stopped
the treatment because it was causing my legs to swell.
In November, the doctor told me
that the cancer cells had grown and asked me to start on another chemotherapy
cycle with a different drug. This time, I was really sad and worried, thinking
about the pain and additional side effects.
I could not sleep because I kept
wondering whether I should proceed with the treatment. So I asked God to have
mercy on me. What a preacher once said to me came to my mind, “Uncle, you don’t
have to worry, for God is in you. He will decide for you. You just do what you
have to do.”
Reassured by this thought, I
decided to start on the new chemotherapy. However, the CT scan taken after
three sessions of chemotherapy showed that the drug was ineffective, and so,
the treatment was discontinued. The oncologist told me that there was nothing
more that could be done. The only solution left was to pray for the cancer
cells to spread slowly.
During this period of sickness,
there were many times when I asked God why He put me through such sufferings.
But throughout all of this, I have learned to have more faith in God and to
trust in Him, and it seems that my fears and pains have become increasingly
easy to bear.
While I used to wonder if I was
really good enough to go to heaven, I now often look forward to going to
heaven. I have lived a good life, and I am ready to face death.
I would like to encourage those
who are in sickness to have more faith in God and let Him decide for you. Read
1 Peter 4:15-16 and you will find it easier to overcome the sadness and pain in
May God bless you and lead you to
find the true God.
Although he was confined to bed in the last three months of his life,
Uncle Tay experienced no pain and rested peacefully in the Lord on August 26,