Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall glorify me. (Ps 50:15)
The Lord has assured us of His deliverance in times of trouble through the psalmist, Asaph, so that we may glorify Him. That is why I would like to seize this opportunity to tell of the mercy and loving kindness of the Lord Jesus and how He dealt kindly with me and delivered me from my afflictions.
This is a testimony about my late mother-in-law, Lee Nyuk Lan, and also about myself—how the Lord Jesus healed me from heart disease with a timely diagnosis and treatment.
COPING WITH GRANDMA’S ALZHEIMER
I retired from thirty-six years of employment in the civil service in December 1994. I was able to work until my retirement because of the untiring spirit and hard work of my mother-in-law, who took care of our house and brought up our two children. I am truly indebted to her.
Sad to say, a few years before my retirement she began losing her memory. This loss of memory was accelerated one year, when she had to undergo two surgeries—one for gall stones and the other for her cataract—until she lost all recollection of her past.
At that time I was still working. Thank God, I had a good maid who came daily to do housework and care for my mother-in-law. Because my mother-in-law had always been hardworking and diligent, she became restless and irritable when the maid took up her work.
Her forgetfulness often created disastrous situations. She would forget to turn off the gas stove and the water tap, and she would be disoriented and not recognize her own exhaustion. All day long she would pace around the house and take out her restlessness and frustration on the maid.
My maid began calling me almost daily at the office to complain about grandma and she would threaten to quit her job. Sometimes, when my boss was away, I would rush home to find out what actually happened and rush back to the office again.
I couldn’t concentrate and often made mistakes at work, and my boss would rebuke me. The pressure became too hard to bear, and I was beside myself to the point of breaking down. I could only pray to the Lord to give me strength and patience.
In those days my husband, Deacon Yapp, was the executive councillor of the Southeast Asia Evangelical Centre. His pastoral assignments took him all over Asia three to four times a year, with each visit lasting at least two weeks.
Whenever he went on pastoral visits, I would worry that something disastrous might happen at home, and it would be impossible for me to contact him if he happened to be in a remote area. Every time he travelled, I prayed to God for his safe journey and for our peace at home.
In those days, there wasn’t a lot of information about Alzheimer’s disease, and we were not able to manage my mother-in-law well. I had to give up various church activities to care for her.
My mother-in-law’s health continued to deteriorate. She could no longer recognize her two beloved grandchildren. Finally, she was bedridden, and it was very difficult to see her in such a sad condition. The days just seemed to pass by.
DIAGNOSED WITH HEART DISEASE
During those six or seven years after my retirement and being at home all the while without doing any exercise, I began to put on weight. This was probably what contributed to the onset of heart disease.
In the beginning, I often felt very tired, and I lost interest in many things. I wouldn’t be able to catch up with everyone else’s walking pace, and I would be panting and sweating profusely going up a staircase.
Towards the end of 2000, I decided to get up early in the morning to walk. At first, a church friend got up around 5:00 a.m. to walk with me, but after a while, she stopped joining me and I was left alone.
What was I to do? Should I continue or give up? Walking alone that early in the morning was not much fun, especially when I had to brave the city council’s smelly garbage truck and the barking dogs. I was very tempted to give up.
Then an amazing thing happened. I could always feel there was an inner voice telling me, “You must exercise, you must exercise, and don’t delay further.?This inner voice kept reminding me to exercise. I believe it was the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me to pay attention to my health. Thank God, I was able to get up early as usual for my morning walks.
Soon after, I started to experience pain in my chest. At first I thought it was gastritis, which I blamed on the excessive amount of water I drank before my walks. So, the next day I exercised without drinking water, but the pain persisted.
After three days of chest pains, I finally took a gastritis tablet hoping it would help, but still the pain continued. Then I knew something was wrong. It turned out that the chest pains were not as minor as I had hoped it would be.
Looking back, I often marvel and consider it a miracle that God prodded me to exercise, which lead to the diagnosis of my heart disease early on. Had I given up on my morning walks, I believe I couldn’t have made it this far.
I made an appointment to see the senior physician at the hospital who quickly arranged several tests for me. After the ECG and Stress Test, the cardiologist suspected that I had blocked coronary arteries. That was some time in February 2001.
After the Echo Stress Test in March, my suspected heart problem was confirmed. The cardiologist told me I had to go to the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur for bypass surgery.
I requested to have my surgery in the local area because of my ailing mother-in-law. Since my husband was often away, I couldn’t afford to be away from home. The doctor understood my plight and fixed a date for me in May, when the medical team from Kuala Lumpur would make their next visit in our area.
I went home after the Echo Stress Test, and that was when the chest pains came. This time, the aches lasted two hours and medication did not help. At that time Dn. Yapp was away in Taiwan attending the World Delegates Conference. I was at a loss what to do.
If the pain persisted I would have to be admitted to the hospital. But what about my mother-in-law? My maid was there to help, but she could not care for my mother-in-law by herself.
All I could do was pray to the Lord to help and provide for me. Thank God, the chest pains calmed after two hours. But from that day on, the chest pains came frequently, making me weak and short of breath.
Yet, I continued walking everyday. One morning, the chest pains hit within fifty meters of walking. I turned around and headed home straightaway.
I called the clinic after 8:00 a.m. to tell them of my condition, and I was advised to go to the hospital for observation. I was hospitalized that morning, April 14, 2001, which was also the last morning I saw my mother-in-law.
LOSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAW
The next morning, while having breakfast in the hospital, my daughter came and told me that grandma had passed away. I broke down and cried. There were a lot of mixed feelings in my heart, and with my own heart condition, I became very emotional.
That morning, after her bath and breakfast, she passed away peacefully in her seat. Since I was hospitalised, a church friend took over many of my responsibilities around the house. I was very touched by her love.
I remembered the things that my mother-in-law used to say to me. The first was how thankful she was to have come to accept Jesus Christ and to be a member of the True Jesus Church.
She always felt that her relationship with the brothers and sisters in church were closer than her relationship with her relatives. And after the kindness and care that we received after her death, I share the same opinion with her.
Secondly, she taught me the importance of teaching my own children and not to wait until they are grown or have someone else teach them. Otherwise, I would lose out on so much as a mother. Even though my mother-in-law was illiterate, she was wise enough to appreciate the important things in life.
When the nurses at the hospital learned about her death, they came in to comfort me. One of the nurses hugged me and said, “Don’t be sad, because God loves your mother-in-law more, and He has taken her away.?/p>
I thought about what she said and realized that she was right. God had given her rest so that I could go focus on my treatment without worrying about her. This was really the wonderful arrangement of God. And even though I grieved, my grief was comforted.
Everything was according to God’s good timing. He stretched out His hand and opened a way for me, and He ended the eight long years of physical suffering that plagued my mother-in-law.
With the help of many concerned brethren, friends, and relatives, grandma’s funeral was carried out smoothly. My only regret was not being able to attend her funeral at the doctor’s advice to minimize the onset of more chest pains. But knowing that she was called by the Lord was a great consolation to me.
HELP AND HEALING
Hospitalized for four days, many ministers, brothers and sisters, friends, and relatives came to visit me. But I was not too afraid of the forthcoming heart operation I had to go through.
Twenty years ago, I had accompanied Dn. Yapp overseas for his heart surgery, and since then I’ve learned about heart ailments and treatment options, which prepared me mentally. Also, three others in my family also went through bypass surgeries.
My greatest security was knowing that I had full confidence in God, for I truly believed that God would surely lead me through the day of trouble, and He would guide me through the shadow of the valley of death according to His will.
After the funeral, a doctor came to see me and advised that I should go to Kuala Lumpur for my surgery instead of waiting another few weeks to do the operation locally. Since the funeral was over, I eagerly accepted his suggestion and was discharged the same day on April 18, 2001.
My husband accompanied me to Kuala Lumpur. Even though the chest pains persisted on the plane, the trip was smooth and we arrived safely. My niece, her husband, and another church friend met us at the airport and took us directly to the National Heart Institute.
Two days later, I had an angiogram, where a catheter was inserted into my thigh vein and slowly pushed up to my heart. This technique allowed the doctors to examine the artery blockage, and they concluded that I would need three bypasses.
On May 3 at 9:00 a.m., I was wheeled into the operation room. Right before I was anesthetized I said a last prayer in my heart, “Lord, I give my life into your hands. Please grant wisdom to the surgeon, and I pray that You guide me through this day of affliction.?I lost consciousness shortly after.
I was told the operation lasted close to five hours, and I was given one pint of blood. Instead of three bypasses, I had four, but, thank God, the operation was a success.
If you ask me whether I suffered a lot after my heart operation, I would say it was not that bad. It was because of all the loving prayers from everyone that pulled me through the surgery and beyond.
During our three-week stay in Kuala Lumpur, Gombak Church was very kind and provided lodging and a car for my husband so that he could visit me at the hospital.
After two days of physiotherapy and other necessary post-operation examinations, I was discharged on May 10. We really thank Gombak Church for their hospitality, and on May 13, we safely returned home.
While I was recuperating, many ministers, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives showed much love and concern over me. I regained my energy and felt physically stronger everyday, thanks to the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus.
I have since resumed many of the church activities that I had to give up due to both grandma and my illnesses, and I know I can only do these with the opportunities that God has given to me.
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the ministers and church members in Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, and overseas for their loving prayers and care for me and my family.
May the Lord remember everyone’s love and shower His grace richly upon each person. And may all honor, glory, and power be given unto the name of our Lord Jesus.