Mother was born on May 19, 1922, 97 years ago to a Chinese father an immigrant from China to Singapore match-made with an Indonesian young lady from a wealthy family from Soerabaya, Indonesia.
Mother’s mother was fragile and unused to Singapore’s hot and humid weather. She was sickly and died at the age of 20 years old leaving behind my mother aged four, and her younger sisters aged two and one. Early in life, mother was thrust with the responsibility of leading and being an example for living to her young siblings.
Mother’s father, my grandfather was hardworking and responsible to provide for his three princesses. No step-mother for them as he had learnt through friends and stories how wicked step mothers could be. Instead the three princesses grew up under the care of a “black and white servant” the dedicated young immigrant from China who always was garbed in white samfoo and black trousers, and who had left country and family to be a professional care-giver.
As the princesses grew to be of school age, grandfather employed a dedicated driver for them, transporting them to and from school, to and from extracurricula activities like watching shows, hobnobbing with school friends and relatives. School was the famous Singapore Chinese Girls’ school with education in English with moral lessons.
It was at Singapore Chinese Girl’s school when mother learned that God loved her and had sacrificed His Son that she might be forgiven and delivered from the penalty of sin. She was taught the wonderful Word of God by her English principal Mrs Geake who loved the three motherless princesses and took them under her wings. Mother and her sisters became Christians at the end of their school life at the age of 16 as they enjoyed the love of God through the principal and other teachers.
During the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Singapore, mother was hastily match-made with my father to save him from being beheaded by the Japanese who sought to capture and kill young unmarried men in Singapore from 1940’s to 1944. Alas it was not a match to a Christian man with resultant difficulties in faith and practice. Father came from a family that was Taoist/Buddhist and traditional ancestor worship. While mother attended church on Sundays, Father gambled his Sundays away, smoked, and drank to drown his insecurities and worries as an epilepsy sufferer. Often Sunday nights were times of husband persecution for mother.
While she woke early every morning to pray for her family and to read the Word of God, father resisted her prayers for his salvation. However, one rainy day miraculously there was a flood which prevented father from going for his Sunday gambling session. He volunteered to accompany mother to the evangelistic Sunday evening service. The Holy Spirit conviction was so strong, dad was converted that evening! Praise the Lord! He was delivered of epilepsy, alcoholism, nicotine and gambling on the day of his baptism. Praise God.
It was mother who led our family in family worship. She led each of us – my sister, brother and I to the Lord at the tender ages ofo 5-7 years old and was our first Sunday School teacher. It was mother who was the disciplinarian and who discipled us in the ways of the Lord. She was our example for Christian ministry among children and others.
It was her joy to pray for missionaries and when the first graduates of the Assembly of God Bible Institute of Malaysia began pioneer works in peninsular Malaysia in the 1960’s. She stood with them, encouraging my father to financially support several of them till it seemed every month my father had several “money collectors” to collect their monthly stipend – their first support in Christian pioneer works till they becamse financially independent and later became pastors of several large churches in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Singapore. It was her participation in missions that gave inspiration to her children and grandchildren to do likewise to this day in Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan and other countries where they have sent financial support and Bibles to. We learnt we cannot outgive God – He takes care of His own.
Mother played the accordion and was inspirational in my sister and brother and their families serving the Lord today in church music ministry. She gave all the talents she had to the Lord.
As Sunday School teacher and Sunday School Superintendent, her pots of curry and bread at Sunday School outings were greatly yearned for and enjoyed. She was a wonderful provider introducing the Cradle Roll for future Sunday School students and awards for Bible competitions encouraged Bible Verse memorization and hiding of God’s Word , good training for the children in the way they should go.
The Lord took her home on September 1984 after a year of suffering (we suspect cancer although there was no such medical diagnosis in Singapore at that time). Through it all there was not one iota of complaining as I was her caregiver. Instead there was quiet submission to the will of God and prayer for strength to endure. Now she waits in glory to welcome her family home. Dad joined her in glory on 22 January, 2016 and together they await our homecoming.
What glorious days they will be when we each in turn complete our course in faithful service. … or will it be us in the family all together promoted to glory when He comes to take us home!
Note: I have written more blogs for my father than my mother. Today is my mother’s day as I read Proverbs 31 and how it was personified by my mother. I am writing this to commemorate a wonderful, gentle, God fearing, God loving woman – my physical and spiritual mother. Praise God. 😊