“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” Jer.29:13
By Nellie Lim
The first event
In February 1977 my family and I were travelling from Johore Bahru to Malacca when an oncoming car skidded and crashed head-on into us. My husband, Pang Kuan was driving and I was seated in the front passenger seat carrying our second daughter Evina who was 4 months old then. At that time there was no law requiring the wearing of seat belts yet. Our eldest daughter Taryna who was almost 3 years old then was sleeping in the back seat. The impact shattered the windshield and I was cut all over my face which required 73 stitches. Evina miraculously escaped without a scratch. Pang Kuan and Taryna both required a few stitches on their heads. Apparently the accident had occurred at a “killer stretch” which means that accidents happened there frequently and almost all were fatal. How we all survived was a miracle.
A second event
A few months after the accident, Taryna started to cough very badly and began to lose weight. We brought her to see one doctor after another but nothing helped. Then my eldest sister suggested Chinese physicians and we tried their herbal remedies. It did not help; instead her lips and ears swelled each time she took the herbs. Then my sister went to Chinese mediums. We were desperate but nothing seemed to be working.
Early one morning at 2.00 am, upon watching the sleeping Taryna struggling to breathe I cried out in desperation, “Lord Jesus, if you are real, heal her and I will believe in you.”
Next evening a doctor called on us to consult Pang Kuan on some business matters.
While they were talking Taryna walked up to her father and he introduced her to the doctor and told him of her condition.
The doctor was interested and asked permission to check her. When he lifted her blouse to check her chest he was alarmed and said that she might be suffering from either severe bronchitis or asthma. Thus far no doctor had ever diagnosed her as such. He pointed to her chest and asked us to observe if one side was higher than the other. He said that if she were an adult she would have been flat on her back.
Then he asked us to bring her to his clinic the next day for x-ray and further tests. He then referred her to a pediatrician under whose treatment Taryna began her recovery.
She was healed by the time she turned five.
Recuperating from the accident, I was reflecting on my life and my near death experience. I thought of my family’s Taoist worship which even as a young child, I was uncomfortable with. The idols looked so fierce and terrifying. Whenever I was forced to worship them, I would shake the joss sticks at the idols and say. “I am not worshipping you! I am worshipping the one and true God.” But I didn’t know who this one true God was.
I was educated at the Methodist Girls’ School in Malacca. I attended chapel services and in secondary school I studied Bible Knowledge as one of my subjects. I remember my teacher – a very elegant, firm and yet gentle lady we addressed as Mrs. Goldie Chong. She impressed me greatly and I wanted to be like her.
Then my mind drifted to a Miss Lucy Tan from my Methodist Youth Fellowship days. I remember her – a beautiful, serene, kind and simple lady who was also friendly, humble and helpful. She offered free tuition to those who needed tutoring. I wished to be like her too.
I also recall meeting the Superintendant of the Methodist Boys Hostel Wong Swee Lim and his wife Helen. He was very cheerful and sincere. You could see his beautiful white and even teeth most time while talking with him. I found him kind and hospitable. Helen seemed to me a serious, kind and capable lady. I liked this couple and it later turned out that they are Pang Kuan’s uncle and aunty.
Then it hit me. These people who impressed me during my childhood were all Christians! I believe I saw bits of Christ in each one of them although I didn’t know it at the time.
After this reflection, I inquired of Pang Kuan, “If I had died at the time of the accident where would you have buried me?” I then told him that he must never ever bury me in a typical Chinese cemetery as they are for Taoists and Buddhists and I do not share their beliefs. I wanted to be a Christian and after the cry to Jesus on Taryna’s behalf and His answer, I know for sure that Jesus Christ is the Saviour. Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:6. I was sure that Jesus is alive because he hears and He answers us when we cry out to Him.
On the way
Our family relocated to Kuching, Sarawak in December 1978. In the house we moved into we found a map of Kuching and were surprised to learn that there was a church within walking distance from our house. So after dinner one day, we took a walk there. We met a Caucasian man gardening behind the church building and inquired if he knew where the pastor of the church was. “I am the Pastor” he said, “My name is Larry Kalejainen, call me Larry.” We introduced ourselves and began attending Chin Fu Methodist Church. After a while Larry invited us to attend Baptism Class. He said that if we were sure of our faith at the end of the classes, we could be baptized. Upon completion of the course, forms for baptism were passed around to be filled and returned. “To baptize or not to baptize?” I struggled. Three nights before the deadline I had a dream which I interpreted to mean to go ahead and get baptized. So on Easter Worship Service in the year 1979 our whole family went through baptism.
Two years later when the ship “Logos” docked in Kuching, we visited and were given some free books in a pack. Among the books was a picture book entitled “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Going through the book I was shocked to see scenes of my dream before my baptism. I cried with joy realizing that God had spoken to me through the dream and guided me to the right direction. Now almost 40 years on I am still glad that I made the right choice and am going in the right direction. Jesus is alive and He still answers when I call out to Him. END
Note: See Nellie meeting Goldie after 50 years in Penang. “Sowing and Reaping” May 2015