Cancer is a Word Not a Sentence

Remembering Andrew Yung a marketplace minister

 By Tek Chong

andrew-yung-03When we came to Perth 30 years ago the first family my brother Wai who lived in Perth introduced us to was Andrew & Lilias Yung. He told me they were from Hong Kong, trained in nursing in the UK and loved the Lord and were totally committed to serve in the church. We were often in their home and enjoyed the friendship with them and with Andrew’s mother and their two teenage children Simon and Phoebe.

Andrew was a lecturer in the nursing school. There was a time when I felt unhappy that he was spending too much time at his job and was not able to take up leadership responsibilities in the church. On his day of retirement, when he invited me to a farewell party given by his nursing school, I was touched that many nurses stood up to thank their humble Chinese lecturer for his help. Some tearfully testified how Andrew went out of his way to give special coaching and encouragement outside the classroom setting. They claimed that they would not have become nurses had not for the kindness and love given by their beloved mentor. As I listened, I felt God reprimanding me. “How you have misunderstood my faithful child. He was actually shining for me outside of the walls of the church. He is truly the light and salt of his workplace.”  Indeed Andrew was called to be not a church minister but a marketplace minister who fulfilled his Master’s assignment for him.

Please read below his testimony:

Cancer is a word, not a sentence

Dr Tek CHONG was the pastor of Andrew’s Full Gospel Assembly Perth

Cancer is a word, not a sentence

Facing recurrence with peace

By Andrew Yung with Goldie Chong

“Acetylcholine”, Teresa volunteered. “My lecturer in nursing class was amazed I knew about neuron-transmitters because he has not yet taught this.”  Teresa laughed, “I didn’t tell him that I had a private tutor who told me to look up this subject!”

The private tutor was Andrew Yung in the nursing home where Teresa works as a carer while studying to be a nurse.  Andrew, a nursing lecturer is fighting a recurrence of cancer which has spread to the spine.  He is paralysed from the waist down.  Teresa was telling him excitedly what happened in her class that day. Being a single parent working her way through school, she was grateful that Andrew had given her hours of coaching enabling her to become the top of her class.

“I have a picture on my wall,” said Andrew, “which reminds me to use whatever faculties I have left to help others.”  This is what he tries to do in the classroom as a lecturer before and now in the nursing home.


“I was hoping for a single room but none was available so I had to share with this 85 year-old Vietnamese.  He used to be a millionaire.  He is used to attention and service so he keeps ringing the bell.  After crying wolf too often, the nurses ignored him. I often helped to give him a drink. He does not have many visitors because his wife is sick and his son works. We have time to talk.  I asked him where he was going after he dies.  That led to eventually him accepting Christ as his Saviour. He now has regular prayer time.”

Another resident after being encouraged by Andrew started to read her bible which she had not read for years.  Andrew also talked to Michael who accepts every god and has several idols in his room.  He is still working to clear up Michael’s confusion.

Nine years

Andrew talked about his nine years of fighting cancer.  “I was walking in the library when I felt some discomfort in my right abdomen.  So I thought that I should have a check up.  My GP thought there was nothing wrong and that I might be under some stress.  My son-in-law, however, insisted that I should have an ultrasound.  My doctor said “OK, just to please your young son-in-law” who at that time had qualified as a doctor for only two years.  The ultrasound revealed a tumour as big as a football.

“I was operated on. The tumour was found to be malignant and quite aggressive.  Radiotherapy followed, lasting six weeks.  I was free from cancer for five years.  Then a recurrence came.  It had spread to the bed of the right kidney and partly on the gut and partially on the diaphragm and muscle. 

The surgical team had a meeting under the leadership of my doctor, Dr Stan Wisniesdki.  After consulting other specialists, all the team members concluded, “Don’t do anything to this man because he is more or less a goner.”  But Dr Stan did operate.  “So I was blessed to have a good life for a few more years. I acknowledge that individual and corporate prayers from my friends and church are vital to sustaining my life.

Two years later, I suffered another recurrence.  I had major surgery for the third time.  They told me afterwards that they aimed to cure me this time because all hidden sources have been removed.  After the operation, I enjoyed an active life and had the opportunity to go on a much anticipated holiday overseas on a cruise ship for the first time.  Then the cancer spread by the blood stream.  Two day after the operation, I could get up by myself. 

My surgeon told me, “If I had patients like you, I would not change any money because you recover so quickly!” To him, it was a miracle.

Peace which surpasses understanding

“I am thankful to God that he has given me more than nine and a half years of good active life during this period of cancer.  Now I have a further recurrence but I have a sense of peace which surpasses human understanding.  To me cancer is only a word and not a sentence.  I am not controlled by cancer.  I do not shrink with fear.  I face it head on.  I deal with it with God’s healing words: “I will not die but live – live to declare the word of God” (Psalm 118:17)

“I refuse to allow sickness to dominate my body; the life of God flows within me and brings healing to every fibre of my being.  I meditate on God’s Word: You have given me abundant life; I receive that life through your Word and it flows to every organ of my body bringing healing and health.  I avoid negative thinking so that even with problems I can still glorify God.

“I believe that it is not how many years I can live but how well I live by caring, helping, influencing people with the love of Christ so that my spirit lives on in the hearts of people I touch.  So I make use of my time to witness and help others. I hope to set an example so that when they encounter serious illness, they will not be afraid and be able to move on and totally rely upon God.  As I find is grace is sufficient for me, so I hope they will experience the same.”

Andrew passed away peacefully in June 2007.  A video presentation was shown at his memorial service where he had pre-recorded a final message to all his friends who would be at the service. He ended his message by praying that they, like him would know that “our life duty is to get to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him with all our hearts“.



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