Fulfilling a childhood desire
By Lim Ai Leng
Tek and I visited Melaka our hometown in May this year and attended our old church Wesley Methodist Church on a Sunday where we met many old friends. We were happily surprised to see Maureen Gan whom we have not seen for over 30 years and heard that she was baptized and faithfully attending church. Her baptism story was published in the church newsletter and here we reprint it.
We were all gathered at the baptism pool. It was to be a special day for some of our brothers and sisters who have felt the calling to make a public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ before the local community of believers and friends. Amongst them was a sister who was standing cautiously in a corner, awaiting her turn. To an observant eye, one would have noticed that she could not see. But we could see so clearly that she was ever alert to listen for instructions and her obvious heart’s desire to make her faith known that day.
Later, I found out that Pastor Andrew Lim wanted to spare her the inconvenience of being drenched in the baptism pool, but she was adamant that she wanted to go “all the way”. In the end, due to her eye and ear ailment and fear that the pool water might aggravate the condition further, water was poured above her head instead of being immersed head in. The revelation of her fighting spirit was for me, reason enough, to want to explore how and why she became so determined to ‘do it right’ for her Lord.
Maureen Gan hailed from Ipoh, Perak. When she was young, stories about Jesus were not uncommon for her. She attended Christian classes at home and was mixing mostly with children from Christian homes. She recalled as a teenager, she even attended baptism classes, but didn’t complete them.
“I couldn’t do it because I didn’t want to hurt my Grandma who raised me. She was a Buddhist, you see, and I felt at that time, I would be betraying her love and devotion to me.”
Time flew by. She took up temporary teaching in Kampar, then moved on to do a short stint at the Klang Electric Board, and finally was sponsored by her Grandma to do a nursing course in Sydney. It was there that she met her husband, Dr Gan, a dentist by profession. Even as she settled down to family life, taking care of her three children, she felt God was always with her. In time, when she moved back to Malaysia, she used to keep in touch with Christian friends and moved in Christian circles.
Fast forward to December 2010, Maureen was down with unabated fever for a week. Her GP advised that she be admitted immediately. She was sent to Mahkota Hospital and the following day, to ICU when she lapsed into a coma. The specialist suspected leptosprosis and suggested that she be transferred to Selayang. The family members were at their wits’ end when her daughter suddenly thought of her cousin who was attached to the University Hospital. After conferring with other doctors, he advised that Maureen not be transferred. In the meantime, prayer requests were sent out to family members, relatives and friends and members of her church. By God’s grace, Maureen responded to the medication and regained consciousness after two weeks. However, during the time when she was in a coma, she was not able to receive her usual dose of eye drops to control her glaucoma. Gradually she lost her sight.
Instead of being dampened and discouraged by the near-death episode and loss of her sight, Maureen was far from any “feeling sorry for myself” thoughts. In reality, the experience awakened within her the urgency to set matters right, especially pertaining to her faith. She was determined to be baptised and to “go all the way”. Although there were some setbacks to her quest, she persevered and finally was able to communicate to Pastor Andrew of her heartfelt desire. Her desire was finally fulfilled.
Generally, people would be understanding if Maureen would not participate in church activities, but that is not to be for her. She is presently a member of the new Tengkera 5 cell group and if health permits, she would faithfully be punctually present. Her daughter, Lee Ann, makes this involvement possible for her, sending and picking her from church each Thursday. Two years ago, she was even game enough to attend the Methodist Seniors Camp with help from a fellow sister. She enjoyed herself thoroughly and even managed to reconnect with some long lost friends.
Maureen’s story is an inspiring one to me and by sharing, my prayer is that we can be encouraged to live passionately for our God- not in accomplishing big things for God- but to take responsibility for ourselves, to work out our faith meaningfully in our daily life.
Lim Ai Leng is a retired teacher who enjoys helping out in church. She co-ordinates disciple groups and writes on whatever she finds inspiring, bringing glory to God.