Two Funerals with Happy Endings

Assuring a reunion in heaven

By Goldie Chong

ros-gold-sus-tek

Lt – Rt: Rosalind, Goldie, Susan, Tek in Susan’s home

I got to know Susan because she came to my beauty salon in Melaka and I introduced her to my church Wesley Methodist church where she became a Christian. Her mother-in-law Watt Neo, a widow, lived with them because Michael, Susan’s husband was her favourite son. Being a nyonya 1)women born in Malaya, having their particular culture and religion, usually very opposed to other religions. she was not happy that her daughter in law was a believer. There were many conflicts between them. “I hope you become paralyzed….” she once cursed. It happened that the curse fell on herself rather than Susan for in 1983 she fell and became paralyzed. Bedridden and helpless, she depended on her eldest grandson Roy to look after her. Roy was home on holiday from university so he took the responsibility to care for her, changing her, cleaning her. The Chinese sinseh (doctor) predicted, “she will not recover.” During this time, Christian friends visited, brought food, etc. Michael noted their actions and was impressed.

Hoping the Christian God would help her, she called for Rev. Elkanah Suwito, the pastor of the Wesley Methodist Church. Suwito had just returned home from a conference but went immediately. How did she know a Christian pastor? It turned out that she had befriended this friendly pastor at their favourite food stall. Over their lunch, they got to talking and a friendship was formed. When Rev Suwito came to the house he was confronted with two hostile relatives. They fired him with abuses and demanded, “why do you want to make her a Christian?” But Michael shut them up and told them, “Get out of my house!”

Amidst strong opposition, Watt Neo told her relatives that she wanted to be baptized. “Why, is it because you want a cheap funeral?” they taunted. But she went ahead and Rev.Suwito came and baptized her at home. A few months after her baptism she went to her eternal home. The Christians from the church showed love in action, making all the funeral arrangements, giving support and help. Almost the whole church came for the funeral service but only one person came from among Michael’s friends. He had to admit, “your church friends are good.”

Susan had always longed to be able to go to church with her husband instead of alone. Her prayer everyday was, “let Michael be baptized before the end of this year.” Her prayer was answered one day when he told her, “I want to be baptized on Christmas day.” Together with Roy, they were baptized on the same day. end48

Footnote: Michael died on 24 Sept 2016 at the age of 87 after a fall resulting in head injury. Tek & I happened to be in Melaka in time to attend Michael’s funeral. Again the church was full for the occasion.


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1. women born in Malaya, having their particular culture and religion, usually very opposed to other religions.

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