By Goldie Chong
We were invited to speak in a church in Melaka. While worshipping, I asked God for a word to encourage the congregation. I saw the word “learn” 學 in Chinese. Sharing this I said,
“God is always teaching us but we are not always learning. He wants us to benefit from the lessons He teaches, so keep on asking what He is saying to you.”
Later I realized God has been teaching me myself many lessons recently, especially on this trip to Malaysia. Actually He began teaching me years ago but it is on this trip I began to see clearly His pattern. I share some of them with you to confirm that I have learnt.
When I first started preaching I wrote everything down verbatim. It was a long time before I could use point form and look up more at the audience. When Tek and I started to speak together, I would bug him to prepare way ahead so I would know what we were going to say. I would get very upset if he changed anything at the last minute. Then one day a crisis occurred. Just before we were to go onstage I discovered my notes were missing.
Tek didn’t know I had put them in his bag so he took them out thinking it was some old drafts! Panicking, I quickly jotted down the few points I could remember. Thankfully the meeting turned out well. God was going to teach me more. Last week it happened again. I had taken out my notes to do some last-minute preparation and forgot to put them back. Again with only some points on a piece of paper, the talk went well, with no one the wiser.
A few days later we were invited to a fellowship dinner.
Tek said, “they are sure to ask us to share. You better prepare something.”
I said, “ no need, it’s a dinner only.”
Sure enough before we started eating, the leader said, “I hope you will share something afterwards.” I sent up a SOS, “God give me something to share!” And He did. Tek and I conferred and we came to the same theme. The lesson God taught me is, “don’t worry about what you are going to say because I will teach you at that moment”1)Luke 12:12 NIV (sorry, taken out of context of the apostles facing accusers) but it applied to us in this instance.
Before we left Perth, we had only one invitation to speak but when we were in Melaka, we had eight more invitations. In between meeting up with old friends, counselling, lunches, dinners, etc. (not to mention the need to take naps) there was hardly time to prepare.
God was again teaching me a lesson to fast track my preparation: spend time with Him and He will download resources, insights, ideas, topics, etc. And He did by bringing appropriate extracts from books, articles, bible passages, people, memories, even while we were speaking….all we needed for the different talks to different audiences. I find that the best way to hear from Him quickly and clearly is to pray in tongues during my quiet time and He will tell me what are the “good works prepared in advance for me”.
It is usual for us to ask God for divine appointments everyday so on this trip, with our limited time and energy, He wonderfully arranged for us to meet different people. One meeting started a remarkable chain of events. We attended a ladies bible study group led by Chui Peng a retired principal where we studied the Samaritan woman at the well. We listed the obstacles Jesus had to overcome to reach out to her – their different race, gender, status, reputation, etc.
In applying the lesson, one lady shared how when she observed her maid looking troubled for many days, she offered to pray for her and eventually led her to the Lord. Another shared how she encouraged her Filipino maid to read the bible. It occurred to the ladies that they should consider reaching out to their maids, much like how Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman.
We had taken our in-laws’ recently employed Filipino maid to church already and that day, wanting to apply the lesson myself, I prayed for an opportunity to speak to her. To my pleasant surprise I discovered she had been brought up by her mother to attend church regularly and so she had a good knowledge of the bible. So I connected her to my friend from the bible study group who came the next day with the gift of a bible, promising to follow her up. By applying that day’s lesson, God divinely arranged for all of us to come together. Even more remarkable, we all lived in the same suburb for easy communication!
At Wesley Methodist church, our first home church in Melaka, we met a friend who reminded us that 50 years ago we gave her a lift to church regularly.
It started when Rosie was a young girl who had pimples and came to our beauty salon.
We owned a facial/hairdressing/cosmetics shop, known for effective pimple treatment by using Tek’s medical concoction.
Rosie was paying her bill when she noticed the book I was reading titled “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew. “What an interesting title”, she remarked. From her regular visits we became friends and she joined our church, eventually becoming a Christian.
After we left Melaka she got married and continued attending Wesley, bringing her husband to the Lord. She now has four grown children, all of them Christians and all married godly spouses. She shared she has learnt in all these years that when she drifts away from the Lord she usually meets with stress, problems, illness but when she keeps close to Him, she is healthy, peaceful and joyful. I pray she will teach this precious lesson to the next generation so her whole household will be blessed.
We have tested these God-given principles
Firstly, Tek and I worked as a team in harmony and cooperation, claiming God’s promise in Psalm 133 that “when brethren dwell in unity….. there I will bestow my blessing.”2)Psalm 133:1
It does not matter if we weren’t as prepared as we wanted to, or the projector broke down rendering our power-point useless, or we forgot our notes, etc.
As long as we are in unity, God will bless our effort. Not only that, He will bless the whole meeting.
Secondly we are learning to believe Jesus’ promises even though sometimes we think they are too good to be true. I was praying about how to go from Melaka to the airport to catch our flight back to Perth, a journey of about one and a half hours by car. Five days before our departure, I got the impression to “ask Ps Lee Neo”. I did not follow through, not wanting to bother her. Then we had lunch with her and a member of her church who was a part-time Uber driver. We were happy to use her services. When we asked how much was the fare, she said it was free because we are servants of God! Our last meeting was the Sunday service at their church after which we would go to the airport. Soomy and Cheng from KL were guest speakers in another seminar in the church and when they heard we were going to the airport they offered to drop us off there on their way home to KL. What a divine arrangement! Not to mention the enjoyable fellowship we had in the car as they were avid readers of Asian Beacon.
Back in Perth, I had just finished writing this and taking a break for lunch when Soomy’s whatsapp came. She said, “We had dinner last night with our good friends Dr Chew Poy Hoe and his wife Yuen Wee Mee. We shared how we met a wonderful couple like you and about Asian Beacon. I passed the Asian Beacon magazines given by you to Dr chew to be displayed in his clinic. Like Cheng, they love to read your magazine. Guess what?
Wee Mee showed us a copy of the 1978 Asian Beacon where she contributed an article “The Doubles Club”.*
She and Dr Chew were courting then and now happily married. Wow, they still keep their very old copy of Asian Beacon after 39 years!!!”
We tried to read her article which she had photographed.
The first page was clear enough but the second page was blurred, so I left it aside.
The next day I took dug out our historic bound copy hoping to find that particular issue so that I can read the second page.
To my utter surprise we saw our names there with these words:
“The most interesting session we had was with Dr and Mrs Chong Kwong Tek who shared with us on family planning, in-law problems, family devotions, developing each other’s gifts and talents and understanding each other.
We enjoyed ourselves very much and it was also from this meeting that Goldie suggest that we write an article about our Doubles Club.”
We will definitely follow up with the Chews about what happened to their Doubles Club.
*See The Doubles Club by Yuen Wee Mee in this issue