Meeting before we go to heaven
By Tek & Goldie Chong
Having attended two funerals recently where we met several old friends whom we haven’t seen for years prompted us to organize a “living funeral – celebration of life” while we are still alive and able to interact with them. What is the use of their coming when we are in our coffins? It’s much better to see them and talk to them while we still can. So, on a Sunday afternoon on 8 Oct. we had a reunion of our first church’s youth, the Agape youth fellowship in Full Gospel Assembly Perth which the Chong brothers Kwong Wai and Kwong Tek started almost 30 years ago. Patrick and Joyce Chen who were the Agape pastors helped to organize it in their beautiful church, the Zion Praise Harvest Hub.
We got the idea of having a “living funeral” from the movie called “The Waterman” in which the protagonist, knowing his life was coming to an end from cancer decided that he would hold his funeral while he was still living. We thought this was a brilliant idea and so did those who came to the gathering. Not only did we get to renew our precious friendship, many who came were also able to update one another too. So, the gathering was like a funeral service where old friends got to catch up with one another and remember the good old times. The beautiful thing was we were all alive and can enjoy one another’s company.
We appreciated all who made an effort to come especially after a busy Sunday service. Vincent & Wai Chee left their visiting parents to attend. Some sacrificed their usual Sunday afternoon naps, (some of our ‘youths’ have passed their half century birthdays). Everyone brought refreshments to share. Many managed to persuade their teenage children to “come meet daddy/mummy’s old friends.”
We started the program with Roger Lee leading us on his guitar singing “We’re together again, just praising the Lord.” Then we got into small groups with people we have not met for a long time to catch up. Many of these “youths” are blessed with good professions, in positions of influence, making a Christian impact in the workplace and serving in their church and community. It was encouraging to hear their sharing of what they learnt from their Agape days. Jimmy Ong shared how as an 11-year old Vietnamese refugee, leaving his family, he got on a boat to Australia, crying for days. How grateful he was that the Agape community prevented him from being led into gangs and crime (which some of his contemporaries did) but into the Kingdom of God. His wife Tanya thanked Agape for training up a good husband for her. David Woo shared what his mother told her children,“ When I die, don’t come to my grave to tell me how much you love me and how much you miss me, because those are the words I want to hear while I’m still alive.” He then said with tears, “on behalf of the Agape we say ‘We love you’.” He included other mentors Chong Kwong Wai and Siew Ngo, the co-founders of FGA and Patrick and Joyce Chen the first Agape pastors.
Tek summarized the teaching that FGA tried to impart and urged them to continue to practise these lessons::
The priesthood of all believers
Family enrichment in marriage, parenting
Marketplace ministry by using their jobs and positions to share the good news in their workplaces
Attending small groups to have bible study and participate in fellowship with Christians
Goldie added that from their experience of enjoying a strong marriage for 52 years, she urged them to pray together every day because God will fulfil His promise that “when two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I in their midst”. God will bless and strengthen their marriage when they seek Him together.
The happy event ended way past the intended time with Roger leading us in a worship song and the group praying for us. We hope there will be more similar gatherings in the future before the big reunion in heaven.