Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chapter Four - The Valley of Decision

Chapter Four


“Jesus…Saviour… I’m converted…Miracle!”
Father reassured me that he understood what he had done when he prayed to receive Jesus as his personal Saviour.

MAKING A DECISION to receive Jesus as his personal Saviour was something that Father had procrastinated for the most part of his life.

“God only helps those who help themselves,” he used to tell us, his children. For him, pleasure came first. Although he seldom had time for religion, God was always there, watching from afar.

His decision came at the eleventh hour of his life – a decision that he had nothing to lose but everything to gain. By God’s grace, it was never a moment too late. He had accepted Christ exactly fourteen days before passing away. Admittedly, not everyone will enjoy the same grace (a few times he had cheated death), but thanks to the prayers of fellow Christian brothers and sisters from a number of churches, God spared his life. They were all praying for his salvation and his general wellbeing.

The breakthrough came when Father noticed how Christians whom he did not know visited and prayed for him. He also saw the meaning of God’s love in a different light. As I reflect back, I am happy that I had been used as an instrument of God to demonstrate His love for Father. Had I not volunteered to look after him, I would have regretted it for a whole lifetime.

Appeal for Help

The support of believers was crucial in times like this, when a family member was facing imminent death.

“As a son, I will go all out to ask for the support of other believers both in prayer as well as sharing with my father the good news,” I told a cousin. “That is my calling and duty.”

With my wide network of contacts, I managed to garner enough prayer support and concern, mainly by communicating via electronic mail and telephone. For that, I was even ostracised, but what was most important for me at that point in time was my father’s salvation. I could not care less what other people had to say.

In my first electronic mail, which I sent out to my relatives, I wrote:

September 15, 1998 (9:18pm) (Tues)
"Dear Cousins/ Uncles
Some of you have been asking how my Dad is. He's generally fine. However, would appreciate some of you to remember him before the Lord as he is recuperating from a month-long cough. The doctors have to put a probe into the lungs again tomorrow morning just to check what the "little black mark" on the lung is all about. Only then can they decide what to do next. He's currently at Tung Shin Hospital.
It's always in my prayers that he should come to know the Lord before it is too late for him. Please continue to pray."

Just one day later, when I learnt about his condition from Dr Yap at Tung Shin, who treated him, I wrote again to my relatives :-

September 16, 1998 (10.30pm) (Wed)
"Dear Cousins/ Uncles
It's confirmed that Dad is diagnosed of having lung cancer as a result of excessive smoking over the years. The doctor who is attending to my father gave him a maximum of six months to live, but his condition appears to be worsening. A friend of mine passed away last year at the age of 51 in a matter of one month or two when he was already in the final stage of his cancer.
We have kept this away from Dad and will keep it a secret until such time when we feel that he has to know about it.
Agnes/Peter, please continue to pray for his salvation. To lose him in this life is a must anyhow, but to lose him forever is a dread!"

Labour of Love

My pastor at Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church, Rev Law Chee Wah paid him a visit at Ward 610B, and shared very briefly from a Gospel booklet, "The Four Facts of God".

I learnt later, that my Auntie Martina (Father’s youngest auntie) made it a top priority to visit him immediately after returning home from Korea. "Jesus loves you," she told him. "He died for you on the Cross." Her immediate concern was to give her brother a chance to know the way of salvation when she visited him in the hospital

The following morning after Auntie Martina’s visit, Auntie Angeline (Father’s sister-in-law) told me that she also visited Father for a second time on her own. Her cell group had prayed for Father’s salvation.

Father was voicing out his frustration after being hospitalised for some long already, without really knowing the cause of his illness.

"The doctor has checked my condition over and over again," he sighed. "Until now, it is still not very clear what is wrong with me.”

Father paused for a moment, as Auntie Angeline comforted him.

“You see, with my current condition, money cannot buy everything. Money cannot even buy life."

"You are right, Lay Geok," answered Auntie Angeline. "Only God can."

She took the trouble to share the testimony of a few cases of people who were healed of their sicknesses. She wanted to impart hope, although knowing that he had cancer of the lungs.

· Dr Peter Thong - who was healed of lung cancer. There were no symptoms at all, but, Dr Thong felt a strong urge to carry out an X-ray on his lungs. He was operated upon at an early stage before the cancer spread further.
· Dr Koh Eng Kiat - who was healed of prostate cancer. There was no operation, but he simply took medication and continued to believe in God's healing. When he returned to the hospital for another check up, the doctors found no trace of cancer anymore.
· Auntie Liew - an eighty-year-old lady who was very ill with kidney failure in 1984, when an American evangelist, Scott McKinney prayed for her. The Lord healed her. A repeat medical checkup confirmed that she had been completely healed. She was able to live on without having to go for dialysis for the last 15 years.

Before leaving the ward, Auntie Angeline pulled out two booklets from her handbag. One was a booklet, "More Than Gold" which was produced for the Commonwealth Games. The other, a simple pictorial booklet, "Gospel Bridge", published by the Bible Society of Singapore.

Father told her: "I have got the bigger book already. I want the smaller one."

Auntie Angeline stopped after reading the first page of the booklet "Gospel Bridge" about The One True God.

"It's okay," Father assured Auntie Angeline. "I can read myself later."

The Gospel Bridge booklet was folded very nicely on page 29, where it referred to the `Old Man' and `New Man'. No one knows whether Father had read until that page, but it was obvious that someone must have folded it there.

As I refer back to the booklet, it appeared that he had come to the stage of understanding why Christ had died on the Cross, His glorious resurrection, and about our need for salvation. He somehow stopped short of praying to receive Christ as his personal Saviour.

God continued to prompt him further. Three other sisters-in-Christ from Grace Church Kepong and Kuala Lumpur Baptist visited him at the hospital. Mrs Mary Choy, Lai Kuan and an old lady of 89-year-old, whom we called "Koo-por" (Gracious Old Lady) also visited Father together with me one evening.

Lai Kuan shared her own testimony – how God had miraculously helped her in her crisis.

“I was working as a guest relations at a pub,” she related her own life experience. “My face has been marred by some very unscrupulous people. Life to me was meaningless. I even wanted to commit suicide at one stage. That was the time when I found Christ. He has made the difference in my life.”

Father was lying down, resting as he listened to Lai Kuan’s testimony. I noticed that he was not serious with what he heard. Occasionally, he just nodded his head, half-agreeing with what he heard.

Lai Kuan went on to explain the Gospel. “We have all sinned against God. God's love, however, was demonstrated when Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, was crucified on the cross for our sins. The good news is that He was raised from the dead, our hope for eternal life in heaven.”

Father objected: “I have not committed any crime.”

“Sin is not only about the wrong things that we do, but the very nature that we inherited from our forefathers, tracing back to the first parents, Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God. Sin is disobedience to God and His laws. We are estranged from His presence because of our sins,” explained Mary.

Koo Por interrupted: “Mr Ng, I have personally believed in Jesus many years now. I am 89, and I can testify that God has been really good to me.”

Incessant Prayers

Two days later, I wrote again to my relatives:-

September 19, 1998 (7:51 pm) (Sat)
"We have listened to the diagnosis by the doctor, Dr Yap Boon Hung, of Tung Shin Hospital:-

(1) Again, the diagnosis is clear: The "black marks" on the lungs are clearly lung cancer. It is not only one black spot, but "diffused" throughout both the left and right lungs. This is obvious on the CAT scan.
(2) It is not possible to operate on Dad. His heart is still "weak", according to the doctor.
(3) It is not possible to carry out any radiotherapy (irradiation) to burn off the affected area, as the cancer is too widespread.
(4) The doctor gave him between one month to a year to live)
(5) On coming Monday, the doctor hopes to carry out bronchoscopy to test out the lung tissues (to confirm his diagnosis). At present, looking from the scan, he's already 80 per cent confident that it is lung cancer.
(6) The doctor will resort to prescribe TB medication first, since he was also tested positive for TB.
(7) Given the condition of his heart, it is either the lungs or the heart that will give way first.

This is the latest on Dad's condition. We do not plan to let him know his condition yet, until such time when he is ready for it. That will have to be done with everyone in the family around with him, plus some close relatives. Uncle Billy has agreed to be around to talk to him as well. My only desire at this point in time is to help him see what lies ahead of him, beyond this life. I cannot bear the thought of losing him.

Ultimately, it will be a decision that he has to make himself, even at the very last minute."

I followed up with another electronic mail to some brothers and sisters in Christ whom I knew would pray along with me: -

September 20, 1998 (8.16am) (Sun)

"Please pray for my Dad's salvation.

The doctors have diagnosed lung cancer, which means that he will live between one to six months, and at most, one year. Meanwhile, he also has a weak heart.

I've been praying for the last 18 years for his salvation...practically every night, without fail.

Would you also join me in your prayers as well to pray for his salvation?

Ng Lay Geok
Age: 66
Currently, being warded at Tung Shin Hospital.


My Christian brothers and sisters, who replied, expressed their concerns and assured me of their prayer support. It was encouraging to learn later that there were many churches that were upholding my father in prayer. On Father's funeral day, I was personally very touched to learn from a dear cousin, Tan Kar Seng, who told me that his church had also upheld Father in prayer.

As far as I know, both individuals and prayer cells were remembering him in their prayers. Auntie Martina said her prayer cell had been praying for my father. So, did my Auntie Angeline, whose cell group in her house had also remembered Father in prayer.

The Decision

On Saturday night of September 26, I felt the Lord directing me to lead my father in the sinner's prayer. I felt strongly that Father was waiting for me to make that invitation. He had heard the Gospel several times already by now. It was really now up to him whether he wanted to make a decision for Christ or not. As his son, it was only appropriate for me to lead him in the sinner's prayer instead of an outsider! I knew it was both my privilege and responsibility to ensure that Father prayed to receive Christ as his personal Saviour.

Mother had earlier asked me to look after him on Sunday morning of September 27, as she was planning to go to the market with my sister, Su Li.

I had one hour of undistracted privacy with my father alone that morning before going to Church. I made the invitation: "Father, you have already heard the Gospel a number of times already. Have you decided to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour?"

I sensed that he was again postponing his decision. I repeated my invitation: "Perhaps, you want to consider this again. If you want to accept Jesus as your Saviour, you can follow me in prayer."

He extended both hands while bending over towards me. I held his hands, closed my eyes, and started to lead him in prayer. It was a pretty long prayer. At certain point, especially when I thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins, Father paused for quite a while before repeating after me. Finally, he said after me, “Amen.” I looked up to see his face.

"How do you feel inside you? Do you have peace in your heart, right now?" I asked. There was a little nod, but no words were uttered. By now, he was already in pain.

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