By Dn Elaine Ng
As some of you may know, I recently lost my mum. God called her home on 5 May 2021, a few days before Mother’s Day and 10 days before her 79th birthday. As this will be published on the weekend of Mum’s birthday, I would like to share some of the lessons I have learnt from her life and faith journey as a tribute to and in loving memory of her, the late Madam Yeo Kin Choo. I hope it will encourage you to live a life of faith and to pray without ceasing.
Having been educated in a missions school, Mum became a Christian as a youth. She met Pa who was initially a pre-Christian but eventually became a believer before they got married. After they had kids, they stopped attending any church regularly. Their first acquired home was at 47 Jalan Mas Puteh. If that address sounds familiar, it is because it is 3 doors away from 41 Jalan Mas Puteh, one of our church’s properties. Back then, Mum attended very occasionally and Pa even less so. Nonetheless, they did not object to my brothers and me attending the weekly junior Sunday school, even when services moved to other locations. My parents started to attend the church closer to our second home. Mum taught at their Junior Sunday School for a number of years and was also active in the Ladies Ministry and CG equivalent until her hearing impairment worsened causing her to withdraw socially. Mum modelled for her children a life of serving God as a worshipful and loving response to who He is and His gift of salvation.
Mum contracted nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) in 1986. Back then, the local hospitals recommended that she go to Hong Kong for the treatment and I recall us kids being quite confused. But the lasting memory from that cancer episode is that Mum pleaded with God that she would be healed to see her 3 children, then aged between 13-17, grow up, graduate and get married. God not only heard and healed her, He blessed her more than she could ask for or imagine. Doctors will hesitate to say that anyone is really cured from cancer, but that the patients are in remission (and we have heard of many incidents of recurrence). Mum was declared cured by her doctor after 20 years of being cancer free and at her wake, an ENT friend remarked that she may have been the longest surviving NPC survivor he is aware of. At her passing, Mum even had 6 grandchildren.
Grateful for what she had been blessed with, Mum sought to provide support to other cancer sufferers by sharing with them her testimony and praying with them. She saw that as one of the purposes of Christ healing her. Mum also modelled a prayerful life, never ceasing to pray (we all have a mental image of her in her favourite chair reading the Bible, praying, sleeping and praying again!) and letting each of her loved ones know that she was praying for us. Little surprise that one of her favourite hymns was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. At her wake, her ex-colleague shared with us that earlier that day, she had dreamt of Mum telling her 3 times, “Never stop praying for your children and grandchildren.” It was something Mum used to tell her whenever they met. I don’t think I have the same fervour or consistency yet as Mum but that is the legacy she left for me. I feel I must up my game here, to honour her by honouring the Lord to whom she regularly turned to in prayerful conversations, and for me to do likewise.
It was heart-breaking to see her health and mental agility deteriorate in the past 3 years but I am grateful that because of Covid-19, I got to spend a lot of time with her in her final year. I thank God for her love, her life of faith and her prayerful influence over my life. Even in her death, we were reminded that like her, we must fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith, a recurring theme of the eulogies (2 Tim 4:7). May we all be found faithful, as she was.