This is the time of the year for family gatherings, and I am fortunate and blessed to be able to participate in the combined ladies year-end party for the first time on 15th November, 2016 at GMC, Jalan Baiduri, Miri.
The fellowship hall was enveloped with sweet smiles, cheerfulness and joy as we greeted and hugged each other with love. I was amazed by the lively worship led by Ms Rachel Ling who was endowed with a sweet and wonderful voice. This was followed by a “getting-to- know-you” session where each one of us was invited to stand in front and do a self-introduction to the crowd. The delicious cakes and dishes prepared and shared by the gifted sisters was indeed beyond description.
Though I would wish to share my late husband’s passing to inspire others to receive salvation in Jesus Christ during the self-introduction session, I was afraid that my emotions will get caught in my throat. Furthermore, I would not wish to dampen the lively atmosphere and spirit of this gathering. However, Rev Lenita Tiong’s invitation to “write something about this gathering”, encouraged me to pen this off in writing for the first time also, with the fervent hope that this will encourage those who are still hesitating to accept this free gift of God’s salvation for all mankind to believe in Jesus and accept this free gift as “He is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him” (John 14:6).
As Rev Lenita shared on the theme of “Christmas” which is a time of joy for many, I was emotionally overcome as it’s a painful reminder of the unexpected passing of my late husband without a farewell on that fateful day of 11-07-2016, leaving behind me and my four children. His parting words to me were “life still has to go on”. I was devastated and heart-broken but took comfort that he accepted Christ as his saviour when Rev Lenita shared with him the Good News just a couple of hours before he left this earthly world peacefully. My younger daughter, Esther shared during the wake service that she experienced a warmth sensation over her shoulders when God came to take her papa away. That feeling of warmth just disappeared when her papa who was still holding onto the wooden cross given by Rev Lenita breathed his last. True to what Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us that “God has made everything beautiful in its time”, his passing coincided with my children’s respective universities and school’s vacation break. Sincere appreciation of thanks goes to Rev Lenita, Rev Ling Man Hsi, Rev Lotus Yap and all my dear sisters in Christ from GMC, Mei Ann and Yi En Methodist Church who have been there for us in our moment of grief.
Although I do still occasionally experience the sting of grief, I know that I could only trust in the love and provision of God as “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39). Although particular circumstances may seem cause for sadness and despair, Christmas reminds us that Our Heavenly Father loved us enough to send Jesus Christ to save us and that He is still present with us.
Stephanie Ho, GMC, Miri