Everyone was asleep except mother. She was tortured by the blatant betrayal of trust and infidelity of her own husband, my father, who had pledged unchanging everlasting love at their marriage. Having been pressured to accept his polygamy, she tasted the bitterness of shattered dreams of a blissful marriage with an ideal family headed by a successful businessman. All her painstaking efforts in building a dream family had turned futile and meaningless.
That night, driven to deep dark despair she made herself a concentrated solution of caustic soda. Weeping uncontrollably she gazed at her three small sleeping children. Seating herself at the edge of the bed she lifted the cup of poison to her lips.
Lo and behold…her eyes fell on the Bible placed on top of the clothes cabinet! Memories of yesteryears flooded her mind… She recalled how Pastor Ma Tham Soon of Kuala Lumpur Chinese Gospel Hall (on the instructions of her brother) brought that holy Book to her, urging her to read it. She remembered also how her own younger brother, Joshua Kwok Shiu Pan came to believe in Jesus during the Japanese Occupation… memories returned…
Mother was then craving for beef as she was expecting her first baby. My father, then a loving doting husband, braved the perils of war-time and got my uncle Joshua to accompany him on bicycle to look for a beef stall.
They eventually found a Mrs Tay who sold beef. As she served them, the godly Christian lady told them to call on the Name of Jesus, saying that He was the only One who could truly save in such dangerous times of war. She then thrust a New Testament into my uncle’s hand, urging him to read it.
That night the Japanese soldiers conducted the “Sook Ching” or “Clean Up” operation to root out all anti-Japanese elements. Searching house by house, dozens (including my father and uncle) were dragged to the Pudu Jail for interrogation. Some including my father were released. The others were marked on the fore-head. It soon dawned on uncle Joshua that they, including himself, were marked for execution by firing squad! As they were being marched out to the field he panicked but remembered what Mrs Tay said and closed his eyes tight and started muttering aloud distress calls to Jesus. On opening his eyes he found himself completely shadowed by a big fat tall chap who was not present in the interrogation room! Uncle Joshua being short and slim stood right behind the “giant” when lined up. On hearing the first shot at the end of the row, uncle instinctively squatted, turned around to face the edge of the field and managed to crawl undetected behind some bushes and out through barbed wires. He kept thanking Jesus for saving his life! Arriving home he read the New Testament from Mrs Tay repeatedly and decided there and then to trust in Jesus. Thus salvation first came to the Kwok family.
When war ended uncle Joshua found a church to learn more about Christ and got baptised, but soon had to return to Hong Kong where my grandparents were expecting him home.
Before leaving, he requested Pastor Ma to visit my mother with a Bible. Mother, then steeped in idol worship and busy with raising a family, paid little attention and stowed the Bible away.
That night before attempting suicide she recalled the urging to read the Bible. “Let me see what my brother wants me to know before I die”. With this thought she put down the poisoned drink, took down the Bible and read John 3:16! The last eight words of this verse held out the tremendous promise of “everlasting life!” Wow! She could not put down the Bible and kept reading till the Book of Romans. She was beginning to be transformed by God’s Word and His Spirit as the light of Gospel truth shone into her darkened soul bringing hope, peace and joy with faith and God’s love. She subsequently visited Pastor Ma who brought her to full commitment to and complete trust in the Lord Jesus. What a marvellous life-transforming experience as she learnt to follow Jesus day by day and be a dutiful wife and a caring mother to all her six children. She brought up all her children prayerfully, nurturing and leading them in the Lord’s ways despite strong opposition from and severe persecution by my father. Two of my brothers are now pastors. All Glory to God and Christ our Saviour!
By Mrs Leong-Lian King Teng (YCKC Bulletin 9&10 May 2015)