Jul 7, 2010
In Memory of ....
A Legend, for Christ, for everyone.
Recently we have a family gathering at my cousin's place at Bishan, Singapore. To celebrate my aunt's 70th Birthday. I chanced upon a book and ask Aunty about it and she said it was written and compiled by the church in USA in memory of our late uncle Daniel Chen. Testimonies and writing of his work and by others whom he has inspired and touched so many people that they pooled together and wrote a book in memory of him.
As I flipped thru the pages, I was surprised that my last words to him was also published. Which my cousin, Dagmar read at his funeral wake. Dagmar emailed us all asking us to write a short note for her to read it out loud during church service. I remember writing something on behalf of everyone here in Singapore.
This is what I wrote, published in this book. I hope you can read the words.
This is the book the church in USA published in memory of him. It was mainly in Chinese with some pages in English. Especially those pages written by his two Daughters, Jenny and Joy. The memories of their daddy, who he was to them and how he inspired them to be soldiers for Christ.
My uncle, Daniel Chen was a god-fearing man. And lived his days serving God in the ways he knows. When he moved to USA with his wife, my aunt Katherine, he was already serving God in small ways. With time and space, God moved him to serve him in church full time.
I never quite understood about the tremendous work he did in USA. But I remembered fondly how he was an uncle to me..from afar. Despite the distance, he loved all of us and knew what we were doing. Aunty Katherine would ring my mom and chatted over the phone..just to find out who is doing what. All the other siblings of my aunt would update her with photos of new borns in the family, who is in school, who just found a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
When I met Benny, Aunty Katherine and Uncle Daniel prayed that I found the right guy. I remembered when I had Natasha, I was going through a very difficult pregnancy..Uncle Daniel fasted and prayed for us. Whenever anyone of us in Singapore was in need, Uncle Daniel never failed to pray for us. If we are ill, he prayed for God's healing, if we are sad, he prayed for comfort. If we are anxious about our exams and school results, he prayed for peace from God.
Whenever he visited Singapore through the ministries he was hosting or invited to, he made a point to visit us all, dine with us and prayed with us. Time and time again, he shared many Godly testimonies of life, of little ventures, of failures and often said that God is merciful, He sees all, hears all and heals all. If only we know that we only need to seek Him in prayer. He will answer each and everyone of them.
In all my years of growing up and knowing Uncle Daniel, I never once see him in tears or anguish, nor sad or unhappy. He wears a smile on his face..all the time!
When we were on our honeymoon to USA in 1988, we stayed in Holiday Inn, LA. It was winter and very cold. Uncle Daniel drove Aunty Katherine to our hotel just to meet us. Just even just to say Hello and to give us a big hug. That was the Uncle I knew. Who never cared about weather or bitter winter coldness, all he could think of was "my little niece is in town, I got to go and meet her". In his eyes, I was always that little niece he knew.
When Natasha was born, he pass by Singapore during one of the transits visits to Asia. He took some time off to visit us and carried Natasha for hours on end. Natasha warmed up to him immediately. Because Uncle Daniel was a gentle and loving man. He adored her and said to me "Its like when I was carrying Jenny when she was a baby".
We knew from the depths of our hearts that he was a great dad. And loved all children, his and others alike. That was how he was able to serve in the children's ministries for years. And taught many to serve in the Children's ministries.
He contracted cancer in the colon in 2001. I remembered I was still working. All I could think of and felt was tears. How could someone like him had cancer? I know all of us in Singapore cried for him. And was worried for him.
Uncle Andrew sponsored his trip to Singapore to visit us for a month. It is through this visit he tells us that he does not fear death because it meant that he is going to meet his Boss, the one who have been blessing him and give him big fat bonus every year. Even so, uncle Daniel was cheerful and told us not to fear or worry for him. Because he was working for God and God will keep him safe, keep him well.
He had to finish his works for God. To teach and to inspire young people to serve God in the field. And he went on to sing Christian songs for children.
He told us to be brave, not for ourselves. But also for others. To have illness of any kind, is to be human. Because God made us humans. Sickness and health comes to all. Just as the rain that falls on good ground and bad. Good things come to all, just like bad things come to all too. While its easy to blame and point fingers, we must not fall into this trap. But to take stock of whatever time we are left with, how to use it effectively, fruitfully and spend every minute doing the things for others.
He left us with his inspirations, his hopes and he stopped chemotherapy and left his pain and illness to God. The doctors and physicans who took care of him told him without treatment, his life would end in a manner of 6 months to 1 year. But he proved to them that God decides when and where and how.
Uncle Daniel continued to live his life fruitfully for another 3 years or so. Enough time for him to walk down the aisle with Jenny when she married Jason. And for him to witness and enjoy Grand-daddy-iness with Nathan, his grandson. Even so, to approve the marriage of his other daughter, Joy to Josh.
He never show fear of death and never once told us he was worried about death. He once said that he only fear that his wife, aunty Katherine will be lonely without him. He only worries for her.
Even to the last moments of his life, Uncle Daniel praised God and lift up his hands to surrender to God. When news of his death reaches Singapore, my mom wept unconsolably. She adored him and loved him as if he was her baby brother. My mom spent many days in tears for him. We had to consoled her and told her that he's now in a better place, no pain and he will be waiting for us on the other end.
Even in this book, there was photo of him with my mom. My mom loved him dearly. And Thank God I was able to bring her to visit him in mid 1996 in California, USA where they stayed.
One of the things he left with us was his legacy, and we must remember always to give thanks to God. For all good things and also for bad things. Because it is through "bad things" we are better. We know what to do, what not to do. We learn to give more. And we loved more. And we learn to take stock of life and all its insecurities and look up and forward. To inspire everyone with whom we passed by along the way.
May you be Blessed by God..
Thank you, Uncle Daniel, for teaching us and blessing us. Even now, from up there, we know you still watches over us.