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Testimony of Thanksgiving: My Brother's Homegoing

By Magdalene Wong

Photo by Davies Designs Studio on Unsplash

As I reflect on my brother’s passing, I give all praise, glory, thanksgiving, and honour to God. I am most thankful to God for the beautiful work He has done in my brother’s life during his 14-year journey as a stroke patient.

When I was 15 years old, my new found faith in my Lord Jesus Christ brought me abundant joy. I enjoyed going to church and reading a small Bible with a red cover. My brother noticed that I had been attending church, and caught me reading the Gospel of John during study time in my room one day. I was prepared for my brother to scold me, but he left the room without any comment. Subsequently, my brother also noticed that I had not gone to church after four weeks of consecutive attendance. So on the 5th Sunday, he asked why I was not in church and I explained to my brother that it was due to our parents’ objection. He kindly offered to speak on my behalf to get my parents’ permission for me to attend church every Sunday. I sincerely thank God for making my brother instrumental to my Christian faith. Since then, I have been praying for my siblings to know Jesus as their Saviour. I truly believe this long journey of my brother’s suffering for 14 years was ordained by God. He was strongly against Christianity, and placed his trust in his health, wealth and ability. So God had to use this trial in his life to turn his heart back to Him. The times spent with my brother were most memorable. My initial frequent visits started with reading both local and foreign news and praying for his healing.

Subsequently, I decided to boldly share the good news of Jesus who came to redeem sinners and other interesting Bible stories which challenged his heart. A few years later, my brother acknowledged Christ as his Saviour. Seeing my brother say the sinner’s prayer was like watching a child recite the prayer word for word with a “child-like faith”. Subsequently, I started reading a portion of the Scriptures each time, and eventually my brother managed to memorise parts of the verse from John 3:16. At the end of most prayers, he would say “amen”. My brother and I would also sing hymns together. Two of his favourite hymns were sung during the wake and vigil services. They are “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” and “How Can I Fear” – both which have very comforting and encouraging lyrics. For the past two years, my brother was gravely depressed and refused to talk. Yet, on several occasions, he would lift up his hand to confirm his belief in Jesus as his Saviour. I often reminded my brother that he was my “hero” because he was instrumental to my Christian faith. He remembered that incident and would occasionally smile proudly . A book which Pastor Tan loaned to me when he visited my brother at ICU in 2008, titled “The Promise — How God Works All Things Together For Good” was something that I could not make sense of at first. At the time, I was not ready to read the book and could not reconcile what was happening in my brother’s life with the verse Romans 8:28, which says

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.

However, faith makes sense only when we prayerfully reflect on the past events. After 14 years, I fully understand God’s divine intervention working in my brother’s life as I’ve watched him go through pain and suffering, get to know His Creator and Saviour, and finally receive salvation in Christ Jesus. This is the purpose God has fulfilled to His praise and glory. In December 2021, my brother had a second stroke and was fitted permanently with a feeding tube. It seemed meaningless to continue living in this manner. So from January this year, I started praying for God’s mercy and His will to be done in my brother’s life. In addition, I boldly prayed that we could hold a Christian funeral when the Lord called him home. However, the first two attempts to get approval from my nephew to conduct my brother’s baptism were to no avail. “Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer nor his mercy from me.” (Psalm 66:20) Last Thursday, my brother was baptised and was called home to glory two days later, 10 September. I thank God for hearing and answering my prayers and closing the chapter of my brother’s life through a Christian funeral, to the praise and honour of His Name. Praise God for this journey with my brother. Without Christ, we can do nothing. Through it all, we are sustained with God’s love, mercy, grace, peace, joy, strength and wisdom. I love my brother dearly and rejoice that he is now resting in the eternal presence, peace, and joy with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is my acknowledgment of thanks to the following people:

· Pastor Tan for his prayer support, together with brethren attending the Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, my prayer band group and prayer warrior group, who faithfully prayed alongside with us.

· Rev Andrew Seet, for his faithful ministry with my brother.

· My nephew, Eugene, for allowing me freely to share the Word of God with my brother.

· And a special thanks to my brother’s maid, Angie, for her devoted service to my brother. She is indeed a God-sent helper.

I am sure my brother is in awe at this very moment as he meets His Saviour Jesus Christ face to face. Also, he is in the wonderful paradise God has promised to all who believe in Jesus. With that, I say to my dear brother, till we meet again in heaven. To God Be The Glory!

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