[Interesting Adventures] Cherish Your Loved Ones
Author: Ancy Lee
Translator: Pius Lee
In recent days, I entertained special nostalgia about several members of my family. Hereafter, allow me to share them.
Boldly pray for grandpa
In the February issue titled “Mom braved the oceans to seek her parents”, I mentioned the anecdote that I prayed at my grandfather’s hospital bed for his healing. It was unthinkable that it was both my second and last opportunity to see him. My mind still had a clear and vivid recollection of his aged, frail, slim, and pale face accentuated by his sophisticated spectacle’s golden frame. Nonetheless, I am grateful that I am privileged to grab hold of that opportunity to present to him the Lord Jesus and pray for the healing of his physical ailment.
Dad’s piety towards grandma was vindicated
In that issue I accounted how grandpa deserted grandma. Grandma later raised 6 children single handedly and experienced much hardship in her life. In my childhood impression, grandma had a stately frame of 5 feet 5 inches customarily dressed in the traditional Chinese side-buttoned blouse; kind and generous towards friends, colleagues and acquaintances. She had many wealthy friends and colleagues.
Occasionally, grandma visited us with no advance notice. She always came in a rickshaw. We were so thrilled every time she came. I was the official errand girl who rushed to a nearby coffee shop to buy a cup of steam hot coffee and prepared an ice-capped lychee dessert for grandma. Nonetheless, grandma would skilfully decline dad’s invitation despite his pleading earnestly to her to stay for dinner every time. Dad became devastated. In my recollection, grandma never ate dinner at our home.
Dad’s old stigma of a poor son-in-law was unerasable in grandma’s mind. Unexpectedly, grandma changed her tone — not long before her passing-away that: ‘dad was her “best son-in-law” closest to her heart.’ They were such heart-warming and sweet words, dad felt comforted and vindicated.
Big red envelope
Every Lunar New Year, we visited grandma as our first priority in our new-year greeting visits. Grandma had many relatives and friends and her home was a jubilant place. We loved her generous red envelope. The monetary content of her single red-envelope to me surpassed the monetary contents of all my other envelopes combined. Her habitual generosity was even reflected in her family cat as it was exceedingly overweight. Once, I was stunned by a simple unmindful event at her home. Grandma threw a large piece of roasted pork to the family cat crouching near her as if it was habitually so. I was jealous of the cat as it was a remote luxury for me to enjoy such a large piece of roast pork all to myself. Sadly, later on the cat was slaughtered and consumed as a delicacy by a group of destitute homeless people.
Have not heard, how to believe; have not believed, how to preach
Grandma passed away nearly two decades earlier than grandpa. In 1977 grandma was diagnosed with blood cancer. I accompanied mom to visit her in the hospital and eye-witnessed that she suffered excruciating pain, fear, and struggles. Several months later, mom and I visited a funeral home to view grandma in her casket. The last encounter with grandma etched vividly in my memory. I regretted deeply that I was too young and grandma died before I came to know the Creator who loves all mankind. There exists the following words in the Bible: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7); and “As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).
Visiting grandma on dad’s side in her hometown
In the summer of 1988, my parents brought us 4 siblings to Mainland China to visit relatives with a rather lengthened layover in Hong Kong. This was our first experience setting foot on Hong Kong and the Mainland. We were thrilled and filled with curiosity.
Grandma on dad’s side lived with one of her grandson’s (our cousin’s) family of five. Our cousin was a farmer and their home had no private toilet nor bath. The public toilet and bath had no running water. There was a water distribution system but the taps leading to the public bath and their home were having extremely low water pressure and was trickling down a thin thread of water continually. Their home was dimly lit. It had no electric fan. There came occasional stenches of manure from the septic ditches. There were mosquitoes, insects, cockroaches, spiders everywhere. The most unbearable was the suffocating hanging bed-mosquito-nets that compounded to the sweltering heat. We could not soundly fall asleep because of the heat and the brutal bites of bed bugs. Finally, we rather wiped clean and slept on the bedroom’s cool concrete floor.
Grandma was deceived that all faiths converge
Grandma was sharp and healthy. Her physique was small and humped. She pushed about a hand-made stool as a walker to get around. Her mind was very sharp and was independent enough to take care of her own hygiene, daily cooking and diet. Her speech was clear and distinct. She did not wear reading glasses and could read fine-print scripts. However, grandma had lost much of her hearing. It required us to talk loudly to her next to her ears. How proud was our sweet grandma who spared two strings of plastic bead necklaces for her granddaughters. One fateful night, she beckoned us to come to her room and she handed us the necklaces. Unfortunately, the strings crumbled due to years of weathering as she put them in our hands and the beads bounced away right in front of our eyes — what a heartbreak for her.
One night as dad passed grandma’s room to use the bathroom, he saw her room filled with smoke. Dad thought it was a fire outbreak. Dad rushed into grandma’s room and saw grandma was burning idol worship fake-money. She noticed somebody intruded into her room and she shuffled the pot of burning fake-money underneath her bed. How hazardous was it! Dad was scared. Grandma knew her son was a Christian and probably feared that he would not approve her ritual therefore she did it in the middle of the night in her bedroom.
During our three weeks living with grandma, we frequently shared with her that Jesus was love and believing in Him assured her eternal life in heaven. One day as I was urging her on the same message, she replied: “Grandma wishes all my descendants to be Christians. However, grandma is advanced in age, and it is not necessary for me to change to believe in God. That does not matter. We will be neighbors in heaven. There are two chimneys in heaven. Buddhism chimney spews black smoke and Christianity chimney spews white smoke. There is interaction between the neighbors.” I was speechless. I was too slow in responding to grandma. Two years later, and after numerous falls, grandma became bed-bound and soon passed away. She was 95 years of age.
Jesus came to the world: all who believe will not perish but have everlasting life
I have thought about “The Heaven Question” at length. Many of its answers can be found in the Bible. God so loved every person of the world that He sent Jesus, His Son to the world. Jesus died for sinners, was raised and ascended to heaven. Man must accept and believe in God’s son, repent and turn away from his sins to receive the forgiveness of sins. That results in our exemption from death; that is an exemption from “eternal death”. Contrariwise, he will receive eternal life; that is “*eternal heavenly blessing”. Jesus is the only way, the only truth (Holy Scripture), and the only Lord who gives life that through Him alone, one can come to the Father who resides in the “eternal heaven”.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ’” (John 14:6)
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
*Readers can resort to the article “Great Question: How is heaven?” in the March 2023 issue.
(article in Chinese)
Author: Mrs. Thuyen-Anh (Ancy) Lee was born in Vietnam. She immigrated and was educated in Sweden as a teenager. Her profession was social work until she married Pius in 1994. The couple responded to the calling to be ministers and relocated to NY in 2023.