The late Sis Lily Ang ( 1920 – 2013 )
A Tribute : A life well lived in Christ Jesus
The late sister Lily Ang was called home to be with the Lord on 13th February 2013, the third day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. She was born in 1920 to a pastor’s family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
We were gathered together as a church family to celebrate her 93 good years on earth. She has lived a long and fruitful life, having raised six children and many grand children. In her lifetime, she has experienced World War 2 (two) and has survived the war to relate her story to the writer before she was called home.
Sister Lily was born into a Christian family. Her father was a Methodist pastor. As a child, she remembered growing up mostly attending church and learned much about the Christian faith from her parents. She has received Jesus Christ into her life when she was around 12 years old. She remembered her father as a kind and loving man. He was a man of prayer and he was very dedicated to the church and the work of God. Her formative years in faith as a young girl in a devout Christian home would eventually be fully tested in her later years as she went through two marriages and bringing up her family through World War 2 in Hong Kong and Malaysia.
As she relates her story to me, her grandmother was a rich lady in 1920 to 1940’s and she sponsored Lily to Hong Kong for her primary English education. At that time Malaysia was still a rural country and her grandmother was rich enough to send her there. In Hong Kong, she met her first husband and was married at the age of 18 years old. Her husband passed away early due to illness and she was left alone to raise her kids as a widow. In the year 1941, Japan invaded Hong Kong during World War 2. She and the children had to flee Hong Kong on a steamship back to her family in Malaysia. By God’s grace, the family managed to return to Malaysia safely. Later on in the war, Malaysia was also invaded by the Japanese. She subsequently remarried in Malaysia. God blessed her with more children from the second marriage.
During the war, she told me that her life was full of uncertainties but the strong presence of the Lord was always with her, to provide and care for the family. Jobs were hard to come by. She had to live on whatever savings she had at that time. Poverty and destruction was evident everywhere in the country during the war. She solely depended on the Lord Jesus Christ to lead and provide for her family. And from the age of 30 to 75 years old, she has diligently served the Lord and cared for the family of God. Sister Lily was a talented piano teacher and a worshiper in church. As you read this tribute, I invite you to open your hearts to know the loving God of her life and how the life of sister Lily was well lived in Christ Jesus.
The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalms 23:1-2)
Her father, being a Methodist pastor, has taught her to pray often and learned to build a relationship with her Heavenly Father. In her young days, she knew that the Lord has provided abundantly for her family and that her good English education in Hong Kong was divinely provided. Lily knew that all her blessings came from the Lord. Throughout her life, she always talks to her God and Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that our God is the good Shepherd. He will lead us to green pastures and quiet waters. He knows us by name and He lays down His life for us on the cross of Calvary so that our sins can be forgiven and be reconciled back to God. The ransom for our sins was paid by the blood of Jesus and we can now come freely to the throne of God to ask for mercy and grace in our times of need. Lily’s life was an example of following and trusting her Good Shepherd through the “mountains and valleys” of her life. And for 93 fruitful years on earth and bringing up so many capable and successful children, this is indeed a grace of God in her life. It can only come through the faithful and loving Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The “World Over-Comer” living in her
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Lily’s life was not without challenges. There were times in her life when she felt totally helpless and unable to bear the weight of her struggles on her own. The family needed money to buy food on the table. The children had to go to school. The young family had to live through a major world war and was filled with so much fear and uncertainties. People everywhere was scattering and migrating to other countries. Transport system was very slow then and the trip from Hong Kong to Malaysia by steamship took around one month sailing time. Through it all, Lily experienced the peace as the Lord directed her life. The peace that the Lord gave to her was a peace that surpasses all understanding. She gained her courage and confidence that wherever she went; the Lord was always with her and her family. She relied totally on the Lord Jesus to guide her safely and provide for the family through World War 2 in Malaysia and all the years ahead. The “World Over-comer” was her Shepherd and He has lived in her since she was a young girl when she had opened her heart for the Living God to come into her life.
Serving God and the Family of Believers
Even though Lily had her fair share of struggles in her life, she did not forget to serve God in His Kingdom work. While bringing up her family in Malaysia after World War 2, she was miraculously provided for and sent to England to take up music. In England, she took up piano lessons and later was qualified to teach. Having graduated in music in her 30’s, she became a full-time piano teacher. Over the years she had trained many students and many still remembered her and they were here for the memorial service. The musical talent was much needed in churches then. She began to serve and teach many young musicians in church. Every weekend and public holidays, she would be there in church with her family. One of her favorite hymns was “Amazing Grace” and she could play the hymn even when she was 88 years old. I was one of them who witnessed her playing the hymn at that time. Not only was she musically talented but God also used her to encourage and minister to others who were going through tough times and needed a woman of prayer to pray for them. I was told that she was a good listener and a good encourager in the Word of God as well. Her advice was sought by many young people in the church especially aspiring musicians.
I believe that God is faithful and will not short change us as we serve and put in time to serve others. You will note that today is the third day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Many Chinese who do not know Jesus Christ will not attend this memorial because of culture and religious superstitions but we, as a family of God and the Body of Christ are here for Lily and her family. Praise God for the church family that God has given us and we do not have any superstitions to limit us for a memorial service like this. As Lily served faithfully in the church, the Lord in return has blessed her with a loving church family. Her life was well-lived to please her Master who took care of her in this earthly sojourn and the eternal life to come.
Jesus Christ, our Living Hope
The Scripture passage in 1 Peter 1:3-5 said, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We take comfort today that Lily is now in heaven and in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lily has believed in the finished work of Calvary in Christ Jesus who is the living hope. In this earthly life, she has believed and confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son God who died for her sins and gave her eternal life as promised in the Bible. There is life beyond the grave for all of us. We, humans, have a choice to either choose eternal life or eternal condemnation. It is only through Jesus Christ, our living hope can we gain entry to heaven with all our sins forgiven and washed clean. The choice of our destiny lies before us. Death is a reality to everyone and is the doorway to the next life.
Friends, Lily’s life was well lived in her Savior and Redeemer. She can confidently say like Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
I invite you to join me in prayer to ask God to forgive all our sins and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ just as our late sister Lily Ang has done early on in her life. The Good Lord showers His blessings on you. Amen!
(Thank you Aunty Lily for the sweet memories, the great time and fellowship here on your earthly sojourn. We will missed you! Till we meet again on the “shores of glory.” From Bro Chim, Sharon, Eilynn and the Church)
(Note : The memorial service was conducted by Pastor Steven Kau of Faith Covenant Church, Putra Heights, Subang Jaya).