October 20, 2009

Former Principal of Rajang Teachers' College visiting Miri

Pastor Lau was one of the earliest local- born and American trained teacher educators. He was to become the first local born Chinese Principal of Rajang Teachers' College and then Batu Lintang College. He thus holds many "firsts" as a Foochow teacher trainer in Malaysia. But being the humble man that he is he says that he cannot remember many of his records. In this photo he is with Margaret Lee one of his earliest teacher trainees from Rajang in 1965. Also in the photo is Goh Kwong Ging from Methodist School Sibu.

Mrs. Lau knows Dr. Rita from the time she was a child in Kapit. They have provided a second home for Rita when she was working in Kuching and they been communicating with each other even when the Laus moved over to the US. Dr. Rita is the daughter of one of the first Indonesian missionaries to Sarawak Rev. Manurung who served for many years in Kapit.

Pastor and Mrs. Lau.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I could remember Pastor and Mrs. Lau Kuoh Ding who would be coming to Miri for a Senior Citizens' Retreat.

I not only remember them as our new teachers in the early sixties but how can any one forget the trained voice of beautiful young American educated bride from Penang? They did not teach my class to our great disappointment but the younger ones. However the young couple stayed only for a few months and left. But from time to time through the grapevine I heard of them. And that has been like forty or so years.

We emailed each other and then I waited for their arrival in Miri.

Pastor Lau is the son of the late Pastor Lau Hung Ang who was ministering to many churches all over the Rajang Valley in the early 50's and 60's and who spent the whole of his life serving God in Sarawak. Pastor Lau and his siblings were born in "24 acres"(a rubber tapping community or kampong) where they knew poverty and how to get by with the little they had but they were rich in faith. His father took care of six children with a meagre salary of $280.00. And today all his children are doing extremely well . Pastor Lau and his wife attributed all these to God's blessings.

Pastor Lau had in fact to earn his own pocket money while a secondary school student in Kai Chung before the Second World War. He became the assistant cook in the hostel at a very tender age but it was the only way for him to earn some pocket money and perhaps even pay his way through school. While there he came to know many people including my aunts and many of the leading personalities of Sibu community. After the war Pastor took up English education in Methodist School Sibu. Upon completion of his education he went to the US to take up his degree course.

It was in the US that he met his future bride Miss Lilik Lee. Lilick's sister was to meet and marry the future Bishop Hwa Yung of Malaysia.

In many ways the history of these two wonderful people read like a novel.

How their fates twisted and turned. How the political changes and situation of the state of Sarawak turned their uncomfortable positions in the Education Department to great personal fortune. How the events in their lives finally led them to settle in the US(Atlanta) where they brought up three sons (two pilots and one doctor) and where they spent the best of their years contributing to world music and Methodism.

Forty years later they could fly from Atlanta USA to be with senior citizens:the senior citizen retreat was short of one speaker. They had no plans. Their son a pilot (Northwestern Airlines)has family benefits for them to travel almost free to Sarawak which is almost half a world away. Their son was about to have a school reunion with his Primary Six classmates in Kuching. Would the parents like to travel too? The Unseen Hands at work?

They have personally testified to the senior citizens at the senior retreat  that God has provided them more than abundantly and their prayer life has brought them to where they are today. As one of three speakers besides Rev. Dr. Su Chii Ann and Rev Hii at the retreat. He shared with the other senior citizens how to live abundantly during their Golden Years and how as senior citizens he and his wife are still serving the world stage in different capacities as short term missionaries and "teachers".

On Sunday they visited and worshipped at my church - Grace Methodist Church Miri. It was an honour for the church to receive a second generation pastor with surname Lau. In fact it is now the call of the Methodist Church of Malaysia for more pastors in one's family.

Trust in God for God knows the end even from the beginning.

We hope that they will be here for another retreat next year.


wenn said...

fantastic story..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Wenn
Isn't their story amazing? At the retreat the senior citizens were amazed too.

But 40 years is actually a long time to live through. How resilient can one be!

God's grace.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakiana, very interesting....glad to read you all had talented people like them.
Keep well, best regards, Lee.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Uncle Lee
We have great and talented people like them.

Have a good week yourself. Cheers.

easechen said...

The Laus are close friends of our family. Mum went to visit them not long ago in Atlanta. They also visited us here a few times. Mum knows Goh Kwang Ging too.

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