22 November 2006

We will follow

Shocking news came a week ago, ripping through small church community in Cheras. A young and promising leader of their assembly died suddenly while on a business trip in the Philippines. He was 32, and he leaves behind his wife and 2 daughters. I didn't know him well, but having spent a few years with that church before, I know them to be very closely knit and unwavering in their partnership in the gospel. They have lost a dear brother and courageous comrade.

Though I have missed the privilege of knowing Raymond as intimately as others in the Petra & Jalan Imbi family, both Joan & I have a deep impression of Raymond's zeal as a Christian and stedfastness as a father. It is our loss not to have known him better. By all accounts, he proved himself to be an inspiring leader both in the marketplace and in the church. Unwaveringly dedicated to the highest good of everyone around him. But most remarkably (as we discovered at the service), he lived ready, organising and orientating his life around an anticipated early return to God.

If his "theme song" (which was used in the service) says anything at all about how he chose to live, we heard it in these words:

"You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like the rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me."

Raymond showed us how to live and how to die. He chose the way of Jesus; living and dying for others and for the gospel. And we are all encouraged to live as worthily! The seed that has fallen to the ground is already bursting forth with new life in all our hearts. This is not a death-in-vain, by far! It is his greatest gift to us all. I am thankful to the wife and his dearest friends for sharing his life and departure with us.

May the "God of all comfort" be ever present to Anne and her beautiful daughters, and all Raymond's family.

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