“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
– By Shannon L. Alder
On 14th of October 2016, Elder Ang Chui Lai was called home to be with the Lord. A multitude of people filled the Main Sanctuary and overflowing rooms of Full Gospel Assembly KL on 16th of October 2016, as various individuals told their stories, recalling the moments of how Elder Ang Chui Lai (1928 – 2016) left a trail of Jesus’ love in their hearts. He was known to be a man of fervent prayer with an unforgettable quirky sense of humour.
Elder Ang Chui Lai was the co-founder of the Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) with the late Dr Koh Eng Kiat, his brother-in-law. Together with the saints, they held their inaugural meeting at the home of Dr and Mrs Koh Eng Kiat in Section 17, Petaling Jaya on 8th of April 1979. The first meetings comprised 40 born-again, Spirit-led Christians that eventually grew to become what FGAKL is today, with 12 satellite churches, three outreaches and several ministries.
Pastor Ang Chui Cheng, brother of the late Elder Ang, and former pastor of River of Life Sanctuary, led worship. The church reverberated with heavenly voices of individuals who had been personally touched by God, through Elder Ang. Each had been impacted because of a man’s love for the Word of God and obedience to the Holy Spirit, which brought hope to many.
“And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore.”
– 10,000 Reasons
It was like catching a glimpse of thousands upon thousands of saints coming together to worship God. An atmosphere of freedom was present, as the heavenly realm invaded the service. As How Great Thou Art was sung, many were soaked in tears for the much beloved Elder Ang. This song was one of Elder Ang’s favourites.
“When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow with humble adoration,
And then proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”
– How Great Thou Art
Pastor Roland Seow, founder of FGA Melbourne, shared how the late Dr Koh Eng Kiat and Elder Ang Chui Lai were his spiritual fathers. They showed him how to walk the path of righteousness through their godly and sincere lives. He stressed how Elder Ang demonstrated the characteristics of integrity required of a leader (1 Timothy 3:2-7) and how a godly leader like Elder Ang deserved double honour (1 Timothy 5:17).
Elder Saw Lip Hean, who helped to start FGA Taiping, shared how he was motivated to read the whole Bible by heart, after listening to Elder Ang’s preaching. He shared how Elder Ang was a chip off the old block, bro Ang Chai Tit, who was a man of his word. Elder Saw thanked Elder Ang for his invaluable advice in helping him build a church that grew from only eight people worshipping God in a perm parlour. Indeed, Elder Ang was ‘a true servant of God’.
Bro Erik Lai, who represented the Home Fellowship Ministry in FGAKL, shared how Elder Ang used to call him ‘the most handsome man in FGA’. It was later learnt that Elder Ang had also attributed this ‘title’ to a few other leaders in FGAKL as well. He described Elder Ang using five Cs – Christ-like, Courageous, Committed, Consistent and Curry (his favourite food).
Pastor Robert Wong, representing the satellite churches, also shared how Elder Ang had been a zealous man of prayer. He thanked Elder Ang for being a spiritual father to the pastors of the satellite churches; always making time whenever he was invited to have a meal with them. Indeed, they are strong branches today because of the vine they had fed from, which is from strong leaders like Elder Ang in FGAKL.
Bro Lee Gee Koon, chairman and representative of Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (FGBMF), shared how he met Elder Ang in 1979 at Abundant Life Centre. At that time, Elder Ang was following up on Dr Peter Tong who was worshipping there. Dr Peter Tong was the founder of the FGBMF. It was later known that Elder Ang received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and broke out in tongues at a Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship meeting. Bro Lee thanked Elder Ang for sharing the Word of God with him from his worn-out Bible kept in his chest pocket. Known as the ‘thundering bishop’ from the pulpit, he thanked Bro Ang for always supporting the FGB’s meetings.
Bro Khoo Hin Heong, founder of International Christian Mission (ICM), also shared that the news of Elder Ang’s passing had come to them on the same day as the death of the King of Thailand. Contrasting how the world would conduct a memorial service, Bro Khoo shared that they were comforted with joy that Elder Ang is now with the Lord. He shared how Elder Ang would zealously guard the pulpit, gently explaining any slight veering of the sermon from the Word of God. He also applauded Elder Ang for his ability to memorise the Scriptures in Japanese.
Fondly known as Grandpa Ang by the youths in FGA, Pastor Anand Kumar, youth pastor and head of FGAKL Youth Ministry, shared that Elder Ang had a knack of remembering names by giving endearing nicknames to every person he met. Joanna Dorai, daughter of Elder Dorai Manikam who grew up in FGA, also shared about his warm sense of humour and how much she desires to perpetuate the fire of revival that burnt in Grandpa Ang. She commented that the recent prayer revival among youths was attributed to Elder Ang.
Ang Chu San, Elder Ang’s second son, began his eulogy by lovingly calling his father, Papa. He shared how his Papa loved God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. He appreciated how his Papa would show love to him when he was young by stroking his back and always praying for his protection. He thanked his Papa for verbally expressing his love for him during his last few years, and the church for being an extended family to him.
The memorial service ended with Pastor Ang Chui Cheng leading the congregation in a hymn, followed by a Scripture reading from John 11:25-26 (NLT) and prayer for Elder Ang’s family, led by Elder Ho Kien Keong, head of Generations Ministry in FGA.
From the different eulogies given, Elder Ang was undoubtedly a fun-loving and easy-going lover of Jesus who had authentically shown how Jesus is to the people around him. A man who intentionally sowed into the lives of others, may we also emulate him as in the words of his favourite song:
Lead me to some soul today,
O teach me, Lord, just what to say;
Friends of mine are lost in sin,
And cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care,
And few there are who pray;
Melt my heart, and fill my life,
Give me one soul today.
“Therefore, we glorify God in bearing the light and letting it shine out of our lives through our works which may include, in our daily living, a deed of kindness, a gracious word and a little smile for Jesus.”
Although Elder Ang had left this world and is now in the loving embrace of our Abba Father in Heaven, his legacy will remain in the hearts of the family of FGA and the body of Christ in Malaysia.
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Note: All pictures of Elder Ang Chui Lai are credited to FGAKL. All pictures taken at the memorial service are credited to Jason Ding.