5 Jan 2013 by Adeline Lum-
Pastor Koh Chu Soon and Pastor Susan Koh share a beautiful romance with the Lord and with one another as husband and wife.
As the son of the late founder of FGA KL–Dr Koh Eng Kiat– Chu Soon grew up in church from the humble beginning of his home in Section 17 (in year 1979) before eventually moving into the existing premise at Old Klang Road (in year 1983). Chu Soon’s mother was a teacher in Sunday school, and she taught bible stories to both Chu Soon and Susan when they were younger.
Relationship Built on Friendship
“We grew up together, and both of our families were good friends serving the Lord together,” said Susan. “Even if we didn’t end up in a relationship, we would have kept the friendship because it is the basis of our relationship.”
It was only during their young adult years when they thought about the possibility of having a romantic relationship. However, their relationship was not without waiting for the right moment.
“I decided to only start dating after I completed my studies,” said Chu Soon who called Susan when he passed his exam, immediately after calling his mother. At that time, Susan had also just completed her law degree and was moving into her Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP).
“Of course, there were ups and downs. Feelings were there but he was still not ready to make a commitment,” said Susan. “We used to lead in worship and church choir together. I also taught in Sunday school.”
After one and a half year of dating, they tied the knot, and now have four beautiful girls.
When asked what to look out for when starting a boy-girl relationship, Susan shared that ‘a relationship is complex and cannot be over-simplified.’ However, here are the following crunched-down advices in starting a romantic relationship:
- Both need to be mature in handling relationships.
- Friendship should be the brick in building a relationship. Both should know each other well and establish a friendship, before getting into a relationship.
- Guard your heart so that your emotions and energy is not wasted. If you’re a student for example, then be a student and a good one too.
- The decision to get into a relationship needs to be taken seriously.
- God must be inside the relationship. As a marriage counselor, Susan shared that a relationship between two sinful individuals are very tough. And without God, as much common grounds a couple has, they are not sufficient as holding factors.
- Keep purity. Sex within a marriage is a gift. When a couple keep themselves pure for marriage, trust follows.
- Be and find a godly person. A godly man or woman fears God and you know you can trust a God-fearing person completely. Fearing God overrides important things in life.
- Compatibility between couple has to do with communication. Of course, there must be common likes and dislikes, but a lot of breakdown in relationships are due to incompatibility of principles in life. Hence, if both rest on God’s principles, then a common ground can be achieved.
As for Chu Soon’s side, on whether to jump into a relationship, he said “Better safe than sorry.”
Fear of going into a Boy-Girl Relationship and Marriage
However, on the other extreme of jumping into a relationship, some people are too afraid to even start one at all. A phenomenon had been recently observed in churches, where there are an increasing number of bachelors who express desire in settling in marriage but make no deliberate choice to pursue anyone. Puzzled, I enquired with the couple about this phenomenon.
“Maybe it’s because so many distractions are available today such as going to movies, hanging out with buddies and playing computer games, that men do not feel the need to have a relationship,” said Susan. “In the Garden of Eden, God saw that Adam was alone and He made a suitable partner for Adam.”
Out of humor, Chu Soon said, “I pursued because I know I didn’t want to be single for the rest of my life, so I acted.”
In addition, acquiring material things prior to marriage may also be one of the factors that defer marriage. In our society today, saving enough for a house, honeymoon and wedding banquet are almost necessary and expected before marriage.
In reflection, Susan shared that they did not even have a house or a car when they got married, but they only rented a room. However, by God’s grace, the generous offering of their friends and family coupled with the lower price of houses at that time, they were able to use their angpow money for the down payment of a house to build their family.
When asked if men should be the provider of the family, Chu Soon said, “I have the responsibility to provide for my wife but there’s also a lot of ladies who work and earn more than their husbands.“ Susan added, “It depends on the couple to sort their finances out, family to family.”
Grooming into Pastoral Work
When Susan’s first child, Kimberly, was born and approaching ten months old, she realized that ‘she was losing out in what Kimberly was learning and doing.’ By prayer and faith, she quit her job in the bank where she worked. Although the family income was less, she felt that it was a good choice because a greater intimacy was forged between her and her baby, and she had more control in bringing her up.
“The Lord honored our decision because the following month after I quit, Chu Soon had a salary jump of half of my salary,” said Susan. “So, we decided to have more kids!”
Chu Soon’s career was also advancing very well in his career. In year 1996, he felt that it was time for him to give up his corporate job for full-time pastoral work. In year 1997, the chief accountant was retiring and he was offered a promotion that required him to stay with the company for the next five years. However, he had already decided to go into full-time ministry.
“I still remember my boss saying that he can’t counter-offer or compete with that,” Chu Soon chuckled.
And at the age of 32 years old with three children below five years old, he quit his job and went for a one-year sabbatical in Adelaide to study in a Bible college. Susan, on the other hand, took night classes while home-schooling her children in Australia.
While they were there, they were offered to become pastors in Australia. There were also plenty of opportunities for accountants in Adelaide at the time. But by the end of the year, Chu Soon and Susan after having prayed individually, they were prompted by the Lord to return to Malaysia. Chu Soon was impressed to speak to his church leaders in FGA while Susan was impressed to “return to the land of her ancestors” (a verse that jumped out at her during her devotions). And so with faith, they left Australia and returned to Malaysia in year 1999.
Becoming a Leader
Chu Soon served in the FGA KL office from 1999 to 2002, before he was given the opportunity to plant a church with Pastor David Goh in Kota Damansara (K. D.).
“I wanted to get more pastoral experience as I was mostly involved in Christian education in FGA KL. Coming to Kota Damansara (K. D.) has allowed me to learn to do everything in starting a church,” said Chu Soon.
With two families from FGA KL and about 40 members from FGA Selayang, David and Chu Soon started the FGA Kota Damansara. In year 2005, The Lord called David to leave FGA and plant an independent church. Many of the leaders were released to help David plant his new church. Because of that, Chu Soon had the opportunity to raise new leadership in the FGA K.D. and also learning more by being a pastor of the church himself. Until today, he still maintains a very close tie with David amongst other pastors in K. D.
Every month, a pastors fellowship is held in K. D. where K.D. pastors pray for one another and share meals together.
1 John 1:6-7
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
“I’ve had visitors coming to K.D. and they would comment that it is quite unusual to see churches work so closely together,” said Chu Soon.
Recently, 4 churches churches collaborated to have a Christmas carnival, where by leaflets were sent to the community to promote the event.
“We don’t feel competitive with each other at all. But we complement each other in sharing our resources. In the fellowship, members from different churches get to know each other,” said Chu Soon.
As the coordinator of eight satellite churches in FGA, he was asked to give advice to budding young pastors and they are:
- Maintain a close walk with the Lord. It is easy to allow ministries and activities to crowd out the alone time with God to listen to Him.
- If you can, begin networking with other churches. It’s about building the Kingdom, not building your own church.
- Fellowship with other pastors. A lot of pastors could not share their problems, lest their members would turn away. When you start or join a pastor fellowship, you are able to know someone like you who will walk, pray and hold you accountable.
Yes, following God is extraordinary. There is no ordinary in a Christian life, like Pastor Koh Chu Soon and Pastor Susan’s lives.
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