7 Feb 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Joanne Yeoh, one of the most acclaimed musicians in Malaysia, knew Jesus Christ when she was around seven years old at a passing ship called Doulos. Little did she know Doulos is the world’s ‘oldest active ocean-going passenger ship’ in the Guinness Book of World Records! Owned by the evangelistic and missionary Operation Mobilization (OM), Joanne knew about Jesus when she was onboard.
“I went there with my parents not knowing it was a Christian-based ship. We went there with the impression that it was a sailing bookstore. I bought a book entitled 365 Bible stories and verses,” said Joanne.
Watch Joanne Yeoh in ESPN Celebration of the Giants in Malaysia!
As she read the book, she realized that there is a God and a seed was planted since then. Later on as a teenager, she started attending Sunday youth services in a church with her neighbour’s daughter. Joanne was curious to find out where her neighbour went on a bus on a Sunday. And that was how she gradually came to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour.
“I think knowing Jesus is a process. There was no instant change in me nor did I encounter any miracle in my life,” said Joanne.
She started attending church with her neighbour’s daughter when she was a teenager. Out of curiosity, she wanted to find out where she went on a bus in a Sunday morning.
One of her most memorable encounters with Jesus was when her father passed away 13 years ago. A major event in her life, she recalled not knowing how her life would turn out to be. Her mother was not working anymore and Joanne was the only bread winner of the family, especially in providing the education funds for her sister who was only 13 years old at that time. On top of that, Joanne was just starting her career as a fresh college graduate from a First Class Honours in her Degree from the University of Middlesex, United Kingdom in 1998 and a Master’s in Music Performance (MMUS) degree subsequently.
“I am proud to say that God has never abandoned me and never did He forget about his promises to take care of my family,” said Joanne. “He has blessed me with so much, much more than I can ever imagine. His faithfulness… I will always remember.”
Fast-forward to the present, Joanne Yeoh is one of the most recognized musicians in Malaysia, receiving many awards such as Honouree for the Outstanding Young Malaysia Award for the category for Personal Improvement and Accomplishment 2004, Martell’s Rising Personality Award 2008 and UPM’s Vice Chancellor Fellowship Award 2012. She is also in the Malaysia Book of Records 2012. And to name a few concerts she performed, she has also performed alongside Jacky Cheung, David Tao and Alan Tam.
However, despite her successes, she still remains humble.
“My family, friends and students keep me humble. Most importantly, being a Christian helps me look at life through a different pair of lenses.”
Her keys of successes apart from humility also include commitment and passion, inspired by experience and also the Godly people around her. Although wealth, power and fame were within reach in the music industry, she thought that they are not the main goals in life.
“I was not born in a rich family and I understand what it is to be in need and what it is to have abundance. I have learned that contentment is within us. And it does not depend on our circumstances,” said Joanne.
Indeed, the rich and powerful may not be most contented and happy. But being thankful for your life is itself a source of meaning and purpose.
“Being thankful for even the simplest blessings of being able to walk, hear and smell gives me my meaning and purpose in life,” said Joanne. “While I am still alive, I am thankful for each passing day where I get to live for God. And it’s also another chance for me to make right with Him. Living by His grace everyday brings so much more meaning to life.”
How did she keep herself real even though she has always been in the spotlight?
“Being a Christian helps me to be grounded and real,” said Joanne. “We are all equal, no one higher or better than the other. Everyone will be judged and held accountable to God one day.”
And lastly, with her very busy schedule of performance and heading the Music Department of University Putra Malaysia, Joanne finds balance in life by knowing that life is temporary and only what’s done for Christ will last. Amen!
Watch a performance by Joanne Yeoh and Benny Prasad!
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References for pictures: