22 May 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Called as the ‘Lady of Hope’, Dr Peggy is the founder of Living Hope, a non-profit organization for the unheard cries of the poorest of the poor and marginalized children in Malaysia and internationally.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr Peggy did not grow up in a poor and hard childhood, but one that was endowed with privileges and comforts of life. In fact, she was a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman who wine and dine at its best and mingled with the rich and famous. So, what made her start and serve full-time in Living Hope?
Apparently, giving was already in her DNA before she knew God.
Her grandfather was the founder of the notable Ban Choon Tong medicine halls in Perak. A brilliant imperial scholar who left Shandong to Malaysia, her grandfather would give his concocted traditional Chinese medications freely to the poor Chinese immigrants.
And so was Peggy’s father, Dr Chan Chee Kheong. Poor patients would send Dr Chan personally bred and raised ducks and chickens during festivities to pay their gratitude for free medications.
“I remember complaining about them because they were really smelly. But my father said: don’t complain because these are gifts of love,” said the down-to-earth Peggy. ”I realized that it was the only way they could repay my father yet he did not expect anything in return.”
Dr Chan would build public Chinese schools in Perak. Following suit, Peggy also started giving at a young age. During her final three years in secondary school, she would faithfully give her tuition income to her impoverished relative of four children. In form six, she also zeroed her bank account with the RM3000 profit she made in shares to give to a relative.
In fact, giving became a habit for her. After graduating from University of Malaya, she would write checks to as much as one-third of her salary, to meet a need she read in the newspaper. In addition, she would also raise funds to all sorts of charitable works, i.e. WWF, Kosovo war victims, J.E. victims, Old Folks’ Homes, spastic children, orphanages and families of the blind in Malaysia and internationally.
At the mean time, she was also climbing the ivory tower as a former banker with an international Bank and co-founded with her husband their group of companies in Malaysia and Singapore, which is involved in Joint Ventures, Investments, and Strategic Alliances.
In fact, she had everything she wanted in year 1999 but still, she felt empty until she accepted Christ in year 2000.
So, Dr Peggy continued serving in the community. And from 1999 to 2006, Peggy served in a particular orphanage and successfully raised One Million Ringgit to put up a new building for the orphanage. But before the building came to pass, she felt that God wanted her to leave the orphanage in May 2006.
“I have raised millions of ringgit for the Home, the final amount of One Million Ringgit for a new building for the girls. The number of children increased from 15 to 75 in the orphanage,” said Peggy. “I didn’t want to leave because I haven’t seen the building completed yet. But God told me, it’s just a building, leave like Abraham, leave with nothing.”
So, Peggy left the orphanage in July 2006 and was asked to wait for the Lord. She wondered if her days in the children ministry were over.
“All God told me to do was to quiet down, rest, recharge and rejuvenate, which was the hardest thing for me to do!” said Peggy who grew restless day after day.
A particular song she listened to, which sooth her nerves were ‘Eagle’s Wings’ with lyrics of ‘Here I am waiting… I will rise on eagle’s wings.’ Following the song, Peggy obeyed God, read the Bible and rested in Him for six month before God finally spoke in December 2006.
God said, “Peggy, you gave the children food, shelter, bus to school and education. But you cannot give them love and self-assurance that a family gives.”
Most of the children came from single mothers or single fathers and dysfunctional homes that were unable to take care of their children.
“These children would ask me why their father and mother didn’t want them. They didn’t understand why they were there and they didn’t want to be there because they felt marginalized,” said Peggy.
“Children from other normal families were also asked to stay away from them because they were known to be ‘very naughty.’ The spirit of rejection is actually very strong among these abandoned children. That’s why they grow up very dysfunctional,” she added.
God continued saying to Peggy, “There are many other children like these all over Malaysia. Now, I want you to go to all over the country to be the voice of these unheard children.”
Peggy was dumbfounded. “Perhaps God, you have found the wrong person,” she reasoned with Him. At the top of the ivory tower, she felt that she was more suitable for marketplace ministry and influencing corporate leaders.
Peggy told God in humor, “You see… I go to London, Milan, Florence and New York for my summer sales. When I am touring there, I could share the gospel then. I don't really need to go to the villages.”
So, everyday, she would bargain with God but there was neither reply nor peace in her heart. After a month of bargaining, she finally put her feet down and started to write her vision and mission for the organization. The thoughts came rushing in and she was shocked at what she was about to do.
“The vision is to be the voice of the unheard cries of the poor, needy and marginalized children. And the mission is to provide food and education to the poorest of the poor,” recalled Peggy writhing with ironic humor of why God chose her for such a tall order job.
Following her penning of vision and mission, she followed missionary field workers to the streets and deep jungles, where she saw the ugly realities of life- the compromised children of the prostitutes, the hungry children of single mothers who earned only RM350 per month, the silent children of the oil palm estates, and the uneducated orang asli children who are perpetually stuck in poverty.
“One thing God showed me is that these children are innocent. They never asked to be born in a poor family,” said Peggy whose heart was slowly transformed.
Peggy began to visit the poorest of the poor and most marginalized children around Malaysia. Like a little eaglet in the song ‘Eagle’s wings’, she was thrown out from her nest of comfort and left to fly frantically on her own. While she complained, screamed, cried, and laughed, she continued flying and after awhile, she began to mature into a full-grown eagle that soared above the storms in the Lord!
Using her influential business contacts and reputable integrity, Living Hope was able to garner financial resources to serve the poor. And counting into the sixth year since it’s inception in July 2007, Living Hope has touched more than 33,576 lives of underprivileged children in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, India, China, Bangladesh and internationally. Not only that, it has also received frequent and wide media attention, be it in the Malay, Chinese or Tamil print media.
“I was a spoilt compassionate child but God asked me to do this. So, what can I do but obey?” joked Dr Peggy. “Now, whenever God asked me to do something, I will quickly follow because I don’t want to disobey Him. It’s like a godly fear and I want to please my Father above all.”
With a simple love for her Father, Dr Peggy felt compelled to serve as many children as possible. Dubbed as the ‘Lady of Hope’, Dr Peggy is indeed a burning hope of light amongst the children of the deep woods, lonely shacks, and dark city crevices.
For more information, please visit http://livinghopeglobal.org/
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.
Reference for pictures: