“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). Some of our Sowers-in-Actions were not only committed to serving God in the Bible Mission themselves, but also passed on the same faith, vision and dedication to their descendants to continue the work.
One of the more illustrious examples involves three generations of God’s servants, all of whom served the Singapore Bible Mission in key aspects. In 1910, Rev Khoo Chiang Bee joined the Society as Singapore’s first colporteur. Rev Khoo carried the Gospel to previously unreached areas of Southeast Asia such as Jakarta, Bali, Kalimantan, and present-day West New Guinea. Thus, he pioneered colportage both in Singapore and the whole of Southeast Asia and was instrumental in the Singapore Bible Mission’s revival and rapid growth in the early 1900s.
Rev Khoo’s son-in-law, Mr Tan Siew Koon, joined the work in 1928 as the Society’s accountant under Ernest Tipson, the Society’s Representative at the time. During the Japanese Occupation, when Tipson was interned in prison, Mr Tan steadfastly held the fort despite being virtually cut off from friends and living on a salary of $50 a month. He retired in 1975 after 47 years of service, making him the longest-serving staff in the Society’s history.
Today, the third generation of descendants continues to serve the mission in various ways. Dr Lee Soo Ann, Rev Khoo’s grandson, and Mr Tan’s nephew, served as the Society’s General Secretary from 1990 to 2003, and later as its current President. Dr Lee’s brother, Mr Lee Soo Jin, also serves on the Society’s present Executive Committee, along with Mr Sam Tan, the son of Mr Tan Siew Koon.
The Society’s current Honorary Treasurer, Mr Samuel G Panthradil, also continues the legacy of his father, Mr P S George. Mr George served as a Board member of the Society from 1989 to 2009 and continued to do so in an advisory role up till his passing in 2013.
The same could also be seen even in seemingly less prominent roles. One of our supporters, Datin Doris Ong, has been donating regularly to the Singapore Bible Mission since 2004, driven by a passion to make the Bible known to as many as possible. Her son, Mr Stephen Ong, is also a regular contributor to the mission following in the footsteps of his mother.
There are surely many others who, though unknown, prove their faithfulness in the same way—leading their children and their children’s children to serve God and His cause as they did. Would we not do the same? As songwriter Steve Green echoes:
May all who come behind us find us faithful;
May the fire of our devotion light their way;
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey!