Sunday, 17 March 2013


13 - Moment of Strength: Share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

Not a female ancestor today, but still a member of our family. Family is not always made up of people who are strictly related to you, but sometimes of people who are still a member of your family.

Emily Chen came into our family when her mum had to place her, her brother and her sister into a children's home in Malaysia. My parents sponsored her and her brother and so we sort of grew up with her. Letters came regularly, with photos and school reports, and Mum wrote to Emily and we all remembered her in our prayers.

Emily grew and did well with her studies and always seemed to have a great attitude in life, no matter what hand she was dealt. She drew strength from her faith and was a loving and caring girl. Eventually she left the sponsorship program, but Mum kept in touch with her and loved hearing about how things were going for her.

We were all pleased when Emily wrote to say she had married a teacher named Roland, and he looked a fine young man in the photo she sent. And then there came a photo of a baby girl, although we had all been worried during the pregnancy as Emily had a congenital kidney condition which made pregnancy more dangerous than usual. Emily always put her trust in God and listened with her heart.

Mum went to visit Emily and her family in Malaysia and came home full of how good a mother Emily was, and told us all how well Emily was doing. Being Chinese in Malaysia is not an easy thing, and carrying your family's worries isn't easy either, but Roland and Emily faced things together.

The letters continued and Mum occasionally would say she was worried for Emily, because she wanted a brother or sister for Celine, but it was risky. But Emily managed it again, and little Ryan came along.

A few years ago, Emily, Celine and Ryan came out to Australia. That was such a great time. My daughter and Celine got on really well, Ryan was cute as a button, and Emily was such a lovely, gracious woman. It was wonderful to finally meet the little girl we had grown up with. We had a really good time with her, and Mum had great fun taking them to the beach and to meet Australian animals, and having them live with her.

Today I found out that Emily died suddenly on 17 February 2013 of a burst aorta. All I can think of is her children and husband and how they will manage without her. Emily had been through so much in her life, had faced trials from an early age that I can barely imagine, and had come through with such a positive and generous outlook, and a deep and abiding faith. I cannot think of anyone else in our family at the moment who has demonstrated her courage and strength in a life that had been difficult.

She will be greatly missed by her family in Australia and is greatly loved by us.

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