Three of Changi’s “Magnificent Seven”
Salvation Army recruits share their stories.
by Ian Robinson, Captain –
Western officers Captains Ian and Isobel Robinson serve in the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory.
It was lunch break on the last day of soldiership class at Changi Corps. As we enjoyed homemade lasagna and fresh salad, I asked each of the recruits about their lives before they came to Changi Corps. Since there were seven, I came to think of them as the Magnificent Seven. Here are the stories of three of these soon-to-be-soldiers.
Philip and Geok Choo
Last year, Philip was very ill, and his doctors could not determine what was wrong. He and his wife were devout Buddhists, and they prayed frequently before the massive altar in their living room, and in the temple to Buddha or any god who might listen. Nothing happened. As he got worse, his wife, Geok Choo, a senior staff nurse at Peacehaven, asked us to pray for him. The day before he was going into hospital to have a tumor removed, Isobel and Mui Lang (assistant executive director, Peacehaven) suggested he come to church. He came reluctantly, and knelt at the mercy seat at the end of the service where we prayed for him. When he got to hospital, the doctors could find no trace of the tumor, and during the week Philip made a remarkable—some might say miraculous—recovery!
When Isobel and Mui Lang visited him, he gave his life to Christ in his hospital bed. A few days later Geok Choo also committed her life to Christ and when he came home they removed the altar and all the idols and asked us to come and bless their house. Right away they started coming to the corps regularly, arriving at 9 a.m. to help set up the coffee and tea, then helping with the ushering ministry. And now they are about to become uniform-wearing soldiers.
Jennifer, a resident of Peacehaven, has been attending Changi Corps for several months. She can walk a little, but spends most of her time in a wheelchair. Although she is in the early stages of dementia she still has a sharp mind—in her younger days she taught at a convent school in Singapore. Jennifer remembers my sermons, and talks about the ones that have touched her life and helped bring her to a full relationship with Jesus.
She loves The Salvation Army, calling it “her church,” and witnesses regularly to other residents. One lady was talking about throwing herself out the window to end her life and Jennifer counseled her. “It’s not your life, it belongs to God.” She convinced her friend that life was worth living. In fact, she tells all her fellow residents about Jesus and relays her summary of the sermon to them every week. All this from a lady in a wheelchair with dementia!
Soon, the Magnificent Seven will be enrolled at the Changi Corps, all in uniform and all glad to be Salvation Soldiers. Pray for them, and pray that God will bring more people to the Changi Corps to be saved and become soldiers.
Update: Among those enrolled were Anthony (see photo), who had taken an earlier soldiership class. Of the Magnificent Seven, Philip Siew (Lim Geok Choo’s husband) became an adherent instead, and Patrick (Peacehaven chef and husband of Diana) decided to wait until later. Diana did not wear a uniform because she is several months pregnant, and Jennifer, who normally uses a wheelchair, insisted on walking on to the platform to be enrolled!