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God makes divine connections linking different people to form precious friendships. Nick and Noelene’s story demonstrates how even from childhood God linked them to people from different countries, races, and backgrounds in Perth, with beautiful results.
Our children once asked my husband and me (Nick and Noelene Simpecas), ‘Why do you go to a Chinese Church?’ In answer to this question, we explained the background to this decision of ours.
It was some 20+ years ago while we were living in Perth that I had to go regularly to a skin specialist. This doctor was a Chinese man. Noticing he had scripture verses hanging on the walls of the waiting room at his practice, we asked him about them. He explained that he was a Christian and that he worshiped at a fellowship called Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) which was held at the University of Western Australia. He invited us to come along to his church. The senior pastors there were Dr. Tek and Goldie Chong.
Apart from a few years at a different fellowship in a more remote suburb of Perth, we believe we have absolutely been led by the Lord back to fellowship again with the Chongs when we met them at an FGA reunion. We now go on a Saturday afternoon to their Oikos Fellowship in Nedlands (a suburb in Perth), and Kingdom Light at Cockburn Central (formerly called FGA) on Sundays, where we also attend Connect Group on Thursdays. Many people from these groups are Asians who came from the original FGA.
How wonderful it is to be able to look back retrospectively and see where the ‘Hand of God’ has been instrumental in areas of my life. Our close fellowship with Chinese/Asian people surely had a ‘seed’ sown when I was a pre-teen.
How It All Began
Back in 1954, my parents regularly sent me and my two brothers to Sunday School at Gosnells Salvation Army in Western Australia. At that time, a quite elderly missionary couple, Colonel and Mrs. Darby arrived from China. They had been in China for 25 years and were probably forced to ‘move on’ by Chairman Mao due to the rise of Communism and Socialism.
This beautiful missionary couple dearly loved the Chinese people and would tell us, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you it doesn’t cost anything to be clean. In China, there was a great shortage of fresh clean water. It depended on how often the water had been used as to how much a person had to pay for it. The cleaner it was, the higher the cost; thus, the more often it had been used, the cheaper it was.”
Colonel and Mrs. Darby were loved by the Sunday School children at Gosnells and we were often invited over to their house, as a group, for lunch. Often on Sundays, Colonel Darby led all of the children in worship songs (one was The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock) and it was during some of these sessions that he taught us the chorus of the children’s song ‘Jesus Loves Me, the Bible Tells Me So‘ in Mandarin.
Transcripting it phonetically into the English alphabet, it sounds like ‘Ju Yesu I wah; Ju Yesu I wah; Ju Yesu I wah; Shung jing ee gow su wah‘. He loved doing that chorus in Mandarin, and so did we. I have never forgotten how to sing ‘Ju Yesu I wah’. I was eleven at the time and the idea of even learning a few foreign words was quite exciting. But God had a 65-year plan for us. He is not constrained by our years of time at all.
Recently when we met with one of my brothers, I asked him if he remembered Colonel Darby. My brother said he remembered him well. I then asked him if he remembered the chorus that Colonel Darby had taught us. He said yes, he remembered it and proceeded to recite it there and then. I sang along in English. Praise God for His faithful servant Colonel Darby. There will come a day when my brother will sing it whole-heartedly in praise to God. We confidently believe and pray that.
Recently I rang my other brother, Ed, a Christian, who is a year older than I am, whether he remembered Colonel and Mrs. Darby. He certainly did. When I asked him about the chorus that the Colonel had taught us, he responded with a resounding ‘Yes’, and also proceeded to sing it. What a wonderful legacy that man of God left with us.
Perhaps there are people in mainland China today (or maybe their children or grandchildren) who still sing those words taught to them personally by those beautiful missionaries of God.
We can see why Colonel and Mrs. Darby loved the Chinese people. They had servants’ hearts. It is so obvious that the Lord loved them and blessed them so that they could bless so many others.
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