A heart-warming letter from a fellow sufferer

The following letter from the Rev Goh Hood Keng appears to be almost routine for an evangelistic preacher as he was – until we realise that he wrote as one who was being treated for Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in Calcutta. Despite his condition (from which he was miraculously and mercifully cured) he continued to preach the Gospel to those who hungered and thirsted. It is a fitting and sobering reminder to us, likewise, not to neglect those who are suffering from comparable medical conditions like HIV/Aids, despite the deep prejudices that prevail. Pray for those who minister to those who are in danger of being ignored.

18 Gobra Road, Entally, Calcutta.
15th March 1925.
The Editor, Malaysia Message,
4 Fort Canning, Singapore.

DEAR Madam,

Ithank you for your kind reference to me in a paragraph in the MM for February. Will you allow me to make one correction?

When I came here in November last, it was thought that it would be fine if, while undergoing treatment, I could carry on Christian work in the Chinese colony here; but as circumstances would not permit it, the idea had to be given up.

Since coming into the hospital the Lord has opened up an avenue of service for which I am thankful. A number of the inmates in the European ward said that they would like to have a service every Sunday morning, and asked me if I would conduct it. I gladly offered my services, and a month ago I obtained permission from the authorities to hold a service in this hospital every Sunday.

A friend in Calcutta kindly gave us some Sankey hymn books [Ira Sankey, prolific 19th century Methodist hymn writer] and Bibles for our use, and we got a lady to play the piano for us. God’s blessing is upon us, and the interest in the service is increasing every Sunday.

Already there are some who have come to realise that religion means vastly more than saying prayers and going through a set form of worship. It does one’s heart good to hear them sing a familiar hymn in their leisure moments rather than some silly, sentimental song that hasn’t anything to it at all.

At the request of some of the Christians, a Bible Class was started a week ago for the purpose of coming together to seek guidance, help and light in God’s word upon the practical problems that bear on Christian life and character. We meet every Wednesday evening for an hour.

At present we are studying the Sermon on the Mount in our Bible Class as it embodies the fundamental principles of Christianity. Later on, when we have finished our study of the Sermon on the Mount, we shall probably make use of Fosdick’s “Manhood of the Master” as a text book.

I am so glad and thankful to the Lord for the opportunity of ministering to the spiritual needs of the inmates of this hospital, who need God and the message and comfort of the Gospel just as much as anybody else – and perhaps more.

In closing, may I ask the readers of the Message to remember us in their prayers that God will bless our little service and Bible Class to the spiritual profit of all who attend and to His glory and honour?

Yours in His service
Goh Hood Keng’
— MM, May 1925, p.63.

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Earnest Lau, the Associate Editor of Methodist Message, is also the Archivist of The Methodist Church in Singapore.