My grandfather, Ang Tee Heng, was a simple man with a big heart. After knowing about the Church for 42 years he was baptized – a great surprise for our family. He was born in 1929 and died on 23 March 2017. This is his story.
My grandfather was a strict traditional Chinese man who worshiped many gods. He prayed daily, burnt joss sticks, and offered foods to the gods on special occasions. My father, Michael Ang, was 15 years old when he approached my grandfather for permission to be baptized. It was a fearful moment for my father. After listening to my grandmother, my grandfather signed the baptism form without any objection.
Accept invitation to learn the gospel
About four years ago, my parents decided to spend more time with my grandfather. Whenever they had an errand to run, they would drive to his house and put him in the car and drove him around. They took him often to his favourite food stalls at Rangoon Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 where many of the hawkers were his friends.
One day, while visiting my grandfather, my father noticed that he was not offering his usual prayers during the Hungry Ghost festival. He said his knees were bad and he could no longer bend down to pray. My father told him that our God would not require anyone to bend or kneel down to pray all the time, and invited him to come to Church.
Surprisingly, he agreed. My father immediately drove him to the Compassvale Chapel and found two sister missionaries who started teaching him his first discussion in Malay. Later, two Mandarin-speaking missionaries took over the discussions. After two months, he was ready for baptism. My brother Joseph, a Priest who had just turned 16, baptized him.
A new life after baptism
My grandfather joining the Church was a surprise for our family. He was a big coffee and tea drinker. That stopped overnight. He gave up buying lottery tickets when he learned that hope came from Jesus Christ. He stopped worshipping his gods and packed up the altar and sent them to a Chinese temple. He was a reverent person.
My grandfather wanted to attend church regularly. Because he could not walk on his own, my father fetched him to church every Sunday. He learned the gospel from the Chinese and Malay-speaking missionaries. Some of the members helped to explain things to him in dialects, especially Teochew and Hokkien.
Buddies in Church
Two members, Philip and Paul, became my grandfather's buddies. They helped him enjoy his time in Church by taking care of him. Paul would wheel him from the chapel to the classroom, and then wheel him to the car after the service. Phillip would sit next to him in the class and explain the lesson.
The Ang Mo Kio Ward fellowshipped my grandfather as a senior member of the ward. This touched him very much. He was always happy to participate in the ward activities, such as the Ward Christmas party. He also helped to clean the meetinghouse – taking care of the handrails in the lift was his favourite assignment.
Fulfilling his Priesthood duties
As a Priest and despite his age and mobility challenges, he passed the sacrament with the deacons and teachers. My father or an older youth would accompany him as he walked with his walking stick, carrying the sacrament tray. As he could not say the sacrament prayers, he would stand between the two priests as they blessed the sacrament. This brought meaning to his membership and his relationship with God. Six months after his baptism, he received the Melchizedek Priesthood when my brother Jared ordained him an Elder.
At the temple
In June 2015, my grandfather went to the Taipei Taiwan Temple with the Ang Mo Kio Ward members. He could no longer walk and was completely wheelchair bound. However, with faith and the help of ward members, he went through all the ordinances. He was also sealed to his parents. In the sealing room, he was always on the right side of the sealer serving as a witness, and he faithfully sat through the endowment sessions.
My grandfather in his four years as a member of the Church fulfilled all the requirements for returning to our Heavenly Father. On the day he entered the Spirit World, he carried a valid Temple Recommend. He was 88 years old.
Why did my grandfather join the Church?
I give the credit to my father for asking my grandfather if he would like to join the Church. None of us, the grandchildren thought of that simple invitation. I think my grandfather was open to the invitation because of my father's example. My father continually strives to live his life and raise his family accordingly to gospel principles. My father is the eldest of three sons and I believe my grandfather observed how my father has brought up his own family in the gospel. He must have seen the goodness of the gospel.
Ask your grandparents and parents
Based on my father's example, I would say the best way to get our grandparents and parents to learn the gospel is to simply ask. You'll never know how they would respond. If they turn down your first invitation, you can always ask again another time. And if we live the gospel principles truly though we may not be perfect, our light will shine and the people around us, especially non-members will see and feel it.