(English version follows the Chinese)
先夫潘兆祺 Karlson Poon 於今年2020年7月8日在醫院準備做抽肺水時因心肺功能突然停頓, 很安然的離世, 返回主的懷抱。他當時剛過了56歲生日, 雖然我與三個兒子都已認知到他的身體真的很衰弱, 但當真正失去他時, 內心還是很不捨、很思念他, 每當憶起他的一言、一行、 一笑、 一 怒, 淚水還是不自主的流出!
癌病可以說是他身上的一根刺, 好讓他更加順服神、依靠神去經歷他信主後的人生。 他十五歲時在香港第一次病發, 他憶述說電療將他的鼻咽癌醫治好了, 但同時也產生了很多後遺症。於30歲後, 他開始有耳鳴、 雙重視覺影像、體力欠佳…等等。 直至2011年他47歲時, 再確診他患有很罕見的第四期主腮腺癌, 病因也是年青時電療的後遺症, 它使細胞癌化, 通常於20年後產生。 他於頭兩年間已接受了六次的手術, 最重大的是第一次, 手術由三位專科醫生輪流開刀, 共用了14個小時。 手術把右面部整個腮腺及皮膚切除, 也將內耳洞拿去, 下顎骨磨平, 切除部分耳朵, 再由他左大腿切去一塊肌肉組織移到右面部的大洞去填補, 只是聽見也覺可怕了! 兩年後他的癌細胞擴散到頸部以下, 於是由2014 至2019年間不停地接受化療或標靶治療, 轉換了很多不同的藥物, 但也無法根治。 在2019年他再次接受了兩期的電療。
有時 Karlson 會自誇說, 他親身經歷了癌症的三大治療, 他經驗豐富啊。我在這憶述他的病歷不是要訴苦, 更不是要抱怨, 是要分享神的恩典是夠用的、神是看顧愛惜他的! 雖然經歷大大小小六次的手術, 他沒有吃過”一顆”止痛藥。 雖然經歷了五年的化療, 他沒有嘔吐過”一次”。雖然經歷過兩期的電療, 他沒有灼傷或口腔潰爛等情形。 這不是神的看顧及憐憫, 又是什麼能使他安然渡過那些年呢?
他在1992年10月4月於北加州三一華人浸信會受浸, 在那裡他得蒙許希哲牧師耐心的教導、栽培、指引, 使他有很堅固的信心和信仰。 我與他在教會認識, 97年2月婚後的四年間, 神賜給我們三個健康可愛的兒子。 因受聖靈的感動, 他放棄電機工程師的工作, 在2000年1月帶著一家搬往金門神學院攻讀道學碩士課程 Master of Divinity。那時的校址是在美麗宜人的 Mill Valley小鎮上, 他唸書, 我照顧三個幼小兒子, 生活雖然清貧, 但十分寫意。 於2003年我們一家往南遷,他在南橙縣華人浸信會實習了一年, 因鍾定基牧師的指導和經歷眾弟兄姊妹的關懷, 讓我們更加肯定往墨西哥宣教的使命。
墨西加利 Mexicali, 是在墨西哥接連美國邊界的一個沙漠城市, 每年5月至9月氣溫都會超過100F, 最高可達125F, 約52C。起初數年他都會常常撐著傘子、拖着背包, 一個人徒步到華人聚居和工作的地方去探訪、去傳福音。漸漸地 “潘生、潘生”的稱呼彷佛象徵基督教的名字也開始在當地華人社會中有人認知。在2005年初, 許希哲牧師同師母遠道來探訪我們, 因著他們的鼓勵及教導, 他才決志創辦自立教會。第一間當地華人屬靈之家, 墨西加利華人浸信會, 於同年7月正式成立。 感謝神在過去的十五年一直差派多間不同教會的短宣隊來幫忙, 讓各項事工得以順利進行。 若他體能還好時, 他會歡歡喜喜接待短宣隊, 與他們一起事奉神。及後他做了大手術, 右邊面已經癱瘓了, 但只要他健康可以, 他還會親自講道, 出席教會的活動。神也在他軟弱時, 堅固了他的心, 他疲乏時, 賜他能力。再之後他大多數時間都要待在家中休養, 他還是很顧念主的託付, 要遵行信徒的大使命。因着他這樣的心志, 神又為他開了傳道之門, 網上的即時通訊, 如WhatsApp、WeChat、QQ, 大大幫助了他, 他可與人查經, 分享神的話語; 他可與信徒們傾談, 分享他們的喜悅, 分担他們的憂傷。將殘的燈火, 神不會吹滅, 神給夠用的恩典讓 Karlson可繼續用他微弱的燈光引導在黑暗中尋找真理的迷羊!
他很疼愛三個兒子, 當他們長大離家上大學時, 他比我還思念他們。 他常常說, 他們是他的三個天使! 兒子們從小時已跟我們一起事奉神。他們會拉大提琴與小提琴, 很理所當然的就成了崇拜時的樂師。高中時也有帶領青少年小組團契聚會, 以及充當教會舉辦的樂理班, 及英文班的小老師。
兒子們都長大了, 我們也老懷安慰, 神也很看顧他們、獎賞他們。 他們一切的大學費用, 若以兩個兒子同時在大學修讀, 平均每年最小需用十萬美元, 這全由神預備與供應! 他們不用任何借貸, 作為父母的我們真的一點也不用操心。耶和華以勒! 神必預備。今年6月12日為他慶祝56歲生日, 因為 Covid 19 的疫情, 三個兒子全返回家中, 也陪伴了他四個多月, 這更是意想不到的幸福與恩典!
現時我會暫時處理教會一切的運作, 但墨西哥加利華人浸信會更需要一位牧者, 來牧養和看顧主的羊, 求神感動人心, 求神供應!
Fanny 於2020年10月26日對 Karlson 的思念
In Memoriam: To Live is to be an Offering to the Lord
Psalms 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
My late husband, Karlson Poon, went home to be with the Lord on July 8, 2020 while he was being prepared to have fluid drained from his lungs when his heart suddenly failed. He had just celebrated his 56th birthday. Although my 3 sons and I knew that he was physically weak, but when the reality of his passing struck us, each time when we recalled his words, his mannerisms, his laughter, his anger, tears would simply well up in our eyes. We missed him deeply.
Cancer can be said to be Karlson’s “thorn in the flesh” for him to be more obedient to God, to trust Him more, and to experience Him as His child. He was first diagnosed with Paranasal Sinus (Cancer of the Nasal Cavity) when he was 15 and he recounted that it was radiation therapy that healed him. However, he suffered from its many side effects. At 30, he began to lose his hearing, had double vision, decreased energy level and so on. In 2011, when he was 47 years old, he was diagnosed to have a Stage 4 cancer of the parotid gland, suspected to be related to his radiation therapy. In the following two years, he underwent 6 surgeries, the most extensive of which was the very first which took 14 hours and three surgeons taking turns to complete. That surgery removed the entire parotid gland, surrounding tissues and the inner ear cavity on the right side of his face. They also grind down his lower jawbone and removed part of his ear. They then took a muscle from his left leg to fill up what they had removed from his right face. Just listening to the description of the procedures will cause one’s hair to stand on end. After that, the cancer cells had spread to parts of the body below his neck. Between 2014 and 2019, he underwent continuous chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and changes to his medication, all to no avail. In 2019, he underwent two courses of radiation treatment.
II Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Karlson would sometimes boast that since he had undergone all three major forms of cancer therapy, he was the most experienced person in the world in that field. I am sharing all these not because I am complaining or being bitter but to share with all of you that God’s grace is sufficient, and He loves His own. Although Karlson went through 6 major and minor surgeries, the truth is, he had not taken even a single painkiller; in 4 years of chemotherapy, he never once vomited; in the two courses of radium treatment he never got burned nor got his mouth messed up. This is the evidence of God’s care and mercy and the reason he was able to find peace in all he went through all those years.
II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”
On October 4, 1992, Karlson was baptized into the fellowship of TriCity Chinese Baptist Church in Fremont, California. Through the ministry of Rev. Wilfred Hsu and his patience in teaching, discipling and wise counsel, Karlson built a strong foundation for his faith and faithfulness in the Lord. I came to know Karlson at the same church and we married in February 1997 and in four years, God gave us three healthy and adorable boys. January 2000, led by the Holy Spirit, Karlson gave up his work as an electrical engineer and relocated the entire family to the Golden Gate Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California to pursue the M.Div. degree program in preparation for the vocational ministry. Life for the family in Mill Valley was fabulous. He attended classes. I took care of our three young sons. We lived a simple lifestyle but a joyful one. In 2003, we moved to Southern California where Karlson served his field ministry at the South Orange County Chinese Baptist Church for a year. Through the wise counsel of the Rev. Wilfred Chung and the care of the brothers and sisters, we felt affirmed in going to serve in Mexico as a missionary.
Mexicali is a small desert town located on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border. Between May and September every year, the average temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit although it could reach as high as 125. When we first arrived, Karlson would usually carry a backpack with an umbrella on hand when going on his rounds in visiting the Chinese diaspora in Mexicali and preaching the Gospel to them. Gradually, “Mr. Poon” has become a recognized face in Mexicali and a representative of the church among the Chinese community there. Early in 2005, Pastor Hsu and Mrs. Hsu came to visit us and through his encouragement and teaching, Karlson finally decided to form an independent church. As a result, the Mexicali Chinese Baptist Church was constituted, the first spiritual home for Chinese believers. We praise God that in the last 15 years, many churches have sent mission teams to help us in fulfilling many aspects of the work here. When Karlson was up to it energy wise, he would personally welcome the mission teams joyfully and participate with them in the ministry. After his major surgery which caused his right face to be paralyzed, he would still insist on preaching and participation in the ministry of the church so long as his physical health allowed. In his weakness, God affirmed his faith. When he was tired, God gave him strength. Later, as his condition worsened, he spent most of his time resting at home. Even so, he had not forgotten his commission from the Lord. Because of this, the Lord opened the door of preaching the Gospel for him on the internet through platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and QQ. These helped him greatly in conducting Bible Studies, sharing God’s Word, connecting with fellow believers to share in their joys and their cares. Indeed! A smoldering wick he will not snuff out. God gave sufficient grace for a smoldering wick like Karlson to continue to lead truth seeking sheep that are lost in this dark world to The Truth.
Psalms 127:4 “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”
Karlson adores his three sons. When they left for college, he missed them dearly. He would always say, “They are my three angels!” The children served the Lord with us in the church. They were good at playing the viola and the violin and so, naturally, they became the musicians during worship. When they were in high school, they led the cell groups and the youth fellowship and whenever the church had music theory and English classes, they served as teachers.
The children are grown now, and we are greatly comforted. The Lord watched over them and rewarded them. The college tuition for two them which would normally cost USD100,000 on average was provided by the Lord. As a result, they did not need to take out any student loans and as parents, we did not have to worry about them financially. The Lord simply provided! We celebrated Karlson’s 56th Birthday recently and because of COVID 19, all the three children were home for four full months, and they were able to be with their dad. It was such an extraordinary and unexpected blessing and grace.
Matthew 9:38 “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
At present, I have taken up the responsibilities of the church on an interim basis. But the Mexicali Chinese Baptist Church has a dire need for a pastor to come to shepherd and care for the Lord’s sheep. May the Lord call out his servants to the harvest field and they will respond to His call.
In Memory of Karlson Poon
by Fanny Poon
October 26, 2020