A Seed With Many Fruit
In memory of Joanne Chan, who went home to be with the Lord aged 25
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
For James and Sarah Chan, their struggle began on 19th September 2011, after receiving a troubling phone call from their daughter, Joanne. She was incoherent and obviously not herself. She was in Bangkok having just enrolled into the masters program in International Development Studies. Joanne’s desire was to work with the United Nations and was hoping for a work placement in Myanmar, a country she was passionate about since she was 16 and had already spent considerable time in on short-term mission trips and extended visits.
Joanne was admitted to hospital and began undergoing tests. She was diagnosed with a cyst in her womb that was producing antibodies that were attacking her brain, a condition called autoimmune encephalitis. There were multiple treatments and constant seizures and this caused the family to suffer deep pain and they feared for her life. The battle lasted 6 weeks.
On 25th October 2011, Joanne went home to be with the Lord. She was 25-years-old.
In a few short weeks, the lives in this family were forever altered. During the ordeal, James sent a message to the YWAM Singapore Community, asking them for prayer support:
“Sarah and I are holding on to God. Emotionally, we are still learning to cope. It has been specially difficult emotionally for me to see Joanne in her present plight. I cannot hold back my tears each time I look at her and thus I am unable to stay long in the room with her.”
How do you let go of your daughter? How can you believe that God is good and great when circumstances tell you otherwise?
These are the tough questions this family has had to face.
But in the midst of grief, the fruits of Joanne’s life are starting to be seen.
Joanne had so many friends, from all walks of life. She was known for her love and acceptance for those around her. She was fun, and brought so much life to those she came in contact with. And adventure was close to her heart. She was not afraid to take a risk and to step off the expected social ladder of success, preferring to walk the road less travelled. But above all this, God was at the very centre of who she was. He was the reason for her life and choices.
Financial gain was not her goal. Rather, she wanted to impact people’s lives for the better.
For the Chan family, their grieving has not ended. They are still struggling to accept the passing of their daughter. But in the midst of their great anguish and sorrow, they are clinging to God. He is the source of their strength and comfort during this time, even though they don’t have all the answers to their questions. They are grateful for the time they did have with Joanne.