Ps Harold Clarke went home to be with the Lord in February 1977. He and his wife, Ps Ann Clarke, were FMB missionaries who moved to Kuching, Sarawak to begin a new outreach in the early 1972. The Mission rented a semi-detached house for their residence on Mendu Road in the Sekama area of Kuching. On Easter Sunday that year, the Clarkes held their first service in their home, with 18 people present. The new work became known as Sekama Baptist Chapel. Bible Study, Prayer Meeting and a Youth Fellowship were immediately begun as most of those coming were secondary school students. From this early group, came some of today's leaders in Emmanuel Baptist Church. EBC started its course officially in the year 1975.
"I remember one afternoon a church sister and I visited Ps Clarke to talk about our boy-girl relationships and sought for his advice. Looking back, our questions were so immature and naive but he did not show any impatience or loss of interest. He gave us very practical solutions and until today I still remember what he had told me. That s why today I am called Mrs Phang!"
- Karen Phang
"Ps Clarke was a cheerful, committed and helpful pastor. He was somebody who was very easy to get along with. I felt comfortable in his presence. I can remember so vividly how he would sacrifice his sleep and go picking up different ones for choir practice early Sunday morning. During Christmas, he would pack his car with all the noisy youngsters and take us for Christmas caroling from house to house. At times I could see him sitting in the chair exhausted but he uttered not a word of complaint. It was a blessing to have him as one of my pastors."
- Irene Ong
Ps Carl F. Yarnell went to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Ps Carl served the Lord for 25 years as a Southern Baptist missionary in Singapore, Malaysia, and Guam, and pastored churches in California and Tennessee. He arrived in Kuching in July 1973 with his wife, Mary Yarnell, and began a Bible Study in their home in Kenyalang Park. When the Clarkes left on furfough in June 1974, the Yarnells also became advisors to the Sekama Chapel, leading the group in their spiritual growth. The Clarkes returned the next year and on October 5, 1975, Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) was organized with 18 charter members.
"I remember the rides with him to the Dragon school, 24th Mile, where he was ministering to the ISCF (Inter school Christian Fellowship) All the way, those of us who followed him in his car had a good time listening to his sharings and teachings. We were nurtured n taught often under this kind of friendly setting instead of a classroom!"
- Karen Phang
"I can still picture Ps Yarnell sharing the good news with me when I was taking care of my sick mother at the SGH. I was led to Christ by him there and then. He always had his Bible in his hand, ready to "strike when the iron is hot". He had demonstrated the zeal of carrying out the great commission. It was and still is something that I keep in my heart to do the same, to grasp every opportunity to share the gospel. Ps Yarnell became my father's good friend. He frequently visited and talked to him when he was very sick. He was at our house the night he passed on. Ps Yarnell always carried the presence and glory of God with him wherever he went."
- Susan Ong
"I had always enjoyed listening to Ps Yarnell’s teaching and preaching. It was amazing to see how he had touched so many of our lives young as we were when we first came to know Christ. I am very thankful to God for him. His invaluable guidance and impartation of God’s word had impacted our lives. He was also a very caring pastor who was always ready to minister to us and our relatives in times of difficulties. "
- Irene Ong
"Ps Yarnell was like a father to us. He taught us many things of the Spirit- spiritual gifts, deliverance and speaking in tongues. As new born again Christians, we were fascinated by all the new teachings. His disciple-making sessions were on Friday nights called ‘Deeper Life’. He invested his time teaching us and would pick us up to go for church camps in Sematan. Soon my parents found out that my sisters and I had become Christians. We were ordered us to get out of the house because we made our parents angry. In desperation, we called Ps Yarnell who willingly offered us a place to stay. We were so relieved! Ps Yarnell was always there for us."
- Sharon Law
Ps Cheng went home to be with the Lord, on the 17th of March 2020. He had faithfully served EBC for the past 21 years as our worship pastor and associate pastor. He will be fondly remembered for his worshipful voice and encouraging spirit. Through his love for worship, he had also raised many worship leaders and stirred up many young people to serve Him through the worship ministry. Ps Cheng had written many songs which are now precious legacies to be sung for generations.
A year has passed and I still find it difficult to bring myself to adequately describe in words the sudden departure of a dear brother and fellow pastor in the ministry. Pastor Cheng was a brother, a friend, and a fellow soldier in the ministry.
Our relationship went back many years to the time when I was just starting out as a young pastor. Pastor Cheng whom we fondly called Lip Kiong came to know Christ in EBC Youth Fellowship. My wife Irene and I had the privilege to disciple and journey with him through the different seasons of his life -his student days, as a working adult ,his marriage, to ministering together as a team in the church. It was indeed a joy to see the grace of God transforming him from a challenging upbringing to become an able and recognized minster of the Gospel, loved and accepted by the pastors in the city.
We travelled together on many local and overseas trips for ministry, training and missions. One of the earliest ministry trips was driving with him to Sri Aman to speak in a SU (Scripture Union) student camp. He was serving in SU as a full time staff at that time. A memorable trip was going to Argentina to attend the revival gatherings there. One evening after a meeting it was quite late at night and we were hungry, I casually said, "how nice it would be if we could get some Malaysian food", and he replied, "no problem" and "magically" produced a packet of Maggi Mee Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes. How we were able to get it cooked was another interesting story. Yes he had a sense of humor. Fun aside, we did have a marvelous and enriching Holy Spirit experience in Argentina.
Pastor Cheng was a talented musician and an anointed worship leader. His gifting greatly complemented my teaching ministry in church. Flowing together in the Spirit during that season of Holy Spirit renewal in EBC was indeed one of the high points in our partnership. The songs that he had composed and recorded will be an inspiration and a legacy for the next generation.
As a pastor and friend Pastor Cheng was loyal, trust worthy and faithful through the trails, the highs, the lows and the battles that we fought together. He was honest with his feelings and opinions even if we didn't see eye to eye on an issue. I knew he had my back and would hold the fort when I had to be away.
He loved his family and his church family. Connecting and reaching out to members and people was one of his strengths. He was instrumental in opening the door for some of the foreign pastors to minister in Kuching. Also as a leader he was able to disciple and raise a committed group of young people who continue to serve faithfully in EBC. It was his desire and vision to raise and see the next generation rising up to the call of God.
EBC is blessed to have Pastor Cheng who was committed to his calling and was dedicated to completing the assignments which God had given him.
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives". (John 12:24)
-Pastor David Kueh and Irene (Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church)
"We remember Ps Cheng as a minister and worshipper of our Almighty God. His life had impacted not just the Baptist community but also the larger Christian Communities in Kuching and beyond. Many of his Spirit-filled worship songs both in English and Mandarin continue to be sang in churches honoring God. Sarawak Baptist Church thank God for his life on Earth, for serving our Almighty God faithfully and for his contributions in the Kingdom of God."
- Elder Nick Phang, on behalf of the Sarawak Baptist Church Central Committee and all branches
"Pastor David Cheng had been a supportive brother in SECA activities and will always be remembered as our worship pastor in combined churches events. We treasured his contribution and partnership in Kingdom’s service. We thank God for the legacy of a worshipful heart he left that had been full of impact on the Christian community. For the glory of God through his worshipful heart, we remember him by and will always treasure in our hearts."
- Pastor Greman Ujang (Chairman of Sarawak Evangelical Christian Association and senior pastor of Christ Baptist Church)
"It was a great sense of loss of someone precious when the news of the passing of Bro. David Cheng broke. Being a longtime member of KMF that many had enjoyed much the fellowship with for many years (some over 20 years), it was a hard jolt we all experienced. His love for God and His people was evident. Bro. David has been a great blessing to us all. He had lived well."
- Pastor Matthew Ling (Immediate Past Chairman of Sarawak Evangelical Christian Association)
"Pastor David Cheng has always been a friendly, gracious and warm person in the Kuching Ministers Fellowship (KMF). Over the years, his faithfulness and generosity inspires us in KMF almost every week without fail. We have been so blessed each time, he picks up the guitar and lead us in a time of worship. His sudden demise shocked and saddened all of us. Indeed we lost a dear brother whom we cherished and can only take comfort that he is with his Savior and Lord now. We honor his memory and may we each live the life worthy of the One whom Pastor David Cheng serves wholeheartedly."
- Pastor Daron Tan, on behalf of the Kuching Ministers Fellowship
"As a friend, colleague and classmate, Pastor Cheng Lip Kiong will be deeply missed. Pastor Cheng had silently closed the door of life and departed from us unexpectedly with many sweet memories of him for the life well lived.
Always remember him as a cheerful and anointed worship leader and sometimes liked to share jokes in meetings and services to everyone‘s delight. Have known him to be a faithful and responsible person who carried out his responsibilities with diligence and faithfulness, with a servant heart without complaining.
The saying “It is Not How Long We Lived But How We Lived Our Life That Counts” fixed Pastor Cheng’s life well lived. Sad, but always remember you as a loving and caring Pastor of EBC."
- Mervyn Kueh, Administrator of Emmanuel Baptist Church
"Ps David Cheng was my first care group leader back in 1980s. He then went on to start another group & encouraged me to take care of the group; that was how I started in caregroup ministry. Being an anointed worship pastor, he greatly inspired many of us to develop a passion for worship; a big group of us even went all the way to Cameron Highlands to attend David Swan's worship conference. My parents always remember the Hokkien worship songs he taught in the Hokkien service. I thank God for this brother's impact in my spiritual journey & also his love & caring attitude towards the older folks. I will always remember his encouraging words to my mum when she was hospitalised. My family & I continue to miss this dear brother."
- Moi Eng
"He was not just my Pastor. He was my spiritual father, a friend and a counselor. I am so honored to be under his leadership. He had such a humble and caring spirit. I will definitely miss his church jokes and our makan session together after church. I can never thank him enough for the many investments he's made in the lives of the young generation. I'm glad that he's left a legacy of worshippers that I believe will impact hundreds and thousands of people. Earth's loss, heaven's gain. Until we meet again.."
- Sonya Lee
"Even today, he is still very much alive in my memory. He had never failed to ask me how am I whenever he saw me in church. I have always looked forward to attending Family Care Group every Friday night and I definitely looked forward to hearing his jokes - especially your durian jokes. Thank you, Ps Cheng, for impacting our lives. I will definitely miss your voice and having lunch together after church. You have been the best pastor anyone could ever ask for. I know that this is just a temporary goodbye, so I shall see you again soon."
- Mildred Lim
"Ps Cheng was always a great help when it came to choosing the right theme songs for our EBC children's church camps which we held every year. One of the songs, The Apple of His Eye was composed by him n later released in his album. This anointed song touched the children's and teachers' hearts very much."
- Susan Ong
"I was very touched when Ps Cheng came over to talk to me to clear a misunderstanding between us. To me that was a spirit of humility. Anything that stood in the way, he was willing to put it right before God and man."
- Susie Ong
"I see Ps Cheng as a piece of sculpture chiseled and carved by Our Heavenly Father from a troublemaker in the EBC Youth Group to a gifted, anointed worship pastor. He had yielded himself to Almighty God to be transformed from glory to glory. As I had always told Pastor Kueh he was blessed to have a faithful, responsible and helpful associate pastor who did not give him any headaches. I am proud to have him as one of us. Praise God for his valuable contributions to EBC."
- Irene Ong
"Ps Cheng had been Uncle Lip Kiong to me for a really long time. He would always encourage me to serve in the music ministry even though my piano playing skills were mediocre. Whenever I was back for the holidays, Ps Cheng would greet me with a smile and ask how I was doing. I will always remember him for his gentle spirit and servant heart."
- June Bong
"This is a tribute to the man who surpasses the definition of dedication, faithfulness and leadership. He never taught us with mere words but he showed the path, demonstrated the ways and led the charge. I count it my blessing to have been able to be under his pastoral leadership and care. Thank you for being the amazing person that you are, Ps Cheng, and we honor you and salute you for being a testimony of the life of Jesus."
- Ka Joy
"I want to honor Ps Cheng as my first spiritual father. He was the one who imparted me the basics of Christianity through the foundation classes under him when I first became a believer about eight and half years ago. He also contributed much to my spiritual growth as my cell leader. I will always be thankful for his impact upon my life and my spiritual journey. Ps Cheng had also inspired me very much by his heart of worship. His song "Gratefulness" continues to touch my heart deeply and remind me of God's love."
- Siaw Hong
"Ps Cheng showed much concern about Tadika Terang. He would often asked me how the kindergarten was progressing and whether there were any prayer needs for the kindy. I am always so encouraged by his concerns and prayers."
- Sharon Law
Delaying this matter further will mean more struggle and heartaches. We (Belinda and I, Frank) have been deliberating on what to share regarding our beloved late Pastor David Cheng. The truth is, it had been very hard for the both of us to want to recall our memories about Ps Cheng , because every time we think of him , our eyes cannot help swelling up with tears.
As we recall, the privilege we had, over the years, partnering along-side Pastor David Cheng whom we fondly called Lip Kiong, somehow causes deep emotional stirrings. The Mandarin congregation missed his very anointed worship especially the Worship team. Pastor Cheng had devoted much of his time, efforts and his gifting in helping to keep both the English and Mandarin Worship Ministry very much alive and still pursuing excellence in line and tune to the pleasure and acceptance of God. This is one very distinct legacy Pastor Lip Kiong had left and now often being mentioned among those brothers and sisters in EBC who expressed their heartfelt loss.
As a pastor, Belinda and I found him to have lived worthy of the calling he had received from the Lord. Ps. Lip Kiong was very helpful in many ways to those around him, sensitive and showing sympathy to friends and strangers regardless. We remembered on this occasion when we had the opportunity to help a family in distress. Both husband and wife who were Chinese converts were jobless and the husband walked into EBC and asked for help. The husband was without a job, the wife had just delivered a new born baby few months ago (both mother and girl were sickly). To cut the long story short, Ps. Cheng, together with us, did not hesitate to extend his love and care. We could still remember the joy and satisfaction that Ps. Cheng had when he was able to be a channel of blessings to this family.
We are sure , there are many others out there, who have been blessed by his loving pastoral care too.
Even as we are writing this, Belinda reminded me that, many years ago, the teachers in her school were very impressed by Ps Cheng’s friendliness as he regularly, faithfully, waited for his dear wife, sister Lee Na’s school to be over, to help her carry her bags and belongings. Most of them commented that he’s an amazing example of a very caring and loving husband.
On top of all these, Ps Cheng had also been a father who had nurtured and brought up his children with the training and instruction of the Lord which we can evidently see in the characters of Ivan, Anders and Lavender. Let us consistently remember to pray for sister Lee Na and her children , that God’s presence will continue to bring much love, comfort and strength as they move through this tough time, into another future season of their lives.
Much as we all miss him, we are still thankful to God for Ps Cheng’s life, who had been a beacon of life and hope to many. Taking Ps Cheng as a God given example, with the legacy left by him, our prayers is that may we all continue to stand strong and zealous, with unwavering faith in God, bringing that eternal hope through our Lord Jesus Christ, to the people and communities around us.
-Pastor(s) Frank and Belinda (Pastors of EBC Mandarin Service)
Please visit https://tiny.cc/PsCheng for more tributes dedicated to Pastor David Cheng
Besides being an accomplished worship pastor, praise song writer and associate pastor, since taking over the helm of the Sunday English Service, Ps Cheng not only adjusted and adapted to the new calling but indeed rose up to the occasion excelling in his calling. Those working with him in our church's various ministries can testify to this so much so that everything is smooth-running with Ps Cheng around. Despite his busy schedule, he always found time to visit and pray for our members in need at their home. However, the most memorable event for me and my wife is having Ps Cheng as our spiritual leader with Sis Lee Na in our trip to the
Holy Land of Israel in Nov 2018.
Enclosed is a fond memory of Ps Cheng raising our national flag at Sea of Galilee.
- Eddie Lim
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God, many will see what He has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD.
A particular song, "Over All" written by our late Ps Cheng, reminds us to put our trust and our eyes on the Lord. We will always remember this song that has brought encouragement to us as a church.
Indeed, God is the ruler over all our circumstances and situations in life.