Timothy Lo Ka Chung (羅加寵)
by Simeon Wong (黃雅民) 1999
Basic Biographical Data
Timothy Lo Ka Chung was born in 1920 in Xingning, Guangdong; died on August 8, 2002 at Oakland, CA, USA.
In 1905 he married Julia Peterson, a nurse from Poy Sippi, WI.
On August 26, 1920, Timothy Lo Ka Chung [also known as Lo Chia Chung], whose ancestral home was in Xingning county (興寧), Guangong (廣東), was born into a Christian family, at Fatshan (佛山), Guangdong. His father, Lo Sin Tshoi (羅新才), was one of the first few national ordained ministers in South China. Timothy Lo was the second son in the family. His mother, Madam Chan Shun Tak (陳信德), was in the early days, a graduate of Bethel School for Girls (伯特利女學堂) in Guangzhou (廣州). She had been a Bible worker and served the church for many years. His parents trained him well, using the Bible as a guide for his education. His older brother, Pastor Lo Hing So (羅慶蘇), a highly educated person, was an experienced and outstanding teacher, as well as a highly respected minister in South China and Hong Kong.
The two sons and two daughters of Pastor Lo Sin Tshoi were home schooled by him and his wife until they completed the lower primary education. They then enrolled in higher primary class to receive the threefold education.
At eleven years old, Timothy Lo attended the Sam Yuk School at Tungshan (東山), Guangzhou, where he studied from higher primary to grade 10. In 1936 he completed his junior high school. Due to the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the school moved to Sha Tin (沙田), Hong Kong, where Timothy Lo then continued his education. In 1939 he graduated from his teacher training and was hired to teach in our school in Mong Kok (旺角), Hong Kong. He served concurrently as assistant pastor of the local church. Two years later when the Pacific War erupted and Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese, Timothy Lo went with the South China Training Institute to Laolung (老隆), Guangdong, where he taught for a year.
My late father, Pastor Wong Shiu Leung (黃紹良), the director and physician of the Fatshan Little Eden Hospital-Dispensary (佛山小樂園醫院), often encouraged Timothy Lo to follow his example to engage in medical missionary work, for according to Mrs. Ellen G. White, the medical missionary work is to the work of the church as the right arm to the body. With such an encouragement Timothy Lo then determined to be a doctor. [The editor’s note: Wong Shiu Leung, physician and evangelist at Fatshan was ordained to the gospel ministry during the conference and institute of the Cantonese Mission held in Guangzhou, December 1918. (Asiatic Division Outlook, February 1, 1919, p. 8.)
In 1942 Timothy Lo went to Chongqing to do his pre-med in the China Training Institute. In 1943 he passed his entrance examination and was accepted by the National Jiangsu Medical College (國立江蘇醫學院), then located in Beibei (北碚), Chongqing. In 1945 after the war was over, he went with the medical college to return to its campus in Shanghai and graduated from the medical college in 1948. Originally he planned to study in our medical college so that he could keep his Sabbath. But at that time due to the situation China Division was not able to realize its plan in establishing its own medical college. After consulting with Elder E. L. Longway (羅威), the China Division president, he took the entrance examination of the above-mentioned medical college. However, during his six years of training in the national medical College, through the help of and the Lord’s leading, Timothy Lo was able to overcome all the obstacles in obtaining special permission to keep Sabbath and not to attend classes. His grades on each subject were excellent and he was top of his class, until he graduated. This was an unforgettable testimony how the Lord through His mercy had been leading him. For this he offered his ceaseless gratitude and praise to the Lord.
[The editor’s note: The following is a personal testimony of Timothy Lo himself about his encounter and overcoming the Sabbath “problems” in the medical college.
From my childhood I studied in our Adventist schools, and Sabbath observation had been my custom. Since my entrance to the Jiangsu Medical College, I was facing a severe test. The medical course was strenuous, and there were always classes on Saturdays, and some of the classes were major ones. Shall I continue my usual practice? Pricking by the conscience and convicting by the Holy Spirit, how could I, a Seventh-day Adventist youth, give up my usual Sabbath observation? However, then came my problem Just one day before my first term examination, I suddenly received a note from the academic dean’s office. It said, “As you have missed too many classes on Saturdays, and are over the limit, you are not permitted to take the examination according to the school regulations.” Immediately I went to see the dean to beg for special permission. He not only did not have any sympathy but he reproved me and warned me not to be so obstinate from then lemon, or else I would be asked to leave the college. Many schoolmates showed their concern and advised me not to throw away my bright future for the sake of small religious matter. During that wartime it was a rare privilege to be able to study in a national medical college becoming the object of nurture by the government, as all the students were enjoying special treatments at public expenses. Hence, they advised, I should immediately “check my horse on overhanging cliffs (懸崖勒馬),” by attending classes on Saturdays.
At this critical moment, where shall to go? In my earnest prayer I was led by the Holy Spirit and courageously continue my Sabbath keeping, and waited for the Lord to lead the way. One day I went to the Division office to see Elder Longway asking him for help. Warmly he showed his concern and encouragement. After we knelt down for earnest prayers, he wrote a letter to the both the college president and the dean, and handed me to took it to them. He further encouraged me continue my prayer to the Lord asking Him to touch the heart of the president. After reading Longway’s letter, the president asked me to leave first and wait for the notice after the college studied the matter. Two days later, I was called to the president’s office where the dean was present. Smilingly, both of them asked me, “Are you so confident that your skipping classes on Saturdays will not affect your overall study? You should know that the medical course is strenuous, and not like the ordinary university course. You should carefully consider the matter.” I answered them, “I deeply believe that, besides applying my double effort to study my lessons diligently, God will give me the necessary strength in my study, and my overall results will not be affected.” Finally, the dean said, “All right. We shall give you an opportunity to try. We shall allow you to miss classes on Saturdays. However, this is not just an empty talk. It will be decided by the results of your tests. Two days later you will take the first term examination, which you had missed. We shall see how well you fare. From now on, we shall see your result of every subject. Should you fail in any one subject, your Sabbath privilege will be withdrawn. Do you agree?” Standing up, I politely answered, “I agree. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. Dean.”
Thus, during my six-year of medical course, whether in Chongqing during wartime, or later in Shanghai after the war, I passed every subject I took, and not only that, my grades topped the class. I received the praise of the professors and the admiration of my classmates. As regards my being able to keep the Sabbath during those six-year of medical study, I want to give thanks to the Lord for His blessings. May this testimony be an encouragement to all the San Yu alumni. (North America San Yu Alumni Association Newsletter, November 1996, pp. 3, 17.)
When Timothy Lo was studying in Shanghai, I was working at the Shanghai Health Bureau. We often encouraged each other to be faithful to the Lord. After his graduation in 1949, we returned to Hong Kong together and we were married. Pastor C. A. Carter (柯德邇), a teacher of the South China Training Institute, officiated our wedding.
After our marriage Timothy Lo accepted a call from the South China Union Mission and went to Toishan Christian Hospital and Dispensary (台山基督教醫院) in Guangdong province to relieve Dr. Paul Huang (黃子克) as the medical director, because Dr. Paul Huang was leaving for America to further his training. And I was to work in that hospital in the delivery department. At that time Pastor Tsoi Shi Mun (蔡樹文) was the pastor of the Toishan Church. Timothy Lo did his best to assist and support the local church. As my ancestral home was Toishan, it was a delight to work among my own people. [The editor’s note: Dr. Lo gave the following account of encountering robbers when he was in Toishan. One night three robbers suddenly came to rob the hospital and our house. Savagely they ordered me give up all the money of the hospital and our home. While obediently opening the safe I prayed for the Lord’s protection. The three robbers suddenly went to my reading room. At first they gazed at two pictures hanging on the wall, one being Jesus tending a flock and the other showing Jesus and two robbers nailing on the cross. Then they leafed through Steps to Christ, The Ministry of Healing, The Great Controversy, The Signs of the Times, The Last day Shepherd’s Call and others books and magazines on the shelf. After some ten or more minutes, they left quietly without saying anything. The hospital did not lose anything, nor did our home. Isn’t this a miraculous protection from God’s angels? (North America San Yu Alumni Association Newsletter, June 1995, p. 3. The readers may find in the same page and page 2 of other miraculous experiences he had gone through during the political persecution in the 1950s and in the later Cultural Revolution in 1960s)]
However, such good times at Toishan did not last forever. In 1950, South China Union Mission again transferred Timothy Lo to Guangxi to succeed Dr. Loh Big Wah (勞碧華) as medical superintendent of Nanning Seventh-day Adventist Hospital (南寧小樂園醫院) and superintendent of its nursing school. I went along to work in the obstetrics and gynecology department, as well as teaching in the nursing school. When we journeyed to Nanning, our traveling companions were the family pf Pastor Siu Pok On (邵樸安), who was to assume his new appointment as president of the Guangxi Mission.
I remember, at that time, besides being responsible for the work of the hospital, Timothy Lo was the first elder of Nanning church and the church choir director. He preached on Sabbath, he taught Sabbath School lesson, he organized Bible studies, held evangelistic meetings, conducted health seminars, spiritual revival meetings, and visitation of the church members. He was very energetically, and optimistically involved in all the activities. At that time his colleagues in the hospital were Dr. Lee Ming Yi (李明義), Dr. Siu Wai Hak (邵維克), Dr. Andrew Chen Liang Hsiang (陳良襄), Dr. Wong Ying (黃盈), Dr. Lu You Keng (陸有慶), Dr. Liang Wen Chao (梁文超) [whose husband Lee Hung Sung (李恒松) was then a mission departmental secretary], Madam. Liu Chi Hsien (劉啓賢, i.e. Mrs. Lee Ming Yi). And in the church there were Pastor Siu Pok On, Edward Chu Tin Wing (朱天榮) Treasurer, (later he became a medical doctor). Elder Ho Sai Yuk (何世玉), teacher Chan Te Sun (陳滌新). All working together in one accord, and the hospital and the church prospered, benefiting the people and glorifying God.
In early 1952, the Communist government sent a military representative to take over our hospital. Timothy Lo continued to be faithful in his Sabbath keeping, and to help the church activities. The government arrested him under various false accusations, such as “special agent for the American”, “People’s public enemy”, “Counter-revolutionist”, “Zealous reactionary” and he was sent to labor camp to reform for six years.
As far as I know, during this period of imprisonment, Timothy Lo went through many oppressions and threats, whipping, torture, endangerment, hand cuffing and foot locking, kicking and a lot of beating, in order to force him to admit his wrong doing. He suffered and endured all kinds of mistreatment and cruelty. They even employed a new and very powerful tactics utilizing slogans such as, “Tell the truth and receive leniency”, “Severe punishment will be meted out for resistance”, “Do good to repair for your crime committed,” “Change for a new beginning.” They used every method to entice him to give up his faith by personally writing a public denouncement against his God, so that he could gain his freedom and live. Otherwise there was only one sure path to death. After several refusals from Timothy Lo, they gave him a “preferential” treatment. On his behalf, they prepared a public confession and asked Timothy Lo to put on it his signature, to influence his hospital colleagues, his students and his fellow believers to give up their faith. Praised the Lord for He had provided Timothy Lo the endurance to go through all those abuses and torture. During the six years in the labor camp, with the power of God and His mercy, he was able to treat many medical problems of the prisoners and it was credited to him for good behavior, therefore in October 1957 he was released, six months ahead of his term and he was free.
We left Nanning in 1958 and went to Guangzhou, and we worked in Qing Ping Hospital (清平醫院) of the Health Bureau in Liwan District (荔灣區). During that time we were able to help out in the work of the local church there. However, in 1966, a very extraordinary ten years of Cultural Revolution swept through the whole country. Due to his background, his belief, his zeal for the church, and his overseas relationship, Timothy Lo was listed as a special government target. At first the Red Guards would come to purge our home. He was ordered to stop his medical practice. In the hospital, his position was suspended and he was forced to recount and write report of what his past history. Later, he were escorted back to his homeland Xingning (興寧). He was to labor under supervision for thirteen years. While in the village he had to attend “accusing and denouncing meetings,” walked barefooted, to go up to the hills to open up land for cultivation, and to work in the rice fields. He endured all kinds and forms of torture, abuses and beating; suffering all kinds of mental and physical pain. In the summer of 1968, during a march against class enemies, Timothy Lo almost lost his life. Under the mercy of God and His protection, his life was preserved. He said, “At this conflict I did walk through the valley of death, but the Lord was with me, His rod and His staff they comforted me.” Again he said, “Surely goodness and mercy would follow me throughout my life and I’d dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
In 1979 Deng Xiao Ping (鄧小平) implemented a new policy of “restoring order and returning to the right path (撥亂反正),” in an effort to bring the cultural revolution to a halt, and his slogan, “mistakes must be corrected whenever discovered (有錯必糾)” helped to overturn the wrongs done during the cultural revolution. It was then that Timothy Lo was permitted to return to Guangzhou, where his position was restored. While he was able again to serve in Qing Ping Hospital, he did not neglect his responsibility to the church, where he often gave his testimony. Meanwhile, the few years before we came to America, Timothy Lo was a committee member of the Guangzhou City Christian Association, and as such, he worked very diligently to revive the Sabbath observation and the ordinance of humility and feet washing ceremony for the Adventist believers. As he reached his retirement age, he was permitted to retire from the hospital in 1983.
After his retirement, the government reform policy began to show its first streak of light. As the government allowed retired physicians to operate their own clinics or hospitals, Timothy Lo and a group of retired health-care professionals unitedly established the first civilian-operated hospital—–Guangzhou Yi Shou Hospital (廣州益壽醫院). It was to serve the elderly people suffering from chronic diseases. With over two hundred shareholders putting all their resources together to establish it, this civilian hospital was run by a board of directors and Timothy Lo was elected to be its chairman, and he was also the chief consultant. After the hospital was officially opened, the quality of service was excellent and business grew steadily. Indeed it was a great blessing to the elderly for it helped to solve many of their chronic problems. The hospital was well respected by the people as well as the upper officials in the government. Even the health minister of the central government in Beijing made a personal visit to the hospital, calling all the health- care personnel throughout the nation to learn from the Yi Shou Hospital. [The editor’s note: Dr. Lo gave the following miraculous protection during a car accident while serving in Ti Shou Hospital. In a public holiday the hospital board decided that all the hospital staff should have a spring excursion on that day. Three excursion buses were engaged for the purpose. Unfortunately the young driver of the bus in which I was in suddenly lost his control while going up a high mountain road, as a result our bus gradually slanted and slipped toward the valley. At this critical moment I led all the fellow passengers praying to the Lord for protection. He heard our prayer. Our bus was stopped by a big tree trunk half way down the slope. All were safe without a scratch. The precious promises of Psalm 91:9-12 fulfilled on all of us. Thanks to the Lord, and praise to the Lord. (North America San Yu Alumni Association Newsletter, June 1995, p. 3.)]
The success of Yi Shou Hospital was entirely dependent upon the grace of God and His help. Timothy Lo through the Board of Directors was able to appoint Dr. John Hsuen (宣尚忠) of Hong Kong Adventist Hospital and Frank Yeung (楊銘禮), president of Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong, as honorable chairmen of the board. And further through support of Pastor Samuel Young (楊健生), Yi Shou Hospital was able to have Hong Kong Adventist Hospital donate a 14- seat mini van, and some medical equipment to expand its business. In November 1988 Timothy Lo was permitted to leave Guangzhou for America. He then made his second retirement. After arriving in America, his heart was still with Yi Shou Hospital. Up to this day he remains as an honorable overseas chairman of the board.
In the Christmas Eve of 1988, through God’s leading hands we arrived in America and lived at Loma Linda for a short a while. In 1989 Timothy Lo accepted a call from the Northern California Conference to be the pastor of the Oakland/Alameda Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church. While in China, we had no religious freedom. Now in America we are able to serve the church and labor for God. It is really a joyful reflecting.
We deeply thank the Lord for His grace. We were able to work in this one and only newly developed Chinese Church in northern California. No matter it was evangelistic meetings, or health seminars, or health screening, or Bible studies, or visiting church members and inquirers, or leading people to Christ, all these were blessed by the Lord, and the church increased daily and prospered.
In early 1990, while we were in the midst of a series of evangelistic meetings, the blood pressure of Timothy Lo, due to overwork, was very high, and he got a severe stroke. His mouth twisted, and his utterance was unclear. He had difficulty in swallowing. He lost his coordination in his hands and feet, and half of his body was paralyzed. He was in a very critical stage. Fortunately the whole church rallied around him, from church officers to ordinary members, young and old, all prayed fervently with one accord. The result was God performed a miracle. In a short period of two months he was well again. I remember when the evangelistic meetings were coming to a close, on one Sabbath, he was not yet discharged from the hospital, he was allowed to leave the hospital to deliver a sermon in the service, and praise the Lord with his fellow believers. The staff of the hospital all attested with one voice and said, “Your recovery is remarkably speedy. Indeed, we have never seen one such case before. This is wonderful, and it is indeed a miracle. Thank God, praise the Lord.”
In early 1992, due to old age, Timothy Lo made his third retirement in Northern California Conference. Pastor Lee Ming Dao (李明道) succeeded him as pastor of the church. Since his retirement Timothy Lo continued to help out in the local church. Apart from being an elder of the church and church clerk, he also engaged himself in many other activities. For example he used his best gift and volunteered his time and energy on the Health and Medical Van, using medical therapy service to coordinate with the gospel work. He is now looking forward to his fourth retirement.
On July 22, 1992, when Timothy Lo came home from work, he received two very important documents. One was his United States residence green card from the Immigration Department and the other was his ministerial license from the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. After he had opened the two letters, there was a radiance beaming on his face and he spoke with excitement, “Thank God, this is not a coincidence. Definitely, this is the will of God allowing us to reside in America legally to continue to serve Him and save souls. We must therefore never really retire in the service of the Lord.”
The following four areas of Timothy Lo’s life have made the deepest impression on me:
Firstly, he is a very intelligent and hard working person. His grades were extra ordinarily good. I remember when we’re studying together in high school, the results of the examination always showed him to be on the top percentile. When he was studying in the China Training Institute in Hong Kong and Chongqing, his grade was A’s and B’s. When he was in the medical school, the class work was heavy, even though due to his problem on Sabbath and he has to absent himself from classes, yet he was able to maintain his excellent grades. He was even made class monitor.
Secondly, educated in the ideal three-fold educational system, he has established a firm foundation for his faith. Never to falter or waiver in the truth. During the period he was in the labor camp and through the Cultural Revolution, I had witnessed many who gave up their faith and left the Lord. But he, for the sake of keeping his faith in God, even though he had to suffer all kinds of abuse and torture, he still remained faithful to the Lord and was able to bear beautiful testimony of his personal experiences.
Thirdly, he was a responsible person in his job. No matter he was teaching, or treating his patients, or doing church work, or in administration, he was always very careful in finishing up his duty and to accomplish what he has set out to do. Never procrastinate in his task. He has a slogan that drives him along and that is: “The work for the day must be accomplished the very same day.”
Fourthly, he is a person of “happy is he who lends a helping hand.” This is the point what I admire most. In his work as a teacher, a physician and a pastor, it matters not whether one is a relative, friend, patient, church member, non-church member, even neighbor, young or old, male or female, he is willing to help out whenever his help is needed, he never refuses. It doesn’t matter how busy he is, he would make time at his own expense. He doesn’t consider how bad his health is failing. It is always helping others first before self. Following the example of Christ, “To serve and not to be served,” this truly brought him a great deal of joy and happiness
Finally I wish God would grant him good health and longevity to continue to do the work that will benefit the people and glorify God.
[The editor’s note: On June 8, 1996, Pastor and Mrs. Timothy Lo celebrated their golden anniversary in the upstairs Fellowship Hall of Oakland/Alameda Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church. When it was the turn of Timothy to give his words of thanks, he said, “ I am so excited that I do not what to say. Me first sentence is ‘Thanks to God,’ and my second sentence is still ‘Thanks to God,’ and my third sentence is ‘ Thank you Lord and I praise You.’ God’s grace is sufficient for me. He has led me not only the fifty years of married life, He had led me through the seventy-sever years of my earthly life…. The great evangelist Morris once said, ‘God has promised to take me step by step by step, not all at once, ….But step….by step….and step, each step will be a miracle!’ It has been really so. In reflecting my childhood, youth, middle age and now my senior years, I know God was and is leading me step by step. The miracles that happened in my live are numberless. Just only seven years ago while I was the pastor of the Oakland church. I suddenly suffered from a stroke. God miraculously made me whole. Many of you friends who are here now, if I don’t tell you that once suffered from stroke, you may not know about it. Hence I will all the days of my life thank the Lord, praise the Lord, and devote my life to Him. While celebrating our golden anniversary today, in addition to giving thanks to the Lord, we want to thank my nephew Joseph Lo (羅惠慶) with his family who traveled several thousand miles to be in charge of this celebration dinner. We also want to thank all the fellow believers, alumni, relatives, and guests to celebrate with us the blessings of God. Last but not the least we want to all workers who rendered their warm service. May glory and praise to our heavenly Father.” (North America San Yu Alumni Association newsletter, June 1998, p. 19.)
[After Timothy Lo had a stroke, coupled with his advanced age, the function of his kidneys deteriorated. In September 2000, he was admitted to hospital and then nursing home for nearly two years. Three times a week, he had dialyses. His health gradually turned worse. Finally, on August 8, 2002, he rested in the Lord, awaiting for the return of his Lord from heaven. (North America San Yu Alumni Association Newsletter, October 2002, p. 9.)]
Translated and edited by C.Y. Wu & B. Lo 2011
Lo Ka Chung family