Wong Kiat Sam (Pinyin Huang Dasan) 黄達三 (1908 - 1995)
by Esther Young, Paul Wong, David Wong, Phyllis Wong, Martha Wong, and Sally Wong, 2013
Basic Biographical Data
Born September 21,1908, and died September 1, 1995.
Parentage: Father Huang Zunmo, mother Chang Kung Yen.
Siblings: Wong Kiat Sam had three brothers, and eight sisters, of these one brother and three sisters were from the same mother.
Marriage: Wong Kiat Sam married Shim Nyuk Yin on November 28, 1940.
Children: Wong Kiat Sam and Shim Nyuk Yin have six children, from the eldest to the youngest they are Esther Young, Paul Wong, David Wong, Phyllis Wong, Martha Wong, and Sally Wong.
Education: Trained at the Seminary in Singapore to be a minister.
Summary of Service: Wong Kiat Sam began denominational service in Siam in 1927, then in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu); he was imprisoned during the Japanese occupation of North Boneo. He also served as pastor in the churches at Sandakan; Cholon, Saigon; Haad Yai, Southern Thailand; Chinese Church in Bangkok. Finally became the chaplain of Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital before retirement.
Figure 1: Portrait of Pastor Wong Kiat Sam, ca 1973.
Pastor Wong Kiat Sam 黄達三 (Pinyin Huang dasan) was born on September 21, 1908 in Meizhou, Canton region of China to the home of Wong Tsun Mo 黄遵模 (Pinyin Huang Zunmo) and his seventh wife Chang Kung Yen 張恭人 (Pinyin Zhang Gongren). Father Wong Tsun Mo was born in November 17, 1849 and he was the Prefect of Guangxi Province 廣西知府 during Qing Dynasty. They had two sons and three daughters. But Wong Tsun Mo had two other sons and five other daughters from the other wives. When Nationalist government took power Wong Tsun Mo became Director of Security, probably equivalent to the police chief, in that city. One day while walking home, Wong Tsun Mo was stabbed in the back, and died from the wounds. Wong Kiat Sam was only nine when his father died, and was brought up by his older half brother and sister.
After the death of his father, Wong Kiat Sam left Meizhou in approximately 1925 and went to Hong Kong where he stayed with his sister. He was planning to go to Japan to study engineering. One day as he was walking around the streets of Hong Kong, he heard singing and followed it into a Seventh-day Adventist congregation meeting. Since he did not have a happy childhood, he wondered why these people were so happy singing. That was how he got converted to become a Christian.
Denominational Service in Southeast Asia
His mentor and friends took him to Siam (Thailand) where he was baptized into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on July 8, 1927. He entered into denominational service in Siam between 1927 to 1934, went to Singapore to study in the seminary to become a minister instead of going to Japan to study engineering. He then went to Malaya and North Borneo from 1935 to 1954.
He met his future wife, Shim Nyuk Yin 沈玉英, from Sarawak, when she was canvassing as a literature evangelist (colporteur) in Malaya after completing her junior Cambridge exam while waiting to enter nursing school. The couple got married in Kuching, Sarawak on 28 November 1940.
After his marriage, Wong Kiat Sam was appointed as church pastor to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu), Sabah, where daughter Esther and son Paul were born shortly after the Japanese invaded North Borneo in December 1941. During the war, the couple encountered many hardships and Wong Kiat Sam was imprisoned and accused of being a US spy by the Japanese military because of his affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was tortured and almost died in prison. His strong faith in God sustained him through times of difficulties, and to keep his spirit up, he recited passages of Bible to himself.
After the war, another son, David was born. The family was transferred to Sandakan in 1948 and two daughters, Phyllis & Martha, were born. On April 10, 1954, Wong Kiat Sam was officially ordained as a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sandakan.
Later in 1954, he was called to be the pastor at the Chinese Church in Cholon, a suburb of Saigon, Vietnam. The pastor of the Church in Cholon, Pastor Ho Wai Yue 何偉如, took over the leadership of the church in Sandakan. In effect, they exchanged churches. The last child, daughter Sally was born in 1956 in Vietnam.
In 1957, Wong Kiat Sam was called to be the Chinese pastor of the Haad Yai Church in southern Thailand and his wife was to be the English teacher for the children of the missionary couple Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Mary Lou Gregory and a few of the other church members. (Dr. Ronald Gregory was the Medical Director of the Haad Yai Hospsital. Mrs. Mary Lou (Lee) Gregory, a nurse, was born in Bejing, China in 1921, where her parents, Frederick and Minnie Lee were missionaries. Click the link on their names to view the story of Frederick and Minnie Lee ). Pastor and Mrs. Wong Kiat Sam remained in Haad Yai until 1961 when Pastor Wong was transferred to be the pastor of the Chinese Church in Bangkok and Mrs. Wong was to teach at the English school in Ekamai. He remained pastor for many years until he served as the Chinese chaplain at the Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital. Mrs. Wong learned to drive when she was in her mid-forties and drove all over Thailand selling Adventist health books and Bible stories. She became the top literature evangelist in Thailand and Southeast Asia for many years.
Retirement in Australia
They retired and migrated to Sydney, Australia in June 1975 where their oldest and youngest daughters were at that time. Even during his retirement, Pastor Wong Kiat Sam was active in Sydney Chinese SDA Church in Strathfield, NSW, Australia, ministering to many his former parishioners from Borneo and Vietnam and also with the Chinese refugees from East Timor. Many of them accepted the Adventist faith as a result of his ministry. Even his own personal physician, Dr. David Chong, also converted to Adventism through Pastor Wong.
Figure 2: Portrait of Wong Tsun Mo father of Pastor Wong Kiat Sam, in his regalia as Guangxi Province Prefect.
Figure 3: Wong Kiat Sam preached (right hand pointing upward) in Bangkok, shortly after he became an Adventist in 1927. The Thai characters said "Adventist Mission", while the Chinese characters said "Seventh-day Adventist Evangelistic Team".
Figure 4: Wedding photo of Wong Kiat Sam and Shim Nyuk Yin on 28 November 1940
Figure 5: Evangelistic meeting at Sandakan, Pastor & Mrs Wong Kiat Sam (left) with Pastor and Mrs. Ho Wai Yue (right) ca 1953.
In June 1987, Pastor Wong fulfilled his life long dream of returning to his ancestral village in Meizhou to share his Christian faith with his relatives when he visited his birthplace with his wife, sons Paul and David and grandson Michael.
He passed away on 1 September 1995, fervent in his faith after many years of service. Mrs. Wong, a help-mate who was always generous and a wonderful mother, passed away in 1997.
Pastor Wong Kiat Sam devoted his entire life to the service of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His life can be summarized by a set of "signed" statements shown below which he called his "Motto" and which he carried with him constantly,
Simplicity in life;
Diligent in work;
Devotion to people;
Sacrifice for God
The following poem entitled "Reminiscence", in Chinese and in English, written in 1991 by Pastor Wong during his retirement years in Sydney, reflects the emotion that filled the heart of a true servant of God:
Figure 6: Mrs. Wong and the children in front of the Cholon Church School, Saigon, Vietnam ca 1956.
Figure 7: The Wong family in front of the Haad Yai Church, Southern Thailand 1959. The names of the children in this photo are from right to left, Paul, Esther, Phyllis, Martha, David, and Sally.
Figure 8: At a Cambodian Church in 1960
Figure 9: After retirement, Pastor Wong at an outdoor market in Sydney Australia ca 1980's.
Figure 10: The Wong family celebrating the 80th birthday of Pastor Wong, and the 70th birthday of Mrs. Wong in Sydney, Australia in 1988. Their children standing at the back from left to right are David, Sally, Phyllis, Martha, Esther, and Paul.
1. Wong, David Y. (2013), A Brief Biography of Pastor Wong Kiat Sam, private communication.
2. Wong Kiat Sam (1977), Refugees were blessed in spite of the suffering they had to endure. Last Day's Shepherd's Call, July 1977, China Union Mission, Hong Kong (in Chinese).
Last updated 6/24/2013 by Bruce Lo