My Spiritual Mentor

My Spiritual Mentor — changing lives through his own life

By Rev. David Poon

Rev. Andrew Leung was married to my third older sister, we all affectionately called him “Brother 3”. He was not only my beloved brother but also my spiritual mentor. He was a very reserved person, yet through his deeds, he lived a life filled with the love of our Lord and manifested the glory of God.

In 1944, my late father was caught in the crossfires of two warring gangs while having lunch in a restaurant. He was killed instantly — an innocent victim of a strayed bullet — and left behind my mother and eight children. I was not yet two years old then. My mother worked to raise the family and life was tough.

Florence, my third older sister, and Andrew, our “Brother 3”, tied the knot and got married in 1954. In the following year, they offered to take in my brother Paul and I to their home in Cheung Chau, to lighten the burden of our mother. We lived with them for more than four years. It was some time later that I realized how meager the salaries were for missionaries. They lived a frugal life, yet they extended their hands to help and care for those in needs. In particular, they poured their love to orphans. During that time, we grew our own vegetables and raised rabbits to supplement our income in order to make ends meet. I remembered vividly that when my nephew, Daniel, was born, my sister used a drawer for his crib. That was a tough era for everyone. There were no government subsidies or welfare to the poor and needy. In the church, when brothers and sisters encountered difficulties, they would turn to their pastor for help. Andrew and Florence never shied away from sharing their very meager resources with them. They even sponsored a seminary student through his studies. Their love for God and their love towards others rubbed off on me and helped my spiritual growth.

Andrew had an amazingly strong will that helped him persevere through hardships. In the early 1960’s, they served as missionaries to Vietnam amidst the Vietnam War. They nearly got killed. For the safety of their children, they had no option but to send them back to Hong Kong, to be taken care of by my mother. Florence suffered cancer and was received by our Lord into His bosom in 1975. Andrew cared for and raised the four growing boys by himself, fulfilling the duties of both father and mother. In the late 1970’s, he left Hong Kong with Caleb, Mel, and Israel for New York to pastor the New York Chinese Alliance Church. It was already tough to live without a spouse in a new city, and it was even more so with no network of friends and the severe, frigid winters. Andrew served our Lord diligently and faithfully without a word of complaint. He never discussed compensation, benefits, or vacation entitlement with the church. When the church encountered financial difficulties, he voluntarily reduced his salaries. His faithfulness to our Lord set a good example for all of us and for generations to come.

God prepares the best for us. After Florence rested in peace with our Lord, God prepared for Andrew another spouse, Ruth. At first my mother did not agree. However, after numerous prayers and persuasion from me, she finally accepted. I immediately pronounced the good news to Andrew. They got married and visited us in Vancouver. Andrew’s respect for the elders was vividly demonstrated in this event.

Andrew’s passion for missionary work intensified. He thanked the Lord that Ruth shared the same vision with him. After retiring as pastor from New York they put on the armour and went to the front line to fight the good fight for our Lord again. They served as missionaries in Surinam, and later in Panama until Andrew reached his nineties. They also visited and served in Venezuela frequently.  We could see that they had offered themselves completely, without reservation, on the altar to our Lord. Andrew was faithful to God’s calling all his life. He lived out the spirit of the Alliance Bible Seminary — the pioneering, sacrificial and passionate spirit.

Andrew’s life influenced my life, laid the foundation of my faith, and strengthened my commitment to serve. His lifelong devotion to prayers and evangelism became my example and encouragement to missionary work. When I was still a church pastor, I emphasized on missionary works. I participated in short-term missions, visited Andrew and Ruth in Surinam, and led evangelical meetings. After retirement, I joined the China Evangelistic Mission as Honorary Itinerary Minister.

We thank our Lord for Andrew. May God, through Andrew’s life, influence you so that you will offer your life, without reservation, to Him!