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Archive for the ‘4th Miri Coy’ Category

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Flor Nera Woodford reminisces the sweet Methodist International Fellowship Night in Kapit way back in Dec 1964. At her left hand is the Bentara Bintang Sarawak (BBS) Award to her late husband.          

A tribute to Lt. Edward Woodford of 4th Miri Company, The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia

By Lt. James TC Wong, 4th Miri Coy

My wife Roseline first received news of Eddy’s passing via her Whatsapp a day after our return from Sibu whereby over the weekend, we had attended the Boys’ Brigade Sarawak State Council’s AGM and 1st Sibu Company’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

Though we knew Eddy’s health and gait had deteriorated over the past few years, and conditions worsened a couple of months ago, still the news of our former BB Officer’s demise ached our hearts.

Roseline received a call on the afternoon of March 19 from Amy Lau of GMC, asking if she would be attending Eddy’s funeral wake. Amy had also hoped that my wife could share a few words during the wake as Captain of 4th Miri which Eddy had served previously for more than 10 years. Sensing my wife’s sad apprehension, I quickly volunteered to do it on her behalf.

The wake was held at a commercial funeral home at Riam at 5:00pm on Mar 20, a day after Eddy’s passing. Most of the people present were from GMC. Pastor Linberg Wong, from Agape Grace Methodist Preaching Centre, led in prayer. He also spoke fondly of Eddy, and so did Alex Tiang and Keith Chin who reminisced the good times they shared in mission trips and church activities.

Below is the full text of my eulogy delivered during the wake service:

Mrs Flor Nera Woodford and family,

On behalf of 4th Miri Captain Roseline, Honorary Captain Mr Frederick Wong, Chaplain Mr Tan Kok Chui, and fellow Officers – I offer you our deepest condolences.

Rev. Law Hui Seng, the previous Pastor-in-charge of GMC, has also asked me to convey his deepest condolences.

The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes writes:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

For us today, we have lost a wonderful, church brother. For the bereaved family, Flor has lost a loving husband, and the family; a caring dad, granddad.

It would be time to break down, a time to moan, a time to weep, a time to heal; and a time to build up in due course.

The loss of someone dear can be sometimes surreal and traumatic.

I, for one could not accept it when my dad suddenly passed away in 1986.

And at that time my wife and I just started working in Brunei and our first born son Aaron never had the chance to meet his granddad.

It took me years to get over my grief because I loved my dad so much.

We, at 4th Miri Company also love Eddy and Flor.

Eddy together with Flor, were part of the founding Officers in 2002 when 4th Miri was formed. Pastor Law Hui Seng was a strong supporter of the Boys’ Brigade Ministry. Led by Honorary Captain Mr Frederick Wong, the team of dedicated Officers and Helpers began the ministry by recruiting Juniors from Sri Mawar Primary School because the church simply didn’t have the numbers.

Now into our 17th year, 4th Miri Company, our church-based ministry has expanded to two schools with membership adding the Sarawak’s BB membership to 4,000 members in 40 Companies.

Like all church ministries, we face challenges from time to time. But we are encouraged by Eddy’s “I can do it” attitude. Eddy and Flor never stopped serving in 4th Miri if they could. They only stopped during the past few years when they faced frailty and health issues.

Many of you know Eddy as the cheerful and happy-go-lucky man. But I can say many of you don’t know that Eddy was instrumental in setting up a BM ministry that eventually led to the formation of Tudan Methodist Church.

In 2005, Eddy proposed to Rev Law Hui Seng to start a BM ministry in the areas of Pujut 7 and Tudan. The first family contacted were the Gemongs. Together with 20 others, Mr Gemong and his family were the first group to be baptized. During Tudan outreach, Eddy and Flor together with several GMC members like Mr and Mrs William Ketit, Mr and Mrs Mak Mek, Margaret Lee and Audrey Lui persevered relentlessly in the BM ministry.

Eddy was also passionate on short-term missions to Ulu Belaga, Kapit, Balingian and Rh. Tatom in Selangau. His talent in languages and dialects made his a ‘people’s person’ – easy to relate to and get along with.

Eddy is my role model. Eddie never missed any prayer meeting for no good reason. At that time, prayer meeting was on Tuesday night. I would see him and Flor seated at the aisle left seats.

It was hardly surprising to see him present or participate at church events because he made the effort to be available.

I want to thank God for sending Eddy to me and my family, to 4th Miri Company.

Till we meet again, Eddy, Rest In Peace, my dear brother.

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Wedding of Eddy and Flor on Dec 18, 1965 at Kapit Methodist Church. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Born Edward Kenneth Thomson Woodford in 1937 in Kuching to an Australian father and an Iban mother, Eddy grew up and studied in Sri Aman and Kuching. He worked as an Overseer in the District Council from 1961-1967 in Kapit.

In early 1960s, many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. Kapit soon became a thriving evangelism hub for American-sponsored Methodist missionaries as they built school and hostel to cater for the local indigenous children’s education.

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Eddy and Flor in Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

It was in Kapit that Eddy met and fell in love with his future wife. The beautiful, petite Methodist missionary Florentina Nera hailed from San Roque, San Manuel, Pangasinan, The Philippines. Initially Florentina was reluctant to commit to a relationship as she was on a working contract. Eventually true love prevailed and the couple tied the knot on Dec 18, 1965 at Kapit Methodist Church with the wedding service conducted by Reverends Burr Baughman, Joseph Andrew Fowler and Terence Joseph.

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Eddy and Flor taking a stroll by the river in Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Over the years, Eddy also worked in commercial companies in Sarikei, Bandar Seri Begawan and Seria before joining Sarawak Shell Berhad. He retired in 1992. Besides actively serving in church ministries, Eddy was also passionate in community services and deserving of the ‘Bentara Bintang Sarawak’ (BBS Award) in 2000 by the then TYT Sarawak Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.

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Lt Eddy (4th from left) attending the BCM 2005 in Miri. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Daughter Sharon remembered her dad with much love and gratitude. “Dad was strict and straightforward. He seldom raised his voice or got angry. He was responsible and looked out for his family whenever he could. Dad was thrifty but not with time. He would make time for his family and other people who needed his help. He didn’t express his love but I know he loved us a lot.”

The Boys’ Brigade Sarawak State Council Executive Secretary Lt Hu Wei Ung commended the dedication of Eddy and his wife. “Despite their advanced years, Eddy and Flor were always enthusiastic about BB and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom. We were very privileged that they were our team in Sarawak,” he added.

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Eddy during his church mission trip to Ulu Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

This Easter, as I conclude this tribute, and when no words are enough to express our gratitude to Lt Edward Woodford – let us take a moment to ponder and appreciate the ‘Eddys’ in our lives; the  Officers (past and present) who dedicated themselves unconditionally to The Boys’ Brigade. Sure and Stedfast, all glory to God!

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