Two weeks ago I flew to Phuket, Thailand, to meet up with one of my best friends, Praise Goh, for a little girl time and rendezvous. Our vacation ended up being rained out, and we both moaned about not being able to lay on the beach like we had planned – drinking our mai tai’s and soaking in the rays. Instead, we found ourselves with endless time to talk inside. We caught up on life – relationships – dreams – fears – insecurities – joys… for those of you that know Praise, you know that conversations with her often start with ‘how is your heart’? And can end with loads of laughter, or prayer, or tears, or…
I had met Praise three years before. We were in the same program at Fuller Seminary, and our friendship was instant. She’s the type of person who eases her way into your life, making you wonder if there was ever a time you didn’t know her. Our friendship – like so many of Praise’s friendships – went deep fast. We played together, laughed together, prayed together, took classes together, went to the gym together, went on road trips together, dreamed together…
That rained out vacation was the best vacation of my life. Those conversations will be words I carry with me, the scripture we read together will hold a new place in my heart, the vivid memory of sleepily hugging her goodbye as she went to catch her early plane back to Singapore… these are memories that I cherish.
One week after our vacation, on Monday, October 25th, Praise Goh passed away from a mysterious viral infection in her lungs. I woke up to our hotel phone ringing in Bangkok – Rachel calling with news of Praise’s death. Missed calls on my phone from nurses, who had been scrambling last minute to find any clues to her illness. It had happened so fast. Shell shocked. Numbed. Then tears that won’t stop.
I miss my friend. I simply can’t believe that she’s no longer with us. I wake up hoping it’s a bad dream that went away. The tears come when I don’t expect them. There’s a constant pit in my stomach. I just… miss her.
I continue to be amazed and encouraged by the community of people that Praise drew around her. No relationship she created was shallow. So many can sincerely call Praise one of their closest friends because she loved… SO well.
Your presence is deeply missed, Praise. You’ve left a void that we’re all having a hard time understanding. I love you.
It is with overwhelming sadness that we would like to let you be aware of the Memorial Service for Praise Goh.Saturday, November 13 at Pasadena Nazarene Church (Paz Naz) 3700 East Sierra Madre Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91107
9:30a -… 12:00p in the Main Sanctuary
Reception 12:00p – 2:00p in Gilmore HallWe will have a memorial “Wall of Praise” From 9:30 – 10:00a where you are encouraged to bring your favorite photo(s) of Praise and put them on sheets of scrap book paper that will be provided. The Wall of Praise will be located on the side of the sanctuary. Paper and pens will also be provided to write a favorite memory or appreciation for Praise. Scrap book sheets can then be pinned up on a wall panels as a display of what Praise meant to us. The “Wall of Praise” will then be moved to the reception area (Gilmore Hall) from 12-2pm where we can continue to post our photos and notes. The scrap book will then be given to the family.You are also encouraged to email your favorite photos to David Singer at email@example.com for a slide show (no later than 11/9 please).Please consider wearing Hawaiian apparel (Praise’s favorite of course) or colors as we celebrate Praise’s life. Ladies, consider wearing a flower in your hair.Please also consider bringing a ready to serve food item to the reception for a light lunch together that could serve 10-20 people (Fuller friends – salad or fruit item. APU friends – dessert item, yes, she loved chocolate and peanut butter. HOPE friends – sandwiches, finger foods). Food preparation or kitchen access will not be available and please label your dishes. Dishes can be placed on the buffet table before the service.