Pastor Sally Khoo, Paradise of God Church
Interviewed by: Victoria Hennen
Growing up in a family where there was no lack, Sally plunged into a journey of faith with her husband, Roderick when they got married in September 1978. On bended knees on the cold cement floor of their meagre new home, they committed their lives and marriage to God and asked that He used them for His glory.
Sally recounts that they only had $25 to their name when they first began. Sensing God’s call upon their lives to do ministry, they started a church in their home and also a small discipleship-styled Bible school course along. Their home church began to grow and when an opportunity came for Sally and her husband to attend a fully-sponsored study course in the US in 1979, they saw it as a good avenue for the both of them to grow more in the Lord and be better equipped for ministry.
However, upon their return from the US, they found their church was being passed to the hands of another and their house was also on the verge of being taken away. Launching a new journey with another small group, they started a home church again. They built the church anew and people started streaming in again. With a desire for a suitable meeting place for their church family, Sally and her husband came before the Lord in prayer.
“We were so tired of transitioning from one place to another and feeling unsettled. So after praying for some time, we decided to rent a function room in a hotel, though we were not sure how to pay the bills. But praise God for His goodness! I’m not sure where they came from, but after the first service, people just kept showing up. We grew out of one room to another, and soon we ended up occupying all the available ballrooms,” recalls Sally.
God my Provider
In those years serving God, God proved Himself to be their Jehovah Jireh. Wherever God led them, they obeyed regardless of how much (or little) they had in their bank account. With that, they ended up traveling around the world to minister.
“We managed to travel the world despite having only $3.84 in our bank account. Wherever we ministered, the Lord provided generously,” Sally says. “Whether I am sleeping on a bare cement floor or in a 5-star hotel, I am contented in Him.”
Sally also remembers how her father would slip her some money whenever she visited him. “In the Chinese culture, the children are usually the ones who give money to their parents, especially when they’re grown up and married. So it did not feel good to be receiving money from my father,” explains Sally.
“But God spoke to me and told me that He can use anyone to bless me. I was to acknowledge that the money comes from Him. So since that time, I learnt to receive from whoever God chooses to use. And praise God that both my parents came to know Christ eventually too,” Sally explains. She is thankful for the many testimonies of the Lord’s miraculous provision throughout each season of her life.
Acknowledging that whatever they had were blessings from God, Sally knew not to withhold whenever God led them to give. Their home was known to have only one key and their doors were never locked. They opened up their home to people in need and gave freely as the Lord gave to them. Amazement is an understated response upon hearing of multiple instances of tenfold provision from God as they obediently gave all that they had.
“If ever I find myself with more than $25 to my name, I am already richer than when I first began. He is my Provider. I never worry or fret about my finances. I have learnt to just lay them at His feet,” states Sally.
God my Strength
But it was not always a mountaintop experience. In 2007, Roderick suffered a stroke and passed on in 2011.
“My husband was the one who was always in front of the pack. He had such a pioneering spirit, such prophetic anointing and vision. I was the one in the back-scenes and I was happy to follow and support as the Lord led us. But my faith and trust cannot be in my husband. He is flesh and bone afterall. Though tremendously gifted, he still had his faults. My trust cannot be in anything else but the Lord.”
Due to her husband’s passing, Sally had to take over more roles in the church. It was a difficult season for her as she had to step up and take on more preaching sessions at church. It was out of her comfort zone as she was usually involved in women’s ministry and pastoral counselling.
“During this time, the church helped. My fellow pastors also aided in taking up more preaching roles. Without everyone in the church, I would not have known how to pull through. Every person really played a part,” says Sally with gratitude.
Sally continues to minister and trust in God’s sovereignty despite what happened. “I don’t want to trust my own emotions. I try not to entertain sad or negative thoughts but instead, I put my trust in God. It has never been about looking at my own abilities and what I possess or don’t possess. Asking others for help is secondary – my primary source still has to be God.”
One thing is obvious to Sally – the hardships never superceded the joy that encompasses her life. Memories of her journey in ministry floods her mind as she pours out from her heart.
“Sometimes you keep doing what you’re doing and you start to wonder if you’re on the right track, and whether you’re doing enough. But it’s a good season for me at TLBS and it’s such a blessing to be here. God spoke to me through all the various speakers, affirming me that He remembers me and He is with me throughout my journey,” says Sally.
“I am tremendously blessed by the lecturers and fellowship at TLBS. Life now is a new journey for me. I can no longer linger in the background but must stand and lead my family and ministry. I have much to spur me on as I prayerfully consider the next generation’s place in this ministry. I am beyond blessed! I love You Lord!”
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)