Having read the
obituary regarding Elder Lo Bok-tong（盧木童長老）on
page 6, Issue 1743 of Taiwan Church Communique（《台灣教會公報》1743期，1985年7月28日
.P6）, I have decided to pen this essay to commemorate this
long-term elder about whom I have many memories. At 2 p.m. on
July 25, 1985, a memorial service was held as part of the Church
Funeral for the honorable Elder（名譽長老）
for Life Lo Bok-tong at the KhuaN-Sai-Ke Presbyterian Church in
The large church hall was packed to capacity at that time, with
many mourners left standing.
was born on October 12, 1900（生於1900年10月12日）
at his old home on Pak-si Street （北勢街）.
He passed away at the age of 84 on July 17, 1985. At age 18, he
lost both parents within half a year. Since the family had no
financial assets, he took on the responsibility as head of the
household to raise a younger sister and two younger brothers.
On many days, the meals consisted of rice gruel mixed with oiled
salt. But the siblings were all sent to high school and the two
brothers to dental and medical schools.
first, Elder Lo inherited his father’s occupation and became a
craftsman, making locks and other copper handicrafts. Soon
mass-produced industrial copper products became widely
available, and Elder Lo was compelled to change his job to
selling processed food. When he was 26, his second uncle
（younger brother of his mother） kept urging him to get married.
“You are no longer young. It’s time to start a family.” So, in
the early spring of the following year he was introduced by a
matchmaker to Miss Chin Chen （陳盡）,
the second daughter of Mr. Tan Phu , who was Deacon of the Thai-peng-keng
The young man told the prospective father-in-law candidly：
“Please understand I am very poor.” Deacon Tan replied “I
understand. It’s more important to have faith.” In March 1927,
a wedding service was held at home, after borrowing 20 yuan.
couple’s love for each other was steadfast throughout their
shared lives. They raised ten sons and a daughter. Six have
passed away in childhood or adulthood. At present, Chu-gi （盧主義）,
live in America. They are engaged in actuarial consulting,
medicine or systems engineering. The sole daughter Elder An-cheng
her husband Elder Chhua Khen-liong （蔡虔良）
returned to Taiwan to leave last year.
are many episodes and interesting stories to illustrate Elder
Lo’s life as a Christian. Here I will just cite several stories
from the brief history of the deceased which I presented at the
memorial service. On April 27, 1927, the Lo’s were baptized by
the Reverend Lien Tek-let （廉德烈）
at the Thai-peng-keng （太平境）
Church. On December 5, 1937, Lo was appointed as Deacon of that
Church. When the KhuaN-Sai-Ke （看西街）evangelical
mission was elevated to be a branch of Thai-peng-keng Church,
Deacon Lo was elected as Elder of the branch on October 12,
though lengthy to narrate, is a very important part of Elder
Lo’s life. The old KhuaN-Sai-ke church was housed in a private
residence in the middle section of the KhuaN-Sai Street. The
church hall faced the street. Church service was often
disturbed by all kinds of outside noises , and the hall was also
shallow and narrow. For these reasons, Elder Lo constantly
imagined in his mind the picture of a new church building.
Operating business to build a church.
Lo’s business was sufficient to support his family but there was
a limited accumulation of savings. After several years, a
fellow businessman from Senhua （善化）,
who engaged in meat packing at the Cho-eng （左營）
Naval Base, wanted to sell his enterprise. Without any
hesitation , Elder Lo bought the business with a considerable
amount of licensing fee. Then he signed a contract with the
naval base to provide the base’s military personnel and families
everyday with beef from at least ten cows. In return for
exemption from meat packing tax, the sale price was set to 80
percent of the market price. Elder Lo’s goal was to realize his
dream of a new church through this enterprise.
Unexpectedly, however, the meat packing businessmen of Kaohsiung
county felt threatened by the invasion of the Tainan competitor
and became openly hostile. So ten businessmen from Kaohsiung（高雄）,
pooled their capital and formed a ten share group, and started
to sell beef at the Cho-eng market at a deeply discounted price
of 2 yuan per Taiwan kg （1 Taiwan kg was equal to 0.6 kg）. The
market price was then 3 yuan per Taiwan kg so the selling price
at the Base should have been 2.4 yuan. According to the
contract, the price was now reduced to 1.6 yuan. Whereas the
other side needed to slaughter only one cow a day, this side had
to slaughter ten. Under such competition the extent of the
losses were clear to both sides. Although the loss sustained by
each share of the competing partnership was fairly small, the
loss on this side was more than 100 times that of each competing
share. As a consequence, Lo’s bank deposit and operating funds
were soon nearly exhausted. The gold and jewelry were
liquidated and so were three rental properties. It was not
possible to conceal the predicament from relatives and friends.
They all urged Elder Lo to quickly close down the business at
Cho-eng. However, Lo’s reply was “my purpose in operating the
Cho-eng business is to build a church. God will provide a
way.” This heart-felt remark was a strong conviction
originating from his Christian faith and experience. It was
this conviction which sustained him against physical exhaustion
and mental agony. The opposing side anticipated that Lo would
go bankrupt within a year. In fact, he was already bankrupt.
Around this time Lo experienced many sleepless nights. When
employees woke up in the middle of the night, they often saw him
reading the bible or praying.