A missionary couple from Sabah, Francis Liaw Yuk Yen and his wife Lily Chin Tsen Yun, have died from Covid-19 while on a mission in Madagascar.
Chin died from the disease on Jul 14 whereas Liaw, 73, died three weeks later on Aug 5.
Liaw wanted to bring his wife’s ashes back to Malaysia but he fell ill during the two-week quarantine.
Although he was receiving treatment for Covid-19, the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia received news of his death on Aug 5.
The church had planned to bring Liaw back to Sabah on the earliest flight available after being discharged from the hospital, said Bishop James Wong.
“But unfortunately, he passed away.
“It is heartbreaking for us in the church community, but more so for their three children and families here,” Wong said.
The missionary couple, he said, has been in Madagascar for their mission since 2004.
Church personnel in Madagascar will be in charge of sending the couple’s ashes home.
Meanwhile, the church pastored by Liaw and Tsen in Madagascar, which had a four-storey building designed by Liaw, will need time to arrange for a replacement pastor.
“The church and the family would like to record their thanks especially to Willy Andriambelo, Honorary Consul of Malaysia in Madagascar.
“He has been most caring and supportive and provided all the necessary assistance during the illness and the funeral of the couple,” Wong said.
He recalled that Liaw had shared photos of himself having a cup of coffee while recuperating in the hospital days before his death.
“He was smiling and indicating that his condition was improving,” Wong said.
A memorial service was held on Aug 6 in Sabah in the home of one of their daughters attended by close family members and church leaders.