The Ipoh Story

We arrived in Ipoh on Friday 20th Feb 1981 on a new assignment where I had Elder Lecheminant as my companion. Elder Soon was sent to Penang to have a temporary companionship with an Australian member family’s son name Dion Gillies. The Church in Penang was pioneered by the members who worked for the Royal Australian Airforce base in Butterworth.

In Ipoh, we were to visit the only known member there at that time, a Sis. Koay or Tan Eng Huey who married a non-member living at 78 Jalan Gopeng. We found that she teaches piano and was keen to help us in our work to build the church in Ipoh. She immediately agreed to hold our first meeting at her home on Sunday at 10am. We also met up with another key contact named Doreen Khoo who has been learning about our Church from her friend named Ricky Woo, a Malaysian studying in Taiwan. We found out that she had a full set of our scriptures with all the vital pamphlets sent by Ricky already and seemed well prepared for baptism. I decided to write to Ricky in Taiwan to keep him informed of her progress. We had a fruitful first day in Ipoh visiting the YMCA as well to arrange for possible Church meetings there. On the following day, we met up with Mr Toh Chin Guan, the father of Diana in KL who was referred to us by her Sister Stella who is a member in the UK. We found him a jovial man who was quite well versed in the Bible and invited him to our first meeting the next day which he accepted.

Our meeting started a little after 10am with a total of 9 people present. Our key contacts were present, namely Sis Koay and her husband, Doreen Khoo and Mr Toh with 3 other of their friends. I conducted the meeting where we blessed the sacrament to pass to the group. Elder Lecheminant was the first speaker and spoke on foundation while I was the second speaker and spoke on faith. We sang 3 hymns with Sis Koay playing the piano. After the meeting, we took a photograph of ourselves in remembrance of this historic event!

From the success of this meeting, the spirit told us that Ipoh is a special place with special people whom we would have the privilege to meet and baptize. With the availability of the car, we could come back to Ipoh often to teach and baptize with the eventual result of the establishment of an official branch of the Church in less than a year from our first meeting.

Time Period
Persons baptized /Event

Elder Chong & Lecheminant

20 Feb 81 to 3 Mar 81

Doreen Khoo

1 Mar 81

Elder Chong & Pang

3 Apr 81 to 12 Apr 81

Toh Chin Guan

12 Apr 81

Elder Chong & Soon

30 Apr 81 to 10 May 81

Elder Chong & Soon
2 Jun 81 to 14 Jun 81

Sis Toh, Honey Khong & Khong Tuck Weng
14 Jun 81

Elder Chong & Yung

25 Sep 81 to 21 Oct 81

1st meeting in New Home

18 Oct 81

Elder Chong & Yung

24 Oct 81 to 4 Nov 8

Ann Fowler

1 Nov 81

Elder Chong & Yung

10 Nov 81 to 17 Dec 81

Ong Chow Lek & Annie Toh

22 Nov 81

1st Priesthood Meeting15 Nov 81

Elder Chong & Yung

19 Dec 81 to 10 Jan 82

Sis Khong
10 Jan 82
Elder & Sis. Redd
1st Couple Missionary4 Jan 82

Branch Organized10 Jan 82

More photos :

1st Baptism in Ipoh of Doreen Khoo by Gary Lecheminant

The day of the baptism of Toh Chin Guan who became fondly known as Papa Toh of Ipoh Branch in the Church. Present was my companion Pang Meng Hock from Singapore.

Birthday of Anne Fowler in red with her close friend Honey Khong beside her and Honey's brother Tuck Weng on the far left. On the far right is my companion Elder Yung Yik Kwong from Hong Kong who joined me in Sep 81 to Jan 82 as per the record above. Elder Yung had to work hard with me to prepare the new meeting house for the new branch that would be formed in Jan 82 with the presence of a new missionary couple.

1st Christmas party organized by our Church group in Ipoh on Dec 1981

The new missionary couple was Bro and Sis Redd from Canada. Elder Redd would serve as the President of the new branch in Ipoh created on 10 Jan 1982. I met them again with my wife when we were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in December 1983 and I was reunited with Elder Redd a couple more times in later years shared in this journal post. Both Bro and Sis Redd passed away with a memory of them together with other couples from US who served in Malaysia during the time missionary work started in Ipoh is found here.

For Laurel D. Redd with Smellie Redd, I could not find an obituary of either one of them but through my persistence, came across an entire typed written family history of the Redds here. From the entire family history, I have copied and transferred the relevant journal parts from Laurel D. Redd to google docs here in Part 1 and Part 2.

Post dated events :

Papa Toh passed away on 30 Nov 2012 and his wife too just 2 years later on 30th December 2014 as shared in this memorial post.

Four women seen on 23rd Nov 2014 above in front of the Ipoh meeting house, whose names are recorded on this journal post, were key players 33 years ago in the beginning of Ipoh branch, namely Stella Toh(2nd from left), her two sisters Annie Toh on her left in the back and Diana Toh(far right of the photo), Tan Eng Huey(2nd from right) and Doreen Khoo(3rd from the right). On the far left is Rosemary Chai, a returned missionary from Singapore visiting the branch.

On 31 Jul 2021, Diana Toh celebrated her 67th birthday with a photo of a Facebook post shared by her sister Annie Toh seen below:

Diana was knighted by our Chong family to have the title of 'Lady Diana.' She earned this by helping mother and baby for all the 6 children during the first month of their birth in Kuala Lumpur till they are a month old to celebrate what Chinese call the "Full Moon." Click here to see the journal of our recognition and deep appreciation, She would also send yearly birthday greeting cards to all members of our family who have been spread out in US, Singapore and Malaysia over the years!


tanenghuey said...

Thanks to your diligence in keeping a journal/record/blog, we have the record of the church history in Ipoh & Malaysia.

Lee Chee Wan said...

Bro Chong, you keep a good journal. Well done. I love reading it.

Dad the KL city kid said...

Glad my journals are being appreciated. They are my real experiences of the world I'm exposed to, which is quite different from many in the western world or even eastern so I've used a Body Mind Spirit way of presenting myself in this latest site of mine -

Dad the KL city kid said...