Margaret in Singapore: Miracles of the Holy Spirit and church pioneering adventures animate new book on Margaret Seaward
Salt&Light // April 27, 2022, 4:04 pm
Fred and Margaret Seaward, who travelled by ship to Singapore in 1955 as missionaries. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ong.
Margaret Seaward grew up as the child of American missionary parents in 1940s pre-war China, speaking only Mandarin until the age of five.
Life would take a perilous turn for the family when the Second World War descended upon the country. At the tender age of 12, Margaret would become a Prisoner of War and was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in China for six months.
The tumultuous period ended when the family was deported back to America as part of a Prisoner of War exchange between Japan and America.
Even with this traumatic experience, Rev Dr Margaret Seaward, or Sister Margaret Seaward as she is now known to many, still returned to Asia in 1955, travelling by ship to Singapore with her husband, the late Rev Dr Fred Seaward.
In Singapore, they made a home for themselves as missionaries and church planters.
Bethel Revival Centre, later renamed as Bethel AG, was the first church planted by the Seawards in 1956. Since then, they have planted and pastored many other churches in Singapore and the region, including Calvary Charismatic Centre (now Victory Family Centre).
From the Singapore that was a British colony, through its years as one of 14 states of the Federation of Malaysia and past the racial riots that eventually led to Singapore’s declaration of independence as a sovereign state, “Marge” and Fred lived through Singapore’s pre- and post-war independence, pioneering the work of the Assemblies Of God fellowship.
Margaret In Singapore is a new book about the faithfulness of God through the story of the Seawards.
Written by Margaret’s youngest daughter, Connie Seaward Ong, the book documents God’s miraculous power as experienced by the Seawards through the various challenges of life and loss.
The following excerpt from the book recounts how Margaret, or “Marge”, witnessed one such miracle when her mother, Letta, broke her hip after an accident. Her mother modelled faith for Marge, who told Salt&Light: “By watching her life, I began to long to have a close, intimate walk with God.”
Margaret in Singapore: An excerpt
A few days later, Marge asked Letta if she would like to go with Fred and her to the grocery store.
Fred drove, and Marge and Letta sat in the backseat chattering away with each other. They were so engrossed in their conversation they didn’t notice anything outside of the window.
When the young people would show up for their Bible Study lessons … they would sit by her bed and do their study together.
A man on a bicycle appeared out of nowhere, and darted out in front of the van. Fred slammed on his brakes before he could warn the women. Both Marge and Letta flew forward off the seat.
Marge looked around in a daze. She slid herself back up on the seat and dusted herself off. Unfortunately, Letta couldn’t move. She had been flung against the front seats of the van and she was in extreme pain. Fred sped towards the hospital, where the doctors examined Letta’s hip.
It was broken and needed a pin to be repaired. Letta refused to have the procedure done.
Marge tried to convince her that it would be better to have the pin put in her hip, but Letta would have none of it. She was firm in her decision and decided she simply wanted to trust God.
As a result of her decision, she was confined to her bed, which meant Marge had to do double duty in bringing meals to her bedroom.
When the young people would show up for their Bible Study lessons, Marge showed them into Letta’s room where they would sit by her bed and do their study together.
“Let me tell you something strange”
John Hague, a young man in the British armed forces, came to visit Letta one day. He had been saved in Bethel and was on fire for God. Grandma Hansen (Letta) had been instrumental in his life, and he longed to do something in return.
When he walked in the room, he began by saying, “Grandma Hansen, let me tell you something strange.”
“I had it all figured out, but when I planned to start setting it up, God distinctly told me not to do it.”
He took a deep breath and then continued: “You haven’t been able to come to church and enjoy the services with us, so I was planning to rig up a sound system. I even had figured out exactly how much wiring I would need to run the system all the way back here to your room from the front of the church. With the sound system you would be able to hear the messages and everything that went on during the services.
“I tell you, I had it all figured out, but when I planned to start setting it up, God distinctly told me not to do it. He told me that if I did it, you would depend on it and you would never get well.”
He stopped and lowered his head, shaking it slowly. “I’m sorry, I can’t do this for you. God must know that you would depend on it and then you wouldn’t get well.”
Letta assured him that it was fine. It did seem awfully strange that God wouldn’t let her enjoy the services in her room, but she recognised that her Father knew exactly what He was doing. She told Marge of this strange encounter, and they both agreed Letta needed to rest in God’s plan.
“I don’t know why, but I have to”
Marge couldn’t believe how busy her mother was, even with being laid up in bed. Some special services were being organised in the church and when Letta found out about them, she was determined that she shouldn’t miss out. In fact, she told Marge that she needed to go for those services.
“I have to get into that service, I don’t know why, but I have to be there.”
“Marge, can you call Fred in to the room, I need to talk to him.”
When Fred went in the room, Letta told him that she wanted to go for the services. She didn’t know how he was going to make that happen, but she asked him to please try his best. Fred gathered some young men from the church, they fastened their arms together to make a chair for Letta to sit in. With much manoeuvring and a great deal of pain, Letta positioned herself in the makeshift human chair.
As they walked towards the church hall, every bounce brought a grimace to her face.
“Oh Mama, maybe you shouldn’t do this!” Marge said.
“I must go, I just feel as if I must go for this service. I can’t stay in my room today. I have to get into that service, I don’t know why, but I have to be there.”
As soon as it ended, Letta let out a loud shout: “I’m healed! I’m healed!”
They carried her into the main hall and put her down gently right on the front row. Marge settled her on the seat, she could see her mother biting her lip as the pain shot through her body. The service started and the singing brought tears to Letta’s eyes. Oh, how she had missed being in the house of the Lord. How she had longed to be here with her fellow brothers and sisters enjoying the presence of God in unity.
During a short lull in the worship somebody spoke out a prophetic word from the Lord based on the book of Revelation. The word talked about the river of life that flows from the throne of God. It went on to say that God makes all things new. It was such a beautiful message.
As soon as it ended, Letta let out a loud shout: “I’m healed! I’m healed!”
She had been instantly healed and she jumped up and walked all around. Needless to say, Marge was in tears.
The power of God fell on the whole church, and they began to rejoice in what God had done. Letta was able to walk from then on without any problems or a pain at all. This was a divine miracle. God touched her body and completely healed her.
Read about other miracles and church pioneering adventures of the Seawards in the book, Margaret in Singapore. To purchase a copy, contact Sharon Tan at 9665-7478 or [email protected].
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