Liem Ie Hoa was a lay member who was instrumental in the development of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Indonesia.
Liem Ie Hoa was born on October 22, 1901, to Lie Tjin Hak and Soei Seng Oe. Her siblings are Liem Ie Hiang, Daniel Liem Tjoe Siang (also known as Liem Tien Oon), Frank Liem Tjoe Koen, and Liem Ie Lien.1 They were all born into a Buddhist family in Manado, Indonesia.
Liem Ie Hoa heard the three angels’ messages through her brother Daniel Liem, who received the message from Dr. Joseph Phang, a dentist, who had received the truth while he was in Singapore. Dr. Phang took his dental training at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), in the United States, and returned home to Manado to share the message of salvation. On his signboard, he wrote something that attracted many people: “Friday is a preparation day, close at 4:00 p.m., Saturday: closed.”2 One of the first families attracted to this signboard was the Liem family, especially Daniel Liem. He stopped by to get more information regarding this signboard and ended up in a serious Bible study.3 Daniel was baptized in 1922 and started to serve as a literature evangelist as he shared the message to all of his family members.
Liem Ie Hoa tried to introduce the message to her own family, but her husband threatened to divorce her if she accepted the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, because of her strong conviction, she was not afraid of all the threats and decided to be baptized at night in the Manado Sea in the year 1928.4
Education and Marriage
Liem Ie Hoa’s formal education was MULO, an education for Chinese under the Dutch system in Indonesia, which is equivalent to the current high school.
Liem Ie Hoa’s husband, Lie Goan Oan, was a Chinese chief for the city of Manado, Indonesia. He was well-known as the richest person in the city. They had five children: Lily, William, Ventje, Evie, and Ellen.5
After her baptism, Liem Ie Hoa’s marriage was in trouble. Lie Goan Oan felt very humiliated that his wife had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Liem Ie Hoa was then forced to leave the Adventist Church; however, she was unwilling to do so. Finally, her husband divorced her when she was pregnant with her fifth child.6 After the divorce, Lily, Wimpy, and Ventje followed their father, while Ellen and Evie followed their mother. During the Japanese occupation, Lie Goan Oan was beheaded by the Japanese.7
Liem Ie Hoa never worked for the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Yet as a lay member, she played an important role in the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indonesia, particularly in Manado. Her daughters Ellen Tabaluyan and Evie Enoch followed her, and they, in turn, delivered the truth to the next generation.
The conversion of Liem Ie Hoa inspired many people, especially her brothers and sisters. Her eldest sister, Liem Ie Hiang, brought her children, Deitje, Beppy, Annie, Fanny, and Netty, to the church.
Liem Ie Hoa's firm stand greatly encouraged her younger brother, known as Daniel Liem. He served as a literature evangelist while giving Bible studies to a group of devoted Chinese people in Celebes (Sulawesi). This news was communicated to Albert Munson from the Malaysian Union, who then went to Manado to follow up.8 Daniel Liem had helped prepare many people for the work of Albert Munson.9 Daniel Liem was sent to China for ministerial training and returned to South East Asia to serve as a pastor in Malaysia and Singapore until his retirement. He brought all his children to the Lord—Joseph, Benny, John, Annie, Caleb, Esther, and Hannah. Dr. Caleb Liem has served as chairperson of the Hong Kong Adventist College Foundation Board for more than 25 years.10
Frank Liem, another younger brother of Liem Ie Hoa, went for ministerial training in China and then furthered his study at Pacific Union College in California, U.S.A. Then he returned to serve in China as the associate director of Voice of Prophecy of the China Division. He was imprisoned during the cultural revolution in China because of the radio equipment he had brought from the U.S.A. 20 years earlier.11
Liem Ie Hoa had a deep influence on her youngest sister, Liem Ie Lien, who married Dr. Lie Sek Hong, also known as Dr. Elisha Liwidjaja, who started and donated the Medan Adventist Hospital to the West Indonesia Union Mission. Liem Ie Lien and Lie Sek Hong have five children, all of whom have supported the Seventh-day Adventist Church in various capacities.12
Beginning in 1963, Liem Ie Hoa stayed with her daughter, Ellen Tabaluyan, in Jakarta, Indonesia, due to her physical challenge. She did not travel much anymore to witness. However, anyone who visited her would receive her testimony and encouragement concerning the need for having a relationship with the Lord and obedience to His commandments. She died on January 29, 1976, in Jakarta, Indonesia.13
Liem Ie Hoa inspired her siblings to accept the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and as a result, several have served the church in various capacities. She traveled to many churches in North Celebes to strengthen the brethren by sharing her testimony. Liem Ie Hoa’s influence extended beyond her family and siblings to many other people. For several decades after her death, people still talked about “Sister Hoa,” a rich Chinese from Manado who faced persecution from her own family yet was willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel.14
Munson, George. More Than Conquerors. Brushton, NY: Teach Services, 2007.
Tambunan, Emil H. Sejarah Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia. Bandung, Indonesia: Indonesia Publishing House, 1999.
Interview with Kathleen Kiem Hoa Oey Kuntaraf, niece of Liem Ie Hoa, December 2, 2019.↩
Emil H. Tambunan, Sejarah Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia (Bandung, Indonesia: Indonesia Publishing House, 1999), 144.↩
Interview with Netty Sakul, niece of Liem Ie Hoa, Azusa, California, December 5, 2019.↩
Interview with Lanny Tabaluyan, grandaughter of Liem Ie Hoa, December 5, 2019.↩
E-mail from Lanny Tabaluyan, granddaughter of Liem Ie Hoa, September 5, 2017.↩
George Munson, More Than Conquerors (Brushton, New York: Teach Services, 2007), 56.↩
Ibid., 66, 69.↩
Telephone interview with Dr. Caleb Liem, nephew of Liem Ie Hoa and son of Daniel Liem.↩
Direct information from Frank Liem Chi Kun to the author, when visited Shanghai, China, in 2010.↩
Interview with Kathleen Kiem Hoa Oey Kuntarf, December 12, 2019.↩
Interview with Lanny Tabaluyan, September 5, 2017.↩
Interview with Netty Sakul, December 5, 2019.↩