by Tom Kitson
Bruce Lee was not only a famous film star and one of the greatest martial-arts fighters of all time; he was also a hero who inspired millions. He died unexpectedly in 1973, ironically while filming The Game of Death. He was only 32, and at the height of his powers.
Together with Lee’s fans around the world, eight-year-old Alfred Yau was shattered by the news. Lee, the real-life action hero, was an ‘iron man’, invincible in the eyes of the young Alfred, and an important figure to look up to—and not only because Lee was a superstar, but because he was Alfred’s uncle.
The family was tight-knit, and Alfred had caught up with his famous uncle just a week before his death. At the funeral, seeing Lee’s lifeless body in the casket, Alfred was alarmed to feel death very close to him.
‘I realised that one day I would die, just like Uncle Bruce. I asked myself, “What is the purpose of my life? If life is so short and we all die, then why are we here in the first place?”
For years Alfred struggled with these haunting questions, with no resolution until he moved from Hong Kong to Toronto in Canada, in order to finish high school and study at university. It was there in Canada that he got his answers … and his life turned in a completely new direction.
About two decades after leaving Toronto, on 15 March 2014, at LifeWay Lutheran Church in Epping, Sydney, Alfred was installed as the church planter for the New South Wales District’s new Asian Church Ministry, based in Bennelong.
New South Wales District Bishop Mark Lieschke, who has come to know Alfred over the past 18 months, says, ‘He’s very passionate about the gospel. You can see it in how hard he works to make connections with people so that he can share the gospel with them.’ Strangely enough, it was a non-religious friend who had unintentionally introduced Alfred to the gospel, back in Toronto. Others—Christian friends and family— had invited Alfred to church, but he had persistently fled from Christ. Once, in a desperate situation, he’d prayed to God and promised to follow him, but had promptly forgotten his promise after he got the miracle he’d prayed for.
But on this particular day, at the church meeting with the non-Christian friend, the minister was preaching on Matthew 16:26: ‘For what good will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?’
Alfred remembered Uncle Bruce and how he had lost his life in his prime. All those disturbing old questions came flooding back to him: ‘What am I here for? What is the purpose of my life?’
The minister continued: ‘Don’t run away from God. Confess your sin and lay down your burden before him. Don’t run away.’
Born in Hong Kong, educated in Toronto and now planting a new ministry in Sydney; Alfred Yau is excited to share the meaning he has found in life since Christ found him.