Florence Chen Nyuk Chin was born on January 7, 1950 in Singapore to a non-Christian family. She later led her mother to faith in Christ. In 1968, at a revival meeting in Singapore led by Rev Dr Stephen Tong, a Chinese Indonesian evangelist who founded the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia, she heard the call to serve God.
In 1969, she enrolled at Singapore Bible College (SBC) to study theology and graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree at the end of 1972. She met Pastor Tan Kim Sai at the seminary and they were married on November 17, 1973. After their marriage, she served with her husband at Batu Pahat Saving Grace Presbyterian Church in Johor, Malaysia. They have one son, Elijah Chung-Sian Tan, a pharmaceutical regulatory affairs consultant who works in the US after graduating from university there.
Florence loved sacred music and took the opportunity to learn piano and vocal music while at SBC. It turned out to be of great help when the couple was serving in Batu Pahat (1973-1979) as it contributed much to the youth and student ministries led by Rev Tan. In 1980, Rev Tan went to Canada for further studies and Florence was invited to be the piano instructor at the newly established Malaysia Bible Seminary (MBS) in Petaling Jaya. An accomplished vocalist, she later also served as its choir director. Florence served for 34 years with MBS and retired at the end of 2013. During those years, almost all the graduates of MBS (particularly those from the Chinese Department) benefitted from her ministry.
In addition to her diplomas in piano and vocal music from the Royal Academy of Music as well as the Trinity College of Music in London, Florence also obtained a Master of Arts in Sacred Music from the California Graduate School of Theology in 1993.
Besides serving at Malaysia Bible Seminary, she also joined the Central Malaysia Sacred Music Association in 1986, and at times conducted its choir. She also served as the choir director of the Pandamaran Chinese Methodist Church in Port Klang in Selangor for many years.
When serving at Batu Pahat Saving Grace Church in the 1970s, Florence edited and published a collection of 450 Saving Grace Songs. The collection became popular in church circles and a total of 10,000 copies in several editions were printed. She also co-edited with Irene Yek Siew Hong a collection of original songs composed by Christians in Malaysia titled Songs of the Heart, including some of her own work.
One of these songs, "The Content of Life", became a favorite of many Chinese-speaking Christians. The melody was composed by the late Kua Swee Boo (柯瑞武) of Batu Pahat Saving Grace Church. In the 1990s, Florence also recorded the CD album "The Content of Life" for evangelistic outreach. Florence loved hymns. One of her own favorites that she used to sing often is titled "I Love to Sing the Song of the Lord", which portrays her life and service. This hymn was composed by a Christian in mainland China.
Since 2011, Florence had been involved in the praise dance ministry developed by Pastor Ng Mei Yun in Taiwan. She not only participated in the exercise herself but also promoted it. Gathering a group of women from the Pandamaran Chinese Methodist Church and friends, she started the praise dance ministry in the Pandamaran and Klang areas. This took place in church compounds as well as in parks in residential areas. It was not just for health and to praise God but also in the hope of leading people to Christ.
Before emigrating to the United States with Rev Tan in April 2019, Florence had facilitated the formation of a praise dance group in Brunei which continued to grow and flourish under the leadership of Esther Fen Her. In the United States, she pioneered another praise dance group in Dallas led by Michelle Yu.
While living in Las Vegas in 2021, Florence was diagnosed with brain cancer and spent a year undergoing chemotherapy. But her lungs became infected, causing breathing difficulties from which she never recovered. She was finally called home to be with her Lord and Savior on October 26, 2022 at the age of 72.
Memorial services were held at the Evangelical Church of Christ Las Vegas, the Malaysia Bible Seminary, the Pandamaran Chinese Methodist Church, the Batu Pahat Saving Grace Church, and with family members in Malaysia and Singapore.
Dr Tan Kim Sai and Irene Yek Siew Hong. Eulogies at memorial service for Florence Chin, January 8, 2023.
Dr Tan Kim Sai. Email messages to author, January 18 and 30, 2023; February 16,2023.