|When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. Psalm 91:15,16|
This memorial website was created in memory of dear Elizabeth Chao.
She was a servant of the Most High and gave her life as a sacrafice for the God she so loved and for her family and friends who who were fortunate enough to know her.
Please feel free to read what others have shared and to leave a remembrance or photo.
"Today is your birthday my friend, mentor, guide and soulmate. I miss you dearly and not a day goes by when I am not reminded of you.
The echo of your laughter fills my memories. Wishing for just one more moment when I could feel your shaky hand in mine.
My favorite place in all the world was at your kitchen table, soaking up all of your wisdom, knowledge and grace. I found my home Elizabeth, in you.
I am in awe and marvel at God that he placed you in my life. How lucky am I!!!
Thank you Elizabeth for being "my christ with skin on” and a light that will never go out.
I love you with all of my being and I WILL see you again.
Your devoted student,
"Elizabeth, you were such an exceptional person and Christian. I always know you cared and loved without hesitation or reservation. I know what a challenging life you have led, with extreme hurt from loved ones, circumstances, and what you have contributed in your working life and most fully in your retirement. I know you are rejoicing with the angels now, and we will not see you until we meet in heaven.
I so appreciated the 10 or more years we taught Bethel together. My life went through ups and and downs and you were always there for me. You were like a mother to me sometimes after my own had died. I was always so sad to hear from others about your estrangement from your daughter and granddaughters. We will never understand how that could be God's plan, but again, that is over for you. Love to always, sweet Elizabeth."
"My friend, Brian Robinette, introduced me to Elizabeth Chao in 2011 when I visited your church for the first time. She was a delight to talk with, and because of her special bond with Brian, I knew she was an extraordinary person. Happy Birthday Elizabeth, and please know how meaningful your life was to those who were blessed to cross your path on this earth!"
"My name is Brian Robinette – and I was privileged to be one of Elizabeth Chao’s many friends.
It now has been over four months since she departed this mortal coil in December 2014. A long four-plus months. Strangely, Elizabeth was one of those rare people that you didn’t expect could ever die. I know that is Pollyannish – kind of like disbelieving that Shirley Temple could ever pass away. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking.
Her birthday would have been April 27, and many people who knew and loved Elizabeth wish they could have celebrated another with her. They have many wonderful stories to share and I hope those friends will include some on this site. Elizabeth truly was one of a kind – but the Bible says that we all are one of a kind, unique as each snowflake, as she would gently remind me.
I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth 17 years ago in a Bethel Bible Teacher Training class. That class prepared us to teach the internationally renowned Bethel Bible series and it took almost two years, as did the actual class that we later taught.
She always loved the Bible – I knew that and asked her and Rob Stevenson to join me and teach a class once we graduated. Through over 10 years, we enjoyed teaching and bonded as we shared our love of the Bible. Elizabeth and I even went to Israel together (in the heat of August!) as part of a larger Calvary Chapel church group and our friendship blossomed as we delighted in the wonders of that historic and spiritual land so dear to God.
I grew even closer to her after my mother died up in Central California – I have only one distant family member and since Elizabeth also lived alone, that gave us much time to spend together. Some might say that we were kind of an odd couple but we did not let that get in our way.
Elizabeth loved Christmas – most of us do. But she and I really reveled in Christmas. She once told me that she could not bear to take down her tree until February one year long ago! I introduced her to “The Glory of Christmas,” that outstanding musical pageant that once held court at the Crystal Cathedral. We went there twice a year – it was not easy to get there on winter nights from our homes in Malibu and the Valley, and Elizabeth often got lost trying to find my house in Van Nuys while puttering along in her little pale green Honda.
But once we were there, we soaked up all of the spectacle. We even spoke to the actors after the show and covered the entire campus. We loved the book store as Elizabeth marveled at the many nativity scenes; we saw all the statues and monuments and even went back to where the show's camels and other animals were bedding down.
Among Elizabeth’s favorite things were watching “The Sound of Music,” the superb miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth” and “Ben-Hur,” sneaking out to grab a turkey leg or some persimmons at Gelson’s, penguins, camels and Bible prophecy (she was wary of dogs due to a childhood incident). She enjoyed playing the piano or organ and was her class valedictorian in high school and college. She appreciated natural beauty and we often visited Descanso Gardens. We savored the peace and harmony of nature as we walked and talked about how this or that place would be a good location to teach a Bible class. We had our “special” hollows and hidden benches where we shared our burdens. And it will never be the same there without her.
We always saw the journey as God expressing himself in nature or in the skies. I often pointed out to her the marvelous sunsets that she might see perched atop her Malibu home near the Getty Museum with her panoramic view of Santa Monica Bay. But she already saw God in everything. I would call her at least once a day – usually around 11 p.m. -- to discuss our respective days. When I would ask her what she was doing, the reply often was “studying Psalms” (Psalms 23 and 91 were tops with her) or some other Bible book.
She had an impish smile that glowed and many more gifts as a passionate teacher and a mighty prayer warrior. Seated in the church narthex on Sundays, emotional people would stumble over me just to get close enough to pray with Elizabeth. She reminded them that she had no special power but that did not stop the lineup of people who were in desperate need for prayer -- much like all of us on this side of eternity…
Perhaps her greatest gift was her love for people. Many of my friends from different disciplines came to her memorial in support of me and to honor her – at best, they might have met her just once years ago – but she had a lasting effect on people (even if she often forgot their names). She was always ready to pray, which calms people down quite a bit, and for me, she was always available to help. She took the time that most of us cannot seem to afford for each other.
One morning, when she was in her mid-80s, I had a bad migraine and stayed in bed on a work day. She drove from Malibu to Van Nuys just to place a plant in front of my door without even knocking or leaving a note. When I felt better and opened the door, I knew it had to be only one person – Elizabeth Chao. Did that ever happen to any of you?
I treasure her notes and cards and laminated messages that were addressed from my cat or “King David” or from “God’s secretary.” She would advise or reproach as needed, but she knew more about the Bible than almost any person I have met. Even near the end, when she was faltering from that horrible affliction, I could temporarily revive her while she rested by reading Psalm 23 or 91, and she would follow along word for word, thrusting her bony fist skyward for emphasis.
I have listened to some of her more memorable phone messages that I kept – it is soothing to hear her voice again, as she was thanking me for some minor gift or gesture. “I just wanted you to know…” was her usual opening line. She bore testimony through her life as she had to overcome many obstacles, including a collapsed lung, breast cancer, blindness in one eye, hearing impairment, strokes, divorce and being robbed at gunpoint, among other challenges.
She could be stubborn or get mad – yes, I am one of the few people in existence that can say that Elizabeth Chao slammed the phone down in my ear more than once. But one of us always apologized and we laughed about it, as we did about nearly everything.
After much experience, I believe that the aphorism “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true to our multi-tasking times, both for the famous and anonymous. Even now, I can feel that Elizabeth has begun to fade away from many of us who are distracted by life’s pressing daily demands. We are focused on the road ahead, which is expected, but so many of us remove our rear-view mirrors or push aside our memory files to allow for more recent data to intrude.
I know I will not forget because Elizabeth was always there for me – there absolutely was no one else like her. I have had many fantastic friends but none could ever surpass that radiant person’s love or acceptance. And I know that I am not alone in sharing that sentiment. I take some comfort in knowing that we shall be together some day in the presence of Jesus Christ who took on our sins and gives us assurance of pardon. What must she be seeing right now? Knowing Elizabeth, she is enjoying it more than we can imagine because she truly adored and knew Jesus as her Savior.
So a belated goodbye to my tiny yet titanic friend – yes, my second mother. There is a yawning hole in my heart but somehow, God is sufficient to fill what she had occupied. I thank that same God for the gift of Elizabeth Chao. And I know that I am not alone…"
"How many times did you, Elizabeth, stop me on my way to one place or another to ask how I was doing and to say a quick prayer for me? 20 times? 50 times? Your life is an example to me of how I can find my life by giving it away to God and in service to others.
How thankful I am for the interest you had in MY life, in MY family, and in how I was doing. Always encouraging, always kind, always focusing on the best parts of me. Thank you dear Elizabeth.
I will be happy to be one of your fix-it men, CD exchange-librarians and 'computer guys' when we next meet.
And when you ask me then (as I know you will), how I'm doing...
"This dear saint was a gift to my heart, and to all our hearts. She gave me the assurance of her daily prayers for me- what an amazing gift to have Elizabeth Chao pray for you every day! I learned so much about God and faith through her and her love for Jesus. Small in stature, she was passionate and strong and a giant in faith. I am forever blessed, forever changed for knowing her. I am celebrating and imagining her reunion in heaven with Jesus- this queen of my heart wears a blessed crown. Thank you God for Elizabeth Chao! Tell her we love her and miss her."
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