|The opportunity to celebrate the Feasts of Yahweh (Leviticus 23) with our family in Indonesia was a treasure! Getting to spend time with their son was probably one of the greatest joys of my time there. I love children and their son is no exception. He is smart, witty (like his dad) and full of energy! I think he enjoyed having his Aunt Jenn there because he knew he could have tickle wars and play games like AABB (where we thought of categories and then had to go through the alphabet naming things to fit that category) and throwing the ball in the pool together – almost the entire time we were there. Boy, I sure do miss that sweet child and all our wonderful times together.
The family wouldn’t be complete without Kung and Po (grandpa and grandma in Chinese). When we visited in 2011 we stayed with our friends in their home and enjoyed getting to spend time with Kung and Po. Although we didn’t speak the same language, there was a special connection with Kung and Po and we have always prayed for them as if they were part of our family. So, when we heard that Kung had fallen sick for well over a year prior to our return, we had been praying and asking the Father to be merciful to him and all the family.
By the time, we reached Bali, Kung was bedridden and was being fed through a tube. Due to Kung’s rapid deterioration of health – Kung and Po had moved in with other family members so that they could live closer to the hospital. We asked our friends not to tell them that we were coming because we wanted to surprise them both. The look on Po’s face when she first saw us was great! We had pulled off the surprise. We prayed for Kung and Po that day and spent a little time with them before we left to return to our rented Villa.
Just over a month later, we would receive the news early on a Sabbath morning that Kung had passed away. Although we were all sad, our hearts were also full of rejoicing because Kung had entered his final rest on the day the Father has called us to rest and because he was no longer suffering and the burden of caring for his sick body was finally lifted from Po. We would soon learn that there was even a greater reason to rejoice.
The family planned to have a one night viewing, on the same day of his passing – before Kung’s body would be transported to the island of Timor. Timor is where Kung originated from and where his body would eventually be buried. While preparing to attend the viewing Robert and I prayed about whether we were to go to Kupang, Timor for the funeral proceedings. The Father spoke to both of our hearts and said, “YES”. We informed our friends to please book us tickets when they booked theirs – as we would be joining them.
During this time, Robert heard the Spirit speak to him that he should fast for 7 days in honor of Kung – as Scripture speaks over and over about how believers always fasted after the passing of a great man of Yahweh.
When we told Po that we would be joining her and the entire family in Kupang, she was shocked. She then proceeded to tell us that upon learning of our arrival in Bali, she had been praying and asking the Father to please take Kung before we left Bali. The Father had answered her prayer! We rejoiced with her for the Father’s mercy. She then told us that once Kung had passed she had been praying that we would be able to go to Kupang with the family for his burial.
Once again, the Father had heard and answered her prayers! Hallelu-Yah for His favor! It was also during the same morning of Kung’s passing that our dear pastor and friend learned that his first grandchild would be arriving around the exact same time as our first grandchild. Po also informed all of us that she had been praying for his son to have a child. Yet another answered prayer! The Father had surely blessed us all with a time of great rejoicing during this season of grieving the loss of our beloved Kung.
When we arrived in Kupang, we attended several gatherings and services over the 3 days held for Kung’s funeral. It’s our understanding that in the Chinese tradition the family mourns for their loved one for 7 days if they are wealthy or for 3 days if they are poor. I’m not sure if this was the actual reason for the 3 days but it seemed to make sense.
Since Robert was fasting for 7 days, we had to inform the family that he would not be eating and to please not be offended. We learned that during one of the evening meetings, the family had inquired about why Rob was fasting. They thought it was because he wanted to lose weight. HA-HA! Our friends then had the opportunity to share with them that Rob was fasting in honor of Kung’s life and death – as that is the Hebrew way.
They said that the family was surprised by this revelation. Little did we know that when the Spirit called Rob to fast that it would be such a great testimony to the family. It turned out to a faithful witness of the greatness of the man we all affectionately called Kung. Because in the world’s eyes, Kung wasn’t regarded as a great man but in Yahweh’s eyes he was truly a great man!
Now we know why Yahweh called us to go to Bali before returning to Zambia. Now we understand why He said we would also be visiting the island of Timor. Now we understand that He indeed did call us to minister during our time there! And now we know why it was so important for Robert to be 100% obedient to fast – as the Spirit had called him too on the morning of Kung’s passing. What a truly wonderful Father we serve!
We would finish our time in Indonesia by returning to Bali and squeezing in as much fellowship as we could with our dear friends (who are more like close family to us – including Po). We were also blessed to be able to minister on a couple of occasions at the same church I spoke about previously shortly before we left for Africa.
Upon our final meeting with them, they openly expressed how they would like for us to open a school there. We told them that if the Father called us back that way, then we would consider it but that we knew we were to proceed with our plans to return to Zambia.
Saying goodbye to our friends wasn’t easy, but it will make our next reunion that much sweeter. We boarded our plane with mixed emotions. We were sad to go, yet rejoicing for all the Father had done during our time there. We left Bali enthusiastically anticipating what He was going to do upon our return to Africa and joyful that we were about to see a whole lot more friends/family that we loved!
We are so richly blessed to have a multitude of people all over the world who we consider our family! I long for the day when our Messiah will return so that all those we love will be in one place, together for all eternity.
The following is the beautiful eulogy that Robert wrote for Kung:
A Legacy of Greatness – In Memory of Kung
Two weeks ago, we got the news. The man we affectionately called Kung (grandpa in mandarin Chinese) passed away. Immediately, the Spirit spoke to my heart that I was to not eat any food and to only drink water for the next seven days – a fast in honor of his life and legacy.
For accountability sake, I told my wife and my good friend what I was called to do. The Spirit also spoke to my heart (as well as to my wife) that we were to fly to the neighboring island of Timor for the funeral of our dear friend’s father-in- law.
To our great surprise – later that day we were told that his widow had been praying for her husband to pass on while we were here (as he had been bedridden and suffering for over a year) and that Yahweh could make a way for us to be at the funeral.
Before we came to Bali, Indonesia the Spirit had whispered to my heart that we would be going to the island of Timor and that we would be ministering there. I didn’t think anything of it really and I just assumed that we would go there with our translator from our 2011 visit.
After all our translator was from Timor and he badly wanted us to go to Timor to teach and preach in his home town. I would have never guessed the ministry we were being called to was to attend a funeral because that is where Kung’s body would be laid to rest.
If you have never been to a traditional Chinese funeral – then you probably wouldn’t know that they mourn for a minimum of three full days – with multiple services each day. Each time they eat (either before or after the service) and sometimes both. Believe me when I say – I love the authentic Asian foods and it was especially difficult and lonely to make this offering unto Yahweh. It was one of the most difficult time I have ever had denying my flesh and its desire to eat and I have fasted many times in my life.
I was being called to die to my appetite for one full week. As the hundreds of family members paraded by – many inquired how come the big bule’ (fat white guy!) wasn’t eating anything. (They wanted to know if I was trying to lose weight.) Our friends would then inform them that when a great man of Yahweh died in the Bible those closest to the deceased would fast for a minimum of seven days in honor of their life.
Then of course they would go on to explain that Kung was a great man in the eyes of Yahweh and that I was fasting in honor of him. They were so amazed at this testimony – as honor for the elders is a very big part of the Chinese culture. Even though we hardly spoke a word during our time in Timor – we were used by Yahweh to minister to those who knew Kung in a most unexpected way.
As for myself – I was greatly humbled by the experience. As I was contemplating about the fast and what Yahweh had done I realized a couple things.
1.) I would have probably never agreed to go on a mission trip half way around the world to minister to the family. If the Spirit had spoken to me to do this – I probably would have dismissed it as bad pizza. However, the Father knew the desire of our dear friend Po (grandmother) and He wanted to answer her prayers and to show her just how much He cares for her.
2.) In the eyes of the world – Kung was not a great man. He was a simple man, an unassuming man of short stature and he was a poor man. However, in the eyes of Yahweh Kung was a great man!
He was great because he became a born-again believer as a younger man – trusting fully in Yahweh’s provision of the cross of His Son for the forgiveness of his sin and eternal life by favor through faith. He was great because he faithfully provided for his family and protected them all his life. He was great because he was a faithful husband to his wife of more than fifty-six years. He was great because he consistently attended the local Christian church most of his adult life.
He was great because he and his wife repented when the fourth commandment (about the seventh day Sabbath) was revealed to them as being extant for all generations. He was great because he repented and began to call on the name of Yahweh – while almost all of his fellow Indonesian Christians still call on Allah – according to their tradition. He was great because he repented of eating what Scripture calls an abomination and began to eat only clean foods at the age of 83.
He was great because he loved mercy, walked humbly and lived justly. He was great because he loved Yahweh and he loved his neighbors.
Today, Heaven is richer and we are poorer because a great man of Yahweh has died… And yet he lives forever. Shalom, shalom!
Sincerely and in Love, His servant and yours, Robert-Arthur: McDuffie – Gal. 6:14