Answered Prayers Abound – in Bali, Indonesia

 

As believers, we often tend to hear what the Father has spoken to our hearts and walk away with our own preconceived ideas as to how exactly He is going to fulfill His word in our lives.  I can’t even remember how many times I have ended up frustrated or angry because I had an expectation as to how He was going to fulfill the Word He spoke to our hearts and it didn’t happen in the exact way I had expected. I’ve often had to repent and confess for entertaining false expectations because I added my own thoughts to the word He had spoken to us.

Since we first visited Bali in 2011, we have often talked about our varied experiences there.   We talked about all the wonderful food, the beauty of the island, the $5.00 massages – but most of all we talked about our dear friends and the work the Father did through us by opening the doors for us to minister at the local Pentecostal church.

It was truly amazing how upon our very first visit, the Father miraculously moved in the heart of the Pastor and invited Robert to speak in the evening service.  We initially had no idea how he would deliver the message – as there seemingly were not any translators who were skilled enough to perform the task.  Much to our surprise, one of their congregants spoke fluent Bahasa and English.  From that one sermon, the Father moved upon the heart of the Pastor to invite Rob to return week after week and even asked him to minister at a Pastor’s conference that he would organize to take place during our time on the island.

Looking back at that season, we were all amazed at the transforming work the Father was doing.  That season was an answer to prayer and the direct fulfillment of words that had been prophetically spoken about the message that needed to be delivered to the congregation prior to our coming.

In July of this year, we prayed about the possibility of returning to Bali before we returned to Zambia and the Father confirmed to us that He indeed was sending us back to Indonesia. At that time, I seriously thought that we were going to re-visit the Pentecostal church we had first ministered to in 2011 and that they would once again open their doors and pulpit for us to come and minister.   I simply assumed that this was the ministry the Father was calling us to once again upon our return to Bali.  We also believed that we would be visiting the island of Timor with our previous translator as he had expressed a sincere desire for us to visit his native island (for the purpose of ministering) and Rob had heard from the Spirit that we would be going there during this trip.

Much to my surprise, upon our initial visit to the congregation the Pastor initially didn’t recognize us.  In all fairness, Robert & I have changed quite a bit in our appearances since we last visited with them in 2011.  I wish I could say that we had both lost massive amounts of weight (we are working on it) and that was why they didn’t recognize us – but the truth is that Robert has been sporting a beard for a couple of years now and I have been wrapping my hair consistently for a couple of years now along with gradually transforming my wardrobe to be more and more modest. These decisions born out of our own personal desires and convictions.

So, it was quite humorous when Robert introduced himself and Pastor Adriaan asked “do I know you?”  Once he made the connection we all had a good laugh.  He remarked several times to us how he thought we were Muslim because of Rob’s beard and my head covering.  (Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country although the island of Bali is 90+% Hindu).  We informed him that we would be on the island for a total of 2 months and that we were free to minister to his congregation at any time.  We left that night fully expecting him to call immediately to arrange for Robert to come and minister in his congregation – however, that wouldn’t be the case at all.

Although we were perplexed, we simply surrendered it to the Father and continued to enjoy our time in Bali.  Part of the excitement of going to Bali is all the wonderful exotic foods, the beauty of the island and cheap massages – but the greatest joy of all was being able to see our dear friends again – after five long years.  There is truly no one else in the world who “gets us” and loves us even through all our crazy seasons except our dear friend and the man we affectionately call our Pastor.  Getting to see him and his family again was the greatest blessing of being in Bali!  The times of fellowship were sweet and refreshing.  We had the wonderful joy of being able to renew our wedding vows on the beautiful Sanur Island.  You can view the video of this at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODAhAGzr2fw&feature=youtu.be

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

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