Farewell – Word of Grace
March 8th, 2021
Hello Andrew! I actually don’t call you by your name often. Instead, I prefer to call you “Mook-C” (Reverend in Cantonese) or “Baba” (Father in Cantonese).
It’s Ruth here! I’m so glad to finally have the opportunity to visit you in the rehab facility today. We needed to get special permission for our visit because there’s a COVID outbreak at Waterford and so, they locked down the facility for two weeks. But, never mind that! Nothing can stop me from chatting with you and counting God’s grace together!
I really thank God for bringing us two widows together. We have been married for more than 40 years. Having you by my side all these years has been a great blessing! Whenever I made mistakes or misspoke, you would always gently remind and correct me. Overtime, you’ve fine-tuned my perspectives and even my philosophy on living. Because of that, I’ve lived the second half of my life very meaningfully. When we served the Lord together in the mission field, we were great partners complementing each other. I praise God! And I also want to thank you for being such a great partner!
You were also a wise father who fostered harmonious relationships within the family.
Mary was a posthumous child. When she was around two or three years old, her grandpa also went to rest with our Lord. My mom and I raised her together. She came to New York to join your family when she was around eight or nine years old. You made sure all your older sons would accept and love her. So, she could grow up in a healthy environment. You disciplined all your children to extremely strict standards. You led by example to guide Daniel, Caleb, Mel, Israel and Mary by the teachings of the Lord. You led them to believe in God and be in awe of God. And, you also helped each of them to experience God in their own way. Our sons and daughter had learned much from you. Each of them had chosen a Christ-follower as their spouse. They work together to raise their children and serve the Lord in great partnership. In addition, they always look after one another’s needs. Wouldn’t you agree we should give thanks to God for all these blessings?
“Baba!” You rarely took us out to a restaurant. But, you often cooked the most delicious fried chicken drumsticks, steaks and many kinds of spaghetti for us to enjoy. The joyous time passed by so quickly. God has now given us 11 grandchildren plus 4 lively great-grandchildren.
On the evening of January 18th, you fell down while walking out of the bathroom. Your head was bleeding. So, we called an ambulance to send you to the emergency room immediately. It was in the middle of a stormy night. But, Elaine (Caleb’s oldest daughter) rushed to the ER to care for you amid the danger of the pandemic. She was by your side all night long to assist the hospital staff to examine you. Do you remember Elaine being there with you that night? After that, our family members all took turns to visit and take care of you.
When you were young, you used to accompany your father to evangelize in the villages of Lianping County. A young farmer used to love singing this song: “Breaking out of poverty is not impossible, just needs dedication and hard work to enable. Don’t be afraid of the world’s suffering. Even coarse tea and light rice can be satisfying.” Mook-C, since you still remember the lyrics, let us sing it together again! Someone once asked you: “Do you need to give up a lot of things in order to devote your whole life to serve the Lord?” How did you answer?! You said “I didn’t have much. So, there’s nothing to give up.”
Do you still remember God led you to New York City in 1977 to rebuild the New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC)? After the debts were paid off, you encouraged the congregation to raise their awareness on mission and to get involved in it. When you retired in the 1990s, NYCAC had become a mission focused church. And along with C&MA Headquarter, they supported us to be missionary associates, sending us to serve in Suriname. You shepherded the believers at the Suriname Mission Church and trained them to be the Lord’s disciples. You taught them to love the souls of the unsaved. You led the believers to visit and share the Gospel with the local Chinese communities weekly. Do you still remember Elder Huang Guowei who was the head of the mission committee at that church? He planned and organized many short term mission trips. We went to Guyana, Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil, Lima, Santo Domingo and Aruba to evangelize to the local Chinese communities, bring them to Christ and then establish churches with them. Eight years later, we arrived in Panama to share the Gospel and start a new church there. It was not an easy journey. But, we had greatly experienced God’s amazing grace and witnessed how He opened the doors for the Gospel to spread. God has compensated all our shortcomings. In a blink of an eye, we were on this mission journey for 19 years. We really need to thank God for all the brothers and sisters who faithfully and persistently supported us in every way. Furthermore, our children were the pillar of support. Besides lifting us up in prayers continuously, they brought us so much joy whenever we returned to New York. Do you remember all those heartwarming family meals we had? Each of them would bring their specialty dish to share. What did we do after a full and satisfying meal? Of course we all enjoyed chatting about the progress and the future direction of the various mission fields. Your favorite entertainment during dessert time was always the creative performances of our grandchildren. Some of our grandchildren had started going on short term mission trips and some even got involved in the ministry in Panama. How can we not give all the praises and glory to our God, right?
Do you still remember you suddenly had pneumonia back in August of 2017? Through God’s mercy, you were completely healed. Since then, we moved back to New York. While you were napping one afternoon last year, you started to talk in your sleep. You recited John 3:16 many times and also asked people to raise their hands to believe in Jesus. You were hosting an evangelical gathering even in your dream! Let us sing “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Mook C, I really didn’t think that (March 8, 2021) was the last time I would see you. I can’t bear the fact that you left us on March 10th. But we have to follow God’s command and let you rest peacefully in the home of our Heavenly Father that has been prepared by Jesus!!! We will definitely see each other again one day.
Your beloved wife, Ruth Leung
March 15th, 2021