N passed away last week, aged 73. She has been sick for quite some time. Eventually she passed away peacefully, surrounded by her husband, Rev. L, and friends. We were told she did not suffer too much.
I met N and Rev. L, 35 years ago, in Rochester, in upstate New York in the USA. They came to our dormitory to study the Bible with my roommate and me every Saturday morning. Later we moved to their apartment in the suburbs, and the group grew in size. They would drive to our dormitory to pick us up in the early morning, and then take us back to our dormitory late in the afternoon. We would study the Bible. Rev. L would then play go, Chinese Chess, and other games with us while N would cook for everyone. We would eat and talk and play, and eat some more. Their home became our home away from home. And they became our mentors. We continued to do this for about 4 years.
N had a youthful effervescence, and she always looked young. They cared deeply about us “young people”. They encouraged us to be passionate in life, and faith. To work hard in our studies, to study seriously the Bible, and to care deeply about people. They did this not so much by words, but by what they did with us.
They have no children of their own. But they affected the lives of so many people. They ended up having numerous spiritual children, the Rochester gang being part of them. This evening, my wife and I, and C, also part of that Rochester gang, attended her funeral service. And we told Rev. L that our daughters are their grandchildren. There were so many people at the service that the crowd spilled outside the school hall in a primary school in Shatin. Many of them are surely their spiritual children, and there are so many who couldn’t come.
Rev. L’s reminiscence on his life with N made my eyes wet. At one point, he said that the relationships that they have experienced is so real and so powerful, that they must continue beyond this lifetime; that it is capricious for life to just suddenly end at death. I agree.
I am thankful to God for L and N. I surely hope, and expect to see N again.