Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tribute to the Late Bishop Albert Vun

15 July is a date I will never forget because 15 July is the day when I start my fulltime ministry 7 years ago. 15 July also marked my 7 months of ministry in Good Samaritan Church. On 15 July 2014, our dear Bishop Albert Vun has gone with the Lord after battling with cancer for nearly 10 months.

I thank God that I worshiped in St. Patrick's Church in the year of 1998 - 2003 until I leave for study. I can remember vividly how he preached the Word of God with passion. I was as young as 13. In 1999, he was the speaker of a youth camp in St. Patrick's Church. It was through this camp that I got closer to the Lord. He was preaching on the book of Jonah. I remember many important thing that he has said such as "Every Cell is a Church, and every Cell Leader is a Pastor." I also remembered that he is a very patient man. I still remember that in that camp we accidentally kick the football and hit Andrew his youngest son until he fell down from his bicycle. At the same time he concerned Andrew, at the same time as well, he didn't want to release his anger to us.

In 2005, I had the opportunity to have lunch with him at IKEA with Jonathan Tse and Eric Ling. He asked me why am I following these two man and was in church? I told him frankly I skipped class because there were no students attended the class because CNY is coming. He also make sure that I refilled my coffee in IKEA 3 times so that it worth the money.

2005 Christmas Eve I was invited to his house for dinner before the service starts. Unforgettable moments. I still remember in 2010, 5 years after that, saying to him, Bishop these 4 warriors are still fighting. He tell us to stay strong!

In 2007, I was interviewed together with Cynthia (my fiancee), Kitt and Nicole because four of use responded to fulltime calling. That short meeting has impacted me a lot to continue to serve the Lord. He told me to obey God's will than my will. Although he wanted to be a missionary in Thailand, but he was elected as the Bishop of the Diocese of Sabah at that time. I still remember he was using Nokia N95.

In 2008, I was "interviewed" by him again because I started my relationship with Cynthia who was then one of his staffs in the Diocese office. As I was in his office, before he says anything, he commented on my clothing and my punky hair. And he said to me, "I treat Cynthia as my daughter". At that time I felt honored. Because of that meeting, I was sent for vocation interview and then was sent to STM for theological study.

During my studies in 2009-2011, on and off I will go to airport to fetch him to church. In that journey I will update him about my progress. And he will always share his vision to me which basically to grow the church, the young people, do not lose to the world and so on. Sometimes we talk about investment as well when he found out that I studied finance before. He was surprise with my analysis which relatively in the same opinion with him. He will not allow me to pay the toll for him. I still remember he used his GPS in while I was driving. I didn't know that his GPS was equipped with alarm if I exceeded the speed limit. One time the alarm rang and triggered him. He woke up and say, "Ka Seeeennnggggg! Slow down" 

When he knows that I go back to KK for holiday, he will spend his time with us over lunch or dinner. It was through these personal times with him that I get to know him better.

I remember after my first year of study in STM, I do not have a laptop yet. I ask from him if the Church can help me to get one laptop. He gave his personal laptop to me. Although it was old, but it helped me for one semester. He is a generous person. He always concerns the welfare of the church, the clergy and pastors, the students and their family. He always give the best in term of quality to people.

Once I graduated from seminary, I served in All Saints' Cathedral in All Saints' Day 2011 which was the Centenary Celebration as well. From then, I serve closely with him. I became his chaplain. I drove him to the places he needs to go. He never waste any time to mentor me and to disciple me. Even a short 10 minutes drive. Every Christmas and Chinese new year, he will remember me and Cynthia. 

He always make sure I preach strong and powerful message. Always called me to his office and asked these few questions: how many sermon have you listened? what have you learnt? have you memorized scriptures?

One of my preachings he was there in the Wednesday Morning prayer which we use to training graduates and clergy. I knew I preached terribly and did not make enough preparations. He rebuked me in front of the senior clergy. I felt disappointed with myself. I knew I have disappointed him. But with a humble heart I take that as a lesson that I never want to go back again. From there, I put my best effort in my sermon preparation. After that I also found out that he asked others if I am okay. He asked other why my preaching was not up to standard that day. I felt that he really concerned me to the end.

Towards the end of his life here on earth, I managed to spend time with him. He knew that I was pressure and stress in ministry. He whatsapps me "Do not be fret. I am praying for you. Let me know if you need to talk." Now, he is praying in heaven with Jesus for me. His last advice to me was "Be strong and courageous. Stand firm. Build the Church. Know your position in Christ". We had Holy Communion together on that day.

Although he was in sickness and pain, I will never forget that he said, "I will give every drop of my energy to the church!" He meant it. I did it. Preach his last sermon with power! He challenged us to serve God in time of suffering when God take away something from you. "Will your serve God for nothing?" That was his last challenge for us.

When I was down and stress up to a point that I want to quit this ministry, his life spoke to me to continue on. His life pointed to Jesus to endure. He inspired me to serve faithfully even when it is tough!

I thank God for his life, his teachings, and mentoring and his leadership. He has been a spiritual father to me. He has been a friend to me. I will never forget all the moments we cried together in prayer for the church and diocese. I thank God that my marriage counselling was conducted by him. I have truly learnt a lot from him.

I am glad to serve beside you. I treasured every moment of it because I surely learnt something form you. I will never forget when you say, "Learn from this ahh Ka Seng"

Your legacy and passion will pass on to the next generation. We will see the completion of the House of Celebration which has been your burden and desire.

We will see you again Bishop. Thank you for your prayer of blessings upon Cynthia and myself. How we wish to have you to conduct our wedding. But we know you are in a better place. Now you know the answers on the pearly gate. I know you are praying for the church and diocese together with the angels.

Ka Seng

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