Update on Dad Fen

September 9, 2008

I visited DadFen last August 29th. It was my first visit since I last saw him before the summer camp.  I must admit it took awhile because after all the summer camp activities, we had to prepare for the visit of 14 people from the US for their short term missions exposure here.

But to be more honest, it was emotionally difficult to visit someone when you do not feel emotionally strong as well.  But last August 29th, I visited him because 1. It is long overdue and 2. I did not want to miss greeting him personally on his 77th birthday.

He was not expecting me as he was being dressed up.  One of the daughters was going to drive him to a nearby commercial place because he had something he wanted to get.

It was good seeing him and Mom.  The toil of cancer was very visible because he lost a lot of weight. It was a weaker Dad Fen who greeted me.  We sat down together and I tried to initiate some palliative care conversation with him.  “There is no question that my life belongs to Him.  And God could choose to heal me or He could choose not to.  But if He chooses the latter, I pray that the suffering will not be too long…”

I quietly nodded and took note of that prayer request.

DadFen was busy trying to finish his photo album of his last trip to Europe. He was busy writing the names of the people in those pictures and the reason he wanted to go to a bookstore was because he needed to get a filler so it could accommodate more pictures.

It was a simple task, but with the waning strength and accompanying pain (reduced by morphine) it could become a much heavier task than what it seemed.  I sat down with him and for the first time ( could also be my last chance) I went through each of the pictures with him.

Unhurriedly, I asked about each of the photos and the stories behind.

His face would light up as he would remember a particular detail, a person, an event, a transportation challenge among other things.  We went through all of them.  I wanted to celebrate with him those 3-month sojourn to Europe.  In a way, I wanted to affirm in a very small way, that life has been really good and those pictures were only able to capture some of those beautiful life moments.

Before leaving, I asked if I could pray with him.  Halfway through, I felt Mommy standing next to us joining in our prayers.  It reminded me of the time when I prayed for my grandmother in 1999. (Will blog about it sometime).

When it was over, I hugged him as he thanked me for the prayer. Mommy kissed me with a “Darling, thank you for the visit… and for remembering his birthday…”

I walked back to our home.  It was a little past noon and the sun was at its brightest.  I was squinting my eyes not primarily because the sunlight was too bright, but because halfway through my walk, tears were blinding my vision.

“Be very merciful Lord.  Be very gentle… thank you for holding the life of DadFen. Thank you that we can also be assured of your gentleness when we become really weak.  Thank you for your comforting provision. Thank you for the people who love him and are celebrating his life with them.  Lord, be it unto Him according to your tender mercies and kindheartedness…  give him the strength to finish his photo albums…”

In Jesus’ name,



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