By Mathew Yakai in Changchun, China
TWENTY November 2008 is the date I will remember for the rest of my life. Specific time is 5:30pm, PNG time.
I was in my room in China when my brother called from Kudjip, Western Highlands Province conveying a devastating news.
“Mathew, its Len. Are you okay?” he asked me. The question came at the time when mum was in critical condition at Kudjip Hospital, WHP.
“Mathew, mum just passed away. I was standing beside her bed with Mark. I held one hand, Mark held the other…she called your name (Mathew), Nita, Mark, mine (Len), took a last deep breath and closed her eyes.”
Len is my big brother, Mark and Nita are my small brothers.
I wrote a letter to wish mum a speedy recovery through this column. But she passed away on Thursday 20th Nov, before the letter was published on Sunday 23rd Nov.
It was a disaster for me, especially when I am far from home, where there are no “wantoks” to share the moment with.
I uploaded my mums’ letter on my website and a footnote stating her passing away. Impressively, condolence E-mails flooded from all over the world.
Some E-mails were from total strangers, many from online “wantoks” but most from acquaintances. Some even took time to pray with me.
I want to share their thoughts with you and hope they will bless you in this Christmas.
On 20th Nov, a Christian brother in China, Jeffers Teargun prayed for me when I told him of my mums’ death.
“Heavenly father, we come before your throne this afternoon. Lord, you know that Mathew's mom came this morning to be with you. Lord, we are just thankful for you have given her the responsibility to raise us up.
Lord, at this time, we pray that, even she came to be with you, it’s natural that we feel sad and our hearts are sorrowful. Lord, we pray for your peace and comfort in our lives, even the other family members, relatives and friends.
Lord, I pray for my brother Mathew, I know that it’s very sad and heart breaking, but Lord give him peace that he needs this time and comfort him Lord.
Father, you will be the Father to the fatherless, Mother to the motherless and we have hope and trust in you Jesus. Lord, at this time, we pray and lift up all the family members and relatives who are sorrowful, that you will give them peace.
Lord thank you for being with us at this time of sorrow. We know that, at times like this you are always nearer. Lord, give my brother Mathew the strength and peace that he needs at this time. I stand with him, and feel the sadness in his heart.
Bless him Lord and comfort him. Lord, you are with him always...Thank you Jesus...in Jesus Name. Amen.”
Jeffers said, “Bro, we prayed at the first place and even now, Lord giveth and taketh away…so my prayers are with you.”
Another Christian brother and PNG student in China, Gene Iyovo prayed for me.
“Lord we now know the kind of sorrow you went through when your Son Jesus passed through terrible torture before being crucified on the Cross. We can measure in our hearts what you felt.
You sanctified us by His death. Lord, today you received the soul of Mathew's mum because it’s yours. We thank you for loving us. Again this is your Love for Him and us too, thru this hard time.
He will be changed in his mindset to love you forever Lord. Father with the faith you adorned us, I pray for complete Heavenly comfort and peace. The river of Life will revive her to eternity, Lord.
In the mighty name of Jesus of NAZERETH I offer this prayer.”
Gene told me, “do not worry....God will count all your tears and measure out blessing from it.”
Another Christian brother and PNG student in Beijing, Albert Tobby informed all PNG students in China of my mums’ death.
“Hello everyone, this is just to remind you that one of our senior students here in China, sadly lost his mother.”
“Mathew doing Masters in International Relations at Jilin University and his love for his nation and family was so great that he took the challenge to promote China every week in his column despite of other continuous negative publication about China in other daily media in PNG.”
Elizabeth Kup, former colleague at UPNG, later Fiji and now working in Cambodia sent me a condolence E-mail. She is one of those rising PNG women who stand at par amongst her male peers.
“Mathew, I am so sorry to hear of the news. This is really devastating esp. of the time you have not touched base with her and the distance you are now.”
“I am so sorry that a tragedy has happened. I hope you can find courage to live another day. It’s hard in the face of all these happenings but things also happen for a reason and I hope that these reasons fulfill in your life.”
Tonney Kepou, a PNG student in China sent me his condolence.
“Brother, I am so sorry to hear the sad news back home. I can really understand what you are feeling now, over the coming days, weeks and months ahead. Receiving such news when we are far away from home is more than just news.”
“I have lost my dearest mum and had gone through such experience...words can not describe.”
“Brother, my prayers are with you at this moment in time.”
Sister Emmy Keko is another PNG student in China.
“Hello bro. I am so sad to hear the sad news of the passing of mama... my prayers and thoughts are with you and I share the moment with you as a sister, colleague and friend. My prayers are with you right now.”
Pung Paraka in Port Moresby sent a condolence E-mail.
“Bro, you are miles away from home and here where you brothers, friends and others that can stay close to you and share this feeling of sorrow.”
“It is really devastating and very hard to accept that mum passed away.” “Bro I am sorry! It is really heart breaking and of course a sharp pain piercing through every part of the body.”
“It is a moment that may not be forgotten given the fact that you are there in the land of different race and color.”
Peter Puri Siminzi, in Port Moresby conveyed his condolence to me through Pung Paraka.
”Peter Puri relayed his late condolences and said that God would surely give you peace and enable you to complete your study,” Pung said.
A stranger but sister in Christ, Rachel Yonge in Port Moresby sent me an E-mail after reading my letter to mum on Sunday Chronicle.
“Dear Mathew. Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I'm Rachel from Port Moresby, encouraged by the letter you wrote to your mother which was published in the Chronicles, and has been a blessing to me and believe many others as well in PNG and abroad.”
“When reading the story, I had falling tears because it is very true that mothers are hard working. Because of the work and task they endure in life only for us to enjoy ours in the coming years.”
“So be strong and trust in the Lord for mothers speedy healing as I and others stand together in prayer with you. May the good Lord Bless you in your studies and other walks of life as you continue to live for Him. God Bless You.”
Sister Rachel sent a bible verse, 1 Thess 5: 18. “Be thankful in all circumstances for it is the will of God concerning you.”
Brother David Ulg Ketepa from WHP and lives in USA sent me his condolence after reading about my mums’ death on my website.
“Dear Matt, I am so sorry to hear your mom's passing. I share the sorrow and pain with you when I logged onto your blog last night. Distance away from home is one thing and the financial means to get to PNG from the other part of the world is another thing.”
“I share the same sentiments with you. My prayers are with you and your family at this time of bereavements. Hope you and your family find comfort in Lord's hands.”
“May your mom rest in peace. I wish you good health and God's immense in your studies in China. Your fellow countryman and Hagener, David Ulg Ketepa. Michigan, USA.”
My cousin brother, Silas Matoli in Port Moresby was surprised when he heard of my mums’ death.
“Bro, it is very sad indeed to hear this sad news and I am very sorry deep down in my heart. Me and family will pray that the lord comfort you and the rest of brothers and sisters in this time.”
“Mum shall rest in peace. May God bless you too,” said Silas.
Many friends sent me condolence E-mails which I can not publish due to space limitation. I thank them for their thoughts.
In this Christmas when families get together to celebrate Christ’s birth, my mums’ chair will be empty. Mama, love you and REST IN PEACE!
From: Peku Pilimbo (email@example.com)
Sent: Tue 12/09/08 3:56 PM
To: Mathew Yakai (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am sorry that to hear that your mum passed away. I thought she was still alive after reading the story. Those are circumstances that mere mortals like us do not control. It would have been good if the story had been published before she departed to be with the Heavenly Father.
God gives and takes away what we love and I send my late condolences to you in regard to the lose of your beloved mother. Hope God guides you in your endeavors.
Have a nice afternoon.
From: Malum Nalu (email@example.com)
Sent: Tue 12/16/08 10:16 AM
My heartfelt belated condolences on the death of your beloved mother.
I didn’t know until I read last Sunday’s Sunday Chronicle.
As you know, I also lost my wife on Easter Sunday this year, but it has been through God’s grace that I have taken my four very-young children through these very difficult times and am looking at better things in the New Year.
God Bless you as you go through this difficult phase in your life.
Malum Nalu: Supplements Editor/Acting Supplements Manager, The NATIONAL Pacific Star Limited
Phones: (675) 324 6888 Ext:734
Facsimile:(675) 324 6868 Post:
PO Box6817Boroko, NCD, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
NB: Malum was a former colleague at The National newspaper