PENDITA MERIPA , THE WHOLE LUN BAWANG COMMUNITY WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR THE YOU HAD DONE AMONG OUR PEOPLE. YOUR SACRIFICE FOR
OUR PEOPLE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. NOW YOU ARE REUNITED WITH PENDITA GANIT AND YOUR FRIENDS FROM LONG SEMADOH WHO HAD LEFT FOR HEAVEN EARLIER THAN YOU. wHAT A REUNION IN HEAVEN. HOW CAN WE FORGET THE YEARS YOU HAD STAYED WITH US IN LONG SEMADOH? THE LAST TIME WE MET WAS IN THE ABOVE, TAKEN IN BARIO. YES WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL.
” THE MEMORIAL TO BE HELD IN LAWAS, SARAWAK ON THE 19TH JANUARY 2013 TO REMEMBER THE LATE PENDITA MERIPA OR ALAN BELTCHER, HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 2ND MARCH 2013.”
When the BEM missionaries came to the island of Borneo to spread the Good News among the natives, especially among the Lun Bawang and Kelabits, they were affectionately given names by them.Here are some names, of which I hope will make us recall the astonishing contribution of these great men for and to the Kingdom of God.God bless them all.
1. Hudson Southwell(Pendita Padan or Tuan Tapu),
2. Frank Davidson(Tuan Lisin),
3. Enid Davidson(Pendita Litad),
4. Winsome Southwell(Pendita Gadung),
5. Alan Francis Belcher(Pendita Meripa Palung),
6. Madge Hill(Pendita Ganit Pengiran),
7. Ken Coopper(Pendita Mutang Dawat),
8. Bruce Morton(Pendita Panai),
9. Alf Thorrat(Pendita Balang Baru),
10.Joan Coopper(Pendita Supang),
11.Trevor White(Pendita Asang),
12.Bill Hawes(Pendita Kawas),
13.Bryan Mukem(Pendita Mitun),
14.Bob Buurton(Pendita Gaing),
15.Bill Lees(Pendita Gisar),
16.Keith Napper(Pendita Lasan),
17.Devenish. Robinson(Pendita Riung Ating),
18.Winston Usher(Pendita Kalang),
19.Dennis Barry(Pendita Paren),
21.Ray Cunningham(Pendita Sigar),
22.Evelyn Cunningham(Pendita Tunung),
23.Phylis Webster (Pdt Runguh),
24.Thelma Napper( Pdt Rudang)
25. Ted Hand ( pdt Upai Baru)
26. Judy Devenish ( Pdt Rikan Baru)
27. Sam Gollan ( Pdt Baru Lasung)
28. Jean Gollan (Pdt Lipang
29. Marj Tharrat ( Pdt Dayang Selutan).
THEIR DEEDS WILL FOLLOW THEM
I remembered a number of missionaries quite well,
particularly Alan Beltcher and his wife Pendita Ganit. They stayed in Long Semadoh for many years, the people had
built a small house by the Trusan river for them, and they will gather some people to translate the Bible into Lun Bawang. We really loved them very much.They really looked after our people spiritually and now most of those who had been with them had passed away. The first time I had a glimpse at Pendita Padan was when he prayed over the grave of a former british officerin Long Semadoh. The officer had made a wish that when he die, he wished to be buried in Long Semadoh for he really loved the place.I had the opportunity to fly in the mission plane from Lawas to Long Semadoh. A tall man was piloting the plane. I was about 14 years old that time. Must be Pendita Mutang.
There were many others but when they come to Long Semadoh, the older generation would greet them affectionately and happily. The missionaries not only bring the Gospel but they help the people in other areas as well such as teaching them how to read etc.
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN TWO BOYS AND PDT MERIPA
AGONG: Saminar! Ruen mu PARK keritaneh ieneh ko?
PDT Meripa: Na ieh PARK! Bala luk petulu ieh ineh NGERERENG.
NGERERENG IENEH KERITA DI KO.
AGONG/SAMINAR: (KETAWA) Mo matu ineh.
THOSE WHO DIED IN THEIR SERVICE FOR GOD
An young American missionary, John Francis Willfinger, from the Missionary Alliance was beheaded on Christmas eve in 1942 by the Japanese after surrendering himself to them. He had stayed with Hudson and the others at Punang Trusan and when he went back to Kalimantan Indonesia, the Japanese imprison him and two months later executed him. He will be remembered by the Lun Bawang because of the music lesson he taught and the hymns he translated. Carrying a typewriter on the trail, Joh Willfinger translated many hymns into the murut dialect”, with a great sense of urgency. There was quite a revival after his death.
When I was a small boy, i remembered this man, conducting a funeral for a colonial officer who had died and was buried at Long Semadoh in the mid 1960s. A gurkha played the Scot’s bagpipe to the tune of “Amazing Grace” as the small box containing the ashes of the officer was lowered into the ground. The small grave was at the end of the Long Semadoh Primary school’s football field. I remembered that until now.
Pendita Padan or Tuan tapu was highly respected man of God in the Lun Bawang community. He was not only loved but greatly revered as some one who just follow the will of God. Many of our people became evangelists or pastors because of him. The Brooke government also had faith in him to help the Lun Bawang community. He spent sometime in Long Semadoh Area, especially at Long Tenape, near Punang Trusan, where they were hiding from the Japanese during the second world war. Hid book ” Uncharted waters ” speak volume about his ministry among the people of Borneo.
ALAN FRANCIS BELCHER AND MADGE HILL BELCHER
He chose to go to Borneo rather than to New Zealand as a manager of a company. Pendita Meripa, as he was called begin his ministry in Sabah before he decided to stay at Long Semadoh to translate the Bible into Lun Bawang/ Lun Dayeh. His wife Pendita Ganit had begun work on the Lun Dayeh version at Mission and eventually they went to Long Semadoh to start work of translation on the Bala Luk Do. A small hut was built for them by the local people in 1968. They stayed there from 1968 to 1984. Their influence was so great that the church at Long Semadoh grew into one of the most ideal church in Borneo. There were no theft, no quarrels, no drinking or smoking or adultery during those period. Their presence there were such wonderful years. Pendita Ganit said that there is no one as humble as her husband. ” Although he does not speak in tongues, he is more humble than me.”
THE OTHER MISSIONARIES
As i go through the journals, I realized that there were many of them working among the tribes of Borneo. Those that I knew were those who ministered among the Lun Bawangs. There were some who worked among the Kayan, kenyah, Ibans, Penans, tagal etc Hopefully their names will be mentioned eventually so that they will be remembered by all the tribes that they had helped to bring to Christ.