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Tribute for Papa

My Father's Incredible Life Journey

Walden - 12/13/16


Far JinJiang sea, a baby is born
    No crib nor manger, bed worn and torn
Eng Chi at 8, August 22 in '28
    Unto the world, begun his destiny and fate.


Brilliant and smart, so young so bright

    A teacher, a builder he carried the light.
From China to Manila, from Hongkong to LA,
    Day in, day out, no break, no holiday.

Yet life is filled with favors and gripes
    3 times he walked through the fiery knives
At 88, to the Lord, a grateful father laid,
    In everything, give thanks and not be afraid


No Oscars nor Nobels, had my father won,
    Yet still, the best father who lived under the sun
From LA to Davao, to Xiamen in China
    Farewell to the man, my father Johnny Lima.

Alone, you will not be, your next journey to the sea
    For He'll be with you, Jesus of Galilee.
As the sun rises tomorrow, and the skies turn blue
    Cherished sweet memories, we shared with you.

On earth we lost Papa, its hard to take
    The pain inside, when my heart has to break
Your unconditional love, in our hearts you'll remain
    Forever treasured, played again and again.


Alone in the night, I shed a tear
    Voices from Papa, I am longing to hear.
I look out the window, to the dawning sky
    A tear in my eye, I wondered why.


God bless Mama, so healthy and strong,
    Everlasting love in her heart forever belong.
Just remember one thing as I sat and pray
    You are my Papa, I will see you someday.

​From: Walden 11/27/16
Tribute to my Father


I wish to first thank my mother, Juana J Lima, for spending her best 62 years with Papa, Johnny K Lima. Without Mama beside him, life would have been totally different.  The story of my father is one of a life well lived. His life story was written by the best person who knows him best -- himself. He wrote “A Simple Autobiography and Farewell” - in Sep 2014, and “My Incredible Life Journey” in Feb 2016. I wish to share with you some very simple yet fulfilling memories of our time together.

My Father -- The Student
In 1985. During one of my trips to Hongkong, I introduced my father to the world of computers. We spend two days in computer shops in Sham Shui Poo, and bought a computer and lots and lots of books. You can call my father a book worm, and he almost always finish a book in one sitting. Seeing my father trying to learn computers by reading computer books, I extended my usual few days stay into a three-week computer teaching visit. I am so honored to teach my most eager student -- My father. The experience resulted in his learning more than what I can teach. He was then 57 when he started using computer. My father mastered Visicalc (long before Excel was even coded), became very proficient in Microsoft Office (where he contributed to much of our Church newsletter for many years starting from 2007 to 2011.

He also became an expert with Finale, the software that he used to compose numerous Christian Hymns that we still use to this day.  When I checked his 2 computers today, Nov-27, I realized that the last time he used his computers was a month ago, on Oct-27, 2016.

My Father -- The Teacher
During my parent’s residency in Hongkong, they were introduced to an exercise practice called Luk Tong Kuen or LTK, a 40 minutes exercise that starts at 6:30 am everyday. I joined him in the daily exercises. Upon their joining the Church of Good Shepherd UMC at Holly Avenue, Arcadia, California in the late nineties with Pastor Matthew, he started introducing the LTK to a few church members. In a few weeks, I see my father - the teacher, leading a large group of LTK participants everyday at 6:30 am. Some of my father’s best and closest friends today were part of that daily LTK exercise. My father’s last Luk Tong Kuen exercises was on Sep-6, 2016.

Many years later in 2004. My father asked me to buy 20 brand new Dell notebook computers. He then offered to teach computers to our church members. The training lasted for 2 weeks - my mother was one of his student. After completing the training session of Chinese email and Chinese word processing, he announced to sell the “used but brand-new” computers to his students at $100 less for the cost I paid for.   The very hectic 2 weeks training was one of the proudest moments of my entire life. He is my father, the teacher.


He wrote a comprehensive teaching of the Bible that is still used every Wednesdays and Sundays Bible time, and a thorough translation of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. 2 of this works, I will forever treasure.


My Father -- The Carpenter (Snow in May?)
In 2012, after visiting a small village in the mountains of Running Springs - Big Bear, California my father decided to live in the mountains. It was not only for the beautiful and gentle lake nor for the amazing giant mountains, he was just all too eager to go back to one of his first love - being the carpenter. Throughout his active business life, my father have personally designed and supervised the construction of his homes and his businesses. His last project was their house at the 6th Avenue in Arcadia. Although we were not fortunate enough to secure a permit to build a small worship chapel in his mountain home, it was still 50% fulfilling for him to invite friends to visit his work. My father have always wanted to show his works. That morning on May-8 in 2012, with 55 church members and friends in a chartered bus, we drove from the Church ground in Temple City up to the lakehouse by the mountains. Later that afternoon, as we started boarding the bus, 3 pm of Tuesday, it started to drizzle, and unbelievably, it started to snow, and it snowed and it snowed. The whole group turned ecstatic. To this date, I still wonder in awe - Snow in May?

God Walks in a Mysterious Way
I was never keen to having my own children and actually never really wanted. 
In 2001, an unexpected event transformed my life completely. I committed a severely serious mistake in my married life. It turned my life upside down. I was saddened and ashamed, and would have prefered to stay invisible if I could.

Finally, I left my homeland, the Philippines, agonizing and feeling more like dying than living.

My father, my mother and my favorite sister, Wilda, gentle yet firmly, (forcefully) convinced  me to move to California for a change. It was a "gift" that I am forever indebted to my father, to my mother and to my sister, and most especially to my wife Rene for being there for me.

We finally moved to California. In the most mysterious way, on March 3, 2005, we received the gift of life(s) -- twin boys, Matthew and John. I was 47, and Rene was 48.

Although I have always been my father’s biggest fan, it was not until 2005, after the birth of our twins that I started to push myself closer and closer to my parents. For many months, I would take my wife and twin babies to go see Grandpa and Grandma. First every Tuesday night, and later extending to Friday nights, to Saturday brunch and further into our regular Sunday get together with our brothers and sisters. I learned from my Papa what it was like to be a father myself. To this day, my boys still say in the Fookien dialect, “Do you know I love you Grandpa/Grandma?” 


In 2007, after one of our routine Tuesday night dinner with my parents. I received a call from my father. He said. “We are departing for Hongkong tomorrow, when we return, you do not have to come bring us to dinners anymore” - I was shocked, but did not object nor did I question and I just said “Ok”. After a month, my parents are back in California. On the first Tuesday, I brought Rene Matthew and John, and just pretended that I forgot what he said, and took them out for our Tuesday dinner. My father never say anything about this ever, never did I ever ask why he said that. I only confided to Rene that I was very hurt. On the day Papa passed, I finally understood why. My father, being the busiest man on earth, never wanted wasted time, every minute counts. He have always wanted me to spend more time with my own family. Thank you Papa. I now understand why you said what you said.


Lease(s) of Life
In April 26 of 2002, my father undergone prostate treatment by radiation. The treatment went well and eliminated the disease, he received God’s gift of a second chance in life.  The success did not come easily. The 5 day recovery at the hospital was one of his most harrowing ordeal. He “felt” wrongfully treated. Not only was it painful, it was short of abuse and slander. He would later wrote a letter to the "Head of the Hospital" about the incidents and they way he felt he was treated. Coming home, he started to preach "forgive and forget."

In May 21, 2015, my father went through colon operation, It took more than 3 hours for what was supposed to be a 1 hour operation. We later learned that a major error was committed, what was supposed to be a one quarter ended up with almost 3 quarters of his intestine removed. For 3 nights that I stayed beside him in his hospital bed, the world turned upside down. Coming home, I recalled our brothers and sisters furious, outraged and bitter, but then my father again preached for forgiveness. It was in fact the start of a third lease of life.


13 months later, in June of 2016, my father started lung cancer treatment. The first 2 months of treatment was easy for him, but on the third month to November, he went from walking by himself, to walking with cane, to walking with a "walker" and finally to a wheelchair. It was fast and painful. I was with my father and mother during his very last night of sleep. It was for the first time in a month that he did not sleep in their bedroom. That last night he lay down on the sofa bed in the living room. After two life lease renewals, 2002 and 2015, my father’s lease of life expired. He passed on Nov-21, 2016 at 4:40 pm. I would later learn from his couple friends, Charles and Maria Drew, the reason why Papa stayed at the living room in his last night was for the large "hand-written" verse of Psalm 23 - The Lord is my shepherd...


All things must pass
At the age of 88, my father passed. He did not win a Nobel prize, but if you are looking for an example of a great man, you do not have to look any further than Johnny K Lima.  We love you Papa, you are beautiful when you pass as you were beautiful in life. We will miss you, yet we will never forget you, we will always have stories to tell our children and our children’s children about the life of one of the greatest father who ever lived. 


Can you hear your grandson, John-John saying “Do you know I love you Angkong?”

Dear Papa - Nin Nin
Dear Papa - Rene
Dear Angkong - Matt Matt
I Love You Angkong - John John
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