Tribute to Deezi Pungya

Deezi Pungya, village evangelist, passed away Tuesday evening, May 17, 2016. He was 54 years old and the nephew of the late Daniel Kalnin. Deezi is survived by his wife Dandenia, and children Apinya, Thidapon, and Peram.

Deezi was born on January 19th, 1962.  He was from the Rawang tribe of northern-most Myanmar.  Deezi was born in the remote village of Shiman Gang, Putao district of Kachin State, Myanmar.  Deezi was Daniel Kalnin’s nephew.  His father’s name was Pung Pungya and his mother, Chang Wadamkong. He had two brothers and one older sister.  When he was three years old, his father died.  His widowed Christian mother raised all four children alone. They were very poor.

Later, the family moved to Nam Kham village and Deezi was able to go to school there up to the sixth grade.  His family was too poor to afford sending Deezi on to high school which was in the city of Myitkyina.  Deezi’s mother requested Daniel Kalnin to help Deezi get educated and also to learn by serving in FLC mission.  Daniel agreed to accept both Deezi and his younger brother Jongsar to FLC.    

In 1982, twenty years old, Deezi came to Chiangmai, Thailand to both study and work with FLC.  He attended Thai high school at night and received his 12th grade high school diploma.  Later he attended Phayao Bible College for one year and studied in Canada at Alberta Bible College for two years.  Upon returning, he continued his Bible training at Chiangmai Theological Seminary.

At the same time, he served in FLC in many ways.  He transported both people and supplies to many tribal villages in northern Thailand, took sick villagers to the hospitals and translated for them, helped Burmese people with visa, immigration and work permits and rescued many Burmese and tribal villagers from prison and abusive situations.  He helped with several village water and church building projects.  He was FLC center manager and disbursed funds for the mission for many years.  He also loved teaching Bible in the city and villages and visiting and encouraging church members.

In 1998, Deezi married Dandenia, a Barefoot Doctor and Bible College graduate. They had three lovely children:  two daughters, Apinya and Tidapon and his beloved son, Peram.  Deezi loved his family very much and spent quality time teaching and helping them.  Every evening they had family devotions.  The whole family was involved in ministry at Beulah Christian Church.  Deezi preached and served on the church committee until his death. He could speak and teach in six languages: Rawang, Kachin, Burmese, Thai, Lahu and English!  His wife Dandenia taught Sunday school and Bible to the women’s group and continues to do so.

Deezi was a servant leader.  He loved serving and helping others.  He was hard-working, honest, humble, quiet, straight-forward and faithful to family, friends and FLC mission.  His last project was overseeing Bay Yai Sai village church building up in the mountains of northern Thailand from 2015 until the end of his life.

He developed a high fever on May 9th but continued on with the church building project.  On May 12th, he went into shock and then a comma at McCormick hospital in Chiangmai.  He passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Deezi served the Lord faithfully to the end of his life.  He is now with the Lord at rest; without pain or suffering.  His reward is awaiting him in heaven.

Dandenia is now raising her three children alone along with two nephews and a niece.  She is serving the Lord with FLC in Chiangmai, Thailand.  Please pray for Dandenia and the family.  There are outstanding medical bills to be paid as well.  

This short video tribute embedded below is a slide show of photos from Deezi’s life, and an interview of him from March 2015 when he led a construction project to Banmai Pattani village with Valor Christian High School.