Kunu was a health worker (medical missionary) serving as part of a two-man team in a remote area of the Star Mountain regency in Papua, Indonesia. The Star Mountain Regency is a mountainous area of Papua Indonesia which is near the border of Papua New Guinea. Kunu wanted to serve the Lord by devoting his life in serving unreached people in remote areas of Papua, Indonesia working as a medical missionary of Adventist Aviation Indonesia (AAI), a service of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SSD). He was violently killed on Thursday, March 29, 2018 by what is believed to be a group of people from an area three-days walk away. It appears to be a case of mistaken identity. His body was found the next day in a shallow grave near the river where he was believed to be bathing when attacked. His fellow health worker was unharmed and accompanied Kunu’s body to the AAI headquarters, a day’s journey away. Because of this development, other Adventist medical missionaries and teachers in the region were evacuated and the work in the region is halted temporarily. According to those who knew him, Kunu had a passion to serve God in the most challenging and remote areas. He was engaged to be married in January 2019. He and his fiancée, a nurse currently serving as a teacher in another area, planned to serve as a medical missionary team in a remote area after their wedding. He understood the dangers of working in remote areas but trusted his life to God and planned to dedicate his future to such service. Known for his laughter and good humor, “he loved his job [and was] full of love for his Lord,” according to his family. When they expressed concern for his safety, he would reassure them with words of faith. Police are currently investigating the incident. It has garnered widespread attention up to the highest levels of national government. "We are deeply sorry for the death of our child, Berni Fallery Kunu," said Indonesian Minister of Health, Nila Moeloek, in a written statement in Jakarta. Kunu’s funeral was held last Sunday, April 1 and was attended by an overflow crowd. Condolence messages continue to flood in with an emphasis on how Kunu’s life of whole-hearted service to God is inspirational. An exceptional devotion, an example [to be followed] by anyone thinking of joining God's work. He didn't just ask for a comfortable place to work. Berni is an example to follow, posted one commenter on social media. A “life and death for God,” wrote another. “Truly noble and valuable life and death,” added another. In a message to the family, SSD president Samuel Saw wrote: “Through inspiration, Ellen White mentioned that Christians are set as light bearers on the way to heaven. They are to reflect to the world the light shining upon them from Christ (Steps to Christ, 116). Berni, who was inspired to light the world in Papua, committed his life, his gifts and his knowledge for this ministry that he fully believed in. He believed fully that life is not about discovering yourself for your own sake, but to be who God created you to be.
Cyberflashes, April 13, 2018