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Larni Zuniga coronavirus CHD Living and PA header4.jpg
UK News

Christian care home worker who planned to be reunited with Filipino family dies in UK from coronavirus

by Cara Bentley

A Christian man who hadn't seen his family in five years has died from coronavirus. 

Larni Zuniga, who had studied theology and nursing, came to the UK 12 years ago in a bid to make a better life for his family. 

He was a member of Jesus Is Lord Church in Oxford, worked in the Surrey Hills care home in Godalming and received his British citizenship in February.

He died on Friday, aged 54, at St Thomas' Hospital in central London, the same place where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was cared for.

Writing a tribute on Facebook, his daughter, Mutya Zuniga-Paulo, wrote: "Lord, I still have lots of questions in mind, but who am I to ask? Help me fix my eyes on you although I have tears in my eyes."

She explained that her mum, Edith, was planning on joining him this June and how all their plans have changed: "Help us Lord to be strong. Lots of dreams not yet fulfilled. But for sure God’s plan will always be the best. I know right now, you are so happy with the presence of God whom we serve and with your other son, Timothy Paul."

Friend and Christian, Arnold Barrientos, who set up a fundraising page to help the family, said Mr Zuniga had gone through a lot to build a future for them.

The friends had met while studying nursing and doing Bible studies together. Mr Barrientos said: "It was 12 years ago when he left his young family in the Philippines to seek for a greener pasture in UK. There were so much uncertainties and he had to endure years of homesickness while working in a care home. True enough, he managed to emerge successful."

He wrote on the fundraising page that Larni was: "a bonafide member of the church I am pastoring which is Jesus Is Lord Church Oxford where he has to travel at least two hours to attend our service. Our congregation was so blessed to hear him preaching in few occasions, he was a graduate of Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Lately it had been difficult for him to see us due to travel constraints and health concerns.

"His family, the Church and I therefore appeal to everyone's benevolence to help raise a fund for this hero, a front liner who I believe deserves to be honored with a decent funeral at least,  and for something to help his wife Edith to carry on with life now that Larni cannot send her financial support anymore"

One of Mr Zuniga's final Facebook posts was about remaining faithful to Jesus:

His wife wrote online: "You fought a good fight of faith, finished the race & kept the faith to our Lord Jesus Christ!!!"

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