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On the afternoon of July 2, world missionary AG Huldah Buntain, who co-founded Calcutta Mercy in India with her husband, Mark, passed away in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Born November 21, 1924, she was 96 years old.

In a post on the Calcutta Mercy website, he said in part: “Huldah will be forever honored for her great love for the underprivileged poor of Calcutta, having dedicated over 65 years of compassionate service so that they can live the life more abundantly.

In Treasures of paradise, Huldah records his first impressions of the Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) region and its people. The calls of those she met were answered by the dedication of her life and ministry in Kolkata and the surrounding areas.

As we made our way through the crowds, children were screaming at our ankles and begging for a coin or a piece of food. So many of them were thin, puny, and deformed. I wanted to take them in my arms. Their eyes stood up like those lofty owls, looking at me like I was a majestic goddess here to deliver them from the cruelties of their world. Tears came to my eyes, thinking that some of the children who had touched me would soon be a lifeless bag of bones.

On the way home from the mission, Dan described some of the sights we passed in his jeep, but I wasn’t particularly listening. The cries of the children we had left on the platform still echoed in my ears. I felt like a tyrannical Empress who had looked up in response to the ubiquitous pleas.

That day, Buntain noted that she felt like “a tyrannical Empress,” but due to her commitment, ministry, and compassionate response, thousands of people now call her Aunt Huldah.

Huldah’s life laid the foundation for present and future generations.

Huldah’s early years were spent in Japan, where her parents were among the first Assemblies of God missionaries to the nation. His father later brought their family back to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he began to lead a church. There, Huldah met Daniel Mark Buntain, and they married 18 months later.

Until Mark’s death in 1989, the Buntains ran a large church that planted over 70 other churches and places of worship in and around Kolkata. Together, they produced radio shows, oversaw a printing press, helped thousands of people through daily feeding programs, and created a home for the needy and the elderly.

Education was an important issue for the Buntains, resulting in the construction of Christian schools, a vocational school, a teacher training college, and a 167-bed hospital with a nursing school. In addition to this, the Buntains were also instrumental in launching the Kolkata Teen Challenge, a Christian education program through distance and in several Bible schools.

Although Huldah rose to glory, his legacy of compassion endures, having left a noticeable imprint on many continents, both inside and outside the Assemblies of God.

After Mark’s death, Huldah became the senior pastor of the church and president of the ministry. His vision was to make Mark’s dreams for Kolkata and projects in the region come true. Under his supervision, the ministry has grown to more than 700 churches, hundreds of schools, children’s homes and nutrition programs. The hospital has served over 2.2 million patients, 40% of whom are charitable care.

“We cannot change the whole world,. . . but we can change someone’s world, ”reads a powerful quote attributed to Huldah on the Calcutta Mercy website.

Huldah Buntain, whose desire was simply to gather the children in her arms, now finds herself in the arms of Jesus. In his honor and to the glory of God, Mark Buntain’s eulogy may be repeated; “The triumphs and trials of the past are only preludes to a greater and more glorious future. The love of Jesus that Reverend (Dr.) Buntain proclaimed, practiced and demonstrated remains unchanged and will continue for years to come.

Huldah is survived by her two daughters and their husbands, three grandsons and their wives, and four great-grandchildren, all of whom actively contribute to the legacy she left.

The family ask friends of Huldah to visit for more information on how to honor the life of a woman who has touched so many. Over the coming week, communications regarding his funeral service, memorial services and other important announcements will be posted there.

Taken from Buntain, Huldah. 1989. Treasures from heaven. New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House. Page 105. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


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