Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Daniel Tan Sien-Kie Hadinata March 10, 1916 - Sept. 9, 2012 Second Father to Indonesian Students

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Daniel Tan Sien-Kie Hadinata March 10, 1916 - Sept. 9, 2012 Second Father to Indonesian Students

Article excerpt

Daniel Tan Sien-Kie Hadinata, an Indonesian orphan who founded an important church in his homeland and became a second father to Indonesian students in Pittsburgh, died Sunday in Mt. Lebanon. He was 96.

"He was a quiet leader, very steady, very strong spiritually, a true man of God," said his pastor, the Rev. Jack Stepp, of South Hills Assembly in Bethel Park.

Mr. Hadinata was orphaned at 11 and soon began selling coffee on the streets of Semarang, capital of the island of Java, to support his younger siblings.

"He had a very hard life," said his daughter Dewi Wong of Squirrel Hill.

Indonesia is overwhelmingly Muslim, but as a young man he was exposed to Christianity through a missionary who ultimately became his mentor.

"He heard this missionary say that God was his father, who loved him. And Daniel, who didn't have a father, wanted one. He accepted Jesus as his savior," said the Rev. Kay Stepp, also on the staff of South Hills Assembly.

He fell in love with a Buddhist girl whose father wouldn't allow him to try to convert her. They were to have been married in 1942. But when Pearl Harbor was bombed her mother knew a Japanese invasion was imminent and urged them to marry immediately and flee the city. They married the next day.

After 70 years of marriage, he and Elisabeth were still visibly in love, Ms. Wong said.

"They are so faithful and so cute. They hold hands. They went everywhere together," she said.

His wife would convert -- along with her entire family -- after they attributed the healing of both of her parents to his Christian prayers, Ms. Wong said.

During the Japanese occupation many children were orphaned.

"My father would teach them to write and to read. My mother would gather the girls to learn dressmaking. Those things were important for survival," Ms. Wong said. "My father always helped other people because he himself had been in a difficult situation."

He had a talent for jewelry design and found work with goldsmiths, becoming a diamond cutter. …

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