Eulogies- Faith (in progress)
Jenny and I were talking how it was a privilege to have known Dr. David Yue. We realized that there are many friends and people we get along with, people we love, people we care about, but honestly, only a handful that we are graced with the privilege to know. What embodies greatness that we are genuinely attracted to and look forward to spending time with? I guess the easiest way to reflect on this question is to ask ourselves – who do we spend time with that we absolutely don’t deserve their time, where we receive from them more than we can ever give? As I sat at the memorial service for David and listened to deep heartfelt stories shared by a wide range of people of their experiences with Dr. Yue, I think back at my times shared with David. Jenny and I used to joke that it took me a long 8 years to finish my PhD training and how I dragged the lab’s average graduation time down. Oh what little perspective! What I would give to spend more time in the lab with David, sharing and praying, laughing and hopefully looking for an expectant God in our lives. To reflect back on the 10 years in the lab and 12 years of knowing David, probably combined for more hours compared to the hours I have spent with my own dad. I had a privilege to spend a lifetime with David and treasure these moments with him during the most formative period of my life. His life modeled what I imagine as a truly faithful man of God. Rarely wasting the precious time God has given us on this earth in things that would not last, but intentional in spending time discovering the mysteries of God in science and in scripture. In his free time, he was disciplined, but yet playful - enjoying the small pleasures of delicious food, celebrating the little victories in life and laughing with people. More importantly, his love for God permeated in all that he did. Maybe what defines him as a great man is actually a portrayal of a Godly man and how he drew unmeasurable strength from this love of God to do all that he did. Perhaps that is why he always dropped small references and imagery of the bible in his lectures and meetings. It was also obvious that he loved his family, never missing the opportunity to share about this in all his public talks and lectures. To everyone else, he deeply cared about those who God entrusted to him. I know for myself, he helped me navigate through tough times with my family and my heartbreak with Jenny. He was patient in deepening my character and a delight to celebrate the victories with. It is evident to all that was around him, how full of life he lived - with little regrets and peace of the heart and mind. Maybe he took to heart, the wisdom of the Moses and David who said, “…how fleeting my life is” and to “Teach us to number our days…” Perhaps that is how he was able to be attuned to God’s hand in his life and impact so many around him, even if it were for a little while.
The Thursday before he entered into heaven, I vividly remember the brief conversation we had in the hallways of Ross 7th floor. We laughed and shared about life - how he was proud of Jonathan getting into Wash U, how this past year was a miracle from God and how he is so grateful to have been part of such great discoveries in lab. We spoke about the great ministries ahead and the potentials of how God had been using him at Grace Fellowship and Stepping Stone Ministry. Then, in a momentary lapse of judgment on my end, I said we’ll catch up more next week when he has more time and we can sit to pray. I remember leaving that day thinking I should have prayed in the office with him, but left thinking it could be done another day. Perhaps the reason why David liked to finish things before he left for the next was the hidden wisdom that he gleaned from God’s words.
Someone said at the service, “I thought I was David’s closest friend, but I realized today that we all felt the same way.” More than a friend, he was like a father to me. I can only hope to honor David by living a life of faithfulness like he did. I look forward to the day I will meet him in heaven, thanking him behind a long line of people also doing the same of what an Godly impact he has made in our lives. Perhaps what makes it a privilege to know him is the fact that he built up the kingdom of God on this Earth and he did it ‘with excellence.’
My name is Phil Yang, and Im proud to have been trained by David Yue. It has been a privilege and an honor to have him in my life. May David enjoy the splendor unveiled in heaven and laugh with Jesus all eternity.
Philemon Yang, graduated PhD Student, David's Calcium Signals Lab
Johns Hopkins University
Phil and I had the honor of knowing Dr. Yue for over 12 years and during that time grew to love him as a friend, mentor, and brother in Christ. It's rare to meet someone who didn't take any time of the day for granted but lived every minute as if something was to be discovered, explored, or enjoyed. His delight in life was contagious, and he always took the time to share his joy with those around him, whether it wasa scientific discovery, a good story, or a good wine. He indeed lived life to the fullest and impacted so many people during his time with us.
Dr. Yue had a profound impact on Phil’s life. Phil in fact wouldn't be who he is today without Dr. Yue. Dr. Yue didn't just form Phil as a scientist but really as a disciple of Christ. Phil said other than me, Dr. Yue was the most influential person in his life. Phil always talked about Dr. Yue with affection and noted his passion for science, for his family, and for God. During the time that Phil knew him, I saw Phil's growing respect and love for Dr. Yue who became more than a boss and even a mentor to Phil but someone who became like a father figure to him. Phil didn't spend much time with his own father growing up, and that absence grew in Phil a further fondness for Dr. Yue who recognized his gifts, encouraged him to be excellent in the sciences, and eventually nurtured the calling that God had on his life. It was in Dr. Yue's pure love for science that allowed Phil to also dedicate the same time and resources into discovering the truth, and loving the process of discovery. Most of all, Dr. Yue taught Phil how to be a disciple of Christ in every discipline and relationship, and to live a life with the right priorities that were always ordered by God, not by anything else. Dr. Yue helped Phil to grow both in his profession and also as a man whose heart was to seek God. Working as a lab technician and a subsequent 8 years at a doctoral candidate, Phil ended up spending more time with Dr. Yue than his own father. During Phil’s defense, when Phil was thanking Dr. Yue privately for being a great mentor and a father figure, Dr. Yue responded by saying that eventually, they would become more like peers. Dr. Yue didn’t feel like he was in a position of authority over Phil but rather felt that he had as much to learn from Phil as he had to teach him.
In the end, it was more than Dr. Yue’s love for science, but the personality and character of Dr. Yue that we will miss the most. He had a kindness that made you feel instantly at ease. He had a child-like wonder about everything around him. Just by being around him, you couldn't help but also marvel at the things that only he could really appreciate. I looked forward to the times I would see him, because I always felt I learned something new by being around him- he was a natural teacher at heart. Dr. Yue had a knack for seeing, learning and appreciating the ordinary things in life that when explained and taught
hrough his perspective with the joy and passion that he had, made them seem extraordinary. He had a passion for wanting others to see and experience the world the way he did. And he had a gift for teaching that allowed everyone to learn the most difficult, complex topics in a simple, and delightful manner.
The last time I had spent some time with Dr. Yue was at his house during the eagle scout ceremony of his son Jonathan. I remember how Phil and I sat down to eat outside his house, and Dr. Yue could have sat anywhere but he chose to sit down with us. He was just talking about his family and recent happenings in his life while enjoying the barbecue. He would talk to me and Phil about the importance of exercise, and how he and Nancy would do kettle bells late at night or in the mornings as exercise. He seemed so dedicated to physical fitness and it inspired us to get in shape, even into the late/early hours of the day! Later, when we went inside the house, we sat in the living room all together, extending our conversation and talking about his family vacations. He always had a nugget of wisdom to share, or a perspective about life that reminded us to really enjoy life and treasure the things that really matter. He so readily shared the things that he had learned or was learning and we really treasured those moments.
To us, Dr. Yue was the epitome of faithfulness. He was so steadfast in his walk with the Lord, and it was not marked by tiredness or bitterness, which are often the fruits of a long, hard-fought journey, but always by joyfulness, kindness and peace. He saw his intelligence as a gift from God to ultimately point people to a God who was creative. Dr. Yue used to call Phil early in the morning, or even late at night, with an exciting new discovery or something he was really excited to explore further with Phil. Phil would be groggy at times during the conversation, but at the end, he would always be so happy they had talked because Dr. Yue's joy was infectious, his excitement could not be contained. They would have lengthy conversations about a scientific discovery or something new in their research. Even during Phil's PhD defense, when Phil asked if anyone had any questions, Dr. Yue was the only one who raised his hand and asked a question about the research. Everyone was so nervous if Phil pass and present well, and we thought the question would throw him off, but it was just Dr. Yue being himself, being excited and wanting Phil to explain more of his research to those in the room. What was astounding is that every discovery, every nuance of science, Dr. Yue felt such joy because he felt that it drew him closer to God. He probably felt that God was sharing with him a little more of his heart, his creation, his works. He used science to propel him to understand God more, and science was nothing more, and nothing less than a journey to discover more of God. And he brought others on that journey with him, including Phil. Phil would work on presentations and ask me the difference between three diagrams, all of which looked exactly the same to me. But they were all different, usually by 1-2 mm on each side of the diagram, indistinguishable to the human eye. Phil would say how Dr. Yue would tell the difference, which meant that he needed to put in the extra care to make it perfect. The perfection Dr. Yue sought in doing science and presenting science was a reflection of a perfect God. It was through Dr. Yue's excellence that others could begin to think that God was and is ultimately a beautiful Creator in control, deserving to be praised and worshipped. Dr. Yue was an excellent scientist, but he never let his excellence get in the way of his kindness to others.
Ultimately though, the dedication he had to the field of science paled in comparison to the love and passion he had for his family. He always talked about his family, and his love for them exuded in everything from scientific presentations to just casual conversations. I remember the first talk I heard him speak at Stepping Stone Ministry a few years ago, he started off by talking about his "greatest discovery" which was meeting Nancy. His deep affection and love for Nancy never waned but grew with time. He talked about falling in love with Nancy and how he married up. Even though his life would be considered busy by any standard, he told Phil once that he always felt like he was trying to keep up with her. He also shared with Phil how he put a couch in each of his kids room so he could talk with them late at night, which he felt was the time that they were most open to sharing with him. He had just shared with Phil how his youngest son has gotten into Washington University early decision and how proud he was. He would talk about how he would do physics with his son Daniel and how fun it was to do that with him. He was so proud that Michael was a great DJ and how he and Nancy would even go to some night clubs in Baltimore city to see their son spin and dance. He didn't care what his sons did, as long as they did it with excellence and passion.
Dr. Yue was a leader in his family that so evidently embodies the values of Christ. I was moved when Phil told me that he and Nancy would take care of Ivy, giving her a place to stay and food, and just making sure she was OK. It reminded me of Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” To take the time out to take care of someone else so tenderly and sacrificially was touching. I know Dr. Yue and Nancy served in this way not only out of their affection for Ivy but because of their love for Christ, and the work that Christ was doing in their own lives. Phil would also have fond memories of when he would be invited for Thanksgiving dinner at the Yues household in Baltimore (they were instrumental in helping Phil get through the break up!). Dr. Yue would also host Chinese students at their house for dinner, and at the end of every year, he hosted a dinner for the entire lab at a local restaurant. He took time out to enjoy life and celebrate milestones and accomplishments along the way. The Yues generosity and hospitality is evident to all.
One of the important conversations that Phil had in his life was when Phil's parents came to visit when Phil was graduating with his PhD. Phil's mom had cooked a delicious Chinese meal, and during the meal, Phil's dad was talking about how disappointed he was in Phil's decision to pursue ministry instead of science but how he learned to accept the decision. Dr. Yue responded by saying, "It doesn't matter what you choose to do in life, what really matters is that you do whatever you choose with excellence." Phil's dad's face changed and you could tell that that statement really impacted him. It was a perspective that he hadn't thought about before, and that statement could also easily summarize Dr. Yue’s own life.
Dr. Yue had just shared with Phil the week before he passed away that 2014 was a "miraculous" year, hat he was amazed at all the publications and notables in science that his lab received. He had also just taught a 7 week class at his church on creation and God, something it seemed God preparing him to do. He was excited to continue the class and bring others along the journey. The last time I had seen Dr. Yue was at Phil’s ministry licensing ceremony in early December. He had shown up after teaching his last class at Grace Fellowship and was sitting next to Manu. He was probably so tired, but the fact that he showed up even briefly meant so much to us. My brother Charlie was sitting behind Dr. Yue and Manu, and he told us that Dr. Yue was clapping and getting into the music, while elbowing Manu to also worship more excitedly as well. I’m sure that was the disposition Dr. Yue was in when he entered heaven.
We were looking forward in the years ahead to spending more time, and doing more ministry, with Dr. Yue. Although his life was taken from us suddenly, there is no doubt that he could not have had a fuller life. We imagine when David entered into heaven, there was a host of heavenly witnesses, patting him on the back, with God telling him that he was indeed a good and faithful servant. Dr. Yue always found a reason to have joy and celebrate even in the most difficult of times. We are grieving his loss but also celebrating the blessing that we knew him for so many years.
Jenny Yang, wofe to Philemon Yang
I am a devout Christian and coming from a Christian undergraduate university to Johns Hopkins I was nervous about being in a non-Christian environment. In the BME department, I found a number of Christians, but finding a professor that was as passionate about faith as their research proved harder to find. Then I listened to a lecture by David Yue addressing the integration of science and religion. I had always known of Dr. Yue as the infectiously passionate calcium channel researcher in the department, but it wasn't until that day that I realized how much more passionate he was about his faith. That day David Yue gave me a much needed dose of encouragement through simply sharing about what he loved--science, his family, and Christ. I will always remember Dr. Yue for his genuine interest in others, his passion for science, and his love for Christ. I only knew him a few years, but in that time he became one of my role models and I will spend the rest of my days striving to be that sincere and passionate in all that I do.
JHU BME PhD Candidate
I don't recall grieving this way since my dad beat us to heaven...I didn't realize how much the Yues are truly family...still in utmost shock, deep agony and a profound sense of loss of David, a dear brother, true faithful friend, leader & shepherd. I have yet to find a man with David's responsibilities who faithfully with his amazing Nancy have been opening their hearts and home weekly leading Bible study in sweet fellowship for more than 2 decades...
I know that Nancy, Michael, Daniel and JonJon are confident in reuniting with David in heaven as we will enjoy the overwhelming glory of God for ever...
Baltimore , MD
Thanks dear Maha for sharing the touching words about David. It is so hard to remember David just through words! A man full of trust, faith, believe and joy of life, leaving it in trust of reuniting with his father. Still is hard to believe the Saturday night group study will not see David anymore...!!
He will be remembered for all his dedication, hard working, friendship, leadership and the most pure humanity!
I wish the peace for David's spirit and the Yue family.
Your soul is now so perfectly present in the house where your room was prepared so perfectly for you by the Lord of all souls and the Savior of mankind.
This self evident sacred truth is what provides each of us the reassurance and profound contentment with today's earthly circumstances that would
otherwise be a loss so great that we might question our own existence. The heights at which you soared and the glowing brightness of your star was
such an inspiration to so many that we are left with a treasure chest of memories and a trillion reasons to make our own attempts at flight.
You loved the Lord and served the Lord with every fiber of your existence and used and achieved with every tiny gift that you were given,which then
were honed into a collection of enormous gifts for all of us that were swept along on the tsunami that was David Yue's life.
Thank you David for your kindness,your amazing humility,your willingness to share,your persistence and work ethic that created so many opportunities
for so many lives,and most of all your faith,proof of faith, and your humble joyous passionate pursuit of sharing our Lord's story with any and all.
As a lifetime salesman I've met thousands and thousands of people and I want to proclaim today that you provided the grandest living example of
"Reasons to Believe" Jesus that I and anyone could possibly hope to encounter in a lifetime of encounters.
Thank you my dear friend.....I Love You!!
Words cannot express my deep deep sorrow over the passing of my dear brother in the Lord, David. David was a warrior for the Lord as was King David, a mighty man of valor.
How can one summarize the life of a man in a few sentences who has had so many accomplishments professionally, but yet, whose greatest triumph was his Lord.
I am honored to have known David and to have had the privilege to sit under his teaching of the Word of God as a part of the house church family.
May David's zest for life and zeal for his Lord continue to infect our hearts and mind until we see Jesus. I love you David and miss you my friend.
In Him forever