By Carol Tang
Nine months after our first CG outing to Sarawak, a group of 7 touched base again at Kg Jagoi Duyoh, Bau. The long holidays of Hari Raya Aidilfitri (22-25 April 2023) provided the ideal time for a Family Day for this Bidayuh church, the first time in 15 years.
The objectives were to deepen fellowship and share an evangelistic message with the community. The target participants were 30 church members and their unchurched friends. A mini worship and message were planned together with outdoor games for young and old. Thirty kg of chicken wings were marinated for a memorable barbecue while church members were told to bring along some food.
The family day held in Serembu Eco Park, Siniawan, broke through all expectations. Ninety-six people (30 children, 49 adults and 17 teenagers) showed up. Food was more than sufficient, with lots of leftovers to take home, very much like the 12 baskets of leftovers (John 6:13).
Ken proclaimed an evangelistic message while Hellen led in fun ice-breakers. Mathew and Elaine held the fort with superb games of musical chairs, Chinese Whisper and walking with balloons. Prizes of handbags and colourful toys delighted the winners. Everyone excitedly received a door gift of Ong May Ling’s hand-made macrame tags. The rest of us went fishing during the “sembang-sembang” session, and caught 3 fishes.
Elaine and Hellen later joined the kids for a fun splashing, thrashing, exhilarating time in the swimming pool. The event was hugely successful, and a little smiling child expressed it best when he exclaimed to Hellen, with a thumbs up, “Ini BEST!”
Two days before, the sky had signalled to us God’s divine delight over the people and the program. We were standing and praying over the 6-acre land that had been cleared of 700 palm trees and dedicated for Kingdom work. The clouds glowed a fiery golden red and we couldn’t resist pointing our fingers upwards towards this beautiful sign, in a smartphone moment.
Later in the night at 3am, a heavy downpour reverberated throughout the roof of Adan Villa. Ken confirmed that it was very unusual, as the region had been experiencing a dry spell, as evidenced by the cracks on the arid land that we had traversed some eight hours earlier. A third sign in the form of a short slight drizzle was enough to convince the park manager to grant usage of the café area, which was 3 times bigger than the original platform on which a wet tent was still drying out. Heaven thus conspired with us to have an amazing time of fellowship and fun on this inaugural Family Day.
Yup. Nine months have passed since we first touched down in this Bidayuh community. During these nine months of partnership with Ken and Hellen, something had birthed and broken through. The two pastors have been able to get a small salary and started home visitation. We were also invited by Libei (a widow with 4 children and 4 grandsons) to visit her home and to bless it and its inhabitants. Such is the hunger for God’s blessings. A discipleship class for young mothers has started. Young men have been reached. Friday corporate prayer has been initiated. The church building has been extended. The Sunday School can now run in tandem with the main Sunday service.
I had the opportunity to take on a Sunday school class, ably assisted by Jasmie Louis and Elaine. The lesson was on the 5 loaves and 2 fishes, a meal offered by a little boy to Jesus who multiplied them to feed a crowd of 5000 men. A miraculous act by a compassionate God. Inilah mujizat! We finished the lesson by teaching them how to fold origami fish. Fifteen of their fishes were then displayed on the wall. All this was done in Bahasa Malaysia! Yippee! Without need for translation! Yay!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, Lily eloquently read (Lukas 15:11-32) for the very first time in Bahasa Malaysia. Lai Yuen expounded on the Father’s love while Hellen interpreted. All 7 of us Peninsular Christians presented our anthem Yesus Kekasih Jiwaku, once again, ably accompanied by guitar virtuoso, Kenneth.
The progress in partnership has been tangible but more can be done. Pastor Nalim would like to have a ukelele to accompany her melodious singing and worship. The youths would like to learn guitar and Ken would love to have a slide projector to project new songs. Their song books are ancient and worn out. There are youngsters who are willing to serve in the AV department but the equipment is not yet there.
It was touching to hear Ken testify that he felt the weight of a ton lifted from his shoulders when he knew that we were coming to help in ministry. Hellen was equally touched and puzzled why we would love her kampung people enough to come a second time. Elaine, the youngest and most energetic among us, found the answer to her prayer, “Lord, show me that you are real”, when she encountered Him in the authentic, heartfelt worship that Sunday morning in the simple village church.
Indeed God is real. Mathew asked a young man, “Bagaimana you tahu ada Tuhan?” He wisely replied, “Tengok lah pokok-pokok dan haiwan” DUH! If anyone takes time to contemplate nature, he will marvel at its Creator.
Five loaves and 2 fishes may not be many but in the hands of the Lord, they can be multiplied with leftovers to take back.
Finally, thank you to all those who were praying for us for this outreach program. Without your spiritual reinforcement, the outcome would be different.
SEGALA PUJI SYUKUR KEPADA YESUS, KEKASIH JIWA KU.
🙌 Thank the Lord for the faithful hands and feet that work relentlessly in the harvest field.
🤝 If you have any inquiries or keen to partner financially with the church in Bau to buy ukulele, guitars, slide projector, song books, and AV equipments, kindly contact Lily Lee here.