Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am very proud to introduce to you a disciple of Jesus as my weekly reflection. He is simply extraordinary. I should know him earlier and serve with him earlier. Please get to know this brother and be encouraged by him and inspired by him like I do.

Joseph Tan
I came to know him a few years ago at Miri District Methodist Badminton Competition. He attracted my attention when he cheered for Grace Methodist Church’s team. He was our opposing team. Then, we met again at Soon Hup National Service Camp for Form 5 leavers when I preached. On the way there and came back, we joked and we became good friends in Christ. This is brother who loves his wife who is Mandarin speaking. He is very much English speaking but he sacrificed for his wife (who is very committed to serve at Yi En Methodist). He tried his best to serve there. He is willing to be equipped to serve and he even came to attend GMC leadership training. He told me his desire to do mission.

Board of Evangelism of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference started to make disciples of the Penans at Ulu Belaga in 2009. Last year, I invited him to come along. We did a mission survey at Long Malim. It was about 10 hours of long drive from Miri, making up 6 hours long dangerous journey on timber roads. We responded to go because the Penans there told our teacher missionaries (5 at Ulu Belaga Shin Yang built Penan long houses) to go there to teach their children. I lead the team and brother Joseph was one of the team members.

During the trip to several Penan long houses, I was encouraged by his service to the Penan children. He simply loved the Penan like I did. He sang and played with them. He taught them alphabets and numbers. He cut their finger nails and washed their hair. He spoke Bahasa Malaysia with them. He surveyed Long Malim Penan long houses with me. He was touched by their needs for the gospel and education. The Penans were semi-Christians as lots of them (adults) claimed to be Christians but they were not baptized. They welcome us back to teach their children and adults the word of God.

I believe Brother Joseph heard the heart cry of the Long Malim Penans. There are about 100 of them there but they are isolated from the nearest school and timber camps. They built their own simple long houses and live on rice. Brother Joseph told me he desired to go back to that long house again in 2010. I remembered his promise. I believe he prayed much about it and he successfully mobilized Yi En Methodist to do it.

In fact, after that mission survey we served together in reaching out to a rural school and we met for coffee to talk about future mission. He called me out to talk about it. I also helped him to link with others in mission to the Penans. We really became good friends in Christ because of mission.

Just now, he called me to update me on Yi En Methodist Church mission! That call encouraged me to write this weekly reflection! As he updated me with his church 3 monthly mission trip to Long Malim, I was so touched by his excitement to do mission. He shared with me that he even mobilized his wife and only young daughter to go there. His commitment is serious and not lukewarm. He is not entertaining me. He caught the vision of Jesus. It was very tough to mobilize church members to go but he has done it 2 to 3 times. He said that they had gone there 2 times this year and they will go again September and December. He knew the urgency as that area will be flooded soon and the Penans need to move away.

God used Brother Joseph to stir Yi En Methodist brothers and sisters to do local mission. He was so encouraged by God’s healing upon a Penan who was down with malaria disease in the last mission trip which happened a few days ago. The Penan was weak and lied on bed and requested for prayer. He assured him of Jesus healing and the Penan was able to join their meeting the next day. I believe Jesus used their hands to heal the sick Penan. He called me just now to share with me the presence of God with them. I can understand how God uses him to mobilize Yi En church members to do mission.

On top of all these, Brother Joseph shared with great excitement that the Penans there even built the toilet using the material provided by them. Eventually, the Penans even built a ‘bungalow’ for the mission team to go back and stay there. You see how the Penans love mission team to go back there!

May Brother Joseph Tan’s good example encourage us to make disciples of the indigenous people of Sarawak.

A Faithful disciple of Jesus,
Pastor Law Hui Seng
(10th June, 2011, Miri)

Posted by Teresa Han

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters,

Praise the Lord I had a chance to preach at Grace Methodist Church (which I pastor for 9 years) after 5 months plus of theological studies. I felt I had something important to offer them. I was able to emphasize to them the social aspect of salvation. Highlighting especially on the great need to reach to the poor not only in terms of spiritual salvation but also very much on salvation from poverty. I was encouraged to hear 5 persons complementing me for my sermon.

My wife, Julia Chin, is testifying for Jesus.

In this reflection I want to do something that normally a pastor or a theological student does not do. I just want to testify how Jesus used my wife to serve me and 4 children and a lot of people, especially church members.

We are married now for 17 years, by today. My children (Grace – 16; Tobias & Elliot – 12; Mercy -11) are growing fine. One used to be a dyslexic but after receiving 3 months of special learning at Kuching Dyslexia Association, he is now doing quite well in his studies.

My wife’s 4 years of theological studies at Trinity Theological College at Singapore were sponsored by 7 faithful brothers and sisters. She obtained her Bachelor of Divinity in Mandarin. We got married immediately after graduation in May, 1994. After marriage, we decided for her to give priority to family and serve the churches with me and helping me in whatever way she could. We decided she should not be employed as a pastor. She should concentrate on the family.

We had our first child, Grace, in 1995 (Bintulu); the twin boys were born in 1999 (Kuching) and the youngest Mercy in 2000 (Kuching). When we were in Bintulu, before her pregnancy for the first 5 months after our graduation, she would follow me to visit church members both in Bintulu Taman Li Hua Preaching Point and Batu Niah Preaching Point. The 2 churches are about one and half hour apart by bus. She helped out in the children ministry on the ad-hoc basis. She was also my driver in the first 5 months as I had not obtained my car driving license. That was the second half of 1994. Right from the beginning I saw that she was gifted to serve children. She loves children. Praise the Lord He bless us with 4 children.

In 1995, though she was pregnant, occasionally, she still followed me to Tatau Preaching Centre from Emannuel Methodist Church (Bintulu), an English speaking church. By car, the 2 churches were about one hour apart. At Tatau, during weekend, she helped out the Mandarin youth fellowship and children ministry on ad-hoc basis. Especially in Tatau, she also brought along Grace in pastoral visitation with church members. There were only about 70 adults, youths and children. It was a small town and it was easy for her to join us. It was a small congregation and she remembered most of the church members. This went on until end of 1997. Then, in 1998 we were posted to Chin Daw Methodist Church (Mandarin) and Faith Methodist Church (English).

For the first year in Kuching, she still continued to follow me in visitation occasionally with Chin Daw church members. She also served in the women’s fellowship. In 1999, we were posted to Faith Methodist Church and Lundu Preaching Centre. She was pregnant with the twin boys. Despite being pregnant, she pioneered to start the Mandarin congregation children Sunday School with a few sisters. She was one of the Sunday School teaches till we left Kuching by the end of 2001. I observed that she served happily in the Sunday School with other teachers. She was always excited and keen to nurture the children. She always tried to prepare her lessons well in the midst of being a mother and a wife. Having 3 children, by 2001, a few church members helped to secure an Indonesian maid for us. This helped her to serve in the Sunday School.

1999 to 2001, I had to juggle between Kuching and Lundu, about 2 hours of church van drive during weekend. She had no objection to my 3 years of regular weekly traveling. She was very supportive of my ministry. She prayed for me and served me, taking very good care of 3 children and the fourth one coming by the end of year 2000. In the year 2000, Grace entered kindergarten, she also taught her in studies.

2002 to 2010, we posted to Grace Methodist Church (Miri). A few church members again helped us to secure an Indonesian maid for 4 years. She could be released to serve especially in the Girls’ Brigade. She helped to pioneer the 4th Miri. This year is her 10th year in GB. For the past 9 years 5 months she was dedicated to serve the girls and children. She spent time to work out craftwork for the girls. She is concerned about the character development of the girls. She works closely with their parents. She is sensitive to the needs of the girls. Since last year she served with a few church members and Pujut Primary Schools teachers, some 100 girls at the school on Wednesday. I am very encouraged by her dedication to do this extra work. I was ( and also the church) praying for more sisters to come forward but very few came forward. In the end we see answered prayer in the form of teachers from the school. Anyway, my wife’s willingness to do it somehow helped to start the GB ministry in the school. How can I say she is not testifying for Jesus?

For the past 17 years, my wife did all the 3 meals for me and the 4 children without complaint. She was never tired of marketing and shopping for goods. She managed all my money and our family spending. She spent within our limits and save whenever she can. That explained why we could buy a house in Miri. She supported me in counseling church members. She encouraged me to serve fervently and passionately by taking very good care of 4 children and not let me worry about them. She interceded for me. She defended for me when I faced unfair criticism. There was one time, when I was suddenly taken ill, she even took over the pulpit on Sunday both in Chin Daw and Faith. Then, another time I fell very ill, she preached in Grace.

In the last 5 months she did a fantastic job by taking of the 4 children without my presence. As we decided not to study at STS with our family, she has to bear all the burden on her own! I could only pray everyday for her and 4 children and give her some encouragement through telephone everyday. From Monday to Friday, everyday, she is on the road for more than 2 hours, sending the 4 children to school and tuition centers. On top of all these, she has to cope with children nagging and disobedience. I could imagine the pressure and stress she faced in the past 5 months without me. This is one very important reason why I write this appreciation. I want to really appreciate her from the bottom of my heart. I also get my children to appreciate her.

May be I must also share with you that she has to bear the challenge of her heart. She is born with heart valve leakage. Heart specialist rated seriousness of her condition as between moderate and severe, though she has not reached a stage where she needs to be operated. She tends to get tired more easily than others. I sometimes treat her as a normal person and put her to more work and I do not realize it. God has mercy on me. She is bearing all the pressure and stress and serve me and the 4 children and the church children.

I am very proud of my wife, Julia Chin, whose life makes such a big difference for Jesus. I pray that Jesus will heal her heart valve leakage so that she does not need to go through all the risks of operation.

Husband of Julia Chin,
Law Hui Seng
(29th May, 2011, Miri)

Posted by Teresa Han