Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wonderful Experience at Mononod, Sandakan, Sabah

This is one of the rare opportunities to minister among the BM congregations of Sabah Methodist Church. I serve at Sarawak Methodist Churches and ministered to Chinese and BM congregations here. Sabah and Sarawak Methodist Churches are connected because of her strong history of church planting. I felt very privileged to be invited to be their annual retreat theme speaker last end of May, for 3 days. Their theme was very Wesleyan, a theme I love. It was ‘Love God and Man with all your heart, mind and soul’ as commanded by Jesus. The key passage I used to expound on the theme was Deutronomy 6:1-9. It allowed me to touch on both the spiritual and social aspects in Malay language (BM).

As I grasped my once in my life time opportunity, I ate, fellowshiped, preached, prayed and ministered with them, I was all the time encouraged and inspired by the progress of BM ministry of Sabah Methodist Churches in the last ten years plus of great development. Praise the Lord they began the challenging ministry. I would like to take this opportunity to express my convictions for them.

First and foremost, I am so encouraged by the BM pastors. Under the leadership of Rev Cecilia, the BM district superintendant, and the strong support from the Chinese congregations and pastors, they are progressing. Yes, they went through all the struggles and challenges, but they persevere. Each of the BM pastors, the young and experienced ones, they seem to know what they are doing. They related well with me. They answered all my questions confidently, honestly and sincerely. I experienced deep fellowship with pastors of the indigenous people. I did not know them well but they were willing to open up. This enhanced our fellowship very much. I just felt the Sabah Methodist churches are in good hands. I took all their individual pastor photos and telefon contacts. I pledged to pray for them and their congregations as they reminded me in their sharing. I am keeping my promise.

Secondly, I sensed that all their BM congregations which made up of different groups were keen to grow spiritually. There is hunger in their life to learn God’s word and be committed to Jesus. They made me feel that Jesus is important in their lives. This I can see through their prayers before meals, their willingness to learn God’s word by turning to the bible when I asked them to read it. They believed in the power of prayers. One or two persons grasped the opportunity to request me to minister and pray for them.

Thirdly, the 178 children, youths and adults did not celebrate the Hari Kamaatan (Harvest Event) in the traditional way but they chose to spend few days in church retreat in a big group like this at Mononod. They came from all over Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Keningau, Tawau and a few other small places to gather and fellowship to learn about God’s word, and participated in interchurch sports. I believe this is a good way to do contextualization. Not that they do not celebrate Hari Kamatan, they do it differently, Christian way. I am so encouraged to see families who showed up. All the churches had tried their best to show up and this enhanced their relationship and great fellowship with one another. Their fellowship with one another is so precious and it is a great testimony of the work of the Holy Spirit. I am so encouraged to see them relating with one another without difficulty, though they come from different tribes (about 12 of them). They include Rungkus, Lundayah, Iban, Sg Tombonuao, Sg Kinabatangan Tampasak, Kadazan, Dusun, Murut, Toraja, Timor, Manado, Bisaya, and Sg Romaneu. Their many cultural dances reflected their rich heritage and identity. I can see that they are proud of their traditional costumes, and dances. Behind all these rich cultural heritage, I am most encouraged by our common Christian identity. We may be speaking different languages and dialects but we are united by Christ. The use of BM as a common language also enhances our communication. I reminded them that it is Christ who brought us together.

Fourthly, many top leaders from Sabah Methodist churches attended the tenth anniversary of Mononod Methodist Church is an evidence of their great support for BM ministry. Their new president, Rev Dr Hii, district superientendants, church leaders and members from chinese churches throughout Sabah came. The president was able to preach in his excellent BM. This futher enhances the relationship with the indigenous people. One chinese church even donated a brand new church van for one new BM congregation. The sharing of resources is an excelent way to make disciples among the BM speaking indigenous people. I can forsee that this willingness will result in many more indigenous people of Sabah turning to Christ. I am sure Jesus is very please about this.

I pray that Jesus binds the Chinese and BM congregations of Sabah Methodist churches with His love. All the meetings and fellowships at different levels, from top to bottom will result in a lot of disciple making. That is seeing both the Chinese and indigenous people of Sabah growing to become strong disciples of Jesus.

Prayer points:

1. Jesus continues to raise more BM pastors to shepherd the BM congregations.

2. The cooperation, the fellowship and sharing of resources between the Chinese and indigenous people will continue.

3. Pray that every BM church in Sabah Methodist will produce powerful disciples of Jesus.

A Faithful Disciple of Jesus,

Pastor Law Hui Seng

(30th June, 2013; Miri)

Posted By Teresa Han