Friday, December 27, 2013
Dear faithful disciples of Jesus, Let us be disciples of Jesus when we are on earth. In future, when we see Him in person we will have a lot to share with Him how we obey Him on earth. Of course He knows our every move on earth as He is right inside us. I had great encounters with Him in this year’s posting for my ministry and family. Please do not misunderstand my writings below as I am not writing to complain. And Jesus knows I am not complaining. I am writing to share with you how I had communion with Jesus in my posting to Sibu. I obey Jesus in this posting. Before Posting
Praise the Lord for a great fruitful year of Sabbatical this year. Right from the beginning of the year I sought Jesus about my next posting. This year, though it is my Sabbatical, I travelled quite a bit to Sibu, Bintulu, Marudi, Limbang, Kuching, Penang and even Kota Kinabalu to preach, give trainings on reaching out to the indigenous people, and attend seminars. I asked Jesus about how He was going to use me.
I honestly told Jesus I was enjoying my ministry in Miri , at the district and Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) Board of Evangelism levels. I was always welcomed in every Methodist church here in Miri. For the past few years because I travelled around to preach the word of God like John Wesley in Miri, I even self-titled myself John Wesley of Miri. (A few very close fellow pastors called me by this self-titled name to make fun of me. I called myself as such because I love John Wesley approach of travelling around, preaching the gospel and making disciples, really making a difference for Jesus) Miri Methodist brothers and sisters love me and my family very much; and treated us very well. We enjoyed serving Jesus and making disciples with them. I did entertain the thought of being posted elsewhere in Sarawak but my family will not move with me. (After my posting, almost everybody assumed that my family is not following me to Sibu. I found out that it was because they thought I had purchased my house in Miri and my family should live in permanently. In fact, when we purchased the house, we told Jesus that we were still willing to move around as posted as family according to the itinerant system. It is a powerful strategy of connectionalism in Methodism. Furthermore, living apart from my family is not healthy and not pleasing to Jesus) I will travel regularly to come back home to see them. Nowadays, so many people are doing it.
I feel so good about living in my own house which we purchased more than 3 years ago. Every time, when it rained, I thanked God for this provision of a house and a home. Our whole family feels so comfortable with this house. We did not have this wonderful feeling when we stayed in parsonages for the 17 years in ministry before I left for further studies. I appreciate every corner and inch we have in the house. As for the parsonages, we always thank God for all the provision of facility but we just had a feeling that we would live there temporarily. When we moved into this newly purchased house, we felt so good that we hoped we would not move away anymore. Of course we also feel the presence of Jesus in the house with house. It is through His provision that we were able to buy the house. We told people we would probably retire and live in this house when I retire at the age of 65 (I am now 47).
My children are so used to their school and started to get involved in the ISCF. They built up good friendships and loved to be with these familiar faces and close friends. I could feel their friendship was bearing fruit and they were becoming more and more involved with their friends. They like Miri very much because of the friendship. One child even prayed to Jesus 10 times a day sometime before the end of November SCAC posting, to remain behind in Miri. He even asked me to pray the same prayer. I had to tell him, we need to obey Jesus wherever He called us to serve. I said He could go ahead and prayed the way he did but in the end we need to obey Jesus. I also prepared him and the family by telling them the possibility of moving away was high! Lots of people asked us to stay back also. I also told them the same thing.
I hope you can imagine with me the good treatment, feeling so at home, being so welcomed, loved and acceptance, great comfort, familiar environment, people, ministry, and the great fellowship that we enjoyed. I think there is nothing seriously wrong with all these. Jesus understands me when I say this. He understands I am always pursuing Him even in comfortable environment, luxurious treatment and loving community life. We could still stay around to make things and people better in the name of Jesus. My wife could still go back to do Girls’ Brigade ministry and bless the sisters in ladies group. Why do we want to leave such a friendly, familiar environment and community?
I told Jesus about all these above things. At the same time, I also told Jesus I was prepared to follow Him and pay the price to do it. Given a choice, my wife and children all would choose to stay back. I tried to entertain this thought as it was so natural and logical to choose the familiarity and comfort. As I had more and more serious communion with Jesus in my private dialogue with Him, in my private prayer and devotion time, I told Jesus about the tensions and struggles I had in my heart. I really tried to justify staying back. All the above reasons were rehearsed in my mind and heart. Jesus knew it.
On the other hand, there was this constant thought and voice in my heart and mind to tell me to follow and obey Jesus; and I would not go wrong. I would not regret. Obedience to Jesus was at stake. At the end of the day, not my will be done but Jesus’ will be done. I have often taught and challenge my fellow disciples of Jesus to obey Him and not do our own will. Could I do it in this posting?
As I sought Jesus, I got a very clear answer from Him about the posting. I heard Him through the still small voice in my heart that said, “Move out of your comfort zone.” When I heard it I knew I was going to leave Miri. I dare not write about this until now as I had to wait until the posting was over to testify if it was Jesus telling me. Now, it has become a reality, I can write this testimony. Even then, as a result of my communion with Jesus, I told people at that time my chance of moving away was very high. I based my answer on the communion with Jesus.
One brother quoted another sister saying that I would definitely stay back in Miri. Later on I asked her about it, she said that she actually prayed for me to stay back in Miri. However, she accepted the posting with great obedience. I have to confess I laughed and laughed because he was so certain about it! I hope I did not offend him for that laugh. I could afford to laugh like that because we are so close and I believe he is matured enough to take my laugh. I actually shared with him about my request to minister a BM congregation and at the same time teaching one BM subject in Sibu Methodist Theological School. My objective is to train more theological students to develop a burden and vision for the indigenous people of Sarawak; and become Bahasa Malaysia speaking pastors. If Jesus were to grant me my wish, then, I would be posted back to Sibu. I used the word ‘back’ because I grew up in Sibu.
A few brothers and sisters really expressed their wish that we stay back in Miri. Tudan indigenous brothers and sisters also expressed their wish. I told them I did not mind if SCAC posted me there. A Kuching sister said she prayed for me to serve there. I reminded her about what Jesus wanted for me. I confessed to her and all others who asked me about the posting, I said I had my preference and priority but I would obey Jesus by just following the decision of SCAC Board of Appointment posting. If they did not give me what I preferred, I would take it also. I have this mentality because I believe in following Jesus I need to be prepared to pay a price.
The SCAC Board of Evangelism recommended me to be a full time director in its October meeting. This was my second choice. I told many people about it. If they thought this was the best way to use me, I obeyed.
I believe I have prepared well for my posting in terms of accepting the leadership decision. I had done my homework in prayers and obedience. I had also prepared my family well. When they heard the news, my wife especially did not take it by surprise. She took it calmly. In fact, she sort of expected that we would move away.
I was posted to a mandarin speaking church and doing part time in the Board of Evangelism. It is not my preference, and my priority. However, I took it calmly. I had always wanted to obey Jesus and pay a price to serve Him. I humbly accepted the posting. As I reflected about the posting I even told my wife there must be something that Jesus wanted us to do at En Tao Methodist Church. He has arranged great things for my family there. We need to go there and see what Jesus has installed for us there. My wife said she would expect me to be busy there.
My children also took the posting calmly as they more or less expected it. They did not like it but they learnt to take it. I jokingly told them that they would learn Foochow dialect in Sibu and that was their mission.
We also have to cope with the stress of packing about 80 boxes of belongings. My whole family is so happy that we are going to stay at parsonage and we can bring along our faithful dog, Liotcy. We have always loved him and he loves us. He is very faithful in looking after our house and he is such a play dog to us. He barks aggressively and fiercely. I even have to trouble my brother to drive over from Sibu in order to transport the dog to Sibu.
On the night of 28th November, after the posting, En Tao Methodist Church lay leader, his wife and the outgoing pastor Rev Yong were there to greet me. I could feel the excitement of the couple as we shook hand. I was no stranger to them and vice-versa. We talked very briefly about the ministry there and we ended with a prayer at about 11.15pm. I went to sleep peacefully as I learn to obey Jesus.
Comparing this posting of moving away from a place to the previous postings of moving from Bintulu and Kuching, I found that I was much well prepared as I had the whole year to do so. The previous two postings were not totally prepared as I was not at all prepared to move. I was also not given any hint that I would be posted away. However, in those two encounters, we still gladly obeyed Jesus. As we looked back, we saw how the plans of Jesus unfolded in our life after we had gone through the motion in Kuching and Miri. That is why I strongly believe that Jesus has something great installed for us in Sibu this time.
A few church leaders have already called me to welcome me to go back to Sibu. They have booked me for preaching in their churches. They look forward to working together with me. I thank Jesus for such excitement from these disciples of Jesus. I look forward to building up new relationships with a new congregation, community of pastors, and Sibu community. I thank Jesus for the many new opportunities and challenges which He will bless my family with. We will be trained and molded to be more like Christ in Sibu. He will bless my children with new teachers, classmates, church friends and a completely new learning environment and community.
With all the excitements and forward looking that I have in my mind and heart, I really want to say, “Sibu, I want to embrace you with love.”
A Faithful Disciple of Jesus,
Pastor Law Hui Seng
(25th Dec, 2013, Miri, Christmas)
Posted by Teresa Han
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Today is a day of great evidence of learning from failures. If Grace still did not learn from her 3 previous mistakes, she would fail again today for the fourth time during the car driving test. The car driving test looked so easy to some and yet it was so difficult. For the past one year, she learnt driving a car from a coach. She passed her law test. She passed her driving on the road. Then she failed 3 times consecutively in 45degree slope test. Because of these failures, she could not continue with the 3-point turning and L parking. The failures shook her confidence and it was so devastating to her! She wanted to give up trying. At first, she did not even want to discuss with me what her problem was. Each time she failed, I encouraged her to try again and I also told her I did not mind. The first two times she failed it did not bother me much as I believed she should be able to grasp the skill after more practices on the slope. However, she failed the third time. The third time she went for the test, I even called back from my journey to Ulu Belaga mission early in the morning and said a prayer to ask Jesus to give her confidence and I prayed against fear and failure; and I asked Jesus for success at that time. Yet, she failed. I reconciled with myself and explained that it was not God’s timing for her to drive a car yet. However, deep down in my heart, I felt that I need to do something to help her. I felt like as a father, I need to come in with strong support to make sure that she would pass this time. If not, I was afraid she would fail the fourth time. It could become a blow in her life experience. It was really a great test for her life. She must pass this time so that it could build up her confidence to move on in her life. My wife and I prayed for Jesus to open a way for us to help her. We knew the coach had done his best. Grace kept saying it was the problem of the clutch! The car for the driving test is having too high a clutch and she was not used to it! Yet, we did not have the privilege of training using the exact car for the test. We prayed about it. Praise the Lord for Jesus led us to think of the exact car type that the church owns, the small Kancil with manual clutch. Beside using the coach’s car for the usual practice, we use the church car to do more practices on the slope. This car is also having high clutch which Grace had to get used to. I sat beside her during the extra practices at the Road Transport practicing and exam ground; and observed what was her real problem. I instructed her on the coordination between the clutch, handbrake, brake and petrol paddles, and how much to release and the timing to put down the handbrake and release the clutch. All the previous failures had to do with untimely release of handbrake, insufficient clutch release and releasing the petrol paddle too soon. Rev Wong Kee Sing coached me on the timing to release the clutch on our way back from Ulu Belaga mission survey. I forgot about it. I was confident in coaching my daughter with this simple equipping. During Gace’s extra practices, she actually applied what her coach taught and I just came in to help her to identify the main cause of her 3 failures. We finally concluded that the main cause was the timing to release the high clutch. Her minor problem was not pressing the petrol paddle deep enough. I reinforced on these 2 points and got her to practice extra 5 times (about half an hour each time) before the test today. During the extra practices, I studied with her how soon to release the clutch, and how deep she should press the petrol paddle by using the church car which has a high clutch. Praise the Lord she herself realized the main cause of her failures. My wife also came in to coach her and both of us helped her to identify her real cause of failures. She herself really discovered by herself the cause of her failure. This identification actually ensured her to do the right correction. I believe if she had not discovered her own cause of failure and learnt from there, she would still fail the fourth time. After the third failure, I kept reminding her to trust Jesus to help her to pass this crucial life test. I said we need to pray and ask Jesus to help her to overcome anxiety, loss of confidence and fear. In fact, every time we practice together, we pray for Jesus to help and at the end of the training I always got her to thank God for the guidance. She understood my point and she trusted Jesus to do the test. Today, I was present to watch Grace to sit for the life crucial test. Before she went for the test, I prayed to bind the spirits of fear, anxiety and no confidence and cast them out! She also disciplined herself not to be talking to others before the test to keep calm. I also reminded her to grasp the opportunity to test the high clutch of the car she would use for the test so that she would know how much to release. Praise the Lord as I prayed somehow, she needed to wait for quite a few minutes before she went for the slope test. She had plenty of time to test the clutch. As she went up the slope, I continued to pray for Jesus to help her. On the top of slope, I realized my heart was beating so fast, I was so stressed! When she pressed the petrol so much (I could hear the loud engine noise from about 70m away) and then… I thought she was going to slip and failed again. I expected the worst to happen! That was the most anxious moment. Then, I saw that the car did not slip but she waited for quite many seconds to try again. I asked her what happened after the test, she said she sensed something was not right and that was why she did not proceed to release the clutch and handbrake. She actually stopped for many seconds in order to pray and asked Jesus for help to do the right thing. Then, she tried again confidently and calmly. I believed the Spirit of Jesus intervened at that crucial moment of pass or failure. Finally, she was able to pull over the slope steadily. I could imagine her emotion of joy, victory and release. As she came down the slope, I noticed that she stopped below the slope. I was anxious again for her as no driver did that before her. I was wondering what happened. Again, I prayed for Jesus to help her just in case she faced any difficulty. Later on, she told me, in fact she just stopped to say a prayer to thank Jesus for the success at the slope! As she proceeded to the 3-point turning and L parking, she just kept waving to me to tell me from far away that she succeeded. You could not imagine how excited I was in my heart at that moment as my daughter had passed this difficult test of her life. Then, she went on to do the other two slowly. Again I wondered why she took such a long time to do the 2. I did pray for Jesus to help again and again and I was anxious for her. I thought the exam officer might fail her any time. Later on, she told me her engine stopped several times owing to mishandling of the clutch in the midst of turning. She actually prayed to remain calm and restart the engine. In the end, she overcame everything and she emerged victorious! In fact, I did not know whether she passed or failed as she spent donkey years talking to the officer. I thought the exam officer was trying to tell her why he failed her. Finally, she came down from the shade where the officer stood to test the learning drivers. I could not wait for her to come near me to tell the result. I kept shouting from 70m away and asked if she passed or not. From far, she just kept putting up her two arms and waving. Was it a pass or a failure again? As she came running nearer, I saw her smiling face, then, I realized she must have obtained a pass. True enough, as she ran nearer, she answered me, she passed the test. She also shouted at the top of her voice to her mom in the car 40m away that she passed, in response to her question! If Grace was not humble to learn from her failures, she would fail again and she might not be able to take the blow. She would blame herself for her failure. Praise the Lord she is willing to admit her problem and rectify with us from there. I find that it is the same spiritually. In life, if we do not admit that we are proud, greedy, self-centered, having jealousy and unforgiveness and blaming others for our own problems as the main causes of our problems, we will not repent and learn, we will never progress in our relationship with Jesus, others and ourselves. Who wants to enjoy being with proud, selfish, and greedy people? Who wants to interact with people who have hatred and jealousy? Who wants to work with people who like to blame others for their own mistakes? We are our own greatest enemy. The moment you conquer your own enemy by admitting your own problem, mistake or sin, you learn to repent and improve to be a better disciple of Jesus. If not, no matter, how rich, capable, wise, and famous we are, we are still far behind. Therefore, let us be humble and admit our mistakes and even sin, so that we can learn. Will you? Pastor Law Hui Seng (23rd Dec, 2013, Miri) Posted by Teresa Han
Dear faithful disciples of Jesus and friends, Praise the Lord, in Jesus’ timing, we have crossed path, and we spent 12 great years (2002-1013) with one another, though for the last 3 years, I was doing my theological studies and sabbatical in Miri. The first 9 years, I shepherded GMC and at the same time moving around to do Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference Board of Evangelism ministry. Let me appreciate you and apologize to you. Appreciations
Thanks very much for accepting me and my family as imperfect people, with flaws in our characters, relationship with you and Jesus. In the midst of all these, you all have accepted me and my family with open arms and love. I know you forgive me as you continue to relate to me and pray for me. You have tried your best to pray, support and help me (and my family) to be a better shepherd (and better disciples) of Jesus.
You all have treated me and my family with great love and blessings. We are never in shortage of material needs. You took good care of our physical health and well being. You even facilitate to provide extra hands for my family so that my wife could be less stressful with the four very young children then. Grace, my oldest child was in primary one then, now, she is doing her ‘A’ level at Kuala Lumpur Methodist College. The physical supports granted so genuinely have helped us to go very far as we feel supported and we do not have to worry about the physical provisions. We felt we were strong to love and bless others in church and beyond.
I came to GMC, Miri, at the age of 35 and I leave at 47 (by next year March, I will be 48). GMC is instrumental to bless me with a platform and the means to search deep into the person of Holy Spirit. Together we dared to touch the so called sensitive issues of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Red, Green, Yellow and Purple levels of 9 month disciple course have greatly deepened and widened my understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It is actually through this disciple class, Jesus placed in us the burden to make disciples among the prisoners and so do prison visitation and bible studies.
As GMC allowed me to make disciples among the indigenous people of Miri town, it is here I caught the vision of training more disciples of Jesus to be Bahasa Malaysia speaking pastors. And I have the great privilege to serve with brothers and sisters among the big Miri Methodist family to reach out to the indigenous brothers and sisters.
At the district level, I had a chance to serve and preach at all the 15 Methodist churches and preaching centres. I was always welcomed and we had great fellowship that led to long lasting relationship that enhanced the disciple making. Many of you are still in contact with me in these 12 years. These contacts are very powerful because you all shared your hearts with me and I learnt so much from your honest sharing. Your sharing taught me to be more humble in Christ as I learnt that a lot of things in life I was unaware of. I learn to do deeper pastoral care and healing.
In GMC, among Methodist church brothers and sisters and friends, when my family and I spent time with you all, you made us feel so at home. The friendships we experienced are a great treasure. These friendships shall become great motivation for us to love Jesus more and make disciples of all nations. Through these powerful friendships, we learnt how to build up deep and close relationships that enhanced discipleship. Through these friendships, we learnt to follow Jesus.
Personally, I have made some mistakes and sinned against you and Jesus. Jesus had dealt with me about my sins. I suffer the consequences of my sins although I am a pastor. Some of you know I made mistake in terms of my unwise speech, hurting words, bad decisions and insensitive to your needs. I also had my negligence in my pastoral care. As a result some sheep are lost!
At times, my motive of ministry might be due to pride and I had not glorified Jesus! I had glorified myself. Jesus has mercy on me. He dealt with me. I asked Jesus for forgiveness as I had every tendency to glorify myself.
I also ask you for forgiveness as I treated GMC and personal needs lightly and I did not address the hurts and problems deep and serious enough.
At the district level, I ask for your forgiveness as I neglected to do follow up and broke my promises from time to time, as a result, the cause of Jesus was not pursued.
I am also very sorry about being judgmental and condemned some of us. Please forgive me for acting like God. God has mercy upon me. Sometimes, I saw the big sin in you but I was not able to see my own big sin. Jesus had dealt with me. I need His help and forgiveness very much.
My prayer points:
a. Pray that my family pursues Jesus only in our earthly life.
b. Pray that we humble ourselves and we submit our life to Jesus everyday and obey only Him.
c. Pray that we are able to adjust to the new Sibu environment in terms of school, church, ministry, people and roads as quickly as possible. (We are posted to Sibu for the year 2014)
I pray that we all honor and obey Jesus and His teaching and make disciples of all nations while we are on earth and while the opportunities are there!
A Faithful Disciple of Jesus,
Pastor Law Hui Seng
(Miri, Sabbatical, 23rd, Dec, 2013)
Posted by Teresa Han