Friday, December 27, 2013
I Obey Jesus
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