Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category


One for the album – awesome moments enjoyed by the children from Gereja Methodist Tudan!

by James TC Wong

I was in for a surprise when I received a call from my friend yesterday. “James, I know this is very last minute but can you help me invite 20 children from needy families? Pullman would like to treat them to a scrumptious buffet,” Pat requested.

My heart warmed as her words resonated in my mind. “Of course, I can. Give me an hour to get back to you,” I replied.

Opened for business in April 2016, the prestigious Pullman Waterfront is the only international 5-star hotel in Miri known for its warm hospitality, excellent services and facilities. I was told by Pat that the hotel, during this Yuletide season, would be hosting a Christmas buffet for the first time for underprivileged children, as well as the kids from Methodist Children’s Home.

I quickly contacted Pastor Nicholas Tan of Gereja Methodist Tudan, telling him the invitation. He thanked me and asked for time to make arrangement. Shortly, the good shepherd called to confirm that the church would be sending 17 children, accompanied by 2 adults.

With Christmas just 4 days away, Pullman’s generosity has reminded me of 2 Cor 8:7 (KJV): Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Witnessing Pullman’s grace of giving has reminded me that generosity meets needs and glorifies Jesus.

Before 5 p.m., Pastor called again. Can we add in two more kids because we had a short count, he asked. In haste, I told him no because we had confirmed the attendance figure with the hotel already. After the phone call, my heart felt heavy. I called up Pat again and told her the Pastor’s request. Why not, she said without hesitation, count them in!

Pastor was elated when I relayed him the latest update. Unbeknownst to me, Pastor subsequently revealed that he would be forced to make a difficult choice of leaving two kids out had the host was not magnanimous.

I’m truly glad. An act of generosity given and extended – Christ was glorified!

Lord Jesus, you meet our needs in surprising ways sometimes. Continue to use us often to do that for others .

Merry Christmas to all!


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Group wefie for more than 160 pax!

MIRI – Finding the perfect way to spend a birthday can be sometimes difficult but I was absolutely floored last Friday by the warm reception at Senadin Methodist Preaching Centre (SMPC).

It is no secret that my church volunteers and I have serving Love Soup to Curtin University undergraduates since 2010. And last Friday (June 9, my birthday) was coincidentally chosen by SMPC’s Rev Jabez Tiong when he planned the church calendar of activities early this year.

Much to our delight, ten congregational members from SMPC also cooked chicken soup this time! Since this act was unsolicited and unprecedented, we rejoiced to see our ministry bearing charge.

I also had the privilege to invite Rev George Wong, the former Sarawak State Boys’ Brigade Chaplain and his wife to attend the function. The good shepherd delivered a short speech thanking Rev Jabez (the pastor-in-charge) and added that it was a blessing to be part of the Love Soup event for the first time.

Rev Jabez (left) being served by Rev George.

Also attending the event for the first time was Anna Ngan, a Curtin Foundation Year student from Sibu. She shared: “It was very interesting; a nice experience and memorable for me. Even though I don’t like eating meat but still I ate a lot. Thanks to all the uncles and aunties for preparing various types of chicken soup. It’s very delicious and I loved it. Lastly, thanks to my beloved Jesus for making this event successful. Now I have motivation to burn midnight oil to study hard. God bless us, Amen!”

Curtin undergrad Brian Chew from Kuching enjoying the chicken soup.

“Being away from home, the Love Soup brings a taste of delicious home-cooked food for the outstation students. At home, my mother would often prepare nutritious chicken soup before my examination. This Love Soup reminds us that there are people out there who still care for the students,” said Curtin Third Year Mechanical Engineering Stephen Pan.

Look, no more soup left! Photo by Tang Xin Yi.

“I enjoyed the chicken soup very much, and the best part of it was I could try various types of chicken soup. Thanks to uncle and aunties so much for putting effort on this event and reduce homesickness of us. Love to see the satisfied faces with smiles enjoying the nourishing chicken soup! Looking forward to every Love Soup event although that means final exam is coming,” commented Irene Ngu, a Third Year Electrical Engineering Curtin undergraduate from Bintulu.

Their smiles say it all!

Before the Love Soup ended, Irene, who was also the event coordinator, surprised me with a slice of birthday cake with everyone singing the birthday song. 

Never before had I ever felt the sheer joy of serving others on my birthday as fulfilling as this one. It was then a singular moment to express a lifetime of gratitude and glorifying Christ Jesus!

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This has got to be one of my favorite shots taken this year. Despite the rain thousands of the Christian faith stood firm their ground yesterday at Sibu Town Square prior to the commencement of the yearly Christmas procession round town. The power of prayer certainly works as the downpour subsided shortly after the walk started.

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The writer with some of the young students

Story and pics by Fidella Tiew

My conversion may be similar to many other Methodist Christians – born in a Christian family, was baptized as an infant, grew up in church, involved in church ministry, basically no dramatic conversion experience. Still remember my late grandmother brought my younger sister and me to Sunday School every Sunday. At that time, just like other children, I went to Sunday School because of “other” motives. When I was fourteen, through a teacher in Methodist Secondary School (now Rev. Tiong at Wesley church), I said the Sinner’s Prayer and accepted Christ as my personal Saviour.

In my adolescence, through Bible study classes, quiet time with God, pastor’s pulpit sermons and other church activities, my faith in Jesus grew. Being involved in various youth activities, taking the leadership roles gave me the opportunity to be trained and developed my leadership skills since young. All these experiences not only benefited me spiritually, but also in my career, thus grooming me to be a “useful instrument” for God.

Through ups and downs in my life, I’ve experienced God at very personal level, developed deeper relationship with Jesus, and continued to grow in faith. Through His unfailing love, God has never left nor forsaken me though many times I have failed Him and been disobedient.

The calling of “every Christian to commit one year of their life to mission” by SCAC came to me very strongly as I had been praying to God to show me the way. Praise God, in 2003, He gave me a job at Curtin University in Miri. At that time I had been working in Kuching for more than 6 years and my cell group at Trinity Methodist Church said God was sending me to Miri for a “mission”, i.e. to work among the Curtin students. I came to Miri in May 2003 and in July 2003 GMC started the Campus Gospel ministry at Senadin. Rev. Law invited me to join the team and I’ve been with the ministry until now. Being a lecturer at Curtin I have a lot of flexibility with my time and the privilege to take long leave during the semester break.

However I had never joined any short-term mission trip yet. Being a “city girl” I just couldn’t see myself going to “places lacking in basic infrastructure and amenities” for mission. I had met many brothers and sisters who went for mission trips to Cambodia. Some had life-transforming experiences. Yet I kept giving excuses. Between the years 2004 – 2005 Rev. Law of GMC asked me at least twice whether I had a burden in mission. My answer had always been “no obvious calling from God”. After much struggle and prayers, I committed myself to do the “Disciple course” last year and planned for mission trip after that. Miraculously in April I had the opportunity to meet up with Rev. Lenita in Miri and through her encouragement and sharing, I know God was giving me affirmation that I just needed to go by faith. Christ would be with me and the Holy Spirit would lead me. I was challenged not to worry too much!!

I have always prayed like Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10 – Oh God! that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. For the last fourteen years, living alone away from my hometown Sibu, God has always faithfully protected me from all evils. I believe He will continue to bless me as I take my 1st “baby step” in mission to a foreign land.

So in January 2008 I spent four weeks in Phnom Penh teaching English at the Methodist School of Cambodia (MSC). It was a very enriching and eye-opening experience. Not knowing what to expect and what I would be doing there I went by faith with a very open heart and mind knowing I would be in God’s good hand.

The Methodist School of Cambodia

Mr. Stephen Yeo, my former teacher in Methodist Secondary School is now the Principal at MSC. He assigned me to do team teaching with Roatha in Grade 7 English class (equivalent to our Form One) and afternoon Level 1 English tuition. The English standard of this Grade 7 class varied from very good (90%) to very weak (5%). Those who had completed their primary studies with MSC had better grasp of English, those who just joined the school from the public primary school had nearly zero English. There were altogether 33 students in the class. So, the initial plan was to split the class. I would take the better group and the local Khmer English teacher, Roatha would take the weaker group. However, only after two classes, I was told that the Grade 7 English teacher, Roatha was resigning, giving only 24 hours’ notice. So, instead of having half a class, I had to take over the whole class. I asked Mr. Yeo if he had planned for this. He said no, he didn’t. God just put me at the right place at the right time. Isn’t God’s plan always higher than men’s plan?

R-L Mr. and Mrs. Yeo

So, with the challenge of having to teach such a class, I needed some strategy. I prayed to God for wisdom. I wanted to get to know each of the students in class, I didn’t want anyone to be neglected due to poor English. Finally this was what I did:

• Gave each student an English name from the Bible – Martha, Joseph, David, Joshua, Ruth, Grace, Faith, … so that I can called their names in class.
• Divided the students into groups of four with a leader helping the weaker ones.
• Gave each group an English-Khmer dictionary to check for vocabulary in every lesson.

With the students

It was the most challenging teaching task that I have ever done. Besides the language barrier, the content was a challenge as well. I remember in the 1st class, according to the teaching plan, I was supposed to teach letter writing format. Half way into the class, I realized that most of the students were lost because they DIDN’T HAVE an address and, they didn’t know what a stamp was, why we needed to put stamps on the letter, etc.

In the second week the students were supposed to write about their family, parents, siblings. Some of them raised their hands and asked me “Teacher, no father, no mother” Oh! my heart broke! I was not prepared and I was totally ignorant of my students’ background. I was not sensitive to their situation. Then I went to spend some time with the School Admin Assistant, trying to know my students’ background. I found out that more than half of the students in my class were under the sponsorship of different NGOs and religious groups. 2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power. With God’s mercy and power, I managed the 4-week class, learned many lessons from God. Throughout that period of time, I was clear that God had called me outside my comfort zone to show love and care to those students the Lord brought across my path.

After four weeks with these students, parting was a bit emotional. Many asked when I would go back to see them again. My love for them will go a long way and I do plan to go back to visit them again.

I thank God for the smooth trip. Besides teaching at MSC, I also visited the Community Outreach Service – Immanuel Children’s Village (COSI) and Emmaus Women’s Centre and churches in some provinces. I was able to see and experience what God was doing in Cambodia and get closer to God, while doing something different and meaningful. The trip obviously was an important milestone in my pilgrimage of life.

Thank God for providing a place to stay with modern facilities, good food, and his protection. Despite my nose allergy, I was in good health. I only had flu on the last day. December and January is a good season (cool and dry) to be in Cambodia. I experienced no hardship as described by many other mission teams. Instead of losing weight, I gained weight.

My trip inspired some if not many people around me. I had the opportunity to share with friends and colleagues. Some Christian colleagues from other churches even asked whether they could go or not. I become the bridge for MSC.

All of us can be an English teacher in Cambodia. What we need is a willing and obedient heart when God calls us. Just like in Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go. I am very much blessed by the trip, the encounters with the students, teachers, missionaries and God. A few minutes of sharing in church or brief testimony like this cannot do justice to what I have experienced. You have to go and experience it personally.

Singing songs of worship during assembly

Lastly, some of my after thoughts:

  • In mission field, some of my capabilities, experience, skill and knowledge are of no use because God has His own way of making things work.
  • Mission is a slow and long process requiring lots of financial support and long term commitment.
  • Mission is a lonely “journey”, so missionaries need our prayer support.

Reproduced with the kind permission from Fidella Tiew. The story was first published in the Methodist Connection magazine on June 15, 2008.

Note: Stephen Yeo and his wife have finished their ministry term in Cambodia and are now back in Malaysia.

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May 1, Sibu – The crowd prayed for the youths during the closing session of the 2011 Methodist Prayer Convention.

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IMG_0272 Group pic
Group pic

IN A SIMPLE certificate award ceremony, The Reading Bus programme was concluded on December 18, 2010 at Gereja Tudan Methodist.

First launched in Miri by Grace Methodist Church three months ago, the fortnightly English reading series has produced significant results.

The Reading Bus is a mobile library programme.

It is the brainchild of Kuching-based Bethany Ministries Pastor Cheli Tamilselvam and his wife Lai Mei.

A demographic study reveals there are 20,000 residents within a 10 km radius of Tudan and Permyjaya mostly of the Iban race.

The majority of students living in this area find it difficult to cope with the increasing demands to perform well in English in school.

Many fail to make it beyond secondary education.

According to Pastor Cheli’s observation as an educator, one of the main factors for failure was the serious lack of proficiency in the English language.

The Reading Bus activity is carried out back to back with the Village Alpha.

Village Alpha provides church volunteers a basic but crucial tool for evangelizing to the unchurched.

With the seeds of Christ’s love sown, Gereja Tudan Methodist is now experiencing an increased congregational attendance in their Sunday service. In addition its Sunday School class has doubled to more than sixty children.

There were also heartwarming stories related by Mr. Richard Lin, the lead volunteer and member of Grace Methodist Church.

“We were told that the children would eagerly wait for The Reading Bus two hours ahead of scheduled time in each of our visit. We were delighted to discover a voracious reader named Romica, a 10 year old girl. We also hear that unchurched parents of the students are becoming more receptive to hearing the Good News when approached by the members from Gereja Tudan Methodist.”

Mr. Aaron Hii, the Missions Chairman for Grace Methodist Church was clearly elated with the results of this ministry.

“We encourage other churches in Miri and beyond to duplicate what we’re doing. Believe me, it is a powerful tool to do outreach. After visiting us at Tudan a few times to observe, Gan En Methodist Church and Piasau Baptist Church have undertaken to run the programmes at Lambir and Taman Tunku respectively,” he added.

IMG_0242 A student receiving his certificate
A student receiving his certificate

In the certificate award ceremony the outgoing Pastor-in-charge of Grace Methodist Church, Rev. Law Hui Seng reminded the 75 recipients to use the English language often. “The English language, like all languages will be forgotten easily if not used,” he advised. “When you are proficient in English, you will have better job options in the future.”

Rev. Law also thanked all the volunteers for their sacrifice and love.

To bless all the students of The Reading Bus, a set of encasement full of books was formally presented by Rev. Law to Pastor Chan Jing Mei of Gereja Tudan Methodist.

IMG_0234 Rev Law (left) presenting the bookcase to Ps. Chan Jing Mei (far right)
Pastor Chan (right) receiving the bookcase from Rev. Law (left)

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Last night my Small Group hosted a farewell gathering in honour of our outgoing Pastor-in-charge.

Early next year Rev. Law Hui Seng will be leaving Grace Methodist Church to further his studies at the Sabah Theological Seminary, Kota Kinabalu.

Clearly a man after God’s heart, Rev. Law will further develop his gift in the Bahasa Malaysia (BM) language.

With the intent of becoming a good role model to the BM congregations, Rev. Law will undertake his Master’s degree covering cultural barriers and the making of matured discipleship among the indigenous people.

More than 30 church members and guests were present including Pastor Connie Yong and her husband Pastor Wong Lik Kai, my church’s Chairman Michael Lee and his wife Michelle.

We also invited the Sunday School carolers from our church for the joyful occasion. Praise Lord for their wonderful singing and glad tidings!

Each Christmas carol received an enthusiastic applause from us!

IMG_0518 group
Here’s a memorable group photo for the album!

Do enjoy the video we made to appreciate our loving and dedicated shepherd.

Pastor Law has been our church for the past nine years and more than often we take for granted that he will be with us forever.

Thank you dear Pastor for all you have done for us. From our Small Group we wish you well and leave you with this verse from Numbers 6:4,

The Lord bless and keep you.

Remember we’re just a phone call away so keep in touch often!

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