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Flor Nera Woodford reminisces the sweet Methodist International Fellowship Night in Kapit way back in Dec 1964. At her left hand is the Bentara Bintang Sarawak (BBS) Award to her late husband.          

A tribute to Lt. Edward Woodford of 4th Miri Company, The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia

By Lt. James TC Wong, 4th Miri Coy

My wife Roseline first received news of Eddy’s passing via her Whatsapp a day after our return from Sibu whereby over the weekend, we had attended the Boys’ Brigade Sarawak State Council’s AGM and 1st Sibu Company’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

Though we knew Eddy’s health and gait had deteriorated over the past few years, and conditions worsened a couple of months ago, still the news of our former BB Officer’s demise ached our hearts.

Roseline received a call on the afternoon of March 19 from Amy Lau of GMC, asking if she would be attending Eddy’s funeral wake. Amy had also hoped that my wife could share a few words during the wake as Captain of 4th Miri which Eddy had served previously for more than 10 years. Sensing my wife’s sad apprehension, I quickly volunteered to do it on her behalf.

The wake was held at a commercial funeral home at Riam at 5:00pm on Mar 20, a day after Eddy’s passing. Most of the people present were from GMC. Pastor Linberg Wong, from Agape Grace Methodist Preaching Centre, led in prayer. He also spoke fondly of Eddy, and so did Alex Tiang and Keith Chin who reminisced the good times they shared in mission trips and church activities.

Below is the full text of my eulogy delivered during the wake service:

Mrs Flor Nera Woodford and family,

On behalf of 4th Miri Captain Roseline, Honorary Captain Mr Frederick Wong, Chaplain Mr Tan Kok Chui, and fellow Officers – I offer you our deepest condolences.

Rev. Law Hui Seng, the previous Pastor-in-charge of GMC, has also asked me to convey his deepest condolences.

The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes writes:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

For us today, we have lost a wonderful, church brother. For the bereaved family, Flor has lost a loving husband, and the family; a caring dad, granddad.

It would be time to break down, a time to moan, a time to weep, a time to heal; and a time to build up in due course.

The loss of someone dear can be sometimes surreal and traumatic.

I, for one could not accept it when my dad suddenly passed away in 1986.

And at that time my wife and I just started working in Brunei and our first born son Aaron never had the chance to meet his granddad.

It took me years to get over my grief because I loved my dad so much.

We, at 4th Miri Company also love Eddy and Flor.

Eddy together with Flor, were part of the founding Officers in 2002 when 4th Miri was formed. Pastor Law Hui Seng was a strong supporter of the Boys’ Brigade Ministry. Led by Honorary Captain Mr Frederick Wong, the team of dedicated Officers and Helpers began the ministry by recruiting Juniors from Sri Mawar Primary School because the church simply didn’t have the numbers.

Now into our 17th year, 4th Miri Company, our church-based ministry has expanded to two schools with membership adding the Sarawak’s BB membership to 4,000 members in 40 Companies.

Like all church ministries, we face challenges from time to time. But we are encouraged by Eddy’s “I can do it” attitude. Eddy and Flor never stopped serving in 4th Miri if they could. They only stopped during the past few years when they faced frailty and health issues.

Many of you know Eddy as the cheerful and happy-go-lucky man. But I can say many of you don’t know that Eddy was instrumental in setting up a BM ministry that eventually led to the formation of Tudan Methodist Church.

In 2005, Eddy proposed to Rev Law Hui Seng to start a BM ministry in the areas of Pujut 7 and Tudan. The first family contacted were the Gemongs. Together with 20 others, Mr Gemong and his family were the first group to be baptized. During Tudan outreach, Eddy and Flor together with several GMC members like Mr and Mrs William Ketit, Mr and Mrs Mak Mek, Margaret Lee and Audrey Lui persevered relentlessly in the BM ministry.

Eddy was also passionate on short-term missions to Ulu Belaga, Kapit, Balingian and Rh. Tatom in Selangau. His talent in languages and dialects made his a ‘people’s person’ – easy to relate to and get along with.

Eddy is my role model. Eddie never missed any prayer meeting for no good reason. At that time, prayer meeting was on Tuesday night. I would see him and Flor seated at the aisle left seats.

It was hardly surprising to see him present or participate at church events because he made the effort to be available.

I want to thank God for sending Eddy to me and my family, to 4th Miri Company.

Till we meet again, Eddy, Rest In Peace, my dear brother.

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Wedding of Eddy and Flor on Dec 18, 1965 at Kapit Methodist Church. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Born Edward Kenneth Thomson Woodford in 1937 in Kuching to an Australian father and an Iban mother, Eddy grew up and studied in Sri Aman and Kuching. He worked as an Overseer in the District Council from 1961-1967 in Kapit.

In early 1960s, many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. Kapit soon became a thriving evangelism hub for American-sponsored Methodist missionaries as they built school and hostel to cater for the local indigenous children’s education.

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Eddy and Flor in Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

It was in Kapit that Eddy met and fell in love with his future wife. The beautiful, petite Methodist missionary Florentina Nera hailed from San Roque, San Manuel, Pangasinan, The Philippines. Initially Florentina was reluctant to commit to a relationship as she was on a working contract. Eventually true love prevailed and the couple tied the knot on Dec 18, 1965 at Kapit Methodist Church with the wedding service conducted by Reverends Burr Baughman, Joseph Andrew Fowler and Terence Joseph.

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Eddy and Flor taking a stroll by the river in Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Over the years, Eddy also worked in commercial companies in Sarikei, Bandar Seri Begawan and Seria before joining Sarawak Shell Berhad. He retired in 1992. Besides actively serving in church ministries, Eddy was also passionate in community services and deserving of the ‘Bentara Bintang Sarawak’ (BBS Award) in 2000 by the then TYT Sarawak Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.

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Lt Eddy (4th from left) attending the BCM 2005 in Miri. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

Daughter Sharon remembered her dad with much love and gratitude. “Dad was strict and straightforward. He seldom raised his voice or got angry. He was responsible and looked out for his family whenever he could. Dad was thrifty but not with time. He would make time for his family and other people who needed his help. He didn’t express his love but I know he loved us a lot.”

The Boys’ Brigade Sarawak State Council Executive Secretary Lt Hu Wei Ung commended the dedication of Eddy and his wife. “Despite their advanced years, Eddy and Flor were always enthusiastic about BB and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom. We were very privileged that they were our team in Sarawak,” he added.

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Eddy during his church mission trip to Ulu Kapit. Photo credit: Flor Nera Woodford.

This Easter, as I conclude this tribute, and when no words are enough to express our gratitude to Lt Edward Woodford – let us take a moment to ponder and appreciate the ‘Eddys’ in our lives; the  Officers (past and present) who dedicated themselves unconditionally to The Boys’ Brigade. Sure and Stedfast, all glory to God!

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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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