Friday, April 24, 2009

Balingian Mission Trip

Sharing by Doong Su Lyn. Posted by Peter Yong. Article distributed by Wendy Tiong.

Good morning Brothers and Sisters. My name is Su Lyn and I came to Miri last September to work here. Being a new face here, even until today, I want to share many instances after church service where people still come up to me saying, “Hello sister, are you new here?” Brothers and Sisters, I am not that new anymore to church. I have been with GMC for about 4 months now. And I am here today to share my testimony on the Balingian Mission trip.

I moved to Miri about 7 months ago and having to adjust myself to this unfamiliar new place, new work and new people, I was lost in the transition stage and was excited to try everything and meet everyone. To add matters worst, my faith was slowly taking a backseat and I feel myself being further and further away from God and I never have time for Him. I rejected many invites to church events and cell groups and I wasn’t attending church regularly. The Bible was kept safely in my drawer and I only bring it out on Sunday mornings. Although, my life was pretty settled already by the 2nd month, I realized that I felt empty inside me. Going to church to worship every Sunday morning wasn’t the same as before and it was like a routine. I will come to church and sing the songs without much conviction; I stared blankly at the cross and couldn’t care to really listen to the sermon preached.

That went on for weeks but one thing that touched me was during the sharings of the mission trips in church (like what we have today). I will look at the slides and pictures put up there and listen to the stories of those who have went. To tell you the truth, my eyes are teary and I feel really guilty and sinful. And when I look and listen to their sharings, I always asked myself this, “Why is it that others can go but not me?” and I thought “ How nice it is if God can use me” since I have most of my weekends free anyway. And at the end of the service, I will leave church feeling very disappointed with myself and asked God to strengthen me in my faith again week after week.

One day at work, I was approached by Sister Wendy and Sis Grace and they asked me if I was available on the weekend of the trip. I was hesitant and rejected their offer to join the team as I had initial plans already. Besides, I thought to myself “I am still so new. How am I going to contribute to the team?” plus I don’t know anyone from the team except the two. However, the trip was never off my head completely and occasionally, I do think of the possibility of going to Balingian.

And then came one morning when I was in office and I suddenly have the urge to register for the trip. I don’t know how but somehow a voice just tells me that I should go this time. Like how I shared with my team during the mission, I said its like a ‘calling’ and they laughed when I said it.

I told Sister Wendy and she just nice arranged everything for me. Looking back now, what really amazed me was that I never for a single second at that time thought about how the condition of the place will be, how we will be getting there, who will be going, what we will be doing there and etc. I just wanted to go and that was it!
I never regretted my decision of going as this Balingian mission trip was a time of many firsts for me. It was first time going to a Rumah Panjang in Sarawak, first time bathing in sarong under the rain, first time in a sampan ride, first time eating some weird food (siput, pucuk, snake), first time meeting the rest of the mission team and the best of all, it was my first mission trip ever!

I felt so blessed that the team has supported and took care of me through out the trip and I was really touched by the villagers kindness. The children there were all so amazing and how they live their lives with that kind of innocence and simplicity is just makes me want to give thanks for all the things that I have in life. I could also feel God’s presence with us during that time and how he has used me in the team and brought me back closer to Him.

Brothers and Sisters, from sitting there on the bench and listening to the sharings on Sundays, I have got up from that bench and went ahead to do mission and the experience has brought me back to Him. I pray that each one of you would feel the same too and take one step of faith.

“Be Thou My Vision”

Written by Natalie Wong. Posted by Peter Yong. Article distributed by Wendy Tiong.

For those of whom do not know me, I’m Natalie. I grew up in a Christian family, attended GMC throughout Sunday School and served a lot in JMYF before I left to study overseas at 14. At that time, I loved God unquestioningly. I trusted the bible’s principles taught to me and had lots of head knowledge. But because as a child, I hadn’t really gone through much testing myself, the reality of God’s grace had not really sunk into my heart.

I moved to the UK to start university and I felt like I had everything going well for me. I joined the Overseas Christian Fellowship (OCF) and went to church every week. That gave me a kind of comfort and routine that I was still close to Jesus, even though, retrospectively, I was probably very far away from him in the heart. This distance from God had been built up gradually during my years in high school where I had a large group of non-christian friends which made me always question Christian values.

I felt I earned this spot in university through hard work in high school and because I had gotten my Christian life sorted by attending church and fellowship, I was free to do as I please as a reward. I went out a lot because I felt confident I could do well in my exams, so I had a lot of fun, got influenced by people who didn’t put God first in their life and eventually got together with a non-christian guy. I knew this was wrong from the start (because I was taught from a very young age that Christians should not be yoked with unbelievers). But somehow I managed to convince myself that I could bring him to Christ with my own strength and that it will be ok. See how the devil deceives!

At the end of first year, that’s when everything started tumbling down. My studies hit rock bottom which meant my future job prospects were looking very small. I broke up with my non-christian boyfriend as I started to realize that a relationship with a non-christian was really not working out and causing me a lot of pain emotionally and spiritually. My relationship with God was dry and barren and I felt that he wasn’t listening to me. My parents were disappointed in me because of my unwise choices in studies and relationships. Even my close friend(who was a nominal Christian ) whom I had relied on for much emotional support that year in UK had decided to move back to Australia.

I felt very alone and knew something had gone really wrong in my life. In the moments of despair, I turned back to God, who had always been patiently waiting for me to come back. It was a humbling experience to really let go of all areas of my life which I had self-sufficiently built up and pass it back to God. At this really down point in my life, I was encouraged by the people in OCF to serve as a bible study group leader every week. I remember telling God, “You’ve gotta be joking. My life is in a mess – and you’re asking me to serve you at this point in time? I’ve made a lot of mistakes I need to sort out first before I can serve you in OCF! I need more time than ever to study this year and get my books up to scratch” This was when God really pounded the idea into my head saying – Rely on my strength, not on your own. I am the God Almighty, I can help you through this! But first, repent and give me the first fruits of your time and a willing heart. Seek First My Righteousness!

So I committed to serve God as a bible study leader with the first fruits of my time. God had blessed me more than I could imagine in the difficult second year of university. There were still consequences I had to bear for the unwise decisions I made and certain friendships I had to resist. But, in giving him my weaknesses and some of my time for his glory, I was blessed with close Christian fellowship, a greater understanding of the Word of God and the strengthening of my spirit. Every time I am tempted to do things my own way, I am reminded of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” which I used to sing at church when I was young. This experience has taught me that I am where I am today, because of God’s great love or not because of my own achievements.

There are still constant struggles in my life to slip back into living life how it suits me, but I can look back and remember God’s faithfulness and how he had brought me through the valley. This grace and faithfulness that he has shown to me helps sustain me through difficult trials and reminds me that God will never give up on me, as long as I am willing to humble myself and draw strength from him, knowing that Jesus sympathises with our weaknesses because He has been tempted in every way yet was without sin.

I just want to end my sharing with this verse from:

Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 This is what the LORD says:

"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom

or the strong man boast of his strength

or the rich man boast of his riches,

24 but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me,

that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight,"

declares the LORD.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."

He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." - Matthew 12:46-50(NIV)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God


Lord Jesus Christ, thank you.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you.


For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 1:18-31(NIV).