Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gotong Royong in Ranau

Being part of an intentional community is probably something I cherish in this phase of my Ranau ministry, something I had not experienced in Singapore or in Kota Kinabalu. After an overnight trip to KK to see my parents late Thursday, I was back in Ranau early yesterday morning to prepare for last night's end-of-the-month service which we celebrated those who had their birthdays in the month of July. It was double celebration for me but last night's service was decidedly low key compared to the rousing welcome and party I had last Sunday night. Early this morning, my church members arrived for a gotong royong (working together hand in hand) to set up a canopy garage for the pastor's cars.

It took the church 7 months to take action which is probably quick in the minds of some leaders as the previous pastor did not own a car and the thought of providing a garage took some time to gain general consensus. We are also working hard to build a more permanent structure to hold a couple of water tanks at the back of the pastor's house as Ranau in the past month had experienced water shortage every other week which is perhaps more disconcerting than the occasional tremors and aftershocks.
I am still drinking from mineral water and unless we are assured that the water is safe to drink I will probably stock up more cartons of mineral water in my next trip to KK. Ministry wise I have never been busier. Yesterday two families called as their loved ones passed away and needed prayers.

I received several invitations to preach elsewhere but I tried to be with my own church on a Sunday. I turned down an invitation from my homechurch in KK to preach on a Sunday in the month of September. I just don't think it is worth all the energy and time to travel back and forth for one sermon and miss my two services on a Sunday. And I have more than enough on my plate in Ranau district alone. After the pastors' visit to Kudat last weekend, I felt my colleagues warming up to me. In travels and fellowship and ministry together, we had bonded. I visited a colleague whose car broke down on his way back from Kudat. I told my church that I had this vision in my heart to help SIB pastors to own cars, at least good second hand cars if not new cars like Axia (Malaysian car about RM32,000). If two or three denominations I know provide low-interest loans for pastors to purchase cars, I don't see why we can't do the same now that we are into the middle of the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

I am also getting busier in the social media (I see it as a ministry now) in giving my views on many things theological. A colleague started a theological chat group, Sembang-sembang teologi and more and more questions are now directed to me for response. A priest's lips are to retain knowledge and they should seek the law of God at his mouth for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts (Mal 2:7).

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