Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Village Churches in Ranau

I went on a loop with my fellow pastor to carry letters of invitations to the Whole night prayer meeting next week on Malaysia Day.  I felt a bit like in ancient times when letters of apostles are carried by hand by letter couriers, trusted friends of the apostle-letter writers. If we had sent by post it will be a bit too late as most village churches either have a mailbox in Ranau's post office and often leaders from these villages pick up their letters once a fortnight. So this morning I had a wonder drive on a 4x4, which makes the trip a lot more comfortable than in a sedan or worse in a motorcycle. My fellow pastor who accompanied related to me how he met with 3 accidents on a motorcycle or scooter in the course of ministry. On these village dirt and rocky roads, the most common form of transport for not so well to do pastors is the scooter.
One female pastor related to us how she thought of leaving her place of ministry because she feels so isolated in this remote village. She had to rely on church leaders going to Ranau at 5.30am and often only return at 5pm. I doubt I could last more than a couple of weeks in places such as those we visited today. But for a day trip it was glorious as the scenic views on mountain roads and valleys just take your breath away. How come the Dusun people love to venture into these remote places, opened up lands and built their houses and settled with their families and kin perhaps could be a topic for a PhD dissertation in sociology or anthropology.  Ranau is already like Coventry to me after being used to the bright lights of Auckland, Melbourne and Singapore, though for most pastors they will break a leg to be posted in a church like mine. I took some photos including lavatories and in most villages toilets are built outside the house and I used a couple of them today. But the needs are great. For trained pastors to feed these long established churches and revive them as some of them have fallen in the way though in outward appearances services are conducted week in and week out.  These pastors require great patience who deal with local village leaders who are also church leaders day in and day out and how the church community can be nurtured and challenged to love the Lord until Kingdom come.

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