Monday, September 25, 2017

Up the Mountains Again

After 72 hours back in KK for a public holiday and preaching I am back up on the mountains. The drive this morning was not too bad from the hills of Tamparuli to the highest peak of South East Asia in about 60 minutes. One becomes a little dizzy or perhaps it is attitude sickness. I have never been a good traveller either by air or land. Definitely not by sea unless it is no more than 45 mins ferry-ride. I felt fine on the ferry from Singapore to Batam about 50 mins but I got sick on a slightly longer journey to Bintan island about 70 mins away. But travelling by land is fine if I don't get too nervous about journeying on my own. I had preached on the journey of faith based on Hebrews 11,6 and the lives of Abraham and Moses. I told the Chinese congregation that our life is a journey of journeys as within a life journey there are many journeys like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had to travel from one place to amother.  I started the sermon by a pun but I am not sure whether the Chinese caught it.
I said Abraham entrusted God for his life journey and he had a journey of his life. How true when we entrust ourselves into the hands of the mighty God our life journey is full of amazing journeys both literally and metaphorically. Literally as I travel up the mountain almost every week and I journey into the interior of Sabah preaching to the natives in a language understood by them. How interesting when I preached my sermon in English for the first time in more than 3 years. I never once thought I had to revert to Malay (I had preached in Malay for at least 200 times in the last 3 years). Only once I used Malay to give effect to a pastor's request to be posted to a village that had access online. But I did tell the Chinese congregation of about 150 people that should God call they should learn Malay well so that they too can serve as pastors among the indigenous peoples of Borneo. By faith Abraham obeyed. I did not share some of the tough parts of my calling. I did not want them to choke and it was the first time I renewed fellowship with the congregation after more than 15 years. But I did tell them it was a big change for me from an ultra modern Singapore to rural Ranau and then to the edge of wilderness of Namaus. I told them I had gotten used to the sounds of insects, frogs and animals in the wild so as not to be distracted from a good night's sleep. I told them that for 16 months I did not receive a fixed salary but God provided for all my needs. I testified of God's power and grace if we choose to obey Him by faith. To suffer a little inconvenience and move out of our comfort zones. Like Moses he chose to suffer afflictions with God's people rather to enjoy the treasures of Egypt. If I did not do what I do now I could not have ministered to the native church at a state wide level. I preached last year at the Conference of 5,000 youths. I preached to my 350 of my fellow pastors who attended this year's Pastors' Conference. I spoke to the 188 elders candidates. None of these could have transpired if I am not a pastor serving among the natives of Sabah.  I am one of them, yet as an outsider but I trust God has a plan for me. In the meantime I journey on in my journey of faith up the mountains and down the valleys of Ranau and into the wilderness of Namaus.

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