It has been a struggle all my Christian life, almost 36 years on now. Who and what is my true family? I just lectured on John's Gospel where Jesus' own brothers did not believe in Him (John 7). In fact, Jesus said that they represented the world and for the world everything is relative, no absolute truth. For the world every undertaking is an opportune time but for Jesus he had to walk to the tune of His Father's bidding. Also in the Gospel of John, Jesus rebuked his mother for trying to command him to do something which is within the purview of Jesus' Father's authority alone. If Jesus' mother and brothers caused him heartache, our own mothers and brothers can also cause us heartache, much more if they do not believe in Christ. I told my friend that one most important thing in my ministry is the sense of belonging to a community of people and to the SIB family of pastors and members specifically. Everywhere I go, I am called "pastor" not something to boast about, but that to me it is a honorific title of respect due to the decades of ministry I have had among SIB members throughout the state of Sabah.
One main reason that I quit Singapore and returned to Sabah is that in Singapore I could not find a community that would accept me and my wife. I went to 6 or 7 local churches for months on end but none made us felt welcome. In Sabah I may have my detractors (the Psalmist calls them his enemies) but I have many friends and many supporters. They are my Christian family, those who love the name of Jesus and those who accept me as part of their community. That's why I ask for no privileges as I serve among my College community because I am just one of them, living among the people and serving among the people as they also serve me, especially the Kitchen staff and student members that cook and wash my plates and bowls after me. I ask for no privileges as one who serves and not to be served. Just two weeks ago, my colleagues and I had a big laugh together when I mentioned to them that only after 2 and a half years (or 4th year if my part-time teaching in 2015 is included) I was afforded a parking space. All these while I parked my car where I could and in my colleague's space or carpark more than once with the promise of treating him to meals though he in turn was happy to obliged because 22 years ago, he once called me, "Guru" (Teacher). I taught him in his homiletics class in 1996. But who is my true family? Tonight I shall be sharing dinner with my family - my lawyer friend who took a day off work and carried my bags and boxes in my College room when I moved out of Namaus back to KK in June 2016. A friend who gave me and my wife his house to live in for months without rent and in fact treated me to countless lunches and dinners and is my strong supporter until today. These ones - they are my true family.