Now that I am back in KK for good I have plenty of time to reconnect with my friends. Friendship is a huge and complex subject but as Proverbs says "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother". A week ago I reconnected with a friend in New Zealand. We met 20 years ago when we were in the same 3rd year Greek class. I was doing my one-year postgraduate diploma and he was about to begin his MTheol thesis. When my son went to study at Otago Boys High I asked him to be a contact person and my son stayed over in his place a couple of time during term holidays. He was most kind and his lovely wife would always invite us for dinner or lunch when I visited Dunedin.
Though I have not seen him for close to 12 years I consider him a good friend. I also have a good friend in England. I got to know also 20 plus years ago when he taught at a local seminary. But I just sent him an email about my latest updates. In Sabah, I have a few friends that I try staying in touch. My home church at Likas is not a place I visit often now, but I still a few close friends that text me once a while. Over Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019 I received many well-wishes, double compared to Christmas 2017.
Among fellow pastors whom are my contemporaries or a few years in between I have a few friends who from time to time chat or connect through WhatsApp and Instagram. I value their friendship and counsel especially on church matters seeing that we are in the same line of ministry and the same denomination.
Since I taught at College in the past three years, in fact 4 years if the part-time stint in 2015 is included I have many former students who are now pastors and evangelists. Last Wednesday I met a couple of them in Ranau. They were attending a Pastors' Conference in Ranau town and we had dinner together and the fellowship was sweet. These pastors with families struggle financially with both of them getting RM500.00 per month (salary paid mostly paid one or two months' in arrears). One is an evangelist who had converted 40 people in the north of the State with added responsibility of pastoring two other cell groups in two nearby villages. He shared his fears that should he leave his converts might return to their old pagan ways. It is a constant struggle for some of these pastors but I could not do much for them except to extend my hand of fellowship and shared a meal with them. But true friends are those who are also with you in heart and spirit though they might be far away. They stay true and always encouraging, never demeaning or lose faith in you but always gives a word of comfort or advice or even rebuke when called for. I have a few of these friends and I cherish them in the Lord.