It's surreal. Yesterday another friend asked me about my future ministry. Two days ago, my former Deputy chairman of the church in Ranau also texted me and he expressed surprise that I had gone over to the "other side". It's hard to explain the mixed feelings I have had experienced in the past month. Yes, it's been exactly a month since I signed the acceptance letter of appointment as a Seminary's lecturer. My tenure will begin on 1st June, 70 days from today. On one hand, I felt relieved that it was all over in terms of my future ministry and that it is done and dusted. Speculation and texts reached a crescendo a couple of weeks before I put my name on the dotted line.If it was merely to end all speculation for months why my denomination's leaders were taking so long to make an appointment. "How can two people walk together unless they are in agreement?" (Amos). I realised perhaps a bit too late that it's better to serve where people appreciate one's calling and gifts. Getting a PhD is like finding gold literally as it now costs about RM1 million Ringgit if one goes for overseas study for 4 years minimum. Very few people finish their PhD in 3 years.
Having a PhD in Biblical Studies is the gold standard of all PhDs. Many doctoral degrees major in many areas of theology but few major in the Bible. In the whole Malaysia, I can count with one hand those who hold PhD in OT or NT or Biblical Studies. And I am proud to say that one of my former students at TTC is among the few Malaysians who holds a PhD in NT.
But as for me, the bitter experience (like John who felt sweet and bitter when he consumed the little scroll in Rev 10) is that I am leaving my one and only employer in Sabah since I entered full-time ministry in 1994. I thought I would die as a churchman within my denomination and not have to serve elsewhere. God may still grant me that wish in 20 years' time.