28 April 2010
Dear Prayer Partners,
1. TQ for your intercessory partnership during the ministry in Bario, Sarawak. I was there to preach for their 50th Easter Convention. The Lord moved mightily among the Kelabit as well as the Penan tribes there. Then I was in Tawau, Sabah to teach in the Bible School there.
2. I flew to Miri on Tues (30/3) night as I would be flying to Bario on Thur (1/4) morning. I took the opportunity to visit several pastors and friends in Miri whom I had not met for some time.
3. Aunty V, R and J had also flown in from KK Sabah to join me in this maiden trip. We all flew together on Thur morn on an 18-seater Twin Otter plane. In the airport, Rev. G accompanied us as he would be my interpreter during the revival meetings. He was also the former president of the SIB denomination.
4. Aunty S and her 18-year old son also accompanied us. I had met her Sept 2009 during the camp in Cameron Highlands where the Lord moved mightily among the campers. When the organizers of this Easter Convention called her for recommendation, she immediately called me in Jan 2010.
5. Another passenger, Datin M, happened to be in the same flight. Her husband, who was a trained pastor but became a politician, had just passed away two weeks ago. She was returning to Bario to rest and thank the people for their help during the recent funeral.
6. As the plane landed, we saw many people lining up to welcome us. A line of women dressed in tribal costume carrying pineapple with a straw poked into it. All the guests, including me, stood in front of the pineapple and drank it. It was the sweetest pineapple juice that I ever had.
7. Bario is located among the mountains and is the highest place where there is settlement in Borneo Island. Due to the soil and weather, it produces the sweetest pineapple as well as the world famous Bario rice.
8. The Kelabits are the natural inhabitants of this blessed land. They were one time ferocious headhunters and drunkards and animists. But praise the Lord due to the missionary effort of the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM aka SIB) in the 1930s/40s, many of them repented and gave their hearts to Jesus.
9. The gospel radically transformed them and many of them, together with their close cousins, the Lun Bawangs, became evangelists and pastors. When the community backslided in the 1960s, they experienced a major revival in 1973 where the Lord visited them in a tremendous way. It is documented in a book called The Bario Revival.
10. And now after 37 years since the outbreak of the 1973 revival, the Kelabits are in need of another major revival. The new generation needs a fresh vision of Jesus and His power again. Many of those who were in the 1973 revival are in their 50s - 80s now. They are still committed to the Lord and praying to see a fresh revival to overwhelm their children and grandchildren. It is most unfortunate that many of their children have left the Lord and have converted to other religion.
11. The first night of the service, I was asked only to open the ceremony as different congregations from the surrounding areas wanted to testify through songs and dances.
12. One of the ladies from the crowd came up to me and asked me whether I remembered her. She mentioned that she met me several times in one of the universities in the early 1990s. I used to mentor and disciple a number of the undergraduates during those times. And she just came back to Bario specifically for this Easter convention. She even brought two of her friends from West Malaysia to attend it. It is always interesting to see how the past catches up with me in the most unexpected places.
13. The next morning, I preached that before Jesus returned to heaven, He gave us the Holy Spirit so that we are empowered to become witnesses for Jesus. Those who were opened received from the Lord and He moved mightily among the congregation.
14. They, especially the elderly women who had experienced the revival in 1973, spontaneously started dancing around the hall before the Lord. The Lord was just ministering to the people and refreshing them in His presence.
15. During the night service, there were a lot of students who had come from the neighboring school hostel. So I preached a short message for them and prayed for them as they have curfew hour to return to the hostel. The Lord touched many of them.
16. Another ex-student came up to see me. She, a Kelabit, seldom comes back for the Easter Convention but this year she did. I met her in the university in the early 1990s and discipled her for a few years. Now, she has quit her teaching job and is flying off to Ireland to join her Kelabit husband who is working there. I prayed with her and commissioned her over to Europe to fulfill the Great Commission there. The vision we planted 20 over years ago continues on overseas.
17. On Sat afternoon I was preaching to the women and encouraging them to live godly lives. At night, just before I preached, they had a short ceremony to adopt me and the three ladies from Sabah into the Kelabit tribe.
18. They gave me a new name, Nganid Bala. Nganid means distributor or someone who shares and bala mean news. So Nganid Bala literally means the Sharer of the Word. I sure hope I can live up to this new name!
19. When I was preaching that night, halfway I felt a prompting to pray for the congregation. So I stopped and started praying for them. In the midst, there was a group of Penans and the Lord was ministering to them. Even after the service closed, they continued to pray in another prayer room beside the main church.
20. The next morn, Rev G told me that the district pastor mentioned that he woke up at around 4 am as he heard some scuffling and tussling sound in the prayer room where the Penans were praying the night before.
21. Aunty J who is a light sleeper mentioned that she heard some scratching sound in the kitchen and then it moved to the prayer room. When the pastor came to look, the sound suddenly stopped as if it was hiding from the pastor. When the pastor left, she heard the sound again and it was like in frantic to leave the place.
22. All of the sudden, there was sound of windows plane shattering. When they checked it, the 2 lower window planes were broken. They believe it was an evil spirit who was trying to escape. About 2 weeks before this convention, there was a Penan student who had a dream of a half-man and half-beast demon who was terrorizing the students. This demon had apparently dug a grave and put all the students into the grave.
23. They believe the prayer the night before destroyed the stronghold that this demon had put over them – and that they had been pulled out of the grave and set free to worship God. This incident really encouraged the people to continue to pray and seek the Lord.
24. Sun morning, I felt the Lord leading me to preach a short sermon and then to pray for the families. We anointed the families with oil and prayed for divine blessings and covering for the whole families. This was a first time for many of them to do a family dedication, especially for the fathers who seem not taught to pray for the family.
25. On Sun afternoon, I was preaching to the youth congregation – and I shared on boy-girl relationship. On Sun night, the last night of the convention, I preach on having genuine or false faith and encourage the people to have a living relationship with Christ. They must not rely on someone’s faith but to have a true faith in Christ.
26. The presence of the Lord was powerful in their midst. One of them was trembling and crawling on the floor. He was grabbing someone’s leg and begging to be set free. When he saw me, he crawled over and grabbed hold of my legs.
27. He was asking why he could not stop trembling, and I explained that he is experiencing the terror of God – something that we do not see regularly now. I explained to him that he needed to confess his sins before God so that Jesus can cleanse him. He humbly did and joy flooded his soul. Later he was leaping and dancing before the Lord. There was much rejoicing among the people as they experienced the presence of the Lord.
28. We are flying off from Bario today to Miri. They gave us a great sent off to the airport. The man, who was trembling the night before, turned out to be a law enforcement officer and he came and sent us off. And there were many people who came and sent us off and gave us many sacks of Bario rice. The Kelabits are well known for their warmth and hospitality.
29. In the midst of the celebratory mood, we recognized that we are in the midst of urgent warfare. When the plane landed, a religious teacher from another religion stepped down. Apparently he has been assigned to convert as many Kelabits as possible. They have access to money, loads of it and they are willing to spend it to gain converts from the Christianized Kelabit tribe. Continue to pray for my adopted tribe!
End of the Bario Easter Convention trip
30. From Bario, I flew off to Miri and in the evening to Kuching for another meeting there. The next day, Tues, I head back to Singapore. After 3 days of rest, on Saturday, I flew off to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
31. On Sunday morning, I preached in a church service, challenging the people there to grow spiritually. And on this particular Sunday, a group of 40 Bible school students were arranged to visit this church as part of their church visitation program. I believe the Lord challenged them with His Word and His presence.
32. In the same Sunday evening, I flew off to Tawau as I would be teaching there for 5 days. It was a good time to teach the Word to the pastors and trainee pastors – and to help them understand the Old Testament.
33. After the 5 days of class, on Fri evening, I flew off to Kuala Lumpur. On Sat morning (10am – 1pm), I had Bible Study with some undergraduates and encourage them to grow in the Lord. Then I went off to Shah Alam to preach in the afternoon (2.30 – 5pm) service there. I met most of them during the 2010 Chinese New Year camp. Then it was off to PJ to preach to a bunch of English Youth (5 – 7 pm).
34. Sunday morning, 8.45am, I attended an English church service in Cheras. I used to attend this church in the 1970s but at a different location. The old church did fundraising at that time to buy the very building that I was sitting in that morning. I remembered that I gave and contributed to the buying of the building. I had not visited them since 1982.
35. And now 30 over years later, the church has grown from the 80 people when I first joined to over 1000 people now. The Word of God multiplied – and I rejoiced that God gave me a privilege to be able to give to His work that has resulted in the salvation of many souls.
36. Then at 11.30 am, I preached in the Malay language service of this church but at a different location. They have about 50 people. The Lord touched many of the people. Thereafter I had a committee meeting (2.30 – 4.30) with the leaders of this BM congregation as I am supposed to be the spiritual mentor. We planned for the vision and direction of the church. Pray that the Lord will raise them up to be a lighthouse.
37. Then we rushed off to another church in PJ where I preached in the BM service (5 – 7pm). It was 2 days of hectic services and meetings. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few! I hope you can catch a sense of the urgency of the work that is being done. Pray for strength.
There are much more to share but time and space does not permit. Now busy preparing for the next ministries in May and June. Covet your prayers. God bless!