The Ministry to Sarawak Indigenous People (MSIP) under the Board of Evangelism (BOE) was established over 20 years ago (give the exact yr). Since the very early stages I have been involved in mobilizing the Annual Conference to make indigenous people disciples of Jesus.
Why am I so persistent in this ministry? My unwavering conviction is rooted in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
Impetus runs on
The wonderful thing is that I have never felt the paring down of the impetus in this Great Commission that our Lord entrusted upon the church and I. Some people may easily give up this ministry, when facing problems in interpersonal relationship; when language and communication differences among different ethnic groups become difficult; when Chinese Christians lose patience on the weaknesses of the indigenous people; when Chinese Christians are not cautious enough on issues of Islamisation of the indigenous people; when Chinese Christians lack the spirit of mission in evangelizing to the indigenous people and other reasons.
These challenges are good. We are all sinners and are not perfect. As Jesus’ disciples we should be humble and learn to rely upon the Triune God by paying more attention to God’s will, to listen to His voice, to be more patient with others and to teach God’s words unceasingly. We should always push and lead fellow Christians to see the urgency of this ministry and be prepared to pay the price to act on it.
The drive to reach out to these indigenous people comes about because of all these challenges. Without challenges we lack that sense of mission. Because of the challenge of our sins, God became man in Jesus and sacrificed His life as an offering for the atonement of our sin.
As a disciple of Jesus I am ready to offer my life to be used by the Lord to evangelize, preach and shepherd to the indigenous people and Chinese in Sarawak. I am even willing to sacrifice. This is my most sincere response to Jesus’ sacrificial love to me. What about you?
This great commission defines my ministry and is my ministry. To whom am I going to minister and fulfill this great commission? Through Jesus, God constantly leads me to the cries of the indigenous people of Sarawak and the crop is ripe for harvest. Too many indigenous people, in the rural areas or in towns, are waiting for us to reach them; there is a severe lacking of pastors to minister and shepherd these people.
Very specific response
My concrete and specific responses are:
1) Our Lord touched my heart to reach out to 500 longhouses before I pass on to see Him. I (now 53 years old) want to mobilize indigenous people and Chinese Christians to go to the longhouses to evangelize and pastor them. I am most happy to tell you that I have already reached out to 115 longhouses. To encourage you I will make it a point to let you know the number of longhouses I have reached out every year. May be you can ask me when we meet.
2) I want to translate the 9-month Disciple Gold and Disciple Purple (discipleship course material) into BM. At present we have the BM version of Disciple Red and Disciple Green. These courses can guide and shape Christians into disciples of Jesus in theological understanding, attitudes and behavior. Who knows may be one day, some of these people will become Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, MPs, Chief Minister and etc.
3) I want to be a part time BM theology lecturer in Methodist Theological School (MTS). BOE (Board of Evangelism???) and MTS are working together to start the theology course in BM in 2021. Other lecturers and I are going to train Chinese and indigenous people students how to evangelize and shepherd the indigenous people.
4) I will be the full-time Director of BOE (I was recommended in the meeting of BOE). By that I will have more time to reach out to the indigenous people and to mobilize churches to go to the longhouse to do mission and teaching the longhouse folks.
5) I want to appeal to more church members to respond to God’s calling to become local missionaries and to be equipped to be BM pastors.
These are my responses to the cries of the indigenous people, what is yours?
Written by Rev Law Hui Seng
(Director of Board of Evangelism)
Translated by KT Chew