The Floodgate opens As English District Copes with MCO

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It’s often been said that when God closes a door, He opens a window. But as for us here at FMC, God opened a floodgate for us during this MCO.

On 13th March 2020, the two lay leaders and I met to plan for the unfortunate event if one of our members was tested positive for COVID-19. By then, there was already one death and a few infections here in Kuching.

One of the teams we needed to set up was the multimedia team for us to do live streaming. A few weeks before that, we had registered most of our Sunday worshippers on our FMC Careline. That became and still is our line of communication with our members.

The following day, we met with key leaders of TTMC and LHMPC to share resources and SOP. That very afternoon, our multimedia team was put together and they set up their equipment for a test run on Sunday, 15th March 2020.

But before the day was over, our SCAC President Rev Tie called for all Sunday Worship services to be suspended on 15th March 2020. We literally had the rug pulled out from under our feet. We went live totally unprepared but extremely thankful to God that we had a day’s notice. As we viewed our first video, we could see how we stumbled and fumbled.

That first week was ‘kelam-kabut’; really trying to find our footing. The whole country went into lock down and we were quite unprepared. Our Thursday night prayer meeting was on Whatsapp Video with 4 in each group.

Gather and
meet online

We asked our small groups to try Whatsapp and also started to explore Zoom. By the following week, we went into Zoom full steam. The District Superintendents and the President met on Zoom for the first time. The FMC pastors, the English District pastors and the Executive Committee all met on Zoom.

Our first Zoom prayer meeting was noisy and disconcerting as all of us were new to zoom. We didn’t mute the mikes and we sang out of sync. But these kinks were all ironed out and today, our Thursday Prayer meetings are well attended and we have even invited guests to share at our online prayer meetings. We look forward to hosting two missionaries at our prayer meetings in July.

By the second week, most of our ministries went online – Disciple classes, Boys and Girls Brigade, MYF, MJYF, Sunday School and even our LCEC met online.

The pastors adapted very quickly and we virtually visited families and members who were hospitalised. We were even able to visit families with members in different parts of the world.

On Good Friday, FMC hosted our second Live Streaming service and the team was more prepared and the broadcast went smoother. The team was using their personal equipment and had set them up in the sanctuary. Subsequently, all our broadcast was done with the team at their own homes.

Some of our members began to express their desire to “see” their pastors and hence we did Pastoral videos with FMC pastors taking turns to send messages of encouragement and greetings. We included staff and leaders and recently our senior citizens who demonstrated how to make rice dumplings.

By mid-April, we felt the need to have talks to minister to our sisters who have to juggle home, work and even teaching and guiding their children in their studies. That started our “Little God time for Ladies”. The first session was held on 23rd April 2020 via Zoom and was limited only to FMC members. But the response was overwhelming and ladies from other English speaking churches wanted to be part of it. Hence on 30th April 2020, we broadcasted our session on Youtube and Facebook. We had more than 500 logins that day.

No more

But a few days later, it became a recommended video on You Tube and there were almost 7,000 views where 6% were from Malaysia, while 42% of them were from India, 16% from the US, and the remaining percentages are from the rest of the world. It humbled us as most of us felt that we were fumbling along offering to God only our small offerings.

But that series opened a floodgate for us as we were able to invite two pastors from Singapore to join us and our speakers were from different parts of Sarawak. There were no more boundaries for our ministry. While inter-district travel was still banned, our message of God’s love and grace was unrestrained.

With that we planned another series for our brothers; entitled MCO- Men can overcome. Another floodgate was opened by the Lord for us.

Firstly, we were able to invite brother Jason Wong, the founder of Dad’s for Life movement in Singapore and now Board Chairman of Focus on the Family and a Director at Centre for Fathering. He didn’t have to travel but his message came to Sarawak. Likewise our other speakers were from all over Sarawak.

Secondly, our message went to Pakistan, UAE, Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Egypt, Nepal; places where most of us have never been to.

The Lord again showed to us what He could do if only we would offer our offerings to Him. The floodgate remained open.

The next online talk will be on 24th June 2020 where Dr Bawih, the Psychiatrist from the Miri General Hospital and Dr Diana Wee, the Consultant Clinical Psychologist from Columbia Asia Hospital (Miri) will be speaking on Healthy Mind Healthy Life.

With that, we also started Zoom Ministry rooms after the Sunday Online services where pastors and leaders are “present” in two different rooms to minister to and welcome members and visitors. It has been a heart-warming experience as we ministered to our brothers and sisters from all corners of Sarawak.

King David was constantly mindful of what he could do with God’s help. Not only was he able to kill bears and lions, he killed Goliath. But in 2 Samuel 22 where he sang of song of praise to his God, he said in verse 30: “With your help, I can advance a troop, with my God, I can scale a wall.” All Glory and honour be to our God who had helped us at FMC and the English District scale the wall and opened the floodgate of ministry to us. Amen

Rev Lenita Tiong
PIC, Faith Methodist Church, Kuching
( June 2020)