Christian Tourism, Malaysia
"And they went home rejoicing" (iphone 3GS + Swankolab)Another roadtrip, another road disappearing into the horizon. This could have been anywhere. But as it was, this was the North-South highway. We were legging it back to Singapore with a huge crack in the windscreen, having spent the night talking with an adrenaline-pumped pastor/evangelist/dreamer of godly dreams/gospel strategist. It had been 6am when we finally shuffled off to bed, ideas and plans still swirling and thankful to God for the opportunity to see His work.
The same cultural inefficiency that made it difficult to set any plan in progress also made it easy for the work to continue without raising issues of conscience. The bumi policies meant tighter minority groups within which the fires of good news could spread fast. The frustrating jams on the Federal Highway made it necessary to think carefully about the placement of growth groups and churches and vicarages.
Downloads of Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson (free pdf), Letters Along the Way (free pdf) and D.A. Carson's For the Love of God (free pdf) on the iphone on the way to work have made for fantastic starts to workday mornings - how gloriously humbling to be reminded of where we stand in the vast sweep of God's work in human history, how encouraging to be running the race with people of every nation/race/colour/era, and how seriously we are duly warned of the gobsmacking sinfulness of God's own people, who returned again and again to their own vomit.
So it was brilliant to speak with so many new Christians at Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) delighting in their first taste of good solid bible food and to hear how their delight overflowed in their lives in evangelism and gospel service in translating Two Ways to Live into the Chinese vernacular, speaking at CFs in private schools, training and preparing for Whitewater Summer Camp and various Gospel Growth Fellowship ministries. And there was much muttered thanks that God gave to some the gifts of both strategy and courageous faith so they would be able to put a finger to the pulse of local culture and be cognisant cross-cultural difficulties in assessing godliness, boldly start nationwide initiatives, identify congregational crown jewels, think not just exegetically but theologically and doctrinally, and say, stabbing a dirty fork for emphasis, "You Singaporeans really need to get your shit together".
But history and the Scriptures tell us what often happens to the well-laid plans of mice and men, and how sin often stumbles the runner. Perhaps our prayers for them should be less about a good harvest (though surely, one desires and must ask for that, yet at the same time, the harvest is the Lord's and the crop will grow in his perfect timing, according to his will), and more about the godliness and perseverance of all involved, that at the end, God our Father may say to them,"Well done, good and faithful servant."
Labels: Travels: Malaysia