I love my weekends in Malaysia. I work hard all week to get here, and I treasure the time to relax, loaf around the apartment, get things sorted out for the coming week, get some marking done if I have to, read a little, watch some telly, go for a swim, play my guitar or cruise some malls with Pam. It is all good. The climate here is 32 degrees every day, so you don’t have to bundle up or think about how to deal with the cold; you can just stroll out in your shirtsleeves pretty much any day of the year.
On Sundays we go to church at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in Petaling Jaya. Yeah, we debated a bit about the whole Methodist thing ourselves, but having had a long look at a number of churches in KL, it is the best that we have found. Pastor Daniel Ho is a leader in the Malaysia Christian church and the founder of the church he still pastors. About 1,000 attend weekly, more on special occasions. The church has 200 cell groups and a pastoral staff of 16. They support 200 missionaries in SouthEast Asia, with a focus on Nepal, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. It is the later connection that drew us to this church.
We don’t have a car, so for a while we attended a church in the local hotel. The people were lovely, but the church was essentially an outreach post, and the messages pretty basic. With regrets we felt we had to move on. Our present church is 15 minutes away by car, which when we came to Malaysia was almost insurmountable. But recently the government has cracked down on the taxi industry, insisting that they use the meter or face a $100 fine if they are caught. What used to cost us $20 to get to church and back – if you could find a cab to do it for that price – has now been reduced to $7 return and no hassling over the price.
This morning the service featured two pastors from Cambodia that the church supports. They spoke of their ministry in a very difficult province of that country, noted for its thieves and alcoholics. Starting at scratch, the work has now expanded to a significant Christian witness. Those who don’t know these pastors by name, simply call them Jesus. There was also a call for the Christians in Malaysia to confront Islam and Buddhism with knowledge and understanding by Pastor Ho, who has served as chairman of the evangelical churches of Malaysia.
After church I walk the few meters to the nearest mall – there is always a nearest mall in this city – and get myself a chai tea latte before catching a cab home again. There is a Jaya grocery store in that mall, so Pam and I will sometimes pick up a few groceries before we head back to the cool of our condo for lunch. I am grateful for the church of Jesus Christ in this country, and admire the faithful Christians who serve Him here and throughout the region. It is a privilege to worship with fellow believers on the other side of the globe and know that the God of heaven hears us in whatever language we choose to praise Him.