Film / Book Reviews

Challenges of reaching out to the Sengoi

Jun 2011    

A RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK which all who are involved in “missions” should read is the recently published e Story of the Sengoi Mission by the Rev Dr Paul B. Means, edited by his son, the late Dr Gordon Means from original fragments, notes and photograph collection. It is an important reminder of the challenges which present themselves to those who wish to evangelise, especially among the less developed peoples.

It also marks the 80th Anniversary of the Sengoi mission that dates to 1930. It is an important reminder of the origins of very tentative steps in even coming into contact with the Sengoi, one of the largest groups of Orang Asli in West Malaysia. ey were quite primitive jungle folk who had rarely come into contact with the outside world.

In this book, Paul Means and his wife, Mrs Nathalie Means, who were Methodist missionaries, served in this area from the 1930s, and were pioneers in a form of mission determined by the physical and educational needs of these peoples. Rather than try to “convert” them, Paul Means saw that their physical condition was ravaged by diseases of one kind or another (with no medical care whatsoever), while their total lack of education contributed to a host of fears and superstitions which could be exploited by outsiders. Their immediate needs had to be met – long before they began to appreciate the love of Christ.

In this sense, mission was meeting these poor folk at the centre of their condition. In that sense, everybody is involved in a personal mission. Even simple education for the jungle folk and their children posed a challenge, not because they were not interested, but simply because they could not understand what it meant to meet the world at their doorstep.

The Story of the Sengoi Mission is, nonetheless, a fascinating reading experience of how “primitive” people had to face life and all its challenges in a “jungle” setting, and is why many more should read it.

Limited supplies are available at the Archives and History Library or direct from the publisher.

NOTE: The Story of the Sengoi Mission (2011), Genesis Books, Published by Armour Publishing Pte Ltd; $14.

Book to honour Rev Dr George Wan

TO THANK GOD for the life and ministry of the Rev Dr George Wan Tian Soo (right), some friends and colleagues will be putting out a book, Christian Ministry: Love in Action.

The Rev Dr Wan passed away on March 22, 2010 at the age of 73. He retired in 1998 after 33 years of service in the Methodist Church.

The book will be a collection of essays written by Methodist pastors and theologians addressing topics related to pastoral ministry, missions, evangelism, youth work and Christian social outreach – subjects close to his heart.

The publication of the book, scheduled to be released later this year, is fully sponsored by Trinity Methodist Church.

A special hardcover edition will be available for a donation of $80 and above for a copy. All proceeds from this edition will go to the Methodist Welfare Services. To place an order, contact Ms Clara Lick at tel: 6478-4723 or via email at


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