It all began with a dream, a vision from God. I was down with high fever and was praying for healing. I dreamt of a church with a red roof, beautifully decorated, and located beside a vast flowing river.
I heard God’s voice saying, “Go and build My church and I will give you a helpmate, I will prosper you, and you will build My church.” I hesitated, and said that I didn’t know anyone in the mission field that He had shown me. But God responded unequivocally, “GO!”
After a period of prayer, I decided to obey His calling. After my arrival at this bustling city of SGH, I met my wife who comes from ZJJ. God fulfilled the first of His three promises. Curious to see if His two remaining promises would also come to pass, I asked my wife about her home church. To my disappointment, she said it was a very old building, with a black roof and not beautifully decorated.
Could my dream have just been imagination? I learnt to trust God and remain faithful to Him, believing that the vision I had was indeed from Him.
My wife and I spent nine years in SGH. After worshipping there with 70 other believers, we decided to move on to a new challenge, to set up a fellowship in SHZ. By God’s grace and faithfulness, this weekly fellowship grew to a group of believers 100 strong.
After seven years in SHZ, my wife and I decided to further equip ourselves through theological studies. However, things were not plain sailing as I enrolled myself in Trinity Theological College (TTC) while my wife attended a local seminary in HNN. For the next three years, we were apart from each other as well as from our children who were placed in a boarding school.
The only occasion we could spend time together as a family was during the Lunar New Year. I was privileged to be able to spend time with my wife during my semester break, staying in a family room at her seminary in HNN. It was during this time that God opened new opportunities for us to serve, as I was invited by the HNN Christian Council to minister in the churches around HNN.
All the while, we had been serving with the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) as volunteers. Upon completion of our theological studies, we became full-time missionaries with MMS.
We returned to ZJJ to begin our ministry. In God’s faithfulness, my wife received her preaching license in nine months, a process that would normally take two years! We were attached to the Christian Council in ZJJ, ministering to its 46 churches.
In ZJJ, there are only four ordained pastors and 40 local preachers to serve the 46 churches. The challenge is greater as the churches are located across difficult terrain, making them highly inaccessible. As such, the churches celebrate Holy Communion only once every three months.
We are planning to establish another fellowship in ZJJ city. The critical need is to equip and train the local leaders, most of whom are farmers. We have built a retreat centre that will cater to the spiritual needs of the mostly volunteer pastors and leaders. Farming is their primary source of livelihood and we have seen many who have left because of the financial need to support their families.
Over the years of my ministry, I have learnt to trust and remain faithful to God. Today, the main city church in ZJJ now has a red painted roof and is beautifully decorated – just like the vision given to me by God. As for the vast flowing river, I believe it was a metaphorical representation of the growth of the church: always moving and not standing still. God always fulfils His promises; glory be to God!
The writer is a missionary with MMS in a Creative Access Nation. He is a Singaporean whilst his wife is a local national. They have been serving with MMS since 2005. Due to the sensitive nature of his ministry, acronyms have been used for names and places.
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