More than 400 specially invited guests at the Methodist Mission Society’s (MMS) “My Father’s Business” Banquet on August 25 sat riveted as they watched the telling of a transformed life in the mountainous country of Nepal.
Rojina was a street kid, roaming the streets of Kathmandu and moving from house to house.
Her mother had committed suicide, and her father was a metal worker, and was half blind. She was just nine years old when her aunt, a butcher, met Shanti, previously our MMS missionary in Nepal.
Through this, Rojina joined Sophia’s Home together with her younger sister, Rojita. They both cried for two months as they found it very difficult to adjust. Today, at 21 years old, Rojina has finished college and is a pre-school teacher. She is also now engaged to a youth worker.
The Rev Sabashtain Lepcha and his wife Grace, house-parents of Sophia’s Home, explained: “In Nepal, girls are not given priority. Usually by 14 or 15 they are married and they become mothers. Education helps them to have a better future.”
The story of Rojina is just one of thousands of lives transformed as MMS goes about “our Father’s business” based on its Vision 2020, adopted in 2003, to plant 800 indigenous disciple-making churches by the year 2020.
In his message, Guest-of-Honour Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup focused on El Shaddai, which has different shades of meaning. Usually translated as “the Almighty God”, it presents God as the “breasted” One, or the one who nourishes, the “all-sufficient one”.
Drawing from Genesis 17:1-14, Bishop explained that God provided all and more than Abraham needed, to be the one to father many nations. What was so special about Abraham was that he was chosen to participate in God’s plan in this everlasting covenant.
In 2009, there were only 24 churches planted. This number has now grown to 265 as of 2012. As such, another 535 churches will need to be planted in the next seven years. A four-step plan will be in place to achieve this: win the lost, build the believer, train the workers to be church planters and multipliers, and mentor the leaders.
The goal is to double the number of churches every two years. MMS, in partnership with many local Methodist churches in Singapore, has already reached out to Cambodia, China, Nepal, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Laos.
In his appeal to church leaders, corporate sponsors, donors and entrepreneurs, MMS Executive Director Rev Philip Lim said: “We have a two-pronged strategy for mission work in these seven countries – one is church planting, and the other is community development. We need the help of every Methodist, local church and Annual Conference to help us achieve our goal of planting 800 churches by 2020. Please pray with us. Be involved. Give where it is most needed. Together, we can fulfill Christ’s Great Commission.”
The banquet was generously sponsored by Far East Organisation and The Fullerton Hotel. Besides the following projects that were highlighted at the Banquet, MMS will need to raise S$1.8 million to cover the cost of field operations and the FY13/14 programmes budget.
> Chiang Mai, Thailand: Phase Two of Vineyard Methodist School
Vineyard started as a humble childcare centre in 2000 to meet the needs of working parents with young children living in the vicinity. This later expanded into a nursery, then a kindergarten, and in 2011, was renamed the Vineyard Methodist School. The long-term goal of the school is to provide a well-rounded primary education, including a full English-medium curriculum for nationals. To cater to the rapidly growing needs, English and Chinese language teachers will need to be recruited, and an extension will have to be built.
> Kathmandu, Nepal: Methodist Centre and Wesley Methodist Church
Since The Methodist Church in Nepal was instituted in October 2008, there are now six churches and five preaching points, supported by a faithful group of national pastors and evangelists, as well as cross-cultural evangelists. It is now timely to build a permanent home for Wesley Methodist Church and to establish a Methodist Centre, which will serve as the headquarters to train and equip national pastors for the growth of God’s Kingdom in Nepal.
> Huangshan, China: Children’s Home cum Training Centre
This is a partnership project with the Geng Cheng Three Self Church in Tai Ping, Huangshan to accommodate up to 30 orphans or children from broken or dysfunctional families. This will include a guest house that will be used by MMS to accommodate students from Zhangzhou Bible Training Centre, and to conduct discipleship training for national co-workers in the Anhui province. The Children’s Home will be a two-storey building with dormitories for girls and boys, and common amenities.
Both award-winning guest singers who performed on the evening of the banquet set the ball rolling, by donating a portion of their CD album sales proceeds to MMS. Vocal coach, recording artiste and song-writer, Mr Matthew Quek, performed three songs related to his life experiences and how God’s love has seen him through.
One of Malaysia’s top recording artistes, Ms Juwita Suwito, then performed songs from her latest album, “The HeART of Hymns”, including “Holy, Holy, Holy” as she found it interesting that an English clergyman with a heart for missions, Reginald Heber, had penned the lyrics and later served as Bishop of Calcutta.
The music continued to play with two solo renditions by saxophonist Samuel Cheah, a member of the “Burnt Offering” worship team from Pentecost Methodist Church. The call is clear. Are you ready to fulfil God’s Great Commission through MMS?
DONATE * to support, making your cheques out to The Methodist Church in Singapore (MMS). Call 6478-4818 for more details. PRAY * for more to come forward as full-time missionaries, volunteers and workers to help build the Kingdom. * for God’s Holy Spirit to come upon all MMS missionaries, national workers and evangelists that they will continue to have the energy, stamina, courage and wisdom to do His will.
Pictures by Methodist Missions Society
Proposed MMS building projects in Nepal, Thailand, and China that were highlighted during the fund-raising banquet.
Christina Stanley – Editor of Methodist Message