Category Archives: Grace Methodist Church

XEE Thanksgiving Night

IMG_4431for connection for web
Rev. Lenita Tiong (standing 5th from right) with the XEE Team. Photo credit – Abel Wong Ing Hwa.

by James TC Wong

MAY 12, MIRI - After its launch 12 weeks ago, the Grace Methodist Church (GMC) XEE Team re-grouped last night for a thanksgiving dinner to appreciate their trainees and prayer partners.

Also present at the fellowship were Rev. Lenita Tiong and Michael Lee, the Lay Leader of GMC.

XEE is an exciting offshoot of the Evangelism Explosion equipping ministry. Though not new in the SCAC Methodist churches, XEE is nevertheless significant in GMC because it was introduced for the first time. The method of teaching Christians to share the Gospel is through interactive training, small group discussion and role-play. The Gospel presentation is simple and story-driven with room for discussion. It makes witnessing not only non-threatening but an enjoyable activity to look forward to.

In his welcoming message, Richard Lin thanked all the people involved for their commitment and perseverance. Lin, who is also the Chairman of Membership and Evangelism Ministry, commended the prayer partners for their unfailing support throughout the period. “We are also very encouraged with the results we had. In the total number of contact activities, the rejection rate was a low 6.5% as compared to a balanced outcome of acceptance, assurance or neutral-status from the rest,” Lin reported.

The fellowship also provided an opportunity for both trainers and trainees alike to relate their experiences.

Trainer Sally Tan praised God and encouraged the trainees. “Years ago when Rev. Law Hui Seng was the pastor-in-charge of our church, I already had a burden to reach out but didn’t know how. Over the weeks, I was encouraged by the response of prayer partners. It’s not that tough, just focus on Jesus. Be available, have faith, and take action. Leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.”

Trainee Cynthia Hong confessed her shortcoming in sharing the Gospel before knowing XEE. “I wouldn’t know how to continue if a person I approach tells me he or she is not a Christian. After observing how my trainer shared the Gospel and with practice, I have become bolder and confident. Now I’m filled with a purpose in life and I’m so thrilled,” she shared.

Jimmy Shih said he has overcome his fear of sharing the Gospel. “I became a Christian in 2003. I prayed and asked for 3 names; one accepted Christ and two rejected. With XEE, the Gospel is made easy to share. Two persons accepted Christ when I shared the Gospel with them! There is an indescribable joy when the person you shared the Gospel with accepts Jesus. God is faithful and good!”

Nurse Lina Kana was initially bewildered by the memory verses she had to remember. She was also at loss who she could approach to share the Gospel with. Being a grandmother with work and family commitments, Kana at times had wanted to give up the training. “But with God’s strength and prayers, I managed to overcome all my obstacles,” she proclaimed.

All the six trainees have completed their EE Semester Course and will receive their certificates in due course.

BB State Junior Camp

BB Junior State Camp
One for the album – fun activities during the camp!

by James TC Wong, 4th Miri

MAY 2-3, MIRI – The 2015 Sarawak State Junior Camp organized by the BB Northern Region Council at Petronas Games Village drew 67 participants from Bintulu and Miri.

Led by renowned Sibu-based MY Centre trainers, the 2D/1N camp was bustling with various indoor and outdoor activities cultivating character-building, team building and leadership skills.

By 7:45 am, registration was completed and the campers were quickly settled down after breakfast. Announcement of ground rules was made and four teams Blue, Green, Purple and Red were formed.

On Sunday morning (May 3), Lee Song Ping from Permy Methodist Church presented a sharing entitled “B-Booster, B-Brighter” guided by verses from Matthew 5:13-16. A school teacher by profession, Lee encouraged the campers to be the ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the community. “You need to have a purpose in your life besides learning to help and care for one another,” she said. “Having a good attitude will make you a better person; let the light in you shine so people can see the goodness in you,” Lee continued.

Participant Joan Tie of 6th Miri has joined the Boys’ Brigade for one-and-a-half years. Tie commented that the activities were both challenging and rewarding. “But I like the indoor sleeping arrangement instead of camping outside,” said the 12-year-old who prefers indoor accommodation.

Influenced by his brother, Moses Wong (5th Miri) became a BB two years ago. “I’m glad I joined because I got to know new friends and of course, the games were fantastic!” he said.

BB newcomer Brian Yeo of 1st Bintulu was elated with the camp. “I learned to pack my own luggage and became more independent,” said the 11-year-old.

BB Northern Region Council President Lawrence Wong (Cpt, 1st Limbang) purposely flew in from Limbang to visit the campers. He praised the trainers from MY Centre Sibu for doing an excellent job. “This is the first time the Northern Region has organized such an event. We hope to hold it every year to benefit more Boys and Girls,” he commented.

“I’m glad we were given the blessed opportunity to be part of this camp. We are enthusiastic about Miri’s potential and this trip has made us realize that we can definitely reach out to more youths here,” said MY Centre trainer Angelia Wong.

At the closing, Purple Team emerged champions. Cpt David Wong of 6th Miri was the Camp Commander. Among the BB Officers who dropped by to support the event were Cpt Henry Chew (1st Bintulu), Cpt Clement Hii (3rd Miri), Hon. Cpt Lorenzo Ting (3rd Miri), Cpt Roseline Lee (4th Miri) and Cpt Yong Soon Fuan (5th Miri).

6 Days of Wonder at God’s Backyard

Pa Adang
(L) The Pa’ Adang team, (Top right) New hostel, (Bottom right) Kitchen extension.

by Yung Teck Chung, Grace Methodist Church

PA’ ADANG MISSION TRIP, MARCH 2015 - My heart sank when Rev. Ling Biu of Gereja Methodist Tudan (GMT) announced that only 12 had registered. I felt disappointed. Because of the anticipated heavy physical work to be done, we had hoped for 30 volunteers.

However, Rev Ling was quick to encourage us. Quoting Judges 7:1-18, the good shepherd exhorted that activity and prudence would go with dependence upon God for help in our undertaking. The Israelites had mobilized 32,000 soldiers for battle but God only selected 300. Rev. Ling likened our situation to how God had commissioned Gideon and his selected soldiers into battle.

After the team was commissioned, we traveled to Pa’ Adang somehow feeling a bit apprehensive. But at the end of the trip, we praised God for His abundant provisions as all had turned out well and His promises delivered!

First, God gave us 20 local Penan brothers and sisters instead of 6 whom we had initially requested! This meant that we had 40 more hands to assist with the arduous moving of aggregates, cement boards and timber. Without these extra hands, there was no way the 12 of us could accomplish the construction of hostel, kitchen extension and new toilet block. Not only they were hard working, the Penans were very involved with us throughout our mission there. We truly praise God that we could work with these indigenous brothers and sisters. Indeed we have broken the barrier of alienation and we look forward to even greater participation with them.

Second, we were so blessed with brothers and sisters in the team who were so supportive of each other. We have brother David Wong (Boys’ Brigade 8th Kuching Captain) who joined in the last minute. His architectural expertise had provided great help in drafting the construction drawing. Brother Poh Hee’s plumbing skill on the installation of a new filtration system enabled free-flowing of clean water at all times unlike before when raw water had be boiled first. From the kitchen, brother Ken Hii and my wife Vivien provided enough food to satisfy all the workers. The construction team was so-called ‘amateurs’ but everyone turned out to be perfectionists yielding their best – yes, our team was truly amazing!

Third, by God’s intervention and provisions, a few of the team members were able to carry a survey of the settlement to plan better for future undertakings.

This trip was truly a blessing to all of us. 7 of us had returned after our November 2014 trip. The new participants have resolved to return again in June, July, September and November this year. You want to know why? Come and be part of the team and you will experience God personally! That will make you wanting to return to Pa’ Adang again. What can I say – God is moving in Pa Adang, Amen!

BB Farm Outing

IMG_4001 FOR CONNECTION & WEILI BAO for web
One for the album! Photo taken in front of the wild ferns (bilin) plot.

by James TC Wong, 4th Miri

MIRI - As part of its ongoing activities for this year, the Boys’ Brigade 4th Miri organized an educational outing to a farm on April 11.

Located about 25 km from the city, the privately-owned the 12-acre vegetables and fruits farm is nestled between the Kuala Baram industrial and agricultural zone.

Upon arrival, the Boys and Officers were warmly welcomed by farm owner Yong Hua Soon.

At the first stop of the tour, the visitors were introduced to the process of ferns planting.

Scientifically known as ‘Stenochlaena palustris’, the ferns ‘bilin’ or ‘milin’ is a favorite local dish in Sarawak. Used to be harvested wild, the ferns dish served in restaurants is now commercially farmed to meet the increasing market demands. However there are also many individual vegetable farmers who still pluck the ferns in the wild to sell in the tamu (local markets).

The visitors were also shown the germination, planting, caring and harvesting of water melons. They also learned that days to maturity range from 70 to 90, depending on the variety.

IMG_4007 for conn for web
Farm owner Yong (front, dark glasses) telling the Boys that water melons need fertile sandy soil to thrive.

“We’re now experiencing a dry spell weather which affects the production of our vegetables and fruits,” said Yong. “Hence, we need to pump water from the canals and pray for the rain to come soon.”

Other vegetables and fruits available at the farm are pumpkins, ladies fingers and bananas.

“I didn’t realize a farmer’s work is so tough,” said 10 year-old Junior Tan Zhe Herng. “From now on, I won’t waste any food on the table.”

13-year-old Senior Jupiter Kong was humbled to learn the many challenges a farmer has to overcome. “Now I have learned to respect farmers, and appreciate the hard work and effort they have to put in,” he added.

After 90 minutes, the visitors thanked the owner for the guided tour. “We wish to express our deep appreciation to Mr. Yong. Today our Boys have discovered much. They are now required to make reports from their observations from this learning experience, ” commented 4th Miri Captain Roseline Lee.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? – Experiencing God’s love through Disciple Class

God changed my life through Disciple class, says Rose Yaw for web
God changed me through Disciple Class, says Rose Yaw.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? is a new series of life-changing testimonies by GMC members. Sharing stories of trials, and God’s faithfulness and love is our gift to the community.

by Rose Yaw, Grace Methodist Church, Miri

GOD CALLED me to take Disciple Class Red Book in 2014 when I prayed that I would surrender to His calling. I shared with my buddy about it. In turn, my buddy told Jean Seow my intention. Jean told her that her plan for 2014 was to start a Disciple Red Book Class for her Friday morning Chinese Small Group.

I was invited to register for the class. At the start of the study, it was like watching a television series like the ones from Hong Kong or Singapore with episodes to look forward to every week.

As the course progressed from reading Exile to Kings and Prophets, it dawned on me that I was like the Israelites who had forgotten God’s love and promise. I felt I was wrong all these years by being proud just because I could speak English well and had been exposed to the Bible from young. I had been a hypocrite to others and tried to portray myself as a good Christian by going and bringing my children to church. I showed myself as a submissive wife (in the wrong way) and was living a pretentious life. The list could go on to show that I had not been living a truthful Christian life.

Reading the Bible every day and doing the homework six days a week as well as praying for our sisters was a disciplined routine for studying Disciple Red Book. God transformed my life and I started to have peace with myself. I also accepted myself and others for what we are. I reminded myself that I am sinner who is weak but God is great, merciful and loving.

I also witnessed life transformation in our Disciple group. Everyone was teachable and humble in learning together. They were very helpful in explaining the Chinese meaning to me during our group discussion.

Not only I experienced God’s love while studying Disciple Red Book, I also experienced God’s love everywhere and even among the unlovable. I would pray everyday and at any time to God which previously it would only be when I needed Him. Now I can pray and have this special relationship with God. It is such a wonderful feeling even as I write this testimony sharing of God’s love for me. It felt just like when I experienced my first love.

I want to thank my ex-Pastor Lisa Ting and present Pastor Lenita Tiong, and also my Disciple Red Book group. I really treasure your love and support which no words can describe. God bless you all.

Disciple Class Graduation

IMG_3840for connection weilibao for web
Rev. Lenita Tiong (left) presenting the certificates. Photo credit – Michael KK Lee

by James TC Wong

MIRI - Twenty-two church members who successfully completed their Disciple Red and Green studies were presented with their respective certificates and pins in a simple ceremony held during the Sunday Worship Service at Grace Methodist Church on March 8.

The nine-month course commenced early March last year.

Disciple Red Book – Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study is a 34-week study that moves the biblical story from Creation to the New Jerusalem. The study covers all the books of the Bible and participants read and study about 80% of it.

Disciple Green Book – Into the Word Into the World encourages people to be open to hearing God’s Word through the Bible and to be guided into their chosen ministry in the world by Scripture and their study of it. This study focuses on Genesis, Exodus, Luke and Acts only. The uniqueness of this study is the inclusion of the spiritual disciples whereby every week, one particular discipline is included for reflection and practice. The participants are also required to keep Sabbath and to experience rest and rest in the midst of busyness in life.

Facilitators for Disciple Red Book were Amy Shih and Alfred Sibat. For Disciple Green Book, the facilitator was Leong Mui Foon.

In his testimony, Hong Kuan Boo was grateful that his peers encouraged him to persevere in completing the Disciple Red Book. A required commitment is a disciplined routine of studying the Scripture and the time needed to reflect and make notes after the reading. The 53 year-old father of three who works for an MNC also commended the facilitators for doing a good job. “We learned to depend on God to make decisions and during the course, we developed a close rapport as we learned from each other,” he added.

29 year-old civil engineer Desmond Ling, who completed Disciple Green Book, commented that the study had also helped the students to grow closer as they shared their experiences, burdens and prayers with one another. “Personally, I was dealing with new commitments at work and had family crisis at home during the duration of the study. I thank God that I am able to complete this study despite the hurdles.”

One of the Disciple Red classes was conducted in Mandarin to help sisters who are more proficient in Chinese. For many of them, the systematic study of the Bible was a new refreshing encounter with the Word of God. Rose Yaw, one of the participants wrote: “God transformed my life that I started to have peace with myself, accepting myself and others the way they are and reminding myself that I am sinful, I am weak, and God is great, merciful, love.”

Bishop Richard B. Wilke, who created The DISCIPLE Bible Study Series, has always said that the Disciple Study is not for information but for Transformation.

Intake for 2015 Disciple Red Book has commenced. For those who are interested, please email Charles Ling at lingcharles@hotmail.com. Come join us and be an everyday Disciple!

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? – The lost key

For web IMG_6303

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? is a new series of life-changing testimonies by GMC members. Sharing stories of trials, and God’s faithfulness and love is our gift to the community.

by Chen Pei Cheng, Grace Methodist Church, Miri

EVERY MORNING upon waking up I give thanks to God for being alive to live a new day! I pray to commit everything to the Lord. Only then will I start my day’s chores.

Sometime in January, the Girls’ Brigade (GB) room in the annex house was relocated to Isaiah Room in church. Thanks to God’s guidance, the moving was smooth. I want to give thanks to all the GB officers who were involved including our dear Pastor Lenita who joined in to help.

One of the officers requested that I duplicated the key for Isaiah Room. For convenience sake, I put the duplicate key together with my house keys.

The following Sunday we attended the church worship service. When we reached home after that, something strange happened – I could not find the Isaiah Room key with the bunch of my house keys! I became worried and kept telling myself that it couldn’t be. Inside the house, I looked high and low and my kids helped me search inside the car several times but to no avail. We were at the point of turning our house upside down in the search for the keys.

I suddenly had an idea; I could go and duplicate the key again and nobody would know. On the other hand, I felt guilty about my carelessness. Two days passed and I still couldn’t find the key. I prayed to God to help me but nothing happened. I was getting more worried and didn’t know how to explain to the GB officers and Pastor about my carelessness.

Subsequently after the lost key incident, the GB officers had a meeting with Pastor. At that time there was a heavy downpour and I was thinking of excusing myself from attending the meeting using the reason that I have poor vision and also the long distance I had to drive to church. So I sent a message via Whatsapp to the Pastor telling her I couldn’t make it. After that, I felt a certain heaviness in my heart realizing that it was the first meeting with our new Pastor. However, amazingly at about the same time the heavy raining ceased and I believed God wanted me to attend the meeting.

Once I stepped into Pastor’s office, I said, “Yes, I made it!” And Pastor replied, “Yes, you made it. Praise the Lord!” At the end of the meeting, Pastor asked if there was any prayer request. I didn’t know why but during the meeting Pastor kept picking up and putting down a key. I just felt like something was not right and was thinking whether I should tell them that I had lost the key.

I took the courage and told Pastor what happened. I still remember how she prayed. She prayed like this: “Dear Heavenly Father, please be with Pei Cheng, help her to find the Isaiah Room’s key.” After that prayer, I felt relieved.

On the way to pick up my son Dylon, I wondered whether God would help me. At the gate of our house, Dylon asked for the key to open the gate. As usual, I passed a bunch of the keys to him. He took the keys and returned shortly after opening the gate exclaiming, “Hey Mum, isn’t this the key you were looking for? I was dumbfounded and said “Oh yes, Pastor prayed for me and now I have found the key!”

From what I’ve just shared about how we looked high and low for the key but couldn’t find it and later God opened my eyes and my son found the key. For me, this is a miracle! My faith was weak throughout this incident, I now know that nothing is impossible for God!

Fellowship and bonding during CNY visitations

CNY CNY visitations at GMC members’ homes. Photo credit – from various sources.

by James TC Wong

MAR 5, MIRI - As the new pastor-in-charge of Grace Methodist Church (GMC), Rev. Lenita Tiong took the opportunity to visit church members during the recent Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays.

Accompanying her were Associate Lay Leader Tan Kok Chui and some members of GMC. They visited homes of LCEC leaders as well as members who especially held Open House on the first day of the New Lunar Year.

These visits allowed the new Pastor to know her congregation better and vice versa. Frederick Wong, Honorary Captain of 4th Miri Boys’ Brigade, was elated to receive the visiting group on the first day when he held an Open House. “Though the visit by Pastor Lenita and the church members was brief, it meant a lot to me and my family. We really appreciate the singing of hymns and Pastor’s blessing prayer upon my household,” he said.

GMC Lay Leader Michael Lee praised God for the fellowship opportunity. “Pastor Lenita, leaders, i-Youth and the Boys’ Brigade visitations encouraged us greatly,” he added.

“It’s wonderful for our good shepherd to visit her flock during this festive holidays. Not only it provided time for fellowship and blessing, but also time for bonding as a family of God,” commented Paul Wong, the LCEC Vice Chairman.

For Aaron Tie, a New Zealand PR spending his first Chinese New Year in Miri, said the event was meaningful being blessed by the sincerity from brothers and sisters-in-Christ. “The worship and prayers for the families who opened their houses were so unique and important on the first day and I enjoyed it much. I am thankful that I could join the visiting group after the CNY Worship Service. It was a wonderful experience and a great start for the Year of the Goat,” he added.

Kuala Lumpur-based Sunway College student Emmanuel Lee also joined his parents Simon and Sally for visitation. The 18-year-old who was back for the CNY break said: “The best thing about it was we could actually gather and have fellowship with one another and even sang Christian songs in each house that we visited. It was indeed and enjoyable experience for me.”

For Rosanna Ting, wife of Dr. Roy Wong, it was a blessed visit from the good pastor and church members. “We had a wonderful time of fellowship, praise and worship and a blessing prayer. A very effective way of pastoral care. Thank you all for the much treasured visit,” she said. Her son Daniel Wong, who was back on holidays from his studies at the National University of Singapore, played the piano for the worship and singing during the home visitation. It was so good that the Associate Lay Leader gleefully declared that they would bring Daniel and the piano along for next year’s visitations.

After the weekend, Pastor Lenita also dropped by the GMC Ladies Fellowship Group to share blessings with them. The good shepherd and her team also visited house-bound members such as Michelle Chong and Alfred Sim, as well as Uncle Hong Yin Tiew who was recently admitted to a private hospital.

On a separate occasion, the 4th Miri Boys’ Brigade led by Captain Roseline Lee and officers also visited their members’ homes last Saturday as part of their scheduled CNY activity.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? – Witnessing a spiritual awakening

IMG_3808a Photo credit image – James TC Wong

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? is a new series of life-changing testimonies by GMC members. Sharing stories of trials, and God’s faithfulness and love is our gift to the community.

by Y E Wong, Grace Methodist Church

MIRI - Year 2015 will surely mark a milestone in the annals of GMC. On Jan 4 Sunday Worship Service, God spoke to us through our new Pastor-in-charge Rev. Lenita. In her sermon entitled “The People of God”, the good shepherd tenderly reminded the congregation of how wonderful and mighty is the God we serve. Her inspiring and touching delivery on the importance of the word of God in our lives drove the message home. The anointing of God was very much felt when she continued to encourage the congregation to embark on the “Walk Through The Bible” exercise together as a family of God.

“Walk Through The Bible” is an initiative by the District Laity Commission to encourage the church members in the Miri District to read through the whole Bible in 3 years. This year we are reading from 2 Kings till Psalm 150 and the program requires participants to read only a chapter a day. And at the end of the week, there are some factual questions to be answered. These consists of simple True/False statements, filling in the blanks and multiple choice questions. The questions are set by the pastors in the Miri District and the target is for half the average attendees of Sunday worshipers participate and for these to obtain at least 50% of the marks.

After the service, 66 members immediately signed up to participate in the reading program. In the days and weeks that followed, registration came in like snowflakes through Whatsapp, email and sms. By early February, two weeks after the commencement of the exercise, we were still receiving registration which has hit a record high of 153 (for a small congregation of 230)! Equally encouraging is the response of over 90 participants who had submitted their answers. Praise the Lord!

We have no idea of the wonderful things God has for us when we humble ourselves and love God enough to live His Way. Let us continue to encourage one another to walk through the Bible together as one body!

LCEC INSTALLATION

GMC 2015-16 LCEC
Top pic – Rev. Lenita Tiong conducting the installation. Bottom pic – Congregation praying for the LCEC members. Photographer – Abel Wong Ing Hwa.

by James TC Wong

Feb 8, Miri - The newly-elected 2015-16 Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) members of Grace Methodist Church (GMC) were formally installed this morning during the Sunday Worship Service.

Witnessed by the congregation, the solemn ceremony was conducted by Rev. Lenita Tiong, the Pastor-in-charge.

The LCEC is an administrative body whose functions are to administer the day-to-day life of the church. It is also responsible to the Local Conference.

All glory to God!

2015-16 LCEC

Pastor-in-charge Rev. Lenita Tiong
Lay Leader Michael Lee
Associate Lay Leaders Tan Kok Chui, Yung Teck Chung
Chairman Alex Tiang
Deputy Chairman Paul Wong
Recording Secretary Cheryl Chen
Treasurer Wong Sing Ngii
Finance & Stewardship Ngu Hieng Kiing
Membership & Evangelism Richard Lin
Program Monica Tiong
Missions Aaron Hii
Christian Education Charles Ling
Christian Literature Wong Yieng Eng
Social Concerns Chia Kah Pheng
Worship & Music Ling Zing Tieng
Property Management Desmond Ling
Children’s Sunday School Vivien Lim
Internal Audit William Law
Multimedia James TC Wong
PPRC Amy Shih
Boys’ Brigade Roseline Lee
Girls’ Brigade Eunice Ho
Elective Stewards Hwang Boon Huat, Yvonne Lee, Joanne Ting, Brian Hwong, Ha Wen Zhe