A Great Taste of Fellowship – Kuantan 29/30 March 2014

by Leow Yew Chong

Last Saturday, 29th March 2014, I had the privilege of joining brethren Stephen Tan and Wilbur Lim (team leaders of the youth mission), along with Shirley Lee, Julius and Jasmine Koh, Leow Huey Li, and the Caryll Rice family (5 in all) to Kuantan. Bro Eng Boon was kind enough to loan us the usage of the Toyota Innova.

We were supposed to have had left Klang by 7.30am but yours truly overslept, hence we left at about 9.30am after breakfast in Taman Eng Ann. The journey was uneventful except for a slight detour in trying to search for the Petronas NGV station at Batu Caves area where we learnt that to use Waze, you must first use Google map, otherwise you’ll be led to a different location.

The group reached Kuantan about 2pm and proceeded to bro William Chan’s deli where we’d agreed to rendezvous with the Rices. Bro William, as usual, was very hospitable in feeding us.

After checking into our respective rooms, we proceeded to give out tracts in the vicinity of the church building. Tracting started at 4pm and we were divided into 3 teams with Stephen joining hands with Julius, Wilbur chaperoning Jasmine and Ahissa, Shirley with Huey Li, and I as the driver. Together, these 3 teams gave out leaflets introducing the Kuantan CoC  in 800+ houses, in a space of 90 minutes. You could see and feel the excitement in them as they gave out the tracts despite facing big dogs that barked at them (thankfully, these dogs were locked inside the houses). New bonds were built by them which made the trip memorable especially during the journey home where we hunted for 7-Eleven Slurpee.

The scriptures said that the labourer is worthy of his wages, hence we proceeded to have some refreshing leng chee kang at a nearby shop. Bro. Su Hay Lai joined us and were introduced to our young superb workers. He shared some of his life stories with us.

At 7.30pm, after a quick shower, we proceeded to the church building for our dinner which were again hosted by the Kuantan brethren. It was a wonderful meal especially the mee siam prepared by William Chan and sumptuous satay brought by sis Mollie. The Kuantan church is known for feeding well their guests and brethren. It makes one feel at home even though we are away from home. Truly a fulfilment of Christ’s saying we’ll have families everywhere we go in His name.

After dinner, we had an interesting session on “rejoicing in Christ while facing up to our problems” workshop conducted by Stephen Tan. It was a 90 minutes session where we were forced to confront and relive why we became Christians and how we rejoiced, then onto the problems that we faced. I personally enjoyed the part where we have to write down all our problems in an A4 paper. The creativity with which each defined our own problems and our own unique ways of overcoming them was an eye opener. Despite being a Christian for so many years, the realization that I am but a child of God who is constantly in need of God and His guidance is humbling, and is an extremely good reminder.

The amount of work that both Stephen Tan and Wilbur Lim did in coming up with the questions and delivery methodology for the session must have been long and strenuous, but the result was awesome.

After the class ended, Bro Caryll invited us to Hyatt Hotel where the family stayed, for a quiet moment on the beach. Some, this old soul especially, decided to sit out on the wooden bench and enjoy the quiet sound of the South China Sea waves. The greatness of God in planning His creation is majestic. Truly the heavens declare His presence and existence.

On Sunday morning, we woke up fairly “early”. Ahissa Rice stayed with us during the night and joined us for breakfast at one of the food courts. She was our star attraction as other patrons were constantly looking over to our table.

Wilbur was our song leader throughout the entire trip, and he pulled it off with all the correct pitches and nuances. I got to know him much more on this trip, and I am a better person for that experience with him.

Stephen was the bible teacher, and his lesson was on JOY, which was a continuation from his theme of the previous night’s workshop. This man was dressed for the   occasion, and I hope that the Klang eldership will not attempt to insist Bible teachers to be in that attire.

Julius was the scripture reader for the preacher of the day i.e. Caryll Rice. Julius exhibited calmness at the pulpit. Again, because I do not get to spend much time with him, I didn’t know he knew a lot of things (walking encyclopaedia?) and has a great sense of humour.

Jasmine and Ahissa were a big surprise to all of us because they clicked with each other as if they knew each other from birth. They had so much to share that their chaperon couldn’t breathe in a word during the tract distribution. Shirley helped to bring Huey Li into the ladies’ group, and both these ladies gave me the best quote of the year. From Shirley, “Great minds think alike, but mine is greater.” From Huey Li, “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”

I never had the opportunity to sit in any of bro. Caryll’s lessons in Klang as I was away on both occasions that he spoke. Therefore, I am thankful to God and for Stephen who persuaded him to give a lesson during the morning worship. It was gratifying to see Karl doing his extreme best to copy down notes of his father’s lesson until the mum tells the dad to slow down for Karl to jot it down. The desire in Caryll for his kids to know God is shared by Barbara, and it uplifts me.

When Caryll spoke on “A Life of Commitment”, one can appreciate his message especially as he connects it to his experience in the US Marine Corp. The amount of physical endurance that he had to go through as a Marine lives in him and became part of him especially his daily jogs. Similarly as a Christian, if we are committed to Christ, then we must train our bodies to be subject to heavenly callings, so that we will be with Christ when our journey on Earth ends. The writings of the apostle Paul comes alive here.

Overall, this trip to Kuantan evokes different emotions in me, but most importantly it helped me and I hope the other brethren too. I got to know them much better, and am looking forward to another trip that will be organised by our two youth mission leaders. Please pray for the continual growth of the Kuantan church as well as for the Klang brethren who went there i.e. Stephen Tan, Wilbur Lim, Jasmine and Julius Koh, Huey Li, Shirley Lee, Caryll Rice, Barbara, Ahissa, Cytstan and not the least Karl Jr.