by Leow Yew Chong
If you were to visit our website http://klangchurchofchrist.org/about/our-history you will note that this congregation was established in 1970 with about 10 Christians. The early pioneer missionaries who came and helped to establish the congregation were Bros. Jud Whitefield & Ken Sinclair and Sis. Thelma Eubank who were then based in Kuala Lumpur – and later on, bro Charles Bishop and family, based in Klang. In those days, the journey by car from KL took more than an hour. Klang town was considered an outback area, a small town with cultivated plantation lots on both sides of the road from Petaling Jaya onwards.
I was told that the brethren who were the first converts were mainly school going pupils. They persevered through time and over the years, these became a congregation with elders and deacons to shepherd the church and assist in the work respectively. Currently more than 150 people attend worship services every Sunday morning, more than 15-fold increase from 1970, with worship services conducted in English, Mandarin and Tamil.
Concurrently, Klang has helped established new congregations in Subang Jaya (1999) with about 80 Christians worshipping there every Sunday; together with brethren from Subang, helped established the Kota Kemuning congregation (2007) with about 50 Christians; bro Yew Chong worked with the KL congregation to help set up the Cheras congregation (2007) with about 30 Christians and now bro Yew Chong spearheads the effort at Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (2012) holding evening service with 17 Christians. Additionally, Klang brethren assisted in revitalising the outreach in Kuantan (since 2000) with 15 Christians there. In the 1970’s, through the Bible Correspondence Course (BCC), four souls in Kuantan were baptized into Christ but they fell away due to lack of support because of the logistical distance between Kuantan and the west coast of the country. Also in the 1980’s when bro Yeow Chin Kiong was transferred to Kota Kinabalu, he and his wife, Amy, started a work there that has lasted till today.
On the Mandarin- speaking work, through our support of bro. Phua Choon Huat together with other congregations in M’sia and S’pore and various brethren, the congregation in Batu Pahat has been strengthened (it now owns its meeting place) and a new congregation has also been set up in Yong Peng. Bro Choon Huat is currently helping to strengthen the congregation in Kluang, travelling between Kluang in the morning and Yong Peng in the evening for Sunday service. We also extend a small token of financial assistance to bro. Kwan Tai Choom for his work in China which has and is still producing fruits that many of us saw during the recent Asia Bible Lectureship.
Also, some of you may recall, there were also attempts in the early years (pre-2000) to start a new work in Port Klang and Bangsar. The work in Port Klang was not successful and the brethren came back to the main body in Klang. In Bangsar, the work was shuttered after not making much headway. The brethren from Bangsar later joined the work started by the KL congregation in Damansara Utama, now known as the Section 17 Church of Christ. The effort to sustain a work in Pantai Remis, Perak together with the Ipoh congregation was not successful.
Let’s look at the different strategies used in the above mission outreach work. In both Subang and Kota Kemuning, a group of brethren with their families, moved out from their existing “home” congregations to kick start the work. In Subang, bro Eng decided to let the Klang brethren used the upper storey of his shop free-of-charge and this kick started off the evening service for two years when about 25 brethren decided that it was time to switch to morning service and thereby placing their membership there. The strain placed in Klang with such a big group moving away saw the first few months and years, empty pews. But by the grace of God, these empty pews were filled with new souls. Subang has since grown to occupy two shop lots wholly owned by them.
Similarly, in Kota Kemuning, the brethren there moved out from Klang and Subang, and commenced morning worship. Prior to that, they were meeting fortnightly on Tuesdays for bible class at bro Eng Kim Leng’s house for a few years. From there, they gathered the courage to start off the congregation with morning worship. Recently, Kota Kemuning bought their own meeting place and appointed her first elders in accordance to the scripture. In both these places, the brethren there can testify to the fact that they worked hard as they are all involved in serving in every part during worship and bible class weekly, and united together as one in Christ.
In Kuantan, the work restarted after sis. Mollie Ding was taught the bible via the BCC under the instructorship of Sis Poi Ching in Klang. A very enthusiastic sis. Mollie then introduced sis. Margaret Chong to the gospel and she in turn was instrumental in bringing many of her friends and bakery contacts along with her family members to Christ. The congregation began to crystallize through the work of these two sisters together with the help of bro. Richard Lee, Bro Yeow, bro Chris Lopez, Eng Boon, Yew Chong, Yeow Kong and many brethren from various congregations from 2003 onwards. One of the converts, bro Terry Teh, is currently studying in Four Seas College preparing to be a full time minister upon graduation. Such is the grace of God!!!
In Yong Peng, Batu Pahat and China, it was the great effort of the evangelists who established these congregations and house churches. Here, the leadership they provided in nurturing growth is paramount as they faced disappointment and hardship during the early years. The encouragement in Christ as well as their personal conduct and support to the new babes-in-Christ allowed the congregations to take root.
In Cheras, bro. Liew Weng Lum of the KL congregation graciously allowed his office to be used as a bible study area, and from there, launched out and later gathered other likeminded brethren to join in the effort which culminated in an evening service (like Subang) and from this year onwards, morning worship. This brother has also let the Cheras brethren used his office lot for church use. This is the only congregation which have two full time preachers (bro Richard Lee and Philip Van Winkle) in its midst and one where Christians must walk up 3-storeys of staircase every Sunday for worship!!!
In Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), KL, the evening worship is in the home of sis Nalini. This grandmother of 72years old is very fervent in her faith and the TTDI brethren and visitors coming together are truly of different characters. Again, unity in purpose and oneness in Christ allow the disparate characters to work together. The parallel exemplified by Isaiah in chapter 11:6-9; 65:25 gives you an idea. Our modern day Aquila and Priscilla, bro Tan Seong Khoon and sis Nicole are one of the key people in TTDI, having been there since the beginning.
Besides the above, former members of the Klang congregation who have migrated overseas continue to be a leading light for God in the new congregations they are based in, with one currently serving as an elder as well. Generally those brethren are assets to the local congregations there and a source of encouragement to us in Klang especially for those who know them.
Well, that’s a brief history of the effort all of us in Klang have put in throughout the years. You will notice that we had both successes and failures. I have briefly summarized some of the reasons for success in some of those new works. Here, Klang is involved both financially (by monthly or yearly contributions) and physically by providing manpower via teaching pool and later membership transfer to the new congregation. We may liken ourselves to the pig who contributes ham.
As 2013 draws near, where do we wish to go from here? Shall we give ourselves a pat on the back and relax a bit more? This year we have started off a bible study group in Setia Alam with the hope that this will be a new outreach. It is encouraging to hear that the Ipoh congregation is making efforts to start a new outreach in Kampar among the students at UTAR. We look forward to working with other congregations as they also seek to plant new congregations throughout the country in an ever widening circle.
Paul wrote in Phil 3:13-15, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.”
If the above is true with us, then let us consider how we may exhort one another and so much the more as we see the our days approaching. Please remember that when the New Testament was completed, the gospel had been preached to every corner of the Roman world (Col 1:23). The future of Klang mission work is dependent on us for we are the feet and mouth by which the gospel must be preached (Rom 10:14,15)
Brethren, these are the few things that you can do to help out in the various outreach and new congregation.
1. Commit yourselves in worshipping with the new congregation at least once every quarter.
2. Tell your friends around that vicinity about the new work where they can go and learn more of God.
3. Prepare yourselves to teach and preach every quarter.
4. Be a tent-making preacher.
5. Prepare yourselves to move out to the new congregation.
6. Open your homes to these new babes in Christ when they are in the vicinity.
7. Encourage the brethren that God is with them when they face discouragement, and pray with them.
8. Strengthen the evangelists by speaking words of encouragement and praying for them.
9. Study the scriptures daily and be a living bible.
10. Contribute to the Mission Fund.
The above list is not exhaustive but sufficient for all of us to work on and move from there. Brethren, besides the above, let’s redouble our energies to give out tracts, pamphlets, Sunday School invitations, inviting our friends and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to all that we meet. Then shall the Klang church continue to shine its light and be a beacon among the many in Malaysia where we can continue to send out brethren to plant new congregations as well as strengthen the weaker ones.