01 Jun 2020

Indigenous Ministries in Sabah and Sarawak – IMTF (2)

Source/Author: Mr Michael William

The Orang Asal Ministry in Sabah is indeed growing through the Sabah Annual Conference (SAC). Currently the SAC has 10 BM churches and 2 kindergartens. 12 Pastors and many volunteer ministers in this BM Ministry.

Discipleship and Ministry
This ministry for the indigenous people of Sabah focuses on two key areas – discipleship and economic empowerment. To strengthen the area of discipleship and ministry, the BM Ministry of SAC along with the IMTF have conducted the Church Planters Institute (CPI). CPI is open to all church leaders and members who are keen in serving in the various indigenous churches in Sabah and Sarawak. The CPI trains the student in various key areas of Christian Education with the aim of equipping its students to make disciples amongst its peoples. In some remote places, graduates of the CPI would assist the itinerant pastor in the areas of teaching and discipleship.

The SAC BM Ministry has to date conducted 5 CPI modules. 7 pastors and 2 ordinary members graduated with a certificate of completion from the CPI.

The SAC BM Ministry is also enlarging its church premises with the increasing ministries amongst the indigenous peoples of Sabah. In 2019 2 expansion projects were completed – the expansion of the Asiacity BM Ministry Church and the building of the Tawau Methodist Preaching Point.

I had the privilege in attending the BM Ministry Youth Conference in Kota Kinabalu in 2019. This was my first experience in meeting the various tribes of Indigenous peoples in Sabah. A total of 80 participants from all over Sabah gathered to worship our Lord, receive instructions and teaching from the Word of God and getting to know each other through fellowship.

Economic Empowerment
A key ministry amongst the indigenous peoples is empowering the peoples economically. In 2019, 3 projects were carried out namely the Kampung Mankalias Pig Project, the Mononod Swiftlet Farming and the Tawau Basket Fund Raising Ministry. This project includes helping out in the initial start-up of the project, teaching farming technical skills and also in marketing.

The SIAC has a rich 70 year history. Since their main area of ministry is focused amongst the Iban people, every mi- nistry is amongst the Indigenous people of Sarawak. Over the past 70 years, churches have been built from Kapit to Ku- ching in the west and Miri in the east. Indeed the Gospel has brought much transformation to the Iban people and Sarawak in general.

Together with SCAC, BEM (Borneo Evangelical Mission) and the Korean Missionaries, SIAC aims to extend the gos- pel to all the longhouses in Sarawak. SIAC also conducts the Church Planters Institute to raise assistants to Pastors or what is better known as ‘Penyaup’. The ‘Penyaup’ will deputise in the teaching and worship ministries in the longhouses when the pastor is unavailable to be present.

Students of the CPI in SIAC have to go through 3 years of modules and 1 year of Post CPI module. The CPI through SIAC has been well attended by its members and over the past 5 years, many batches have graduated.

The SCAC has ventured into the Indigenous Ministries with the formation of BM ministries amongst its churches. As the ministry is vast many opportunities have opened up for the gospel.

Partnership with West Malaysian Annual Conference churches
“The Harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few”. We praise God for CAC, TRAC and TAC as they have received this call and have sent in workers to complement the ministries of SAC, SIAC and SCAC amongst the indigenous peoples of East Malaysia. The involvement of the 3 ACs range from Christian Education, Missions to the longhouses, medical missions, skills training and even providing resources for Economic enrichment activities. Truly it is in the mission field where one is blessed to witness the whole Methodist church in Malaysia working together for God’s Kingdom.