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"People call me Pastor when they see me"
"Beep!" On the court, a group of young and vigorous teenagers tried their best to chase a basketball!
The 18th Perlis "Praise Cup" basketball tournament officially kicked off! It was also the 18th consecutive year that Kaki Bukit Praise Centre (Church) HISTEAM 7979 Care Station had organized a secondary school basketball tournament in the community.
Pastor Lam shared: "The Church wanted to reach out to the teenagers. Apart from the fellowship meetings, we would personally get into the basketball court and played with them." Other than the "Praise Cup", they have Sunday School and tuition classes for the children, and “Praise Dance” for the adult. These community’s activities had introduced the church to 10 Chinese new villages in Perlis. During the festival, the church would hold celebration gatherings and celebrated with the villagers. Pastor Lam has always see "the Church as a member of the community" as ultimate goal, and through these community activities, he has integrated the church into the community.
Perlis state is located at the most northern part of West Malaysia and is the smallest state in Malaysia. Perlis, a state with only 10 Chinese new villages is a place full of rural customs, its’ people live a simple lifestyle in wooden houses that build side by side within a close-knit neighborhood. "People call me Pastor when they see me," Pastor Lam said. The church is accepted in the village. Besides from community activities held by the church, when someone passed away in the village, the Pastor would attend the funeral and consoled the bereaved family too.
Go the extra mile to help others
In 2018, the church set up HISTEAM 7979 Care Station to provide care and practical resources to help those in need in rural areas. Regarding the long-term assistance to under privilege families, Pastor Lam said, “There are many reasons for poverty. If it is caused by bad habits, there is nothing we can do but to guide them to a new life.” While assisting these families, the church also teaches them Biblical values of life and shares the Gospel with them.
In the past, the church was very active in the community and had a good relationship with the neighbors, but it was still difficult to develop closer relationship with them. Since the beginning of the Community Care Ministry, the church began to visit every household in the community. "Over the past four years, the church had reached out to and assisted 20 Manna Food Bank cases. We spent at least one year to assist each family”, shared by Sis. Yang Bi Ling (Pastor Lam’s wife). These families were not starving, but they were still poor, and with the aid of Manna Food Bags they were able to save at least a little money on food.
"I feel very peaceful, thank you for coming!" Whenever the aid recipient expressed gratitude and felt peaceful, Pastor Lam’s wife felt comforted and happy. Besides that, there is a grandma who always prepared tea for Pastor Lam and his wife whenever they visited her, she also prepared fruit as a return gift, her actions really encouraged them. In our ministry journey, there are many incidents where things would "just happened to be." When the foreign bride child's milk powder was about to finish, Pastor Lam’s wife "just happened " to deliver the Manna Food Bag to them; Another family was about to run out of diapers, and again Pastor Lam’s wife "just happened" to drop by to deliver the Manna Food Bag to them. The supplies that were delivered “just in time” again and again, were actually all deliberate and proactive care.
"When we hold community events, people come to the church; But when we deliver household supplies (Manna Food Bag), we are the ones who go to the people, "shared Pastor Lam. When compare with community activities, community care is more like going the extra mile to help people; although we may not get any feedback, but at least they are willing to open their house’s door.
There is no hard work when there is a calling
On ordinary days, there were very few young adults in the community, reflecting a common rural phenomenon - the exodus of young people. "The church is mostly filled with old people, teenagers and children, as for the young adult they choose to leave the village." When the young adults left the village for further study, most of them chose to remain where they are for further development. The site of Pastor and his wife’s figures moving from house to house was like the epitome of the countryside.
"Pastoring a village church is like a farmer planting and harvesting crops every year and giving them away at the end. Urban churches are like factories that need to manage the harvested crops." Pastor Lam shared his feelings of 30 years’ service in Perlis, and finally said with a smile, "There is no hard work when there is a calling."