Category: Asia

Serve Asia is OMF International’s short-term mobilisation programme, something that I had the privilege to be part of as the Serve Asia Co-ordinator (SAC) for OMF’s Singapore National Office (SNO) some years back. In a nutshell, it’s about mobilising people, especially youths and young adults, toward short-term missions (in OMF terms, anything less than 1 year), in technically any mission field that any of OMF’s missionaries are based in or have ministries/mission work. I also had the opportunity to serve in the International Centre (IC) under New Horizons when their co-ordinator was on sabbatical, a newer initiative bridging unconventional home and field sides where OMF has no or little presence, experience – from anywhere to everywhere!

If you have a few weeks, month or even 1 year off or a gapyear, time in between studies, career, etc, and are considering missions or serving in East Asia, do prayerfully consider joining Serve Asia. If you are located internationally, out of Singapore, visit the international link here.

Serve Asia (SNO design v.1)

A big shoutout to our best SA boss Andrea, and a throwback to our original SNO Mob team – bosslady Yong Hong, Carolyn, Lee Peng, Jie, Samuel
#ServeAsia #OMF

Crazy rich Christians

“Crazy Rich Asians,” a Warner Brothers adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel has taken the world by storm since its premiere in mid-August. In 3 weeks, the film has become the most successful Hollywood studio romantic comedy in nearly a decade at the U.S. box office, topping the charts for the third weekend in a row, already raking in an estimated total of USD 1 million. Amidst its many themes are the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous in Asia, the importance of traditional family values, pedigree, connections and being part of the “in” crowd. One major theme is that of “inheritance” (or “old money”), in which the male protagonist is essentially modern day royalty, primed from a young age to take over his father’s legacy – his business empire, wealth and assets, and family name. Watching and reading interviews done with the author, it is apparent that much of his novels were based on personal experience as well.
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Remember Japan

​3.11 Remember Japan (5 years on) – there’s still much that can, and to be done, but let’s also give thanks, especially for believers who have helped, served, loved, gave, sacrificed … all for the sake of the gospel of grace & hope in Christ Jesus (video done in 2013).

Japan earthquake and tsunami

On Fri, 11 Mar 2011, Japan experienced its highest-magnitude earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale, followed by a massive tsunami with waves reaching 38 metres, causing widespread devastation, mainly in the north-east coast Oshika peninsula of Tohoku, failure of nuclear power plants, leading to power failures across the country. The triple-disaster has claimed close to 15,000 lives, with 5,000+ injured, and 10,000+ still missing. The estimated overall cost is $300 million, with the government expecting restoration to stretch to at least 10 years.ōhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami

CRASH Japan (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) is a network supporting Christians to do relief work in Japan and around the world. Do consider making a donation to support their relief efforts among the disaster victims and areas.

Beijing, 23-28 Mar 10

Just got back from a 6-day trip to Beijing. It was the first time in my life that I have been to China. My wife was there for a 2-day conference, so I joined her, and we extended 3 more nights. Having been to Taiwan and Hong Kong before, it was not a complete culture shock for me. It really felt rather nostalgic, like a coming home of sorts, as my grandparents were immigrants from China, Hainan Island and Guangdong to be exact. And being a Singaporean Chinese, though distant, our roots still lie in this great Middle Kingdom.

What a rich history and culture! I visited the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs and the Great Wall. It really was an eye-opener, and I learnt a lot about Chinese history which for the majority of my life remained as distant legends and old stories, but never really had a keen or genuine interest in. I had always told myself that at least once in my lifetime, I have to visit China. Praise God for His provision, that made this trip possible at this time!

Visited the largest and oldest church in Beijing on the Sunday morning before our afternoon flight back. It used to be called Asbury Church, but is now the Chongwenmen Three-Self Church. It was Palm Sunday, and we had the privilege of witnessing water baptism of new believers too. Though much has been said about the Three-Self Church movement, it was heartening to see many believers that day, and the gospel message being preached from Lk 19:28-38.

Dear God, thank You for this rare opportunity to revisit my roots and heritage as a Chinese. Thank You for the richness of heritage, culture and history that China has experienced, and that over the centuries, has influenced and birthed nations across the world, including Singapore. Thank You for sustaining and blessing Your body and for the growth of the Church. May You continue to pour out Your richest blessings and grace on both secular and spiritual leaders of this land. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

KUALA LUMPUR : Muslim groups held protests outside 10 mosques across the nation on Friday, amid a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Police deployed officers to patrol churches and mosques across the country after a midnight attack gutted the ground floor of a church in suburban Kuala Lumpur.

Molotov cocktails were thrown into the compounds of two other churches in pre-dawn raids, but did not cause serious damage.

Prime Minister Najib Razak condemned the attacks which he said could destroy racial harmony in multicultural Malaysia.

“As a multiracial community we must practise respect for one another… it cannot come under threat from anybody,” he told state media, pledging action to prevent any further incidents.

Police chief Musa Hassan said that officers were deployed to monitor churches nationwide after the threats were made to other places of worship.

“We don’t know if all three attacks were isolated or linked, we are still investigating, the modus operandi was different at all three incidents,” he told a press conference.

Tensions were heightened last week when the High Court ruled in favour of the Catholic “Herald” newspaper which has used “Allah” as a translation for “God” in its Malay-language section.

In a long-running legal battle, the government has argued the word should be used only by Muslims.

The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government argued the decision could cause racial conflict.

In the capital on Friday, a few dozen demonstrators gathered outside the national mosque and another in the Malay enclave of Kampung Baru.

Police said that there had been gatherings at mosques in three other states as well, but they had been brief and dispersed quickly.

“We have lived in peace with all religions but we want other religions to respect us and the use of the word Allah, which is exclusive to Muslims,” said organiser Arman Azha Abu Hanifah.

– AFP/ms

KUALA LUMPUR: A church in Malaysia has been fire-bombed in an attack that gutted its ground floor, church officials said on Friday, escalating a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

A fire department official said all stations were on alert for more blazes at religious buildings, ahead of planned nationwide protests on Friday by Muslim groups angry over the use of the word as a translation for the Christian “God.”

The three-storey Metro Tabernacle church in suburban Kuala Lumpur was set ablaze in the attack which took place around midnight, said church leader Peter Yeow, 62.

“Witnesses saw four people smash the glass and throw incendiaries into the church building. They came on two motorcycles,” he told AFP at the scene as fire department forensic officers picked through the wreckage.

There were no casualties in the attack on the church, which occupies the corner lot of a row of shop houses and which Yeow said draws some 1,500 people weekly.

“The fire destroyed the administrative part of the church. We do not know if the prayer hall on the third floor suffered any damage,” he said, warning all other churches to “double their guard” against any attacks.

Anuar Harun, who headed the fire department operation, said that forensic experts were working with the police and a canine unit to probe the blaze.

“We are investigating the cause of fire. We cannot provide any more details. It is a sensitive issue,” he said when asked if it was a case of arson.

“We have asked all our fire stations to be on alert for such fires on religious premises,” he said.

The High Court last week ruled in favour of the Catholic “Herald” newspaper which has used “Allah” as a translation for “God” in its Malay-language section.

The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government argued the decision could cause racial conflict in multicultural Malaysia, where Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of the population.

The security guard at the Metro Tabernacle church, 65-year-old V. Mariappan, said he had just walked away from the main entrance of the building to use the bathroom when the building erupted in flames.

“When I came back, there was a huge fire inside the church building. There was a few loud explosions like bombs exploding,” he said, adding he saw two motorcycle helmets lying on the road in flames. – AFP/de

Related articles
Attacks after Malaysian court rules Christians can worship Allah (Times UK, 8 Jan 10)

KUALA LUMPUR – After months of wrangling, a Malaysian court ruled on Thursday, December 31, that Christians are entitled to use the world “Allah” in their publications to refer to God, overturning a government ban.

“The applicant has the constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’,” High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan told a packed courtroom, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

The use of the word Allah in Christian publications in the local Malay language has triggered a controversy in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country since a local Catholic weekly, The Herald, used it in its Malay-language edition.

The government threatened to revoke the weekly’s license if it continued printing the word.

It later allowed Christian publications to use some Muslim words, including Allah, as long as the phrase “For Christians” is printed on the cover.

However, the government backtracked after some scholars said this might offend Muslims, who make up more than 60 percent of the population.

In February, the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, as publisher of Herald, filed for a judicial review against the government for the right to use Allah.
“Even though Islam is the federal religion, it does not empower the respondents to prohibit the use of the word,” ruled the court.

The court ruling was swiftly welcomed by Malaysian Christians, who make up around 9.1 percent of the population.

“It is a day of justice and we can say right now that we are citizens of one nation,” said Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Catholic weekly.

He immediately declared that the paper would use the word “Allah” in its upcoming Sunday edition.
“This also means that…the Christian faith can now continue to freely use the word ‘Allah’…without any interference from the authorities.”

Officials from Malaysia’s Islamic Party (PAS) have supported the case of the Catholic weekly as a constitutional right.

Malaysia has a population of nearly 26 millions, with Malays, mostly Muslims, making up nearly 60 percent.
Christians, including a Catholic population of nearly 800,000, make up around 9.1 percent of the population.

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