In just one week, our first short-term Malaysia team will head out. After one last training session, they will pack their bags, check in to their flights, and probably do the nervous where-is-my-passport dance about thirteen times before actually flying out.
Our team has been diligently preparing their hearts and minds for this trip. At CARH, we greatly value learning from the experts, so we have relied on our Malaysia ministry partner in our preparations. He has shared several insights with us about the beautiful country he calls home.
Though Malaysia seeks to be welcoming to those of all religions, the majority of its citizens are Muslim. The country has a democratic government, but only one political party has held power since Malaysia gained independence in 1957. Our partner explained, “By all appearances, Malaysia functions like a first-world country, yet many issues pertaining to infrastructure still cause Malaysia to gravitate towards a third-world country.” Our partner lives in the heart of the largest city in the country, where the the nation has recently felt the struggle of the global refugee crisis. He told us that “because of Malaysia’s Islamic allegiances and sympathies, scores of refugees are coming to Malaysia in search of a better life. Unfortunately, most of them do not find what they came to seek.”
Our team will primarily seek to share their faith while in Malaysia. Our partner defines the type of work short-term teams serve in as lying in the “0 to 1 stage.” Short-term teams are often most effective when they work to make initial contacts with local people. Our partners on the ground can then further the conversations begun by a short-term team, continuing to share Christ and discipling the locals. God has called our partners to a place where one of their central goals is to help see the first of a nation’s people come to faith in Jesus Christ. There have been difficulties in trying to share the Gospel with the local people of Malaysia. Many are afraid to convert from Islam, and according to our partner, most have never been told what exactly it is a Christian believes. The few believers that exist in Malaysia are terrified to share their faith for fear of losing their lives or endangering their families. “Since local believers are often afraid and need encouragement, the best thing a short-term team can do is to come with joyful boldness to share with people who have not yet heard the Gospel,” said our partner.
Commit to praying for our partners and the local church in Malaysia. Pray for Malaysian believers to boldly share their faith. Pray that our team would have opportunities to encourage believers and share the Gospel with those who have never heard of its saving power.