The primary reason for this Asia trip is the opportunity to meet with colleagues from Wycliffe Bible Translators.
We flew into Miri on Borneo island in Sarawak. Following dinner with the chairman of the new Bible League Malaysia board, we held two significant meetings. Our first meeting was with the Borneo Evangelical Mission. We met the chairman and leadership committee of this denomination. The partnership with them began in 2000 and has born much fruit since then. This denomination has 700 churches all over Sarawak and even some underground work in a nearby Muslim country. The Lord has given them a vision to serve throughout Sarawak and to go deep into the jungle to reach the tribes there for Christ.
They have been very successful but talk about the concern of Islamization of children and youth. A lot of money is pumped into that process and as a result there is a growing number of indigenous people becoming Muslim. We heard reports that some of them are paid $1,000 if they convert to Islam. It is basically buying religion with money, and while it may appear nominal, it is almost irreversible once it is in your passport. Conversion in Malaysia from Muslim to Christian is strictly prohibited.
We had a good meeting thanking each other for the partnership and expressing the desire for future partnership. One of the staff members of our partner in East Malaysia is an ordained pastor in this denomination. While growing in numbers they have also grown in vision. They have reached so many people and communities in Sarawak and their focus has been to reach their “Jerusalem and Samaria.” This church is not thinking about sending missionaries to other countries.
Our second meeting was with the Iban Convention. Iban is the main language spoken throughout Sarawak and in the jungle. This convention unites all Iban language ministry. The chairman of this convention is part of the Borneo Evangelical Mission but the other participants during dinner were Methodist, Anglican and Baptist. They have all united to reach Iban speaking communities for Christ. Bible League partners with them. It was good to build the relationships and express mutual gratitude and share visions together. We pray these visits will continue to help to grow these partnerships.
On our final morning we visited the office, met with staff, and saw the training room and warehouse with Bibles and other resources.
It is great to hear and see how the Lord continues to call His church into the Great Commission.