Members in Action
Malaysia – Ouachita Hills Ministries
One of the ministries supported through Ouachita Hills Academy and College is a missionary training program in the Muslim nation of Malaysia. Aenon (which roughly translates to ‘love is powerful’) has been operating a medical-missionary program there for more than a decade, mostly training Chinese and Malaysian students to work in their various countries.
In January of 2015, my wife and I accepted a call to leave our home in Arkansas and help establish a Bibletraining program there on the campus of Aenon. We finally made the move in early September.
Upon arriving in the nation I became painfully aware of how restrictive laws have impeded outreach. For example, Aenon has planted two new churches in this mission in just the last five years. One of those churches serves English-speaking people. One serves Chinese-speaking persons. But no church in Tampin, a city of 55,000 people, serves the majority Malay-speaking persons. And there are no plans to plant one.
Why not? Because the religious laws of this government strictly forbid witnessing to Malay persons. Use of Muslim words is even forbidden to Christians. The penalty for witnessing to Malay persons strikes fear into local Adventists. No, they are not so fearful of fines and imprisonment (one here was imprisoned one year just weeks after his first daughter was born). What frightens them is the prospect of vigilante radical persons like the one that killed an Adventist minister near Johor some 20 years ago.
So what can I do to witness for Christ in my marketplace? I mean, I have shared thoughts with Hindus and Buddhists already. (These attend the Aenon Health Center for treatments.) And I have talked extensively with some evangelicals.
But the most exciting work I have done in my marketplace has been talking to faithful Adventists in other freer countries. You might be saying, “That isn’t sharing Christ in the marketplace.” But wait. Let me tell you what I and those foreigners have been talking about. We have been sharing ideas. And as of early October, there are now half a dozen faithful Adventist persons in Europe learning Malay. A faithful Adventist in South America has designed a website to host videos that will be recorded by faithful Adventists in Germany. And other faithful Adventists in free countries are designing plans for getting those videos before Malay people in this country.
And my part? I can pray. I can communicate. I can write a bit. But the work is being done by others to reach the people in my new field. And if all I can do is give them ideas, encouragement, and prayer, then that is what I will do to make sure the Malay get a chance to hear the truths for this time.
Of course, I didn’t come to Southeast Asia to write e-mails and pray. Most of the support being provided through Ouachita Ministries recently is to help poor students in this part of the world attend the training programs here at Aenon. And in February of 2016 the local mission will become the home of a new training program that emphasizes how to reach the people of this region, whatever their worldview. Workers from ASI ministries such as Jesus for Asia, Adventists Frontier Missions, and ASAP, have all expressed interest in visiting to help train a crop of professional front-line missionary persons.
Maybe in your marketplace you can help reach people in mine that I can’t reach in mine. That is a novel idea. And I am glad that the workers in the new school here will be preparing to do courageous service in places where it never will become easy to share in the marketplace.