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Drawing businessmen and professionals to missions work

Serious business aside, there is time for fellowship. — MMS picture.

MMS ‘business banquet’ and ‘business breakfast’

” … I am about my Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49 KJV).

THE Methodist Missions Society (MMS) organised two events — “In My Father’s Business” Banquet and “In My Father’s Business” Breakfast — to raise funds for its field work and to share the vision of mobilising the business community and professionals to be more involved in missions work in the region.

Graced by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of State for National Development and Trade & Industry, the banquet drew 463 guests who listened attentively to testimonies and watched a six-minute video presentation, “Grace in Action”, depicting MMS’ ministries and church planting work in the region. The banquet, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Sept 26, 2003, was sponsored by a Methodist businessman..

At the breakfast gathering held the following morning, a similar call went out to churches to encourage pastors and lay leaders to seek the Lord in their involvement in God’s missions. They also gathered to specially pray for the MMS missionaries and country coordinators serving in Cambodia, China, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam as well as for the Home office..

The Rev Dr Clarence Lim, the MMS Director, explained the spirit behind the rallying call. “God calls and equips people not only to be pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Bible translators but also to be businessmen and professionals to serve Him and other people. God uses these people especially in countries where the name of Jesus is seldom heard.” .

Many people from all walks of lives have worked hand in hand with the MMS in missions. This is the first effort by the MMS — an agency of The Methodist Church in Singapore — to share God’s heartbeat with people who perceive their business and professional skills as part of God’s pool of talents to transform people and communities for Him. They can partner the MMS to support an orphanage, a children’s home, academic and vocational schools, medical clinics, skills training, student sponsorship schemes and livelihood projects. .

As the last guests waved their goodbyes and made their final handshakes at the banquet and breakfast, we could not help but wonder whether the Christians heard the call and whether they would take heed. .

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon had made a call: “Jesus has shown us the way to live … Jesus saw the crowds, harassed, helpless, like sheep without a shepherd and He felt deep compassion for them … As His followers, we are challenged today to respond with the same compassion and passion. God is clearly at work in the world today and in our region. And MMS is right in the midst of it. God invites you to stand alongside MMS to offer your skills and resources so that precious lives can be touched, saved and transformed. Come join us and personally make a difference.”.

Why does the MMS continue to organise these functions?.

Because it knows that God is still in the business of transforming lives and saving souls. .

Mr Ca-Ha-Hpeu, aged 70, was baptised last year in Thailand. “I have been searching for the true God my whole life … I was afraid of the spirits and had to appease them. Thankfully, I finally found the true God. I am no longer afraid of the spirits.” He wanted to thank those who had a part in teaching him and his family the Word of God..

Fourteen-year-old Ream Pharo, an orphan who lives in the COSI Children’s Home in Cambodia, is already thinking of going to bible school when he finishes grade 12. Someone’s death got him thinking. He asked whether the dead man knew Jesus. When told he did not, Pharo grew quiet and thought for a while. And asked again: “Does it mean he will not go to heaven?”.

God is not only touching the lives of the people who have yet to know Jesus but the lives of Christian men and women whom He is keenly interested to love, restore and mould..

“I am a reluctant participant,” Mr Chou Fang Soong, Chairman of Bedok Methodist Church Missions Committee, told the dinner guests with candor. “In faith, I have obeyed. In obedience, my faith has grown. I have tasted that the Lord is good; I can declare His praises even to those who have yet to come to His wonderful light.” .

Mobilising Christians to the mission field

He also talked how he understood the importance of missions mobilisation which Dr Larry Reesor, Founder and President of Global Focus, best described: “Teaching believers in a local church to understand God’s global plan, motivating them to a loving response to God’s word, and providing opportunities for them to use their gifts, abilities and resources individually and corporately to accomplish His global plan.” .

“Our members were able to identify with our missionaries in Cambodia. Projects like the Children’s Home provided the purpose and opportunity to be involved in partnership with our missionaries and the MMS.” .

And Mr Chou is not alone in his personal experience of a deeper relationship with God and a stronger conviction in encouraging and mobilising Christians to answer God’s call. .

Bishop Dr Solomon spoke about a young girl, Angela, fresh from college. Her life changed after a short-term mission trip to Thailand. She went, saw and answered a call to return to teach English for two months. She even started a mini-fund-raising project after she had sufficiently recovered from the shock of seeing the budget for MMS field work. That’s right, the crux of the matter is that money is not everything but it does enable missions to grow. She continues to support and participate in missions..

There is also a businessman. While he tends to his business, he also actively acts as an ambassador for Christ and for MMS. The country he is based in is restricted for evangelism. He has been cultivating good relationships with different people there. Without this God-loving businessman-ambassador-servant of God, MMS work in this country would not have been able to take off as smoothly. .

There are people like Rob who has been supporting MMS in the background for close to 10 years. He has contacts in transportation, shipping and logistics arrangements. When teams or donors give computers, dentist chairs, medicine, equipment, etc, it is not easy to find a cheap means to get these to the fields. Rob steps in to make it possible. He mobilises people to fix computers and basically get things done for the field work. .

Mr Chou gave a parting shot: “Our Methodist churches have probably the largest pool of talented people in Singapore with their wide-ranging background, skills and expertise that they have been so blessed with. .

“And if everyone is involved, no matter how small the effort, we can imagine how much more could have been achieved on the mission field.” .

Jaime Ng is the Church Relations and Communication Executive of the Methodist Missions Society, an agency of The Methodist Church in Singapore.

Bedok Methodist Church members, in traditional costumes, dancing to the tune of “Worship The Lamb of God”. — MMS picture.