THE Rev Dr Clarence Lim, 65, who retired last month as Director of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), is extremely happy and grateful that more Methodists are giving their money, time and service to the work of the MMS.
“There is a marked steady increase in financial giving and prayer for, and involvement in, missions,” he said in a farewell interview.
Elaborating, he said: “There is a growing participation by our adults, children and youths in mission exploration trips and projects. A growing number of Methodists are using their annual leave or even taking leave without pay to render their services from one week to a few months in our mission fields. More people are participating in the programme of the MMS.”
The MMS has provided direction and opened up great opportunities for our Methodist churches and individuals to partner it to either support or pioneer churches, develop mission endeavours, or support MMS missionaries.
The Rev Dr Lim, who turns 66 next month, was admitted as a Minister-on-Trial in 1970 by the Singapore-Malaya Annual Conference, and has thus served 35 years with the MCS. He had served as a pastor in Malaysia and several churches in Singapore.
When he was Chairman of the Council of Missions of the MCS, he initiated the formation of the MMS, which was later instituted as a mission agency of the MCS on Sept 30, 1991. He had been actively involved in the work of the MMS and served as its Director since Jan 1, 1996.
He said that one of his greatest joys in serving the MMS was to experience and witness how God had blessed and moved the MMS since its inauguration on Sept 30 1991 to spread its mission across the region.
“I have seen God at work turning obstacles into opportunities for our mission in Cambodia, China, Thailand, Nepal and Vietnam. I am thankful to God for the growing intercession for, and involvement in, our mission fields. “I have witnessed God at work.
“I have witnessed God at work healing and helping people, touching and transforming families and friends on our mission fields. I was touched when an ordinary Methodist came to our MMS office to give a very generous gift or when a person called on the phone to encourage and pray for me and the MMS.
“The planting of a preaching point by the staff and children of COSI Children’s Village (in Cambodia), which was supported by our missionaries, illustrates how mission endeavours can be used to provide a platform for mission outreach and church planting.
“The love, prayers and support expressed by MMS partner churches, mission partners and volunteers, missionaries, including national staff, supporters, and Methodist and non-Methodist pastors when I was diagnosed with the first stage of nasopharyngeal cancer in October 2000 bring great joy to my heart too. Praise God that my recent CT scan of the post nasal space shows no sign of nasopharyngeal or infratemporal fossa mass.”
He noted that more church-goers and worshippers were becoming active in mission work not only with the MMS but also within their own churches.
Among the reasons that motivated him to serve in the MMS, he said, is God’s mission mandate enunciated in numerous Scriptures – Isaiah 49:6, Matthew 28: 18-20, Acts 1:8, etc – that convicted and challenged him to venture in faith to seek, share and serve people across the region who need the love and saving grace of Christ.
Another reason is the interest derived from his doctoral study in missiology at Fuller Theological Seminary in the early 1980s. Asked what his hopes for the MMS are now that he has retired, he said: “My hope and vision for the MMS is that the missionaries, national pastors and workers, MMS partners, supporters, staff and volunteers will stay obedient and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit; pray steadfastly and be united for renewal and revival in the mission fields; and sustain the planting and multiplication of churches as expressed in the MMS Vision 2020.
“As we move and serve together in fulfilling God’s mandate for our mission, let us remain focused, faithful and fruitful as encouraged by the Apostle Paul.
“If God can transform the manger into a place of grace and glory, surely He can make something beautiful out of your life and in your involvement in mission. Indeed, God is the reason for our mission across the streets and across the seas in our region.”
As for his future plans, he said: “After serving 35 years of pastoral and mission ministry, I foresee my retirement as a period of rest, reflection and refreshing. Though I have been approached by a few people to consider serving with them in missions, I see the need to wait upon the Lord for the next phase of God’s ministry for me. Until then, do pray for me and my family as I seek God’s wisdom.”