28 Jan—3 Feb 2008
Issue No. 5
Our alumnus, Peter Lim and his family: wife, Siew Hong and young daughter, Hui Yim are in Bandung, Indonesia undergoing language studies.
We featured Peter’s commissioning in BTW2007 Issue 29 and you may remember that he and his family left for Bandung on 1 August 2007.
He has written to update us on his life and ministry. This is how he describes the Indonesia he knows:
The people of Indonesia are wonderful and aim to live in harmony with those around them. Smooth interpersonal relationships are a top priority. They rarely disagree in public, seldom say “no” but rather “belum” (not yet), do not like to disappoint anyone and always have time for others. Face saving is also very important. Punctuality is not too important and certainly never takes precedence over personal relationships. Indonesians often view foreigners as too quick to get angry, too serious about themselves, and too committed to the idea that time is money. Also, the elderly folks in their community and expatriates are generally held in high esteem. Older expatriates and those that wear glasses among us are thought to be intellectual and are therefore given even higher respect and honour. Expatriates like ourselves are “wealthy” in the eyes of most Indonesians and are treated as a valuable resource to draw on in times of need and may also be an obvious target for crime too. Thank God that He has protected us thus far.
As for the social conditions he writes:
Extreme poverty and wealth exist in Indonesia. There isn’t really a middle class. Although education is compulsory between ages six to fourteen, in reality there are millions of children who are unable to attend public school because their parents cannot afford the cost of basic education. Teachers are also very poorly paid and there is a serious shortage of teachers. Each of Indonesia’s twenty-seven provinces has at least one university or academy.
You may be interested to know that :
Bandung is known as an educational centre for Indonesia and has several universities. She is located on the Island of Java, which is the most populated island. It is situated in the mountains, 700 meters above sea level resulting in very pleasant temperatures. In the past, Bandung was referred to as the “Paris of Java” and does still have some European influence in the buildings, bakeries, and restaurants. For the most part though, the glory days are past. She is a city of more than six million people with crowded, overused and much broken-down infrastructures.
There are two things that will impact most expatriates right away. The first is the lack of personal space. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, animals and people are everywhere. There are very few places where you can go and relax and be alone. The other, which is a marked difference from home, is the Muslim “call to prayer” which occurs five times a day. Depending on where you live, you may be awakened by the 4:00 – 4:30am call to prayer. Thousands of mosques are located throughout the city, each having loud speakers with sufficient amplification to broadcast a wide radius in their particular area competing with each other. Just within the village where we live which has less than a hundred families there are four mosques. The other approximate prayer times during the day are 12 noon, 3:00pm, 30 minutes after dusk and 7:30pm.
Peter would appreciate our prayers for wisdom and grace to live a transparent life that is of good witness to his neighbours. “Helping” in terms of meeting material needs of the poorer people is a constant challenge. He is also concerned about the low standard of hygiene and the prevalence of petty crimes, all of which affect his family. He understands, however, that those who wish to work among the local people will have to love them as they are, and live as they do. So while adjusting is difficult Peter and his family are grateful to be where they are. Do remember to pray for them.
Peter Lim in Bandung: Cross-cultural Realities
Dr Douglas Milne once again gave us a spiritually uplifting message through the use of a metaphor. This time it was “the yoke” – that of Matt 11.25 – 30 which Jesus offers to us as an “easy” one to put on. The metaphor of the yoke was commonly used for animals and people. Perhaps the most common use of the image is for the human condition which Jesus describes as “heavy-laden”. He invites us to exchange this yoke for his which will give rest to our souls.
In the Jewish culture there was the “yoke of the law” where to observe legalistic religious demands was crushing to the spirit. Peter used the same metaphor for the law of Moses when he spoke up for the Gentile believers’ freedom from it. (Acts 15.7). We were asked to consider if our Christian religion was a yoke to us too. Those who live without God may also find themselves “yoked” to a life that is burdensome.
In contrast to such yokes, the one Jesus offers is different because it involves a relationship (“Come to me …”);calls us accept Jesus’ right to rule over us (“Take my yoke …”) and gives us a pattern to follow (“Learn from me…”). So we should we should take up Jesus’ invitation because as a teacher, Jesus is gentle and humble; His yoke is “easy” and He promises us rest.
Dr Milne’s message was salve to the weary soul for he caused us to realise afresh the joy of being “yoked” to Jesus!
at 10.30 am
4th floor BGST
Four came. One shared. All attuned themselves to the leading of God in his life. A spiritual milestone exercise was given out.
This is a time and place to
f focus and converse about our own spiritual formation.
f explore the inter-relationship between personality, spirituality and ministry.
f seek to grow deeper in Christ and intentionally pay attention to the subtle dangers that “doing good” may do to our souls.
Make this your time!
Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies
Leow Wen Pin worships at the Zion Serangoon Bible Presbyterian Church. He is involved in the Young Adults Ministry and with NParks as a volunteer. Wen Pin is a Junior College Teacher and has obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from the University of Cambridge, UK.
MA in Education for Christian Formation
Emily Loo is a member of the People’s Bible Church and a graduate of Singapore Bible College. She is a Kindergarten Teacher and her interest in Christian Education has motivated her to pursue a higher degree to integrate education and ministry.
Chapel Next Week
Dr Augustine Pagolu will speak on Wed, 30 January.
Principal, Dr Quek Swee Hwa, who is ministering in India from 23 Jan—9 Feb
Marketplace Theology: Toward Meaning, Ethics & Spirituality for the World of Enterprise (MM255, 1.5 credits)
Dates: Feb 11, 15, 18, 20, 22 (Weekdays, 7.15-10.15pm)
Vocation, Work & Ministry (MM101, 3 credits)
Dates: Feb 12, 13, 14, 19 , 21 (Weekdays, 7.15-10.15pm); Feb 16, 23 (Saturdays, 9am-5pm)