Mission Trip to Sabah, Malaysia

Go and make Disciples of  all NATIONS . . .


Photo: Sabah Mission Team introducing a song

In August 2001, a team of twelve members from the parish of St Paul, Plaine Verte visited the diocese of Sabah.
The team was led by Rev. Roger Chung Po Chuen and consisted of 2 groups: a Chinese speaking team of seven brothers and sisters and an English speaking group of five. The visit has been most fruitful and enriching. We can
safely say that we have not only been blessed by our brothers and sisters of Sabah, but we have also been a blessing to them.
We were pleasantly surprised by the very warm welcome which we received at the airport in Kota Kinabalu. The whole team which visited Mauritius in 1999 was there to make us feel at home and to look after us during our stay. Rev. Chak, his wife Catherine, our brothers Alfred, Andrew, Tan, our sisters Doreen, Lee, Chau, etc. We have really been pampered and well fed both physically and spiritually!
All Saints Cathedral, which falls under the responsibility of Rev. Chak, is located right in the centre of Kota Kinabalu. The church holds services both for the Chinese speaking and English speaking congregations. In fact, one of the striking features of Sabah is the predominance of Chinese language (Hakka or mandarin) not only among the elderly population, but also among the younger generation.
The Mauritian night was held in the Hall of Glory at All Saints Cathedral on Thursday 2nd August. Our brother, Jean Atchong, made a video presentation of Mauritius and of St. Paul’s parish. The message was delivered by Rev. Roger Chung.
In Kota Kinabalu, we had the opportunity to meet the Rt. Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung and his wife who treated us with a particularly wonderful lunch. Archibishop Yong spoke to us of his wish to develop a closer partnership between our two dioceses.

Alfred Yong invited us to his parish, the Good Samaritan, where we met the cell leaders and interns. We shared with them on the growth in our parish since the visit of the Sabah team and they were particularly interested to learn how we have grown from 8 cells to 18 cells in a year’s time. We also had the opportunity to fellowship and minister with them.
The flight from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau took forty five minutes and as soon as we landed, we knew that God had a lot of blessings in store for us. Hallelujah ! St Patrick’s church falls under the responsibility of Archdeacon Albert Vun. It is the largest Christian church in Tawau with a congregation of over 3 500. The services are in English, in Chinese and in Malay. In fact, the Malay congregation, we are told, is the fastest growing one.

Farewell photo with some of our hosts of St Patrick’s Church, Tawau
We have been particularly impressed by the professional organization of the church, the younger age group of its congregation as well as by the commitment of its people. St. Patrick has more than 40 full time employees including lay pastors and workers. It has its own library, its own canteen and a very large Hall, the Hall for All Nations, which can accommodate more than 2 000 people.
The Cell Church system is very well structured and established in Tawau. There are zone pastors, zone supervisors, cell leaders, cell interns. Each cell has to report each week on cell attendance, new members etc. There is no Sunday School as such. All young people are expected to form part of a cell group. Training and equipping of cell members and cell leaders are done on a regular basis all through the year with the ultimate objective that every member should be a disciple and should be able to obey the Great Commission of our Lord to make disciples of all nations.
St. Patrick’s Church has developed a number of ministries to cater for the needs of the people. One of the striking ministries is the Ice Box ministry. There is quite a large number of illegal Phillipino immigrants in Tawau. They live in very poor conditions along the coast in very shabby shelters and barely eat a meal per day. Most of them are muslims. Christians are not allowed to openly share the gospel with them or even to carry a Bible.

The Ice Box ministry consists of visiting and networking with the Phillipino immigrants and inviting them to come to Church. At times, the ministry team can move inside their house and pray for them.

Another characteristic of St Patrick’s Church is its vision to plant churches in areas outside Tawau. The concept is to set up churches in areas where there is a growth of population and a development of housing. This is done through the “Touch Ministry”.
We also had the opportunity to visit one of the outreach churches, St. Mathew’s Church, which is found in the fishing village of Semporna, about one and a half hour’s drive from Tawau. The congregation is mainly Malay with some Chinese. Ps. Eric preached  in English during the Malay service and Ps. Paul shared the gospel for the Chinese Service. About twelve people responded to the altar call and gave their lives to Christ at the Malay service. We also had the opportunity to pray and minister to the people. St Patrick’s Church has just opened an outreach Church in Kuala Lumpur to cater for the spiritual needs of the young people from Sabah who moved to KL for university studies.
Rev. Albert Vun will be coming to Mauritius with a team of over 20 members in September 2002 to encourage and help us to move further forward in our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ.
Ps. Eric Mafat

© Copyright St Paul’s Church Plaine Verte 2001