‘Please pray for our people’

For many of us, when we think about life in a small village in Asia, we picture a life with less pressure and stress, an existence without reliance on mobile phones and facebook, and being surrounded by family and community.

Latina lives in a village in the north of Sabah where, from the green surroundings and lack of city noise, you might be inclined to think that life is indeed good.

We sit in the shade of the new church being built in her village The community has just prepared a lunch for our visit and the women are busy making sure that it is ready.

At 9 years of age Latina came to know Jesus. A Protestant priest taught her in her village and she has since married a husband who also loves Jesus. Latina is the chairperson of the church whose shade is protecting us from the tropical midday heat.

As I look around the village surrounding the soon to be completed church, Latina describes her request for prayers for her village.

“Please pray for the people here” she says, “for their faith and commitment because sometimes the people forget about commitment. Pray for the economy of the people because they don’t have jobs and women need craft skills. Drugs and alcohol are a real problem and the women find it difficult to be followers of Jesus because men say no. There is a women’s rescue group for victims of violence but It’s difficult for the women to leave if men are violent” but, she adds with deep understanding and faith – “God gives them strength!”

When Latina was first married and had two children, she wasn’t living like a Christian. Her youngest child became very sick and her friend introduced her to a priest from the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia. She realised that her family needed God in their life and marriage once again.

As Latina talks she explains her situation now and how she wants to be a person who brings others to Jesus. “I have four children who go to school. They all love worship and love to come together with me to the church.”

And her hope for the future of her village? “I want all the people to believe in God. The new church is being built because many of the church members do not have transportation to get to the other church. The economy of the people here is not good. So if there is a church building here, they can come with their whole family to church.”

Twice a week she meets with others from the church to go into the village and have Bible study and fellowship together. They also assist the villagers to do handicrafts and sewing with a machine and take a music class with the young people, teaching them to play the keyboard and drums.

“When the young people are participating in the Bible study and music classes, it slowly teaches them about Jesus and makes them realise that God is good.”

Latina’s husband and family cheer her on. She met her husband John at the wood factory. He is from the Philippines. After they met she went with him to the Philippines. His family is very active in the church. For 2 years they lived in the Philippines and when their first child was born, they came back to Sabah.

Sometimes her husband feels down because he is not from Sabah.

The new church will be completed in December, 2017.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia (Sabah) at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-sabah/