Nov 11th 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-
A ten year old boy flipped the pages of his history textbook, until he stumbled upon a curious chapter. Tracing his fingers across the page, he read about a strange man. Who is this man… or God? This man who died for the sins of his people and came back alive? Comparing each page in the religion chapter, he wanted it to be simple— One big God, a God that can be known and a God that can be his friend. He finally decided! Excited, he shared with his other three classmates his new buddy! And they knew Jesus Christ too!
Who is this young boy?
Fast-forward 40 years, this boy has now grown to be the founder and president of a worldwide evangelical training body, Ministry Asia Pacific (MAP). He has trained evangelists to Malaysia, Singapore, Philippine, Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Kenya, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Australia, The Cook Islands, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Canada, Bahamas and United States of America. He also provided leadership for the Rural Evangelist Adoption Program (REAP) in China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia etc.
Humble beginnings… But Enriched Life
As a child, Pastor Ooi Chin Aik was well-acquainted with the spiritual world: drinking spiritual medicines, watching people walk unscathed on burning charcoal and burning joss sticks. The spiritual world had always been real to him.
When he was 14 years old, he even aspired to join the Roman Catholic brotherhood due to their dedication to education. His mother of Taoist faith was upset because his son was a bright student in school– school prefect, champion for table tennis, and president of many clubs in his senior high school years.
Gifted in speech, he started teaching the Bible in school at 17 years old. When he started working full-time as an engineer in Intel, he would continue taking buses to churches to preach at the pulpit.
“I thought I can do this for life!” Chin Aik chuckled.
One may imagine him as a serious and well-collected man. But on the contrary, he is warm, caring, down-to-earth, conversational and downright humorous guy.
A man with great potential, I asked whether he was attracted to material gain. Growing up in a poor family, he was contented with living a simple life. As a child, he would make wooden toys, catch fishes in the streams, and shoot birds with the elastic band. His greatest possession was a bicycle.
“I am a simple man who can live a student’s life. Put me in a mamak and I am happy eating roti canai,” said Chin Aik.
Adventure in Following God
While working for the first few years, he felt prompted to go to Bible school full-time. So, he seek prayers from the church members at the pulpit. Little did he know, Dr Sunny Tan, former pastor of that church and student of Regent College (Canada), sat at the last row in the church.
Within six months, he got a call from Dr Sunny to join a barbeque with renowned Christian authors of all his favorite books—Mark Davies, Eugene Peterson and Michael Green. God brought Regent College Deans to his doorstep!
After resigning from his job, he signed up with his savings and graduated with honors degree in two Master’s in Theology and Christian Studies. A charismatic speaker, he was encouraged to be on the field, prizing the John Maxwell Baxter Prize in Preaching.
In one missionary trip led by Michael Green, God impressed so heavily in his heart that he wept for the lost. Hence, he thwarted his PhD plan to be an evangelizer full-time, thus birthing the Ministry Asia Pacific (MAP) on 1st December, 1997. He would have 10-15 speaking engagements all over the country and abroad in a typical month!
Romantic Story Led by God
Following God had been exciting, that even Chin Aik’s romance was beautifully written. He met his wife, Lydia, during the SARS outbreak in China. Despite the advices of his well-meaning friends, he went to China anyway upon praying to God, and preached to 2000 people. However, after preaching, his plans in meeting other leaders were cancelled, giving him eight days of free time. His friend later introduced him to a home church, and you guess it, the home church was led by Lydia.
Upon prompting by the Holy Spirit in his heart, they built their friendship over weekly phone calls despite language barriers. He had to learn Mandarin from scratch at 48 years old, owing his early learning from Teresa Teng’s songs. Enrolling to a university in Beijing, he studied Mandarin and passed the university Chinese exam paper. After two and a half years, Lydia and Chin Aik finally tied the knot.
Now, like iron sharpens iron, Lydia translates all of his writings to Chinese.
“A good marriage doubles the ministry,” said Chin Aik.
He feels the key ingredient to a good marriage is to do things together as much as possible. That is why his Christian leader only allowed him one mission trip during the first year of his marriage.
Pastor Ooi Chin Aik lives an adventurous life following Christ! Would you like to go on an adventure in life with Jesus?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)