7 July 2013 by Natasha Kim CM-
Clarance Shashi and his wife, Deborah Clarance are the founders and Senior Pastors of C3 (Christian City Church) Subang. Clarance remembers how his life unfolded from the time he became a born-again Christian, as if it was just yesterday. The somewhat notorious boy in high school had a desire for something more. Since he took the first step on that stairway to heaven, his life took off like an airplane. Through his experiences in life, his faith increased and he is happy to see God’s faithfulness in return.
Having lived in Klang for most of his life, Clarance remembers his younger days where his primary interest was to get more money, which led him into becoming a debt collector and a loan shark.
At his early twenties, Clarance started to pursue Law while working part-time at a Call Centre. It was during this time God started to tug his heartstrings and he felt a desire to pursue a greater spiritual experience, which led him to experiment with spiritual matters such as meditation and new age religions. Later, a friend invited him to attend his church called Christian Life Centre (CLC) in Port Klang. The Church was vibrant and very different from what he was used to and he did not feel comfortable. However, he could not deny that he felt something he had never felt before at the service, and that feeling drew him back to that church.
“I started feeling the presence of God which I never felt before,” he said.
In just a few months, he accepted Christ and started getting very involved in church, helping them with their outreach ministries.
“God became very real to me,” he shared.
Slowly, his friends started getting saved too and he was prophesized over numerous times that he would go into full time ministry but he never took it seriously.
His family initially was uncomfortable with this decision he made in his life. However, slowly but surely, they began to see the change in him and they also started to join him at church. “Eventually my whole family got saved too,” he said.
A Brand New Start
He never finished his studies in Law because God continued to bless his career. It started off as a part time job but as he kept performing well, he continued to get promoted with better offers! Eventually, he became the Call Centre Manager at Citibank.
“God promoted me in the corporate world,” he said.
Life was going good and right around then, he received the calling once more to go into full time ministry. But he was not enthusiastic in getting into full time ministry!
“I just bought a new car, a new house and I was going to get married the following year but I prayed about it and asked God for a specific sign that would not happen under normal circumstances. And if that happened, I will consider it as a confirmation from God that it was time for me to leave everything and go full time,” he said.
Sure enough, he got his sign within a week and though it was a difficult decision, he left his job and served full time in CLC as a Youth Pastor in 2004.
In 2005, Clarance got married to Deborah as planned and their life took off from there. Now Deborah never wanted to marry a pastor while Clarance never wanted to become a pastor. “Sometimes God makes you eat your words,” said Clarance.
The Unassailable Calling and the Supernatural Power of God
Soon, CLC came under the C3 International movement and had two locations at Klang and Kuala Lumpur.
One day, C3’s Regional Directors from Australia paid the church a visit and recommended Clarence and Deborah to their Senior Pastors, Joe and Stella Ramayah. The directors recommended sending the couple to the C3 main campus in Sydney to learn the C3’s movement culture, so that they can bring what they learned back to their churches in Malaysia that has now come under the C3 banner.
Hence, they moved to Australia in 2009 with their first-born son, where they received their calling to plant a church through many different people who prophesized over them. They were not sure about it but God was teaching them to trust Him. In Australia, they learned to trust God as their provider when they ran out of cash and were unable to secure a job.
During the ‘Presence Conference’ in Australia, during the miracle offering, he said, “I was down to my last 1500 dollars and wanted to offer 1000 dollars.”
However, he felt compelled to offer more for the love of God despite their situation and Deborah confirmed it. They ended up giving all they had! And despite zeroing their bank account, they felt a sense of peace. Within a week later, they started to receive money from random people including their families.
“No one knew about our financial situation but we never run short, we experienced the supernatural provision of God,” he shared.
In fact, they came back to Malaysia with more money than they had prior moving to Australia.
Although he was offered a scholarship for another year at C3 College, Clarance knew that God wanted them to go back to Malaysia during his prayer time with God, where God spoke to him through scripture:
“I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41: 9 -10)
“As we spent time in the college movement culture, we found that church planting was really in our hearts and it was where God led us,” he said.
In Australia, the first place they thought of planting a church was Subang Jaya.
“We told ourselves that upon going home, we would serve our Senior Pastors for a year and with their blessings, step out and plant a church by 2011,” said Clarence.
Hence, they returned to Malaysia in December 2009 and continued serving for their senior pastors in C3 Klang and Sri Hartamas. In the year 2010, the couple spoke to their pastors about where their pastors felt God was leading them in regard to church planting. Their pastors confirmed their calling and released nine people to start a ‘Connect group’ on a weekday in Damansara, which they believed would evolve into a church plant at some point.
In just two weeks after starting the weekday meetings, a friend called Clarance to catch up. His friend commented on his current situation, “That’s not going to work. Why would anyone come on a weekday to a house and call it church. Can I make you an offer? I’ve got a lot in Subang and I would love to give it to you as a gift if you’re willing to move.”
His friend even offered to pay for renovation at zero cost! What a miracle since they had originally thought of planting the church in Subang Jaya anyway. Within three months, the lot was ready for them to move in.
As a fulfillment of their desire while they were in Australia, the first Sunday of January 2011 marked the beginning of C3 Subang.
“God is so faithful! It was such a blessing! We were blessed financially as well because the money kept flowing in so we could set up all we needed,” shared Clarance.
Within a year, everything was in place and the church grew from about ten people to over 100 people. As the church grew, they expanded by purchasing the lot next to the existing one, which took place within a very short period of time. Their young church of two years was continuously growing through the grace and love of God.
“Seeing this whole church becoming a reality is like a huge miracle. It is a lesson in trusting and resting in God’s Faithfulness!” he said.
Clarance also shared that he remembers waking up one night feeling anxious and felt the Holy Spirit spoke to him, 'This church will reflect my riches and glory in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to worry about anything!” This was God’s favor upon their lives and it has happened exactly like what the Holy Spirit said.
“In church, there are two truths we major in, which are the Presence of God and the Priesthood of Believers” Clarance shared.
It is His presence that sets us apart
“How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” (Exodus 33:16)
“A lot of the things that we do at church can be experienced out in the world, like music, media, and even motivational speeches. The one thing the church has that the world does not have or cannot duplicate is the presence of God. It is His presence that sets us apart from all other people. So we want people to encounter the presence of God more than anything.”
“It is also our desire to get each person to realize that God lives in them and can work in and through them, not just certain individuals or pastors. When we come to that realization, the possibilities are limitless, and we understand what it means by the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ I want everyone to know that whatever God does through me, he will do through you as well and if he heals through me, he heals through you as well,” he encouraged.
If everyone realizes they are a temple, they can do anything for God is with them.
When asked about his opinion about the churches in Malaysia, he shared how he believes that different churches have different appeals and callings. God is working in each church differently.
“One thing we could all improve on is to work together with other churches,” he said.
Now, two-year-old C3 Subang continues to grow as God looks fondly upon them and gives them strength! Senior Pastor Clarance couldn’t be happier about the decision he made that led him to where he is today- a great church, a beautiful wife and partner in ministry, two lovely sons and the privilege of working for the advancement of the Kingdom in Malaysia.
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