31 Oct 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-
Ooi Kiah Hui is the Director of the Rural and Urban Development at Malaysian Care. And she had been serving the poor for twelve years. Has she always been interested in social services? Surprisingly, Kiah Hui actually graduated with a Master’s in conservation biology and she was planning to do a Ph.D. in conservation biology as well.
So, what made her change her mind?
While waiting for her professor to accept her into the Ph.D. program, she came across an article about the environmental disaster in Rwanda caused by war. She thought that if the environment would take so long to restore, how long more would a destroyed life take to restore. At that moment, Kiah Hui felt burdened for the poor and destitute. So, she prayed to God for His leading. Since childhood, she had always wanted to serve God but did not know how.
God led with an old hymn
She had several confirmations from God about serving the poor at that time. The first one was her coming across an old hymn sang by John Michael Talbot, a hymn that remained dear to her till this day.
Watch and listen to this old hymn from John Michael Talbot
In the hymn, God asked whom he shall send to those who “dwell in dark and sin”? While singing along with the hymn, Kiah Hui find herself responding to God by singing:
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
God Provides the Way and Means!
Kiah Hui felt that God was calling her to serve the poor. The second confirmation came when Rev. Pax Tan who was working in Malaysian Care came to give a sermon at Kiah Hui’s church. Rev. Pax Tan is the senior director of Malaysian Care currently. She learned from Rev. Pax that a job was opened in Malaysian Care. Taking it as a leading from God, she consulted Rev. Pax and was encouraged to go for the interview.
And of course, the third confirmation is her getting the job in Malaysian Care despite having no experiences and qualifications for social services. Doubtful of whether the job suits her, Kiah Hui prayed that she would try the job out for one year. If she did not find it suitable, then she would go back to studying.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps,” Proverbs 16:9.
Now, working in Malaysian Care, Kiah Hui realized what she likes most about her job is the scope and variety it offers. She was able to work together with different people including the community, non-profit organizations, embassies, donors and churches. She finds deep fulfillment working with God and making a real difference in the lives of the poor.
Curious, I asked Kiah Hui if she had always found it easy to love the poor and destitute. Kiah Hui admitted that she is an introvert by nature. And she prays to God every day to help her emphasize with people’s plight. If God’s nature is to be passionate for people, Kiah Hui thinks that she should be too.
What about the rest of us who are not in social services?
So, is this a story to encourage us to quit our jobs and work in social services? No, this is a story of how we should respond to a burden placed in our heart through prayer. Instead of ignoring the burden, Kiah Hui prayed, trusted and followed God’s leading. Note that the burden could take many forms. It could be as simple as calling an old friend to offering in running errands for a single mother.
Secondly, this story also tells us that we do not need qualifications, experiences, or even a natural inclination to love and help people, in order to serve God. I used to think that we need all that to serve God, but let us think. Was Kiah Hui trained in social services? No. Was she naturally passionate in the poor without God’s conviction? No. And lastly, does Kiah Hui get energized meeting a variety of people everyday? No, Kiah Hui is an introvert.
The truth is that when God calls us for a purpose, we will always feel inadequate. How many times do we shy away from the burden placed in our heart because: it’s just not the right time, I am busy now, I do not have enough qualifications, I do not think I am a good person, I do not feel loving now, so on and so forth. Responding to a burden means giving part of us. And admittedly, giving becomes overwhelming especially when we have and feel like we have nothing to give. Rightfully, we will feel that way if we depend in ourselves because really, there’s only so much we can give. But if we depend on God’s providence to fill us, we will surely have enough to give.
But He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
If God’s Will is for us to achieve His purpose by giving, would He not provide us the means? Hence, the next time we feel burdened, perhaps it is wise to pray to God for His leading and pray for His providence for us to achieve his purpose. God is able and we can never out give Him.