16 Nov 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Malaysian CARE had their annual Thanksgiving Night on 9th November at Trinity Methodist Church, Petaling Jaya to thank their volunteers for faithfully serving the poor and needy with them.
Dr David Wong, chairman of Malaysian CARE, blessed the attendees with a word of prayer and encouragement. He shared the importance of continuing the good work for the Lord with our God-given talents in joy, patience, and perseverance.
Lee, a former drug user who was touched by a volunteer in Malaysian CARE sang while strumming his guitar, thanking God for finding and guiding him through the dark times.
Next, Hezekiah Mui shared a brief testimony of how God saved him from a decade-long depression. Hezekiah attempted many ways to cope with depression, such as exercising strenuously, taking anti-depression medications, and even cutting himself to experience physical pain. To make matters worse, Hezekiah later found out that he had cancer. But it was then, he accepted Jesus Christ who healed him from both cancer and depression.
Having received so much love from God, Hezekiah started volunteering at Malaysian CARE. During his first week of helping young adults with special needs, he went home with many questions: “Why did God create them? To suffer here on earth?” Slowly, his perspective changed. He could see many beautiful things in this group of special people and that they were much happier than him! To Mui, Malaysian Care is like a rainbow where different colors unite and become white, representing our pure and loving Jesus Christ. In other words, only when we unite in love with the weak, sick, and poor, the love of God is shown.
Wong Young Soon, Executive Director of Malaysian CARE, shared how volunteers are one of the most important resources. They form the top tier of the organization all-the-way to the grassroots level.
“Without volunteers, people cannot experience the love of Christ. This night is to say thank you to all of you,” said Young Soon.
He shared how year 2013 had been an intense year for Malaysian CARE, whereby they expanded their base to Sabah to serve the poor who made up almost one-fourth of the population, and also to serve the people with special needs there due to the lack of services. This expansion has been timely, especially when their three-year commitment to train their Cambodian counterparts in drug rehab will be ending this year, hence allowing them to focus more on Sabah and Sarawak.
Besides, Ladang MCare will also be embarking on its expansion as well, whereby Young Soon hopes to serve more rural poor. They also started a mobile resource center for the urban poor called ‘Bumblebee’ which brings books, games, toys, and development programs into low-cost flats. A Refugee Youth Centre has also been set up to teach music and computer literacy.
Lastly, Malaysian CARE is also actively promoting the Exposed Campaign, a global call to action against corruption that affects the poor the most. This campaign aims to collect one million digital signatures to petition to world leaders in the next G20 meeting to make changes for the poor in this world. To sign petition online: www.exposed2013.com
Despite the many new initiatives, Malaysian CARE is still running their existing projects while expanding, causing a deficit of RM700,000 in operational cost. Yet, instead of a problem of over-expansion, Young Soon believed that this is a call for all churches in Malaysia to step up and meet God’s work in our country to fight inequality, poverty, corruption, and marginalization, which mostly affects Sabah and Sarawak.
Although Malaysian CARE has a heart for the poor and needy, their efforts will always be limited by a lack of resources. Hence, they are also calling for volunteers to join them in their vision to bring more of Christ’s love into this land.
“I lived in the slums in Bangkok for six weeks. It was during that experience that I saw God’s heart for the poor,” said Karen Ngooi in her early twenties who joined Malaysian CARE as a volunteer after returning from her studies abroad.
When asked if she was attracted to working in the corporate world that seems to offer wealth and glamour, she answered that Christians should not be too eager in getting rich because Jesus’ heart is for the poor and needy. “It is my privilege to serve the poor,” she quipped.
Rachel Shanti, a staff in her twenties in Malaysian CARE also shared similar sentiments, “My parents run an orphanage, so it’s already ingrained in my blood to serve. I take this as a training to equip myself further. Malaysian CARE is very holistic, so that eventually, I can take over from my parents (for the orphanage).”
Having started a sports program in Malaysian CARE for the last eight months in an urban poor area, Shanti is now leading 15 children into a brighter future through sports and education.
The night ended with a scrumptious dinner after Pr Pax Tan was invited to bless the meal. Everyone from different ministries busily connected, recounting the days they made a difference in someone’s life.
Truly, we need more young people who have the vigor, creativity, and passion for the poor and needy! Would you like to volunteer for Malaysian CARE? Please visit http://www.malaysiancare.org for more information.
Reference for pictures:
All pictures were credited to Malaysian CARE except for the 'Bumblebee' picture (http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/central/2013/09/12/metd_kk_1209_12f.ashx)