21 September 2019 by Ray Lee –
Elkay Wong used to practise her leadership skills only in her work. When her nephew Shawn entered into her life 2 years ago, she began to truly understand what servant leadership is.
During her early years in network marketing, a client introduced her to a cult and invited her to meetings. Though she believed there is a God, she was not impressed. Later, a couple had the burden to reach out to her, to share the gospel with her and to minister to her. She enjoyed their company, but she did not accept the Lord immediately. The couple then connected her to a lady pastor from Australia who was with a team on a mission to Malaysia for a few months. As Elkay wanted to engage the pastor with her skincare products and services, they met frequently.
A fun seeker, Elkay used to perceive Christianity as a formal and rigid religion. After interacting with the Bohemian-styled pastor who was full of vitality and open to beauty, she began to see Christians and their faith through a different lens. Before the pastor and the team returned to their country, Elkay gave them a dinner treat at a hotel to thank them. They gave her a bible and books in return.
After they left, Elkay started to read the Bible on her own but she found it very difficult. As she often travelled to Bahau, Negeri Sembilan for work, she looked for a church and attended the Sunday service. She liked the preaching. When she was back to Melaka, she continued to attend church meetings regularly. In 2004, she gave her life to Jesus.
At first, she thought she couldn’t serve much in church.
“I wasn’t in the worship ministry. I couldn’t sing. I served as an usher. When the church proposed mission trips, I signed up to go since I enjoyed travelling and connecting with people. My first mission trip was to Myanmar. I fostered a friendship with the local pastor and his wife during my 3 days there. Since then, I’ve been going there every year.”
As she grew spiritually, she was no longer interested to go for parties. Instead, she enjoyed spending quiet time with the Lord. She also focused on her business, believing that her life purpose is to add values to people. She took biblical leadership courses of Dr John C Maxwell and learned that everything rises and falls on leadership. She has been practising her leadership skills in her business team.
While enjoying being single, Elkay was caring for her nephew Shawn who had lost his mother at a very young age. Shawn’s father Jimmy was Elkay’s youngest brother. He was a committee member of Melaka Christianity and Cultural Research Centre (MCCRC). In the early 2010s, when the centre held a “Malaysia Christianity and Culture exhibition” in Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, he worked there as a guide.
Jimmy was very passionate about his job to present the history of Christianity in Malaysia to visitors from all over the world. When the exhibition was closed, he became a full-time tour guide. Proud to be a Malaccan, he especially loved to bring visitors through the Christian and Culture Heritage trail in his home town.
Later, Jimmy accepted an offer to give lectures in Kuala Lumpur. As he was very busy travelling for work, Elkay was very concerned about Shawn’s studies and growth as a teenager. So she arranged tuition for him. Little did she know that God was going to give her a much bigger responsibility towards Shawn.
In September 2017, she received a call from Shawn, telling her that his father had collapsed in the house and passed on. While preparing for Jimmy’s funeral, she learned more about her late brother through his contacts. Jimmy had gained so much respect from his students in Kuala Lumpur that they came all the way to Melaka in groups to pay last tribute to him. There were students in the ministry who were inspired by Jimmy to take up the tourism course to share the gospel. He also developed such a strong bonding with Christians Koreans in Melaka by attending their church that they requested a Korean wake service on the second evening.
Elkay decided to bring her nephew to stay with her in order to fully take care of him.
“My home became Shawn’s new home when he came to live with me. I prepare his meals, send him to school and pick him after school. We spend time together in prayer and study of the Scripture. I sign him up for biblical events apart from school programmes. I occasionally expose him to areas of my work relating to leadership activities, locally and overseas. I give him guidance in social activities.”
“The Holy Spirit abides in those people who believe in Jesus and we need to love God in His place of dwelling. He is making Himself accessible to us in our brothers and sisters in Christ. Every act of love that we do to them, we’re actually doing to God. ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’((Matthew 25:40)”
By leading and serving Shawn, Elkay has become a better leader in her work too.
“The leaders around me commented that I had changed in my attitude and style of leadership. I make it a priority to give and gain respect. I get to know people as individuals, find common ground and build rapport. I spend time with my mentor. She believes in education. Skills to her are like apprenticeship which can pick up working together. However, imparting values of respect and unity will require more patience. After seeing changes in me, my mentor is more open to the gospel now.”
“Every leader makes mistakes. Improved leadership comes not from just trying and failing. It comes from trying, failing, learning experiences and moving forward. People with whom I work closely noticed my character change. They see a balance in my life being work-oriented yet filled with energy, zeal and smiles. This change is attributed by bringing Jesus into my work and my social life. When I find myself in a frustrating situation, I submit to God’s leadership while dealing with the problem as He sees best.”
（Photo courtesy of Elkay Wong)
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