A Time to Work and a Time to Rest
Posted on 10 Dec 2016 by Jerome Leng
Hello brothers and sisters,
Grace and peace to you! I hope the final quarter of the year has brought you much joy in the Lord. It has been a challenging semester for us, but the Lord has brought much delight to our hearts as we studied and served together.
We are looking forward to Christmas. It is one of my favourite seasons of the year, not only because it is a great time with family and friends, but also because it is a time to celebrate the beautiful truth of our Lord’s birth two thousand years ago. God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ so that the world may be forgiven when sinners trust in him. Christ has accomplished his mission and has commissioned us to proclaim this message to the world. As I think about the gospel, it compels me to study with excellence so that I may proclaim it with greater clarity. Thank you for sharing in this partnership with us. We are always grateful for your stewardship as you support us in our training for the sake of Christ.
Here are some quick updates and reflections on the past couple of months.
The Trials of the Fall semester.
This has been the busiest semester we had thus far because our classes were harder, and we had fuller schedules compared to previous semesters. I had plans to write an update about two months ago, but I had little to say because nothing spectacular or unique happened. We mostly worked and studied until about a week ago when we had our finals. I believe God was teaching us the value of constancy, that is, faithfulness and perseverance in doing the same things repeatedly. The reading and writing we had to do were important and necessary because we are training our hearts to know and obey the truth. It was tough to keep up the disciplined lifestyle, but the Lord has sustained us through the semester.
The Blessings of the Fall semester.
There were many instances when we felt tired and discouraged because of the intensity of the work. God, our loving Heavenly Father, provided us with strength and encouragement from his Word. Both of us had classes on the Old Testament so, we were soaking up the teaching of the prophets. If we want to understand God as the transcendent and immanent Lord, we need to spend time in the Old Testament. It has been tremendously empowering to see God act in history for the salvation of his people.
The Christian community here has been very encouraging as well. It’s wonderful to study with many like-minded brothers who made great sacrifices to be in seminary. They know the importance of theological training and are committed to seeing the church of God built on the foundation of God’s Word. Besides studying together, we serve and care for one another. One of the most enjoyable times for us is Sunday afternoon meals with some of our dear friends. The Lord has placed us among a community of believers who display Christ-like generosity and godliness. We are grateful for such good company.
The importance and necessity of theological education.
I cannot emphasize enough the value of setting aside time for the focused study of the Scriptures, theology, church history, and pastoral ministry. Pastors need to have the right tools to teach the Scriptures precisely and faithfully. If possible, teachers of the Word need to be equipped with the knowledge of the original languages. They also need to know how theology has developed and how the church has defended the faith from false teachers in the past. The battle for the truth is different in every age, and so, pastors must be taught how to proclaim and minister the Word to their congregations effectively. As much as I yearn to go home to Malaysia to serve, I need to be in seminary, studying under some of the best scholars in evangelical Christianity.
I am compelled for the lost in Malaysia, and I miss CERC.
At Southern, we often talk about missions. Did you know that Kuala Lumpur is one of the top five cities for missions? Technically, us Malaysians have been living in one of the most strategic locations for the proclamation of the gospel. I had the opportunity last semester to interact with some Saudi’s about their faith and Christianity. It reminded me of the millions in our country who have not yet heard the gospel. Oh, what responsibility we have as ambassadors for Christ in Malaysia!
I cannot wait to go home and serve with the folks at CERC. They are the most passionate bunch of people I know who want to make Christ known. I will gladly boast of the Spirit’s work in this church. They know that it is only by the grace of God that the church grows and performs its ministry because we are weak and sinful people. It’s incredible that the Lord has given us the privilege to participate in his work in such a significant way.
An opportunity to visit Malaysia in January 2017.
We cannot express enough how happy we feel about our trip home next month. Robyn’s parents generously sponsored our trip to Malaysia and Singapore. We are looking forward to spending our holidays with our families and meeting our friends. This trip will be good for us. It’s been a year and a half since we have been home (It feels much longer than that). We are very excited to meet everyone back home.
Once again, thank you for your support and partnership in this endeavour. Please continue to pray for us. Here are two of our more pertinent prayer points:
- Please pray that we will have a restful time in December and January before another full semester in Spring 2017 (end January to early June).
- Please pray that we will have a wonderful and encouraging time with family and friends in our Malaysia and Singapore trip. We hope that it will be a refreshing time and that God will use us to bless our families and friends as well.
Please let us know how we may be praying for you too.
In Christ’s service,
Jerome and Robyn