Read His Words Before Ours!
Malaysia is a lovely, multiracial, multicultural country. Let me share a little about our beautiful nation, and give you an insider’s glimpse into the challenges we face and the support we need from you, our sisters in Christ!
Our total population of 33 million people is a diverse mix of Malays, Muslims, Chinese, Buddhists, indgenous Bumiputra, and Indians, to name a very few! Christians (including Catholics) make up around 9% of the population.
Many people in Malaysia are religious and believe in deity; this belief is even affirmed by the National Principles of our country!
As the common view of the society is to believe in God, there are not many debates on the existence of God. Instead, the challenge of the multiracial and multicultural society is the people’s embrace of “respect” of different religions and rejection of “exclusivity.” It is difficult to overcome this listener bias when sharing Jesus is the truth and the only way to God.
There is tremendous cultural resistance to accepting Christianity among the different ethnic groups. Upon conversion and confession of faith in Christ, new believers face pressures and persecutions from family and society. For example, a Chinese teenager who accepted Jesus was cast out from his non-believing family because he violated their traditional “filial piety” practices.
Interestingly, while Malaysia has a national language, “Bahasa Malaysia,” ethnic groups have their own dialects and mother tongues, and often prefer using these to worship God and fellowship with others. From Malaysia, a chorus of praise in many languages rises to heaven!
While the churches in Malaysia are faithfully serving the Lord and their surrounding communities, we face many different challenges, and urgently need prayer support.
First, many churches, especially those in the cities, are losing their youth. Despite our national affirmation of belief, many young people do not believe in God. Please pray for our next generations to encounter God and remain strong in their faith.
Second, while indigenous churches are expanding in rural and emerging townships, the sharing of gospel remains challenging due to high resistance from the community.
Our church also joins with other churches and Christian organizations to care for our community, in ways such as having “tuition” (tutoring classes) for poor students, distributing food to needy families, and ministering to children in the “Orang Asli” Home. We also offer financial support to pastors in East Malaysia who are working in the mission fields, as well as supporting the foreign workers/migrant ministries.
Our challenge in these ministries is that although we are allowed to care for the poor in our local community, by law, we are not allowed to share gospel with people across ethnic lines. Even events like carnivals for the children face strong opposition.
Please pray for God to open doors and gospel opportunities in this “hard” land. We believe only the Holy Spirit can move hearts and bring people to Christ. Pray also for believers to be alert to the Spirit’s guidance as we minister.
Did you know approximately half of the Christians in our nation are from East Malaysia, especially from the indigenous Bumiputra (non-Malays)? A majority of them are second- and third-generation Christians, they need to encounter God personally and relationally.
There is also rising Islamic influence in these ethnic groups. We urgently need your prayer support as we defend and guide our next generation of indigenous Bumiputra believers.
Malaysia is an official Islamic country, with Muslims comprising more than 60% of the population. In Malaysia, religious freedom is for all people, except Muslims. As I mentioned earlier, the government forbids sharing of any other faiths to Muslims.
Additionally, anyone born into a Muslim family will automatically join the family’s religion. Marriage to a Muslim results in mandatory conversion to Islam. Finally, because of the law in Malaysia, churches in Malaysia focus mainly on non-Muslim communities. The result of these combined factors means the Muslim population in Malaysia will continue to grow quickly and exert increasing influence, while also remaining far from the hope of Jesus.
Yet we hold tight to the promises of Scripture:
“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD. All the families of the nations will bow down before You, for kingship belongs to the LORD; he rules the nations.” (Psalms 22: 27-28, emphasis mine)
“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:9-10, emphasis mine)
We believe these prophecies in the Bible will be fulfilled one day.
All nations, every tribe, people, and language will come to worship God.
We invite you to come alongside and pray for the struggles of Malaysian churches, and our nation!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!