Thank you in the Malaysian language is ‘Terimah Kasih’. But there is more to those words in Malaysian than we expect in English. They literally mean ‘receive your loving-kindness’. They express it easily and with a touch of respect.
There is a nation that I do not want to name where polite words of ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ are not allowed in parliament because they are not ‘servants’ to anyone! It is therefore no wonder that the people of that nation do not say ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ either!
The Malaysian way of saying thank you sounds like the right way to give thanksgiving to God: ‘thank you Lord for your loving-kindness towards me!’
Pastor Anthony Gernale of JLYCC in KK (Jesus Loves You City Church in Kota Kinabalu) first planted a work in Mindano in the south of the Philippines. At a missions conference he saw a vision with the words ‘Kota Kinabalu’ written in the clouds. Then Bishop Rey de Benito sent him to start the work. It has not been easy but he has soldiered on bravely and a work is established in a strong Muslim country.
To obtain citizenship in KK you have to convert to Muslim religion. To go to a public school you have to be a Muslim. It is very hard for migrant workers and home schooling is very expensive. They created their own system of learning Alternative Learning Schools so kids can be educated.
Pastor Anthony is married to Maricelle and they live in the same building where the church meetings are being conducted. He arranged a leadership seminar for me and about 40 people attended. He does agricultural work to earn some money but also has some support from the mother church in Manila. You cannot get a missionary visa in KK. Maricelle does admin work in tourism.
Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah that used to be part of the Philippines. It used to be a British Colony but when they became independent they chose to be a Muslim country. The Philippine government still have legal claim on the country and are busy negotiating to reclaim it as part of the Philippines.
‘Yesus chinta kau!’ is Jesus loves you in Malay.
I met the chairman of the Filipino Christian Association, Dr. Joshua Khiew Sak. He founded the Global Christian College. They offered to arrange seminars and meetings for me the next time I come to KK.
In the meeting in KK I preached on ‘Knowing the will of God’ according to Philippians 2:13 and explained that it is God at work within you to will and work according to His good purpose. Your divine purpose is in-built. You do not have to look for it. Just become honest with what is in your heart already and have faith that God put it there!
As I acted things out to show the humorous side of how we do things there was great mirth among the people. Some kids said my facial expressions resemble Mr. Bean’s! But most people found the teaching simple, practical and clear. That is the purpose of a messenger, isn’t it?
From KK I had to fly to KL (Kuala Lumpur) for a connecting flight to the Philippines. The big international airlines do not have direct flights. But I learned that Air Asia does! So I know what to do next time.
I landed in a tropical storm at Kuala with booming thunder and flashing lightning but it soon passed over and the planes could take off again.
So let us remember what I learned in KK: to say thank you with the understanding that we are grateful for God’s loving-kindness towards us. It is so underserved! And also remember: ‘Yesus chinta kau!’
Apostle Andre Pelser