We bid Auld Lang Syne to 2019 and usher in 2020. Many took to Facebook their reflections and aspirations for the year ahead. I took some time to reflect on my journey, the ministry, as well as those whom I journeyed with.
On the last Sunday of 2019, I visited a Methodist church and 3:16 Church in Singapore. That brought my attention to the late Reverend Yap Kim Hao, the first Asian Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia. He was known to be a vocal advocate and supporter for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. His stance was bold but may not have fully represented God’s heart. And years on in 2018, we saw God raising a man such as Pastor Ian Toh of 3:16 Church to produce transforming stories in www.truelove.is, which advocates "Change is Possible" for those who no longer want to identify as LGBT. I am thankful that God is raising labourers, and is on a mission to make Himself known through the most controversial and unlikely topics like homosexuality and gender identity.
A highlight for me was in September 2019. The Assemblies of God (Malaysia) in partnership with Bible College of Malaysia (BCM) and PLUC boldly organized the "Come Out & Come Home" (COACH #1) Conference. More than 460 participants from different denominations and churches attended the four-day conference in English and Mandarin. The night meetings too had attracted around 300 people.
There were real life transforming stories presented. Each storyteller had chosen to come out and declare that God is alive, having experienced Christ’s unfailing love, compassion, and power in their journey. During the night meetings, some attendees responded when the message on "The Prodigal Son" was preached. In spite of whatever "mess" we are in, our Father invites us not just to "Come Out" but to "Come Home" to Him. The emphasis of our Heavenly Father reaching out to us significantly impacts our lives. We begin to see opportunities for us to connect to our earthly fathers when we relate to and encounter our Heavenly Father.
In 2020, PLUC looks forward to partner with different denominations or churches in organizing COACH#2 or awareness talks. There is no better place to do this than in the Church that consists of families and communities. We can be part of the “Raising a Gender Confident Generation” through raising healthy fathers, who will then lead their families with wisdom and confidence. Prevention is indeed better than cure.
2020 will mark the 17th year of my journey from a "Struggling pastor" to "Pastoring strugglers". God is on the move among His people who are experiencing same-sex attraction and gender confusion. We are invited to join Him in this mission because He has anointed us to “proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)