On October 12, 2014, the team of 4 were travelling to East Malaysia to visit Sibu city in Sarawak. The team consist of Weng Seng from Malaysia, Yuhuu from Indonesia, Phil (MV team leader) and Lillian from Australia. Beside Weng Seng, the rest of us were the first timers to explore the work there.
When we arrived, we were greeted and picked up by a Korean pastor, Peter who 10 years ago visited Sibu and fell in love with the Iban people, their culture and the longhouses. Since then he lived there and learnt of the Iban language, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese (Mandarin) and he is so passionate of his call and has a vision to extend the kingdom of God to the Iban people in all the longhouses in Sarawak.
We were asked to conduct some training/discipleship to the headmen/leaders in the mission centre for 3 days and the rest of the week we visited different longhouses and did some preaching, sharing and praying for them in the region –the closest were about 2 hrs and the further were 5 hrs away high up in the mountain and some deep in the jungle and need to travel by boat to reach them.
The Iban People group
The Ibans are the original people group in Sarawak, they lived together in the longhouses. One longhouse consist of 15 to 25 or more households with common corridor/hall way and private dwellings for different household. They are mostly farmers planted their own padi/rice, vegetables, rear chicken and pig and hunting wild boar. All are organic and enough to feed their own household. Some young men work in factory, timber or palm oil plantation. Most areas without electricity and water, so they used generator for electricity and huge water drum containers to catch rain water. For those who lived in the mountain will taste the clear spring water running down through their rubber hose.
They walk bear footed indoor, sitting on the mat to eat their meals and sleeping on the floor mat at night with mosquito coil or net. They respect their headman and listen to his advice.
When one longhouse came to know the Lord and experienced the blessings of God and life transformation, the good news will spread to other longhouses and when the headman was approached and the gospel was shared, he then gathered all households to discuss about the good news and decision made and will turn from animalism to Christianity. Praise God!
Therefore is crucial to teach/train and disciple the headmen/leaders in the longhouses so that they can be well equipped and be more effective to do the work of the ministries to reach out to their fellowman. And also to educate the next generation, the Iban children, so that they can break the poverty cycle and help to continue with the good works.