Golden Jubilee Celebration At Rumah Tuan
By Peter Tong
It was a beautiful morning on 1st May 2008 when we gathered at the Tanahmas Hotel. The bus arrived at around 8:00 am and shortly after that we departed for our longhouse trip. We were honored to have 19 of our former missionaries and 14 Wesleyans on board with us on this particular trip.
Soon after the journey began, we were served with a variety of local fruits, delicacies and drinks on the bus. We enjoyed the generosity of our brothers who served us throughout the journey. Our guests were fascinated by the wild orchids blooming along the road side which reminded us all of God’s beautiful creation.
The stretch of road leading from Selangau to our adopted longhouse is rough and bumpy yet there was not a murmur of complaint from the former missionaries, the oldest of whom is over 70 years old. We arrived safely at RH Tuan and were given a special welcoming ceremony of dances, traditional costumes, drums and gongs. A young boy from the longhouse impressed us with his talented Ngajak dance and this won him a round of applause and compliments from the spectators.
Worship service started shortly and the residents from four other longhouses (Rumah Siba, Rumah Selabang, Rumah Jubang and Rumah Belingin) joined us in the service. There were about 200 worshippers. Despite the hot weather and crowded veranda, we all sang and praised God joyfully and energetically.
Rev Tiong preached a sermon on “We are all equal and special in God’s sight”. Indeed as one missionary shared, “We do not come as strangers, we come as a family of God.” No matter where we are and who we are, we are all made to feel at home in Christ.
Rev Lionel who had served in Indonesia for many years greeted the congregation in fluent Bahasa Malaysia. Ms Edna , a former nurse and missionary in Kapit also surprised us by sharing in Iban. They received a big cheer and applause from our longhouse folks.
Other missionaries shared about their experiences when they first set sail to Sarawak back in the 50s’ and 60s’. They had humbly responded to God’s calling and are thankful to see that the great commission of Jesus is faithfully carried on by fellow Wesleyans today. They are eager to share the testimony of God’s mighty works in our longhouse ministries with their friends when they return home. After that, we came together and shared the body of Christ in the Holy Communion.
The sisters from RH Tuan prepared a variety of delicious food with local vegetables and meat for our lunch. We enjoyed the food and hospitality of our longhouse brothers and sisters in Christ.
On our journey back to Sibu, we stopped briefly at Centennial Park. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery there. Finally we arrived in Sibu at around 6:00 pm. we thank God for the good time and His protection on this trip. This is indeed a memorable trip for all of us. To God be the Glory!