Search
  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
Pages
Social networking

 

Join 100 Million Christians in taking a stand on Corruption and Poverty! Click here for more information.  Follow @EXPOSEDCAMPAIGN on twitter, like EXPOSED on Facebook - visit the EXPOSED website.

Entries in Malaysia (29)

Saturday
Jun282014

Pastoral care to Christians in the World of Work

This week I had the joy of speaking at a number of sessions at the Alpha Workplace Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - as always it was wonderful to be with my friends here and such a great blessing to see how the Church sensitively operates in this context.

At today's session I was asked to post the slides from my talk to the internet.  So, please find a copy of the slides (which are an 'un-formatted' copy, i.e., they do not have the Alpha branding and style sheet applied).

Then, for a description of the content here is part of a post from 2008 when I first developed this theology.  You can also download a 30 minute Audio recording for Radio Pulpit that discusses these ideas here: '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB MP3).  If you are interested here is a short preview of the book in which I wrote about the 5 paradigms - 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' (1MB PDF).  If you are interested in buying a copy of the book you can get it on Amazon here.  Finally, I have just recently been notified that an academic article that I wrote on research done among Christians in South Africa the world of work and Christian needs, is being published in the Journal 'Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship' - if you are interested to read that article please drop me an email and I'll let you know when it is published.

Here is the little video clip that I used (which was recorded a few years ago with Graham Power).

My ministry changed radically about 9 years ago when a wealthy business person came to faith in Christ. He is a gifted and capable person who had made an incredible success of his companies. My first inclination, when he asked how he could serve the Lord, was to suggest that he get involved in the leadership of our Church, or perhaps run our Church's finance commission (clearly he was a gifted leader and a person who knew how to work with money). If I had suggested that to him the result may have been two things.

1) I may have helped one Methodist Church in a single city of South Africa to develop.
2) I'm fairly certain that in the process this new Christian would have become bored and frustrated with the task I had assigned him to and he would have moved on.

Thankfully I was dumb enough NOT to get him into that position - rather I invited him to join a small group that I was running specifically for business people. Here I knew his peers could start to disciple him on things like Christian worship, loving service, stewardship and the use of his influence and resources for Christ's Kingdom... The long and short of it is that the person I am talking about is Graham Power, who went on to start the Global Day of Prayer(which this year had between 300 and 400 million persons participating).

Graham has become a significant figure in world Christianity. God has used him to bring new excitement, passion, and drive to many Churches and denominations worldwide. Equally significant has been his influence among his peers (all leaders in their own right, either in business or politics) who have made some significant choices that have bettered the lives of many millions of persons in countries such as Ghana, Argentina, Kenya, the USA and a host of other nations.

I have come to consider this one fact: Graham was created by God to do business... It's what he does well, and he God blesses his efforts.

So, when Graham works to God's glory and towards the aims of achieving God's will for his companies, the industry in which he works, and the nation that he influences, then his work becomes worship!

So, here's a little audio recording that I did for my 'radio pulpit' show (The Ministry and Me), it was broadcast in the week of the 20th of August 2008, and you can order an audio copy of the CD from Radio Pulpit if you wish.

Download the '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB in MP3 format).

The show was broadcast in the week of the 6th of August and I have had many emails and calls about it. 

Let me know what you think!

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

Have Brompton will travel! On my way to Malaysia, Holland and Germany

On the road again. Have Brompton bicycle will travel! Ha ha!

Dubai tonight, Kuala Lumpur for the #AWC2014 conference where I am delivering a plenary talk on business without corruption and a workshop on caring for Christians in the world of work. I can't wait to see my friends in Malaysia again - I am do close to them! It feels like a second home! I also have the joy of preaching at my friend Alvin Tan's Church in KL on Sunday.

Then it is off to Holland for further research on my second PhD at the end of the week. I hope to make a big dent in this project! Need to get it done!

Then on 22 July I head to Germany to speak at the ISTR conference on 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' as a 4th generation social movement (refer to Castells and David Korten). My colleague, Dr Nadine Bower-du Toit and I have worked on a paper together for that conference.

I head home on 29 July and start teaching a Master of Theology course on the ethics of care the next day.

I am missing my family already! This is the first big trip of 2014. Compared to last year my travel schedule has been light. But, it is never easy to leave home!

I am excited for the next few weeks! Blessed to have my Brompton with me! I am sure to get some good riding in while in Holland and Germany. Here is a picture of me with Doris the old Brompton in the Brompton B Bag (with all my clothes etc. in the bag as well). I use the Brompton T Bag as hand luggage, laptop bag etc. it all adds up to 30kg - the max allowable on Emirates.

I would appreciate your prayers for Megie, Courts and Liam. It is a long time to be away from home! Please also pray for the people I will serve, for my studies and for good health and safety! Thanks, Dion

Sunday
Sep292013

Heading home from Malaysia 

Megan and I have had a wonderful week together in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Tonight we head home to Cape Town via KL, Doha and Johannesburg.

We were brought here by our wonderful friends from Alpha Malaysia. This week we had a wonderful conference encouraging Christians to discover and live out their faith life in the world of work. In part this was based on my book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'. We also have a strong partnership between Alpha Malaysia and Unashamedly Ethical http://www.unashamedlyethical.com and 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' http://www.exposed2013.com

This was a wonderful week. We had many chances to engage with Christians in the world of work and ministers / pastors about developing a public theology and living out their faith for the sake of transformation and renewal of society so that justice and grace may prevail.

We have many wonderful friends here, so it is always a joy to visit! I was so thankful that Megie could join me on this trip. It was such a blessing to have this precious time with her! The punishing travel and work schedule of the last two years does take its toll. It is so wonderful to be together and experience new and wonderful people and places as a couple.

Of course we cannot wait to get back home to our children who have been with their aunt and my mom! We've missed them so much!

There is a busy time ahead with EXPOSED reaching its climax from 14-20 October across the world. We already have 137 countries involved and millions of Christians.

Here is how you can get involved:

1. Please watch this short video (2 minutes) about the EXPOSED Vigils http://t.co/i9EK7QqqjK
2. Simply invite a few friends, set a venue, and download prayers, scripture readings and the video from here http://www.exposed2013.com/act/10-action-tools/33-organise-a-vigil
3. Please register your Global Vigil on the map here, so that others can see it (shine a light!) or join you if it is an open meeting or service! http://www.exposed2013.com/act/10-action-tools/78-register-your-vigil
4. Post some pictures, video, or a short report on your website, facebook and twitter. Please use the hashtag #ShineALight
5. At your Vigil, and during the week, please get as many people as you can to sign the Global Call to end corruption. Simply go here on your computer, cellphone or tablet http://bit.ly/signGC or visit the website and sign up there, or download and print a sign up sheet to gather signatures automatically http://www.exposed2013.com

Thanks so much for your prayers and solidarity in this work! Rich blessing, Dion

 

Thursday
Sep192013

On our way to Malaysia!

What a blessing it was to board our flight to Malaysia (via Johannesburg and Doha) in a very wet Cape Town this evening!

What makes it such a blessing is that Megan is traveling with me to beautiful Malaysia. I am so thankful! I will be speaking at the Alpha Workplace conference in Penang and have some meetings for Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED in Kuala Lumpur.

I love this beautiful nation a great deal! It is a very special place and such wonderful people. I look forward to introducing Megan to Durien fruit and the warm hospitality and weather!

I will also have the joy of preaching at my friend Alvin Tan's Church this Sunday.

So keep an eye on this blog and my tumblr feed (on the left of this page or at http://digitaldion.tumblr.com for the site). I will post updates in both places.

We would appreciate your prayers for our service here! Please pray that Christ's love encounters us and our friends, that we are humble and receptive to God's leading and that our work here brings wholeness and transformation for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Saturday
Sep222012

Blessed at the Alpha Workplace conference in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

I arrived in Malaysia just before midnight on Wednesday evening. This is the second wonderful opportunity that I have had to speak at the Alpha Workplace conference in Malaysia. Last year we met at the amazing Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This year we are meeting at the DUMC Methodist Church with Dr Daniel Ho in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of this conference is to encourage integrate faith and work, and find ways to honour and serve God in every aspect and moment of life, not just in the local Church or on a Sunday.

Yesterday I had the joy of doing a plenary session on our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' see http://bit.ly/transformwork for details on this book.

Earlier in the day I had an opportunity to lead a workshop on the Unashamedly Ethical movement (see http://www.unashamedlyethical.com on that), and our campaign on Corruption and Poverty 'Exposed - Shining a light on corruption' (see http://www.exposed2013.com on this worthy campaign). We had a great response to all three topics. I am constantly blessed and encouraged to see how the Church here in Malaysia is serving society with love and courage. There is such remarkable creativity, works of mercy and justice, and a deep challenge to ethical and sacrificial living. It challenges me to find ways to be more faithful in my own life and ministry.

In this picture you see a great panel of Christian business and Church leaders L-R, Alvin Ung, Ken Costa, Datin Kathleen Chew Yeoh, Dr Philip Lyn, Dr Daniel Ho (Taken with Instagram at Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC)).

Please pray for the Church in Malaysia and the work of Alpha across the world!

Saturday
Jul142012

Looking towards home! Malaysia to Cape Town

This week in Malaysia with the good people of Malaysian Care has been another one of those blessed 'God encounters' for me.

Malaysia holds a very special place in my heart. I have visited this country more than any other. Each time that I come here I discover a new level of blessing, and of course some added layers of complexity in the Malaysian social, political and religious context. This week was no different.

Because of some scrutiny by the security police on a previous visit I have been somewhat cautious about sharing the names of people and places that I visited this week. I can say, however, that I met with old friends, made a myriad of news friends, and heard some absolutely amazing stories of hope and courage.

I was privileged to share this trip with my colleague, Amanda Jackson, from Micah Challenge International. Amanda is an experienced campaigner, activist, and a wise and trusted friend. Her gifts of discernment and gentle grace were a God send in the meetings we had with senior Church leaders, sometimes jaded activists and campaigners for justice and freedom, and particularly as we met with some very senior political figures. I have learned a lot from her!

One of our speaking events took place at DUMC (Dream Centre, a Methodist Church). This was the Church that was raided by the security police last year, and a number of the staff and workers were arrested on charges of sedition [Update 18 July 2012 - I was contacted by DUMC to indicate that in fact none of their staff had been arrested during the DUMC event, and it was not the sedition act that was enforced.  To find out more information about this event please see the official statements on the DUMC website at http://www.dumc.com.my ]. I'm pleased to say that the sedition act, which was the act under which we and our hosts faced police 'interest' in 2011, has been repealed. These are some concerns that the act which has replaced it is not much better. Still, I am comforted by the courage of these sisters and brothers who are willing to be imprisoned simply for feeding the hungry, educating and clothing the poor, and advocating for the rights of the disenfranchised.

I was asked, by a friend last night (who was arrested last year for advocating for the rights of fellow citizens) what my impression is of Malaysia. I have considered that question a great deal. I am encouraged that the Church is so active, understanding that our relationship with Jesus supersedes national laws. I am encouraged by the fact that members of Churches and their leaders understand that serving Jesus requires taking responsibility for the freedom and rights of all of the nations citizens. I am encouraged that the Church is not so narrow-minded that it ignores sisters and brothers from different denominations and faith traditions. Churches and religious groupings are standing together to see God's justice established.

I am particularly encouraged that the Christians that I met with this week love Jesus passionately, and from that love flows a myriad of responses to the question what does the Gospel look like in society? and what should the good news of Jesus' love feel like for the poor, the stranger, the weak, the oppressed?

We made significant headway for the 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption campaign'! There will be a good witness, a strong light, showing just how much God loves Malaysia.

So, I will be praying for all of my unnamed friends. I am encouraged to act, with passion and commitment, once again for the land in which I live - South Africa. We have some significant challenges when it comes to corruption. A lack of transparency, the abuse of political power, racism, and moral decay. It is time for me to once again become an advocate and an activist in my own land!

Thank you for reminding me of that calling my Malaysian friends!

Monday
Jul092012

Pantai Baptist Church and meeting good friends

Yesterday was another wonderful day here in Malaysia.  

Young Soon, the director of Malaysian Care collected me from my hotel in Sentral KL at just before 8am. We drove the short distance to Pantai Baptist Church where I was kindly given an opportunity to preach in their two morning service.  Pantai Baptist Church (formerly First Baptist Church) is a wonderful, vibrant, socially engaged, Christian community.  The worship was wonderful - I always find being in worship with sisters and brothers across the world as a rich and deep experience of grace.  There is an aspect of worship that makes me feel at home, among family, not matter how far I am from home.

Marvin Wong is the minister of this thriving Church.  As we chatted we discovered that we have many friends and interests in common.  Marvin did his studies in Cambridge and knows Wesley House well.  He also knows Mark Greene from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) and Peter Heslam from Cambridge's Transforming business (Enterprise solutions to poverty) institute.

I had a chance to talk about the importance of integrating faith and every sphere of life (work, politics, economics, community life etc.)  Marvin had asked that I share from my book 'Transform your work life', which was a great joy.  I am passionate about that message.  Of course I also focussed on 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' and the Unashamedly Ethical campaign.

A few persons asked me to post my powerpoint slides from the sermon online.  So, here they are! The title of the sermon was a question:  Are you a Monday morning atheist?  

Simply stated, an atheist is someone who acts as if they have no faith or belief in God.  Sadly, I have experienced that many Christians live parts of their lives as if they are atheists - sure, we find it easy to be people of faith in 'places of faith' (like a Church building or Church service), but do we live our work life, or social life, our community life with the awareness that God is present there?  Do we ask God to guide, direct and inform our decisions, choices and actions at work, when we are given a chance to cast a vote, to participate in shaping an institution or making ethical decisions?  It is critical that we recapture our responsibility as Christians to be 'salt and light' in the world - working for the transformation and renewal of every aspect of society, to the glory of God and for the blessing of all people and the rest of creation.

Last night was a wonderful time of friendship as I went to dinner with Alvin Tan and one of his leaders Charlie.  Alvin and I have been good friends for a number of years - he is one of the leaders of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical in Malaysia.  He and Charlie blessed me with a relaxed evening of good conversation and fellowship.  It is wonderful to know such brothers in Christ.

Saturday
Jul072012

Consultation on Christian Advocacy Poverty and Corruption

Today I have the joy of speaking at the CANOPI gathering here in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. The Consultation on Christian Advocacy Poverty and Corruption is being hosted by Malaysian Care, a Christian aid and advocacy agency in Malaysia - see http://www.malaysiancare.org/

They have a great model of Christian care through development - as I have met with their staff and listened to their programs I am left with a sense that they care about what the Gospel of Christ looks like (and feels like) in society. Jesus own 'mission statement' in Luke 4 comes to mind - feeding the hungry, developing the poor, working for the liberation of the oppressed.

What is equally encouraging is that their work is ecumenical. They are wise enough to know that the solution to many social challenges doesn't lie with only one Church grouping. Rather, the whole of the community needs to be involved in working for God's loving Kingdom to be established.

Please could I encourage you to visit their website and also to pray for and support their wonderful work? If you live or work in Malaysia please join CANOPI. I am pleased to say that they are a partner of our 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' campaign - see http://www.exposed2013.com

Friday
Jul062012

God does something with me

I'm certain that it is a combination of factors, missing my family, the opportunity to be silent and reflect on the flight, and the anticipation of the week of wonderful meetings, speaking and teaching engagements and the opportunities for the Gospel of Christ to take shape... In fact there are probably a whole lot more factors such a memories, aspirations, sights, sounds and many things I am not aware of!

Here's the point... God does something within me on these trips. I grow closer to Him. I begin to slow down and experience His heart for this beautiful world, for all it's people, for the animals and plants, the landscapes. God helps me to feel love, compassion, joy and sadness.

In my doctoral research I came to discover that identity is formed through a complex set of interactions that take place within the individual and the community. It is a bit like the triune God - the identity of the individual persons comes to the fore in their relationships with others.

As you empty yourself (what is known in traditional theology as 'kenosis') you grow to become who God desires you to be, a bearer of the loving, serving, courageous image of Jesus Christ (this concept is known in Eastern and Patristics theology as 'Theosis' - growing in the likeness and mind of Christ). Paul writes about kenosis and Theosis in Phil 2.2-6, culminating around verse 11 if I am not mistaken.

So, as I sit alone in Singapore airport, enjoying a cup of coffee, God is doing something within me. I pray that it is good, that I may be less like me and more like Christ.

Look at the beautiful orchids in this picture. A real highlight each time I fly via Singapore. Indeed, the earth is the Lord's and everything in it (Psalm 24)!

Please pray with me!

Tuesday
Jul032012

Malaysia and Singapore - Samsung Galaxy Note


On Thursday morning I shall be flying from Cape Town to Kuala Lumpur (via Johannesburg and Singapore) to spend some time with wonderful friends who are doing advocacy work on poverty alleviation and addressing corruption in Malaysia. I am excited to hear how Christians are being mobilized to respond to God's call to be agents of healing and transformation in society.

I will also have the chance to speak at some Churches, some Christian business gatherings (about my book 'Transform your work life: turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling', and of course reconnect with many longstanding friends.

Malaysia occupies a very special place in my heart. I have visited this nation more than any other in the last decade. I love the people and the place - God has deposited something special there!

One of the complexities of traveling as much as I need to in order to manage the EXPOSED campaign is that I have to maintain my regular work rhythm while moving across time zones (EXPOSED and Unashamedly Ethical have people in more than 100 countries. I have to stay connected to these individuals and teams vie the phone, Skype and email to keep our work on track). Having the right tools for the job is critical.

I normally travel with my iPhone on these trips. However, this time I will be taking a Samsung Galaxy Note. Since getting this phone as my contract upgrade some months ago I have grown to appreciate how powerful it is. I can go for days without needing to have access to my laptop.

It is such a versatile and powerful tool for communication. I particularly love the S Pen that allows me to make written notes in meetings. The camera is also superb, as is the processor for things such as Skype. It allows me to stay up to date with my family, keep in touch with my office and email, and also capture the experience of the trip while I am away. Android has truly matured and the list of available applications is wonderful. I count on google maps and turn by turn navigation (and the public transport guidelines) to get around.

Above are two screen shots of some of the more common apps that I use from day to day.

Please can I ask you to pray for my family who remain at home while I am away. Please also pray for the people I shall meet, and also for me and the work I shall be doing for 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' and the 'Unashamedly Ethical' project.

God bless,

Dion

Sunday
Oct022011

Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference - please pray with me

On Tuesday (4 October 2011) I will be leaving Cape Town for Malaysia for the Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference.

I am so excited about this event! The Lord has given me such a deep love for the people of Malaysia - I have had the immeasurable privilege of visiting there many times in the last few years. I have a number of very close friends there. Cynthia Wong, the head of Alpha in Malaysia, contacted me some time last year after getting a copy of my book 'Transform your work life' and asked if would come and speak at the their conference.

Among the speakers at this event will be Graham Power, Doug Spada, Tan Shri Dato' Francis Yeoh, Dato' Sri Idris Jala, and Ps. Dr. Philip Lyn.

The conference takes place in a remarkable venue - the resort of Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This resort was developed by the Christian Businessman Edward Ong. He is a man who truly understands what it means to engage in responsible, ethical and sustainable business that brings blessing to the community in which business is done.

Once the conference is done and we have also spoken at the Skyline Church I shall be heading to Hong Kong for some meetings and work before returning home by the 13th of October.

I would truly appreciate your prayers for this special trip, please pray with me that God works in a special way to encourage, inspire and renew the participants. Please also pray that as I share and minister that the Lord will use my me in spite of my weaknesses to achieve His will for transformation in business. Please could you also pray for Cynthia and her wonderful team. Lastly, could I please ask you to keep my wife Megan and our children, Courtney and Liam, in your prayers? Megie is still recovering from surgery to her wrist and so that places an extra little bit of pressure on her with me away.

I will be posting updates on my twitter feed, on tumblr, and also here - so please do check in on all of those platforms for updates. Thanks for your partnership in ministry!

Sunday
May152011

Why a Christian state is a bad idea - and an update on the Christian and Unashamedly Ethical controversy in Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider posted an interesting article stating that the government has ordered a probe into Ibrahim Ali remarks he has made against Christian leaders in Penang that could be construed as violent.

You can read the article here.  Here is another report in the same newspaper that suggests that journalists should be allowed 'freedom' to report on such matters.

The long and the short of it, from what I read in the media and hear from our friends on the ground in Penang and KL, is that the Malaysian government has realised that it was the media that blew the story of our visit our of proportion.  We were clearly in Malaysia to encourage Christians, work for justice and righteousness (which is in the interests of Malaysia) and to bless the nation as a whole through the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns. It was the media who fabricated the story of wanting to establish a Christian government - that is complete nonsense.

Here are a few thoughts:

1.  On the issue of a Christian government in any nation - I personally believe it is naive of believers of any faith to think that having persons of their faith persuasion in power will make things better.  What Christians should pray for and work for is a just, ethical and unbiased government that looks out for the interests of all of the citizens of their nation. It is the role of the Church and believers to bring people to faith, not the government.  We should not long for a modern form of Constantinianism.  Faith driven political agendas are destructive to faith and society.

Here's my view. 

  • You don't want an anti-religious government (like that in the former USSR or China, where people of faith are persecuted). Faith is an important part of life.  People should have the freedom to practise their faith as long as it does not destroy the rights of others.
  • You certainly also don't want a religious government (we have simply seen too many of these kinds of governments abusing people!  Governments like those in Iran, and even the calls for 'religiously sanctioned wars and killings' in America which have confused religion with foreign and domestic policy) are harmful to faith and society!  The problem with a religious government is that politicians are seldom 'religious persons' first and politicians second.  Most politicians are politicians first, and they hold some religious conviction when it suits them.  Also, if the religion in power is not your religion, or they belong to a different expression of your faith (e.g., Catholic instead of Protestant, or Suni Muslim instead of Sufi...) it can become extremely abusive.  I certainly believe that we should have Christians in government, they should be salt and light!  But, I don't believe that the Church should abdicate its role and function to the state.
  • No, I believe that one should work for an honest, impartial, just, servant minded secular state.  A state that will protect and uphold the rights of all of its citizens, giving equal space for all to exercise their positive beliefs. Such a state serves the nation well and protects the freedom and rights of its citizens to live out their faith convictions within society.  We have just such a system in South Africa.  It can be unconfortable for extremists and fundamentalists.  But, I believe, as a Christian, it is the way of Jesus to make space for others.  Let our love, not our laws, win the hearts and minds of those who hold different convinctions from our own.  I will write some more about this in the weeks to come.  I am also including some of these thoughts in a new book on the relationship between the Church and State that Wessel Bentley and I are writing at present.

2. I have been left with a wonderful sense of the courage of ordinary persons to do good work for their nations. I was so impressed by the level of faith and loyalty that I encountered among Christians in Malaysia.  Their hearts desire was to bless their nation with good things!  Their faith directed them to do so.

3.  I realise more and more that in many nations of the world faith is far too easy.  Here in South Africa it costs one nothing to be a follower of Jesus.  Perhaps that is why our faith is often so powerless.  We have local elections coming up this week and my prayer is that Christians will seriously seek God's will for their choice of party and candidate.  Being a follower of Jesus, loving His ways, has fundamental political implications!  We cannot support corrupt, unjust, abusive systems of governance and power.  We should live for the establishment of a society in which peoples needs are met and they can flourish in freedom and peace.

4.  Finally, I was left with a sense that the media in many countries is a business like any other.  Their primary aim is often not to report the news, but to sell newspapers!  As such they seek unsubstantiated controversy in order to increase readership.  How many people's lives are damaged because of this greed.  I know that those who hosted us who were arrested and questioned, because of a false report in two newspapers, have paid a price for the greed of others.

The way of Jesus is a way of peace. I pray that my life and my actions will not stir up controversy, but rather foster peace and bring true transformation. Please can I urge you to continue praying for those who remain behind in Malaysia after our departure, those who face persecution and unfair scrutiny for their faith.

For now, it is good to be home for a few weeks before heading to Jacksonville of the Global Day of Prayer. I have been invited to speak at a conference in Malaysia in October this year.  It will be interesting to see if they allow me to enter the country.