Thursday, May 8, 2008


With the assurance that God had called them, they started their journey. Their first destination was to Singapore. There they were warmly welcome by the Secretary of the Bible Society in Singapore. Henderson and Hudson left for Kuching leaving Carey and Frank in Singapore. They went to get permission to work in Sarawak. On the 12th November 1928, they arrive at the Capital of Sarawak. At first Henderson and Hudson were not greeted well by the White Rajahs as they were suspicious of them but eventually their request was favorable as God was with them and it was His plan that they when. They were given a choice to choose to work in the Limbang area in the North or Bintulu in the Central Coast area. After much consideration they decided to go to Limbang area in the Fifth Division. Sarawak was divided into five provinces, called Divisions, and the capital of each division was the headquarters of a Resident. On the 29th November 1928, they were warmly welcomed by the resident and his wife in Limbang and few days later Carey and Frank joined them who sailed direct from Singapore. That was the beginning of their mission to the indigenous people of Sarawak.
In the early years, the 3 pioneering missionaries had to battle a massive cross-cultural shift besides tackling rough snake infested jungles and mountainous terrains. They also had to contend with the steamy hot tropical climate as well as tropical diseases like amoebic dysentery and malaria. In spite of all these obstacles, the 3 missionaries pressed on. For many years, the labour was hard and the fruits were scanty.
After mastering the Malay language and the local native dialects, the missionaries began sharing the love of Jesus to the indigenous people of Sarawak. As the years passed by, God rewarded their perseverance and hundreds and thousands of natives turned to the Lord, in Sarawak and later in Sabah, and they forsook their old ways of head-hunting and getting drunk on tapai (a rice wine). The change was so dramatic that it even caught the attention of the Raja Brooke of Sarawak. The three missionaries shared the good news of Jesus amongst the Lun Bawangs, Kelabits, Kayans, Kenyas, Tagals and other peoples.
The Ibans were hardly involved though they were the first group to hear the good news from the three pioneer missionaries of the BEM from 1928-1932. About fifty years later, God’s time for the Ibans arrived. Many of the Iban communities receive Jesus as their Deliverer and Savior. God’s hand was truly upon the Iban communities, the more they discovered Jesus and they begin to reflect in a new style, improved in their health and they were more open to education and their economy begin to be enriched.
There were many missionary came to spread the Gospel. Winsome, the wife of Hudson Southwell, the first lady missionary arrived in 1932. She was a delicate, beautiful lady that many thought she wouldn’t last in Sarawak but she knew God’s call and had kept up with her untiring husband for nearly half a century of serving the Church in Borneo. Together with her husband, they took over the base work at Sungai Praga. They began a service on Sundays and morning prayers in Iban. They read from the Iban New Testament which had already been translated, and one of them came to put his trust in the Lord as he quotes “ It’s not what you’ve been saying, it’s the Word.”
In 1933 God began a similar movement amongst the Lun Bawang; the Lun Bawang who lived along Trusan river which flows from the mountains near the Indonesian border into Brunei Bay to the north-east of the Limbang. The Lun Bawang in the Trusan was desperately hungry to hear of this new way to God.
The Chinese traders were amongst the first to witness the remarkable changes in the interior indigenous peoples and at first they did not get involved in this growth but eventually when there was some migration of Lun Bawang and others from the interior to the towns, eventually they met with the interior people in their churches. In the last 20 to 30 years, large churches, both of the indigenous people and also mainly Chinese congregations, having mushrooming all over east Malaysia and West Malaysia making SIB the largest Christian denomination in Malaysia next to the Roman Catholic Church.


Yohanes Saile said...

Can u include together the resources that linked to ur articles, plse?

Helga said...

Hello Yohanes. How are you doing?