A Pastoral Letter – Joseph

Dear FPBC Family,

24th March 2020

Shalom! I greet all of you in the name of Jesus.

We are into the 7th day of MCO. I hope all of you are doing well. My family and I are doing good. Alicia is still working but on a rotational basis with her colleagues. My children still attend online school. I am working from home. I am used to it. Locality does not affect my work. I managed to mow my lawn and clean my fish pond. When I look out my window at my lawn and fish pond, it is pleasing to my eyes.

My family and I are trying to stay at home as best as we can except twice where Alicia and i had to go out to buy some groceries. I would like to advise all of you to stay at home. I strongly advise all elderly people to not go out at all. Please call for help if you need to buy groceries. Get your children, neighbors and friends to help get groceries for you. It is important for elderly people to isolate themselves because coronavirus is most harmful to elderly people.

Younger people are also advised to stay at home because you may have the virus and you do not know it. You may pass it to elderly people. During this period, younger people should not go near to elderly people. Do not hug them. You can easily pass the virus to them. Let us all practice this strictly. It is only for a few weeks and then it will be over.

Let us continue to look out for each other. The Deacons in our church had contacted most if not all of our church members to ensure everyone is okay. Please ensure our people are not sick and they are not hungry. It is not an easy task. But our Deacons had done well. I had also sent words to our leaders who look after the Orang Asli and Nepalis. So far everyone is okay. I am thankful to God for that.

I was very encouraged to hear that a brother X in our church knows of another brother Y who is not working and does not have income during this period. It is financially difficult for brother Y. Brother X committed to supporting this brother financially not just for 1 month but 2 months. It is amazing to see such kind of love expressed in the body of Christ. We are truly becoming more and more like Jesus.

And then, some brothers and sisters also learned about this initiative called #MakanKongsi by Engage. This initiative takes place during the MCO period. The aim to provide two basic meals per day for those who are hungry. This program not only help the poor, it also helped the food caterers and restaurants who are out of business at this time.

Engage receives donations from entire Malaysia and works with grassroots like churches and NGOs to execute. Unlike soup kitchen and Kawan feeding program, both involved people crowding under one roof, this program considers all safety precautionary measures through segregation. There is little human to human interaction. Food is prepack for collection. There is a limited number of people to restaurant ratio. The CM office had provided letters for our volunteers to go out to issue vouchers and to pay the restaurant.

I thought of our community when I was asked to consider this program for the people living near us. I called up a few people from our church and others to check if they are interested. I received good response. Our people very quickly contacted the people they know. We have started this program in Tanjung Tokong yesterday, Batu Ferringhi will most likely start today, Tg Bunga and Teluk Bahang may be next. I feel that God is giving us an opportunity to show love to the people around us. It is amazing that our church members very quickly sprung into action.

I also want to assure you that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Yesterday I asked God how I can pray for the church. I sensed God was telling me that we would be like Joseph. We will not only come out of this unscathed, but we will also emerge stronger. You know that Joseph went through many dangers in life. He was betrayed by his own brothers and was sold as a slave. He was put into prison for refusing to sin against his master. Even in exile, he was not spared from a terrible famine. However, what the enemy intended for evil, God turned it for good. You know the story that because God was with him, he was given the foresight to save the entire nation of Egypt and his family from famine. To add icing on the cake, Joseph and his brothers were reconciled at the end. I prayed we shall be like Joseph. We will come out of this crisis unscathed and stronger.

I am bringing you the word this Sunday instead of Ps Ronnie Teoh. I asked the Lord what he would like to speak. A message and a passage came to me strongly on Sunday afternoon. But, I wanted to be more sure. It became clearer to me yesterday morning. As usual, I went to take my notebook from my trolley shelf, underneath my notebook was the church membership covenant paper. When I lift up my notebook, I saw the covenant paper, two words caught my attention, “Eternal Security”. These were the two same words God spoke to me on Sunday afternoon. Then later I saw a post by Seng Hock in his CG chat group. He usually doesn’t post anything. What he did was unusual. I believe God moved him to do so. He posted a graphic that shows people queuing up at two counters. One counter says “Coronavirus is coming, how to be safe?” The queue is very long. Another counter says “Jesus is coming, how to be saved?” The queue had no one. I am quite certain that God wants me to share with you about our Eternal Security. Jesus told his disciples, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”. Mathew 10:28.

Talk to you again soon. Take care and God bless you.

Pastor Alvin

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