9:57 PM

On being a "superhero".

I've always wanted to come back.
Really.
I believe that this is my homeland, so that's just the place I ought to be.

I was at the OCF Convention in Melbourne in 2006, and something that convinced me even more that I should come back to Malaysia was this OMF video they showed during one of the workshops.
And I remember one of the missionaries just briefly, but excitedly, saying that God had told him, "I'm there. Come and join me".

So, God is in Malaysia.
Yes, He is.
All I had to do was decide if I wanted to join Him in what He was doing here.

That was how it started.

But somewhere along the way, I must have thought that I was gonna be a superhero and "save" Malaysia.

My name is Qian. Some people know me as Patience. (That's a story by itself)
I was a psychology student at UniSA, Adelaide mid-2006 to mid-2007.
I knew Esther and Mindy from HELP days.
Just couldn't get rid of them.
Now I probably couldn't survive without them.

Like most of you, I had a fantastic experience in Australia, albeit a short one.
After I came back, I got myself a job at Malaysian Care. 1 year later. (That's also another story).

Well, to be perfectly honest, saving Malaysia hasn't looked at all like what I imagined.
Maybe I'm just trying to do something with my life so that I will feel...

That I'm important.

That I'm needed.

That I am contributing to the Kingdom of God.

But what is life anyway?
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon states over and over again, that everything in life is meaningless.

You would think that working in full-time ministry would be rewarding.
But the realities of life just make it seem stupid.
It's all fine and dandy to say "have faith" when your transport costs less than AUD20 per week, you have great support from OCF and your awesome church in Australia, and the future looks promising.

I've discovered that being in full-time ministry is not easy. (I know, like duh, right?).

It's not been easy to give back when I have a beat-up car, no savings and I'm still counting on other people's charity. (Definitely helps you to stay humble, though).

It's not been easy to stay in a church that (I feel) is not nourishing my spirit.

It's not been easy to see God when discouragement comes along.

It's not been easy knowing that you're a sinner, and so is everyone in your "Christian" office.

It's not been easy trying to accept that maybe I'm not meant for full-time work.

It's not been easy trying to see that God is God wherever I am.

Malaysia. Australia. In a Christian organization. In the marketplace. With the hearing. With the Deaf.

I've been challenged with this every. single. day.
Did I really mean it when I called Him LORD?

I sing it so carelessly.

I really thought I meant it when I was worshiping in Edge.

I really believed it when I was with my OCF buddies hanging out in Magill.

When I was baking cupcakes, or cooking with my housemates.

But I really have to fight it with all my might here in Malaysia.
Can you really fight it without the support you had in Australia?

Is God really "all I need"?
Now it just sounds naive.
"I simply live for You". .
Wow.
Did I really sing that?

But... I still believe in God.
And I trust that His word is true.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace, not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Whatever His plan may be for my life, I know that my identity cannot be fulfilled in the "perfect" job.

And I have to believe that there is a GOOD purpose for my life, and for me to be in Malaysia. (And no, it doesn't look like marriage is the reason).

I'm not saying I feel this way. But it's the only thing I can cling to.

It feels like I'm clutching onto this with just my fingertips, trying not to fall off the ledge.
It hurts, and my fingers are getting tired, and I'm really, really, REALLY scared that I'm gonna die (or something that feels like death).

I kinda feel like Jacob.
Wrestling with God, and saying "NOOOO! I refuse to believe that this is it! I'm not gonna let You off until You promise me something better! Bless me! BLESS ME!!!!!"

..............

I guess what I'm saying is... this is all I've got.
To have faith that God knows what He's doing even when I don't.
To consider that maybe the only thing I CAN do, is try to know God a little bit more.
Coz trust me, there have been countless times that I feel I'm not doing anything. Like, SERIOUSLY.

Having had some experience in the caring ministry, I realize some of the perceptions I had about ministry work and coming home was that I would make a big difference in a short amount of time.
I guess that's what happens when you live in an "instant" generation.
Microwaves, Internet, SMS-ing, 3G, Preferred parking, online bookings, u name it, we've got it.

But ministry is seldom like that.
It takes a long time to see fruit.
Sometimes we may end up like Abraham or Moses.
We might not even be the ones to see the promised land, although we worked our butts off to get there.
Ministry is often very slow, very tough going.
Can you imagine trying to teach a child to recognize a picture of an apple everyday for 3 months?
Most moms of kids with special needs have to.
Superman, Batman or Spiderman come in, they save the day and get the girl in 3 hours. Or less.
I guess God's sense of timing is quite different.
And I guess His idea of a hero is quite different too.

I don't have a wonderful success story to tell you. My life, as it stands, hasn't been such a great success thus far.
But if you're looking to fight a battle, Malaysia's the place for you.
Being in my line of work, I see the needs all around me. So yes, definitely Malaysia needs people to come home.

I'm not a superhero. And I certainly don't feel like one.
Despite all the difficulties I've had being home, I don't think I would have been satisfied in Australia either.
It would have gotten too comfortable. And I may have forgotten my need for God.
Somewhere, somehow, I just gotta trust that God's gonna make a masterpiece outta me and my life.
Coz that's all I've got.

I just gotta keep moving while I'm waiting.

10:13 PM

Why?

Dear Homecomers,

I guess I should start by introducing myself first. My name is Patrick Sim. I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Adelaide, Australia, at the end of 2008.

I came back to Malaysia in 2009 and have been working as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers since March 2009. It has been a little more than year as of the date I am typing this.

I was privileged to meet both the blog founders : Esther Goh and Mindy Oon at OCF UniSA in Adelaide during my time there (2006-2008). Yes. We are the crazies that came back.

Now to begin the first part of my story.

WHY?

Why? Why come home?

Why didn't you stay back and try to get a PR? And.....

  • Enjoy the better pay
  • Enjoy the better work / life balance
  • Enjoy the company of friends there
  • Enjoy the freedom
  • Enjoy the government (if you are a Malaysian, you will understand)
  • Enjoy the weather / the air / the public transportation
  • Enjoy the good life
  • Enjoy being around people like myself. That understood what I was going through.
It is a question that I ask myself constantly after I came back. "Did I make the right decision?" Well, sometimes its not so much a question, rather a regret. "You idiot!" I would tell myself while looking in the mirror.

But lets go back to my state of mind back in 2008. Before I was exposed to all the crap.

Back in 2008
I was going to graduate at the end of the year. The million dollar question kept looming through my head.

What to do after this?

And also being a kiasu Malaysian, What is EVERYONE ELSE doing?

No one else was going home at that time. Just me. And Ian Hong. Which made me question myself even more. = P .

A friend of mine from OCF once told me: - "I think there's a reason God made me a Malaysian. I don't think he specifically placed me in Malaysia to be an Australian. "

I thought he made a very good point. During my 3 years in Adelaide, I attended OCF (Overseas Christian Fellowship).

This is the vision of OCF: Reach out , build up, send back.

Reach out: To reach out to all overseas students in Australia.
Yes. Someone did reach out to me. And I did reach out to others.

Build up: Build them up to be Christ’s disciples;
Yes. I was trained and developed as a disciple of Christ there. And I did help build others up.

Send back:
And send them back to their home countries as disciple-makers.
....................

It's empty.

So I decided. I need to go back.

Why?
  • God made me a Malaysian
  • My parents who worked so hard to put me into University are back there.
  • To fulfill the OCF vision
  • To make a change , be the difference
  • I looked at my reasons for staying. They were mostly for my own self interest and comfort.
  • Also, i had a job offer. So before thinking I am that self righteous to deny all self interest and come back to save Malaysia, just let you know that I had some carrots too.
But the idea is that I was quite idealistic back then. Gung-ho. Optimistic. I had a believe that I was holding on to.

Because if you are going to come back to a 10% Christian of total population country from a 60% Australia, then its best if you are gung-ho. When you are coming back to a Muslim country, where open racism is practiced, where the government is corrupted, where people are poor, uneducated, where opportunities are scarce, where more about 70% of the population earn below RM 2,000 a month, then you really need faith. Because its different here.

So know that if you come back, you will be a hand to help us here who are trying our best to stay above the flowing tides. Know that we need you back.

But this is just the first part of the story. There is so much more to tell. Will keep you posted.

God Bless
Patrick Sim
Adelaide (2006-2008)

4:12 PM

Hello! :)

Hello there.

We're people who have lost our minds along the way, and decided to come back to Malaysia after more than two years in Australia. Along the way, as expected, we have been angry with God and bitter at Him for hiding our minds so that we actually made such a decision to come back! People around us look at us like we're a couple of crazies not to have stayed on, apply for a PR and head on to a better life. We've ourselves have wondered why we came back, struggled with fitting in once again, and wrestled with our arms that so dearly want to pack up our stuff and book a plane ticket back to where we were.

Most of us return with the idea that we can "Change Our World" and that "We Can Make A Difference" (we are, after all, well educated and have experienced different cultures). Weeks back home turn into months and we find ourselves not doing anything like what the PowerPuff Girls did. We just can't save the world before bedtime. We still want to, but we just don't know how. Or rather, we don't know how or where to start.

It is our desire at this blogspace to give information about what is being done in Malaysia, as well as what can still be done. This, after all, our country and there's no where else in the world with more delicious nasi lemak and teh tarik.

We started out with the idea of sending letters (electronically of course) back to Australia. And then realized that much more could be done - hence the birth of this site. But for starters, we just want our friends to know that if they do decide to come back, they are not alone in going against the flow. There are people who have done that. And there is strength in numbers. And to let them know that if they come back, they've got people here who have been there, and done that.

We believe that the next few years will be very important for Malaysia. We want a change in Malaysia. And we want to say positively that change is already on its way. Still, talk without action ain't gonna amount to anything much is it. So for starters, we hope that this will be a platform for voices to be heard. This is just the beginning.

Mindy Oon
Adelaide, Australia (2006-2009)