Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Introspection of A Full-Time Worker


The Government of Malaysia announces 40% increase in petrol prices effective today. For me, this means an increase expenditure of RM120-150 per month for petrol alone. This would mean my monthly petrol expenses will now be in excess of RM420-450 per month! That is a LOT....WOW!!

But wait, I have not taken into account the anticipated inflation of prices of essential goods as a result of the hike in petrol prices.

For someone who is categorised as a low income earner in Malaysia, I sometimes wonder how to survive such high cost of living.

Several measures need to be seriously considered:

1) I think I must follow Pearlie's footsteps in fasting for books. Period. I repent from poking fun at Pearlie when she declared her "fasting."

2) I am beginning to think whether I should consider getting a motorbike to commune between KL and Seremban. That should save on petrol and tolls (currently, a return journey between KL and STM costs me RM23.60 in tolls). But with the Malaysian weather...hmmmm

3) Perhaps I should consider taking public transport - but that would mean it would take 1 hour bus ride from my house to KL Sentral, another 1 hour 15min by train to Seremban, and another 15 min taxi ride to the seminary - a total of 3 hours just to get to work from home.

4) Perhaps I should consider moving to Seremban, or somewhere closer to the seminary. But this would mean I would have to leave my church in Petaling Jaya and look for a new church - and this would involve the issue of raising support for my salary. In addition, I would have to consider my parents who are presently under my care, and also what to do to the present house in KL.

5) I should eat out less....and perhaps cut down on food as well. That would do me good and perhaps I could shed some weight too?

6) Perhaps I should consider "moonlighting"? Revive my real estate consulting firm and work part-time as a real estate agent?

7) Or....perhaps another form of "moonlighting", wishing that there would be 8 weekends in a month where I can do more Sunday preaching? Dream on....

8) Or...perhaps I should consider going back to my real estate profession....but who wants to employ someone who is 10 years out of the real estate profession!

9) Or...perhaps I should set up my little business venture that I have always dreamed of...but that's wishful thinking - I don't even have any capital for this....nah...

10) Or...look for a teaching job elsewhere, say in the States or in the UK....sounds pretty good..hey, does America or Britain need another unproven, self-proclaimed NT scholar?



Did I just hear someone telling me that I should have more faith in the Lord and trust that he would provide?

57 comments:

rccnlj said...

Hahah... you didn't put down - cut down on starbucks. ;)

Lee Chee Keat said...

Hmm...yah..u r right, maybe I should consider to go back to my Accountant profession as my part time job, abandoning full time ministry and going for bivocational pastor for such a time as this!!!

Kar Yong said...

Ruth,

I still got a RM10 voucher for Starbucks, given to me by some kind soul....

Kar Yong said...

Chee Keat,

Bivocational is not a bad idea. I have been seriously toying about it for some months already.

Desmond said...

hahaha....yalor, should bivocational pastor lo...to be honest, i have been considering this for quite some time lo...but Sir, u don't have to worry la...just engage more preaching, u can survive liao la...not like us, nothing much to shout about la, u still got PHD wif u mah...

Steven Sim said...

how about a "full-time" gomen servant like me?

Can I go bivocational and moonlight as pastor somewhere?

Steven Sim

Kar Yong said...

Hi Steven,

As a gomen servant, you are better off doing direct selling as your moonlighting activities. Sell the products to the people who see you in your office, who need your favour to make appointment to see the politicians, and who need your assistance in solving their problems. They will surely buy the products from you....and you may also inflate the price a little bit...Who knows, you might even make it to the top direct selling agent in the country! :-)

That's certainly better than moonlighting as a pastor.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Desmond,

Whether I have a PhD or not makes no difference. I keep getting pay cut with higher degrees. I earned a higher salary when I had my MA in a parachurch organisation, and even higher pay with my B. Surveying before going to seminary....

:-)

Desmond said...

So Sir, are you saying seminary paying you lower ahh??...oh really....hahaha...

Desmond said...

** lower salary ahh??...

pearlie said...

Sob sob ... Starbucks ... Sayonara ... No-bucks...

1)You are forgiven ;)
2)Commune between KL and Seremban with a bike? How?
3)At least you don't have to work your legs muscles like Paul would have had when he went around, and you can use the time to catch up on a lot of work.
4)Move them all to Seremban? Lifestyle's a lot cheaper too. But KL folks will find it hard to adapt ;)
5)This is already in my list of cost-saving measures, especially when food in the vicinity of my new office is horrendously high
6)A bit susah ... since men can't quite multi-task ;)
7)It is absolutely - preach every Saturday in Seventh Day Adventist churches, and in some churches which hold Saturday worship/midnight mass and every Sunday in regular services
8)Kaboomm!! Oooh, that was what it was for! Thank goodness it missed you.
9)Nah...
10)Hmmm... yau duk lam...

pearlie said...

7)It is absolutely possible -

Perng Shyang said...

Yes, I need to fast buying books also!
Since most of you consider to go back to old profession or be a bivocational pastor, I think I have to call my ex-boss, perhaps I can have my weekend practical as a engineer-pastor (my ex-colleagues used to call me engineer-priest)!
Life getting susah!!!

Paul said...

Very interesting and personal post ...

Some thoughts .... (would ned up being pretty long as that's my name ... LOL)

1. Don't travel by motorbike. Too dangerous for that kind of distance

2. You just have to learn to give up many things or at least cut back. Back in Malaysia I have never been to places like Starbucks ... just once to coffee bean and even that it was someone's treat and I nearly choked ordering the cheapest drink then - $10 for coffee in a styrofoam cup?!!!

I mostly eat at home and if I eat out, it is at the coffee shop and I only order stuff I can't cook myself or get at home via my mum or wife's cooking ...

Even here in NZ the same rules apply except that with a more comfortable budget, I allow myself $100 a month sanity money to spend on personal luxuries (my wife gets the same). I mostly spends mine on "magic" and my wife on eating noodles at noodle houses! :-)

3. Moonlighting. I toyed with the idea for years, esp with a few friends willing to offer me help with an occasional job ... but I decided agaisnt it even though it was a very tough decision. Reason is basically the fear of the appearance of compromise (even if that would be an unfair assumption)and its effect on my ministry reputation.

4. Bi-vocational. Great in theory but I wonder if the Malaysian church is mature enough to understand and respect this concept.... Also if your heart is really into ministry - you will end up stressed out doing neraly the same number of hours in ministry for half the pay!!


My sympathies. But it also raises a sore point! The Malaysian church and Malysian christians (urban) are generally from middle income to high income earners. It's not as if we cannot afford to pay those in ministry better.

If every middle sized church had one leader willing to sell off or not buy a new luxury car or even a middle cost car (even a Toyota or Honda) and set aside the money to pay their pastor ...

After 18 months in NZ, I am now seriously exploring buying a house! The church is not paying me big bucks. No millionaires in the church - all regular wage earners ... It's because the church here is paying me fair wages! And with my wife working regualr hours (as she is not under unfair pressure to be a pastors wife - unpaid 2nd pastor concept that many churches secretly expect) ...

And all this even after my giving has gone up to 22% of my take home pay and benefits!

The Malysian Church needs to wake up!!!


One last thing you have yet to consider. Get married and get your wife to help support you!!! LOL

I know it's a joke but in a way this is a "serious solution!" There are many pastors or people in full-time vocational minsitry that are able to survive and minister because they have a supportive spouse who ensures there's food ont he table for the family! :-)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi KY,

That's very stressful condition. The federal government has gone over its own head in making this decision. And that costs intense distress for citizens.

Regarding options, i'll opt for bivocational :)

Kar Yong said...

Hi Desmond,

Yes. It's true about the pay cut.

You think the lecturers are very rich ah.....

Kar Yong said...

Hi Pearlie,
I think #6 is still workable for me...I can multitask...

#7 almost near to impossible. Don't forget, I serve 2 masters - 1 during the week, and 1 over the weekend. Saturday is my working day in church office. So how to cabut?

I think I need to look for a First Day Adventist church - a church that meets on Mondays. Since Monday is my off day, I could do some preaching on Monday.

Kar Yong said...

Dear Pastor Long,

Thanks for those tips.

Hey, New Zealand for vacancy or not?

Getting married ah....tell me which working lady would seriously want to marry a poor full time worker, contribute to the family finances and share her wealth? If there is one around my age, she would have been married already. If she is still single, she is so financially independent, and would probably not consider marriage. If there is still one that is looking for a full-time worker husband, chances are that she might just be a little bit...err...err a little bit not too .... I better don;t say it.

Back to square one - the church needs to wake up - I agree with what you say! But I think that will remain a dream....

Kar Yong said...

Dear Perng Shyang,

Why not? I am a property valuer-priest....

Haha

Kar Yong said...

Hi Sze Zeng,

Someone just asked me a couple of days ago whether I would consider moving to Singapore - perhaps this is another option! :-)

But I guess the Government simply has to choice but to hike the petrol price. But what is needed is for the wage earners to be paid fair wages - our salary has been kept artificially low for far too long. The starting pay for a fresh graduate now is not too much different from the starting pay of one back in the early 90s. And cost of living was cheaper than. I remember as a fresh graduate, I could still afford a proton back in 1991 with my pay. But today - a bit difficult lah.

Perhaps the next time you see me, you might just see me selling some kuih muih or char kuey toew or goreng pisang by the road side.

Paul said...

Someone should help match-make Kar Yong! :-) Maybe someone from the OT dept who will surely see how it is a biblical model :-)

On NZ ... actually one church in Whangarei asked me to consider moving over to be their pastor .... and asked me if there are other Malaysian pastors like me seems with a lot of migrants here, Asian pastors may be getting popular...

But on a more serious side, I have this feeling that your calling is not to be a church pastor but a NT lecturer...

BCNZ is going through major changes ... I hear they are letting go of all their staff soon and asking them to reapply if they wish to continue. They have been struggling financially for years and so I think this is one way to start afresh ... so staff salary is nto so high. I am not sure of the details ... but I am sure your fellow scholars from NZ can fill you in if you want to know more.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,

As an NT lecturer, I would say the Pauline model of being single is also biblical... :-)

Well, whether pastor or lecturer, when it comes to putting food on the table, it does not matter...hahaha

Let's hope I won't reach that state...!!

Steven Sim said...

First time seeing Pastor/Theologian discussing in public about bread and butter.

Ah, we're humans.

Matchmaking ... can get ang pow or not?

:)

Steven Sim

Sze Zeng said...

Hi KY,

So would you consider that? mm.. perhaps this is not a safe place to talk about that...hahaha..

I'll sure support your char kueh teow at least once a week :)

Kar Yong said...

Steven,
Ang pow will be 10% of my salary...but again, that might not be much of an incentive for you....

Yup...we are human beings after all, who are struggling with bread and butter issues....

Kar Yong said...

Hi JW,
No place is a safe place among the Christian circles...hahaha

Paul said...

Ox theology ... :-)

Deuteronomy 25:4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned?
10 Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.
11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?

1 Timonty 5: 17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

Blogpastor said...

How about applying for a position at Trinity Theological College or Singapore Bible College, though I think the former suits you better?

Its also near home and the exchange rate is favorable.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,

I think there is a vacancy for a consultant to review pastor's salary somewhere in Malaysia....You wanna apply?

Kar Yong said...

Hi Blogpastor,

Thanks for the suggestion.

Hmm...I wonder if TTC or SBC would like to take someone like me?

Nevertheless, despite all that has been said, ultimately, it is still the Lord's calling and leading that is most important.

Paul said...

KY

I quote the following with a wry (tongue in cheek) smile

Luke 4:
24 "I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed-- only Naaman the Syrian."
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.


On a more serious note, I have tried a number of times to "fight" for better wages for others in our line but it has been hard because it looked as if I was indirectly doing this for self-gain. (Compared to some others, I was doing well!) I know of another lay leader who has in the past tried in his church but to little avail.

I know too of a newer elder to my "denomination" (ex EFC) who has given me a spark of hope because he was genuinely concerned as to how I could possibly survive on the salary I was getting... but being the new kid on the block, he could not do much.... yet?

What saddens me is that many opt to join a parachurch organisation as eventhough the pay may not necessarily be much better, it has less stress and generates more sympathy and concern (translate to lvoe gifts). Urban overseas missionaries who may be basically doing pastoral work (but with a lot of freedom) are I think better looked after because a certain level of finance has to be raised for them to be on the field (plus medical, future retirement funds etc)


Please note that I have nothing against parachurch workers or missionaries! I am just sad that the local church suffers because less and less want to be pastors


I find it mind boggling that a church can happily raise (example only) USD 5,000 to support a missionary couple BUT in the same church will conclude that RM 5,000 is a couple of thousand too much for their pastor?


Bottom line of course is CALLING. Thanks God many pastors are "oxes" :-) May be muzzled but still tough enough to do the work with less food :-(


Yesterday I signed the papers to buy a hosue (nothing fancy - just the size of a decent Malysian apt). I share this not to boast or complain (well maybe a little :-o)but to point out that in Malaysia, I was resigned to the fact that I would never be able to buy a house cos I simply could not even raise the deposit. And even if I had enough for a desposit, I would not be able to qualify for a loan. Fair wages go a long way and it has allowed me to be even more generous...


Of course I would have survived in Malaysia. There are always good people around who help out esp my mother and relatives - but the culture of being expected to survive on love gifts and help from relatives is not biblical when the church can afford to pay.


I am wary of accepting love gifts as I do not want to compromise my ministry.


I could survive but my chidlren would have grown up resentful of the church. It is hard to live in a middle class church (upper probably for a fair percentatge)and fit in when some children of members in College have more money than my salary. I may be able to resist trying to keep up with the Jonses because I am older in faith but imagine how tough it is for younger children and young teens. When the gang pops over to have a meal at say KFC (though that wold be a place beneath most ...), paying forr the emal is no big deal ... but to the poor pastor to help his child feel a part of the group, that's a lot of money. Add in the cost of the minimum church activities and social fucntions.... (haven't even added in school friends etc) and the average pastor is in a dilemma.

BTW it made no difference that I have 3 earned seminary degrees (of which I paid for and mostly on my own time) .... promises of an increment for my initiative to better myself was conveniently forgotten...


I must say though that the experiences have made me tougher and grateful to God for every blessing that has come my way! God is good all the time!

Romans8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am very glad that you are now able to acquired a house for your family.

Yes, it makes no difference that I have 2 professional qualifications, 1 "secular" degree, and 4 theological degrees.

I guess the most "humiliating" incident for me was when I took out a car loan last year. The financial institution called me and the officer asked, "why is your salary so low? You got a PhD...and how come your employer would pay you so little...?" Then came the next question, "with such a low salary, how are you going to pay your loan?"

I have no answer.

Paul said...

KY

Don't wan to hog the conversation on this blog so ... just two things ...

First, "Thank you for your kind wishes". I ams till in a daze that one and half years of two of us working and saving and we are able to come up by God's grace with a house downpayment and have a good enough credit rating to get a housing loan!

Seond. I am praying for people like yoy that God will bless you abundantly for your commitment. Your time will come. I waited just over 20 years to reap this blessing! Much patience is needed! :-) (hope you won't have to wait so long!! :-))

Kar Yong said...

Thanks, Paul, for your wishes. Your contribution is very much welcome. Please don't feel that you are hogging the conversation in my blog.

Anonymous said...

Paul & KY,
God has His time in every thing we do. Be faithful to HIM.

Kar Yong said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for your wishes.

Alex Tang said...

it ain't over till it's over

Kar Yong said...

Hi Alex,

Yes...Amen....

Anonymous said...

Paul & KY
I wonder how will a married pastor live with a wages of RM1.8K a month?.(with wife and two growing up pre schooler child).Dont you think the church demoralise the pastor?I hope churches in Malaysia will wake up.

Paul said...

Anonymous ...

Your comments are bringing back memories ... real bad memories. I can probably guess how it is worked out ... RM 1,000 for pastor, RM 400 wife allowance and RM 100 for each child... and RM 200 for housing allowance .... or something like that :-(

Kar Yong said...

Hi Anonymous,

I can identify with you. I may not have a wife and children, but I do have 2 aged parents who need constant and very expensive medical care.

As I said to a friend of mine who has migrated for economical reason - "Go in peace - the church does not deserve you." This may sound radical, but the question is not the church cannot afford to pay, but it is just refusing to pay what is reasonable.

I have joked, that if I am still single when I am 50, it might not be a bad idea for me to convert to become a Catholic priest - at least the church would take care of me until the day I die... :-)

Kar Yong said...

Hi paul,

It might also be like this:

RM800 for basic pay; RM400 for wife allowance; RM100 for each children, RM200 for travelling; and RM200 for housing.

So for me, I would be paid RM1,200.

Anonymous said...

KY and Paul,
with that RM1.2K to 1.8K, how can the pastor look after old age parents, wife and two child? God's said "honor our parents".How?

The current cost of living is shoot up like a rocket. I cant imagine. Don't mentioned about medical cost.

Oh yes,
Don't tells me to live by faith.
If to live by faith, i would suggest the church to pay pastor and full time worker accordingly with a faith the Lord will bless the church abundantly.

Paul said...

I once had this offer ... and my wife was there with me! This was back in 1992/3.

Work for us (urban church where most leaders had large bungalows and cars) on the Scriptural basis of "The righteous shall live by faith" (I leave the NT scholar to choke on the eisegesis and application :-))

So therefore no pay except RM 300 for house allowance (for we take care of our workers!!)

"If you bless people in your ministry, they will bless you in return" (Of course my focus ministry wold be College and Youth ministry ... some of the richest people around)

How will I be "paid" ... simple: people will earmark in the offering towards my salary (again stressing if I am a blessing, people will bless me).

My response was: OK. Before I accept, clarify this:

"If will be a blessing. No problem there. But let's just say that I bless people so much that your general fund giving drops as most are ear marking gifts to me. What then?"

Long pause ... and almost stunned silence .... then:

We can't have that ... there has to be a cap on how much the FTWer gets ... if the amount is over RM 800 then the rest still goes back to the church fund! ... IN other words ... my pay is RM 800 or less with a "generous" RM 300 a month for rent!!

This is no urban legend. This is true and at the time I was at the church youth camp as their speaker ... and doing it for free!!! Yes, not a cent even for my petrol! Malaysia BOLEH!! :-(

Paul said...

need to add that by then my 1st child was born and my wife stopped working part time ....

Anonymous said...

Paul,
I wonder why church cant pay the pastor in according to the market rate? Why must they demoralise pastor?

Paul said...

anonymous

I don't think I can answer your question... as I think different "churches" have different reasons.

These are some of the reasons I have heard.
1. Pastor must be humble and trust God. Too much money will make him / her proud.
2. Pastor must not be greedy
3. Pastor must set a good example by sacrificing

I would venture to add the following possibilities ... (Malaysian context)

1. The "poor quality" of many who entered full-time ministry has created a poor impression of those in ministry. Hence a concept of poorly qualified, hence poor pay. Why this affects PhD holder is a mystery :-(

2. Historical poor precedence set by missionaries where they did not ask or expect much so they never taught the local church the importance of taking care of their future pastors. (they had their own support of course!! - again my theory why many prefer to be missionaries than pastors)

3. Many do not understand or know what pastors do. Impression is that it is an easy job and short hours - hence poor pay

4. Committed lay people who are very comfortable financially - they spend a lot of time serving so in their mind, we are doing a lot for God and the church and are sacrificing our time and money as well without pay!

5. Committed pastors and people in vocational ministry who just plod on simply because their commitment to ministry is a calling. We just will not complain much (except to each other) and we are actually pretty spiritual (LOL!!!) as we do understand about faith and trusting God and we have a grateful
spirits. We really do what we do for God not for money :-)

6. The unwritten rule and expectation that somehow the pastor will supplement his income via the occasional love gifts

7. The "bullying" (whether intentional or not) of the pastor to think that it is unspiritual to talk about financial or material things. So if he cannot afford car but only a motorbike, he will be seen as unspiritual to want a car when so many people in the country make do with a bike.

* In all fairness many in ministry should not be in ministry. The more bad apples of selfish / greedy and lazy pastors the worse it will be for the genuine men and women who are called.

Let someone else continue this conversation ... but in the back of my mind I want to add that the death some years back of a very prominent man of God and pastor due to a freak accident could have been avoided if the person could afford a decent car.

Hence I made the comment previously that KY should not even consider using a motorbike to travel from PJ to Seremban.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Anonymous,

Like Paul, your comment also brings back memories....

I used to work for a parachurch organisation where I was required to raise my own salary. My support would be channeled to the organisation, designated for me, and from there, my monthly salary would be paid.

I thank God that I had a group of very faithful supporters who generously channeled support to the organisation, designated for my salary, to the extent that I managed to raise more than my salary. And this was where all the problems like what Paul described in his earlier comment about his job offer began.

My mother was hospitalised, and I needed extra cash. So I asked the leadership whether I could be given the money given by my supporters that were beyond my salary (bear in mind, I was not asking a single sen from the general fund, but from what was already given to me by my supporters but held by the organisation) to cover some of the medical expenses. The answer? NO

I was told to live by faith and trust God to provide. I was also told that the extra money that I had raised would not be given to me as I needed to have more faith in the Lord.

When I left the organisation, there was still about RM10,000 that was designated for my salary left untouch. What happened to the money? Should it be given to me since my supporters would have wanted that? No, and I was given RM5,000 and I was reminded that this was a "gift" for my farewell. What about the rest of the RM5,000 my supporters desginated for me? It went to the organisation.

I actually told the leadership that my faith in the Lord is excersiced through those the Lord has put into leadership in the organisation.

BTW, don't we all live by faith in one way or another, whether as a pastor or in the marketplace?

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul and Anonymous,

Paul, thanks for the input about some of the reasons why salary of pastors are kept deliberately low.

I agree with you that there are many who should not be in full time ministry. Having taught at 2 seminaries, I have seens students whom I feel should not be in the minsitry. I even said that the church deserves better pastors.

Having said that, let me add another reason I was told why the salary of pastors must be kept low - to prevent those who could not survive anywhere else from coming into the ministry!

The argument is simple - those who are really called by the Lord would not mind making the sacrifice. If the church pays market rate, then it might also attract those who are lazy, selfish and people who are the rejects of the society to come into the church as pastors.

I used to be very critical of pastors of fulltime workers migrating elsewhere for economical reasons. But several years ago, I have seen many of my friends in the minsitry suffered. Like what Paul said, we don't complain to others, except to a few close friends in the ministry. Now, I would say, GO, if you have to.

The worst fear that I have is that the children of the pastors would hate the church so much that they would leave the church - and also the faith - because they are the ones that suffered the most! Some see their friends move on to college and enjoy overseas education while they are subject to doing STPM and the mercy of our government whether they could get into the local university and a course that is of their interest and choice, if they ever get into a local university.

Oh Lord, have mercy....

Paul said...

*sigh* I guess I just can't bring myself to get out of this conversation ... and I know I can end up being heavily criticized and misunderstood ... but I am glad KY brought this subject up so frankly.

So many emotions are stirred up when I read such posts ... perhaps I am still in need of some inner healing ...

I don't know if anyone remembers the case (came out in the newspapers) of a pastor in Ipoh (chairman of the pastors fellowship too) who committed suicide because he was hounded by money lenders and was driven to kill himself in a misguided bid to protect his family?

I am sure the circumstances around his death is a very complicated and I do not have the full story BUT from my perspective his death hit me so hard.

REason is that he was my room mate in Bible seminary and we were pals. When I met him, he came from an organization that required him to raise his own funds for his salary (fixed) which was given directly to the organization and the if he could not meet the target, he only got what he raised! He was a good man and truly loved God and people. His problem was that he chose to work primarily in evangelism, among the poor, esp Estate people. Low profile ministry so not much money!

He never graduated not because he was a poor student. He failed a core course mainly due to him being distracted by some real personal problems of others he was obliged to help. At one stage I gave most of my money for him to meet a family obligation. he wanted a loan but I could not accept loaning him so we compromised that it was to be a gift and that if he would ever have more money one day he could give it away to others. (I am not blowing my own trumpet - those who know me can vouch for me but even if people think I am doing so, so be it :-))

The point is he was in real need. he dropped out and went to Ipoh to serve and we lost contact as he was too "ashamed" to call on me - I found this out when I moved to Kampar and met him in Ipoh. There I saw the wonderful things he was doing and also how strapped for cash he was. he was doing odd jobs on the side, even restoring old thrown away furniture to raise funds for his ministry to the poor. but I had little spare cash as I was now married and had a child and tight myself. Also he told me he would not accept a cent from me as he still "owed" me from before and that I was a good friend.

So I ended up hiring him as my gardener! Yes. he came in to clear my garden and I paid him big bucks. that helped,. Then later I bought things from him that he was making (even if I did not need them) on the excuse that I could give them away as presents - which I did. I thank God for a wife who was supportive of me in this. He knew what I was doing and it affected our friendship a bit cos it was pretty embarrassing to be getting help from a fellow FTWer.

Then I moved back to PJ and we lost contact till I saw his face in a newspaper report !

It sucks big time when a FTWer has to resort to going to a money lender (And I heard that it was as a guarantor for someone else who needed help and not for himself). Yes, yes, I know there must be more to the story but for me - his great fault was a generous heart that foolishly gave more than he should have. But it was out of a love for God and others. I can't help but think that if he had more better financial support things might have been very different ...

Anonymous said...

KY and Paul.

I did not mean to bring back your old memories. if it has,my apologize. thank you to share... at least my key in certain issues in unlock. Still want to thank God for many blessing He has poured upon me. Begin to realise it is not everyone can bless others. Being able to bless others is a blessing of God. I just have to live in reality.

Paul said...

Anonymous

Hey, no worries. I have basically moved on ... sure some bad memories emerge every now and then when such matters are brought up but it is not bitterness but more of sadness and actually a lot of thankfulness that God has been good.

I would say that as I look back most bad experiences for me has turned out for good... which is not really surprising as this is God's promise after all!! :-)

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your sharing - sometimes I just wish that I could go back to real estate development so that I could do more for the FTW....

I am sure we will talk more when we meet up in Auckland next week or so.

Look forward to seeing you - and thanks again for the books.....

Kar Yong said...

Hi Anonymous,

No worries - no apologies needed. Like Paul, I have gotten over those experiences that I shared, and have moved on. Like Paul, through these experiences, I have grown wiser. I have also seen God's hands and miraculous provisions in many ways.

It's just that I feel sad and am grieved when I hear other of my colleagues in the ministry suffer. I just wish I could do more to help.

Anonymous said...

KY and Paul,
Thank you very much for the sharing. Like KY i just wish i can do more for the fulltime worketr who are in needs. God truely provide that is whay i can shared. At least now my wounds is healed.

Kar Yong said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are most welcome.

I wish you God's abundant blessings and provision as you continue to serve the Master faithfully.

Paul said...

Anonymous

ditto KY's comments ...

Looks like might be or at least were a pastor ...