Anglican Village Ministries (AVM) started with humble beginnings in 1993 with one brother having a vision from the Lord attempting to reach out to the millions of rural poor. There were no funds, no vehicles, no books, no human resources, no office and no strategy. There was only one man with a vision from the Lord. With the permission of the then Bishop and some church leaders, AVM was launched with no fanfare or opening ceremony. It was a step of faith and everything was ‘played by ear’. The Lord called, equipped and supplied.
AVM has gone through great difficulties. Initially, many misunderstood its purpose and intentions. Dangers and threats were experienced over the years. In one particular case, a man was wielding his ‘parang’ and challenging us because he did not want Christianity or Christian help. On other occasions, AVM workers have had to go through difficult terrains in crossing mountaneous and jungle trails to reach the Orang Asal (natives).
There was another occasion when one of our workers met with an accident when his van knocked into a cow. The cow was not hurt but his van was badly damaged. In another incident, some villagers were very upset and hurled foul words and accusations upon our workers apparently for “brainwashing their children with filthy and evil influences.”
Volunteers providing medical assistance to the villagers
However, in many cases, our workers were given respect and praise for doing good work in the villages. Our workers have many roles to fulfill. They act as social workers, evangelists, pastors, match-makers, medical assistants, legal and career advisors, etc. Not many villagers have vans and those who have, are reluctant to help. But our vehicles are always available to the villagers. In most cases, we act as free ambulance service for the sick and ferry them to the hospitals or clinics. Sometimes, our workers have to help the villagers to get legal aid to address their legal matters.
Our workers are outright pastors in their own right acting as counsellors, spiritual directors, shepherds, teachers, prophets and leaders. There were a few cases where the villagers wanted to marry off their sons or daughters to our evangelists!
AVM has in its own right come of age when it can organise itself in outreach and evangelism. Though it still needs financial help from outside quarters, the other ministries are carried out by locals. We hope that in the very near future, it can be self-supportive. We are now able to build churches and buy buildings for their use. This will lessen their burden of rental. At the same time, we are helping them to set up home businesses and create self-employment opportunities to increase their income. We have come a long way. We are able to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the last ten years, AVM has helped hundreds of villagers come to know Christ, taught hundreds in Bible knowledge and English tuition and ministered to many in their physical, financial and spiritual needs. Three Chinese village churches, seven Asli churches and 1 Tamil church have been established. There are many more house churches, tuition and kindergarten centres throughout the whole of the Southern Perak area.
Asli mission began in 1995 with a group of twelve Asli leaders meeting the Rev. Ng Moon Hing and Dr. Teoh Soong Kee to seek assistance in their Christian growth. There were already Christians but they had no shepherd to teach and guide them. After some discussions, AVM began ministry with them. In 1996, St. Peter’s Church Ipoh took some interest and adopted this ministry. The first step St. Peter’s Church took was the setting up of Gereja Shalom in Gopeng. She acts as the mission centre for Asli ministry. Since then, a number of chapels were built in the kampungs, namely, Sinju, Air Denak, Pawong, Pengkalan Daun, Ulu Groh, Ulu Kampar, and the latest, Sg. Raya.
Since 2004, Pengkalan Daun was given to St. Luke’s Church, Teluk Intan, and Dusun 100 and Bidor Camp were given to Emmanuel Church, Tapah. Since these areas are nearer to these churches, it is rightful to seek their spiritual coverage.
Rev. Japalus Odong came to us in 1997 as an evangelist. In 2000, St. Peter’s Church sent him back to Sabah Theological Seminary for upgrading and he graduated with a B Th. In 2001, he was ordained Deacon and then Priest in 2002. There are another 5 full-time evangelists and 4 part-time evangelists serving in the Asli mission. Julih Bah Aew was the first Asli to receive a B Th. Two more are presently pursuing the B. Th in the Penang Baptist Seminary. A dozen are being prepared for Certificate and Diploma courses. The Asli mission covers 20 kampungs, namely, Sinju, Gerawat, Sg. Raya, Ulu Groh, Ulu Kampar, Kepayang, Jelintuh, Air Denak, Pengkalan Daun, Dusun 100, Bidor Camp, Chemor, Sg. Siput, Keramat Pulai, Batu Berangkai, Sg. Geruyung, Sejam, Paku and Ulu Gerumtum. Apart from evangelism, there are other ministries, such as kindergartens, tuition classes, sewing classes, economic shops, goat rearing, fish-rearing, padi-planting, sundry shops, medical screening, dental care, craft work, etc.
The Chinese villages are larger in size. Within 10 years, we are able to plant 3 churches, namely, Gereja Shekinah in Mambang di-Awan. Gereja Agape in Air Kuning and Gereja Charis in Cold Stream. There are also other villages where only house meetings are held. These place are Tronoh Mines, Temoh, Kampar, Kuala Bikam and Bidor Station. We have stopped in some other villages due to various factors and reasons.
In 1996, a house was bought in Mambang DiAwan and within three years, the church Gereja Shekinah was full-packed with an average of 60 worshippers weekly. In 2001, another church, Gereja Agape was established. In 2003, a permanent place was purchased and converted into a church. In late 2003, another church Gereja Charis in Cold Stream was established. This church too has a permanent church building and she now belongs to St. Andrew’s Parish Bidor because of its close proximity. Our aim is to continue to reach out and establish churches in different villages. We hope to see them becoming parishes one day in the near future. Their greatest weakness as local leadership for many have left the villages for bigger cities to earn a living or further studies. We are planning for a cluster of villages to group together and form a parish. There are lots of childen, young and elderly people to minister to.
Kg. Spooner is situated right in the midst of Ipoh city but in a urban poor slum area. At the moment, we have established St. Paul’s mission to minister in this area having ministries such as kindergarten, tuition, health care, dental care, prayer and healing, counseling, aid for poor children, etc. St. Paul’s Mission Centre was formerly a vicarage but have now been converted into a mission centre. We are in the process of establishing a computer center with the help of the donation left behind by a generous Christian who has gone to be with the Lord recently. This mission is doing very well with the help of many brothers and sisters from the Church of the Holy Spirit, Buntong.
We are preparing for St. Paul’s Mission Centre to become a church in the near future with a strong social arm in Ipoh.
1. For the welfare and safety of the volunteers and workers
2. For the ministry committee in planning and strategizing
3. For the training programmes for leaders and workers
4. For the children and youth ministries
5. For the economic shop, goat-rearing, fish-rearing and hill-padi planting programmes
6. For more volunteers and workers
7. For funds to support ministries
If you are interested in making donations to the above ministries, please make cheques payable to :
“ANGLICAN VILLAGE MINISTRIES” and post to:
Anglican Village Ministries
c/o St Peter’s Church, 1-A, Jalan Foo Kuan Sze
Taman Asia, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, West Malaysia