Keeping the Faith Miles Away – Miri, Sarawak

There’s always this misconception that when you move away from your own church, you inevitably tend to move away from God. But, I felt that my situation only brought me nearer to Him.

Everything about our church – the services, hymns and prayers – had a certain significance to it. They sewed up and strengthened the weaves of my faith. I was worried that, in Miri, it would be hard to get such a spiritual experience that would be able to keep my faith strong. But, as in all things, God provided me a way to exercise my faith even if I’m a thousand kilometres away from my church.

I was invited into my university’s church (Miri Gospel Chapel) by one of my fellow campmate, Rexy, who happened to be studying there during this period. He gave me a heads up saying it’s not going be what you expect it to be back in KL and he told me to embrace it. And he was right!

It was a completely different setting with a such a diverse group of people, coming from various parts of the world. Moreover, this church was, for the most part, focused on catering to the youth ministry where they had a band for worship sessions, care group sessions and Sunday school classes. I also got the chance to be a part of their worship team by being a backup singer for their weekly services and eventually became a worship leader. I also got a chance to share my thoughts to the students there about our church and how it’s quite different from what they might be used to. This led to a flurry of questions, from why our Priests wear the colourful robes to why I was wearing white on the Altar.

But, the one thing in this church that really affected me spiritually was the beautiful experience of seeing students – who had just embraced Christianity – love God so much, to the point that it refreshed my faith as well. Coming from a community where our families were Christians for generations, I may have taken my faith for granted at times, but seeing my friends, who were willing to dive into a new religion out of faith and love for God, made me even more aware of the significance of my faith.

While God has blessed me with a vibrant spiritual community in Miri, I do miss my church a lot because, as with a lot of things, you only fully value it once it’s far away from you. We should cherish the faith we have and strengthen it by keeping up with our liturgy, fasts and other aspects of our spirituality. At the same time, as Miri has taught me, we should look at all Christians, regardless of denomination, as our brothers and sisters because the bottom line is that we all pray to the same God Almighty, we all believe in the same God Almighty and, most importantly, we all love the same God Almighty.

Written by Jerin Thomas George

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