With tears falling down his face, Malaysian Pastor David* told us, “God is preparing me for something.”
For many years of Pastor David’s ministry, he has served the church and reached out to the lost. However, like many Malaysian Christians, much of Pastor David’s gospel ministry has left out one major group of people—the ethnic Malays.
There are many risks involved in ministering to ethnic Malays that have legal, social, and economic ramifications. On top of this, recent kidnappings of prominent pastors and Christian leaders have caused fear to ripple throughout Malaysia’s churches. Pastor David says that these things cause Christians, even him, to shrink back in fear and not befriend ethnic Malays or try to share the gospel with them.
“Malay people are very friendly,” he said. “If you want to share the gospel with them, you must be friends with them.”
For Pastor David the time has come to overcome fear. For too long, churches have been hesitant to make efforts to see many ethnic Malays come to faith, and Pastor David knows that something has to change.
“We want to see things happening in Malaysia, but we don’t know how,” he said. “It has to be God’s way. We are bound by fears. We don’t understand our responsibility as disciples. If we are silent, how will they know Jesus?”
Because of the restrictions surrounding the ethnic Malays, many Christians in Malaysia have never even met an ethnic Malay who is following Christ. In such an environment, ethnic Malays have very little chance of hearing the gospel.
“Most churches are not ready to accept Muslim background believers,” Pastor David explained. “But they are doing good works among them, sowing seeds.”
While some Christians serve the ethnic Malay, meeting physical or social needs, many fear what might happen if they step out in faith to meet the spiritual needs of the Malay with the gospel. Pastor David says that often churches don’t consider ministry to the ethnic Malay at all because of the consequences.
“We [often] pray for revival but only among the Chinese or Indians, not the Malay,” he said. “Because we know that if thousands come to faith there will be trouble for them and for us.”
But Pastor David has a word for Malaysian Christians, himself included:
“In Revelation 12:11, they conquered Satan by the blood of the Lamb. They [followers of Christ] were willing to lose their lives. If we are willing to lose our lives, we will be overcomers.”
The fear that Malaysian Christians feel is not something to be discounted—it is real and it is warranted. But, as Pastor David says, “Fear is not as real as God. He will prepare us. When the time comes, we’ll find that it doesn’t matter anymore.”
As he closed, Pastor David wiped several tears away and asked, “If we are Malaysian and we are not reaching out to the majority, who will? God is pruning the church in Malaysia so they will be salt and light again.”
Pray alongside Pastor David and other Malaysian Christians that the church would be salt and light among the ethnic Malays in Malaysia. Pray that as they face opposition they will rely on God and be bold witnesses for Christ.
*Name changed for security purposes.