The book of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Bible tells of how God's people return to the promised city which is now in ruins, rebuild the temple to His glory and the city walls to protect the temple.
The job was not done overnight. In fact, it took more than 100 years. The people faced all kinds of opposition, attempts to frustrate and dishearten them, but all these did not hinder them from their work for God.
When I first read about the demolition of an Orang Asli church in Kelantan blogged in bobjots, I felt this deep sense of sadness for God's people.
The Orang Asli community in Kampung Jias had embraced Christianity in February and wanted to erect a small church to mark their faith. They had build the church "secara gotong royong" and "gereja kami untuk menyembah Tuhan". (view scan of letter here).
Like the people in biblical times, they are faced with all kinds of opposition, attempts to frustrate and dishearten them.
On Mar 19, Steel and concrete work on footing and ground beams . However, a person who came in the JHEOA vehicle came to command us to stop work immediately for he had not given the permission to build the church building otherwise he will tear down the building.
Since the `so-called authority' contradicted themselves, the whole village decided that the building was to be of brick and concrete, for it will be most difficult to pull down.
During construction, on several occasions, people from religious groups came to the site uninvited and took photographs of the construction and those involved in the work.
The villagers refused to stop work even though they were afraid of the people who came.
On April 11, the Gua Musang district land office issued a stop work order. The letter stated that the construction was being carried out on state land without permission from the authorities.
They continued working fearlessly towards the decent place of worship. The following day, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), in a letter to the land office, said the land belonged to the Orang Asli villagers. “Their right is guaranteed under Section 2 6(1) and 7(1) of the Orang Asli Act 1954,” read the letter signed by NECF secretary-general Reverend Wong Kim Kong.
On May 24, the land office issued a third notice informing the village headman Pedik Busu that the “illegal” structure would be demolished.
On 4th Jun, the church building was bulldozed and demolished in spite of various efforts to block the demolishment.
Is this the end of the story?
No! God is not finished with his work in us.
In the book of Nehemiah, we find this recurring phrase : “The hand of the Lord was upon me.” The hand of the Lord is not short but mighty and powerful. This invisible hand of the Lord comes and grips us, grasping us and giving us confidence, boldness, strength, and guidance, not only to build, but also to wage war against the devil and his minions. God will not ask us to build and then not give us the strength and the means to perform his will. He provides for all our needs through the firm grip of his mighty hand upon us. It is the grip of affection, the grip of direction, the grip of protection, the grip of power.
As we work with God, we remember his promise in Philipians 1:6 to finish his work in us.
The sequence of events and pictures can be found in this website set up by the pastor here.