Malaysia: The Power of Working Together

By David Ng

David and Shiaw Lee Ng

David and Shiaw Lee Ng

It was 4 a.m. While deep in my slumber, my two-year-old daughter cried for her regular milk bottle. I woke up reluctantly. It was my turn to feed her. My wife, Shiaw Lee, and I had to be out of the house by 7 a.m. to beat the rush-hour traffic.

Our routine became more intense when our next daughter was born. We struggled to attend to the needs of our kids while working in strenuous professions. We were sleep-deprived and hard pressed for time.

But in the midst of all that stress, the truth about Jesus’ death on a cruel cross to redeem the lost and broken—people like us—weighed on our hearts. We longed to follow Jesus’ example. God's love through Christ compelled us to love unbelievers, just like Jesus did.

We chose to become like that kernel of wheat that fell to the ground and died to produce many seeds (John 12:24). That led us to pray, because we knew we needed His grace and resources to see seeds come from our lives.

Then we read the book titled The Insider by Jim Petersen and Mike Shamy. They demonstrated that ordinary people like us could make a difference in the lives of others. We learned how to live an integrated life. Family, work and reaching out to friends for Christ—all this could happen naturally and simultaneously.

Forming a Team

When we decided to embark on this journey, we had no unbelieving friends. But we were fortunate to have one other couple who, with us, formed the beginnings of a true missional community. We met with them weekly to pray and to claim the promises of God (Genesis 12:1-3). Our small, committed community provided mutual encouragement, strength and faith to help us persevere. We chose to take the long-term view. After all, investing in the lives of others requires time.

As a team, we deepened our relationships with our colleagues and friends. We played sports with them, invited them to our homes for meals, and joined them in local holiday celebrations. Gradually God began to bring people to faith in Him, even though many of them had spent their lives following the major religions of our nation.

As we gained trust, we invited them to search the Scriptures with us in a non-threatening manner. Everyone was allowed to ask any questions they had. More and more friends started putting their faith in Christ. We watched our community grow from a four-person team to about twenty men and women.

The Power of Working Together

God has shown us a great deal. Today most of them have been carrying the Gospel into their own relational networks. As a result of living together among the lost, new generations of believers have emerged. That growth continues to this day. We have seen God transform lives. The original group has since split and moved on to either partner with others or to start something new, repeating the cycle.

Looking back, we are convinced that ordinary people can see God’s transformational power among unbelievers through service, prayer and hospitality. This happens best when believers team up rather than trying to do it alone. No matter how stressful life is, living and discipling together makes serving others doable and fun.

David and Shiaw Yee Ng both work as business professionals and raise two daughters. They serve in the National Leadership Team for the Malaysia Navigators.