Prisca’s Journey to Church Ministers’ Apprenticeship (CMA)
Posted on 22 Oct 2021 by Prisca Wong
Growing up in a Christian family I had always been serious about Christianity, and I would spend hours on devotion and prayers. I still remember the day when I came across Romans 3v10-11 in my devotion
(10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God),
I cried that afternoon but responded to God by telling Him that it is ok, I will be the one! “You’ve found me God” I prayed. (Now that I know the meaning of the verse, I felt like hitting myself, seriously).
I had even decided to become a missionary since the age of 16. It sounded good to many (and to me as well), but none of us had realized that the reason I did so was ungodly. I was afraid that what I had been doing wasn’t enough to achieve God’s standard, so being a missionary to me at that time was a plan to work for and secure my position in heaven. I was convinced by myself that I was the wisest youth among my peers, not until I met and got hit by the gospel according to the bible in its context.
Struck by the Word of God
It was in Uni that I got into contact with a bunch of Christians from Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). We had bible study on campus every week and God had graciously opened my eyes and heart to see what the authors in the bible were saying in context and bit by bit those ‘standard answers’ that I always gave in Sunday schools were finally explained and made sense. It took me 1.5 years of weekly bible study to finally see what was wrong with my own version of ‘Christianity’. God was definitely being very patient with me!
At the Fellow Worker Conference (organized by GGF — Gospel Growth Fellowship) in 2013, where the theme was The Gospel and Contemporary Spirituality, I spent 3 days thinking about the Gospel and reading articles on how culture influences our Christianity today. In my pride, I had never seen myself as a problem. But what was disturbing was that I saw myself in many of the articles that we read. I started to realise that I am a product of contemporary spirituality even though I wasn’t aware of it. That got me to reflect deeply and plainly on the ‘sacrificial love’ I had for God in wanting to become a missionary. And the next thing I realised was – It was all about me, it was just about me!
My decision at that time to pursue ministry was not because I cared about the authenticity of God’s Word and seek to teach and defend it; not at all because I was concerned for the health of God’s church and lives of my fellow Christians; and not at all because I wanted to pursue ministry out of the love and conviction to join in God’s call for building up His kingdom. It was just about me! And my pursuit of what I thought was the best, and my vain efforts to work for my salvation. What I was truly worshipping all those times while with my mouth was citing ‘for Your glory’, however sincere I sought to be, was just myself.
It was then that I realised, I am not the wisest among my peers. I am just as sinful as any of the human beings described in Romans 3v10-11, or I could be the worst in that I was even more deceitful, that decorated myself in a ‘godly’ and pious appearance. For so long have I been singing beautiful songs to God, praying beautiful prayers and speaking repentance ‘scripts’, but not at once have I come before God with the conscience of my blinded state, seeing myself desperately in deep need of God for His grace and redemption.
Ironically, that was the first moment I truly understood myself as a depraved sinner and finally came to repentance. It was then that I started to understand how important the constant faithful preaching and teaching of the Word is to nurture a person and protect her from every wind of doctrine, human cunning, and craftiness in deceitful schemes (Romans 4v11-14).
It hit me hard because I had been in church for 2 decades, yet for 22 years, though I was serving actively and have even led multiple groups, I did not fully understand the gospel according to the Bible and come to know God for who He truly is. In my truncated theology I even implicitly thought I could be Jesus the only Son of God who is righteous and not under sin (Romans 3v9-11). However, I knew then, that I am not the one that God has found to be righteous, but Jesus is. In Him alone is my salvation, not my truncated pious deeds or my self-centred ‘sacrificial love’ for God.
I am evidence of the famine situation of churches in Malaysia, and I am not the only one. We need faithful Word ministers devoted to church ministry, and we need a lot of them.
During my years in uni, I served in the IMU Christian Fellowship as a cell group leader and then, Vice President. It has given me a chance to witness first-hand how our understanding of God and the gospel affects every other thing we do in ministry. Our dedication, our hope and design for the CF, the direction and things that we propose, reflect the teachings we have gotten from our churches. If we want to see God’s kingdom shine in the world and if we want to see Christians stand as God’s salt and light in Malaysia, we really need to relook at our Word ministry in our Sunday schools, our youth groups, our pulpits, and the understanding of the gospel among Christians — not just the leaders, but All members. Malaysian churches need faithful Word ministers.
Have I struggled to come into this noble task of possible full-time paid ministry? I need to be very honest here — YES! 100%! It wasn’t so hard until I found myself being very satisfied at my job as a Retail Pharmacist, receiving numerous positive feedbacks from my patients. I could see a good future in my company when I got a personal compliment from our CEO for raising the most sales among the pharmacy stores in 2019, and our Operation Director with several Operation Managers as well as Area Managers, after I did a presentation for the company in 2020. It is hard, and yes it is, to leave these opportunities for church ministry.
I am thankful to God that while I was back in Johor for work during the 3 years, God gave me the opportunity to lead the youth ministry in the church I grew up with — Tampoi Holy Word Church. Through reading the Bible with the youths, I was again and again reminded of God’s call to build His kingdom. Seeing these youths having the opportunity to read exegetically and to think theologically at their age was what encouraged me to keep going. I wish I had been like them when I was a youth. And now I desire to offer my life in this task full-time so that this would be possible for more and more of them, and the coming generations.
Preparing for God’s ministry
Hospitals need good surgeons, pharmacies need good pharmacists, and so, shouldn’t God’s churches deserve the brightest pastors and teachers? God’s church doesn’t just need teachers and pastors who are willing to offer their lives to this task but need those who will teach and pastor better. This is a serious task. That is why I decided to put both of my hands (symbolically) into it, to learn and be trained, so that I could be of good use for God’s ministry. I’ll be trained as an apprentice under the church that’s been faithfully ministering to and nurturing me, CERC. This will be both an assessment and training to prepare me to further equip me in seminary in the future if it is in God’s will.
During these 2 years of apprenticeship, we will be given opportunities to lead and serve in various ministries including woman ministry, children ministry, campus ministry, growth groups, youth groups, and others too. We will also take part in para-church conferences such as the Gospel Growth Fellowship (which I am a partner of) and will be helping out in running study groups, seminars, electives etc.
I am thankful to God that I could reach out to you and invite you to join me in this noble task by being a supporter in both prayers and financial support. I hope you share the same vision with me, and as we look forward to the state of churches in Malaysia in the coming years, as we see our young children and youth and campus students being able to be grounded in a condition of churches that is faithful and Godly, we could then together say: our offerings since that many years ago, have not been in vain, and glory be to God who calls people to respond and support His ministry.
If you would like to contribute to this ministry, please support me at: