Has your church ever adopted a refugee or a family in need? Three churches in Malaysia are doing something similar. They are welcoming girls into their church school and communities from the Orang Asli, a nomadic tribe in an area of West Malaysia with no educational opportunities.
This third full week of Lent, we are praying for these girls and the home they will have in Penang, Malaysia.
The Orang Asli live off the land far from educational and economic opportunities. Many of them have never heard about God. Their isolated lives in remote forests and villages mean that their children have limited access to good schools. The Orang Asli are often seen as “lesser peoples” by the majority Malay population.
Without education, these children will remain in poverty. This is increasingly important since the traditional hunting and foraging lands of the Orang Asli are disappearing as economic development grows in Western Malaysia. Children need to learn practical skills applicable in the modern economy. As the Archbishop of Southeast Asia, The Most Revd Ng Moon Hing, says, “They need to learn how to take care of animals, not simply shoot them.”
The project itself is very simple. The Anglican Diocese of Malaysia has purchased an old house and is currently renovating it to be a Christian hostel for ten girls while they attend high school. The house has 1,400 square feet and is located adjacent to a boys’ hostel, completed three years ago.
Most importantly, the ten female Orang Asli students will be mentored by members of three local Anglican churches. For some of the girls, this will be the first time they learn that God has a plan for their lives.
Three local churches share a vision for providing holistic training and guidance for secondary students and to provide a counterpoint to the growing Islamization occurring in the region. As parishioners open their hearts to the Orang Asli, both groups will encounter God in powerful new ways.
Before I came to Rumah Shalom, it was very challenging for me to find someone to guide me in my education. Now, a lot of problems related to my studies are solved through [enrollment] in Rumah Shalom. I like this community. I have made a lot of friends in Rumah Shalom. Besides, I like to study with them. … God is blessing me a lot in my education and in [my] health.
– Sken bah Ngah, 17, from Kg pawong, Simpan Pulai, Malaysia
Lord, we pray for the girls who will leave their families to come to the Rumah Shalom school. We ask that You would create deep relationships between the girls and the church community members and that all of the students at the school would come into a deep relationship with You.
This project is in its final stage of implementation. Read the summary and the full research report. We look forward to posting the final report with you later this year.
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