Thursday, 21 May 2009
meeting the means
hong koon (armour publishing), the reb, laurel, virginia, ezra, jin huat
it was a great pleasure for the reb to meet laurel means, the wife of gordon means, and virginia means, gordon's sister. gordon and virginia means (as well as mariel and charlotte) are siblings of the late dr paul and nathalie means, a missionary couple who came from the US in the 30's to malaya, committed themselves to literacy program with the sengois and continued with their work of translating the scriptures into the sengoi language after WWII into the 80's. their life history is now told in a biography edited by laurel entitled Beyond Words: The Remarkable Story of Paul and Nathalie Means. the book is published by armour publishing, singapore.
for those interested to read of the fascinating life of this determined couple who gave their lives to work in medan, indonesia, in india, and in malaysia, the book does not disappoint. it shows the sacrificial love of this couple who left their part of the world to constantly travel abroad as missionaries, and the sacrifice of their 4 children in being continually separated from their missionary-minded parents.
also, for those interested in the church history of this part of the world and especially in malaya, the contribution by the means should not be forgotten. they helped to lay the groundwork of the spread of the gospel among the sengois and other orang asli groups in malaya by translating the NT into the sengoi language as well as writing a sengoi dictionary. they were involved in literacy programs to help the sengois improve their literacy skills. their work is well documented in the book by nathalie means entitled And The Seed Grew.
for others like the reb, the book is part of the history of the larger methodist mission in malaya and in later malaysia. missionary work in the early part of the 20th century in malaya encompassed preaching the gospel, social and medical work, education through the anglo-chinese schools, and the methodist mission to the sengois. especially for the reb, it was nostalgic to read in the book of familiar names (Bah Lahu, Bah Wah), places (Kampar, Ringlet, Batu Berangkai) and events (dedication of the Dr. Paul B. Means Memorial Library at the sengoi workers' training center or SWTC in short). the methodist sengoi center is in the reb's hometown of kampar where the means spent many years living in the old mission bungalow at 13, jalan kuala dipang (present site of the new wesley methodist church kampar) and in golden dragon garden and twice in the flats in rainbow garden.
the reb contributed a photo for the book, a photo taken of the VIPs at the dedication of the Dr Paul Means Memorial Library at the sengoi center in kampar. unfortunately, the reb was still young and had not joined the christian church when the means were around in kampar. he only met nathalie later in the 80's. what a lost opportunity indeed.