Their unconditional efforts have contributed to our nation-building and their works have always been transparent and centred on three major areas – the church, hospitals and schools. All three have proven to be successful without any report of bribery or inducements for converting to Christianity.
In Sarawak, the efforts of the pioneering missionaries in the then remote parts of the Sarawak jungles had brought much needed healthcare and education to the Lunbawang tribe. It was their sacrificial efforts which contributed to the Lunbawang’s survival.
Further, in terms of education, our prominent leaders at various levels of society have benefited from mission schools. If Datuk Seri Hadi Awang would have cared to read the profile of our Chief Minister in the official Sabah State Government website, he would have noticed that our Chief Minister’s attended mission schools for his primary and secondary education.
One of the hallmarks of Christianity is freedom. In 1 Peter 2:16, the word says “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Freedom is a wonderful gift each of us carries in our hearts as Christians. It is a gift of choice – that is the truth we hold about life at any moment. Christians believe that the ability to choose new beliefs, thoughts and feelings are at a person’s own discretion.
Therefore, accusing Christian missionaries of using money and aid for people to convert to Christianity is grossly irresponsible as firstly, such a practice is clearly against our beliefs. As Christians, cheating and bribery, inducements and compulsion are not justifiable and simply, are sins. Secondly, the objective of such a statement clearly is to ignite religious sectarianism and create discord and hatred amongst our people. This is obviously against the spirit of unity and harmony of our people and that of the foundation of our nation.
May we all as peace loving and moderate Malaysians strive to build a prosperous and peaceful Malaysia for the benefit of all. Let us not be filled with hatred and suspicion for one another.
God Bless Sabah and Malaysia!
Rev. Datuk Jerry WA Dusing
President, Sabah Council of Churches
23 January 2016