Five individuals cycled around Malaysia and Singapore to bring hope to those they meet.
Contributed By Dawn Seow
To raise funds for the poor and needy in the community of Seremban, Malaysia, five cyclists traveled a total of 25,000 kilometers in 30 days. They covered Singapore and the coastline of West Malaysia.
The project, Cycle Of Hope, organized by Neighbour Grace Assembly, raised a total of RM250,000 through sponsorship by 23 corporate organizations and free-will offerings from members in Malaysian churches.
“Being a community-based church, our burden is for the poor and needy in our community; we do projects every year to raise funds to support our community services and Cycle For Hope is the project we are doing this year,” said organizer-cyclist Goh Cheng Kooi, senior pastor of Neighbour Grace Assembly.
The funds will go toward supporting the operation costs of the rehabilitation center and old folks home run by Neighbour Grace Community Centre, a community service organization under the church. The center also provides free lunch to about 100 people every day.
BRINGING THE GOOD NEWS
Raising money was not the only reason for the road trip; Goh and his team also had a vision to bring a message of hope to different parts of Malaysia.
Goh explained: “The Bible says in Matthew 9 that ‘Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people’. If Jesus would do that for His hometown, I think I should do the same for mine too. Malaysia is the land that I was born in, I want to have a better understanding of it, at the same time do something for it.
“Moreover, the increase in suicide cases reported in the Malaysian newspapers was alarming. We realized that many people out there feel so hopeless that they take their own lives. So on this trip, we also wanted to share our testimonies and bring the message of hope to Malaysia.”
The road trip started at the historical city of Malacca and continued into cities and villages along the coastline of West Malaysia, including Johor Bahru, Muar, Kluang, Mersing and Kota Tinggi. Five members in two cars escorted the cyclists, carrying basic tools, tires and a back-up bicycle, along with some products to be sold for charity. The route was planned such that the team would stop at different locations that had churches to host them. They would then conduct evangelistic meetings and motivational talks at the churches.
“Some of the cyclists were ex-gamblers and they would share their testimonies on how they walked out of addiction, giving hope to those facing similar situations,” he said.
Their efforts were not only through works but also through prayer. As the team cycled, they would stop at road signs to pray for each city and village. Goh called this “prayer-cycle.”
“We’ll stop at the road signs to pray over the places on the signs. We get to see the place, the people, and the needs of the people and have a better idea of what to pray for.”
Even for a seasoned biker, cycling for almost six hours a day for 30 consecutive days is physically and mentally challenging—what more for this team that was not professional.
“We cycled long distances daily, and still preached and conducted the meetings at night. We would wake up around seven the next morning to go on the journey again. On the first week, it was so tiring that I wanted to give up and go home,” recalled Goh.
The route included many places that the team was not familiar with: they were not prepared for the twisting and hilly coastline.
“The most challenging part was the weather: if it rained too heavily, we had to stop. Thank God we only met with heavy downpour twice in the whole month.”
But because of the prolonged periods under the sun, many of them developed rashes and were badly sunburnt.
“It was really not an easy trip, but our goal kept all of us very focused. We have a vision to see people receiving hope into their lives and that kept us going. It was very encouraging to see that many churches were blessed by our visitation. The churches along the east coast are small and there are few of them. They seldom receive help, so they were very grateful that we were there.
“And of course, knowing that our church and families back home are praying for us also gave us the motivation to go on,” he shared with a smile.
Looking back, Goh was grateful that he decided to embark on the trip. “God was with us even at the loneliest point of our trip to encourage us and show us how to conquer one mountain after another. It has been a good journey and our lives are changed by it.”