Last month, City Harvest Church, Prai held a service to dedicate its new home to God. Its senior pastor David Saw shares his vision for the new premise.
On 23 October, City Harvest Church, Prai held a dedication service for its new home. In attendance were Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church (Singapore) and other Malaysian pastors in CHC’s affiliate body, The Harvest Network.
Located in Penang, Malaysia, CHC Prai is a church under THN. David Saw, the senior pastor of CHC Prai tells City News that he was very happy to see his fellow pastors gathering together again after the pandemic.
“During MCO (the Movement Control Order in Malaysia), we didn’t have a chance to meet physically, so it was good to see everyone again,” he says. “Especially with Pastor Kong around, we were able to rediscover the passion we had for God before the pandemic and experience the atmosphere of seeking God together.”
Pastor David was also thankful that the pastors came to bless the church. He explains, “I wanted to ‘borrow’ their anointing and gather their blessings. Besides dedicating our church, we also wanted them to pray for us, to prepare us for the new things God would do in this place.”
The new church premise is located right next to the North-South Expressway that runs through the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia. “If we drive out of our church, we can head straight down to Singapore. But of course, that drive will take 10 hours,” he laughs.
The church occupies the space of six shophouses and is four storeys high. Besides the main hall which can accommodate around 350 people, the church also boasts a multipurpose hall that can seat 50 people and eight small rooms for workshops, cell groups, and prayer meetings.
“Most of our cell group meetings are held in the church building,” the pastor explains. “Before the pandemic, we would usually have lunch together at a small coffee area in church after service. After eating and fellowshipping, we would then break up into individual groups for cell group meetings.” He looks forward to the day when the church can resume those activities again.
Surrounding the church are many amenities that make it convenient for churchgoers. Eateries like Starbucks, Subway, KFC, and McDonald’s are all in its vicinity. There is also a hotel just around the corner for the convenience of the church’s overseas guests.
A GOD-LED LOCATION
Pastor David believes that it is God that brought the church to this location for a purpose. “The old location was in a secluded place, far away from the city, so I prayed and ask God to bring us to a more ‘happening’ and visible place,” he shares.
At the beginning of 2020, before Covid spread to Malaysia, God brought Pastor David to this location which was then a new estate. Since it was sited right next to the expressway, it was most visible. “Everyone that drove past the highway will see our church,” he says.
After praying, he got his real estate agent, who is also a church member, to negotiate the rental. “I gave her our budget and she said, ‘Pastor, how would we be able to get that place with this budget? I will get scolded for even trying!’” However, at Pastor David’s insistence, the agent went ahead and proposed the rental. To her surprise, the developers accepted her offer.
Renovation work started soon after but just as they were about to complete, the Malaysian government announced the MCO in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of Covid-19. When the church finally managed to finish the renovation works, the second round of MCO started and the people could not gather for services. Much like the rest of the world, Malaysia spent the next two years fighting the pandemic and CHC Prai could do nothing until the situated abated.
“It was challenging for us,” Pastor David admits. “The new place is almost double the size of our old place which means our expenses also doubled. Yet, we couldn’t gather and that impacted our finances.
“At that time, I started to doubt myself. I asked God if I had heard Him wrongly. I said, ‘If You had told me earlier (that the pandemic would happen), I would not have moved’. I thought we could always move after the pandemic.”
However, God’s ways are higher than man’s, and He holds the future in His hands. Pastor David can now see that God was right. He says, “Today, all the shophouses in the vicinity are already taken up. If we had waited for the pandemic to end before we looked for a place, I doubt we would have been able to secure six shophouses in a row. Now I understand that even though we couldn’t use the place, God brought us here first before other people. I was worried about the finances, but God provided for us.”
Pastor David was initially worried about the rental, even though the owners had given them a 20 percent discount. God’s provision came right on time when a member gave an offering that was enough to cover the rental for a whole year.
Pastor David’s vision is that the new church building will become the focal point of what God is going to do post-Covid. “We want this to be a place that will connect people from all over the world, a place where revival will break forth. I believe God brought us here for a new wave of revival and I’m looking forward to seeing it come to pass,” he declares.
He also sees this place as a pit stop for those who are weary. “Right next to our church is a Rest and Service Area,” the pastor explains. These Rest and Service Areas are temporary stops for travelers to unwind and freshen up in the midst of their long drive on the expressway.
Pastor David says, “My vision is that these people going up and down the highway would come to our church to find rest. I’m confessing that we would be like a ‘Rest and Service Area for the soul’, that those who are weary and tired can find peace and rest here.”