Patrice’s fourth trip to Malaysia was no less spectacular and fulfilling than his previous visits. Though in fact this trip may have been very special as it heralded the introduction of many firsts. Announcing the first annual Nehemiah Week Asia 2017 scheduled for July 18th to 22nd, the first YBE Malaysia – July 29th, a board member’s visit to Malaysia to see first-hand the work of Nehemiah Project Asia, and finally an outreach in East Malaysia as the Asia presence expands.
Traveling from both the east and west coasts of America, the team included Chief Servant Officer (CSO) Patrice Tsague, incoming board Vice Chair Ron Wilkinson, E-Community Director Poh Sim Saw (working from both Malaysia and the U.S.), and volunteer Josette Kelley. They partnered with NP Asia Regional Director Annie Choo, whose Kingdom business, NOVA Corporation is the backbone of our efforts to expand Biblical Entrepreneurship across Asia. Annie has been Regional Director for 2 years and her real estate development company has been working to exemplify good stewardship for 10 years. She founded the BE Academy in 2016 which provides a physical and spiritual place for BE courses to be taught and NP Asia work to be accomplished.
Arriving in Penang the second week of January was the beginning of a tight two-week schedule to make connections and fellowship with the Nehemiah Project Asia leadership, team members, potential students, and like-minded Asians. And of course, enjoy the culinary delights of Malaysia! The team had the privilege of being invited by a government official, YB Chong Eng, to a pre-Chinese New Year celebration event where they had a taste of the cultural richness – of activities, community, food and traditions. Amongst many things, they had a chance to meet the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng, witness a Lion Dance on stilts, and fellowship with friends from China over steamboat (a communal meal with a thousand-year tradition). And to top it off, Patrice and Ron grabbed the opportunity to sing Amazing Grace during the Karaoke time. It was a first event for the locals, as this song was sung in a political event and in front of a Chinese temple. All glory be to God!
This was followed by a Pastors Retreat at a beach resort in Langkawi. Organized by the Penang Ministers Fellowship, led by Pastor Albert Tan, 50 pastors assembled for a 2 day training to better understand the importance of marketplace ministry, how to partner with their business members in their mission to advance the great commission. As well, why Nehemiah Project is a great partner to incorporate marketplace ministry into their vision. During those two days, Patrice and Ron taught on the topics, “Kings and Priests”, “The Purpose of Wealth” and “Money Scripts”. The pastors were empowered to go back and identify key entrepreneurs in their congregation who they can work with through the Nehemiah Project Biblical Entrepreneurship program to begin their marketplace ministry. Pastors shared comments like “Game changer”, “Transformational” and “Paradigm shifting”. Many of the pastors enrolled in an upcoming Biblical Entrepreneurship I class that was being held in Penang the following week. Some brought business owners from their congregations. After attending the Biblical Entrepreneurship I class, one pastor stated that “all these years he has been attempting to move his spiritually mature business owners into full-time ministry but now he realizes that they are already in full-time ministry”. He just needs to partner with them to help them become more effective.
Nehemiah Project Asia Regional Director Annie Choo is a force to be reckoned with. A tireless champion for Nehemiah, successful Kingdom business owner, speaker, and mother, she and her team hosted us during our visit. One of the first orders of business was meeting with Annie and Australian partner Mathew Avadiar. Discussions ensued concerning the trajectory of Nehemiah Asia’s expansion in Asia and subsequently into Africa. Mathew is the founder and president of Nehemiah Consulting and the Nehemiah Licensee for Australia/New Zealand. His vision for his work and growth of members in Australia is an ambitious extension of NP Asia and will continue to be at the forefront of efforts in Asia. As Patrice consistently explained to students and potential members alike, Asia is leading the world in economic growth. Therefore Nehemiah Project Asia must be positioned to train and support Kingdom entrepreneurs to be a part of bringing transformation into the Asia economic growth prospect. Our strategy is to leverage the resources in America and Europe to impact Asia so that Asia will impact Africa where economic growth is happening as well but is much behind Asia.
After the meeting with Mathew, a luncheon was held in the BE Academy Asia with 30 entrepreneurs, with Ron teaching on “Money Script” and Patrice making a presentation of NPIM. This was followed with a special meeting to lay out the strategy for launching the Young Biblical Entrepreneur in Asia.
A highlight of the trip was a visit to east Malaysia. A short plane ride from Penang, the team visited Kuching and was able to reach many more community members to share about NPIM and its vision for Asia. Hosted by Pastor Alfred Phua, Pastor Tony Tay, and Pastor Jeff Wei, there were three days of inspiring presentations, church service, and meetings with partners. The message of Nehemiah Project was brought to dozens from the community, including many young people. Slightly regionally and culturally different from west Malaysia, the team was also able to visit a Kingdom business there, a goat farm, to truly bear witness to God’s work.
The trip wrapped up with Patrice preaching in George Town Baptist Church on the story of Nehemiah and the strategies to rebuilding the walls of our community, as well as a BE I class with a record attendance of 45 entrepreneurs, including pastors who wanted to learn more about it. The BE Academy in Malaysia offers all BE courses and serves as a space to conduct Nehemiah Asia business. The BE Academy Asia team, Corina Lee, Ezra Tan, Christopher Choy, Zoel Ng and Chong, all assisted Patrice and his team during their stay. Truly wonderful and accommodating hosts in traditional Asian fashion, the team was able to have a home base to comfortably and easily carry out their mission.
All who came in contact with Patrice’s team were encouraged to attend Nehemiah Asia Week and future events, particularly to motivate young people and also engage in the Young Biblical Entrepreneur program. The trip ended with a farewell dinner, where everyone had a positive outlook, and hopes and prayers for great collaboration and the expectation to see familiar and new faces in July.
Many thanks to Poh Sim who coordinated the lodging logistics and provided much needed logistical support, and Annie Choo, and her team without whom the outreach in Asia would not be currently possible.
For more information about Nehemiah Project Asia, to bring Biblical Entrepreneurship into your country or to support our international efforts, contact our Director of Development, Debra Schlaht at firstname.lastname@example.org