Pain. Passion. Purpose. When our Heavenly Father knitted us in our mother’s womb, He weaved into us all that we can be. Our first cry is the beginning of our metamorphosis. The next painful cries are God’s loving way of strengthening our wings. Choose to let Him teach us how to fly so we can soar passionately to our full purpose.
We didn’t use to call it Essential. It was known as the “WoW Conference”, WoW being an abbreviation for Women of Worth. We have run the conference four times under WoW, the first time in 2003, organised by Pr Margaret Loy, Pr Joyce Tan and Tan Foong Lin, at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, then in 2004 at our premise in Sea Park, and returned to Tropicana Golf & Country Resort in 2012 and 2013. In 2015, we felt it was a time for a change, hence, the birth of Essential.
Essential is one of the avenues used by the Women2Women (W2W) movement in DUMC to reach out to the women. Its purpose is to provide a large platform for women from DUMC and beyond to come together to learn and connect with other women.
Learning is intentionally holistic; learning what it means to be a woman in God’s eyes today. At the plenaries, it takes the form of hearing God’s Word applied in today’s context and in the lives of other women. At the workshops, the women get to pick an area of interest where learning is focussed and leaning more on application.
Connecting is important for women. When women find the right connection with other women, there is energy; energy that can cause exciting things to happen for God’s kingdom. That’s why in Hebrews 10:24-25, God encouraged us to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as we see the Day approaching. We believe and hope that when women come together, and see the many sisters gathering in one place, they will be inspired to grow in their faith, take steps to unleash their full potential and move things for the kingdom of God.
Through the W2W, I have seen how multi-talented women have been suppressed/oppressed due to life experiences but once they encounter God, and make a choice to surrender to His healing and leading, they transform, like a butterfly breaking free from the cocoon that has ‘hampered’ them within.
I have seen and heard life-transforming stories, where women have been able to take their pains (big or small) and transform them into a passion for a purpose.
This is the central focus of ESSENTIAL2017: Metamorphosis; where women are given the hope of living more fulfilled lives by surrendering their pains to God and allowing Him to transform them to passion for a purpose for Him.
We have invited Pr Marilyn Skinner, co-founder of Watoto Church and Pr Sarah Aye, two dynamic ladies to share their metamorphosis journeys with God.
We will also be running concurrent workshops that will bring out the different facets of the Women2Women tag line, where, for women to live out their full potential as God desires, they need to love, learn and live for God, themselves and others.
We are mindful that we may not have workshops that will meet everyone’s passion or need because God has created us differently, but we hope that there are sufficient workshops for all to have a sampler of what they are or could be interested in. These workshops are by no means sufficiently in-depth to equip as they are only two-hour sessions. They are crafted to provide sufficient bite-sized knowledge and application for interest and, for those who desire to know more, there are programmes from your church (Equip for those from DUMC), external programmes or certifications that you can explore further on your own.
Also, six ladies in our midst have graciously agreed to share their life journeys, so do check out what they have to share in the Stories section of this webpage!
We are trying to organise a few little surprises for you during the conference to make your experience a delightful one. We look forward to seeing you there and getting to know you better.
On behalf of W2W core team
- Marilyn Skinner// Canadian born, Marilyn has lived in Kampala, Uganda for over 32 years with her husband, Gary Skinner. Together, they lead Watoto Church, a cell based, community church with over 24,000 members. They also founded the Watoto Childcare Ministries for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, currently caring for more than 3,000 Ugandan children in Watoto villages where every child is raised in a family setting rather than an institution. Their vision is that these children will be raised to become future leaders of Uganda and Africa. Marilyn is a passionate speaker, encouraging women all around the world to stand up against inhumane practices such as human trafficking, child soldiers and HIV/AIDS stigmatisation.
Sarah Aye// Originally from Myanmar, Pr Sarah leads a very dynamic and growing Myanmar congregation at DUMC. She started leading a cell group at age 18, and that cell group had grown from 10 people to become the Myanmar congregation, with regular attendance of 800 members within 7 years. Pr Sarah has been preaching around Asia and is passionate about God and God’s ministry. She dedicates her life to serving God and is passionate about discipling and mentoring young people.
Stella Hoh// Stella leads the Women2Women (W2W) movement in DUMC along with eight wonderful women. She supports her husband, Senior Pr Chris Kam, as he leads the church towards Christlikeness. Stella believes in encouraging people to unleash their full potential. She fulfills this through the different hats she wears; wife and mother 24-7, business owner of a Performance Consulting/Executive Coaching business, and with whatever time in between, co-facilitate pre-marital counselling and leading the W2W movement. There’s never a dull moment!
1. De-cluttering Clutters// Understand how a cluttered life could affect us in living a full life.
- Clutter-Health Check
- Types of clutters
- Hazards of a cluttered life
- Tips on how to de-clutter different types of clutters
- Managing withdrawal syndromes of a de-cluttered life and being victorious
Audrey Fong//Audrey is a mother of three. Trained as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), she worked in a major public accounting firm in the United States. After returning to Malaysia she worked in a property development and construction company, and a venture capital firm. She then left the corporate world to raise her family. Today, she is the one-leg-kick-all-non-technical office manager in her husband’s architecture firm.
2. Significant and Single// Is it possible to live a fulfilled life without a man in my life? Know what Scripture says about singlehood.
- What is singleness?
- How long can singleness last? What are its challenges?
- How to celebrate your status as a single
- How to be significant in your single status
Looi Lai Kit// Lai Kit thrives on people development and believes in lifelong learning. She is a Partner and Learning Coach of Takecharge Asia PLT (TCA), a learning and development consulting firm. She has over 20 years of experience in talent and development, and has led the talent agenda for one of the Big Four professional services firms. Lai Kit is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA Australia) and an ICF-trained Certified Professional Coach. She worships at the PJ Evangelical Free Church, and has been involved mostly with the young/single working adults ministry and missions ministry.
3. Handling Husbands// Understanding that God created men differently, and how to build a strong and healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime.
A forum discussing:
- Difference between men and women
- What makes men tick
- What will help bring out the leadership in men
- Sex, is that all men think about?
- Expectations of husbands
Joshua San// Joshua is a currently Creative Director of a small design company in Petaling Jaya. He has worked in advertising agencies and production houses, as well as companies that deal with handphone wallpapers, themes, and animation designs. He just got married recently and loves playing Escape Games with his wife. Outside work, he enjoys thrill-seeking adventures and sports.
Fong Siew Keong// Siew Keong heads the DUMC men’s ministry, Men Alive! He is the Principal of an architecture firm and has been running his own business for the last 14 years. He has been involved in a variety of architectural projects but specialises in high-end bungalow houses, and also does interior designing work. Keong, together with his wife, are pre-marital counsellors for young couples who are planning to get married. He loves spending time with his wife and children, who are the light and joy of his life.
Datuk Kee Sue Sing// Pr Datuk Kee is an elder and a Zone Pastor of DUMC. He has been married to Datin Ding Eng Lih for 39 years, and they are blessed with three children and three grandchildren. Pr Datuk Kee has been involved in marital and pre-marital counselling for many years. Trained as a forensic scientist, he was the Director-General of Chemistry Malaysia from 2003 to 2006 and was a member of the Public Services Commission from 2008 to 2011.
4. Multi-G Mentoring// Understanding multi-generational mentoring, knowing the mentors in your life, cherishing the lessons learnt and replicating into the lives of others.
A forum interviewing 4 ladies in a multi-generational mentoring relationship – to hear their personal stories of how and why they got involved and be motivated to actively engage in the mentoring process.
Peggy Lim// Peggy worked in various US multinationals in different functional areas and train/consult with different SMEs in the area of Leadership and HR Development. Peggy has a passion to see women attain work-life balance, and believes in multi-generational mentoring. Peggy partners with her husband Kah Hooi in life, work & ministry. Together they lead the Workplace Ministry in DUMC, and the FCCI Ministry in Malaysia.
Cheryl Lee// Cheryl is the CEO of Sothys, a professional skincare brand from Paris. She has over 20 years of experience in the skin care, hair care and nail care industry. Cheryl has a passion in developing new business models for skin care brands alongside with market trends and dynamics. To date, Sothys Malaysia is the first country in Sothys Group worldwide to have successfully launched and developed three new business models for the brand. Cheryl is passionate about empowering women to be at their best.
Rue-Hann// Rue-Hann sees herself as a builder. She loves building up people, culture and ideas. Coming from a divorced family, she believes there is hope for children from problematic families, because everyone has the potential to grow into who God intended them to be. She views life as a precious gift and enjoys helping others to live it full. Rue-Hann now works in People and Organization at Maxis.
Erin Lim// Erin is a fresh graduate who studied Accounting and Finance at Sunway University. Before stepping into the workforce, she decided to take a few months off just to explore, expand her knowledge and develop her passion and skills. One of the few things she learnt during this period was to acknowledge the “invisible people” in our society and how to give a voice to the voiceless. Erin has been serving in the church dance team since she was 12 years old, and has a passion in building and empowering dancers to worship God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
5. Cultivating Life-Giving Disciplines// The importance of having a spiritual rhythm in life for a deeper relationship with God.
- Are you a Mary or a Martha?
- Spiritual Discipline: An end or a means to the end?
- Praying with Scripture
- Prayer of Reflection
- Practising the presence of God
Leong Chooi Wan// Chooi Wan is a wife, mother and a grandmother to three grandchildren. She currently serves as a small group facilitator in Elijah House Malaysia. Chooi Wan was trained in Centering Prayer by Father Thomas Keating and in spiritual formation by the Institute of Christian Ministry (ICM). She is intentional in her spiritual formation and has practised other forms of spiritual disciplines such as contemplative prayer, lectio divinia and silent retreats. Chooi Wan has conducted short quiet retreats for small groups.
Voon Choon Khing// Dr Voon is a retired seminarian lecturer who taught Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Counselling in Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM). She completed her Masters in Theology at Duke University and PhD in Ministry in Spiritual Direction at Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana. She is active in spiritual direction and retreat work with her husband. In March 2016, she launched a book entitled ‘Discerning God in Our Life: The Dance of Two Wills’.
6. You Are What You
EatAbsorb// Nutrients are substances found in food that provide energy, structure and regulation for the body processes of maintenance and repair, growth and reproduction. Learn all about nutrition, malnutrition and even overnutrition!
- Understanding the Food Pyramid
- Anatomy: Digestive System
- The role of bulk nutrients and their effects
- How to promote absorption of good nutrients
- Effects of toxins on mitochondria
- Modern lifestyle diseases: How to prevent them
Dinah Doong// Dinah was in the Communication and Broadcasting industry for more than 20 years before becoming a nutritional medicine therapist and a Nutritional Medicine lecturer. She obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Nutritional Medicine from Plaskett College of Medicine in the United Kingdom. Dinah is also an Assistant Secretary for the Board of Association of Nutritional Medicine for Practitioners Malaysia. She is passionate about sustainable living using green technology and set up an Organic Farm in Bentong, Pahang about 15 years ago. Dinah is also a strong advocate for Terra Madre in Italy, a global movement for slow food.
7. Women@Work// Being a Christ-centered woman in the workplace. Understand the different worldviews towards work and understand how the Gospel changes us, the values we embody and our worldview of work.
A forum discussing:
- The story behind working in the corporate scene, about partnership and as an entrepreneur
- Discerning your vocational calling
- Challenges as a woman whilst trying to be successful
- Being a Christian at the workplace
Eileen Wong// Eileen is an International Policy Analyst with over 12 years of working experience with the Securities Commission Malaysia. Eileen’s role requires her to think and work strategically as she engages with regulatory counterparts around the world. Although the work is challenging and requires her to work long hours at times, she loves what she does, knowing that she is contributing to the country’s financial sector. She is very clear about her calling and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is integrated into her vocation.
Rosie Hong// Rosie is the owner of Checkmate Consulting and Services, a boutique headhunting and recruitment firm. She is married and blessed with two sons. Rosie graduated with an MBA (Strategic Marketing) from Stirling University, Scotland and also holds the ICSA and CIMA professional qualifications. Before returning to Malaysia, Rosie worked as a Commodity Trader in London. Thereafter, she headed the marketing department of Paramount Corp Berhad and DHL Worldwide Express before leading a Customer Relationship Management team at Ogilvy. Subsequently, she pioneered and grew the Rapp Collins Malaysia agency. Before leaving to start her own business, Rosie was the Group Executive Director for Foetus International.
Tong Lai Ling// Lai Ling is a Partner in a law firm. She graduated from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 1993 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in the same year. Following this, she practised in Auckland, New Zealand for a few years until her return to Malaysia. She then worked in the firm of Raja, Darryl and Loh, predominantly in the area of Technology, Multimedia and Telecommunications. She was admitted as a partner in June 2005 and now heads the Information and Communications Technology division.
8. Healthy Substitutes 4 Great Recipes// Eating healthy meals without losing the goodness and taste. Join this workshop to learn how some traditional recipes can be made more healthy and yet taste delicious.
- Definition of healthy cooking concept
- Health impact of some of the food we consume regularly
- Healthy substitutes in cooking without losing the taste
- Cooking demonstration of 1-2 recipes
Mary Easaw// Mary is a Chief Dietitian and hails from a Syrian Christian Malayalee family. She is married and blessed with a teenage daughter. Mary has a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics (India), Professional Diploma in Cardiovascular & Thoracic Sciences (UK) and Masters in Advanced Healthcare (UK). She has worked for 30 years in various fields of nutrition and dietetics, with a keen interest in diabetes, childhood nutrition, and creating healthy recipes. To date, Mary has won five international awards, the most recent being the 2016 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US.
9. Unforgettable Impressions// God loves how He has created us and each woman expresses her beauty differently. Get tips on how to highlight your beauty and have fun at the same time.
- How do you wear your colours?
- What styles flatter your body shapes?
- How to look good with God-given face shapes?
Gloria Soo// Gloria is a Founding Partner of Royal Consulting International (RCI). Currently, she provides consulting for SME owners on initiating business growth through restructuring of their Sales or Business Development Divisions. Prior to founding RCI, Gloria was the CEO of a luxury retail chain, Forever Flawless. She also ran an image consultancy business for 7 years when her family moved to Singapore years ago.
10. Women In Need// Opening our eyes to the needs of women in Malaysia and beyond, and knowing how we can play a part to meet some of these needs.
- God’s purpose and plan for creating women
- Pain of women in a fallen world
- Living Hope Ministry
- Stories of Hope
- How we can meet a need
- Ministry time
Marilyn Skinner// Canadian born, Marilyn has lived in Kampala, Uganda for over 32 years with her husband, Gary Skinner. Together, they lead Watoto Church, a cell based, community church with over 24,000 members. They also founded the Watoto Childcare Ministries for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, currently caring for more than 3,000 Ugandan children in Watoto villages where every child is raised in a family setting rather than an institution. Their vision is that these children will be raised to become future leaders of Uganda and Africa. Marilyn is a passionate speaker, encouraging women all around the world to stand up against inhumane practices such as human trafficking, child soldiers and HIV/AIDS stigmatisation.
Friday (17 March 2017)
Time & Duration Agenda 8:00am Registration 9:00am Welcome 9:15am Plenary 1 10:45am Break 11:30am Plenary 2 12:30pm Lunch (on your own) 2:00pm Workshops 4:00pm End
Saturday (18 March 2017)
Time & Duration Agenda 9:00am Welcome 9:15am Plenary 3 10:30am Break 11:10am Q&A 12:30pm Closing
Cynthia Ngui, Pastor’s Wife
Life Is Not Trouble-free
Be still, my soul! Your God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
A hymn by Katharina von Schlegel.
Ever since I trusted in Jesus at 22, Psalm 91 has always been dear to my heart. Little did I know that my trust in God, which I thought was akin to this psalmist’s faith would face a major shaking some 26 years later. I quote C. H. Spurgeon, “to trust God in the light is nothing but to trust Him in the dark – that is faith”. This faith of mine was put to the test when I was confronted with cancer at age 48.
I would consider that my efforts to stay healthy have always been conscientious and deliberate. Therefore, I was totally taken by surprise by the diagnosis. At that point in time, I had served as principal at Tadika Juara Cerdik for almost a decade and there was still much to do to develop the kindergarten. Amidst the stress of working full-time and caring for my husband and our three children, I was further stretched as I witnessed my father withering away with end-stage throat cancer. He finally went to be with the Lord in November 2008. It was in a matter of three months that I found a fair-sized lump at my lower right abdomen. There was no pain, no symptoms of illness, no fever; neither any apparent loss of weight nor appetite.
Two weeks later, after the Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner, I woke up the next morning with an excruciating stomach ache and threw up all of the dinner. Immediately, I thought of the lump at my abdomen and an appointment was made with a renowned surgeon.
Dr. Tay ordered both endoscopy and colonoscopy to be done before the day ended. I was also examined by the ultrasound technician to get an approximate location of the lump and heard him exclaim as he watched the image on the screen…my heart sank. When I awoke from the procedures, Dr. Tay informed me that a surgery had been scheduled for the removal of the tumour in three days’ time. Tumour! Shocked beyond words, I was unable to collect my thoughts nor be composed. I felt as if the ground beneath my feet had just given way and nothing could stop my emotions from tumbling into an abyss.
The chain of events in the next two weeks played out like a movie before my eyes – except that I was the leading actor. The surgery went well under Dr. Tay’s gifted hands. He had the entire ascending colon and appendix removed. I was anxious to find out the outcome of the biopsy, half hoping that it was just a benign lump. Dr. Tay had suspected cancer and his guess was right.
The moment of truth finally came – I had stage IIB, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the colon. The next step was to see a haematologist who would administer the chemotherapy. The word “chemo” was the much dreaded word. I sat dumbfounded after Dr. Tay broke the news to me – shock and fear came over me. With tears in my eyes, I bargained with God to let me live until my daughter, Joy grew up. Inadvertently, I asked the inevitable, “Why me Lord?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “How did I fail you Lord?” … there was silence.
Right after the first cycle of chemo, I threw up all my dinner. I felt the burning sensation run through my veins as the bottle of poison drained into my body. I was grateful that I had supportive family and friends who saw me through the next seven months of agony. I grew considerably weak while going through chemo. I often stood weeping in the shower, seeing chunks of hair fall out. Part of me was dying and it was hard to take emotionally.
One particular morning as I rested after a walk, the Lord ministered to me. I felt incredible peace in these words, “Do not be afraid! I am with you. You will not die. You will go through chemo and live. For I am with you.” I was comforted by His words written in Isaiah 43:2-3. The Lord also told me not to ask “why” because it was the wrong question. Instead, He reminded me to be still and to trust Him fully because He had come to save me from my troubles.
Fear is a powerful emotion stirred by the presence of an imminent danger. Losing control over my body’s function and having to face the unknown caused terror in my heart. During the seven-month-long treatment, I clung to His promise but was emotionally paralysed. It was as if I witnessed my life being engulfed by the fires of my trials. In facing death, I learned the art of dying to self and relinquishing my rights to the Lord. He taught me 2 things: to seek forgiveness from different ones whom I had wronged, and to let go of things that were of little significance or worth in adding eternal value to my life. The last thing I laid down was my job as principal of Juara Cerdik. The Lord did not take away my job to diminish me, rather He called me to take up a new course – as a helper to others.
After resigning from my job, I enrolled in a counseling course where I further experienced many healings and transformations. I learned to grieve with losses and the death of dreams. The comfort I received from the Lord formed in me a capacity to listen and empathise with others and their pain. Life is not without troubles but the Lord promised His presence, help and fellow Christians to journey with them through their fears and pains. It brings comfort to the soul to know that one does not need to walk alone. In helping others, I am now seeing the signs of life returning and flourishing in me.
It has been seven years since the last chemo treatment. As I look back, I can see the grace of God sustaining me and keeping me alive every day. I consider the loss I suffered in my body nothing compared to the blessings I receive in Christ. I am truly grateful for Jesus who bore my sin and pain on the cross. He came to set me free indeed!
Jamie Solomon, Homemaker
My name is Jamie and I am a homeschooling mother of 4 with ages ranging from 3 to 12. Having been a parent for 12 years, I have experienced the highest highs and the deepest lows in my parenting journey.
Any parent would concur that there are many pains in parenting. Some of my frustrations include thwarted plans, the loss of financial independence as a stay-at-home mom, and a dip in my spiritual growth. There were even times when I saw my husband and children as my worst enemies. Oh! How I struggled with it all. Loneliness was another challenge. There was no one I could share my problems with and no one whom I thought could understand. I was also apprehensive about opening up to others as I did not want to be judged. I began to entertain self-deprecating thoughts while faithfully attending cell group meetings and church celebrations. As I look back, I can only thank God for His grace; He alone pulled me through.
In 2014, after having my fourth child, I sensed a new season of my life had begun. It seemed like a chapter had closed and a new one was unfurling. Every season brings with it rainy days and blue skies, and so it was for me. The rainy days were the struggles in my life that I had not dealt with, and I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Romans 12:1) in order to run the race with perseverance. The clear skies were beautiful days of breakthrough, spiritual intimacy and revelation from the Lord. While God was refining me on the inside, little did I know that He was also preparing me to serve Him on the outside.
One Sunday after the celebration worship, God placed in my heart a burden to serve in the New Mummies ministry – a ministry for families with children below 6. I was surprised that this ‘desire’ seemed to unexpectedly appear. At that time, I was not even a member of this group. To suddenly appear as an outsider and say to the core team, “I want to serve in this ministry” would seem too brash and foolish. I shared this with my husband and we kept this in prayer into 2016. In the meantime, I sought the Lord in prayer knowing He would prepare the way if it was His will. While waiting for God to direct, He was working in my heart and giving me an increased burden to stand alongside young mummies in their struggles. After all, hadn’t I been in that position not too long ago?
In June 2016, a friend asked me to prepare a 10-minute sharing about my parenting journey. I thought to myself, “Is this what God has in store?” Then in August, that same friend announced that she was returning to the States and asked if I could step up as a core team member in New Mummies. I agreed immediately – not because I felt adequate or had the requisite training, but because I was convicted that God had been preparing me for it since the end of 2015. Some months later, I was reminded of the Parable of the Talents and took stock of my talents. I thought to myself, “What/who are my talents?” The fellow New Mummies core team members came to mind and I sensed the word for me was ‘depth’ – that God wanted me to go deeper in my relationship with each fellow team member. Fast forward a few weeks later, I got a call from the head of ministry asking me to step up to play a bigger role. Again, I was not surprised. The New Mummies ministry is now my purpose. God had paved the way for me from the very beginning. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. He takes all my pain and uses it for His glory.
I started attending Moments in 2015 – a monthly bible study conducted by the W2W ladies. Apart from enjoying the sessions I have learnt many spiritual truths. Being in the company of authentic women who share their struggles without feeling any shame gives me great assurance and confidence to share mine. I did not feel intimidated. In fact, it has been a wonderful opportunity to carry one another’s burdens and to share in the struggles and joys. I have been amazed at how many times God has used my struggles to encourage someone. I shared earlier that one of the pains I had in my parenting journey was loneliness. It is now no longer so. I praise God for women who walk with me and look out for me.
God gave me another passion last year. In the middle of 2016, I felt an impression to serve in Moments. Again, I sought the Lord and He opened doors for me to serve in Moments as a facilitator. Yet again, nothing is wasted in God’s economy. He used my experience of walking alone and has turned it into a desire to walk alongside other women so they don’t have to walk alone.
Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone)
Jayapratha Batumalai, Social Coordinator, Parents Without Partners
“In prosperity, our friends know us. In adversity, we know our friends.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Home is where the heart is – or so it seems. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t where his heart was. During the course of our marriage, he had two affairs. And after the roller-coaster ride of those affairs and domestic violence… he left. My ex-husband left me all alone to fend for our 3 children. As if that wasn’t dreadful enough, it was accompanied by a mountain of debt. The raw emotions of anger, hurt and shame came flooding over me – wave upon wave came crashing down. I felt unwanted and darkness was in my soul. Reeling from the shock of it, I tried to make ends meet the best I could while trying to keep up with my studies. It was hard. I couldn’t understand why it should happen to me, or what I had done to deserve such misery. My eldest son was especially distraught when he realized that the father he looked up to had walked out on us. At times, death didn’t seem a bad option.
I pushed away fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who tried to help, thinking I could manage, but I was so very mistaken. I was an emotional wreck. But these friends did not give up! They kept coming to visit and their friendship made all the difference during that difficult period. They extended help that was beyond my imagination. I saw God’s mercy in them. We needed to move out from the place where we lived – and the cell group mobilized its members within 2 days to help us shift everything out. But where could we stay? My cell leader and his wife opened up their home to us. They provided my family a roof over our heads and beds to rest our weary bodies at night. Our battered souls were nursed and attended to. Such love! Such generosity! We received from them physical and spiritual nourishment. Every member of the cell group rallied behind my family to get us up and going. I saw God’s compassion in them. It was more than I could ever ask of anyone.
My parents too, they supported me financially so that I could complete my studies. For that, I am forever grateful to them. I saw God’s helping hand there. On graduation day, my cell members were there to celebrate with me and to share in my joy.
As time went on, my children and I began to build a life together again. Church celebrations, cell group meetings and Children’s Church became regular features in our weekly routine. We looked forward to them as they were a constant source of encouragement and a much needed reminder to us about God’s grace over us.
Is my wound healed? Have I recovered? How have I moved on?
Today, I can say that I am healed and able to live again. I have joy within me and am happier than ever before. I love the life that God has given me and my 3 children. I take pride in the fact that I can support my family with the job I have. On hindsight, God allowed me to go through that journey so that I would learn dependence on Him. It is not a religion I have, but a God of love and grace whom I have a relationship with. I’m grateful for the family He has given to our family. Most importantly, He has shown us a life that is worth living, because He lives!
Lim Rue-Hann, Learning Specialist
I used to have almost everything – as far back as I can remember. I had a happy childhood and a family which was intact and complete. But life throws you lemons once in a while and just like an unpredictable flashflood, my parents separated when I was 15. Like any teenager, I was trying to figure out my place in life when dad left us – leaving my mum to fend for herself and to support two kids. Surprisingly, I was not filled with anger or hatred. I had faith in God that everything would be well. Instead, I desired to be independent and to win in life. I didn’t want to be stereotyped as a problematic kid from a broken family. I strived to be a straight-A student in school, a high achiever on campus and to excel in my career. I did whatever I could to support my mom financially.
One day as I sat reflecting about life, I sensed an emptiness deep within. What else hadn’t I done to prove myself? It was then that I heard God’s gentle whisper – I was striving for my father’s approval. I wanted to prove to him that, even without his support, I could be independent and successful; that I didn’t need him to be happy. I wanted to establish the fact that I could make it in life without him. My identity was rooted in how I wanted my earthly father to think of me, but it was accompanied by unforgiveness. I had yet to extend the olive branch to my dad for the heartaches and wounds that he inflicted upon our family. At the heart of it all was unforgiveness and a lack of love. I was secretly craving for my father’s love and attention – even though I thought I didn’t need it. I was trapped in my own prison and worst of all, I didn’t realise it.
Through that revelation, God my heavenly Father, spoke into my heart. He assured me that He loved me for who I was because He made me. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139) My identity is rooted in the knowledge that I am His daughter and His love for me is unconditional. He proved that to me on Calvary – where Christ’s blood flowed for my sins. There is nothing left for me to prove to anyone.
Overwhelmed and compelled by such love, I forgave my dad fully and was set free from my own bondage. I live life no longer laden with the burden to seek approval but only to seek God’s will for me. His love compels me to live life to its fullest and with purpose.
Having received such love and revelation, my heart’s desire is to strengthen my fellow sisters-in-Christ who are on a journey to find their identity and footing in life. I thank God for sending angels to mentor me at different points in my life and to uphold me in prayer. I truly believe every one of us is wonderfully made by God with tremendous potential. Having walked this journey, I find purpose in helping others on theirs in finding love, joy and peace.
Thank You Jesus!
Sophy Lim, Head of Community Excel Services (CES)
I never got the chance to love her.
No memory of her face, her scent or her embrace. At age 3, I had my first broken-hearted experience. I learned about abandonment and gained a new companion – loneliness. When she decided to leave me by the roadside, she had taken with her my chance to be nurtured, to be loved and a chance to call her – mommy.
Dad never talked about mom and I knew I should never ask. My longing had been buried with the pain and rejection. I convinced myself that the best way to avoid the pain was to lie to myself that ‘I don’t need her, I don’t need a mother’. But when I was old enough to read the words on my birth certificate, my eyes immediately searched for ‘Nama Ibu’. I could no longer hold on to the lies that helped lessen the pain and the wound reappeared except this time a thousand “whys” flooded my mind.
He is all I have but he hurts me the most.
I loved my dad. He was my dearest and my only hope during those difficult years. He was someone a helpless child could depend on. But in just one night, he destroyed my hope completely. A call came at 8pm and my dad passed me the phone – it was my classmate. He needed some things urgently and asked if I could meet him for a brief moment. I saw that my dad had fallen asleep and since it was only three blocks away, I decided to sneak out without waking my dad. On my way home, I ran as fast as I could only to realise that my dad had locked me out. I cried and pleaded; I tried my best to explain but he wouldn’t accept my explanation. He turned off the lights and went to bed. I was left all alone in the dark corner of the second floor shop lot. Afraid of the dark, I walked aimlessly on the street hoping the streetlights would calm my trembling body. I met a neighbour and his friend and for a moment, I was relieved to have met someone familiar. They asked me to get into their car and promised to bring me home. I was offered a drink… and before I knew it, disaster had struck. I was raped that night – the night when my trusted one locked me out. I was 13.
I am a mistake. I don’t deserve to be loved.
My life companions were shame, guilt and loneliness. No one knew my pain nor understood my brokenness. I grew up with the unbearable pain of rejection and wished to hear the answer to my many “whys” – Why me? Why did they do that? Why do I have to go through these shameful episodes etc. While trying my best to live through the inner struggles, I experienced another tragedy – both my grandmother and father collapsed and died before my eyes one day. After my dad’s passing, I was asked to move out of the house. Again, I was left alone. Having witnessed death, the pains surged once again. I was convinced that I was destined to be alone and did not deserve to be loved – I was a mistake.
I gave up but He did not.
I envisioned a life that had nothing good, only despair, shame, guilt and poverty, and I gave up on any possibility of goodness in my life. I continued to live a life devoid of hope. I had not known any other life and could not imagine having a “life”. In my desperate search for a reason for my existence, I walked into a bookstore. And from there I walked into a church. There, I saw Jesus Christ in His radiant white, like in a picture. He drew near to me and walked into my heart. In that moment, my heart was filled to overflowing with His love. For the first time, someone walked towards me instead of leaving me. Standing there in His presence, I reveled in His grace and healing. Bathed in His saving blood, this soul who was in despair drank hungrily from the fountain of life. That day on August 20th 2005, I found my true refuge and life was birthed in me again. Jesus Christ. My life. My joy. My peace.
In God’s economy, no experience is wasted. In His hands, what we deem as hopeless can have a future; what seems impossible will be made possible; what looks like ash might just morph into a useful vessel.
Speak life to a broken world.
2017 marks my 10th year in serving my Savior through serving the poor, the outcast, the marginalized and the invisible in our needy communities. I had been given the strength to embrace my pains, and the grace to tell my offenders “I forgive you”. Because of my broken past, the Lord enables me to empathise with the poor and needy. Because of His love and restoration, He enables me to bring this message of hope and truth to the broken-hearted. I am blessed to be a vessel to speak life to the lifeless and to bring hope to the hopeless. I am thankful to see colours again in my once dark and sorrowful life – if I could, I want to tell my dad and mom that despite the wounds, I still love them. My hope is to see the broken of this world restored. My prayer is to witness God’s grace in lives that are shattered. My dream is to see fractured relationships mended. This is the truth – I am not a mistake and neither are you. I am loved and so are you.
Tracey Chan, STAR Youth Coordinator
“What’s wrong with my son?”
“Why doesn’t he understand what I am saying?”
“Why is he in a world of his own?”
“Why can’t he talk?”
“Why is he not like other children of his age?”
When the final diagnosis came, my world crashed – like lego blocks in the hands of a 3-year old. I can still hear the doctor’s words – “Mrs Chew, your son is autistic”. That was the start of a roller-coaster ride that has lasted many years. As I grappled with the fact that I had a special child, I searched for information on therapies, assistance, a kindergarten that would accept him, an answer… any answer…any glimmer of hope.
To say that the first few years were difficult is an understatement. He was asked to leave several kindergartens because the teachers could not cope with his “strange” behavior. With each rejection from schools, centres and friends, I became more and more bitter. The feelings of shame, helplessness and loneliness engulfed me. The hours spent looking after him were taking a toll on me. Needless to say, my relationship with my husband and the people around me suffered. Friends, relatives and loved ones couldn’t console me. I started keeping to myself. The feeling of loneliness was compounded by the fact that I couldn’t bring my son Andrew for any social gathering or leave him alone with anyone. I was tired physically and emotionally. I thought I was the only person in the world, or at least in Malaysia, who had such a child. So little was known about this condition back then.
In 1993, we were introduced to DUMC Children’s Church and my daughter started attending it weekly. In 1994, out of curiosity, I walked into DUMC to check out the place. And there, the Lord Jesus met me and welcomed me into his loving arms. I accepted Jesus into my life without really understanding what having Jesus as my Saviour really meant. However, my life started changing as I got to know this Jesus better. His words affirmed and comforted me. I realized then that having a differently-abled child is not because of past sins but God gave me this child to glorify Him.
I surrendered all my hurts, pains, shame and bad experiences to Him. God began to restore and heal Andrew and me. I learned how to pray and speak into Andrew’s life. And I began to see improvements in Andrew. In 1999, through His divine appointment, I started working for CES as the Coordinator of the Day Training Centre – a centre that teaches academic, living, coping and social skills to the differently-abled. I have been working among this group of people ever since and God has brought many broken hearted and helpless mothers into our midst.
I walked down the road of confusion, fear and anxiety as a parent so many years ago and today, I can empathize with other parents who are in the same boat. I am thankful that God has given me compassion for them as well as the passion to work with their children. It has not been an easy journey but as I begin to understand God’s role and purpose for me, I know I have a Friend on high who will shepherd and guide me.
When I started in this ministry, I ensured that differently abled persons were treated with dignity and respect, accepted and understood. Together with a great team of helpers, we plan programmes and functions that are suitable for this group of individuals – people who are made in the image of God and who deserve every bit of regard and acknowledgement from society.
We want them to know that Jesus cares for them and I pray that, like me, they will exchange their spirit of despair for a garment of praise and thanksgiving.
“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
― J.K. Rowling
1. What is ESSENTIAL2017 about?
ESSENTIAL2017 is one of the avenues used by the Women2Women (W2W) movement in DUMC to reach out to the women. Its purpose is to provide a large platform for women to come together to learn and connect with other women. Our theme for 2017 is Metamorphosis.
2. Who are the speakers?
Plenary speakers: Marilyn Skinner, Sarah Aye & Stella Hoh
- De-Cluttering Clutters: Audrey Fong
- Handling Husbands: Datuk Kee Sue Sing, Fong Siew Keong & Joshua San
- Cultivating Life-Giving Disciplines : Dr Voon Choon Khing & Leong Chooi Wan
- Healthy Substitutes 4 Great Recipes: Mary Easaw
- Multi-G Mentoring: Cheryl Lee, Lim Rue-Hann & Erin Lim
- Women in Need: Marilyn Skinner
- Women@Work: Eileen Wong, Rosie Hong & Tong Lai Ling
- Significant & Single: Looi Lai Kit
- Unforgettable Impressions: Gloria Soo
- You are What You
EatAbsorb: Dinah Doong
For more details, please check the “Speakers” and “Workshops” tabs.
3. Where can I sign up for ESSENTIAL2017?
- Credit card or bank transfer/bank-in option* – Sign up via dumc.my/essential2017
- Cash registration – Register at Dream Centre Registration/Info Counter before & after weekend celebrations from 14 Jan till 12 Mar 2017.
* DUMC Bank Account: Public Bank a/c no: 314 594 2206; or Maybank a/c no: 5122 3157 8305
** Bank transfer or bank-in details MUST BE emailed to email@example.com for verification & confirmation.
4. How much is the collection?
Super early bird (14 & 15 Jan only): RM100.00
Early bird (16 Jan to 26 Feb): RM120.00
Normal (27 Feb to 12 Mar): RM150.00
Walk-in on conference day: RM200.00
* Calendar days are defined as 12:00am to 11:59pm on that day
5. I don’t have enough cash now. Can I make partial payment first to secure the cheaper rate?
No, the full payment must be made at point of registration.
6. What if I do a bank transfer on 26 Feb, but the bank only processes it on 27 Feb, can I still get the early bird rate?
Date of registration will be date of bank transfer receipt.
7. Can non-DUMC attendees or pre-believers register?
Yes, all are welcome!
8. Is there a group registration rate?
9. Can I choose the workshop later?
Sorry, you must choose ONE upon registration. There are LIMITED seats per workshop and they are allocated on first-come, first-served basis.
10. Can I change my selected workshop at a later date?
Yes you can, but this is subject to the following:
- Only one change request allowed
- Subject to seat availability
- No later than a week before the conference
11. How do I change the workshop?
You can approach a W2W representative at the Information Counter to make the change.
12. Can I cancel my registration with refund? What about transferring registration?
No refunds or cancellations are allowed for completed registrations. However, your registration can be transferred. You can approach a W2W representative at the Information Counter to make the change. At the point of transferral, the new participant’s name must be provided.
13. Is there sufficient car park space on the premises?
Unfortunately, parking space is very limited within Dream Centre premises. Beyond this, there are parking bays around the vicinity and there is a public parking lot just opposite. However, these are usually full on working days. Jaya 33 is an option and there is a small gate connecting Jaya 33 to DUMC (Dream Centre). To avoid parking hassles, we would advise you to car pool as much as possible, or take public transport/Grab/Uber.
1. For payments via cash / cheque, please go direct to DUMC info counter
2. For offline Bank-in or Bank Transfer Option
3. For payment via credit card
- If you are promoting this conference in your church, please make use of the communication materials that we have prepared for you. We hope that you will find the materials helpful for you. Thank you for your partnership.
Click below to download the design files.