From Friendship to Faith
Outreach—a word that Christians are all too familiar with. Christ himself commands us to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20), while the church exists to minister to people in the city. Yet amidst family needs, work commitments, and church programs, many of us struggle to come up with ways to engage with our neighbors. Back in September 2021, I posed a question to several young Christians in Kuching:
“What are people in the city after?”
A year before, our team’s efforts to reach the city were halted by a series of seemingly unending lockdowns due to the Covid-19 virus. In the second half of 2021, however, restrictions on social activities began to loosen, and Kuchingnites started to leave their houses to reengage with the world outside.
Exercising and Eating Together
“Health,” answered one of the guys. Around that time, running and cycling clubs were popping up left, right, and center in Kuching, the latter often organizing events that saw officials block off sections of the street for them. Surprisingly, even though indoor recreational sport facilities for badminton and table tennis resumed operations, gyms and weight rooms were one of the latest ones to open.
How can we provide a welcoming workout space to those who want to stay fit?
Along with two other guys, we surveyed a few locations and settled on the Malaysia-China Friendship Park for its popularity among Kuchingnites. On October 3rd, we started our first workout. Soon, words spread that there was a free, beginner-friendly exercise group in Kuching, and more people joined us, including those who happened to be at the park on Sunday evenings.
Stretching and running were not all we did, however, as we also invited all who came to eat dinner with us. Our goal since the very beginning was to focus on building relationships with people in the city before sharing the gospel with them. Those post-workout meals gradually became a space for Christians and non-Christians alike to chat about spiritual topics.