Saturday, October 6, 2007

Special Invitation to Mines Resort for a worthy cause

The Mines Resort Golf Club is a premier golf club in Malaysia where membership is by invitation only. The membership comes with a price tag of RM $1.2 million. When Pastor Sam and I rode on the same buggy cruising along the buggy track and into the fairway, we were like two 'Shuaku' (hill turtles) stepping into a brand new world for the first time. We decided to enjoy the scenery and the beauty of the nature around it instead of putting on a combating stance in the golf competition. We were both invited to participate in a charity golf to raise funds for Calvary Convention Center. Pastor Sam is a good golfer with a handicap of 18 while mine is 22. No one gave us a chance to win the tournament. We are after all pastors supposedly good in preaching and pastoral ministry.

The 18 flights (72 golfers) started at the same time at different holes. Sam and I had a par each for the start and the other two golfers (lay members from Calvary Church) nearly freaked out. Albert is a 12 handicapper and yet he was not playing well. I think he was pressurized by two amateur pastors/golfers. "I thought pastors are not suppose to be good at golf" Hebert, his buggy mate interjected. Sam and I were as cool as a cucumber. "We are to pursue excellence in everything regardless whether we are pastors or not." We sounded very spiritual and professional.

Steward Ginn, the Malaysian Golf Open Champion for 2 occasions greeted us at a par 4 hole. He was specially flown in to grace the occasion and to conduct a golf clinic. He asked us to tee off so that he could give us his critique. The four of us teed off like a pro and he was very impressed with us. "You are good, pastors" Ginn exclaimed. A comma made a big difference. "You are good pastors." That would sound even better! Ginn then proceeded to show us the power of his drive. His tee off was easily 80 meters ahead of us. We then took a photo. I commented to Ginn: "Though we can't play like a pro, at least we look like a pro!" His smile was as broad as his shoulder. After he left, I had a birdie at that hole. Talk about 'golf anointing.' Was it skill or transference of power?

At the prize giving, my name was called out. "Rev. Wong Fong Yang, handicap 22 is the second runner-up (third placing) for Medal C (handicap 20-24). The whole room cheered loudly. They were rooting for a Presbyterian pastor! Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew was bemused. Prince Gunaratnam, the senior pastor of Calvary Church was surprised that a pastor could play golf well. Pastor Sam too came up second runner-up for his category Medal B (12-19). It was gratifying to see that pastors could compete with other golfers at their game. These golfers obviously spent much more time honing their skills than the pastors. I played only once a month at the most.

Calvary Convention Center manged to raise RM $120,000 from the charity golf. The video presentation showed that the church still needs RM $55 millions for the construction. It has managed to raise only RM $45 millions so far. It is a huge project with a big vision. My prayer is that the members of Calvary Church will see their giving as to giving to Jesus. There are many rich tycoons in that church. If they see themselves as stewards of God then the resources that God entrusted to them will be released to His work. The hearts must be touched first before the pockets can be opened. Fund raising through charity golf is only an awareness campaign. RM $120,000 is not much considering the number of rich golfers who played on that day. The piling work for the Convention Center has already begun. The pressure of raising the remaining sum is mounting each day. Rev. Datuk Dr. Prince Gunaratnam needs to pick up the golf game to de-stress. He might get a hole in one as a beginner!

The latest trophy, the golf ball with Steward Ginn's signature now sat in my cabinet for display. Its not for self glory because there is nothing to boast about. Every single item in the cabinet represents a life time memories of what God has brought into my life. It tells the story of God's goodness and grace. I could not afford to play in Mines Resort. Neither would I dare to dream that I would set foot on the lush green fairway. I do not know any member of Mines Resort who would sign me in as a guest. But God owns the cattle of the thousands hills including Mines Resort. He invited me to enjoy his creation. He seated me on His table with spread suited for a king. I received His kindness with thankfulness. I still look forward to the Messianic Banquet!


~ Jules ~ said...

First you tell us about your blog, and then you go on to win a medal in golf. You will go down in (my)history as the Pastor who remained relevant to the world while being reverent to an Almighty God.

Tracy Tan said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Pastor :)

Glad you had a good game!

Wong Fong Yang said...

I am learning how to blog. Its great to be connected.

kaki.ayam said...

rev wong,

i hope you would not mind me giving some of my own views on rich churches like the one you mention.

I have a particular dislike for churches like these. What's the probability that all these rich people (tycoons) are Christian and attend the same church? Did the pastor intentionally search them out? Rumours has it that Prince are driven around in a Big Small Eye Mercedes. Is it true? Not meant to put you in a spot, but do you think that churches should not be obsenely rich?

I have been listening to many colleagues and my own bosses relating their bad (first hand) experiences dealing with these tycoons. It seems more often than not, they are more crooked than the typical business man. And the bad thing is, they tend to group these tycoons as Christian who attend the same church.

i attended a particular methodist church for more than 2 years, and i left when i felt that they seems to target rich people and professionals to be their members.

what is wrong with churches nowadays?

sorry rev wong, i just like to rant. that's what chicken_feet does during it's free time....hehe

PhylloCs LitHium said...

Dear Uncle Fong Yang =)
I love your writing. Its relaxing and fun to read. Well, I don't write well, but maybe you would like to see my pictures?

Sarah said...

Reading this post was a very nice way to end my stressful day after my first test! Couldn't help smiling. It's so you, Dad. By the way, did you know that Grand Rapids is a fantastic place for golfing? *Hint hint*

LS said...

Now we have a Good Pastor and a Golf Pastor. Not forgetting a Cool Pastor, too! Enjoy reading your blog! Could you come to Shah Alam and golf with the members here. They need a Cool-Golfing-Good-Pastor like you! :-) LS

Anonymous said...

to the comment made by kaki ayam...perhaps you better ask yourself what is wrong with churches reaching out to rich people. Have you not come across the verse in the bible that says " is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
You sound like you are saying that the church is just out for the riches...would you be able to consider perhaps that God is sovereign over all things and perhaps can bring the rich into His Kingdom inspite of what you see as bad moves by the church to "target rich people and professionals"? Is salvation not for all? Do you not see that those who are rich in material things could also be poor in spirit?
I suppose after leaving a few more churches you will start seing that!

Anonymous said...

Hello Rev Wong,

Nice to know about you. Got to know your blog through Calvary Today blog. You are going to be pretty famous soon as this article is mentioned by someone in the latest post in, Where would Jesus give to in times like this?

Cheng said...

I found this on Malaysia Today. What a shame!
written by cruzeiro, January 03, 2009 13:58:16
Why is the other Tan Sri - the screaming all dynamic, bombastic, Prince Gunaratnam of the AOG so quiet?
Where is his oh so "christian" zeal for righteousness?
Maybe there are no Malay speaking sheep in his pasture?
What - he can't be so Chickenshit can he?
Maybe just ball polishing by "staying out of controversy"?

Considering his cutting deals skills with the most unlikely bed-mates, could it be that he's bargaining for something with the thieves? But then again, knowing such a busy man, he must be needing a golfing holiday for now ....