Friday, February 29, 2008

Spiritual Growth

by Jan van Regteren

Sharing with the Iban Community on Sunday, 19th. June 2005


It is my privilege and pleasure to be with you today. It is always good to experience that our Christian faith is not limited to nationality, race, or culture. I am glad that so many of you are here, and hope that we all will have a good time together, in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.


Let me start with introducing myself. My name is Jan van Regteren, and-as you can see- I am no native of this country. I was born in The Netherlands, in Europe, in 1957, which means I’m 48 years of age. By education, I am an electrical engineer, and joined Shell in 1982, and have worked for them ever since, in variety of jobs, mainly to do with drilling oil and gas wells. I moved to Brunei in 1983, and lived there for almost 7 years. It is there that I met my wife, who in actual fact is a Malaysian Chinese from Miri, so I feel very much part of the local community. We got married in 1989, and have one son, who is now 11 years old. Following Brunei, we had further overseas postings to Scotland, Venezuela and The Netherlands, and finally arrived in Malaysia at the start of 2003. We anticipate staying in Miri for approximately 4 years.

My Growth as a Christian

I am blessed to have been raised in a Christian family. Both my parents are Christians, and they themselves come from Christian families. So in many ways, I have never really experienced life in the absence of God. I realize that this will be significantly different for many of you who, most likely, will only have learned about and received Christ much later in your lives. I was baptized as an infant, as was the tradition in our- Dutch Reformed- church. Ever since I can remember, we prayed before and after each meal, we prayed prior to going to sleep, the bible was (and still is) being read every day after dinner. I attended Sunday school as a child, and became very familiar with all the popular stories and events in the bible. As a teenager, I attended bible study and developed a good understanding of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Every Sunday, with my parents, sister and brother, we attended church. So at the surface, we were living our lives as a model Christian family, at least in the sense of the traditional church. I did not, however, experience good fellowship, did not have any good Christian friends, and did not share of my faith with others. I did not hide from them that I was a Christian- it was not that I felt ashamed of being a Christian- but neither was my walk with God such that I felt a great need or desire to share the gospel with those people around me.

So whilst all these activities (of church, bible study and the like) are important to shape one’s life, develop a moral framework, and increase in knowledge of God and the Christian faith, it takes a lot more to have a ‘personal relationship’ with God, in a way that impacts positively on the community where you live, that people are being challenged and attracted to your ‘walk with God’.

My faith was – for the first time- really being challenged when I moved to Brunei. Whilst it was relatively easy in Holland to go through the motions, in a certain way act as a ‘submarine Christian’, pop up to go to church on Sundays, and then submerge again in everyday mediocrity during the weekdays, this was challenged in Brunei. In a certain way, it is both strange and wonderful, how-in a Muslim society-my life as a Christian changed considerably. For those of you who know Brunei, especially in the 1980’s, it is a small country with little to do, few distractions, few activities, and no television programmes of any interest (we did not have satellite television in those days). This provided an ideal environment to develop very intimate friendships, as one tended to spend a lot of time with friends. Shortly after my arrival in Brunei, I went to a Baptist church, and was admitted into a wonderful group of Christian friends, with whom I spent a lot of time in the following years: we had great fellowship, a lot of sharing, praise and worship, and bible study. It was during that time that I began to develop a personal relationship with God, in that God became much more part of my everyday life- in a sense-He became more ‘real’ to me.

  • I started to study the bible a lot more seriously, spent a lot more time in prayer, and became more aware of God’s will in my life.

  • I began to read many Christian books, which-until then-I had not done before.

  • I was encouraged to participate in evangelistic events.

  • I began to give much more generously of my money to the church and other Christian organizations. As it says in Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • I learned more and more to trust in God. Again from Matthew 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

About a year ago, my wife’s brother in-law became very seriously ill with massive brain hemorrhage, and a coma. My wife and I took the opportunity to pray for him in the presence of his children, all of whom are non-Christians. God did not answer in a manner that we had desired, in that He did not heal him (at least in a physical sense); he passed away the following day. We do trust however, that God’s way are perfect, and hope that-indeed- even on his deathbed, he may have accepted Christ as his Saviour, such as to obtain spiritual healing, and salvation. Why am I telling you this? It is because God very much wants us to be His disciples, not to sit back and relax, but to step out of our comfort zone, trusting that God will do His work in and through us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We bid Jan farewell
27 April 1957 to 20 Feb 2008
Left behind
Wife: Wee Soo Min
Son: Jonathan van Regteren
Last employer: Sarawak Shell Bhd, Miri

Jan was finally laid to rest at Methodist Cemetery today, 26 Feb 2008. This place is actually very near to Miri town. At 9:00AM, encoffin was carried out on time at the mortuary, General Hospital . Thereafter, it was taken to Grace Methodist Church in Pujut. The funeral service took place, attended by some 250 people, many of whom are colleagues and friends from Shell.
At about 11:40AM, the coffin was transported to the cemetery for burial.
All photos are now are uploaded. All photos may be viewed at my photobucket. By the way, the uploaded photos are not suitable for printing due to the lower resolution.
Order of service:
Opening Hymn : UMH 98 “To God Be the Glory”
Liturgist : The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Congregation : And also with you.
Liturgist : We gather here to conduct the funeral service for our beloved Bro. Jan Van Regteren.
Choir : “ Beautiful Lord, wonderful Saviour”
Pastoral Prayer :
Silence : Congregation
Scripture : Job 2:1-10, 42:1-6
Sermon : Can Your Faith Stand The Test?
Response : UHM 452 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”
Eulogy : Wilma & Wilco
Slide show : William
Hymn : UMH 368 “My Hope Is Built”
Below is one of the slide shows.

Click here for full screen slide show.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jan's Funeral Service

Late Brother in Christ Jan Van Regteren

The parents, twin sister and a brother of late Jan arrived in Miri on Saturday, 23 Feb 2008. It is now decided that Jan will be buried in the Methodist Cemetery, Riam Road, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.

The Funeral service program is as follows:

Date: 26 Feb 2008 Tuesday
9:00AM – Encoffin Service, Mortuary, Miri General Hospital
10:00AM – Memorial Service at Grace Methodist Church
11:30AM – Proceed to Methodist Cemetery, Riam Road

Address of Grace Methodist Church:
Lot 2853, Jln Baiduri 6, Jalan Pujut 3A, 98000 Miri. Tel: 085-662660/664660 Fax: 085-652660 (next to Sim's Motor or GK supermarket in Pujut). From Lutong, enter Pujut 4, first right, cross the road hump, turn right, drive to the end. From Miri, at the Pujut GK round about, do a 6 o'clock turn, enter Pujut 3, first left. Look for Baiduri 6 on the left.

Please note: Wreath will be received only at Grace Methodist Church on Tuesday from 8:00AM to 10:00AM.

Donation (白金) may be passed to the following:
1. Church office Monday 25 Feb 2008 between 8:00-12:00; 13:00-16:00
2. Church sanctuary Tuesday 26 Feb 2008 between 9:00AM-10:00AM
3. For those in SSB please pass your donation to Setuju Hajijah (085-454685) or Tainah Tani (085-453525) at LLA-009 (behind the security counter at the back service lift) on Monday, 25th Feb 2008.
As according to the wish of the family, all donations will be given away to charity.

If you have anything to be dedicated to Jan, please insert it in the comment below or click here. Please include your name.

To all members of Grace Methodist Church
Please wear white top and seated together behind the piano (right side of the santuary).

Thanks, William
Date: 25 Feb 2008 4:00PM

40 Days of Purpose

I thought this article from The Vine which I read this morning is an appropriate introduction to our 40-Days of Purpose program which we will run in our church very soon. Therefore, if you are from Miri, and is also interested to know the answer for your life's purpose, please do join us. Just send me an e-mail or call our church office (085-662660).

So, what do you see as your life's purpose? You have only two options:
(a) Speculation. Dr Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at North Western Illinois University, wrote to 250 of the best known philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals, asking them, "What is the meaning of life?" He then published their responses in a book. Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they had just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life! Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life.
(b) Revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in His Word. It is our Owner's Manual explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. The Bible says, "God's wisdom… goes deep into the interior of his purposes… It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest - what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us" (1 Corinthians 2:7 TM). God is not just the starting point of your life, He is the source of it. To discover His purpose for your life you must turn to God's Word, not the world's wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not "pop psychology", success, motivation, or inspirational stories.

The above is an extract from The Vine

Thursday, February 21, 2008

21 Feb 2008
It is with great sadness this morning when I heard the demise of our dear brother in Christ Jan Van Regteren. His is now with the Lord and I know that he is now made complete and healed. I spoke to him only on Sunday and took a picture of him. He told me that he lost 20 kg.

20 Oct 2007 Taken during a seminar

He remain cheerful to the very last day. He shall be missed by many of us.

Brother James Wong has this to say:

Quote: "Bro Jan and I had a chat last Sunday morning after church service. Little did I realize it would be our last.

Though unwell, Bro Jan continued to soldier on God's work and asked me for some help to his ministry, Christian Literature.

I also remember visiting his cell group last year with Bro William Ting. Bro Jan was an excellent Cell Group leader who knew the discussed Word (sermon) well and we could see how much his cell group members appreciated his dedication and love for our Lord. I am sure people who knew Bro Jan would discover that the Dutchman was always friendly and righteous. Even at the last hours of his life, Bro Jan continued to think about his ministry in Grace Methodist Church. What a true disciple of Jesus Christ he was! We are so proud of him.

We thank God for this dear brother; a dear husband and dad, a dear friend to many, a dedicated soldier of the Cross, and a great blesser to many.

As our prayers and thoughts are with the Van Regteren family now, we are consoled to know that our Bro Jan is now in Heaven with our Lord.

We will always remember him fondly in our hearts, with love and thanks.

James & Roseline Wong
" Unquote

Name Above All Names
In 1st Corinthians our Resurrection.
In 2nd Corinthians our Sin Bearer
In Galatians He redeems us from the law
In Ephesians He is our unsearchable riches,
In Philippians He supplies Our every need.
And in Colossians He’s the fullness of the God head bodily.
In 1st and 2nd Thessalonian He is our Soon Coming King
In 1st and 2nd Timothy He is the mediator between God and man
In Titus He is our blessed hope.
In Philemon He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
In Hebrew He’s the blood of the Everlasting covenant.
In James He is the Lord that heals the sick
In 1st and 2nd Peter He is the Chief Shepherd
In 1st, 2nd and 3rd John it is Jesus who has the Tenderness of Love
In Jude He is the Lord coming with 10000 Saints.
And in Revelation Lift up your eyes, Church
For your redemption Draweth nigh,
He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Saturday 16 Feb 2008
Esther told me that she has been successfully selected by her university for a one month student exchange program (27 May to 27 June) to Lund University in Sweden.
I have to say that we are all very happy for her and hope that she can make full use of the month long attachment to learn as much as possible and also to see the country.

Tuesday 19 Feb 2008
Joshua has been very excited about his new ability to read/do things blind folded. He is eager to show off his capability and whenever I brought him to the office, he will show off to my colleague. Initially no one believed him and they will bet with him. He ended up making more than RM70 so far! So he treated himself to some ice cream. This coming Friday, he will demonstrate in front of some 500 people during our annual family dinner!

Actually blind folded reading is not magic or something spiritual. There is a 1.5 days training program for children below 17. This is the so called activation of the mid brain. When the mid brain is activated, one of the obvious sign is the ability to read blind folded. Also, it will improve memory, concentration, etc. So, obviously, improvement in studies.

My New Toy

After waiting for a long time, I have taken delivery of my new toy. I think this new toy is taking fantastic pictures. It opens up a totally new photo taking experience. Those photos I have not been able to take with my D200 can suddenly be taken now with ease. The traditional method to take photos in a poorly lighted hall is to use a powerful flash (eg, Metz 76 MZ-5) which bounce light off something or to use an array of flash. To make use of the SB-800 with my D200 produce nothing decent. However, the SB-800 with the new toy seems to be able to take such pictures with ease!

The photos below are taken with the new toy during the Chinese New Year period ...

Lion troupe at Piasau 100 during the Open House

Mum & Dad

Ronald from HDS. Photo taken under strong red light without flash.

These students from Chung Hua Middle School did a fantastic performance at Piasau 100.

I noticed that there are quite a few girls playing the drum. Photo taken without flash.

Char Kuih made by James Wong

My colleague Ivy and her friend Andrew.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cell Ministry
My Cell group has grown double in size overnight! Praise the Lord! Thanks to brother James for hosting the CG fellowship for the past few weeks and thanks to him for making all the networks and connections. Additions to the group are new comers to Miri who have just joined Shell. Also, we are very fortunate to have a couple who are deaf and dumb. Through them we are beginning to learn sign language and also learn how to do sermon discussion with them. They really felt welcomed and enjoyed our company.

Duan, Angeline, Michelle, Mike, Victor, Natalie, Louis, Wendy, Forbes, Yieng Eng, Peter, Yaw Min
William, Roseline, Kristy, Pr. Connie, Margaret, James

On 3rd February, it was our CG term to prepare the monthly tea. Here, you can see Duan and Angeline busy doing the cleanup. This is good ...

Mr. and Mrs Victor Hii were both enthusiastic in teaching the sign language. They were blessed with two very intelligent normal boys.

Kristy and Victor

Learning the 26 alphabets is quite tough. I have to admit that I can only remember a few of the characters. However, learning the few words is not that difficult. I think we all enjoy it. Here, you can see Jack being guided ...

See... young and old were very excited! There is now hope for us to communicate with them even more. This family integrate very well with us. At the moment, it is through written words.

The cell group always ends up in some really nice food! James is the expert cook and whoever is energetic will bring something. Adeline - Jack other half, never failed to cook something. Praise God for her. She never gave up and continues to cook fantastic food every week.

At the moment, the group starts at 8:00PM on every Friday. From next week onward (22 feb 08) we will start at 7:30PM.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's v-card
Valentine day is "Christianised" by the Roman and it has its orgin from a pagan god. As such, I strongly believed that this occassion should not be celebrated by Christian. Click here for more information about Valentine Day.

Valentine's v-card

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lunar New Year Celebration Continues...
The celebration will last for 15 days. Lion dance is becoming an essential part of this celebration because all the Chinese schools and associations take this opportunity to raise fund. If you give more, they will give a more elaborate "dance".

Lion dance is unfortunately also considered a pagan object. Therefore, Christian should not invite them into their home for "dances" or visit.

The lion also comes in different shape, size and colour. This simpler lion is obviously coming from a "poorer" organisation.

And this prettier lion is from a famous local Chinese school.

You can invite the lions to come for a longer performance. Obviously, the ang pow must be fatter too!

In all cases, I think the children are the one who enjoy most as they are...

... curious

However, in our case, we didn't invite them into our house due to our own religious reason. So they just "performed" outside the gate.

This year, I found that the "lions" were more creative. They were "fed" with Kam, they would throw the skin back into the house and the slices.... they made a word out of it.

More kam? Anyone? They are sweet and juicy!

Teck Chung & Vivien (GMC) invited their friends and students over for a "celebration".

Ya... obviously the "yu" will bring plenty of blessing, if you believe....

Lunar New year is a time to catch up, chatted about all kind of topics and a good time to do networking. Beside eating, we also get to know each other better.

And a time to be close to each other....

The celebration shall continue for the next 10 days with more food, more networking, and more fun! On the 15th day, another big celebration will take place with more food, fireworks, etc.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lunar New Year
Everything is red...

On New Year day, celebration continued with food, plenty of food...

and eat non-stop!

Fish (Yu) is a must, some even said that fish sound like "abundant or excess". So after the big feast, fish (yu) must be left over so that there will be abundant blessing next year. This is the so called "tutu" fish costing about RM70/kg (about 10pounds/kg).

All races joined in the fun…

Not just the Chinese wore red; our friends of other races wore the same red…

A time to meet up with friends …

A time to take a family shot…

Family photo of Uncle Su…

The lion dance is a must to bring good luck …

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happening in Miri

Miri has gone through quite a bit of change lately. The most obvious one is the addition of two flyovers; one at Pujut roundabout and another at the clock tower in town. The flyover at Pujut is supposed to reduce traffic jam. And yes, indeed I can now go from Pujut 4 to town in a matter of 10 minutes in the morning.

Pujut roundabout Costing RM80M to build.

Pujut roundabout - on the left is Boulevard Hypermarket
However, I will meet a huge traffic jam at the clock tower where another flyover was built in a record 59 days costing RM40M. The traffic is reduced to a single lane for anyone wishing to enter the roundabout. The traffic light in front of the old fire station is now removed.
Clock Tower Roundabout before the flyover is built.

Miri brand new flyover - Puchong flyover

Birdseye's view of Puchong Roundabout

Going home from town to Pujut is now a nightmare. The flyover at the clock tower is for traffic from the airport to Pujut. So all the traffic will now have to face the traffic light further down the road (outside Bintang School). The queue will now reach the flyover during peak hours.
In the same way, the traffic jam will be from GK roundabout to the new flyover at Pujut during the peak hours. So, I think we are not much better off. The city planner is busy planning which road to close next! The GK roundabout will disappear soon. So the jam will be all the way to Pujut 7 roundabout.

M2 is the latest casualty of poor business. The whole shopping centre is closed after a short period of opening.

For more photos, click here.

Chinese New Year
Ten minutes before midnight, our neighborhood became a battlefield of firework! It lasted for 25 minutes.

Amazing display of firework!

The sky was filled with smoke.

I think the neighbor was competing!

Dancing of the fire!

A new galaxy being formed?

A very interesting formation... what is that thing going up vertically?

See the smoke...

My family and I wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year. May the new year brings you prosperity, good health and blessing from God.

For more photos, click here.