Reaching out to Malaysia’s Children

By Pastor John and Ilene Thiel

The Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) has an exciting vision. It wants to reach out to families with young children and share the message of God’s love. This may sound easy but it is very challenging in a Muslim community with a Muslim government. Christians are free to worship within their own church but it […]

The Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) has an exciting vision. It wants to reach out to families with young children and share the message of God’s love. This may sound easy but it is very challenging in a Muslim community with a Muslim government.

Christians are free to worship within their own church but it is illegal to try to convert a Muslim person. Malaysian Lutherans have come to realise, however, that there are opportunities to share the gospel by building relationships with the families of children attending Lutheran kindergartens. A decision has been made to focus on education so more children attend a Lutheran school and the gospel is shared with their families.

The LCA is partnering with LCM and providing support for the project and we are blessed to be able to offer support and advice to members of the new Lutheran education committee in Malaysia and other Lutheran educators. The initial plan is for existing Lutheran kindergartens to form a network. The ultimate dream is to establish an education system of colleges for students of all ages.

It is a miracle the Malaysian government approved a new Lutheran church being built in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, and for the establishment of a new pilot project kindergarten on the building’s lower level. The kindergarten will open next year – another miracle as another church/kindergarten is still waiting for approval years after its completion and the students are still located in temporary shipping containers!

The new Mont Kiara kindergarten will use the Australian Early Years Framework as well as the local Malaysian Education Department curriculum. The children will be busy learning through play and will learn in three languages – Malay, English and Mandarin. The Mont Kiara kindergarten will also be a learning centre for teachers and assistants.

The LCA provided scholarships for the Director and Assistant Director of the Mont Kiara kindergarten to visit Australia and spend time in our kindergartens. This gave them an understanding of Lutheran education in Australia and time to plan the curriculum they will implement at Mont Kiara.

We recently visited Lutheran kindergartens in Kuala Lumpur, and met with LCM Bishop Aaron Yap and members of the education committee. It was a joy to see the enthusiasm of the kindy students and staff.

We also were given the opportunity to be keynote speakers at a conference to launch Lutheran Education Malaysia. More than 70 people participated, many of whom were staff members in kindergartens. It was very moving to hear that a group had travelled from close to the Thai border, leaving at 2.00am so they could attend! The workshops focused on Lutheran theology and the way it informs all aspects of Lutheran education.

We will continue to work with Lutheran Education Malaysia and assist with the ongoing professional development of kindergarten staff, particularly in Lutheran theology and policies relating to maintaining a safe school environment. LCM is very appreciative of the support of LCA International Mission and Lutheran Education Australia.

It is so exciting to know that many families in Malaysia will hear about God’s love for them through Lutheran kindergartens and schools and that the Lutheran Church in Malaysia has responded so positively to Jesus’ words: ‘Let the children come to me’.


This story was also published in the November 2017 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-peninsula/

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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