Hearts are touched and lives transformed by the acts of kindness from members of Faith EFC.
It is early on a Sunday morning and Teeba is getting ready for church. At this hour, the house is especially quiet, so she takes care not to awaken her older brother and sister. But she has to be quick about it if she does not want to keep her ride waiting. The traffic is quite light, so it only takes about 20 minutes to get church, all the way from Puchong.
Already, the unassuming corner-lot semi-detached building along Jalan Hujan Emas in Kuala Lumpur, which houses Faith EFC, is bustling with activity. Cars have begun to park all the way around the corner as its 70-odd members begin to gather for the 9.30 a.m. service. Dark brown plastic chairs have been arranged in neat rows on the old terrazzo floor. A heavy looking red hymn book has been placed on every other chair. An aisle runs down the middle and meets the pulpit. To the left there is an aged stand-up piano next to a set of electric drums. A projector lights up the white wall behind the pulpit.
Teeba first came to Faith EFC more than three years ago, together with over half a dozen other girls from Shelter Home Malaysia. The home is just up the road.
“I really like Faith EFC because of the worship. They still sing hymns here, which is quite uncommon nowadays, but I enjoy it. I also like that it is a small church. It makes it easy to interact with people. I know everyone in the church,” chirps Teeba.
Back in 2009, Faith EFC opened its doors to the dozen or so ‘Shelter girls’ who had been disadvantaged due to social or economic problems faced by their families.
“My parents were not around, so my grandmother looked after me. However, when she began to fall ill, she could no longer look after us. My aunt from the UK put my grandmother in nursing care and I was placed in Shelter Home,” explains Teeba.
“Every Sunday after church service, the church members would take turns to host the girls for lunch. The home provided meals for the girls the rest of the week, but we decided to do this to ease some of its burden,” says Elder Lim Lee.
Through this support group, the girls have been able to join the church’s Sunday School, Youth Fellowship and church camps. Over the past three years, many girls have professed their faith in Jesus Christ and have even become involved in the church, Lim adds.
Since Teeba finished high school, the bubbly and chatty 20-year old no longer stays at the home, but Faith EFC remains her church. Every Sunday, she hitches a ride from a church member who lives nearby. As of this year however, the other ‘Shelter girls’ have begun attending another church that has more youths, together with their chaperone from the home.
Without the ‘Shelter girls’, Faith EFC has fewer than 10 youths who regularly attend the services. Some of the youths, like the Shelter girls, have migrated to neighbouring youth-friendly churches.
Like many small-family churches, Faith EFC’s demographic has been steadily aging. However, its remaining youths have stepped up. Once every three months, the church has youth-led services, a practice which began after the church took the Shelter girls under its wing. “The youths have been very involved in worship, helping to play the instruments for worship. We even got a set of electronic drums recently to improve the music. Every few months, the youths get to take charge of worship. We take this opportunity to teach the congregation new songs. One of the carers at Shelter is a Filipina and she teaches us different songs and we teach them to the congregation,” recalls Teeba.
Even without the Shelter girls, who made up almost half the youth, Faith EFC’s remaining youths are still actively involved in the church. Most of the church’s Easter and Christmas productions are done by them, though led by the older members.
“I want Faith EFC to grow even bigger with many people coming to know Christ through this church, and be a blessing to many. I also hope more youths would join Faith EFC,” says Teeba.
This year, Teeba hopes to be more involved in the church’s activities. She was unable to attend church regularly last year because she spent her weekends visiting her grandmother who had become very ill. Her grandmother has since passed away, but Teeba is not alone.
“Whenever I encounter problems I always go to three people – Aunty Beng Chu, Uncle Wilson and Uncle Lim Lee. Uncle Lim Lee was the one who conducted my grandma’s funeral service. Whenever my family needs help, he has been there for us and I’m very grateful for him,” Teeba says.
“Aunty Beng Chu has been always there for me since my days in Shelter. She looks out for me, advises me and prays for me. She even gave me some pocket money for college. Uncle Wilson also helps me out if I have any problems in college. If I have to pay for something at college but I do not have the money, he would help me out. He and his wife have helped me out with a lot of problems that I have faced.”
Lim, along with several other members of the congregation, has also been supporting Teeba financially as she undertakes her studies at IACT College. They mostly cover her living expenses since she has managed to secure a scholarship to study broadcasting. One day, she dreams of becoming a Bollywood movie director and she also hopes to give back to the community as well.
“I want to serve the people. My dream is to adopt children from the slum and give them a proper life. I want to feed people who do not have enough, both with God’s Word as well as food. I want to help the children get a better life,” Teeba shares. “Faith EFC has been my family. I’m very grateful to the church members who play an important role in my life. They have been with me through my ups and downs. Thank you for the love and care you shower on me and for all your prayers. Thank you, from the depth of my heart.”