35 Years 35 Stories
Desmond Cheong (left)
A varsity student who volunteered for 2 weeks at Ladang MCare
I have known Malaysian Care since young because my parents received its newsletter ‘Care Contact’ regularly. But the many stories that I read always ended there, on print. Last year, I was somehow moved to reach out to prisoners, but I didn’t know how. So, I decided to utilize the two weeks given for the “elective project” (in my Bachelor’s Degree course) for this ministry. Naturally, Malaysian Care was the first organisation I contacted. However, when I signed up as a volunteer, I realized that prison ministry requires much consistency and two weeks was far too short. I was then suggested to volunteer at Ladang MCare where the Orang Asli farmers are trained in sustainable agriculture to improve their economic situation. Although disappointed, I accepted the offer.
On June 16th 2014, I arrived outside the village near Ladang MCare as the Sg. Cincin bridge had collapsed. Adidas, the leader of Ladang MCare came to pick me up and that bumpy ride started my exciting journey at the farm. I learnt the basics for planting crops and managing livestock. The photograph above was taken in FAITH Garden where various vegetables are cultivated. F.A.I.T.H. here stands for “Food Always In The Household”, reflecting the heart of God and the intention of Ladang MCare that there is always food in every Orang Asli household.
As I worked together with Adidas, I knew that even if I could benefit nothing from the farm, I would catch something from this man. Adidas, an Orang Asli himself, is a fervent fighter for the rights of his people, committed to see the oppressed free. He told me many stories of how Orang Asli villagers were being tricked, cheated and taken advantage of, yet many still unaware of their threatened situation. I also had the opportunity to follow him to various kampongs for their monthly Cooperative meetings, and it was definitely an eye-opener to the culture and lifestyle of the Orang Asli.
Reflecting on the two weeks, I am most grateful to learn from the simplicity of the Orang Asli, both the good and the bad. I see God’s faithfulness in the midst of injustice and oppression, the open doors for more workers to come to work in the field! No longer would I mourn when my craving for desserts is not satisfied, instead I would cry out for the oppressed and hungry to be freed from bondage and filled with the Spirit!
Adidas taught me to “store up treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21) What a reminder to surrender our hearts to wherever God has called us to be!