DT : daren & tiff

October 11, 2006

When non-Muslims also choose to fast

Filed under: Christian, Daren, GladTidings, News — delephant @ 8:03 am

YAY! Awesome testimony! Ps Vincent, Ps Kuan Ming & Chin Choy appeared in NST!!

Our main pastor, Pastor Vincent together with our Prayer Pastor, Pastor Kuan Ming and our church staff Lee Chin Choy appeared in New Strait Times on an article on when Non-Muslim also choose to fast. Check it out below.

When non-Muslims also choose to fast 

PETALING JAYA: The type and length of fasting may differ, but many non-Muslims in Malaysia are fasting alongside their Muslim brethren.

“We have a Kongsi Raya, so why not a Kongsi Puasa?” asked the main pastor of Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church here.

The main reason for fasting during this month, said Reverend Dr Vincent Leoh, is to “respect Ramadan”.

“This period should be special, not just for Muslims but for the nation.

“When we humble ourselves, God will answer our prayers and bring healing to our land, to the races and communities,” he said.

Leoh said about a third of his 2,800 parishioners fast during Ramadan.

Leoh, who fasts the whole month by taking just one meal a day in the evening, said they started encouraging the congregation to fast three years ago to “feel along with their Muslim friends”.

“When we fast, we pray for blessings for our Muslim friends throughout the world.

“By fasting, we also feel for the poor. We have a choice whether or not to eat; they don’t.”

Being non-Muslim, his observance of the fast during Ramadan does raise eyebrows.

“When lunch invitations come, I tactfully decline.

“For Muslims, it’s a set period and everyone knows they’re fasting. For us Christians, they ask: ‘You’re fasting? Why?’”

Assistant pastor Lee Kuan Ming said fasting with the Muslims during Ramadan was good for nation-building and understanding each other’s cultures and beliefs.

“At the end of the fast last year, we sold dates to our congregation and encouraged them to distribute the dates to their Muslim friends.”

Leoh’s parishioners fast in different ways. Unlike the Muslim fast, there is no sahur (pre-fast meal) and no specific time for the breaking of fast.

“There are no rules. Some don’t eat in the morning, and just have one meal in the evening.

“Some take only water for the whole month (absolute fast). We don’t encourage this unless they have a reason to do so,” said Leoh.

Others abstain from solid food and only take liquids like soup and milk. Still others give up meat.

Property manager Lee Chin Choy has fasted for the past three years. He said it was difficult in the beginning.

“It really tested my endurance. Physically, it’s difficult as the temptation is there and I feel hungry.

“But spiritually, my prayers were answered. Now, I’ve got used to it.”

For Yen Hun Sung, fasting is a show of solidarity with his Muslim friends.

The analyst with PFC Energy Sdn Bhd is going to fast the “Muslim” way, complete with sahur and breaking of fast next Thursday, the day his company is having its buka puasa dinner.

“I suggested that all the non-Muslims fast along with the Muslims.

“Initially everyone agreed, but now some are having second thoughts. But not me. I’m going the whole way.”  

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