The True Jesus Church in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia, had her humble beginning at a house of prayer in 1983. The Gospel of Truth was preached by the late Dn Philip Thean of North Borneo (now known as Sabah) of the church at Sandakan. The late Dn Goh Yin Foo of Ipoh did the follow-up work. At that time, there were only a few members. Dn Goh, through the power of the Holy Spirit, healed the sick, cast out demons and performed miracles.
The Pacific War broke out and the Japanese ruled Malaysia in 1940. The truth began to spread, and a house of prayer was set up. With the presence of God performing miracles and signs, members increased gradually. In 1951, a shop house at No.6, Jalan Merbuk was purchased, hence the church was officially established.
In 1959, the old premise was sold off. The members bought a piece of land and constructed a church building at 329A, Jalan Hospital. It provided a place of worship for 40 years. It was in the early nineties that we realized the building was old and shabby and needed renovation badly. An extraordinary meeting of members was called, and the decision taken was to renovate the church moderately.
Then, an architect drew up a plan and our contractor submitted the plan to the Town Council for approval. We waited for about two and half years and received no reply from the Town Council. Later we learned from our contractor that the plan was not approved. We were left with no choice but to pray to God for His guidance. Soon we discovered that the church building was infested with termites. By then most of the church members were in favour of rebuilding the church instead of renovating it. Our original intention was to erect a simple church for the members of Sungai Petani only. But after taking into consideration the condition of the few northern churches where facilities are lacking and whenever a bigger function or any joint activity was to be held, we had to rent a place to hold it. As such, a decision was taken at a joint meeting of the church board and the building committee to build a bigger church with adequate facilities to cater for the needs of the northern churches The decision was adopted during an extraordinary meeting. Our architect was advised to alter the first plan and to submit it to the town council again for approval. After waiting for about five years the plan was finally approved by the town council in 1999. A preliminary estimated cost of the building was about RM 1.4 million. When the building permit was approved, we had only about RM 800,000 in hand and were given only one year from the date of the approval to construct the building. Therefore, without much delay, a tender was called, and the project awarded in November 1999. The building work commenced in December of the same year. Praise be to the Lord; the external building was completed within 12 months.
The existing building stands at three and a half storeys tall. It is a beautiful and impressive building looking from outside. At the basement, there is the multi-purpose hall and a kitchen. On level two, there is a small chapel for night services. Besides, there are three classrooms for religious education classes and two dormitories for brothers and a library. Level three is the sanctuary, which can accommodate about 200 people. There is also a conference room, two preacher rooms and a guest room. Level four is the audio-visual room and three dormitories for sisters. In comparison with the previous building, we have made tremendous improvements, both externally and internally. We truly give thanks to our Lord for what we have today.
About the early workers, we had Dn Ho Seng, Dn Philip Lo, Dns Lee Ai Chin and Dns Wong Feng Ying. Bus services were disrupted during the Japanese occupation. The only means of transportation was by using a bicycle. The deacons often rode on bicycles all the way from Sungai Petani to Padang Serai, Sungai Kob, Mahang and Kulim to preach the gospel. The Holy Spirit worked mightily with the deacons. They performed many miracles, healed the sick and cast out evil spirit. Many had come to believe the Lord through these miracles. As a result, houses of prayer were set up in Padang Serai, Sungai Kob and Kulim. Later, we had Dn James Lee, Dn Paul Lee, Dn John Liew, Dns Persis Leow and Dns Phoebe Ngiam to help in the church work. All these mentioned ministers have since been called to rest in the Lord, except for Dns Persis Leow and Dn John Liew. Dn John Liew was later ordained as an elder. These ministers too were later called to the Lord. May the Lord remember their labour.
The Bible says, “Much increase is by the strength of the ox”. At the early stage, the church in Sungai Petani had already realized the need for a full time minister. Way back in the late forties, the church in Sungai Petani and the church in Singapore had jointly applied to the General Assembly of Nanking, China, to send a minister to assist in church work. The application was approved, and Dn Tung Yu Lin was sent to assist the churches.
In 1963, Dn Ho Chong Seng personally sent his daughter, Sis. Ho Nyok Lin to Taichung, Taiwan to attend a three-year course at the Theological Seminary. After graduation, Sis. Ho’s work was centred in the Northern Region, and she also helped to set up the religious education classes in Sungai Petani. In 1979, Sis. Ho Nyok Lin was officially ordained as a full time Preacher by the General Assembly. Since then, Preacher Ho served diligently in churches throughout Malaysia and Singapore until she was called to rest in the Lord in 1988. After that, Pr Ezekiel graduated from the Sabah theological training seminary in 1998 and have been sent by the GA to serve till date. The Bible says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. We urgently need youths to work for God especially after the rebuilding of the church. It is hoped that more youths will come forward to answer the call of the Lord, saying, “Here am I, send me.”
- To provide a place of worship. With this aim, it is hoped that members, especially those who come from a family of non-believers will spend more time to pray to God in the new church building, as King David in his psalm said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Ps 122:1).
- To propagate the salvation of God as in the days of the apostles who had taught and preached Jesus Christ in the house of God (Acts 5:42).
- To have fellowship with believers like the three thousand souls who were converted by Peter. They continued to meet daily in the temple, broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts (Acts2:46).
Apart from these three factors, a new church building can also provide appropriate venue for all types of training. It is hoped that every believer would look upon the church as his/her own church, to love and to give his/ her the fullest support. Together we shall stride forward with the new church to shoulder the responsibility of preaching the gospel in the Northern Region in the new era.