Making Sure No One Misses Out
Board members of Our Daily Bread Ministries contribute in different ways to help the ministry fulfil its mission, says board member David Wee.
David Wee with Jubin, a Scudai Iban Methodist church leader.
Rev. David Wee, was puzzled—if Our Daily Bread was meant to be made available to all, could the Ibans in Kapit, Malaysia, whom he had been passionately reaching out to, also have access to the devotional?
It was 2008, and David, a missionary-pastor, had just learnt of the situation after meeting local pastors to the Ibans, an indigenous people group living in parts of Brunei, Sarawak, and West Kalimantan.
In Kapit, young Ibans usually left the small town for jobs in bigger cities, leaving churches cash-strapped. Some struggled even to pay their own pastors’ salary, and could not buy biblical resources for believers. As a result, Ibans had to pay for their own Bibles and biblical resources.
David, however, believed firmly that with the troubles the Ibans were already facing in life, getting spiritual food should not be one of them. He decided to look at what could be done.
Making It Possible
“Talking to different individuals, I got to the bottom of it,” he says. It turned out that few knew about the plight of the Ibans in Kapit, and just how dire their situation had become, spiritually and financially.
Finally, with the help of Our Daily Bread Ministries, David managed to get copies of Our Daily Bread in the local language distributed to the Iban community in Kapit at no charge. The Christian Education Department of the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference also agreed to help defray the main expenses.
The incident left a deep impression on him. It showed him that despite the challenges, leaders of the ministry were truly committed to its mission—to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.
“Praise God for good, sensible, and responsible leadership,” he says.
Today, David sits on the board of Our Daily Bread Ministries in Singapore, providing eldership to the ministry’s leaders in fulfilling the mission and vision of Our Daily Bread Ministries.
Unity In Mission
David Wee and his family celebrate his son’s wedding at Wesley Methodist Church.
David’s strong appreciation of unity in mission also comes from over four decades of pastoring different congregations in the Methodist Church. It started with Wesley Methodist Church in 1976, Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC) in 1977, Bedok Methodist Church in 1983, Christ Methodist Church in 1990, and Wesley Methodist Church in 1995. This was followed by 4 years as a missionary pastor in Willerby, Hull, in UK. On his return, David was appointed to BRMC and assigned to do a preaching point at Holland Village. After retirement, he was called back to serve at Covenant Community Methodist Church, where he is an elder today.
When Our Daily Bread Ministries Singapore was scouting for a place to hold its Bible Conference in 2002, David saw an opportunity to support its ministry efforts as well as grow the unity of the body of Christ. He offered to host the event at one of the Methodist churches.
Fairfield Methodist Church offered its premises for the event, and continued to host the annual conference for several years.
Explaining his decision, he says: “I was glad to hold the Bible Conference in our church because I saw it as a spring towards spiritual development and growth for all believers, especially in the Methodist Church, which is the result of more than 200 years of John Wesley’s revivalism.”
Mission And Service
David Wee with the Methodist Bishop and his wife, in Miri.
Throughout his years in pastoral ministry, David also actively served the Iban community.
His first contact with this people group was in 1975. While studying in Trinity Theological College, he spent 3 months in Kapit, Sarawak, as part of his field education. After he graduated, he continued to maintain relationships with the community.
“I started making annual trips to train the Iban youths, including those in their late 30s, to serve in youth leadership and as teachers in Sunday School,” he recalls.
In 2013, David retired from full-time pastoral ministry in Singapore, which freed him up to spend more time serving the Ibans. He started training programmes for teachers and workers in the Iban children’s ministry and youth ministry in Kapit, and sent teams from Singapore to teach English to children in Kapit.
Living Out His Beliefs
Being a missionary in the field has helped David, in his role as a board member, to fulfil the mission of Our Daily Bread Ministries. With his grasp of happenings on the ground, he is able to bring a unique perspective to the table.
His own relationship with Our Daily Bread started when he first read a devotional when he was in his late teens. “I found it simple to read and understand, and appreciated the simple applications of faith in my youth. Best of all, it was freely available.”
Later, when David visited the ministry’s headquarters in Grand Rapids in US, he learnt that the founder, Dr. M. R. DeHaan, had started writing the daily devotions in 1956. “He printed them and freely shared them with those who needed them,” he notes.
And when David went to pastor a church in Britain, he had a chance to serve on the board of Our Daily Bread Ministries UK. There, he witnessed again how the principle of making Our Daily Bread widely available was practised. “The idea was to make it freely available to all,” he says. “Profit is never our intent.”
This was why, upon his return from Britain and renewing his ties with the Ibans, he was eager to ensure that the Ibans could get hold of copies of Our Daily Bread in their native language.
“Jesus’ ministry was to those with needs—whether spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, physical, or financial, and especially to the poor,” he observes.
Through his many years as a pastor and missionary, David has come to learn the importance of adapting to local situations and cultures. One of his biggest lessons on serving God’s people in a community is this: “Never judge those we serve. There are things to be learnt from the people we serve. Be humble. Listen more, first to the Lord and then to others.”