Reach­ing out to ru­ral kids

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - Majorie Chiew –

“THE world is a bro­ken place full of suf­fer­ing. But all is not lost. There is hope yet for hu­man­ity,” says Alvin Cheah.

Cheah is a globe- trot­ting pas­tor and his mis­sion­ary work over the past 35 years has taken him to some 50 coun­tries.

“There are peo­ple who go out of their way to show that they care. Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als make the world a bet­ter place for the less for­tu­nate by spread­ing cheer to al­le­vi­ate their pain and suf­fer­ing,” said Cheah who is in his 50s.

Cheah is of­ten at the fore­front of projects to as­sist un­der­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties. His teenage sons, Jian Ming and Jian Ern are fol­low­ing in their father’s foot­steps and have gone on trips to Cam­bo­dia, In­done­sia, Tai­wan and China to help with hu­man­i­tar­ian work.

Jian Ern, 16, was ex­cited and could not sleep on his first mis­sion trip to Cam­bo­dia. Dur­ing the week- long trip, he and other vol­un­teers helped with farm work and so­cialised with the lo­cals.

Jian Ming, 17, first went to Cam­bo­dia on mis­sion work in 2011. Two years ago, he went again with his brother, Jian Ern. On his first trip, he vis­ited or­phan­ages and churches. They helped to clean, re­pair and paint the or­phan­ages. On the se­cond trip, he helped with work at a farm.

He fondly re­mem­bers how strangers be­came friends in just a week dur­ing his visit at a farm.

“We helped to plant fruit trees. We dug holes and put fer­tilis­ers. Life was sim­ple at the farm,” said Jian Ming. “At the end of the trip when we waved good­bye to each other, our team was re­luc­tant to leave. We had grown at­tached to the chil­dren and they, too, had grown fond of us.”

Hav­ing seen the poverty that sur­rounded th­ese chil­dren, Jian Ming was thank­ful for his many bless­ings.

“Our chil­dren are raised to be in­de­pen­dent and mind­ful of the needs of so­ci­ety. When my sons’ school an­nounced a trip to Cam­bo­dia, the boys wanted to go and I was happy to pay,” said Cheah.

“Reach­ing out to the needy is an in­te­gral part of the chil­dren’s up­bring­ing,” said Cheah. The boys have picked up a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment or two to help them con­nect with com­mu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent parts of the world. Jian Ming plays the drum, while Jian Ern plays the gui­tar.

“Mu­sic is the lan­guage of the soul and helps to con­nect with peo­ple,” Cheah reck­oned. “It touches the heart and brings joy.”

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