The skinhead smiled at me with a gappy smile of recognition. “I see you at the seminary. I go there to work,” he said. We had just arrived at the Kenosis Home, a drug rehabilitation centre in Mantin, run by Christians on Buddhist land for the benefit of any.
This was our Asia Gateway field trip, and though I had seen this man daily at the Seminari Theologi Malaysia in Seremban, I would not have guessed he was in work therapy, that he had been to jail nor had I any suspicion that a large portion of the labourers maintaining the property were reforming addicts who lived together amidst an orchard of durian trees, goats and daily Bible study.
The young men shared with us their testimonies of (failed and ongoing) efforts to reform and mentors who shared the gospel. I don’t know how they will fare in the future, but I thank God for His provision – labour for the seminary, for Kenosis and for personal transformation.
One young speaker decided to join us on a visit to a nearby hospice. There, he sat beside a man he had known as a fellow ‘student’ at Kenosis Home. His friend’s body had become weary with HIV and he expected to die in the hospice. For this moment, however, he enjoyed a friend’s company. Later he would look forward to the social interaction of Bible study.
He spoke with the wisdom of experience: “We addicts are the only ones humbled enough to accept the lows our friends face.” This is why many rehab centres are staffed by graduates of Kenosis’ 18-month rehabilitation programme, reformed addicts ministering God’s grace in a way only the blessed needy know how. It was not shrewd evangelistic strategy but basic human friendship, demonstrated regularly, that would most powerfully effect force of God’s work in their lives.
Amanda Mason was one of the 12 students of Asia Gateway Training Level 1 who visited the Kenosis Drug Rehabilitation Centre on July 4. Amanda is a Thai-Australian student from Sydney, Australia who has a heart to empower local Thai migrant women to disciple others using Bible storytelling.