The Greek word agape describes a love that is pure, unselfish and unconditional. With the aspiration of reflecting this sacrificial love, the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia’s (BCCM) day centre for children living with disability bears this word in its name. Ms Yap Pak Shun, a member of the BCCM Central Education Board, explains.

Social concern is Christian love in action. It expresses the faith and hope of the human spirit we have in Christ through the practical demonstration of love to the community, especially to those who are less fortunate, regardless of their race, language and religion.

The Basel Christian Church of Malaysia’s (BCCM) Agape Centre in Sandakan, East Malaysia, enacts this love. A day care centre for children living with intellectual and developmental disability, it was established on 10 January 1994. It opened with an enrolment of two students and two teachers, using local kindergarten facilities. Having relocated to the Rumah Wargatua Sri Harapan, Jalan Sibuga Senior Citizens Home in 1998, today it serves 18 students through various programs and activities (pictured top) and has four teachers.

The centre is managed by a committee grounded with the clear vision of showing Christ’s love in a practical manner. One of the main objectives of its establishment was to give children living with disability an opportunity to learn everything they need to live independently in the community and be accepted by the community.

Agape Chairman Mr Chris Lo Lie Meng says the centre is ‘committed to reaching out with compassion and Christian love to help’ children with intellectual and developmental challenges, ‘so that they can live to celebrate life over their own limitation’.

Centre teachers Rena SangFong, Jukinah Ujin, Rossani Edward and Flora Gurandi (pictured above right) say the wider community needs to ‘work together to help these special children and be sensitive to their needs’. ‘As Christians, we should love them, care for them, and see to it that they are not marginalised’, they say.

The running of the BCCM Agape Centre is dependent on donations from charitable organisations, church members and the public.

We especially thank LCA International Mission for its generous donation of AU$6,457.65 – $4,457.65 from Immanuel College Novar Gardens and $2,000 from the Stamps for Mission program. This money is being used for upgrades of the Agape Centre and to buy teaching and learning resources.

God’s grace is more than sufficient to sustain us! Let us all work together to help these special children and raise their hope and dignity.

The LCANZ, through LCA International Mission, has a long-term partnership with BCCM and supports ministries in Sabah Malaysia thanks to donations from our Lutheran family. LCA International Mission also coordinates volunteer opportunities and facilitates congregational and school mission partnerships between the churches. Read more uplifting stories in Border Crossings, included with this print edition of The Lutheran.

Subscribe here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full