Each year while growing up in a Foochow family one of the most important things my mother would do was to collect a free Sarawak Methodist Church Calendar from Masland Church. It would be posted on a very special place on one of the more prominent walls of our home.
Years later as I worship in Miri I will still delight in getting one. This one in the photo is posted on my office door for the whole of 2008 and I have another at home.
What have been the purposes of this calendar which was (hopefully I am right) designed by Rev. Hoover in the 1910's? But I do have ten points about this special calendar.
1. It is a recognisable feature of a Christian Methodist home when visitors see this calendar in a home.
2. the calendar has the Apostle's Creed and The Lord's Prayer on the top right and left hand corners respectively. When I was young I thought that these two would be the "charms" or a "dispeller" which would protect my family from the Devil. My children continue to believe that this calendar is a "protector" of our home. Today I still read the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer in Foochow with a Foochow City Accent to my great satisfaction.
3. the calendar is a one stop information centre. We can find the names of our Methodist pastors and many significant telephone numbers. We know where they are in Sarawak for the year. This calendar also has websites and email addresses apart from telephone numbers.
4. we are reminded of important dates and activities of the Methodist Church in Sarawak.
5. I value this calendar because like the strong Church system and God's love the calendar is always there for us as a gift. It has stood the test of time. It has great historical value to me. The word LOVE or Ai is on the red cross.
6.although I may have said a lot about "free gifts being not good and good things being not free",this is one free gift that is indeed invaluable. Missing it will upset me for the whole year. I once had it sent from Bintulu by my cousin who is a Pastor in March when I did not get one at the beginning of the year.
7. having this church calendar in the office or at home ,visitors will know at once that we are church goers and that we are Methodists. Peace will reign in all negotiations and confrontation will also dissipate.
8. Not having this calendar is like losing a limb or a leg throughout the year. I had that feeling many years ago when i missed getting it. A relative who is so used to the calendar once came to the house and asked why I did not have one (that year). She went on to ask, "Lost your faith?"
9. It is like a family heirloom. We love it so mch that there is a place for it on our wall. The marked blank is so obvious after years of hanging the calendar in the same space that we are reminded that we have not been doing the right thing. For as long as I remember my grandfather had one in his Sungei Merah house when he was alive. My maternal grandmother in Sg. Maaw also never missed posting hers up at the beginning of each year. I liked it when the Pastor (Rev Lau Ngo Kii) would always remember to keep one for her especially at the beginning of the year. That was how much Rev. lau cared for my elderly grandmother.
10. Having this calendar is like having a good conversation piece at home when strangers especially Methodist Foochows come to visit.
I must get one this year again. Will you get one yourself?