by Carolyn R. Boin
At PenHOP, we often use the term house to describe ourselves as a unit. From an architectural point of view (at least, to my knowledge), two aspects can either qualify or disqualify the strength of a building: foundations and pillars. For the past seven years in our existence as a house, we have labored at length in digging the foundation deep - establishing in the hearts of many - the core values of the why behind everything that we do. At the turn of the new season, He began to show us the latter aspect that needs to be put in place in order to strengthen this house even more.
Thus far, we have prayerfully recognized three pillars set in place in the house:-
Pillar 1: Prayer Room
The prayer and worship ministry is non-negotiable for us, and as a matter of fact, it was how PenHOP started in the first place. At its conception, a small group of faithful, devoted and courageous individuals decided to set up prayer meetings together with the local church in Penang, and this led to the birthing of the first PenHOP Prayer Room at Cantonment Road. Presently, we are located at Green Hall Road, and - on 2016 itself - have spent 13 hours almost every week in worship and intercession as a house.
The primary objective of this ministry is to minister before the presence of God, regardless of the number of people that would come for the Prayer Room sessions. In that place of abiding and enjoying His presence, we bear fruits. As worship is lifted up in the Prayer Room, many have experienced powerful encounters with God Himself. Of course, the other fruit that we bear is yet to be seen in its fullness, but we do believe that every time we intercede for Penang, Malaysia, and the nations, they are blessed. The Prayer Room is the heartbeat of PenHOP – we cannot do without it.
We believe that it is still in His heart for a 24/7 prayer and worship ministry to take place in Penang. A friend had once calculated that if 24/7 is to realistically happen, we would need a minimum of 200 full-time singers and musicians. While presently we are not even anywhere near that number, we will continue to be faithful in every hour that we have to simply minister to His heart.
Pillar 2: Internships
Although the most well-known internship running at PenHOP right now is the Burn Internship, many have not heard of its precursor, the Nexus Internship. Our Founding Director, Josh Yeoh, said that the initial purpose of running the Nexus Internship in 2010 was to train East Malaysians, serving them and empowering them to impact not just their home states, but many other places.
While retaining the same core values of training, empowering and serving others, with the Burn Internship, our reach has gone far and wide in Southeast Asia and beyond. In 2016, we ran our 4th Burn Internship, and so far, we have had Singaporeans, Thais, Filipinos, Americans and Europeans as interns, among many other Malaysians. It is also through the Burn Internship that the prayer movement in the Southeast Asian region is strengthened as the interns return to their homes to spark a culture of prayer in their localities.
Apart from the Burn Internship, we also have Weekends at PenHOP. Weekends at PenHOP is an immersion into the heart of the prayer movement over the course of a weekend, and is usually followed-up by a hands-on Harp and Bowl Workshop a few weeks later. Weekends at PenHOP would usually garner participation from the local church, therefore, it is also seen as our effort in strengthening the prayer movement in Penang. This year itself, I have personally received questions from participants of Weekends at PenHOP that were along the lines of, “How can I do this in my church?”, and “How do I be involved in the prayer movement?” It is truly encouraging to see so many capture the vision of why night and day worship is so necessary.
As the years progress, and as we continue walking in humility and faithfulness, I believe that God will entrust many more individuals to us for us to serve by equipping them to the things that the Lord has called them into. The programs may grow, but our vision is to not lose the why behind it – “For from the rising of the sun, till its setting … incense will be offered to My name.” (Mal 1:11)
Pillar 3: Community
We are not a factory of workers, laboring to complete a certain production quota for the day. We are a family doing life together as we strive towards the same goal and the same vision. As a family, there’s always that dynamic of how the older siblings relate to the younger (and vice versa). However, all should give honor to God as our Father. In my opinion, that is what keeps everyone grounded in loving and not lording over one another – when we behold the One who is Love.
That goes without saying, discipleship and community life often overlaps at PenHOP. It is one thing to train people how to sing prophetically, but it is altogether another thing when it comes to raising up people after God’s own heart. This essay would be endless if I try to reiterate every community activity we have done this year, but the heart behind it is this: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
This is also the same attitude that we carry outside of the house when we go to serve the local church. Our heart behind every extension of partnership is the same heart behind why we choose to lovingly serve one another within our PenHOP community: we believe in the calling that God has upon the local church.
Eventually, God’s dreams for Penang will not be fulfilled by PenHOP alone, and as a matter of fact, we feel handicapped without the local church in Penang. Looking back, it was partly because of the local church that PenHOP was able to find its footing as a movement in this island. It is an honor to receive the blessings from fathers and mothers of the local church, and in return, we seek to honor them back by extending our hands in partnership. Eventually, as promised by the word in Psalm 133, this unity will lead to the outpouring of revival all over the island.
2016 has been a year of transition for us in many ways. Though there were challenges in figuring out the formation of our next season, God has indeed been faithful in showing us where to go and what to do every step of the way. We still don't know in its entirety the whole timeline of PenHOP’s story, but we’d feel robbed of the joy of trusting God if we do know it all. We are thankful for 2016 – both the ease and challenges in growing as a house – and are more than excited for what is ahead in 2017. Greater things are yet to come, and whatever it is, God will be faithful to complete the work he started.
Have a Happy New Year!