As written by Ariel Chew after series of Interview with few people in Ba Kelalan and committees of Pelayanan Gunung Doa Murud.
The Revival Years
The years after the first revival in the late 1920’s which saw a dramatic transformation to the people and the land, were bountiful and peaceful. Everyone in the village worships the God of Israel and professes Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Little did they know that God had greater plans for them.
Teaching and Training in the Ways of God
In 26 October 1973, the bible school teachers from Theology School of Sijil Injil Borneo (SIB) Sarawak and Sabah conducted a Teacher’s Seminar in Kampung Baru Theology School, Krayan, Indonesia. Participants came from all over Indonesia to learn all they can from the experienced teachers.
After the conference ended, Pak Tagal Paran invited several Indonesian evangelists to visit SIB Buduk Nur, Ba Kelalan. These evangelists originated from Timur, Kopang and East Java where revival has taken place about 20 years before. Together they gave advice and guidance on how to harness the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Turning Point
This was the turning point where Pak Tagal learned about the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. A desire and deep longing came to his heart to hear what God has spoken or revealed to them through visions, prophecy or audible voice. He led a prayer group with like-minded souls and God, in His grace, imparted many gifts during this time to the group. Every vision and prophecy was subjected and filtered with the Word of God to verify that the source is indeed from God.
A man called Pa Agong Bangau and a lady called Maria Gukang were part of this prayer group. God raised them up as His spokespersons and gave them the gift of prophecy. Through Pa Agong, God revealed His plans and purposes to establish Mount Murud as the site for His church. The signs and wonders are listed here (link to Visions, Signs & Wonders page in our website).
From 1975 when the God first imparted the vision to the completion of the Church Camp building in 1990, He has unceasingly shown Himself faithful to finish the work He began in His peoples’ hearts.
The First Prayer Meeting and Miracles at Mount Murud (15 July 1985 to 20 July 1985)
The morning after the signs of fire and star occurred, they had a church service. Pa Agong briefed everybody that climbing Mount Murud will not be exactly a walk in the park.
“Last night, God revealed that as we ascend the mountain today, we will be met with trials and challenges.”
Fueled by the miraculous events the night before, the dire pronouncement was met with a loud applause by the congregation. Shouts of ‘Halleluyah’ and ‘Praise the Lord’ echoed amongst the people.
God had ordered the following sequence of groups during the journey:
1. SIB Buduk Nur
2. SIB Long Langai
3. SIB Long Rusu
4. SIB Buduk Bui
5. Long Rangat
6. STP Buduk Aru
7. Other outsiders
8. Pastor Jok Wan (President SIB Sarawak)
9. Pastor Tama Galang (NICE President)
10. Pastor Arun Selutan (President SIB Sabah)
Indeed He is a God of details and order. One of the challenges the people faced was keeping the order of the groups during the journey. Those who forget to obey the sequence and overtook their slower comrades experienced immense pain and sickness which prevented them from trekking further. Their remaining group members had to carry them on stretchers all the way up to Mount Murud. The implications of disobeying God’s instructions were viewed very seriously thereafter.
Their maiden journey to Mount Murud took 4 days. 674 people in total including 100 from Bario attended the first prayer meeting at Mount Murud.
On the first day, they spent the night and set camp at Long Rebata. At about 5pm, it began to rain heavily until the place was flooded. Realising that this was one of the trials that they needed to overcome, the people kept praising and worshipping God in the rain.
As they travelled on through deep jungles and climbed steep slopes, they kept singing and praising the Lord. Even when they got momentarily lost, they still rejoiced. The Holy Spirit kept them moving on and the joy was unspeakable! You would think that they were indeed taking an easy stroll on the park instead of climbing a challenging mountain.
On the fourth and final day of the ascent, God (through Pa Agong) asked Pak Tagal to bring a stone and some water to the peak of Mount Murud. He obeyed. Pa Agong told the crowd that the first group to ascend the peak would be himself with his wife Bulan, Pak Tagal and his wife Yamu, Pastor Radang Lupong and his wife Layun. They will ascend the summit very early in the morning. An hour after they depart, then the rest should follow.
And so, Pa Agong’s group departed early the next morning. Upon reaching the summit, they prayed and bound all power of darkness around the area so that nothing would disturb nor distract the crowd as they worship the Lord.
The others started arriving at the peak around 10am. The people from Pa Lungah saw a big star in the sky moving from the East to the place where they were praying and actually descending upon them! It was a sign that God was giving them power in prayer.
During that first night on the prayer meeting, a snake appeared in their midst as they prayed. A man amongst them killed the snake by crushing its head with its feet and said, “I crush you with my feet in Jesus’ name!”
On the second night (20 July 1985), God showed them a sign of fire. God (through Pa Agong) instructed Pak Tagal to mix the stone he brought up to the summit with wet moss and soil on a piece of zinc positioned on small plants. Then Pak Tagal poured water on the mixture until it was really wet. After that, Pa Agong asked two men from the crowd to light a fire on the mixture.
The first man called Padan Batun from Long Semadoh tried to light a fire on the mixture but it would not catch fire. So Pa Agong asked a second man called Tuah Tung from the Limbang Hospital to light a fire there.
Tuah replied, “If Padan could not light the fire, then so can’t I.”
Pa Agong said, “You are lacking in faith.” And proceeded to light the fire himself.
Pa Agong took a match, placed it at the end of the tri-coloured belt and lit the match. He placed the lighted match on the mixture of stone, soil, moss and water and it not only took flame, it burst into a huge fire of about 5 inches in diameter! Not one leaf surrounding the big ball of fire was scorched. Now this took place on a cold icy night at the peak of Mount Murud. It was a reproduction of the miracle of divine fire during Elijah’s time as he challenged the prophets of Baal.
That night, God revealed the meaning behind the miracle of the big ball of fire: After the big flood during Noah’s time, the Lord gave the rainbow as a sign of his covenant that there will no longer be flood as punishment for sin, but only the fire in hell to burn the whole world and everything in it. The fireball represents the current strife and quarrel over the possession of land. It is a futile struggle as when the end time comes, everything will be destroyed by fire.
“You are awed to see this miracle, but can you see that at the end of time, the world will be destroyed by fire?”
Prayer Meeting at Rock Garden, Mount Murud (September 1985)
Two months after their exciting prayer meeting at Mount Murud, a group of 40 worshippers went up to camp at Kebun Batu (Rock Garden), Mount Murud.
In their second prayer meeting at the mountain, the rocks around them moved and the stones stared jumping up and down. The trees changed their colours. The people were amazed at all that beauty.
“What does this all mean, Lord?” Pa Agong cried out in wonderment.
God said, “This is the place I give to you to come and worship me. As you worship and pray, everything will move and praise the Lord. Even the colour of the trees and grass will change. It means that everyone who comes to this mountain to worship me wholeheartedly will be changed. They will love one another and love me more.”
From 1974 till that momentous time of prayer at the Rock Garden, who would have thought that it was possible to pray on the mountain that was previously very difficult to access? Truly it could only be the move of God for it had happened!
The Building of Church Camp at Mount Murud (1989 - 1992)
God had bigger plans for them. He wanted them to build a church up at Mount Murud. It was a truly monumental and risky task, and the church leaders couldn’t see how it was possible to undertake it.
But Pa Agong was undeterred. He bought enough materials to build a small church there. At that time, there were communists hiding about the jungles of Borneo. If the Malaysian soldiers caught him with building materials, he will be accused of helping the communists.
Nevertheless, the brave Pak Derias decided to follow Pa Agong to search for a suitable site for the church camp as given in a vision by God. The two managed to locate a place which looked exactly like the God-given vision – the trees were in the same position and the place had a small pool and river. Upon hearing that, the church leaders’ hearts were at ease. God had given them a good spot. This time, everyone was in one accord to go ahead with the church building plans at Mount Murud.
They were faced with limitations though. They lacked fuel to power the chain saws. And they needed to raise funds for more building materials. In 1989, a meeting was held at the prayer hill of Liang Ukung, Trusan attended by 4,000 people. They managed to raise funds amounting to RM27,6000 for the church building on Mount Murud. They used the money for fuel, zinc, paint and other necessary building materials.
With that, the work began. 7 people went camping up Mount Murud armed with chain saws. They cleared the allotted area and sliced timber for the church building. They testified that their hearts were bursting with joy and not one of them grumbled during the whole time. The wood burned fast even though it was young and moist. A sign that God’s favour was upon their work.
104 men and women went up the mountain to build the 20 x 40 ft 2-storey church. Within 2 weeks the church building was completed.
In 1990, the building was officially launched during the annual revival meeting that year. Over 500 people attended the launch and it was clear that the little church building could not accommodate that many people. God again revealed to Pa Agong that He has plans to build a much bigger church building, 3 times as big as the present one (120 x 50 ft). Immediately, 20 men were dispatched to survey and clear the area for the bigger church building.
Funds from the Liang Ukung, Trusan revival meeting were used to purchase supplies for the new building project. They even had a generous sponsor to transport the materials up to the mountain in 6 trips via Nuri helicopters. It took 4 months for the new building to be completed. At long last, God’s vision was fulfilled and Church Camp was officially completed and officiated in 1992.
Sadly, Pa Agong Bangau passed away of cancer 6 months before the annual revival meeting at Mount Murud which was the time when the new church building was officiated. His faithfulness and tenacity to fulfil God’s vision left a great impact in the lives of the people till today. He is in a better place with his beloved Lord and Saviour.
A strange thing happened during the official launching day. A guest of honor from for the Sarawak State Cabinet, who was supposed to launch the church building could not land on Mount Murud by helicopter as the mountain was suddenly covered by a very thick cloud. After circling the mountain many times, they were unable to find any clear opening to land and were forced to abandon the trip. It was a message from God that He would not share His glory with anyone else. The then president of SIB Sarawak Rev. Gerawet Maran later officiated the launch.
International Revival Meeting Begins
Every year in May, the Lun Bawangs will make their way up to the steep craggy mountain to seek God’s face in worship and prayer. It is a special time for God to minister deeply into their souls. Come July during the International Prayer Meeting (IPM), they are then ready to minister to other worshippers that come from all parts of the world.
As word got around, foreigners began to join the International Prayer Meeting. As the challenging climb up Mount Murud limits attendance to only those who are physically fit, the IPM is also held in Ba’kelalan every alternate year so that the elderly and the infirmed would not miss out on God’s presence and blessings during the prayer meeting.
Still, there have been instances where physically ill people have pressed on to make the climb. One lady was in so much pain that she made the climb in tears. Yet she pressed on. All she wanted was a touch from God. Our merciful God honoured her faith and perseverance, and healed her from her illness. This and many more other testimonies are listed in our Testimonies page in our upcoming website.
May God bless you!
Text by : Ariel Chew
Copyrights of contents : Pelayanan Gunung Doa Murud