The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as people gathered outside Miri Indoor Stadium, forming long queues in anticipation of the second-night rally of the Tribal Gathering.
Tribal Gathering is a three-day rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Borneo spiritual revivals. In 1973, revival swept through Bario, a remote highland area in Sarawak, and subsequently reached communities in Ba’kelalan and Taginambur, Sabah.
Over the following 11 years, four waves of revival impacted various communities in East Malaysia, each marked by distinct emphases such as praise, prayer, and a heart for the nations.
Five decades later, Tribal Gathering has brought together over 100 churches from across Malaysia to Miri, uniting in fervent prayer and hope for God to awaken the nation, breathe life into dry bones, and heal the land.
In the morning, Josh Yeoh and KL House of Prayer (KLHOP) initiated the worship session before handing the stage to the next-generation leaders and pastors, who led the congregation in a powerful time of seeking God’s presence.
The afternoon worship, led by Joshua Hajok and the Tribal Gathering team, became a powerful session filled with songs in local languages. The stadium resonated with the voices of Malaysians united in praise and worship.
Over the years, divisions had arisen among Sarawakian tribes, as some began to assert themselves over others or emphasize differences rather than the common ground found in Jesus Christ.
Confessing their faults and the error of their ways, leaders representing Kelabit, Iban, Kayan and Lun Bawang tribes apologised and embraced each other, letting go of hurts and wounds of the past. Pr Rachel Bulan, one of the event’s main organisers and second-generation Kelabit pastor, described the encounter as significant and one that would go down in history.
A symbolic and powerful moment followed as elders from various Sarawak tribes sought and extended forgiveness to one another, led by Pr Hanny Sitiawan of Bethany Solobaru Church, Indonesia.
The night rally was in essence, a celebration and call for an intergenerational family of God. More than 3,700 people from many ethnic groups of Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia flocked to the stadium to soak in the presence of God with worship, exhortation and prayer.
After a rousing time of worship led by Tribal Gathering, three sermonettes were delivered by Pr Chew Weng Chee (SIBKL), Pr Daniel Ho (DUMC) and Pr Philip Lyn (Skyline SIB).
In their seventies, the three heavyweights drew on their wells of godly wisdom gained through the years, reiterating the critical need for an intergenerational Church, one where generations work together in service of God’s kingdom.
“The bravado of the young and the belief of the old needs to come together,” Pr Chew declared, adding that the risk-taking spirit of the younger generation must work together with the resources of the older generation.
Pr Daniel then took the stage to share from his heart several entanglements the Church must keep in mind when moving forward. He challenged Christians to stay close to the Lord no matter the cost.
“Don’t give up ministry. When we experience wounds, hurts and pains, forgive! Focus on the bigger things God has called you to,” he exhorted. “Our hearts and longing is for the younger w generation to do better than us!”
Finally, Pr Philip took the mic and led the congregation in a prophetic act based on 2 Kings 13, where the prophet Elisha commanded King Joash to first shoot an arrow out of his window. He called on Christians to symbolically strike the ground with their arrows, representing the blood of Jesus Christ, and declare victory over the enemy.
“The arrows are prayer and intercession… when we begin to believe that intercession that is intergeneration is integrated together between east and the west and with all tribes and with intervention in our nation, this will bring about an ignition and an explosion in our nation,” he proclaimed.
“50 years ago, we fought the good fight. But today, we pass it on to you. You fight. All that we can do is lay hands on you, to have the strength. We will help you. It’s your time, you shoot the arrow!” Pr Chew said.
The crowd then pressed in with an original song followed by a beautiful rendition of Negaraku, sung with heart and soul by the thousands of Malaysians present. The Jalur Gemilang, held up by the earnest hands of the next generation, was hoisted at the front.
It was clear no one wanted the night to end as a mighty chorus of “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” thundered across the stadium. Many stayed until the end, even families with young children and the elderly.
Tomorrow, the 7th of October will be the final day of the Tribal Gathering, with morning and afternoon sessions of prayer culminating in a night rally. Renowned revivalist Pr Yang Tuck Yoong of Cornerstone Church, Singapore, will be delivering the Word of God.
For more information, visit www.tribalgatheringborneo.com.
Admission is free. This event is for non-Muslims only.