It has been two years since I last went to the OMF Bungalow. This cool place in the Cameron Highlands has been a place where God had often spoken into my life and strengthened me. It had been both a “broom tree” place and a “cave” place for me – which speaks to me of physical as well as a spiritual rejuvenation respectively. Remember Elijah?
This time it was with a reservation that I embarked on this retreat to OMF Bungalow with Koh Seng Chor, former pastor of Evangel Christian Church. We would have wanted to stay six days but only four days and three nights were available. That’s a bit short for a retreat and not worth the long journey up. Nevertheless we took it. After all OMF was quite booked and my application was late and things are seldom ideal when you feel the need for extended time to rest and pray. The length turned out to be just right.
Seng Chor lived in the East Coast and I in Jurong East. He picked me at 6.30 am in the morning and we breezed through the second link and were bantering all the way up the North South highway. Pleasant company makes long drives sweet. We had a late Indian lunch at the edge of Ipoh before turning into the old road that led to Brinchang. We passed by Ringlet town, Tanah Rata and finally passed Bringchang and up the winding road past Strawberry Park Hotel and into the OMF Bungalow at 3.10 pm. We were warmly welcomed my Mrs Chye.
Beautiful OMF Bungalow from the garden in the afternoon
Wonderful restful garden space
Another view of the OMF Bungalow from the swing
Ant on pretty flower
Bee having its fill
It’s like time stood still and the exterior of the building remained unchanged this past decade that I have been there on and off- which I like. Inside however renovations had gone on – an ensuite bathroom had been added to the room opposite mine. And they were making an additional bathroom at the upper floor of the TV and play room.
I love and hate the cool of Cameron. When it gets too cold at night as it did on Tuesday, I had to wear two layers of woollen. However the morning cool is what I love the most: crisp and fresh and rejuvenating. The afternoon cool comes with sometimes blue skies, which I love, and sometimes a dismal grey, which I dislike.
A friend Rev Dr P J John gave me Psalm 139 on my Facebook post, so I spent my prayer periods meditating and drawing nectar from a few verses in that passage. The verses reassured me that God is always with me to lead and to hold me – always and unconditionally. They reassured me that I am awesome, for I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Seng Chor and me shared what we reflected upon and what touched us during tea and we co-discerned for each other.
The room assigned to me - love it.
A camera, a hot flask, my trusty Samsung Note (Bible and journal and sketchbook in one).
The afternoons were great for excursions and with a car that was made easy. We went down to Ringlet to explore, to Tanah Rata for Starbucks (actually more for the wireless than the coffee), to Brinchang to buy tea and other provisions, and to Kea Farm to buy farm products like cherry tomatoes, Cameron oranges, and whatever is cheap and will make our wives happy – which means buy everything. We also had a look at the Lutheran Missions House – another nearby bungalow.
Ringlet town street
Seng Chor, myself and Yee Siew Meng
Ps Siew Meng, Ps Ching Siew Ling, PCC ministry staff (fogot her name), Seng Chor
One of the delights this round was fellowship over meals with other pastors who were there. We got to know two lady pastors from Penang Christian Centre and Yee Siew Meng, soon to be appointed pastor of a City Discipleship Presbyterian Church in Kuala Lumpur. Such conversations expanded our understanding of what is happening in other places and churches and what God is doing in other people’s lives. In this case we heard that the Chinese church membership in Malaysia is in ascendancy with the new generation of Chinese schooled in their vernacular and who are more comfortable with Mandarin than English. The churches today are also more politically active and united.
Myself, Alex from OMF, and Seng Chor
I had always wondered what the OMF man who replied my applications was like . I finally got to meet Alex Lee, a pleasant and committed Christian in person. He is the guy who processes all the applications for rooms in OMF Bungalow. I asked and he told me the annual average occupancy of the OMF Bungalow is 60%. They want more pastors and missionaries from Malaysia and Singapore to use this place of quiet for prayer, and for planning too. I learned that one of the busiest periods were Decembers which is surprising to me since that is the rainy season! The off peak months are March, April, July, and August. They have rooms for just over 20 people. What I do is to ask for the dates I want and also ask that if these dates are already taken to please give me other dates available before or after. They have different fees for lay people than for Christian full time workers, and for non-Malaysians than for Malaysians (see the steps to book OMF Bungalow below). If you want to book email to Alex Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org. He is very prompt in his reply.
STEPS TO MAKE ROOM BOOKING AT OMF BUNGALOW.
The bungalow is only opened for Christian missionaries and Christians from established churches. We are not opened at this time for others.
1. Give us your preferred date (s).
2. We will advise you on the availability.
3. If available, we shall send you our booking form. The sooner you send the form the better because reservation is ONLY done upon receipt of your form.
4. We practice first come first serve depending on whose form and deposit is received first.
5. We do not take bookings or any enquiries through phone. We have an official Booking Form. Please request for one if it is not sent to you.
PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT EVEN WITH APPROVED BOOKINGS, PRIORITY IS GIVEN TO ALL OMF MEMBERS FIRST. MOST TIMES, WE SHALL ASK FOR THE ROOMS TO BE RELEASED FOR THEM.
6. Rates (Per person per night inclusive of three main meals**) : Rates revised from 3rd July, 2014.
For Malaysians – in full time / pastors Adults : RM70.00
Children : 2 – 6 years RM25.00 ; 7 – 12 years RM35.00
For Malaysian – NOT in full time / Adults :RM110.00
Children : 2 – 6 years RM45.00 ; 7 – 12 years RM80.00
For Non-Malaysian – in full time / pastors Adults : RM125.00
Children : 2 – 6 years RM50.00 ; 7 – 12 years RM80.00
For Non-Malaysian – NOT in full time / Adults :RM160.00
Children : 2 – 6 years RM70.00 ; 7 – 12 years RM110.00
‘Full time’ means any persons who are permanent staff of a church or Christian organization.
** Meals are inclusive in the rates whether taken or not. No discount or
waive is allowed Afternoon tea Is NOT included.
7. Maximum number of adults is about 22 – 25 persons at one time. With children, the number would be reduced accordingly.
There is no official Conference room but many guests use the living room at the main block or library block.
8. Deposit to the value of 50% of the total amount for the stay would be required to secure the booking. The deposit is non-refundable in case of any cancellations. Further information on making the deposit would be given when we have received your booking form.
9. Most of the rooms are with double beds. Only three (3) bedrooms have attached bathroom/ toilet. Others share common bathroom and toilets. Room arrangements or allotment is at our discretion.
There are a total of ten (10) rooms.
10. Hot beverages is available whole day through. We appreciate guest to top up the water dispenser after using. Most of the time, cookies are also available. Afternoon Tea is NOT included in the rates but may be provided at the convenience of the care taker.
11. There is a TV room with a small amount of toys for children. At the garden, there is a playground. We have a library with quite a selection of books. Please bring your own board games.
12. Baby cots : We would encourage guest to bring their own ones especially if they have foldable ones. We have two cots located at different rooms. They are both not able to be moved out from their existing rooms.