By Kimberley Wang | 23 September 2022
“I’m having a revival in this land. Come join me.” These were the words that Dieu Eng Seng sensed God speaking to him in his spirit as he prayed for Nepal. He was on one of his first mission trips and as he heard the voice of the Lord, he saw a ray of light shining through the darkness, confirming God’s word to him.
At that time, Dieu was the regional CEO of a large multinational company at the age of 51. In his 30 years with the company, he took on senior management positions as an expat in China, Hong Kong, Australia and the USA. While he was active in church, he was not trained as a missionary. When he heard the voice of God calling him to the mission field, he hesitated.
“I had no idea. I’m a businessman. I’m active in church but I’m not a missionary. I don’t know what it means to go out and preach the Word. But the Lord’s voice was clear. It took me a few months but after a while, I said, ‘Well, why not believe God in this venture?’” he shared.
“It all started through the prompting of the Lord, through stepping out of the boat, not really knowing how to do it, but believing that when I step out in faith, going where the angels fear to tread, then we depend more on God. The Lord said to me, ‘If you trust Me and obey Me, I can use you.'”
Burden laid for a long time
This was not the first time that God spoke to Dieu and stirred up his heart for missions. In fact, it was a burden that has been laid upon his heart for a long time.
While he was working at the multinational, he went to Boston for a meeting and attended service at a revival church. He recalled that a lady speaker was sharing but he did not know her personally. At the end of the service, he went for prayer and as he returned to his seat, she called out to him and said, “The Lord is saying to you: You know about Me. You have the knowledge of Me, but the distance between your mind and your heart, although it’s only about 12 or 17 inches, you don’t have that coming down.”
She went on to pray for him, “Lord, touch him and release to him a knowledge of You, not only about You, but of You, to know You.” Then she gave him a prophetic word and said, “I see you traveling around the world preaching the Gospel.” This came to pass when Dieu took early retirement more than 15 years ago to focus on world missions. Together with like-minded believers, he disciples and challenges marketplace ministers to play a part in the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
“Make Me your magnificent obsession”
Dieu firmly believes that missions is an outflow of our relationship with God. When he retired, the Lord reminded him, “Dieu, you have only one assignment left in life: to love Me deeply. Make Me your magnificent obsession, your consuming passion.”
After hearing from the Lord, he started a 15-year-long journey to know Him intimately. First, he studied the Songs of Solomon, which taught him how much God truly loves him, and how much he needed to love God. Over time, the Lord began to speak to him and asked him to spend more time with Him. From waking up at 6.30 am to seek the Lord, he started waking up as early as 5.00 am.
The time spent with God was life-changing for Dieu. It became clear to him that missions was part of the call of God to obey Him in the Scriptures. He said, “It’s not because I have to do it, but I get to do it. It’s not that I have to witness or I have to go out into the world, I can’t help it because my heart overflows with love for Him. It’s a journey from a discipline to a devotion to a delight.”
He felt God saying to him, “Dieu, this is your main purpose in life: love Me with all your heart, soul, mind. If you do that, all the other things you will be able to do.” With this as his starting point, Dieu started to see the impact of his ministry, and experienced a great love for people and a moulding in his personal life.
Going where angels fear to tread
Following God’s call to join Him for revival in Nepal, Dieu travelled there by faith with three friends. He asked a personal contact to help arrange meetings with the local church. As they went, a lady from his group saw a vision of Jesus weeping over Nepal, confirming to them that this was the right place to go. They eventually met with the senior pastors who were leading the church,and shared what the Lord had laid upon their hearts.
At the beginning, the small mission group comprising mainly businessmen only had materials that taught village people how to plant churches. Working with the Nepalese pastors, they started training a group of about 30 locals, mostly sherpas and farmers. Dieu and his friends continued to visit them twice a year to share and minister to them.
“In the process, God did the work, even though the material was not fantastic. They learnt how to pray, how to read the Bible, how to plant churches, how to heal, and how to witness. They went out and the little that they knew, they did that,” he said.
“I found that God can use people like us, who are foolish, not smart, not trained, and not professionals. My experience has been that if you’re willing to surrender, to trust, God can use you amazingly to demonstrate that He is the One, not us.”“
Dieu saw God’s hand at work in Nepal when he did an ad hoc survey among the believers. About 70% shared that they came to Christ because they experienced God’s healing. He recalled, “They would say, ‘I met this guy, and he prayed for me, and I was healed!’ We did that and it spread. God, in his mercy, the work just grew. They were learning and planting churches at the same time.”
Soon, other denominations joined in the mission work. As a result, International Christian Mission Singapore (ICMS) was formed to share God’s love with the nations, and to encourage, train and equip Christians for church-planting. Dieu is currently the Vice President of ICMS and serves on its board.
Over the last 15 years, the organisation has been instrumental in planting 300 to 400 churches all over Nepal. They have also carried out the same training in Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Cambodia.
For all the success that he has seen, Dieu emphasised that it is God who is doing the work. “It all started through the prompting of the Lord, through stepping out of the boat, not really knowing how to do it, but believing that when I step out in faith, going where the angels fear to tread, then we depend more on God. The Lord said to me, ‘If you trust Me and obey Me, I can use you.’
“I found that God can use people like us, who are foolish, not smart, not trained, and not professionals. My experience has been that if you’re willing to surrender, to trust, God can use you amazingly to demonstrate that He is the One, not us.
People are the conduit, the endpoint is God’s glory
Whenever Dieu starts a new mission work, prayer precedes it. He will only embark on it when God shows him a person that He will connect him with. Over the years, he has learnt not to get carried away with the task at hand but instead, to ask God, “Who is the one or two persons that You want me to spend time with?”
He added, “You realise that God always works through people. If you don’t have that relationship, the work cannot be done because He loves people. We should never become mesmerised with what we need to do. We need to work with people to do what we do for the glory of God. The endpoint is God’s glory and the conduit is often people.
“I’m very conscious of the fact that I don’t only work with them and use them to do work.I love them, I serve them, I know them and I help them. They become my friends. The key are these people whom you are working with, the leaders. My heartbeat as I go on missions has always been to look out for the leaders.”
Dieu recounted a divine appointment that took place about two years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic. During a trip to Sri Lanka, the Lord put in his heart to reach out in a bigger way, beyond the villages to the urban areas. Although he felt uncertain as this was new and unfamiliar ground, he decided to obey the Lord.
At the same time, God was at work through Pastor Sherine, who has an urban church in Sri Lanka. Through Covenant EFC, Dieu was connected with her and he flew over to meet their church board.
Before the meeting, he prayed and journalled what God had spoken to him. Towards the end of the session, the Lord prompted him to share this with the board.The chairman was amazed that what Dieu had said and the verses he quoted were the same words that were given to their pastor. Overnight, a divine connection was made and hestarted to build a relationshipwith the church leaders.
Today, he continues to have mentoring sessions with Pastor Sherine, her husband and the leaders of the church every month. Even though Sri Lanka is currently in a political and economic crisis, Pastor Sherine has gathered pastors from different denominations, for one of the first times in history, to come together and pray. Dieu said, “I believe this is part of the revival that Sri Lanka will see.”
He added, “When we walk with God and listen to His voice, we also gain credibility with people. I’m so excited because I see God doing things in ways I would never do. My prayer is that we will see more missions like that, not ones with our own efforts to do things. It has to be a mandate, a love for Jesus, an obedience to surrender, and then the mission will automatically flow.”
“No man is greater than his prayer life”
In the last two years, the Lord has been speaking to Dieu to spend even more time in prayer and to be an intercessor. “So often we pray one way, but the interpretation inthe Hebrew and Greek context: prayer is two-way communication. Prayer is speaking what God wants you to speak. Remember that Jesus is a great Intercessor, he is our Advocate,” he said.
Here, Dieu offers a quote from British revivalist Leonard Ravenhill: “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying … We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”
While prayer is vital for missions, Dieu also encourages Christians to keep in touch with missionaries who are sent out because it gets lonely out there. He shared that one of the things he does when he travels is to meet up with local pastors and missionaries for a meal — to simply listen to them and share when he feels led. He also encourages believers togo on short-term mission trips because “God called us all to do missions.”
Pointing out that Jesus called business and lay people to be His disciples, he said, “Most of us think that the role of the Christian is to earn money, to do business, take the money and give it to the pastor. But look at the Scriptures, all the people that Jesus called, none of them were professionals — none were Pharisees and scribes. But the Lord called them and they changed the world.”
Reflecting on his journey with the Lord, Dieu said, “The key is our love relationship with Jesus, that’s the premise of our Christian walk: because I love Him, I serve Him, because I love Him, I wouldn’t give up on Him, because I love Him, I’m willing to live for Him.
“I want to encourage people to go to the Cross. You see, the Cross has nothing to do with our ability, our zeal, our bravado. The fact is we are nothing, but He is everything. The more we die to ourselves, the more we live for Him and for His glory.”
Dieu has been worshipping at Covenant EFC since 2005 and serves on its Missions Board. He is married to Helen for over 40 years. They have two children, Jeanette and Derek, and seven grandchildren.
Kimberley Wang worships at WDL Centre and serves in the CG Ministry. She is an aspiring plant lady and enjoys nature walks.
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