Updated: Mar 21
This is the full interview script with a little more detail added as it couldn't be done within a 5-minute chat. This is still a compressed version of GoRendang's testimony but I hope you will find this 5 minutes of your time listening/reading worthwhile.
1. A brief overview of what GoRendang is and why you started it?
I was born in Malaysia. In 2005, my husband Eng and I moved to the UK for work purposes. I had a grand plan then to retire in the corporate world, to work to achieve everything I wanted in order to arrive at “the” destination, the materialistic dream. But God had a different plan.
In 2015, I thought to myself there must be more to life than this and I started to question God about my purpose. There must be more than just being on the rat race and travelling around the world in business and first class for work!
2. I know lots of people would say, “Travelling first class around the world doesn’t sound bad to me!”
Yes, it made me happy, but only for a short period of time and it was temporal, it didn’t last. I began to face many challenges at work but I held on to this verse 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weaknesses”.
To cut the long story short, in 2016, God answered my prayer by taking my career, that I had built-up over 17 years, away. At around the same time, I had a personal encounter of parting with my financial security and I asked God how much more are you going to take away from me and later I remembered that He gives and He takes away like Job 1:21 because everything belongs to Him anyway. Whatever we own, our gifts, talents, provisions, physical appearance are all given by God. And I could see now that He took those worldly strongholds away from me for wonderful reasons.
I still felt God has put a desire and passion in my heart to continue working, but to serve differently through work. This was quite a journey, which eventually led to where I am today – running GoRendang, which initially was to serve homecooked meals to busy families, but has evolved into providing hot meals for people across Woking and Guildford struggling with food poverty.
I still remember when I made the first meal delivery and I asked God again whether I heard Him correctly that I am meant to do this. I asked because I started comparing this job with my old job and I’ve since learned that comparisons will only make you doubt of the truth and they will destroy you, slowly. So I stayed focus on God’s calling and continued the mission, not looking back.
3. That’s quite a transition from the corporate world to Social Enterprise! Tell us about the Gold of Syria project GoRendang has been supporting…
Gold of Syria is a project to raise funds for the Syrian refugees in Woking through selling of lunch boxes prepared by a Syrian chef. We work with Woking Council (thank you Phil, Rasha and Lighthouse for making this happen). We didn’t know if the project would add value when we first started. But a year later I’m thrilled to know that the funds had enabled at least 10 Syrian refugees back into employment. It’s all glory to God.
4. I know lockdown has been a really busy time for you. How many meals have you made / & how many individuals & families have you supported?
Since Covid Lockdown 1.0 in March 2020, there has been a surge in food poverty and insecurity as many lost their income, homes and health. GoRendang responded to the needs by supplying hot meals with funds supported by the public - so thank you to each and everyone who had contributed through justgiving. To-date, we have raised about £2400 and together with support from another charity Foodwise, we have provided over 1500 meals regularly to about 35 struggling families/individuals and the homeless in a span of 9 months.
5. And you’ve just secured some extra funding to allow you to do more?
Yes, as the need continues to rise, we felt dependency on public donations wasn't the right way forward and in fact financial support did dwindle towards the end of 2020. But GoRendang continued to provide with faith and full dependence on God.
God is always in control because at the right time, we were directed to apply for a funding application. We weren't confident that the application would be successful as GoRendang only converted to a social enterprise in September last year. But only God can make the impossible possible and funding has now been approved by the Community Foundation so we can continue with our mission.
6. If someone would like to get in touch to arrange some meals, how do they do that?
If anyone of you in the community need meals, we would like to serve and support you in this difficult time. The simplest way you can get in touch is by approaching Welcome church, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, to be referred to us.
7. And if someone wants to help, what opportunities are there for getting involved?
We have many willing and committed volunteers from church and I would like to say how much I appreciate each one of them for their willingness to give up their time and energy in volunteering, but also the heart they have for the people whom they are supporting. I could see so much God's love in all these.