Gospel Blaze in Borneo
Jim Ward
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    Jim Ward

Gospel Blaze in Borneo

Jim Ward

ISBN 9781921144453

LIST PRICE: $24.99


Gospel Blaze in Borneo combines an illustrated traveller’s tale about a 2023 journey of discovery to Ranau in Sabah, East Malaysia, with exciting mission stories, historical research and rare archival letters and photographs from the 1950s and 60s work of the Borneo Evangelical Mission, which was established in 1928. 

Together, these provide fascinating insights into rugged missionary sacrifice in the wild interior of a new nation that was throwing off the protective cloak of colonialism and struggling for independence, identity and release from the restrictive superstitions of animism. In the early 1950s, the writer’s parents, called Sabin and Kumin, joined with a few others in pioneering first contact and church building activity down the remote Labuk River and in and around Ranau, which was at the end of the infamous killing fields of the Sandakan death marches, only six years before they arrived.   

Their first child, Jim (named Ludin), was born in 1953 at the end of the Korean War, and he learned to walk on the Ranau airstrip. He was lovingly cared for by Dusuns in a completely new church that was also taking its first steps of faith in Jesus.  Now, Jim and his wife Ellen have discovered that over sixty strong churches are established in this area alone and the indigenous SIB church throughout Sabah and Sarawak is self-sufficient, biblically healthy and outreaching not only in Borneo, but further afield as well. 

They have much to teach the west about non-denominational ministry.  The seeds of the gospel were sown in soils of blood and despair, but the Holy Spirit has ensured their germination into a breath-taking harvest, for which all praise and glory is given to our creator God.    


Gospel Blaze in Borneo brings back important memories of Jim Ward and his brother Chris when young, sons of missionary parents working in the 1950s for the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) among the early believers in Ranau, situated below the famous Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. Jim’s trips back to Borneo, including this one with his wife, Ellen, in 2023, are like going back in time and into the future! The story of BEM bringing the saving power of Christ amongst the indigenous people in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak is truly amazing. Looking back we can only say the story of BEM is ultimately “His Story”. I believe the fascinating account by Jim in this book is going to be a great blessing to others.”
Libat Langub, Legal Advisor to BEM

“In the aftermath of World War Two, missions were easily established on the Bornean coast, but it took some very special people to go into the wild interior with their little children, learn the local languages, and preach and live out the gospel as they translated the precious scriptures, so that this new limb of the body of Christ might become powerful.  In remote communities, miracles often took place and this book shines with the exciting light of these amazing times.”
Peter Cooper – curator of BEM archives and son of the BEM pilot, Ken Cooper.

“What a joy to be let into the journey of Jim as he goes back to his parents’ missionary roots to see for himself the legacy of planting the gospel in the soil prepared by the Lord. It is producing a crop, ‘some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred times what was sown’. A great encouragement!”
Reverend Garry Dibley, Missions Operations Director, CMS NSW & ACT.

“The writer is the son of one of the first Australian missionaries who came to Ranau after World War Two to expand the Gospel of God. I definitely recommend Gospel Blaze in Borneo. Each Christian household, especially from the Ranau region, should have a copy.“
Paul Kerangkas – son of Kerangkas, renowned, indigenous evangelist, and pastor.

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