MUSINGS DURING COVID-19 SELF-ISOLATION

By Rebekah Chan

Senior executive, Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS), Simei Care Centre

The day was Monday, 25 May 2020. I returned from overseas and underwent a week of self-isolation in a single room at a designated service suite. A picture of an ancient collapsible grill gate hung above the bed. It was painted in a ghastly green color with two noticeable padlocks. A clear reminder that I was not allowed to leave the room except for work.

It was almost midnight. Though momentarily perturbed, I knew that I was safe. I was reminded of the extraordinary faith of the Apostle Paul, who faced persecutions & imprisonments and his unshakeable allegiance to the LORD. Unlike Paul and Silas, my feet were not shackled. I sang and slept very well.

The following morning I saw a panoramic city view, with the Singapore Flyer like a small cogwheel suspended in the sky filled with majestic clouds. It stood in stark contrast to the image above my bed. I sensed that the Lord has prepared many lessons for me during this period. My current fast- paced life is one of rush through my Quiet Time; long waiting queues for transport, food, and tedious, energy-draining activities. All of which dampened my desire to commune intimately with the Lord. My days ended in exhaustion where I uttered a brief prayer before sleep, hoping that tomorrow I will rise early to commune with the Lord. Sadly, this rarely occurred.

I felt trapped in my prison of busyness. I recalled episodes of agony and regret over mistakes made, harsh words spoken, deep wounds inflicted on others, wasted energy, and time spent on futile activities. Self-doubt assailed me as I poured my complaints to God. The “whys” dominated my conversations with Him instead of submitting. A note from a friend encouraged me. “Don’t look back and ask WHY. Look ahead and say WHY NOT”

Anger welled within me. I was confined in space and restricted in movement. I resented the prospect of a ‘new norm’. Fear of death from Covid-19 shrouded our nation. We easily overlook the truth that He, the Author of Life, was in total control. Nothing can separate us from Him, including death. (Romans 8:38-39). Would a locked room, faulty keys and, window grills, hinder us from abiding in the Lord. (Philippians 3:13-14)

I’ve learned 3 important lessons:-

Lesson 1   True liberation is abiding in God’s presence, not in the absence of external restrictions. 

Two pictures in one room. They faced different directions. One was lifeless and morbid- looking. The footage in front was refreshing and vibrant. The days of my life are unpredictable-cloudy,rainy, or sunny. But thank God, He is immutable. The lyrics of an old, familiar hymn brought comfort and peace. ‘Great is thy faithfulness; morning by morning new mercies I see’. My past mistakes and hurts were history. God in His mercy will take away my pain. I determined to abide fully in God’s presence, to know Him intimately, and to constantly cling to His unfailing promises.

I visualized our Heavenly Father’s loving arms around me. An indescribable sense of God’s presence permeated the ground I stood. To quote Max Lucado, “God Came Near”. I felt so loved and privileged that God Almighty would visit me in the room. The Holy Spirit changed my priority from frustration to a desire to accomplish God’s purpose in my generation.

I felt free at last! I passed the week of isolation with a heightened sense of purpose in life. Daily I hailed a cab to and from work with renewed vigor. Yes, I missed my family dearly, but what was more satisfying was the time of worship and reading the Word in the room which became my sanctuary. Basking in His presence was so delightful. I desire to cultivate the soil of my heart with God’s precious Word and bear fruit for Him. The world deceitfully offers me pleasures that subtly choke the Word. (Mark 4:18-19). Obedience to Scripture is what He desires, not mere lip-service. Soon it was time to check out. I spent my last day in prayer for many hours. I need not ride the beautiful Singapore Flyer to be “lifted high.”

Lesson #2 – Crises are opportunities to apply God’s Word more meaningfully and trust God more fully.

God heard my cries for greater intimacy. He answered my prayers. One day when I finally meet Him face to face, He can explain the thousands “Whys” I had asked of Him. For now, I am contented that He is near.

On the morning of 28 May 2020, Charles Spurgeon’s words rang loud.

“Far from a world of grief and sin,

With God, eternally shut in, thou shalt rest for ever and ever.”

My vocation and calling came into clear perspective. The two contrasting images in my bedroom completely shook my world. I had to make a choice, either to look back & be trapped in putrid wounds and sinful habits, or to look to God & move forward in faith.

Lesson #3 – When circumstances are beyond my comprehension, God’s guidance will see me through. 

Dearest Lord Jesus, please help fix my eyes on You and draw strength from You as I run this race because You are my Resource, my Redeemer and, my Reward in life. I choose You. (Heb 12:1)

1 2

             
Grills and Padlocks (above the bed)Spectacular City View (from the window)

 

 

 

 

Published on Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 under Testimonies


COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A DOCTOR’S REFLECTIONS

By Dr Shawn Vasoo
(15 July 2020)

I have three thoughts:-

First, I am reminded of the words in Lamentations 3:22-23, wherein amid evil, suffering, and God’s judgment, the writer declared, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness”.

I started my new position at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in June 2019. My role included oversight of disease outbreak preparedness activities. Since the middle of 2019, we dealt with a few outbreaks- measles, which led to several mass vaccination operations, and an imported case of monkeypox. That kept us busy. NCID officially opened on 7 September 2019. It effectively replaced the old Communicable Disease Centre (CDC1) campus. NCID was designed to strengthen our nation’s capabilities in infectious disease outbreaks. Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were planning for a major exercise in early 2020. It was not to be. I looked back with awe at God’s tender mercy over us. We felt stretched and challenged at work in 2019. He was quietly preparing us for what was to come.

We moved into the new premises of NCID, a 330-bedded facility (with expandable capacity) by the end of 2018. The official opening was in September 2019. This enabled us to prepare and handle the COVID-19 swiftly and enhanced public health safety. It is beyond imagination to have to deal with COVID-19 in the old CDC1 campus. Indeed, it is because of the Lord’s mercies that we were crisis ready. His mercies extended to us through the hands and feet of others. In this outbreak, friends and colleagues united together in a spirit of unity. They came from different healthcare institutions- NCID, TTSH, public and private hospitals. They rolled up their sleeves and worked together selflessly. During the pandemic, we witnessed isolation, sorrow, separation, and death – sometimes too much for the human spirit to bear. In an unprecedented period such as this, Lamentations 3:22-23 brought much comfort to His people.

Secondly, I am reminded that as individuals and a society, we need to love the foreigner (Deuteronomy 10:19). Repeatedly in Scripture, we are admonished against ignoring the foreigner and to love them as ourselves. Our community of migrant workers was disproportionately and severely hit by COVID-19. They were ‘strangers’ who left family and kin to come to Singapore to eke out a living, like many of our forefathers in the early days of our history. They contributed to our well-being, doing jobs which we may not want to do or know how to do. I have been involved in migrant health ministry with various NGOs since 2001. An uncomfortable, but legitimate question re-surfaced in the light of COVID-19. How are we, individuals, health care workers, and society, loving these strangers? COVID-19 galvanized many Singaporeans who rallied around the migrant community and showed care and offered practical help. What will we do after COVID-19? Is this outpouring of help a flash in the pan, or will we take concrete efforts to continue to show love to the strangers?

Lastly, as terrible as COVID-19 is, there is a plague far worse than COVID-19. In 1669, the English nonconformist preacher and puritan Ralph Venning wrote a book ‘The Plague of Plagues’ ( now retitled ‘The Sinfulness of Sin’ ) four years after the Great Plague of London. I remember reading this book in my early twenties. It made a great impression on me. Official city records indicate that over 68,000 people died in London due to the plague, which is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. The final toll was likely to be beyond 100,000. In his book, Venning drew attention to the fact that a deadly plague exists in human hearts – that is, the plague of sin. Throughout the first six months of the outbreak, I was forced to look honestly into my heart. There have been times (of which I am ashamed to speak of) that were extremely trying. Moments when I felt exhausted, exasperated, irritable, and have not treated others kindly as I ought to; when I took my eyes off the Lord Jesus and focused on the problems. I have relied on ‘broken cisterns’ of man-made philosophy, instead of the Lord, who is the source of living waters; I have leaned on my intelligence rather than God- given wisdom, and I have been ungrateful. We must continue to fight COVID-19 together, and indeed it is a terrible pandemic, but know there is a far greater plague – the one in human hearts (including mine) that only Jesus can cure.

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:22,23 “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” The groaning we experience together with creation is not futile or despairing but looks with hope and expectancy toward the birth of a new world.

The Lord’s lovingkindness, great compassion, and complete faithfulness make Him the supremely worthy object of personal reliance. His daily supply of grace and forgiveness is unending. Let us be grateful for these gifts and learn to extend His grace to others. May we represent Him and reflect His kindness before a world that is in dire need of His mercy and grace. Shalom.

 

Published on Thursday, July 16th, 2020 under Testimonies


DRY BONES LIVE

Testimony of a migrant worker
(8 April 2020)

My name is Regin and I come from the state of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India. I arrived in Singapore on the 1st March 2009 to work as a plumber in a local Construction company. I was born in a Roman Catholic family but I was not a religious person. A friend invited me to attend the Risen Grace Ministry church in Ang Mo Kio. I was a regular church attendee.

On 19th October 2017, I received a phone call from my eldest brother who is a pastor of a village church in India. He had a dream of me being in an accident and called to warn me about it. However, I dismissed the warning as I was healthy and fit.

The following day at my workplace I was assigned to fix a broken wash basin in a client’s house. As usual, I took my tool box and carried a 24kg new wash basin on my shoulders. What happened next was unforgettable. I slipped and fell prone on the floor. The wash basin landed on my left arm and I became unconscious. The safety office in my company shared later that blood was oozing from my nose and both ears. Apparently I was not breathing. My colleagues thought I was dead!

In my “unconscious state” I hear a very loud voice, saying to me “Rise Up” and I saw a vision of a hand on my head. I woke up and was rushed to the A&E Dept of NUH. Xrays of my left hand revealed comminuted fractures of 3 fingers of my left hand. The orthopedic doctors were not confident that my affected fingers would recover and be functionally useful. I had several operations on my left hand and physiotherapy sessions. I stayed 13 days and my hospital bill totalled $41,000.

Pastor Augustine Baboo of the Risen Grace Ministry church visited me and prayed regularly for me. He encouraged me with a passage from Ezekiel 37 regarding the valley of dry bones becoming a mighty army. I was deeply moved by the words of Scripture and the love shown to me by Pastor and members of the church. After 3 months of physiotherapy, my left hand showed some improvement. I was on medical leave for 6 months and my left hand slowly regained strength. My finger bones were crushed but God restored them. Indeed my dry, splintered bones came back to live. God healed me completely! I went back to my hometown in India to recuperate. I returned to work in Singapore on 11 November 2018 under a new Construction company. My boss is a Christian and I am happy to be working with this Company.

The accident was pivotal in turning me to the Lord. I confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I began to read the Bible regularly and pray daily. By God’s mercy, I received a new lease in life. Not only was I healed physically, I became a child of God. Slowly but surely, God is transforming me to be more Christ-like. Previously, I was an angry and argumentative person, always worried about finances and the future of my wife and son. I have become a more patient person and am not anxious about the future. My salary is low, but God provides daily for my needs and for my family. I trust in Him. I love to share the gospel with my colleagues, friends and strangers. In obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), I witnessed people coming to faith in Christ and likewise they also go forth to share the good news of the gospel with others. I saw multiplication of believers in an amazing way! As I minister among the sick and those with broken lives, I saw many miracles of healing by the Lord. To Him be the glory! My greatest desire is to serve Him faithfully all the days of my life. He is my everything!

 

Published on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 under Testimonies


Interview with Mr. Alan Ng

A BRUISED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK:

FROM MENTAL ILLNESS TO WHOLENESS

 

An interview with Mr Alan Ng by Dr Boey ML 1 March 2020

BML: Thank you Alan for agreeing to share your story with us. Let me begin by asking you to share a little about your childhood.

Alan: I am the 9th child of a huge family of 10 children. Mum is a housewife and dad worked as a van-driver. Ours was a poor family and our parents worked very hard to sustain the family. Mum supplemented dad’s income by accepting a few odd jobs that are home-based. My siblings and I enjoyed a nice meal of chicken and wore new clothes only during the Chinese New Year. Dad became an alcoholic and often returned home drunk, angry and shouting. I felt disappointed and angry especially when I was compared myself with some of my school mates who were better off than me materially.

BML: Male citizens are enlisted in National Service (NS) at age 18. What was your experience like in NS?

Alan: In the first 3 months, I noticed that a senior officer was particularly kind towards me. He would bring me food and will not punish me though I made mistakes, unlike his treatment of my colleagues. One night, this officer woke me at midnight and invited me to his room where he sexually harassed me. I was terrified and ran away from him and tried to avoid him at all cost. Despite this, the sexual molestation continued several times. Within 3 months, I suffered a mental breakdown and shared this traumatic experience with my mother and sister. They melted in tears and anger and immediately sought help from a Member of Parliament at our neighbourhood constituency. I was later transferred to another facility.

The nightmare did not end as I initially expected. I had to attend court to defend myself and faced the recurrent, brutal questioning from lawyers and strange faces of people in the court gallery. After 2 court sessions, the officer pleaded guilty and I was vindicated.

BML: You spoke about your “nightmares”. Can you describe them?

Alan: Yes. I had flashbacks of the sexual molestation and cringed at the sound of the officer’s footsteps towards my bunker room. I lived in fear and terror.

BML: What was life like after you completed your NS?

Alan: I worked in my family business in manufacturing. Our family financial situation improved substantially over the years. I had savings in the bank, a steady girlfriend and dreamt of having a family of my own and a flat, like any ordinary person in Singapore.

BML: What changes took place thereafter?

Alan: At 27 years old, I behaved like Santa Claus. I gave away my savings and possessions to my friends; withdrew from my family and hid in my room for 18 months. I felt sad, lonely and became depressed. My family was bewildered by my mood changes and odd behaviour, as there was no family history of mental illness. I consulted several private psychiatrists, but my condition did not improve. I attempted suicide many times. I was repeatedly hospitalized in both private institutions and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). I was diagnosed with Post- traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar Disease. I took medications daily and received Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). My psychiatrists informed me that I will be on life-long medications and to expect intermittent hospitalizations. I felt so miserable, lost and hopeless.

BML: How did your family members, respond to your illness?

Alan: They were extremely concerned and caring. My second sister, Iris visited me weekly and invited me to the Lighthouse Evangelism Church. I flatly refused her offers. Finally, I caved in to her persistence and in year 2006, I stepped into the church for the first time. I did not like the church service. On the second visit, I stood inside the auditorium, cried out to God with all my heart for His help. My heart seared with unfathomable pain; no one seemed to understand

my pain. Not my family, neither my doctors. I felt useless and a failure. I was totally broken. On that day, I surrendered my life to Him! I attended church service regularly for the next 2 years.

BML: How did your belief in God change your life?

Alan: In every aspect.

First, in the area of my health. 2010 was a watershed year. I received a call from a Christian psychiatrist from IMH, Dr Joseph Leong. He informed me that he will manage my condition and assured me that I will be well. Under his management, I was able to be weaned off my medications and in 2015, I was discharged from follow-up, without any medications. I was free from nightmares, depression, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. The deep pain and emotional scars I suffered in NS was totally lifted by the Lord. I was healed.

Second, God answered many of my prayers. I read the Bible daily and pray to Him for guidance and help. Whatever He tells me to do, I will obey. He answered my longing to be baptized by age 50. The baptism took place on 25th December 2018. In addition, I am now happily married to a nurse. I work as a Healthcare assistant in a Christian Nursing home.

BML: Are there any particular blessings you wish to mention?

Alan: God sent many of His children to bless me in my walk with Him. Some are pastors, others fellow-believers in Christ. They have encouraged me and prayed for me. I am deeply grateful for God’s provision of this wide community of faithful saints who have been such a blessing to me. I received 2 awards: In 2014, an outstanding award for helping others with mental illnesses and in 2017, I was a recipient of the Healthcare Humanity Award (HHA), Honorable Mention award. The award recognizes healthcare professionals who have gone beyond the call of duty and made a difference to the healthcare community.

God also sovereignly opened the door for me to attend a 3 month Certificate Course in Peer Support (February 2020). My application for the training was successful. My deep desire is to be equipped to assist people suffering from mental illnesses. I have received commendable and positive feedback from my trainers.

BML: Is there a final message you want to give to our readers?

Alan: God is real. He is Almighty and He heals. I want others to know about Him. I am His witness. I received by grace, through faith, His salvation, healing and transformation. He allowed me to go through 15 years of suffering as a patient with mental illness. The pain is not wasted or in vain. In and through it all, He is equipping me to display His glory. Only in Him is there purpose and hope. Patients with mental illness don’t need to lose heart. He heals. I am His voice, bringing His message of hope and salvation to all.

BML: Thank you very much Alan, for your inspiring testimony. To God be the glory!

 

Published on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 under Testimonies


Spread The Net

Original music and lyrics by Dr Denis Cheong

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. Matt 13:47 (NLT)
Our lives are like a strand of God’s work. Strands cross as we interact with each other. We  have the opportunity to either make a connection or slide past each other. When sufficient connections are made, a net is formed, which is able to catch men for God’s end time harvest.

Verse 1
E          E/G#
Lord, I thank you
A                                          E
   That you’re weaving me into the Net
E/G#                    A         B
By Your end time purpose
E                     E/G#
  Lord, please help me
A         B                              C#m
  To believe what You have said
             G#m                A
Of Your calling on my life
F#m                                G#m
May Your glory fill the earth completely
A              G#                   C#m
Like the waters cover the sea
D                                                              Bsus B
Bring the harvest of a million souls through me
 
Chorus
                   E
Spread the net
                 F#m
And cast it wide
            G#m
Let me be a part of all You do
             A         B
Don’t put me aside
                C#m
Raise the cross
                G#m
Draw them in
             A                                G#m
Let me bring Your hope and healing to
            F#m         B        E
This generation lost in sin
 
Verse 2
There are moments
When the struggle is so hard
I’m discouraged and defeated
Powers of darkness
Come so strongly to oppose
And I seem to lose my way
Then You speak into my heart so gently
With Your precious still small voice
To restore my soul
And help me make the choice
 
Verse 3
You still call us
“Venture further out to sea
And experience all My greatness!
Grace and glory
More abundant than you know
Will be there for all your needs”
Lord equip me for Your holy purpose
Fresh anointing from above!
Pour anew into my heart Your gift of love
 

Published on Thursday, December 5th, 2019 under Testimonies


Blessed Beyond Measure

Doris Fok and Fok Fook Kong

On July 2017, I attended a conference in Toronto. Towards the end of the conference, I was looking forward to a relaxing time with my husband at a resort one and a half hours away from Toronto. However, on the last day of the Conference,  I was surprised to see him standing  near the water dispenser in the conference room. He shared that we were in a dire situation as our credit card was not activated for overseas use. Hence, we could not rent a car for our holiday.

We scrambled to arrange for a rental car in an alternative way. All the time wondering what to do next. In the midst of the “chaotic” situation, God granted us peace. I “bumped” into a gentleman that I met earlier at the breakfast table. I shared about our problem and he responded with, “Hang on, we may be able to help you.” I was so relieved. Apparently, this gentleman and his wife were Christians and they were willing to offer help to anyone in need.

They immediately put us in their vehicle and drove us to the supermarket for our week’s groceries. They acted as our tourist guides and explained the history and geography of the area were were in. We enjoyed their fellowship and shared about God’s goodness.

After my conference,  I felt exhausted and slept. On waking, I suggested to my husband that we should consider internet banking as our daughter in Singapore had access to our dongle.She  would be able to help us activate our credit card for overseas use. We immediately contacted her and the credit card problem was solved instantly. Renting a car was a non-issue. Our kind Canadian couple drove us to town to fetch the rental car.

We learnt precious lessons from this incident:-

  1. God provides and He does it in His own marvelous ways
  2. He divinely arranged for us to meet this God-fearing couple who served as our driver and tourist guide. What a blessing!
  3. God smoothen out the rough edges.
  4. We learnt to trust Him more…..
  5. God gave us even more – beyond our expectations. The receptionist at the holiday resort, heard about the dire situation.  She upgraded our apartment so that we can have a fully equipped kitchen to cook our meals. Our resort was in a remote area and without a car, it was not possible to drive out to the restaurants for meals. The apartment was a corner unit, on the ground floor. It was very spacious, with  2 bedrooms and a Jacuzzi. The surroundings were quiet, green and wooded.  In addition, the car rental company gave a free upgrade of a bigger and more comfortable car for our use.

We have been blessed beyond measure!

Published on Friday, May 18th, 2018 under Testimonies


The enemy of cancer

Charles Wu

In October 2016, I discovered several unusual lumps on my neck (lymph nodes). I consulted my ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor and had a biopsy of the lymph glands. It was informed that I suffered from Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).   I was referred to a medical oncologist and a consultant radiologist for treatment.

I did not feel unwell.  I have had episodes of nose bleeds when young. However, I had more than usual nose bleeds 3 times in the months preceding October when the lymph nodes were discovered.  The lumps on both sides of my neck were not painful so I thought it might be caused by infection.  Thus, by the time I was diagnosed, I had Stage 4 disease.

I had no weight loss, neither felt fatigued.  I was carrying on with my job and routine as per normal.  On receiving the bad news, I said, “OK, let’s deal with it and find ways to manage it.”   I was not shocked or panicky. My calm attitude was largely due to my belief that my Heavenly Father loves me and will take care of me as He has done for the past 65 years.

My hospital experience as a healthcare worker in USA and Singapore was immensely helpful.            In the past, I have had opportunities to help my foreign friends with doctor appointments when they underwent treatment in the National University Hospital (NUH).  Now, I’ve become a patient who will receive treatment in a cancer and radiation clinic for the next five months.

From the beginning to the end of chemotherapy (29/11/16 – 7/4/17), I did not experience the common side-effects such as bloating, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  It was as if I was not cancer stricken at all.  My radiation caused me to have some soreness around my neck and mouth.  I requested not to be tube fed, although I had difficulties swallowing.  I was able to eat small portions of my meals with supplements of six Ensure drinks daily. The latter was coffee flavored. I loved it.  The skin dryness and mouth sores healed in time.  One year later, I still suffer from dry mouth and can only taste 80% of the flavor of the foods I ate. I was so happy when in October 2017, I was able to eat sambal and chili again!

In January 2018, a repeat MRI and scope showed clearance of my NPC.  I thank my GREAT Physician above and friends who encouraged and prayed for me. I decided not to share my plight of NPC to everyone. , but only to those who witnessed a change in me.  I lost some hair (more aging than the treatment), and 10 kg. I have regained 4 kilos already.  It’s funny how hard it is to gain as to lose weight.

From the moment they told me of my diagnosis, I have been at peace.  I trust in God (Psalms 62:8), have family love and support, plus brothers and sisters-in-Christ, like Dr. Boey and HCF, who pray constantly for me.  As I journeyed through my treatment, I was surrounded by knowledgeable and caring NUH staff who made the experience tolerable and easier to go through.

Lessons I learnt from the cancer bout:

  1. Expect the Unexpected - Things can appear suddenly and may inconvenience us.         We have to face it head- on and find ways to manage.
  2. Know Who is in charge – Life is easier if we know that each of us has limitations and our God is the One who has the final say.
  3. Cooperate - Regardless of the problem, whether illness or financial, work together with the experts to resolve the issue.
  4. Be grateful and share – your story may inspire and encourage others who are going through similar situations.  We all can be OVERCOMERS.

Published on Friday, May 18th, 2018 under Testimonies


Testimony of JCHC

8 Sep 2016

I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematousus (SLE) in 1991 and treated with oral corticosteroids for many years.As a child in a Christian school, I “accepted” Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. I believe that the seed of the gospel was sown then, although it did not bloom till my mid-forties.

When I had SLE, well- meaning Christian friends brought me to different churches and “healing” services. However, I doubted the existence of God and I did not have the faith to believe in Him.

On 16 July 2015, I went to one of the many regular checkups with my long time rheumatologist / immunologist, Dr Boey.
We had a tough conversation about my health and I started to get agitated and anxious. Suddenly, Dr Boey asked; “Can I pray for you?” I thought: “If someone wants to help me, why not? So I said “Sure!”.

When I repeated the words of a prayer after her, I experienced an avalanche of intense emotions. I couldn’t stop crying and my body heaved with sobs as I prayed to be forgiven, this time with conviction. On that day, I was born of the Spirit. I tasted a fruit of the Spirit; faith. I finally understood what it meant to take a leap of faith and did what my Christians have been telling me for so long: only believe!

Following that life changing moment, I was hungry to learn more and attended the Alpha course that was newly launched in a neighborhood church. It was part of their Market Place ministry which was generously sponsored and supported by a couple of Christian Venture Capitalists. The timing of their sessions and the venue were ideal for me. God had planned it so perfectly!

It was a great way to start my Christian walk. I met inspiring Christians in a friendly environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the 15 weeks of lessons. I was then invited by a long-time, close friend to the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Study of the book of Revelation in 2016 is a first for BSF in Singapore. There was a bumper crop of students. Despite doubling the sessions, places were very scarce. Since I was not a pre-existing student, my chances of enrolling were slim. I chuckled when the speaker said; “If you don’t get a phone call from us, don’t call us, just pray.” I knew BSF was hard work so I thought the possibility of nonselection was a great way to get off the hook! God knew better and to my surprise, I was offered a place.

After 3 months in BSF, I was taken off the steroids completely! As a new believer and a newbie in BSF, it was mind boggling initially, but the structure of the study, the close fellowship with the group members and the daily walk with the Lord were so gratifying. I learnt to pray and listen to Him through the Word.

Being close to Him allowed God to work in my life. I hardly dared to wish for it, but He knows everything and He gave me what I longed for most; a miracle healing.

On 1st September 2016, I was baptized. Now I am joyful and comforted that I am sealed and marked as a child of God, Praise the Lord!

Published on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 under Testimonies


ST JAMES CHURCH INVOLVEMENT IN THE HOSPITAL OUTREACH MINISTRY

By Pastor Lucy Kwok

I am Lucy Kwok, a pastoral staff of St James’ Church. In my pastoral work, I have had a great desire to reach out to the sick in hospital, to encourage patients and show love to them.Although we visit the sick in our local congregation, there are many lying in the hospitals who look forward to some one to cheer them up. In year 2000, Dr Michael Lim spoke with me regarding forming a team to join the Healthcare Christian Fellowship (HCF) and reach out to patients during Christmas. I readily accepted his proposal.I want to thank Dr Boey Mee Leng, who opened the HCF door for us, thus giving us an opportunity to minister to patients in hospitals.We started with a team of about 20 men and women and a guitarist. We practiced singing Christmas carols to patients in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). We took with us gifts for patients and sang carols to them. This led on to us participating in the Chinese New Year and Easter outreaches. We donated mandarin oranges and sang Chinese New Year melodies to the patients. During Easter we shared the joy of our risen Lord with them.

From TTSH we branched out to the National University Hospital (NUH). Our goal is for 2 bigger teams of volunteers, each led by a pastor.

What joy it is to be able to bring smiles to the old and the young patients, many of whom are sad and depressed over their sicknesses. Some of them clap along and sing with us. It is so fulfilling. Not only are patients encouraged, our team members are encouraged by the patients’ responses.

During one of our outreaches, a youth in our team, was so touched with his first hospital visit that he is now ‘sold’ out to it. At that time, the 3 regular guitarists in our team, were unavailable for the outreach. I requested for a guitarist from the youth ministry. A mother volunteered her son , Kester. Kester came along and in one of the ward units, we sang a Hokkien song entitled “Hold My Hand”. Tears rolled down from an elderly male patient. Kester was deeply touched and later shared with his mum that he will not miss out on future hospital outreaches. Kester practiced hard to perfect that song.

Recently we were assigned to the CDC in TTSH. The patients are elderly, long- staying patients, and some were waiting for placement in nursing homes. Some shared that their families have not visited them for a long time. It is a sad story, but we are glad that we can bring a little cheer into their lives by our visit. May I encourage church members to visit patients at CDC.

In one of our outreaches in TTSH, a middle aged man accepted Jesus as his Saviour. He phoned me on the day of his discharge and requested to attend church. When he arrived at our church, he asked what must he do when in church, as he has never stepped into a church before. That man was later baptized in our church.

We demonstrate our care for patients by listening, chatting and praying for them. We are so glad that we can encourage them and perhaps impart hope to some. Likewise we feel encouraged and uplifted, as God’s servants, working alongside Him to bring His love to the sick and suffering.

I want to thank HCF again for giving us the opportunity to partner with them for such outreaches. May God use HCF greatly to advance the Kingdom of God. May HCF be the light of God that shines into the lives of those feeling hopeless and encourage them with the news that God cares and loves each of them.

Published on Monday, January 18th, 2016 under Testimonies


Healthcare Christian Fellowship Caroling, 13 December 2014 National University Hospital

More than 100 Christians from several churches in Singapore gathered at the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Seminar room on the Saturday afternoon of 13 December 2014. Participants were divided into 5 teams of carolers. I had the privilege to serve alongside a group of experienced carolers led by Pastor Lucy from St James Church. We sang in Wards 52 & 53.

We started with a prayer asking for God’s presence to be with us. God indeed prepared the hearts of the patients. To our astonishment, as we approached Ward 52 we received a request from a patient to receive Christ as Saviour. How we praise the Lord for this salvation!

Many patients were attracted by our singing in the wards. We sang to a captive audience in each ward. An elderly lady assisted by a nurse made her way slowly towards us as we sang and she allowed us to minister to her. As we were about to leave the ward, a young lady in a wheelchair expressed her disappointment that she missed out on our singing. We spontaneously sang “Merry Christmas” for her. I was also impressed by St. James carolers ability to sing in dialects. Elderly patients and their family members were able to sing along with us.

We had opportunities to chat with patients and some of them allowed us to pray with them. I prayed with an elderly, demented gentleman and his Indonesian domestic helper. We ended the visit by distributing gifts and wishing our patients peace and a speedy recovery.

I sensed the presence of God with us as we sang and prayed for the patients and I believe that many patients and their families were touched by Him a special way.

I was deeply touched and humbled that God could use me to bless the patients and hospital staff. We brought warmth and cheer to the gloomy and depressed looking wards. Above all, we thank God that most of the patients were open and willing to be prayed for. May our prayers bring comfort, hope and healing to their souls and bodies.

All Glory be to God!

Ms Lauren Ng

Published on Monday, January 5th, 2015 under Testimonies


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