By Tay Boon Jin
I went for Sunday service last week expecting nothing out of the ordinary. But it turned out to be an extraordinary one which helped me to get to know the church better.
It was cold and wet that morning. A few ladies arrived early in church. Lynna was one of them and she was carrying three large containers of bee hoon meant for church refreshment. I found out that she had fried the beehoon on behalf of Mrs Seah, who gifted the refreshment. And Chew Gim had helped to arrange the flowers for Mrs Seah. We all thought that Mrs Seah would not be at church as she had not been well. So when a car drove up and Mrs Seah stepped out, everyone’s faces lit up and she was greeted warmly. Lynna was quick and thoughtful to get Mrs Seah to sit down comfortably to join the rest of us for a chat. I was immediately struck by the genuine love and concern the ladies had for each another. Despite the cold weather, there was warm fellowship all round.
The other thing that made last Sunday different was that the youth and young adults were helming the service. We had prayed for those involved in the various roles during Wednesday’s prayer meeting, and it was exciting to hear how each had been preparing intensely and seriously for their roles. I had great anticipation. As Dn Oei Kiang explained why the young adults were leading us in the service, I knew that the young people in church are in the good hands of elders who are concerned for their spiritual growth, carefully guiding each to use what God had given them to serve the church. As I took notes during the message preached by Jonathan – if he is representative of the young adults – I am heartened that God’s word is central and held in high regard. The enthusiastic response of the congregation to Jonathan as he greeted us was an affirmation to the young people who were serving that Sunday that we appreciated their efforts and involvement. Through their service, I got to know them better and I’m sure the rest of the congregation did too!
Later on, after David shared with the congregation about the church’s recent Ipoh mission trip, a brother came up to me and commented that he now has a better idea about what the ministry does. I am very encouraged by his intentional approach to let me know his thoughts. It helped me realize that brethren want to know what God is doing through the ministries!
Following that, there was prayer meeting where we shared in small groups about the people whom we have been trying to reach out to with the gospel. As we prayed for the salvation of those close to our hearts, I was encouraged that we were not only letting each other into a part of our lives, but also trusting in the Lord to do that which is beyond us. I ended thanking God for the fellowship with Him and with each other in such a manner.
Last Sunday was also the day of the outreach to the residents in Bedok South Horizon. From the start of that morning, I saw many Gracians eager to get to work to pack the 500 gift packs to be given to residents. There were also many Gracians who stepped into church with Mandarin oranges to be added to the packs. A group of ladies very quickly put in place a system of packing – from wiping oranges dry to loading the packs into the vehicles, every person found work to do such that the packing was completed in no time! At the very same time, while the packing was going on, some were hosting new friends who came for service, some were taking care of the children, and some were cleaning up the place. In every corner, Gracians were filling different gaps so people were ministered to. When the Mandarin service brethren gathered with the brethren from the English service, much fellowship was fostered among us as we served together.
It was an exhausting Sunday but one that left me energized, as I have been spurred on by Gracians to serve and much encouraged for the ministry ahead. Looking back, perhaps that was not an unusual Sunday after all, for it is the same faith, hope, and love that has been shown every time we gather. But I am thankful that God awakened me to see that clearly on 29 Jan; God is indeed a Living God who works in and through His church!