A team of 15 missionaries from City Harvest Children’s Church set off to Malaysia on Dec. 9, 2009 for a Children Worker’s Conference under the invitation of Raymond Pu, the children’s ministry pastor of Glad Tidings Assembly of God, Petaling Jaya. The team included a pastor, two church staff, nine adult volunteers and three children. The team pulsated with a common purpose; to empower and inspire the children’s workers who were there.
Organized by the National Children’s Ministry Department, Assembly of God & Junior Church and Glad Tidings Assembly of God, Petaling Jaya, the team ministered in a total of five packed sessions, including a full-fledged Children’s Church service on the last day.
This was the very city where Eileen Toh, CHC’s Children’s Church pastor, received a revelation from God about how to run her ministry to children. Back then in 1994, Toh was one of the conference participants and was hungry for a move of God. In one session conducted by Bill Wilson, she was impacted by his message on being a catalyst for change in society. She returned to Singapore with a renewed vision and started to implement fresh new ideas she had received during the conference.
Toh recalls, “He (Bill Wilson) inspired me to want to make a difference no matter what it takes and having heard his life testimony, I told myself that God can use me mightily in this area. God began speaking to me about the Children’s ministry in CHC and I wanted to see a larger children’s work in Singapore. At that time, CHC was also on the brink of launching the Church Without Walls campaign. So I felt ready to run with this vision that God had given to the leadership in CHC.”
Fifteen years later, Toh is back in the same place where the fire of God first burned in her heart for the children’s ministry. But this time, it was her turn to inspire others as she was one of the main speakers for the conference. Sharing on topics such as, the Keys to Growth in Children’s Ministry, Dynamics of Praise and Worship, Staying in the Cutting Edge of Your Children’s Ministry and Creative Leadership, the sessions were well-received as participants listened to the Word of God attentively.
After their last session, the team visited an Indian orphanage which was located in the outskirts of Petaling Jaya and ministered to the children who were there. For 45 minutes, the home was filled with melodies of ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift, ‘We’re All in this Together’ from the movie High School Musical, ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘Joy to the World.’ One of the team members, Connie Yong, shared with the children a story about how important it is to have a dream and to never let others look down on them. The three children who were on this mission trip also had a surprise for the children in the orphanage. Using their own pocket money, they bought gifts and chocolates for the children in the orphanage and were extremely delighted to find that their little gesture brought so much joy to them.
|PHOTOS: Gabriel Seow|
Since many of the children in the orphanage were either picked up from the streets or were sent to the orphanage by legal force, many of them do not possess birth certificates or know when their exact birth dates are. Therefore, all of them celebrate their birthdays together on Dec. 31 every year.
What made the trip special for one of the volunteers was knowing that one person can make a difference to another. Adrian Cheung, who was part of the team of 15, happened to notice a very shy little girl who seemed very reserved during the photo-taking session. He decided to approached her and realized that she was a little different than the rest because she had one extra finger on one of her hands. Cheung said, “I told her it is true that people are different and others may not understand it and may even laugh about it. But while men looks on the outside, God looks at the heart. At that point, I just felt that God wanted me to tell her that she is special and as long as she loves Him and follows Him, God will use her in ways she never knew.”
The pastor of the orphanage then related to the team that just a few days earlier, other children were making fun of this girl. She returned to the orphanage in tears and demanded an answer from her pastor who could not give her a good explanation and prayed for God to send her an answer. The pastor looked at Cheung and said, “Looks like you are the answer sent by God!”
Is the happiness of a person measured by the things he does or the things he buys? For the group of us on this trip, we discovered that happiness is being able to look at our lives through Heaven’s eyes. We can make a difference in the lives of others, one at a time.