Estella Sia’s care and concern transcended her classroom at the Lee Wei Song School of Music to touch the hearts of her students.
Contributed By Bernie Guan
Since emerging as a runner-up in the SuperBand Grand Final in October 2008, Estella Sia, one fifth of local Mandopop band, Da Feng Chui, has seen her career pick up and a handful of her students come to Christ as a result of her love and concern meticulously poured into their lives.
Recently, in her efforts to help these teens become integrated into the church, she has teamed up with her cell group leader, Eric Kong, his wife, Grace Tan, and fellow cell group member cum guitarist, Clement Chiang, to form a new cell group to befriend and minister to them.
Upon graduating from junior college in December 2000, Sia joined Lee Wei Song School of Music as a teacher-cum-supervisor at the premier educational institution for discovering and developing music talents. Her foray into the music industry was further fueled by her involvement in City Harvest Church’s choir and back-up vocalist ministry the following year.
In February 2010, Sia was placed in charge of her students to form a POP choir performing English and Mandarin hits. From giving vocal training lessons to performance coaching, Sia is also adept at artiste training and vocal grooming. All these, coupled with her creativity and dedication, helped her students to mature tremendously in stage experience through their public performances. With students aged between 10 and mid-thirties, all have benefited from her teaching, representing the school at community events such as SIA Engineering Company Limited’s National Day Observance Ceremony 2010 of the Aerospace and Aviation Cluster held at the SIAEC A380 Hangar and the Mid Autumn Festival 2010 at Clarke Quay.
Sia upgraded her credentials by taking time amidst her teaching schedule to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business at a local university. Her commitment to her ministry in church also opened doors for her to serve in several overseas mission trips.
Being in the entertainment industry over the years has not been without “ups and downs” but her perseverance was witnessed by her students whom she interacts with twice to thrice a week. As a result of their close contact, and “lots of time spent with them,” many were curious as to what was the engine of her passion. Her ability to connect with her students on Facebook and Twitter also drew them closer to her over time. Last December, Sia’s students participated in a six-minute skit at an event organized by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. There they met other members of CHC, and the doors to their hearts were opened. Soon after, Sia’s students accepted her invitation to CHC’s Christmas service, and that became the turning point for them all. Seven of her students came and by the end of the two and a half hour service, they gave their hearts to Jesus.
Sia sees herself as “the bridge that links these youth to Christ.” She also looks out for their personal welfare, ensuring that the students do not neglect their studies in school as a result of their new-found faith.
One of Sia’s students is Roxanne Heng, who said that ever since she accepted Christ into her heart, praying to God everyday has made a huge difference in how she lives her life. “I may go through a tough time during the day, but praying to God at the end of the day helps me feel better. I enjoy going to church and cell group as the people I meet are very friendly and caring—it makes me feel at home.”
Fellow chorister, Zann Foo echoed the same sentiments, saying, “Now, when I face problems in life, I would tell myself to have faith in God and keep praying. Things will always turn out better in the end.”
Through the befriending and outreach of Sia, Kong, Tan, Chiang and other CHC members such as David Ang and Timothy Wan, five of Sia’s students now attend church and cell group meetings regularly.
Kong, a 31-year-old strategic account manager, shared, “The birth of a cell group signifies the commitment to establish for members a strong identity as believers of Christ and members of CHC. It is an important milestone where members are discipled in the Word of God, and get to experience God in a small group setting; and in the process get integrated into this amazing spiritual family.”
Sia, who is now an academy manager at Lee Wei Song School of Music, is “overwhelmed by the love” and thankful for the friendship that the cell group has shown to her students. She also feels that the outreach to her students brings back memories of “the good old days” when her own cell group was made up of teens.
“The students’ presence has bought a sense of youthful energy to the cell group, reminding us that we should never lose our sense of child-like joy and wonder, in the midst life’s challenges,” said cell group member Gareth Yeo, 32, a communications officer.
Over the past few months, the commitment and friendship displayed by everyone have shown how the Caring System of CHC goes beyond the boundaries of age. Sia and her cell group agree that caring for others should be part of one’s lifestyle in and outside of church, and a person’s genuineness and sincerity must be easily felt.