Youth put what they learn in camp—about the love of God—into practice.
Contributed by Lynn Choo and Dawn Seow
Following one of the youth camps held in City Harvest Church, where participants were taught to love, connect and engage, 70 youth gathered on a Sunday morning, on June 19, to clean and spruce up the homes of some elderly persons.
The home makeover project, dubbed Operation Love, was jointly organized by City Harvest Community Services Association and youth members under the pastoral care of Kelvin Tan, a zone supervisor at CHC. After learning about the need for believers to demonstrate the love of God, the youth decided to live out what they were taught—to be a blessing to the community.
“Operation Love is in line with the theme of our youth camp, Love Perfected,” Tan explained, “The best way to put the word into action is to personally go down to the houses of elderly and meet their most immediate needs.” Tan went on to explain that the purpose of Operation Love was two-fold: firstly for the youth to be a blessing to the community; and secondly, to reach out to the new friends who had joined the camp—through community work.
The KEL Zone youths came together a week before the actual operation for a briefing session by CHCSA staff, Irene Ho. With a total of six homes to clean up, the youths were divided into groups of eight to 12, each group taking charge of one unit.
Armed with tins of paints, Toyogo plastic boxes, cloth, pails and mops, everyone gathered at 8:30 a.m. that Sunday morning, all ready to give the homes of elderly persons residing alone in one-room rental flats a total makeover.
For many of the youth, this was their first time doing household chores; hence it was with much giggling and laughter that they got down to scrubbing kitchenware and walls. However, when they entered the bedrooms, laughter soon turned to exclamations and shrieks as they encountered roaches and bedbugs.
A young 13-year-old participant, Jermaine Ng, said, “The bed bugs were really disgusting. We could see the blood splatter when we squashed them. After that, we had no appetite for lunch.”
But it was this very encounter that drew compassion from all the young people. “We felt so sad for the elderly uncle; he was so badly bitten by the bed bugs that his bed was stained with blood,” said Ng.
Through the experience, the youths also learned the true meaning behind the Bible verse in Acts 20:35 that says “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
A visually-impaired elderly man requested for a talking clock two weeks earlier when the team visited his flat. In response to his need, the team searched through websites and shops all over the island before they managed to find one the night before the event.
Yuda Wirahadhi, 21, who was in charge of one of the teams shared, “Mr. Lim (one of the beneficiaries) was very touched and happy because the talking clock was the exact one he had before it was broken. We are very pleased and feel blessed that we could be a blessing to him in this manner.
“In two weeks’ time, he will be going for an operation and he is hoping for at least a minor recovery in his sight. Our team also prayed for him before we left.”
“Was so heart warming to see Mr. Omar [a beneficiary] tear in appreciation when we left his house just now. He’s such a nice guy! Don’t mind OL Pt 2” – Jordan Ong, 18
“Luv in op now! Had fun talkin’ n helpin’ the elderly … also passin’ the cloth n washin’ the cloth! Hope thr will be op love p2! Seriously luv it!” – Angel Yap, 13
“Operation Love was an awesome experience! Felt so good to bless the elderly with what we can! :)” – Tan Yun Ting, 19
“Really fun helping love operation! Touches my heart when the old folks smile and are happy!!” – Joshua Arunkummar, 21
“The look in his eyes as he teared when we left the place. A sense of accomplishment. (:” – Kenrick Tan, 19