Running with the lessons they learned at camp, the young members of VER Zone started a chain of good deeds.
Contributed By Lau Quan Han
Great things happen when young people catch a vision and run with it. The youth of VER Zone stand testament to this.
During the recent June holidays, the youth members of City Harvest Church were involved in various camps at zone level. They left the camps fired up in their faith, and some took their experiences to the next level by applying what they learned.
30 youth under the pastoral care of Veronica Tang, a zone supervisor in CHC, attended the VER Zone’s Youth Encounter Camp from May 29 to June 2. Having learned about carrying the love of God during their camp, the youth decided to practice their lesson with a group of elderly residents at Our Lady of Lourdes Nursing Home.
There was even a mentorship element to the outreach: the older youth who are studying in tertiary institutions took the younger members, who are in secondary school, under their wings. Leading by example, the older boys and girls taught the younger ones how to engage and connect with the elderly, overcoming hurdles such as language.
As the young ones sang songs and held the hands of the old folk, they realized that the joy they had hoped to bring to the elderly was more than returned to them. The youth left with memories of their beneficiaries’ warm smiles.
This first encounter soon led to a desire to do more. The love for serving the community proved contagious: no more than a month later, the entire zone embarked on Project M.A.D.
M.A.D. is an acronym for “Making A Difference”—a suitable name as the youth went all out to touch as many lives as they could. A total of six homes in different parts of Singapore were cleaned up and made over by 80 volunteers. In addition to a return visit to Our Lady of Lourdes Nursing Home, other homes that were visited by the youth included Green Avenue Home for the Elderly, Jamiyah Nursing Home, Evergreen Place, Rochor Kong Shi Elderly Activity Centre and the Red Cross Home for the Disabled.
Apart from donating food items to some of the homes, the different cell groups in VER Zone performed for and interacted with the residents. The group returning to Our Lady Of Lourdes Nursing Home came equipped to do more: they gave light massages to the bedridden residents.
The group of volunteers who visited the Evergreen Place were pleasantly surprised at how their visit turned out to be more than they expected. They had come to teach the residents how to make handicraft in the form of ceiling mobiles, but ended up being impromptu performers. Some of the new friends who came along found themselves singing Hokkien songs to the delight of the elderly. The senior folk eventually joined in the karaoke on stage. This group of volunteers plans to go back to Evergreen Place again in August to bring even more activities to enrich the lives of the elderly—members and their friends are already preparing games and performances for their next visit.
For many of the first-time volunteers, stepping out of their comfort zone to serve the less fortunate members of the community, regardless of race or religion, truly drove home the revelation of God’s all-encompassing love. Lee Jialiang, 25, shared how seeing the sincere and genuine smiles on the beneficiaries’ faces made him feel that whatever he had done was meaningful.
For the members of VER Zone, this was definitely the start of something new, a movement that looks set to grow and inspire people to become more Christ-like by serving the needs of others in a practical way.