How a group of people who set out to give to others found themselves receiving so much more in the end.
By Lee Li Ying
On a Friday evening, members from two cell groups in City Harvest Church decided to set their own needs aside to bring joy to 20 elderly people. They called their mission Project Joy Crane.
An initiative by Peter Hua, the cell group leader of the two cell groups W378 and W398, Project Joy Crane was a community service project that has a simple vision: to give the elderly beneficiaries of Henderson Senior Activity Centre an enjoyable night out at Sentosa.
Prior to the day of outing, the cell group members got together and raised more than S$250. The funds went to buying gifts for the elderly folk and for materials for the games, transportation and the entrance fees to Sentosa.
The event was a first for the cell group. Connect group coordinator Lee Keng Yip, who helmed the project, described, “It was quite a challenging process planning and executing the program as we did not have much experience and resources. We were at a complete loss, not knowing what to expect and with little idea how to pitch our proposal to the Care Centre.” Despite initial doubts and uncertainties, Lee and the rest of the members pressed on, walking by faith, and relying on God to pull them through the obstacles in their way.
What made the endeavor even more meaningful was the spirited teamwork of the cell group. Many of the members also stepped forward with personal initiatives of their own—some put together a small goodie bag consisting of snacks and drinks which they personally paid for, another group volunteered to buy dinner for the elderly, yet others planned and led the beneficiaries in games and entertainment while the rest helped to fold paper cranes that the beneficiaries would take home as tangible mementos of the night.
All the planning was put to test on the evening of May 18, when the members of the two cell groups brought the 20 elderly people to Sentosa. The efforts of the members were all paid off by the warm hugs, genuine smiles and soft whispers of gratitude from the elderly. After a short time of games and dinner, the highlight of the night, which was The Crane Dance performance—a majestic display by large mechanized cranes that danced gracefully, the spectacle framed by cascading arcs of light and water—brought the outing to a close. As the dazzling display of fireworks lit the night sky, the sweat and hard work sown into Project Joy Crane reaped an abundance of joy in the hearts of the members.
One member Glennda Phua put into words the sentiments of many members of the cell group. “Project Joy Crane was an extremely heartwarming experience! I was moved by how such a simple act of kindness can bring such comfort and happiness to the elderly. Joy shared is indeed joy multiplied! Furthermore, the cell group bonded and drew closer to each other because of this!” Phua said.
It was evident that many other members were touched by the reciprocity and warmth of the elderly. Lavendran pointed out, “For what we gave them that night, they gave us their warm kindness in return. I’m just glad that I was a part of Project Joy Crane.”
“The truth is, we’re not the ones ministering; they are de facto ministering to us,” concluded Hua. Interacting with the elderly gave the members a chance to listen to their stories and experience their grit and tenacity. As the cell group members gave of their time and money, they received much joy and appreciation in return.