JAMs Church, in collaboration with RAYZ, put together hampers from scratch to bless others during the Easter season.
“In everything I have shown you, that by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35.
For City Harvest’s JAMs (Jesus for All Minds) Church, which ministers to the intellectually challenged, that verse was the inspiration for their “I Am A Giver” Easter celebration—just as Jesus gave His life on the cross for mankind, so those who believe in Him and partake of His resurrection are empowered to bless others.
This the JAMs Church did by organizing a mini donation drive in partnership with RAYZ (a non-religious outreach program for people with special needs) to bring the underprivileged gift hampers.
People with special needs should not be perceived as a group of “takers” or mere “receivers”; they can also be part of a giving community—this is the message JAMs Church pastor-in-charge Lily Yong wants to spread. More importantly, the “I Am A Giver” project empowers JAMs members to experience the joy of giving to those less fortunate than themselves.
Thus the JAMs Church services on the weekend of Mar. 23 and 24 were special—in place of the usual rows of chairs, the auditorium at Basement Four of City Harvest’s Jurong West church was cleared. The JAMS Church members as well as RAYZ clients sat on the ground in teams.
They had all brought with them daily necessities such as rice, biscuits, canned and dried foods and household items. The atmosphere was abuzz with much excitement, as eager hands joined in teamwork to pack the goodies into the hamper baskets, stacking them up to the best of their abilities. The finishing touch: hand-written notes of love and encouragement.
The 52 hampers were then presented to residents from homes such as Sunlove Home, Blue Cross Home and Surya Home over the Easter weekend on Mar. 30 and 31.
“When I think about people in those homes, I feel very sad for them, and I want to give to them so that they can be happy”, says Ong Jingye, 20, a JAMs Church member, when asked what motivated her.
JAMs volunteer Aaron Chua, 31, shared that he was initially hoping for each JAMS member to just contribute one item, as many of them come from low-income families themselves. But they exceeded his expectations—the hamper basket he helped put together ended up over-flowing with gifts.
Much of this generosity on the part of the JAMs and RAYZ members can be attributed to the nurturing discipleship of Yong and her team of teachers and volunteers. Each week, some 430 members of the JAMs Church are treated to lively praise and worship as well as games and performances; a JAMs service never lacks audience participation, sportsmanship or laughter.
Besides fun and games, the theme of each week’s message varies so that God’s Word is imparted to them in a way that is relevant, engaging and practical.
The most recent Animal Series, for example, sought to instill spiritual wisdom through learning from various animals including the ones mentioned in the Book of Proverbs. At the same time, members obtain general knowledge regarding the wonders of God’s creations. Did you know that there is a lizard called the Jesus Lizard because it “walks” on water? And that only the female bumble bee has a sting on the back of its body?
Throughout the week, home visitations by the JAMs volunteers offer more one-on-one mentorship with members, besides providing the opportunity to be acquainted and bond with their family members.
The “I Am A Giver” project ties in with the on-going JAMs Home Outreach program; for the last 10 years, JAMs volunteers have been visiting the three homes mentioned above on a yearly basis, engaging the special needs residents in games or songs and gifting them with hampers put together by the JAMs Church members.
JAMs Church services are held weekly on Saturdays at 11 a.m. at both CHC’s Jurong West premise (1, Jurong West Street 91) and Singapore Expo, Max Atria Level 2: Garnet 214 & 215, and Sunday 11 a.m. at the Jurong West premise. If you would like to contribute to the good work JAMs Church is doing, volunteer to help out on a Saturday or Sunday JAMs service. Visit www.chc.org.sg for more information.