What started as one-off mission trips for these School of Theology alumni turned into long-term partnerships with local churches in Indonesia and Cambodia with far-reaching impact.
By Yong Yung Shin with additional reporting by Koh Liting
It was in August 2012 when then-School of Theology student Chua Kim Peng and his team members went on a mission trip to Indonesia. On that trip, Chua witnessed the Word come to life as he found himself a vessel of healing and deliverance for the locals they ministered to.
Having caught the “mission bug”, Chua and his fellow team members sought the advice of CHC’s deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, who suggested that they adopt a local church instead of spreading their resources among multiple locations.
They followed his advice and since 2012, the group has grown from five to about 80 members. This year alone, 13 trips were made—so far the group has made 25 trips in total to select churches in Indonesia.
All the members are working professionals, and surprisingly, none are cell group leaders or full-time church workers. “The Lord brought us together as one body with one thing in common: we are available to serve God,” says Chua. He observes that the strong culture of discipleship and accountability taught at CHC has been an enabling factor for various ones to “step up and anchor something.” Chua himself is a father of three and a managing partner at one of the largest financial advisory firms in Singapore.
One area the team has been sowing into is Mount Bromo near the small city of Probolinggo in East Java. Although they had been ministering at GBI Bukit Sion before, it was this year, during a trip from Apr 17 to 21 that they experienced exciting breakthroughs. The team ministered to a cell group and saw two salvations; it was a significant breakthrough because of the demonic stronghold in the area; Mount Bromo is a well-known volcanic crater that used to see human sacrifices as recently as 20 years ago.
Taking authority over the oppressive forces, Chua and his team started having prayer walks around the area, ascending the 242-step slope to the crater of the active volcano and breaking the spiritual strongholds of darkness by confessing God’s love over His people there. This time, they felt a significant lift in the spiritual atmosphere, confirmed by many signs and wonders.
“During this April trip, we saw a lady walk into the church with crutches and leaving totally healed, a bed-ridden man sitting upright once again, and a village that was once inaccessible welcomed us to minister at its school. I realized what a great victory the Lord has given us,” recalls property agent Yap Wei Siang. “On a personal note, I ended the trip knowing my true identity, that in the Lord’s eyes, I’m not a servant but a son, a child of the Most High God.”
Says Chua, “This trip marked a major milestone in our ministry, not just because we preached at a major event and received a record number of decisions, nor because of the miracles, signs and wonders. More importantly, this trip confirmed the calling and vocation of our ministry, an evangelistic ministry to reach out to the lost and win them for the Lord. It was not just a spiritual awakening for Probolinggo or each member on the team, but for our mission ministry,”
As the team formed deep, genuine relationships with GBI Bukit Sion’s leadership and in particular, senior pastor Daud Ruku and his wife, they learned about the burden he had to build a primary school in the area. While Ruku and his family had self-funded a Christian pre-school in the area, the students who were taught Biblical values since young had to later on continue their education in a state-run primary school which observes religious practices of another faith, thus undermining the spiritual foundation that had been built earlier. The other option for the young was a private Catholic school, which was beyond the means of most in the local community.
Most recently, God led them to a plot of land, and Chua and his team, upon receiving blessings from Ruku, took the initiative to raise $50,000 for the land purchase and construction through donations. The land bid was eventually secured by a narrow margin, and construction commences soon to erect a primary school with a capacity for 60 students. While it will be registered with the government and open to the public, it has been given approval to conduct classes underpinned by Christian values.
The school will be self-sustainable with student sponsorship frameworks in place (approximately $10 per child a month) from Singaporean supporters, and the project will allow Ruku and his church to impact generations to come, as batches of students pass through the school’s gates every year, grounded in God’s Word.
BEING SALT & LIGHT
At another province, Ranupani, the team saw over 200 salvation decisions in the last two years or so. Again, it was not just spiritual needs that were met but practical ones, including the installation of a water filtration system and solar panels in the homes of the local members.
It was in this place that the team encountered a young girl who received the Good News of Christ with such joy and thanksgiving that she promptly followed the team around to other villages as a translator, which was an immense help as some of the villagers spoke in uncommon dialects that only she knew.
“The Lord has called us to East Java, added to our team and opened many doors for us,” says Chua. “We find ourselves part of something bigger, doing Kingdom work; and as we serve, we have witnessed spiritual fruit in our own lives: families and marriages strengthened, relationships and careers flourish.”
Senior marketing executive Mabel Heng adds, “This trip has renewed my vision and purpose in Christ: my gifts from the Holy Spirit were exercised and I really experienced God’s presence in a tangible manner. I found myself growing closer to the Lord each day, learning to be yielded to Him and deepening my understanding of who He is and who I am in Christ. I found new amazing, inspiring friends, and most importantly I found God, the One who never left me nor forsook me, who has constant thoughts toward me, who desires for me a future and a hope.”
MADCAM (Make-A-Difference-Cambodia) started as a mission trip by a group of students from CHC’s School of Theology in 2013 as part of the course curriculum, explains team leader Jimmy Ong, 33. “That experience made an impact on all of us—seeing how God moved in us and through us. Since then, a group of us felt led to continue this volunteer-driven initiative beyond a one-off project.”
After Ong and his cohort graduated from SOT, a handful of them, together with other like-minded volunteers, continued organizing mission trips to Holy Church in Lechwat Village, Phnom Penh, which comprises about 200 members and 100 youth and children.
The idea behind MADCAM is to put the Christian faith into practice beyond the church setting by “supporting the development of its ministry leaders and its infrastructure, and helping it be a channel of blessing to the community through humanitarian work,” explains Ong, a civil servant by profession.
The group started by preaching and ministering during Holy Church’s services, sharing Word and giving testimonies. Since then, the MADCAM committee of eight core volunteers—all working professionals —has expanded its scope of support.
MADCAM organizes at least three trips per year to Cambodia, each time building on the spiritual foundation from previous trips, training and empowering Holy Church’s staff and members to run their ministry effectively, while constantly observing material needs and providing practical aid.
Last month, a MADCAM team on a recce trip brought 50 pairs of shoes for Holy Church to give to members in need. The shoes were collected as part of a self-initiated shoes donation drive by MADCAM volunteer, Xue Yong Zhi. A professional dance instructor who has been participating in MADCAM trips for the past three years, Xue observed that many of Holy Church’s members did not have proper footwear; walking around barefooted exposed them to injuries, especially the youth who were actively involved in the dance ministry. Seeing the need, he spearheaded a donation drive, from designing of the posters to rallying for support, coordinating collection efforts, and packing of the donated shoes.
This Little Light Of Mine
A group of Christian kids, accompanied by eight teachers and volunteers, flew to Indonesia on a mission to bring joy to the needy.
One is never too young to share the Good News with those who need it. Harvest Kidz, City Harvest Church’s children’s church, conducted its third Kidz In Mission trip from Nov 26 to 29 with 14 children aged between 10 and 13 and eight adults, mostly teachers and volunteers from Harvest Kidz. This was Harvest Kidz’s first mission trip to Jakarta; previous missions had been to Batam. The team worked with an affiliate of CHC, Gekari Kota Tanpa Tembok or Church Without Walls Church (CWWC).
Over four days, the children visited and conducted many activities at places such as the Cancer Kids Foundation, an orphanage and a slum area.
At the foundation, the Singapore team brought gifts to bless children suffering from cancer, and conducted games and created balloon sculptures to entertain them. One of the Singaporean kids, Nicholas Teo, 11, even donated $50 from his Edusave Award to the foundation. Although the foundation was secular, the teachers had opportunity pray a blessing of good health over the sick children. The team likewise brought entertainment and gifts to the orphanage, and sang Christmas carols to bring festive cheer.
Nicole Soh, 13, was part of the praise and worship team, playing guitar alongside teacher Bryan Lee. To bring the gift of music was hard work—the team practiced hard all the carols they would sing all four days. “On our final day, we headed to CWWC to get ready for our big day: performing for the main children’s’ service and performing for the adults’ service!” she said.
The part of the trip that had the greatest impact was the team’s visit to the slums. The children witnessed how people lived in shanty towns built in the shadow of gleaming skyscraper, housed in shelters without running water, next to foul-smelling gutters clogged with rubbish. The Singapore an children brought packs of rice, milk, bread, and canned food for 15 families and prayed for every household they visited. They lived out Acts 20:35 (NIV), “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
“I saw that the people living in the slums are poor but they were happy because they have a shelter over their head,” said Xavier Chee, 11. “I felt happy that I could buy groceries for the families and also pray them. Something I learned is to look at what I have and not what I don’t have.”
Ally Wai, 10, said, “I saw the way the people lived in the slum area and I felt blessed that I have a nice home. God told me that I am the salt and the light of this world. I can shine for Jesus and pray for these families.”
The trip was an empowering experience for this group of young ones. They drew close to God in a daily time of reflection, and enjoyed the opportunities to bring the love of Christ to the sick and the struggling, and even to pray for those in need.
“We all learned to be grateful for the little things we have, like family and friends, because not everyone has the things we have,” said Soh. “With that, I thank God for the opportunity to come to this mission trip.”
~ Reporting by Wendy Wong & Nicole Soh