A CHCSA volunteer shares her experiences serving the different aspects of the community, which sparked her journey to love.
In 2012, I enrolled in City Harvest Church’s School of Theology (SOT). As part of the school’s curriculum every student has to find at least one ministry to serve in. I chose to serve in the News Media Ministry (now called the Media Comms Ministry), and that opened doors of opportunities for me to learn more about City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA), the social service arm of City Harvest Church, through reporting on its events for City News.
While I was in SOT, God gave me a revelation when I worked after school as a telemarketer in an insurance company. For three months, I made thousands of phone calls, pitching to people the importance of insurance and hoping to arrange a meet-up session with them to tell them more. However, I didn’t quite succeed at that. On my last day of work, I recalled picking up the phone as usual and dialling the numbers on the list. Finally, one person was convinced by my sales pitch and agreed to meet for a session. I was elated. And, at that moment, God spoke to me, “Sandy, as happy as you are when one person accepts the invitation despite thousands who rejected you, that is how happy I am when one is in the Kingdom.” This revelation propelled me to desire to serve and connect with every individual.
Because of City News, I started attending events held by CHCSA. I recalled my first event was House of Joy’s first anniversary. House of Joy is an eldercare centre set up to provide a sense of home to elderly persons in Pine Close, and to facilitate programmes to prevent cognitive/physical degeneration and social isolation while cultivating a positive attitude towards ageing and death.
The elderly were so welcoming. They saved a seat for me at the carnival, ensured my plates were full, shared with me their day’s amusement. That day’s interactions warmed up my heart and taught me what it meant when Pastor Kong Hee, the senior pastor of City Harvest Church always told us to do: “Find a need to meet, a hurt to heal.” The hearts and the dedication of the CHCSA volunteers showed me how a simple act of love goes a long way. Since then, I’ve attended many CHCSA’s events and signed up to volunteer my time to serve the clients of MS Care, a support group for multiple sclerosis patients who suffer from the chronic autoimmune disease that attacks its nerve tissues. MS Care also offers support to their caregivers.
WHAT I LEARNED
My first interaction with MS Care patients was an inspiring one for me. Every individual sat there, celebrating the ninth anniversary of MS Care had a unique story to tell, even the volunteers. One long-time volunteer of MS Care shared with me that sometimes as a volunteer you could be there for the patients from start to end. The journey could begin when one sees the patient get his or her diagnosis, or when the disease has affected them and caused them to be wheelchair-bound or bedridden, and sometimes, we are even there when they pass away. He added that as volunteers, we are the ones who help the patients and encourage them, but in fact, from his time with MS Care, he has learned so much about thankfulness, resilience, tenacity and positivity. Every word he said to me was true.
I used to be someone who is quite closed up and I always felt too inadequate to be part of anything. But through the multiple interactions with people at CHCSA’s events, it taught me how to interact and connect with others, and most importantly, to love my neighbor as I love myself.
Volunteering at MS Care taught me important things about life: how to be meticulous and detail-oriented when looking out for the needs of others, how to be thankful for the small things, and how to live life with passion. Every MS Care gathering is a time for patients and caregivers to get together, and I’ll see them asking each other how their conditions are and giving each other words of encouragement. Each time I witness it, it moves me tremendously. These patients’ passion and positivity for life seem to rub off on the people around them.
This year, MS Care will migrate from CHCSA to be a support service under the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI). CHCSA is grateful to have hosted such a groundbreaking program that has made a difference to MS patients and their loved ones, and its volunteers will continue to extend support to the group.
We’re at the start of a new year and I would like to encourage everyone to take some time off to volunteer with CHCSA. Volunteering opportunities at CHCSA range from event-based participation to regular commitments—you can even commit to serving as a cell group! Beneficiaries include children, youths, seniors and families. I believe that as you sow into someone’s lives, your life will flourish too.