Head of CHC’s JAMS service, Pastor Lily Yong, tells City News how her team and her members have been adapting to this season of outbreak and keeping the faith.
City Harvest’s Jesus for All Minds (JAMS) service brings the Gospel to people with special needs. Pastor Lily Yong works with a passionate staff and team of volunteers to support the congregation (whom Pastor Lily calls “my angels”) and their families. This season, JAMS service has been suspended but Pastor Lily and her team have been actively engaging their members. She shares with us what pastoring her flock in this time of COVID-19 has been like.
“We really miss everyone in JAMs. We can’t wait to have our members back for service. But at this time, we can’t yet, so we’re doing a few things to stay connected with them.
“First and foremost, we record JAMs service and upload it, and we send our members and their caregivers the link to the service so that they can join in service online.
“Since we aren’t able to visit our members, our volunteers call them on the phone to make sure that they are all doing okay and coping.
“We’ve done some mail-outs to our members. We sent them prayer cards to let them know that we miss them and are praying for them. We also mailed them a “Care Kit” containing surgical masks and wet wipes, and a postcard declaring Psalm 91:9-10 over them and their household. A few of our JAMs volunteers did the packing, and prayed over every card and Care Kit sent out. In this week’s Care Kit, we are including soap, a face towel, hand sanitizer and a card detailing how to observe personal hygiene.
“When we eventually resume service, we will take all the necessary precautions like getting them to fill in health and travel declaration forms and taking their temperature. We will keep service size to about 40 to 50 persons. For our workers and our bus drivers, we plan to pack a Care Kit to appreciate them for serving and so that they will feel safe serving.
“As for work, the JAMs workers connect through Zoom and Facebook Live regularly for discussions. We also meet up in small groups, mostly to fellowship.
“With the split team arrangements at the office, we all spend alternate weeks working from home. When I’m home I bake. I have always loved to bake and I’m recently into baking bread, and trying out different types of bread. I also keep up my exercise routine, like running, to keep fit and healthy. Usually I would listen to praise and worship songs or the previous weekend’s sermon during my workouts.
“Working from home also allows me to have more time with my Ah Lao (Pastor Lily’s husband, Pastor Tan Kim Hock, the Academic Dean of the School of Theology). We would have a bowl of cold dessert, or have breakfast together in the morning.
“In spite of COVID-19, life still has to go on. This is the Jewish year of PEY, which has got to do with our mouths and declaration. While the devil works at the beginning of this year by covering our mouths and keeping us away from one another, we have to be mindful that God will cover us with His hands, with His goodness. All the more, at this time, we need to keep our faith strong. We have to cover each other in prayer, especially the senior management team of Pastor Sun, Pastor Aries and Pastor Bobby—they have to make many tough decisions during this period.
“Right now, we are in the season of Lent. During this time, I am ever more mindful on what God has done for us. Instead of feeling fearful, anxious and worried, let’s intentionally set aside time to study, to meditate, to pray through the word of God. Listen to sermons by our very own pastors, also Pastor Bill Johnson and Pastor Steven Furtick. Pick up a good Christian book to read.
“And we must never stop declaring with our mouth on God’s promises. He is truly our refuge and fortress and truly nothing bad and no diseases will come near our home!
“Personally, I have been praying Psalm 91:9-10, 14-16 (ERV): ‘You trust in the LORD for protection. You have made God Most High your place of safety. So nothing bad will happen to you. No diseases will come near your home… The Lord says, “If someone trusts me, I will save them. I will protect my followers who call to me for help. When my followers call to me, I will answer them. I will be with them when they are in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will give my followers a long life and show them my power to save.’
“This is my prayer for everyone.”