Just when Singaporeans thought life was returning to some sort of normalcy after COVID, the virus delivered another curveball. Community numbers began increasing over a fortnight ago, and have grown to a point that the Multi Ministry Task Force has declared Singapore to be in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) starting 16 May. On 28 April, a City Harvest Church member tested positive after contact with the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster. Her cell group members as well as others in her pastoral zone were subsequently given Quarantine Orders. In the midst of this unfortunate turn of events, those in quarantine found a sense of community in the church and the presence of God. One of them—a volunteer writer for City News—shares his story.
Whenever we go through tough times in life, in our frustration, we have a tendency to question God. I admit that I am no exception.
The past fortnight, I was thrown into an unexpected situation together with a number of members from my pastoral zone (led by Pastor Edmund Tay). The experience taught me that sometimes, God allows unfavourable circumstances to happen for a greater purpose and this was a perfect example of it.
THE START OF QUARANTINE
I was making my way out of school when I received a video message from my cell group leader. She briefly explained that one of our cell group members had contracted the resurgent COVID-19 virus. Everyone who had come into contact with her within the past two weeks would have to be quarantined.
Everything next happened in a blur. I received a text message from the Ministry of Health, allocating me to a quarantine facility. After two days, a taxi was sent to pick me up for a swab test, and shortly after I was sent to a hotel to serve my quarantine order.
When I arrived at the community facility, I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodation—the room was comfortable and three tasty meals were delivered to my doorstep every day. I was grateful that such efforts were made for those in quarantine, but at the back of my mind, I was disturbed.
I began to question God, “Why must You let us go through this?” I thought about all my fellow zone members and what they were each going through, being away from their families and unable to go to school or work. My heart went out to my cell group member who had COVID. I felt bad for what she had to go through in hospital.
But God is a good God: I did not expect that by going through what seemed an ordeal would bring me revelation upon revelation. At the same time, I experienced such a strong sense of community spirit within my pastoral zone.
DOING IT TOGETHER MAKES IT BETTER
It started off with one of the members under quarantine creating WhatsApp group chats to connect everyone who was serving out their QO. That gave all of us a strong sense of assurance that we were not alone in this. Although we were physically distant from one another—we were in different rooms, different locations—it did not stop us from fellowshipping online.
The group chats were abuzz with lively chatter as we shared our daily experiences and Bible verses of encouragement with one another. Pastor Edmund also organised a host of daily activities over Zoom, ranging from workouts and worship sessions to game nights which we could all indulge in.
Jerome Ke, 19, a member of N553, who actively participated in the activities, shared, “When the quarantine first started, I felt depressed, lonely and terrified. I could almost hear the silence and feel the emptiness of my room. However, the Zoom activities really helped to lift my spirits and it gave my emotional health a major boost.”
What moved me most was the overwhelming support we received from the church and its members in the form of encouraging texts or delicious goodies which were delivered to us.
Pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun showered plenty of love and care on us. They organised prayer meetings over Zoom with us, and the church sent us each a hamper. We were so blessed by their acts of love—they served as a source of comfort as we knew that there was a supportive community behind us.
Sing Qing, the cell group leader of N553, shared how encouraged she was by these prayer meetings. “They (Pastor Kong and Sun) took time to listen to us and pray for our needs—we really came up close and personal with them. Although we were physically apart from each other, it seemed like the church drew closer during this time.”
GOD IS WITH ME
During one of the prayer meetings with the pastors, the presence of God began to tangibly envelop me in my room. God dropped a familiar verse in my mind—Jeremiah 17:7 which reads, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” God spoke clearly to me, assuring me that He would work things out not just for me, but for everyone in the zone. There was no need to fear or worry as everything happens for a reason. That rhema word did wonders, erasing all the doubts and uncertainty that clogged my mind.
Alone in my room, I got to spend more time with God. There was a strong sense of peace which allowed me to fully concentrate on connecting with Him, something which was difficult for me to do at home. God soon prompted me to share my quarantine experience—which is why I am writing this. Turns out quarantine was not as bad as I had imagined.
This experience opened my eyes not only to how important community is but also how incredible God is. The great news is, 64 of us were quarantined, and none of us tested positive for COVID! As of 11 May, we all completed our QOs and have returned home.
I entered quarantine with a disgruntled spirit but came out it rejuvenated. Who can do this but God—our God who works wonders and miracles.