In this testimony, which the church heard on Sep 18 and 19, Helen Gianchand shared how she reached out to her fellow Filipinos in Singapore. Sabel Dela Cruz, her cell group member recounted how God healed her heart.
“I came to know the Lord at age 9, through the children’s church ministry in the Philippines. My Math teacher who brought me to church,” Helen Gianchand shared.
“I enjoyed children’s church so much especially the praise and worship. I did well in my studies and graduated with a degree in accountancy. I became a certified public accountant (CPA).
“In 2007, I received a job offer to work in Singapore. The day I arrived in Singapore, my friend invited me to attend the City Harvest Church service that was held at Singapore Expo. I really enjoyed the service and felt the strong presence of God. After a few months in church, I signed up to serve in Harvest Kidz. I also joined various mission works and eventually became a cell group leader.
“In 2010, I signed up for CHC’s School of Theology to learn more about God. I remember an unforgettable lesson we have with Pastor Kong (Hee, CHC’s senior pastor) in SOT. It was in the book of Romans. Pastor Kong said that Christians must be the most loving and accepting people. He told us, ‘We only have one life to live, we should live it for Jesus’. I was so impacted.
‘I told God, I also want to reach out to more souls. Then the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to reach out to those closest to my heart, to those I know better, their culture, their needs and struggles… and they are my fellow Filipinos.
“I got so hungry for souls that every time I hear someone speak the Filipino dialect, I would want to bring them to church. For many years, I focused on reaching out to the Filipino PMET—the engineers, managers, teachers, nurses, those in F&B. As a Filipino ex-pat, I can understand the struggle with homesickness especially those parents who are away from their families and little children back in the Philippines. God has been gracious. From six, my cell group now has 50 people.
“Then one day, my friend Ana and I saw a group of domestic helpers seating in Hall 605, just here in church! We told ourselves, we could reach out to them. They are our fellow Filipinos. We started giving them Bible study in Hall 605 while service was going on. From four domestic helpers, we grew to 70 over as they invited their friends. We brought them for Sunday services and have cell group meetings in my house too. Most of them are single mothers. Many struggle with poor self-esteem, poverty, and broken marriages. We taught them to tithes and many are able to buy their own houses and farms in the Philippines. Some also experience restoration in their marriages. Most of all they have a solid relationship with God.”
Sabel Dela Cruz is a member who experienced God drastically. “I grew up in a family of seven children,” she started. “Since young, my mother abused me physically and verbally. Whenever she was angry, she would tell me that she doesn’t want to see my face because I am not her daughter. Those statements created a big question mark in my identity as a person. I often look down on myself and develop very low self-esteem. Many times, I wondered the point of being alive when life was like living hell to me.
“Then in 2011, I applied for a job in Singapore as a domestic helper and it was successful. I felt so relieved. Finally, I could get out of my misery. I told myself when I am in Singapore, I will continue to send money back to my family and support them. I hope by doing so, my mother will love me more.
“At a time when I felt so lost and unloved, my employer brought me to CHC. While they went to the service. I was waiting at Hall 605. Ana saw me and invited me to join the bible study group. She also introduced me to her CGL Helen and other members in the cell group. I felt God’s love through them and soon gave my heart to Jesus. I started to grow in the ways of the lord.
“In 2020, I found out from a relative that what my mother said was true all along. I was an adopted child. My siblings knew about it but did not tell me because they needed my financial support, for me to send money home.
“My biological mother got pregnant at an early age and due to fear of disappointing her rich parents, she went to a midwife attempting to abort me. However, the midwife convinced her to go on with the pregnancy and gave the baby to her.
“I felt so rejected. I did everything I could and gave everything to my family just so I could earn their love. It got to a point I felt depressed and suicidal. I hated my adopted parents who caused me so much pain in my childhood and my birth mother who did not even bother to find me.
“I shared this with Helen. She spent time counselling me and praying with me. It was during those moments when I felt the love and support of my brothers and sisters in the church. They are like my family.
“I experienced the tangible presence of God in every cell group meeting and church service. Cell group members filled my longing for having loving sisters. Helen is the older sister that I have always longed for.
“Today I am totally set free from bitterness, hatred and low self-esteem. I forgave my parents and siblings. I even supported the medical needs of my sick grandmother.”
She added, “I also forgave my biological mother. Just last year I found out that my mother lived in the United States but she passed away due to sickness. Somebody told me that my mother kept telling others that she has a daughter in the Philippines before she passed on. It feels good to know that my mother thought of me during her last days. God knows I need this closure.”
“Sabel is now happily serving the Lord as one of my connect group leaders in the Filipino ministry,” Helen continued. “She’s full of love as she shares about her life experiences to encourage our Sunday group members whenever they feel down. Her testimony has been an inspiration to many of us.
“She has also adopted a daughter, Marie, to whom she pours her love. Marie was born out of wedlock too and very sickly. Her biological mother knew that she could not support her medically and gave her up. Sabel took her in and provided all she can for Marie. She experienced abuse and cruelty but now she has so much love to give.
“I believe there are many Sabel in our midst who are in need of prayers and support. It has been years since many of the foreigners went back home. Many are homesick and worry-sick for their families back home.
“Let us all make a real difference by supporting our fellow workers working in Singapore.”