City Harvest Church’s School of Theology graduated its 27th batch of students last weekend on 19 and 20 August. City News spoke to this year’s award winners on their SOT experience.
AWARD: Best Overall Performance Award
WINNER: James Liew Chuang Yong (CHC, Kuching)
Tell us about your experience in SOT.
At SOT, we get to pray every day and that caused me to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I can sense that He is always around me. Also, I’ve grown in my capacity to pray. Prayer is no longer boring to me.
What is one memorable that you will treasure for a long time?
It’s definitely the people who have become my family. Everyone looks after me well—from my landlord to the pastors, the SOT staffers, and my teammates in Team 6. All of them are so giving and that’s what a family is about: to give and to sacrifice for one another.
AWARD: Best Academic Performance Award
WINNER: Liora Siau (CHC, Singapore)
What made you so passionate about coming to SOT to study the Word of God?
I would say that it’s because I want to know God more and to grow in my relationship with Him. In recent years, there have been many ups and downs in my walk with God. These struggles led me to want to know Him more. Studying the Word of God is important for me because I think that’s how I can understand God more and reciprocate His love for me.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about the Bible at SOT?
One of the most impactful modules at SOT, for me, was the Sermon on the Mount. I remember being intrigued by the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 because each of them was written with profound implications as to how we ought to live according to God’s standards. I was also surprised at how they were written so purposefully—even the sequence of each beatitude was intentional! It made me realise that I had a shallow understanding of God’s Word before coming to SOT.
AWARD: Minister of The Year Award
WINNER: Bill Yap (CHC, Singapore)
You must find joy in serving! Where does the joy come from?
Yes, of course! Serving in Photo Ministry and being able to capture all the moments in SOT has brought me joy as I felt that all the photos I took will bless people even after we graduate. Sometimes, I send my friends photos of themselves being prayed for, or of them worshipping. I feel that these photos serve as a reminder of what God spoke to them at SOT. Seeing through my camera lens how everyone is so engaged with God daily and how hungry they are for God brings me much joy as I know that God is making a difference in their life!
What is your favourite memory of SOT?
I think one of my favourite memories is of the Tuesdays when we had our prayer meetings for 1 hour 15 minutes. I was able to freely express my worship to God as I felt that SOT is a safe space. I remember once as I was kneeling in prayer, I heard God saying to me that my family will always be blessed. Though we have gone through many challenges, God is with us all the time and I believe we are able to overcome them!
AWARD: Best SOT Team Award (represented by Matthew Yeung and Effie Tan from CHC, Singapore)
WINNER: Team 6
What was it like leading your team?
Effie: It was an honour and privilege to lead Team 6. My experience as a Team Leader was fun and exciting. Looking back, I think it’s amazing how the Lord used Matthew and me to bring all 17 of us together as one unit. We knew that the first month was especially crucial in getting everyone to open up and feel comfortable with each other. So, we did our best to create a safe space for each single team member. There was a running joke within the team about having “1-to-1 Q&A sessions with the TLs” where we would bring them out for a meal and ask them to share more about their life journey with us. Sometimes they would lament about how “intense” those sessions were, but we’d all laugh about it after.
It was so beautiful to witness each team member open up to each other gradually over the past few months. And as clichéd as this sounds, I know that we’re a family who will always be there for each other because God is the one who holds us together.
Matthew: It didn’t feel like we were leading a team; rather, the team was one unit flowing together in everything that we did. It felt like we were long-lost friends that had not met in a long time. Age did not matter when we were fellowshipping with one another. My initial fear was that people of different age groups would not be able to bond well with one another. But within the first week, we knew that we would become one big family because we could all click individually.
As TLs, what we wanted to build for the team, especially for the international students, was a “home away from home”. Being away from their family and friends was definitely going to be a challenge for them, so we intentionally made sure that they felt welcome.
It was truly a joy and privilege to have this opportunity to lead them as they were all so willing to do everything together. We made sure everyone was well-informed, keeping account of each other to make sure information had been disseminated properly. Everyone was well taken care of.
Most importantly, the team was of one Spirit. In everything we did, we made sure to always pray beforehand, allowing the Holy Spirit to be with us, leading us through every step of the way.
What is your favourite memory with your team?
Effie: It’s so difficult to pick a favourite! But the first thing that comes to mind is when we all came together to pray. And I’m not talking about the planned prayer meetings, but it’s the impromptu ones. I love how we could just drop everything we were doing to be there in the moment with any team members in need, to pray with them and for them. The best way I can sum it up is that we are truly connected to each other spirit to spirit, and I love watching the way the Holy Spirit moves through us together as one.
Matthew: Our mission trip was my favourite memory. Being able to see each team member grow and be the best versions of himself or herself as they took on their roles was such a blessing. They grew to become people who are more confident and secure in themselves, relying not on their own strength but truly on God’s strength.
Another favourite was the mock cell group evaluations. Truth be told, we only practised with each other one day before the evaluation. But during every round, we flowed with one another as if we had been a cell group for a long time. Everyone had confidence in one another, we built and encouraged one another every step of the way and made sure we all did the best we could.
What do you think were the things that kept the team closely connected?
Effie: I’m going to take a leaf out of Pastor Bobby’s book and say koinonia! It means fellowship. We bond over food and fellowship the most. Since the first day of SOT, our team always stuck together during break times. As we have some working adults on the team, that was the only window of time that we get to have all 17 of us together. So, we made the most of it! We’re especially blessed by Jeff and Mu Qing who always whipped up delicious meals for us to eat during our break times. They would always host our out-of-school fellowship time, and those sessions were when we made the funniest and most heartfelt memories.
On top of the fellowship, what kept our team so close-knit was the pure heart that every single team member has. Everyone genuinely cares for each other, and we’re always thinking about each other’s well-being. We love to celebrate each other’s successes! There’s no competition between us and we all just truly love each other the way Jesus loves us. I already miss seeing Team 6 every day!
Matthew: We stayed close simply through intentional communion and fellowship. Every single day during breaks, we would stay together as a team. We would eat lunch as a team. Honestly, food was at the core of it all. We love to buy food and snacks for one another before class and during breaks. Once in a while, some of them would bring home-cooked food to feed the team and other people too. A shout out to Jeff for always cooking for us!
We know that each one of them has a pure heart that truly cares for one another. Through always being around one another, we also built a space that allowed one another to be open and vulnerable to each other. Those moments were where we grew in deeper intimacy with God too. What we learnt during SOT, we have been able to put it into action and develop the fruits of the Spirit.
AWARD: Courage Award
WINNER: Lee Kyung Ae (CHC)
Read about Lee Kyung Ae’s SOT journey in an upcoming article.