Paper Christmas tree handicraft, suitable for hanging at bedsides and doors
The WSCS and YA ministries combined efforts for a Christmas outreach project to two nursing homes.
It all started with a message from Siang Ling, Lay Executive Staff for the Young Adults Ministry in mid-September 2020 to Rachel, President of the KKMC Chapter of the Women’s Society for Christian Service (WSCS). Would WSCS be interested in doing a joint outreach project with the Young Adults Ministry in our church?
From October to November 2020, the two ministries came together to plan for what the outreach could be. In our discussions, we had initially wanted to reach out to a single ward in one nursing home, bearing in mind that this was a busy period for the Young Adults and that both ministries did not have much budget set aside for outreach. However, God challenged us to serve two nursing homes: Singapore Christian Home and MWS Nursing Home – Yew Tee.
Our choice to serve two nursing homes meant that the two ministries had to pack over 400 blessing bags, each accompanied with a paper Christmas tree handicraft and laminated Bible verse. While we had doubts about whether the two ministries had sufficient budget and volunteers to serve the two homes, we went along with God’s conviction, trusting that God would supply.
God answered us powerfully. He brought kind donors for the initiative, such that each ministry need only spend a small amount for the outreach. He also brought volunteers from the WSCS and YA community to help in handicraft making and packing. Y6s from the Youth Ministry also supported us over one Sunday afternoon in handicraft making. As such, while we had budgeted to complete the handicraft making and gift bag packing over three separate weekend sessions, we were able to complete it in just two. We were then able to deliver the blessing bags before Christmas.
God also made way for us to visit the residents at Singapore Christian Home. This was a pleasant surprise, for we did not expect to hand-deliver the blessing bags to the nursing home residents individually. With help from nursing home staff and a few YA and WSCS volunteers, we delivered the gifts on a weekday afternoon.
We learnt that we were the first volunteer group to visit this nursing home since the COVID-19 restrictions and were able to talk to a few residents, making this opportunity even more precious. One of the residents even showed us his handmade paper crafts! Staff from the nursing home also texted us afterwards to say that the residents were indeed happy to have visitors, especially as family visitations, have been restricted. Eugenia, a YA, also shared her experience of a short conversation with a resident:
“I had a lovely conversation with a lady who was very joyful to see volunteers visit. We chatted and I was encouraged by her trust in the Lord, and gratitude for the good care the nurses provided. We prayed together before I parted ways with her. I am glad the residents in the home are able to live in a place filled with caring nurses.”
As the church moves into the theme of Loving Outreach, we see that God taught us “Loving Outreach” in three areas. Firstly, loving outreach can also mean reaching out to other ministries within KKMC. While we were two ministries with very different demographics – Young Adults and WSCS – we could still partner each other effectively when united as an authentic community serving Christ. The YAs and WSCS ladies were able to get to know one another better too. Becky, a YA, shared:
“We arrived for an afternoon session to make the Christmas tree craft in small groups, and chatted and got to know each other better. Even as we sought to bless the nursing homes with these crafts, we were in turn blessed by the experience of an authentic community, serving together for God’s glory.”
Secondly, loving outreach must go beyond the church and into the community. As we served during the Christmas season, we were reminded that the joy of knowing Christ should not be restricted to church – we can also bring this joy to the community. In turn, we too, can experience more of God’s joy and presence. Rachel, a Y6, put it well:
“As we spent time carefully crafting each Christmas tree, I realised how fulfilling it was to be doing this for the community. God blessed me in a way I never expected, and I am so grateful for it.”
Most importantly, loving outreach must go in faith and not shy away from exploring new areas. Admittedly, we had our doubts about whether the initiative would succeed due to limited resources. Both nursing homes were also new partners that the ministries had not worked with previously for outreach. But had the two ministries looked at the limitations, we would have limited God’s work and not experienced God’s faithfulness.
As the famous saying attributed to Hudson Taylor, a pioneering missionary to inland China, goes: “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
As we end off 2020, this is our prayer for the coming year: that as we listen to God’s guidance and obey Him, He will supply just what we need to do His work.