Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


Leave a comment

My first trip to the mission field

First of all, I thank bro. Ee for the opportunity to visit various churches of Christ in the Philippines. What moved me was during bro. Ee’s Preacher and His Work class, he mentioned that I should go with him and visit the brethren there. Both sis. Sharon and bro. Yong Yaw had warned me about the hot weather and to drink only bottled water. My idea of the Philippines met my expectations when I arrived in Manila.

Together with bro. Ee, sis. Sharon, Anna, Alison and myself, we visited Banaoang church of Christ, Poblacion West Umingan church of Christ and Fronda church of Christ. Our brethren there were very hospitable. They showed us around and prepared meals for us.

The lectureship was titled “In All Things Showing Yourself To Be A Pattern Of Good Works” (Titus 2:7). We met a number of Four Seas College alumni namely, Joann Medez, John-John Medez, Rachel Bianca and Arnel Miranda. Joann, John-John and Arnel are already proving themselves to be active gospel preachers. I guess the instructors of Four Seas College will be proud of them. We met up with bro. Tommy Nyau at the lectureship.

After the lectureship at Kabankalan, we visited Mansilingan church of Christ. I taught a youth Bible class on the subject of prayer. I guess that preparing material for a Bible class is one thing, but it is entirely a different ball game to present the material in front of a class. I struggled to make the lesson interesting and hoped the youth understand what I was saying. I guess my struggle was evident when I became down with sore throat too that very day! I need to thank bro. John-John for taking
me to the hospital.

Back in Singapore, I think that I have been taking far too many things for granted. For example, our air-conditioning, clinics, toilets with flushing system, bright lighting at night, clean water etc. We really need to sit down and count our blessings. Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Finally, I pray that Mansilingan will have a physical church building soon. As Paul also visited various churches to encourage the brethren there during the first century, this purpose of encouragement is still
necessary today.
– Zeng Jun Ming

These twelve days I have spent in the Philippines are not ones that will be easily forgotten. I have been told that our presence there was
encouraging, but I feel that I have been more encouraged than anyone else by the dedication and faithfulness of the Filipino brethren. (1Th 1:3) Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father

The language barrier posed quite a few difficulties for us. Some
brethren from the rural areas spoke little to no English, and even those who did had their local accents and pronunciations. For my ladies’ class at Kabankalan, a sister had to translate a summarised version of my lesson after I had finished so the audience could understand more fully. But smiles, hugs, kisses on the cheek and warm handshakes — these transcended language. What I remember most about the mission trip was the warmth, kindness and hospitality of the brethren there, that made the Philippines for me a home away from home and gave me a sense of the true universality of God’s family, that our Christian
fellowship and love could reach across geography and nationalities and cultures. Col 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

I had to teach an impromptu children’s class one afternoon at Fronda COC while the church leaders had their meeting. Even though I was flustered and unprepared for the lesson, and I had to ask the help of Sister Rowena to translate my English into the local dialect, the children were the most attentive and engaged I have ever had the pleasure to teach. Here is fertile soil ready for the planting of the seed of the Word of God. I hope that in addition to our focus on evangelism and

conversions, we might also channel some of our resources to the
children’s ministry in the Philippines, which is sorely lacking in teachers and teaching materials, especially those in their local dialect or
Tagalog.

The bible lectureship at Kabankalan was very much of an inspiration and encouragement to me. Having only been to local Fourseas
lectureships and Chinese Asian Bible lectureships, it was new
experience for me to attend one in the Philippines. There was no
air-conditioning or cushioned seats or tables or catered buffet lunches, but the zeal and commitment of the brethren were obvious to the
observer. It was awe-inspiring to watch the Kabankalan ladies
personally prepare individual meals for more than 200 attendees of the lectureship. And I am so thankful to the brethren who approached us, greeted us and made conversation with us despite their doubts about their English-speaking ability.

It was also a joy for me to meet once more the Fourseas students I had known during their studies here in Singapore. Sister Rowena, Sister Rachelle, Brother Arnel and Brother Joann were excellent hosts. They took us to tourist spots and local attractions and from my conversations with them I learned much about the Filipino culture and the state of the church and its work there. It was also encouraging to meet many young brethren who confided in me their plans to attend Fourseas college in the future. It is not an easy choice for them to make: to sacrifice their studies and careers in order to come all the way to an unfamiliar foreign country to train themselves up in the word of God in order to become a better servant of His. I am deeply encouraged that they can set their priorities straight and make this difficult choice in their lives. Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I highly encourage all the brethren here to make time in their schedules to take part in such mission trips that Jurong organises in the future. Although it may seem like a daunting endeavour at first, it is truly a valuable life experience that broadens your perspective, strengthens your faith and changes you in ways that you cannot imagine.

– Alison Tee

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Children of the Congregation Need Your Prayers

Parents brought little children to Jesus, that He should put his hands on them, and pray (Matthew 19:13). Though the disciples rebuked them1, Jesus received them. Doubtless the disciples thought the Lord was too busy to take time to pray for children, but Jesus was not too busy for children or prayer. He loved children and sometimes called them to Him (Matthew 18:2-5). On this occasion He said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14), evidently honoring the parents’ requests to pray for them.

We also have the privilege to set a child on God’s knee and ask for His blessings. Like Abraham, we can pray, O that Ishmael (insert any child’s name here) might live before thee! (Genesis 17:18) and God will hear (17:20). Like Jacob, God wants us to bring our children to Him in their youth (Genesis 48:9). Like Hannah, we can take our children to God’s temple (1 Samuel 1:24), and leave them in His care. Like David, we can beseech the Lord for the child (2 Samuel 12:16)2, and pray that our sons and daughters will be given a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision (1 Chronicles 29:19; cf. Psalm 72:1). David’s wise prayer includes two worthy points: (1) Pray for children to be faithful (keep thy commandments); (2) Pray for children to be useful (to build the palace).

Our children can be changed through prayer. It is good to provide food for children (1 Timothy 5:8); it is good to cook for them; it is good to make up their beds and wash their clothes; it is good to play games with them and talk to them; it is good to go for walks with them and take them to the library and McDonalds; but it is better to pray for them! Is it not ironic that people who get worked up over the issue of prayer in public schools may seldom utilize the opportunity to pray for schoolchildren, against which there is no law. Pray with them when they are underfoot in the daytime; pray for them when they are asleep at night.

We can pray for faithful couples (or ourselves) who desire children to have them (Luke 1:13). Prayers for children are frequent in the Bible. They were offered by men (Genesis 25:21), by women (Genesis 30:17; 1 Samuel 1:11), and by those who wish a family well (Ruth 2:12; 1 Samuel 7:9). An intercessor can start with the infants (Luke 18:15), and pray for each child in the congregation. It would be appropriate to pray by name for the children in our Bible classes, in our communities, and, especially, those who do not have Christian parents.

Manoah wondered aloud at the announcing of Samson’s birth, How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? (Judges 13:12b). His entreating prayer was one most parents have uttered: O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born (13:8). We can learn how to pray for our children by studying how Jesus prayed for His children (disciples): He prayed for Peter: ,that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32). The worst tragedy that could happen to our children is not a bad car wreck or crippling disease. It is not to be cut off in their youth. The worse thing that could happen is for them never to gain faith in God, or, having gained it, to lose it. About the time they go to college, all parents fear that they may prove to be a rock heart which have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away (Luke 8:13), or a cluttered heart that allows thorns to choke the spiritual life out of them. We fear that they will go out from us because they had not really been of us (1 John 2:19). We fear that some false teacher may overthrow their faith (2 Timothy 2:18; Romans 16:17) or that a root of bitterness will spring up, defile them, and cause them to fail in the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15). We can that this will not happen (and we can start years before they move away).

Jesus also prayed for His children: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (John 17:15). The world is the great enemy of our youth. It tries to press its mold upon their fashion, speech, habits, recreation, and attitudes (Romans 12:1,2). It seems innocent, but puts one at direct odds with God (as His enemy, James 4:4). We can help throw a protective armor around our youth by our prayers. In the context of the Christian armor, we are told to pray ,always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18).

Jesus prayed for His children, ,that they all may be one, (John 17:21). We should pray that the children we love will become and remain one with God. We can pray that they believe in the one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5); remain in His one church (Ephesians 4:4; 1:22,23), forbearing one another in love while endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2), remembering we are members one of another (Ephesians 4:25), stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27), be of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:12), exhort one another daily (Hebrews 3:13), be all of one mind, having compassion one of another (1 Peter 3:8), and have fellowship one with another (1 John 1:7). To take inspiration from Paul’s inspiration: We can pray that they become a member of the one body, be filled with the one Spirit, have confidence in the one hope of their calling; always submit to the one Lord, always stand for the one faith after having submitted to the one baptism, and never disappoint the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12)


Leave a comment

The Married Couples of the Congregation Need Your Prayers

We should pray for new marriages. 

One preacher lost his train of thought at a wedding and closed it with the wrong prayer. He said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. It is true that many couples enter marriage without under-standing what is required of them to make is work. Some put more planning into the wedding than the marriage. We should pray for these couples to have wisdom (James 1:5), patience (James 1:3,4), determination (Galatians 6:9), dependence upon God (Proverbs 3:6-10), and abiding love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8). We might do well to use the fruit of the Spirit list as a template – each of these would make a stronger home (Galatians 5:22,23). Actually, we should start praying for the young people of our congregation when they begin dating. There would be fewer broken homes if more prayers ascended for guidance in the selection of a companion. 

We should pray for marriages that are in trouble. 

The Bible presupposes that even Christian couples will sometimes have marital trouble (when one spouse is not a Christian, or is unfaithful, the likelihood increases). When trouble comes, a couple might consent to not share the marriage bed for a while, during which time they give themselves to fasting and prayer. Then they come together again (1 Corinthians 7:4), lest Satan tempt them to find satisfaction elsewhere. We do not always know when a couple is going through a time of discord, and should not try to find out , but if someone confides in us, asks for the prayers of the church family, or if it is common knowledge, or even if you just suspect it, it would be appropriate to pray for them. 

We may pray for marriages that are not in trouble. 

Prayer is supposed to be an integral part of marriage. Peter explained that husbands should take pains to act in such a way that prayers with their wives ,be not hindered (1 Peter 3:7). We should pray for our own marriages, of course, and can go the second mile and pick out some happily married couple and pray for them to be even happier. Things are not always as they seem, and prayer just might make a difference. 

We may pray for marriages that have broken apart. 

The grass is not always greener, and some later regret being hasty in divorcing. Since divorce is not God’s plan (Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:6), and remarriage is unscriptural for at least half of those involved, wouldn’t it be better for a union that God recognized to be restored? God allows the innocent party to put away a mate, and even remarry, but He does not command it (Matthew 19:9). Provided both parties are willing to work at it, a marriage can build back a stronger structure on the ashes of the previous one. Just as a bone heals itself so strongly in a fracture that it will never break there again, some homes are stronger after a breakup, than they ever were before. 

God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you, (1 Samuel 12:23b) should be written across the exits from our church buildings. Samuel’s promise, I will pray for you unto the Lord (1 Samuel 7:5), should often be heard in our foyers and parking lots. Samuel actually regarded intercession as part of his official duty (10:22; 12:19), and deemed neglect a sin (12:23). Do we treat prayerlessness as a sin against those who need to be prayed for? He could get so grieved over the people of God that he cried unto the Lord all night (1 Samuel 15:11). Can I? Paul, being a man of prayer, went to find others who believed in prayer (Acts 16). They met daily by the riverbank. Prayer is our greatest weapon against the devil. Paul had begun his Christian life on his knees (cf. Acts 9:11). Jesus spent whole nights in prayer (Luke 6:12). Whenever a man loses faith in prayer, he has lost his greatest element of power. Queen Mary declared she feared the prayers of John Knox more than the armies of her enemies. Though neither were New Testament Christians, they both believed in the power of prayer. Certainly we have greater belief in it!


Leave a comment

The Homes of the Congregation Need Your Prayers

Abraham was praying for Lot and Sodom when they were not praying for themselves (Genesis 18:23-33). Jesus was praying for Peter when did not know to pray for himself (Luke 22:32). Who do you know who could use some prayer? Does he recognize it enough to spend any time on his knees? Is she even in a praying relationship with God? Do you have time and inclination to do some interceding? Paul exhorted that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:1,2).

A parent-teacher discussion group wondered what students could do after dismissal each day. Playgrounds, youth huts, bicycle trails, canteens, and even a student center with a paid supervisor were all suggested. Finally, a practical grandmother quietly said, Couldn’t they just go home? Something is wrong when children don’t want to go home. Something is wrong when they don’t really have a home (most have houses – perhaps very fancy ones – but that is not the same as having a home).

The local church is only as strong as the families that compose it. It cannot have qualified leaders without strong families (1 Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1). Its works of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), education of children (2 Timothy 2:2), care of the aged (1 Timothy 5), evangelism (Acts 18:26), and benevolence (James 1:27) are all carried out easier when strong homes are present. If a family suffers, the Family suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26).

If a marriage breaks apart, it strains the union of the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 4:2-6). If a non-Christian husband discourages his wife, the spiritual temperature of the entire congregation goes down a few degrees (Romans 14:7; Revelation 3:15-17). If children make mistakes and let evil win their hearts, it reflects badly upon their Father’s household (Luke 15:13; 1 Timothy 3:15). Conversely, if husbands and wives are happy, they will likely support more church activities and bring a happy disposition with them. If children feel secure because of constant parental love and discipline, they will cause few problems for their Bible teachers. If parents ask students about what they learned in class, and reinforce lessons with daily devotionals and good example, then teachers will enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors each Sunday morning.

If your congregation has none of the former situations, and all of the latter, then your time might be better spent in something besides inter-cession. But if there are divorcees among the members; if some parents stoop under the burden of rebellious or unfaithful children (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25); if a few mates seem to tolerate each other instead of rejoice with each other (Proverbs 5:18); if some children miss more classes than they attend (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Hebrews 10:25), and terrorize their teachers when they do, then you could do a service by going to God in prayer.

The Widows and Widowers of the Congregation Need Your Prayers.

The loss of a spouse of many years may be the most difficult event in the lives of about half of us. A part of pure religion and doing good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith includes care for those in such situations (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10). The God who claims for Himself the title of,a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, (Psalm 68:5) will certainly honor those who prayed for the fatherless and widows. Those who are to plead for the widow (Isaiah 1:17) in earth’s courts, should also do plead for them in heaven’s courts. It is appropriate to pray for good health – for ourselves and for others. Samson prayed for strength (Judges 16:28) and John prayed that Gaius would mayest prosper and be in health even as his soul prospered (3 John 2).

It would be worth the time to use the church directory to list all those who have lost mates. Call or go see each one when you have an opportunity and ask them what they would like for you to mention in prayer; or, just probe in conversation to ascertain what is on their minds and then write down ideas when you leave (before you forget). One might then use that list once a week as a memory tool to help in both family and closet prayers. When we finish praying, we should do our part to answer the prayer, too. John wrote, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). A simple card, call, or cake can mean a great deal. A visit leaves a lingering memory that breaks a day’s monotony. Remember, it is always a good idea to pray with fellow Christians before parting company.