A mentor; a friend: Christian Ministry in Methodist Schools

Jenny (top) with SALT Club girls, including Deborah Yong (second from left)

As a Christian Ministry Staff (CMS) at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (PLMGS) from Jan 2000 to May 2007, and Sep 2009 to March 2014, and at Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) from Sep 2014 to date, I have had the great privilege of journeying with and mentoring Christian teenagers who show great potential to achieve mighty things for the Lord.

Christian mentoring goes beyond helping and advising an individual in their spiritual growth—it is to develop them as a whole person (mentally, emotionally, socially), just like how Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and people (Luke 2:52).

To me, mentoring is to make available to the students the adult advice and experiences from which they can benefit, and to be an outlet/resource for them when they need help. A mentoring relationship requires both mentor and protégé to be willing to meet up regularly, with the protégé agreeing to make themselves accountable to the mentor. The protégé must also allow their mentor to speak into their life, including giving hard-to-swallow rebukes and correction for their benefit and growth.

It is my firm belief that the journey of life is meant to be lived out communally, to experience community and to use God’s blessings to bless another. We all need someone to look out for us, and someone we can in turn invest in, believe in and nurture.

I am thankful for my Girls’ Brigade (GB) and CMS mentor during my schooldays. My friends and I spent many hours talking with her about true friendships, learning about servant leadership, and deepening our worship of God. Having a trusted adult speak into my life was helpful to keep me grounded and on the right path, and to grow stronger in God.

—Amaria Ponniah (PLMGS Head of GB Devotion Committee 2003–04)

At 15, I was young, impulsive and immature in my thinking. While it was fun to have friends my age, I also found a friend and mentor in Ms Jenny Koh, the CMS in my school. Whether I was complaining about schoolwork, asking for advice on friendships, or sharing my hopes and dreams, Ms Koh was always there to lend a listening ear, give me sound advice, and point me in the right direction—not to “nag”, like many of the other adults in my life.

Ms Koh encouraged me and gave me the confidence to rise up, especially in the area of CCA leadership. She was integral in moulding me to be the person I am today.

It is essential for youths today to have adult mentors who have gone before them, are willing to befriend them and give them sound advice to help them avoid mistakes. If they do not get wise Christian counsel, they will pick up advice from the world around them instead.

Rachel Lee (PLMGS Head of GB Devotion Committee 2006–07, currently CMS at PLMGS [Sec])

I am grateful to have had mentors in my formative years who taught me, corrected me and helped me realise my fullest potential. When I was uncertain, these mentors, who had more experience than I, provided me with directions and gave me the confidence to go all out in all that I did, while helping me to stay focussed on my purpose.

—Beverly Low (MGS SALT Club Adviser 2015–16 and MGS Head Prefect 2015–16, currently Year 6 student at ACS [Independent])

As a person who had little experience in leading others in a Christian environment, being mentored helped me to focus on the purpose of my leadership—to serve God.

With a guide along the journey, I had someone to help me with things I was uncertain about, and to provide advice during challenging times when I had to juggle my CCA, studies and walk with God.

—Ng Xin Le (MGS SALT Club President 2016–17, currently JC1 student at National Junior College)

As President of SALT (Servants at the Lord’s Tasks) Club (the MGS Christian fellowship group), I had the privilege of being mentored as I grew into my role and learnt to be a better and God-fearing leader.

My mentor often checked in with me about my personal walk with God and how I was doing spiritually. Through these mentoring sessions, I have gained very insightful perspectives from someone who has been on this Christian journey longer than I have and is thus able to show me how to live my life in a Christ-like way.

—Wee Fang Qing (MGS SALT Club President 2015–16, currently Year 6 student at ACS [Independent])

A mother; a sister; a friend: this is how I see Ms Koh in our mentoring relationship. The perseverance and endurance she has displayed—whether rain or shine, on hectic or restful days—tell me that I, a flawed individual, am much loved and can receive such forgiveness and mercy. Her words of wisdom and songs of encouragement will be etched in my mind as I move forward to other stages of my life’s journey, and as I grow and mature in the Lord.

—Deborah Yong (MGS SALT Club President 2017–18, Year 4 in MGS)

Jenny Koh is a Christian Ministry Staff at Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary). She worships at Toa Payoh Methodist Church.

Jenny Koh (left) mentored Rachel Lee when she was a student, and Rachel is now herself a CMS
(From left) Jenny, Sweedy Ngiam and Amaria Ponniah

Photos courtesy of Jenny Koh