Outreach

Bearing the fruit of love

Mr Chua Wah Liang, a resident at MWS Nursing Home - Yew Tee, shares a laugh with MWS pastoral care volunteer Allan Howe
Mr Chua Wah Liang, a resident at MWS Nursing Home – Yew Tee, shares a laugh with MWS pastoral care volunteer Allan Howe

Mr Chua Wah Liang recalls a haunting visit to a museum in Poland when he was in his 30s, encountering heart-wrenching images of Holocaust victims and a poignant exhibit of a pile of shoes belonging to those who had lost their lives at Nazi concentration camps.

Now, at 86 and a stroke survivor residing at MWS Nursing Home – Yew Tee, he shares these impactful travel memories with his pastoral care volunteers during their weekly visits.

“As a young adult, I travelled extensively, and I enjoy reminiscing about those experiences with visiting volunteers. We chat and sing old songs together, which brings me joy. Their friendship makes me feel at home and less lonely,” shared Mr Chua.

Embracing the call to love our neighbours

Since his admission into the Nursing Home in 2019, Mr Chua has been receiving regular pastoral visits from volunteers, including via Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown.

On a Friday afternoon, he warmly shares tales of his European and Indian travels, his previous swimming pool construction business and more with pastoral care volunteer Allan Howe.

“It is a joy to connect with residents like Mr Chua, and pray for those who are open,” shared Allan, a 63-year-old retiree and member of Aldersgate Methodist Church. “I believe that the work of the pastoral care team is very important in God’s eyes. Many residents here are very old, and some are on palliative care, including several who are in the final stages of their life. God’s word tells us that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should be saved. I hope to be able to share God’s word and journey with them in their final moments.”

He added: “I am thankful to MWS Chaplains, Rev Dr Norman Wong and Rev Chua Chiew Poh, who are inspiring trainers and models of care and dedication for many residents. The Christian songs that the Spirit led Norman to sing with us during my pastoral care training also deeply ministered to me.”

A holistic care model

While healthcare professionals address residents’ physical health, the pastoral care team, including volunteers, attends to their spiritual and emotional well-being. Their warm presence creates a caring and supportive environment within the nursing home, contributing significantly to the holistic well-being of the residents.

Besides bedside ministry, some pastoral care volunteers assist the MWS Chaplains during the weekly chapel services. “Volunteers inject vitality into the environment, and we see the faces of residents brighten when they are around,” said Rev Chua.

“Their influence encourages active participation in activities, such as singalong sessions, and we have observed a noticeable difference in residents’ engagement levels over the years. In the past, we sing and the residents just listen. But now, we see them singing along with us!”

Enhancing capacity to care

Church members keen on ministering to nursing home residents can now enrol to be trained by the MWS Chaplaincy Team, through this year’s The Giving Methodist (TGM) campaign.

TGM, an initiative spearheaded by The Methodist Church in Singapore and its social concerns arm, Methodist Welfare Services, encourages Methodists to show love and kindness to the distressed and disadvantaged. This year’s theme, “Serving in His Footsteps”, is a call for Methodists to emulate Jesus’ self-giving ways by blessing and serving the needy in the community.

3 WAYS TO GIVE DURING

THE GIVING METHODIST (TGM) 2024

Give Time

Sign up to spend two hours with the MWS Chaplaincy Team and be trained in Pastoral Care. You will also get to minister to residents at an MWS Nursing Home.

Give A Donation

Donate to provide financial assistance to over 11,000 families and individuals that MWS serves across our 22 centres and programmes.

Give Voice

Spread the word about TGM 2024 by sharing digital resources in your church or among your social networks.

Visit https://thegivingmethodist.sg for more information.

Nursing home residents may face various emotional challenges, including loneliness, anxiety and grief. At MWS, pastoral care volunteers are trained to offer a compassionate and empathetic ear, providing a safe space for residents to express their emotions. Through active listening and understanding, these volunteers offer comfort and foster emotional well-being.

Even for residents who are withdrawn or non-communicative due to medical or mental issues, volunteers can offer quiet comfort through their presence, or engage them in prayer and song.

Allan shared, “On one of my visits, I met a resident who looked downcast. Despite his initial silence, I remembered Norman’s guidance to wait for the Spirit’s prompting. Eventually, I felt led to ask if I could pray for him. The resident nodded, and after the prayer, he softly said, ‘Amen’. It reminded me that God has made everything beautiful in its time. ”

At the heart of Allan’s service to residents is love. He stresses the importance of sincere love, expressing: “Working with the pastoral care team has expanded my capacity to care, and I am seeking God to ‘refire’ me to continue bearing his fruit in my remaining years.”

By the MWS Communications Team. / Photo courtesy of MWS

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