Blessed to serve

(from left) Ian Jeriah Stephen with his father, Joel, mother and brother

Fathers have always played a big part in impacting and influencing their children’s lives.

During the school break in May, Ian Jeriah Stephen, a Primary 5 student from Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) wondered why his father, Joel Stephen, was leaving home past midnight and only returning a couple of hours later. Ian later found out that his father had been helping his uncle, a pastor who runs a charity to deliver free meals to Muslim migrant workers before their fast during Ramadhan, and was inspired to help out.

Ian’s response was not an impulsive one—in the past, he had met many migrant workers through his church. He realised that they had left their families to come and work in Singapore so that they could provide a better life for those back home. He understood the hardships and struggles they faced, especially during the COVID-19 circuit breaker period.

The tiredness and lack of sleep from having to set off at 1.30 a.m. for a few nights did not stop Ian from volunteering. In fact, it made him realise how comfortable own life is in Singapore and he was glad to play a part in blessing these migrant workers. He was also heartened to see so many others, from different walks of life, also coming forward to help deliver meals.

Because of Joel’s encouragement and reminder “to never forget about those that are needy and downtrodden in society as the heart of our Heavenly Father goes out to them”, Ian has made it a point to give to the needy and help his parents in their volunteer work, especially for the migrant workers.

Modelling after his own father who went at great lengths to care for others, Joel hopes to keep Ian and his other son, Ivan, grounded with the same values and principles just as he had been taught, “that we are most Christ-like when we truly see those around us with the compassion and concern that Christ would have for them and do what we can to extend a helping hand”.

He said, “Today, it’s so easy for them to get caught up with the busyness and the distractions of modern life and lose sight of what’s most important, a life lived with and for God. I’ve endeavoured to keep them grounded in their faith and to always value the love and togetherness of family. I know that out of this, the seeds of a life of purpose, centred around God, will bear fruit.”

A grateful migrant worker receiving the packed meals

By the MCS Communications Team / Photos courtesy of Joel and Ian Stephen