Missions, Outreach

By His grace alone

The vision for the Singapore Mission School (SMS) in Laos is clear – we want to nurture educated hearts in the country of Laos.

We desire that our children will, during their formative years, experience their teachers’ grace and dedication; witness the steady conviction, faithful service and overarching passion on display day in and day out; and be inspired by the joy and hope they see lived out before them.

At least two factors are crucial for SMS to move towards being the school we envision: teachers of character and adequate facilities.

God has provided the former with impeccable timing. Right on cue, in response to the heartfelt prayers of our teacher team and intercessors for this work, more people were added to our staff team this year to cater to the growing enrolment.

And they came before we had time to panic or bite our nails! We now have a team of dedicated individuals working from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. to care for our 40 children.

After almost four years of running unofficially in Vientiane, SMS finally received its certificate of approval from the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports this June.

The preceding years had been stressful and disheartening. Inspections by education officials invariably turned up the same complaints: inadequate classroom size and unsuitable building. Requests for temporary approval were flatly denied.

By God’s grace, approval was finally granted on the understanding that an extension would be built to house the school. Somehow, at some point, the inspectors must have noticed the good work going on in our classrooms. This perhaps contributed to the progress our application made as it crawled tortuously up the myriad levels of bureaucracy.

God willing, work on the promised extension will commence in February 2015. As it is, we are already in need of more space as all the available rooms in the present building are occupied.

As the children grow, so does the need for more resources to keep pace with their development. Specialised art and music rooms, more space for the swelling library, dedicated areas for the children to explore or express themselves, sports equipment, computer facilities, cooking and dining facilities, not to mention work space for teachers, are all a pleasant daydream at the moment.

It will soon be time to look into the requirements for a secondary school in order to keep our word to parents and students that we will do our best to keep the children together for the long term.

As we prepare for the development and construction of our primary school, we pray that God, in His grace, will again provide according to what He sees we need, as He has done all these years.

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PRAY for * Kok Liang and Lesley that as they prepare for the extension of SMS, they will be strengthened in their spirit and continue to be blessed as they bless the children. * Good health and passion for the staff as they daily give their all for the children. * God’s provision, wisdom and guidance in the SMS Laos building project.

GIVE * towards the SMS Laos building project. Please make cheques payable to “The Methodist Church in Singapore (MMS)” and indicate “SMS Laos Building Project” on the back of your cheque.

For more information, contact Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng at koheng.quek@message.methodist.org.sg or 6478-4807.

Photos courtesy of Methodist Missions Society

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Kok Liang and Lesley Yeow went to Laos in 2005 to set up an English centre for adults. Lesley took on the job of running the Singapore Mission School most reluctantly. She now readily acknowledges God’s grace in all contingencies, especially with children!