Strength to fight the war
When the Circuit Breaker (CB) period started, it felt like a missile launched into a war zone. As a mother, pastor’s wife, WSCS president and teacher, I was overwhelmed by the demands of every one of my roles.
As a teacher, I was overwhelmed by Home-Based Learning (HBL). Online and offline lessons had to be designed. After uploading lessons, the students’ progress had to be monitored, with following up on assignments beyond school hours. The students needed close supervision and telephone conversations with parents were essential to keep everyone calm amid the anxiety in this virtual world. Not to forget my son, a P6 student, sitting right next to me—he too was online with his teachers, trying to complete assignments. Although I took short breaks to guide him a little, I thank God my son is an independent learner.
Planning meals for 10 people (my niece and family of four from Malaysia stayed with us during the CB) was not easy. Finally, in my roles as WSCS president and pastor’s wife, my evenings were filled with Zoom meetings, online prayer sessions, as well as counselling and training ministry.
Through it all, I thank God for the immense strength and wisdom He gave me to navigate the maze of multiple demands and roles. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
—Kalaimathi Nagulan, Tamil Methodist Church (MC)
Listening and giving
“Work from home” and “Stay at home” have provided the opportunity to reflect on my priorities in life. What a blessing it has been to listen to and bond with family members. We had been so caught up with the world and forgotten some of the most important things in life. With everyone home, we eat together, serve one another, listen patiently, and enjoy good conversations. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19) was driven home.
Another blessing was through a small gesture of giving. At the onset of COVID-19, masks went out of stock. I gave a friend with a big family a box of 50 masks. She was so touched and grateful! When stocks became available, she gave me two boxes as a token of appreciation which I was able to donate to a mission agency. Acts 20:35 reminds us that “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. Giving makes one’s heart bubble with joy from the Lord.
—Daisy Ling, Ang Mo Kio CMC
Lessons from disruption
I wondered if anything good could come out of this disruptive standstill. A few weeks into the CB, I am delighted to be able to share three key lessons.
- Develop good habits and pursue goals: With no more excuse about a lack of time, I began to re-focus on what is truly important, and to pursue a better version of “me”. I started with simple goals, such as texting relatives and friends with whom I have not interacted recently, waking up early to jog, learning new worship songs, and journalling my conversations with God. May these become habits and reap lasting benefits.
- Count our blessings and pass them on: I have taken so much for granted, when there is much to be thankful for—a roof over my head, a job, comforts of life and even the “Solidarity Payment”. I am blessed indeed! But how am I living out this privilege? Do we remember God’s heart for the less fortunate? Be it donating a portion of our “Solidarity Payment”, volunteering in food donation drives or simply raising awareness about such actions, may we, people of privilege, jump at every opportunity to serve God and make a difference to our society.
- Be still, and know that He is God: What better time is there to wait upon the Lord? Though no one knows how long this pandemic will last, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23).
—Tan Min Qhee, Trinity MC
Growing and adapting
During this period of staying home, I cleaned my bookshelves and re-discovered many Christian books which I had yet to read. I caught up with my reading, reignited the spirit of learning and gained new spiritual insights. Though not a tech-savvy person, I was forced, by the need for Sunday School to move online, to learn how to conduct classes online. It is also critical to keep in touch with senior church members, to share our care and concern so that they do not feel isolated.
My house became noisier and busier because my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren moved in with me for help with childcare. I have enjoyed connecting with my grandchildren.
Through this period, I have not only been challenged to grow and adapt but have learnt to be thankful in all circumstances and to depend on God.
—Katherine Foo Sin Yong, Ang Mo Kio CMC
Sitting at Jesus’ feet
I retired from teaching nine years ago and have kept active in church and Conference-level ministries. The CB has brought about a change to my lifestyle. I set aside a specific time to pray for the various nations impacted by the pandemic and for frontline workers. More time is spent studying Scripture. I also call church members or pre-believers to encourage them. I have had to learn new technology, such as Zoom, to remain connected with family (including my adorable two-year-old grandson) and friends. I attend virtual meetings, including Alpha training conducted in Tamil to prepare for when Alpha sessions can resume.
God allowed this difficult time for every Christian to sit at His feet as Mary did. I thank God for blessing me and using me to bless others even during these strange and uncertain times.
—Tamikodi Arthur, Toa Payoh TMC
Calm in the storm
The world is currently in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 “storm”, like Jesus’ disciples were in a terrifying storm (Matt 8:23–27). Though familiar with such situations at sea, the disciples were gripped with fear.
My family members have faced diverse issues. My son, attached to an Accident & Emergency department, works long hours at the frontline. My daughter-in-law, also a doctor, has additional meals to cook. My daughter has had to close her business at a mall and wait, uncertain about the future. My son-in-law, who often travelled for work, is now grounded. My grandson had to return home from studies in the UK. Despite these challenges, we have more time together, bonding over meals and even exercise times. We continue to trust that God is in control.
With seniors advised to stay home, loneliness and fear are realities for some. A close friend called me one day. A childless widow, she rents a room to a young lady who wanted to volunteer at a foreign workers’ dormitory. She feared this contagious virus, but with prayer and God’s Word, she chose to trust God and now has peace.
Just as Jesus calmed the storm when the disciples cried for help, we too can do the same in this COVID-19 “storm”. Focus on God and seek Him!
—Kathryn Ong, Methodist Church of the Incarnation
Thankful, mindful, hopeful
Some friends who got married before the COVID-19 pandemic thanked God for being able to celebrate their union wholeheartedly. Others who got married just before the DORSCON level in Singapore was raised to Orange thanked God that they made it. Yet others who had to postpone their wedding reminded themselves that God is in control. Some others whose marriage plans are up in the air resolved to trust God and hold their wedding when possible.
Are Christians who respond this way deluded? When things go well, we thank God for His provision. When things go poorly, we console ourselves that God is telling us something. As citizens of heaven, is it not better to live as thankful people attuned to God, while holding fast to an eternal hope? Is this not better than being ungrateful, full of complaints and bitterness? Perhaps we need to learn what “as the Lord wills” means. What is the will of God? To “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18).
In this COVID-19 season, each of us experiences challenges. Let us continue dancing with Him even when our feet hurt. When we look back at the dance, it will be beautiful, and the pain will be remembered no more. It will be such joy to savour the moments when He danced with you and you with Him!
—Cindy Ling, Aldersgate MC
Working from home (WFH), Home-based Learning (HBL), mandatory masks, business shut down, spiralling economy—there is hardly anyone not affected by COVID-19. Some WSCS ladies—including millennials, professionals and retirees—share their reflections. They experience different circumstances but reach the same conclusion: our God is totally trustworthy! / Photos courtesy of Katherine Foo, Daisy Ling, Tan Min Qhee and Kathryn Ong.